the delight of green-rooms and taverns, and strated in terms less respectful than their pleased even grave hearers when he was master had been accustomed to hear, and sufficiently under restraint to abstain from gave him a fortnight to make his choice detailing the particulars of his amours, and between his favorite and bis cabinet. from breaking jests on the New Testament. George the Third was greatly disturbed. His expensive debaucheries forced him to He had but a few weeks before exulted in have recourse to the Jews. He was soon a his deli rance from the yoke of the great ruined man, and determined to try his Whig connection. He had even declared chance as a political adventurer. In par- that his honor would not permit him ever liament he did not succeed. His speaking, again to admit the members of that conthough pert, was feeble, and by no means nection to his service. He now found that interested his hearers so much as to make he had only exchanged one set of masters them forget his face, which was so hideous for another set still harsher and more imthat the caricaturists were forced, in their perious. In his distress he thought on Pitt. own despite, to flatter him. As a writer, he From Pitt it was possible that better terms made a better figure. He set up a weekly might be obtained than either from Grenpaper, called the North Briton. This jour- ville, or from the party of which Newcastle nal, written with some pleasantry, and was the head. great audacity and impudence, had a con Grenville, on his return from an excursion siderable number of readers. Forty-four into the country, repaired to Buckingham numbers had been published when Bute re- House. He was astonished to find at the signed; and, though almost every number entrance a chair, the shape of which was had contained matter grossly libellous, no well known to him, and indeed to all prosecution had been instituted. The for- London. It was distinguished by a large ty-fifth number was innocent when com- boot, made for the purpose of accommodatpared with the majority of those which had ing the great Commoner's gouty leg. Greopreceded it, and indeed contained nothing ville guessed the whole. His brother-in-law so strong as may now be found daily in the was closeted with the King. Bute, proleading articles of the Tiines and Morning voked by what he considered as the onChronicle. But Grenville was now at the friendly and ungrateful conduct of his suchead of affairs. A new spirit had been in- cessors, had himself proposed that Pitt fused into the administration. Authority should be summoned to the palace. was to be upheld. The government was Pitt had two audiences on two successive no longer to be braved with impunity. days. What passed at the first interview led Wilkes was arrested under a general war- him to expect that the negotiation would rant, conveyed to the Tower, and confined be brought to a satisfactory close ; but on there with circumstances of unusual sever-the morrow he found the King less comply. ity. His papers were seized, and carried ing. The best account, indeed the only to the Secretary of State. These harsh and trustworthy account of the conference, is illegal measures produced a violent out- that which was taken from Pitt's own mouth break of popular rage, which was soon by Lord Hardwicke. It appears that Pitt changed to delight and exultation. The strongly represented the importance of conarrest was pronounced unlawful by the ciliating those chiefs of the Whig party who Court of Common Pleas, in which Chief- had been so unhappy as to incur the royal Justice Pratt presided, and the prisoner displeasure. They had, he said, been the was discharged. This victory over the most constant friends of the house of Hanogovernment was celebrated with enthusi- ver. Their power and credit were great; asm both in London and in the Cider- they had been long versed in public busicounties.

If they were to be under sentence While the ministers were daily becoming of exclusion, a solid administration could more odious to the nation, they were doing not be formed. His Majesty could not their best to make themselves also odious bear to think of putting himself into the to the court. They gave the King plainly hands of those whom he had recenty to understand that they were determined chased from his court with the strongest not to be Lord Bute's creatures, and exact- marks of anger. 'I am sorry, Mr. Pitt, ed a promise that no secret adviser should he said, “but I see this will not do. My have access to the royal ear. They soon honor is concerned. I must support my found reason to suspect that this promise honor.' How his Majesty succeeded in had not been observed. They remon- supporting his honor, we shall soon see.



[ocr errors]

Pitt retired, and the King was reduced except by his printer, and by a few of his to request the ministers whom he had been dissipated companions, till it was produced on the point of discarding, to remain in in full Parliament. Though he was a man office. During the two years which follow- of easy temper, averse from danger, and ed, Grenville, now closely leagued with the not very susceptible of shame, the surprise, Bedfords, was the master of the court; and the disgrace, the prospect of utter ruin, put a hard master he proved. He knew that him beside himself. He picked a quarrel he was kept in place only because there with one of Lord Bute's dependents, fought

no choice except between himselfs a duel, was seriously wounded, and, when and the Whigs. That under any circum- half recovered, fled to France. His enestances the Whigs would be forgiven, he mies had now their own way both in the thought impossible. The late attempt to Parliament and in the King's Bench. He get rid of him had roused his resentment; was censured; expelled from the House of the failure of that attempt had liberated Commons; outlawed. His works were him from all fear. He had never been very ordered to be burned by the common hangcourtly. He now began to hold a lan- man. Yet was the multitude still true to guage, to which, since the days of Cornet him. In the minds even of many moral Joyce and President Bradshaw, no English and religious inen, his crime seemed light King had been compelled to listen. when compared with the crime of his acIn one matter, indeed, Grenville, at the cusers. The conduct of Sandwich, in


parexpense of justice and liberty, gratified the ticular, excited universal disgust. His passions of the court while gratifying his own vices were notorious; and, only a

The persecution of Wilkes was fortnight before he laid the Essay on Woeagerly pressed. He had written a parody man before the House of Lords, he had on Pope's Essay on Man, entitled the Es- been drinking and singing loose catches say on Woman, and had appended to it with Wilkes at one of the most dissolute notes, in ridicule of Warburton's famous clubs in London. Shortly after the meetCommentary.

ing of Parliament, the Beggar's Opera was This composition was exceedingly profli- acted at Covent-Garden theatre. When gate, but not more so, we think, than some Macheath uttered the words—That Jemof Pope's own works—the imitation of the my Twitcher should peach me I own sursecond satire of the first book of Horace, prised me,'—pit, boxes, and galleries, burst for example; and to do Wilkes justice, he into a roar which seemed likely to bring had not, like Pope, given his ribaldry to the roof down. From that day Sandwich the world. He had merely printed at a was universally known by the nickname of private press a very small number of copies, Jemmy Twitcher. The ceremony of burnwhich he meant to present to some of his ing the North Briton was interrupted by a boon companions, whose morals were in no riot. The constables were beaten; the more danger of being corrupted by a loose paper was rescued; and, instead of it, a

ook, than a negro of being tanned by a jack boot and a petticoat were committed to warm sun. A tool of the government, by the flames. Wilkes had instituted an giving a bribe to the printer, procured a action for the seizure of his papers, against copy of this trash, and placed it in the hands the under-secretary of state. of the ministers. The ministers resolved to gave a thousand pounds damages. But visit Wilkes's offence against decorum with neither these nor any other indications the utmost rigor of the law. What share of public feeling had power to piety and respect for morals had in dictat- Grenville. He had the Parliament with ing this resolution, our readers may judge him, and according to his political creed from the fact, that no person was more the sense of the nation was to be collected eager for bringing the libertine poet to from the Parliament alone. punishment than Lord March, afterwards Soon, however, he found reason to fear Duke of Queensberry. On the first day of that even the Parliament might fail him. the session of Parliament, the book, thus On the question of the legality of general disgracefully obtained, was laid on the ta- warrants, the opposition, having on its side ble of the Lords by the Earl of Sandwich, all sound principles, all constitutional whom the Duke of Bedford's interest had authorities, and the voice of the whole namade Secretary of State. The unfortunate tion, mustered in great force, and was author had not the slightest suspicion that joined by many who did not ordinarily vote his licentious poem had ever been seen, against the government. On one occasion

The jury


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

the ministry, in a very full House, had as they were by no means sparing in the use
majority of only fourteen votes. The of these privileges when Grenville was on
storm, however, blew over. The spirit of his legs. But the poor young King had to
the opposition, from whatever cause, began endure all this eloquence with mournful
to flag at the momegt when success seemed civility. To the end of his life he con-
most certain. The session ended without tinued to talk with horror of Grenville's
any change. Pitt, whose eloquence had orations.
shone with its usual lustre in all the prin About this time took place one of the
cipal debates, and whose popularity was most singular events in Pitt's life. There
greater than ever, was still a private man. a certain Sir William Pynsent, a
Grenville, detested alike by the court and Somersetshire baronet of Whig politics, who
by the people, was still minister.

had been a Member of the House of ComAs soon as the Houses had risen, Gren- mons in the days of Queen Anne, and ville took a step, which proved, even more retired to rural privacy when the Tory party, signally than any of his past acts, how des towards the end of her reign, obtained the potic, how acrimonious, and how fearless ascendency in her councils. His manners his nature was. Among the gentlemen were eccentric. His morals lay under not ordinarily opposed to the government, very odious imputations. But his fidelity who on the great constitutional question to his political opinions was unalterable. of general warrants, had voted with the During fifty years of seclusion he continminority, was Henry Conway, brother of ued to brood over the events which had the Earl of Hertford, a brave soldier, a driven him from public life, the dismissal tolerable speaker, and a well-meaning, of the Whigs, the peace of Utrecht, the dethough not a wise or vigorous politician. sertion of our allies. He now thought He was now deprived of his regiment, the that he perceived a close analogy between merited reward of faithful and gallant ser- the well-remembered events of his youth vice in two wars. It was confidently assert- and the events which he had witnessed in ed that in this violent measure the King extreme old age; between the disgrace of heartily concurred.

Marlborough and the disgrace of Pitt; beBut whatever pleasure the persecution tween the elevation of Harley and the eleraof Wilkes or the dismissal of Conway may tion of Bute; between the treaty negotiated have given to the royal mind, it is certain by St. John and the treaty negotiated by that his Majesty's aversion to his ministers Bedford; between the wrongs of the house increased day by day. Grenville was as of Austria in 1712 and the wrongs of the frugal of the public money as of his own, house of Brandenburg in 1762. This and morosely refused to accede to the fancy took such possession of the old man's King's request that a few thousand pounds mind that he determined to leave his shole might be expended in buying some open property to Pitt. In this way Pitt unex. fields to the west of the gardens of Buck-pectedly came into possession of near three ingham House.

In consequence of this thousand pounds a-year. Nor could all the refusal, the fields were soon covered with malice of his enemies find any ground for buildings, and the King and Queen were reproach in the transaction. Nobody overlooked in their most private walks could call him a legacy-hunter. Nobody by the upper windows of a hundred houses. could accuse him of seizing that to which Nor was this the worst. Grenville was as others had a better claim. For he had liberal of words as he was sparing of guin- never in his life seen Sir William; and Sir

Instead of explaining himself in that William had left no relation so near as to clear, concise, and lively manner, which be entitled to form any expectations te alone could win the attention of a young specting the estate. mind new to business, he spoke in the The fortunes of Pitt seemed to flourish; closet just as he spoke in the House of but his health was worse than ever. We Commons. When he had harangued two cannot find that, during the session which hours, he looked at his watch, as he had began in January, 1765, he once appeared been in the habit of looking at the clock in Parliament. He remained some months opposite the Speaker's chair, apologized for in profound retirement at Hayes, his favor the length of his discourse, and then went ite villa, scarcely moving except from his on for an hour more. The members of the arm-chair to his bed, and from his bed to House of Commons can cough an orator his arm-chair, and often employing his wife down, or can walk away to dinner : and as his amanuensis in his most confidential




493 correspondence. Some of his detractors policy might give birth to deep discontents whispered that his invisibility was to be in all the provinces, from the shore of the ascribed quite as much to affectation as Great Lakes to the Mexican sea; that to gout. In truth his character, high' and France and Spain might seize the opporsplendid as it was, wanted simplicity. tunity of revenge ; that the Empire might With genius which did not need the aid be dismembered ; that the debi—that debt of stage-tricks, and with a spirit which with the amount of which he perpetually should have been far above them, he had reproached Pitl~might, in consequence of yet been, through life, in the habit of prac- his own policy, be doubled;, these were tising them. It was, therefore, now sur- possibilities which never occurred to that mised that, having acquired all the consid- small, sharp mind. eration which could be derived from elo The Stamp Act will be remembered as quence and from great services to the state, long as the globe lasts. But, at the time, he had determined not to make himself cheap it attracted much less notice in this counby often appearing in public, but, under try than another act which is now almost the pretext of ill-health, to surround him- utterly forgotten. The King fell ill, and self with mystery, to emerge only at long was thought to be in a dangerous state, intervals and on momentous occasions, and His complaint, we believe, was the same at other times to deliver his oracles only to which, at a later period, repeatedly incapaa few favored votaries, who were suffered to citated him for the performance of his remake pilgrimages to his shrine. If such gal functions. The heir-apparent was were his object, it was for a time fully at- only two years old. It was clearly proper tained. Never was the magic of his name to make provision for the administration of 80 powerful, never was he regarded by his the government, in case of a minority. country with such superstitious veneration, The discussions on this point brought the as during this year of silence and seclusion. quarrel between the court and the ministry While Pitt was thus absent from parlia- to a crisis. The King wished to be inment, Grenville proposed a measure des- trusted with the power of naming a regent tined to produce a great revolution, the by will. The ministers feared, or affected effects of which will long be felt by the to fear, that, if this power were conceded whole human race. We speak of the act to him, he would name the Princess for imposing stamp-duties on the North Mother, nay, possibly the Earl of Bute. American colonies. The plan was emi- They, therefore, insisted on introducing nently characteristic of its author. Every into the bill words confining the King's feature of the parent was found in the choice to the royal family. Having thus child. A timid statesman would have excluded Bute, they urged the King to let shrunk from a step, of which Walpole, at them, in the most marked manner, exclude a time when the colonies were far less the Princess-Dowager also. They assured powerful, had said—He who shall propose him that the House of Commons would it, will be a much bolder man than I ‘But undoubtedly strike her name out, and by the nature of Grenville was insensible to this threat they wrung from him a relucfear. A statesman of large views would tant assent. In a few days, it appeared that have felt, that to lay taxes at Westminster the representations by which they had inon New England and New-York, was a duced the King to put this gross and pubcourse opposed, not indeed to the letter of lic affront on his mother were unfounded, the statute-book, or to any decision con- The friends of the Princess in the House tained in the Term Reports, but to the of Commons moved that her name should principles of good government, and to the be inserted. The ministers could not despirit of the constitution. A statesman of cently attack the parent of their master. large views would also have felt, that ten They hoped that the opposition would times the estimated produce of the Ameri- come to their help, and put on them a force can stamps would have been dearly pur- to which they would gladly have yielded. chased by even a transient quarrel be- But the majority of the opposition, though tween the mother country and the colo- hating the Princess, hated Grenville more, nies. But Grenville knew of no spirit of beheld his embarrassment with delight, and the constitution distinct from the letter would do nothing to extricate him from it. of the law, and of no national interests The Princess's name was accordingly except those which are expressed by placed in the list of persons qualified to pounds, shillings, and pence. That his hold the regency.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

The King's resentment was now at the sively, his dislike of the system which had height. The present evil seemed to him lately been pursued. But he had high and more intolerable than any other. Even almost romantic notions of the duty which, the junta of Whig grandees could not treat as a prince of the blood, he owed to the head him worse than he had been treated by his of his house. He determined to extricate present ministers. In his distress he pour- his nephew from bondage, and to effect a ed out his whole heart to his uncle, the reconciliation between the Whig party and Duke of Cumberland. The duke was not the throne, on terms honorable to both. a man to be loved; but he was eminently In this mind he set off for Hayes, and a man to be trusted. He had an intrepid was admitted to Pitt's sick room. For temper, a strong understanding, and a high Pitt would not leave his chamber, and sense of honor and duty. As a general, would not communicate with any messenhe belonged to a remarkable class of cap- ger of inferior dignity. And now began a tains-captains, we mean, whose fate it has series of errors on the part of the illustrious been to lose almost all the battles which statesman, errors which involved his counthey have fought, and yet to be reputed try in difficulties and distresses more seristout and skilful soldiers. Such captains ous even than those from which his genius were Coligni aud William the Third. We had formerly rescued her. His language might, perhaps, add Marshal Soult to the was haughty, unreasonable, almost uninlist. The bravery of the Duke of Cumber- telligible. The only thing which could land was such as distinguished him even be discerned through a cloud of vague among the princes of his brave house. not very gracious phrases was, that he would The indifference with which he rode about not at that moment take office. The truth; amidst musket-balls and cannon-balls was we believe, was this. Lord Temple, who not the highest proof of his fortitude. was Pitt's evil genius, had just formed a Hopeless maladies, horrible surgical oper- new scheme of politics. Hatred of Bute ations, far from unmanning him, did not and of the Princess had, it should seem, even discompose him. With courage, he taken entire possession of Temple's soul. had the virtues which are akin to courage. He had quarrelled with his brother George, He spoke the truth, was open in enmity because George had been connected with and friendship, and upright in all his deal- Bute and the Princess. Now that George ings. But his nature was hard; and what appeared to be the enemy of Bute and the seemed to him justice was rarely tempered princess, Temple was eager to bring about with mercy. He was, therefore, during a general family reconciliation. The many years one of the most unpopular men three brothers, as Temple, Grenville, and in England. The severity with which he Pitt, were popularly called, might make a had treated the rebels after the battle of ministry, without leaning for aid either on Culloden, had gained for him the name of Bute or on the Whig connection. With the butcher. His attempts to introduce such views, Temple used all his influence into the army of England, then in a most to dissuade Pitt from acceding to the prorelaxed state, the rigorous discipline of positions of the Duke of Cumberland. Pitt Potsdam, had excited still stronger disgust. was not convinced. But Temple had an Nothing was too bad to be believed of him. influence over him such as no other perMany honest people were so absurd as to son had ever possessed. They were very fancy that, if he were left regent during old friends, very near relations. If Pitt's the minority of his nephews, there would talents and fame had been useful to Tembe another smothering in the Tower. ple, Temple's purse had formerly, in times These feelings, however, had passed away of great need, been useful to Pitt. They The Duke had been living, during some had never been parted in politics. Twice years, in retirement. The English, full of they had come into the cabinet together ; animosity against the Scots, now blamed twice they had left it together. Pitt could his royal highness only for having left so not bear to think of taking office without many Camerons and Macphersons to be his chief ally. Yet he felt that he was made gaugers and custom-house officers. doing wrong, that he was throwing away a He was, therefore, at present a favorite with great opportunity of serving his country. his countrymen, and especially with the The obscure and unconciliatory style of inhabitants of London.

the answers which he returned to the overHe had little reason to love the King, tures of the Duke of Cumberland, may be and had shown clearly, though not obtru- ascribed to the embarrassment and vexation


« VorigeDoorgaan »