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LORD CHATHAM. . Mr. Pitt owed his rise to the most considerable posts and power in this kingdom singly to his own abilities; in him they supplied the want of birth and fortune, which latter in others too often supply the want of the former. He was the younger brother of a very new family, and his fortune only an annuity of one hundred pounds a year. The army was his original destination, and a cornetcy of horse his first and only commission in it. Thus, unassisted by favour or fortune, he had no powerful protector to introduce him into business, and (if I may use the expression) to do the honours of his parts; but their own strength was fully sufficient. His constitution refused him the usual pleasures, and his genius forbad him the idle dissipations of youth ; for so early as at the age of sixteen he was the martyr of an hereditary gout. He therefore employed the leisure which that tedious and painful distemper either produced or allowed him in acquiring a great fund of premature and useful knowledge. Thus, hy the unaccountable relation of causes and effects, what seemed the greatest misfortune of his life was, perhaps, the principal cause of his splendour.
His private life was stained by no vices nor sullied by any meanness. All his sentiments were liberal and elevated. His ruling passion was an unbounded ambition, which, when supported by great abilities and crowned with great success, forms what the world calls “ a great man.” He was haughty, imperious, impatient of contradiction, and overbearing; qualities which too often accompany but always clog the great ones. He had manners and address; but one might discern through them too great a consciousness of his own superior talents. He was a most agreeable and lively companion in social life; and had such a versatility of wit that he could adapt it to all sorts of conversation. He had also a most happy turn to poetry, but he seldom indulged and seldom avowed it. He came young into parliament, and upon that great theatre soon equalled the oldest and ablest actors. His eloquence was of every kind, and he excelled in the argumentative as well as the declamatory way; but his invectives were terrible, and uttered with such energy of diction and stern dignity of action and countenance, that he intia midated those who were the most willing and the best able to encounter him : their arms fell out of their hands, and they shrunk under the ascendant which his genius gained over theirs. In that assembly, where the public good is talked of, and private interest singly pursued, he set out with acting the patriot, and performed that part so nobly that he was adopted by the public as their chief, or rather only unsuspected champion. The weight of his popularity and his universally acknowledged abilities obtruded upon King George II. to whom he was personally. obnoxious. He was made secretary of state : in this difficult and delicate situation, which one would have thought must have reduced either the patriot or the minister to a decisive option
he managed with such ability, that while he served the king more effectually in his most unwarrantable electoral views than any former minister, however willing, had dared to do, he still preserved all his credit and popularity with the public, whom he assured and convinced that the protection and defence of Hanover with an army of seventy-five thousand men in British pay was the only possible method of securing our possessions or acquisitions in North America. So much easier is it to deceive than to undeceive mankind.
His own disinterestedness and even contempt of money smoothed his way to power, and prevented or silenced a great share of that envy which commonly attends it. Most men think that they have an equal patural right to riches, and equal abilities to make the proper use of them; but not very many of them have the impudence to think themselves qualified for power. Upon the whole he will make a great and shining figure in the annals of this country, notwithstanding the blot which his acceptance of three thousand pounds per annum pension for three lives, on his voluntary resignation of the seals in the first year of the present king, must make in his character, especially as to the disinterested part of it. However, it must be acknowledged that he had those qualities which none but a great man can have, with a mixture of those failings which are the common lot of wretched and imperfect human nature.
THE MARQUIS OF ROCKINGHAM. A MAN worthy to be held in remembrance, because he did not live for himself. His abilities, industry, and influence were employed, without interruption, to the last moment of his life, to give stability to the liberties of his country; security to its landed property; increase to its commerce; independence to its public counsels; and concord to its empire. These were his ends. For the attainment of these ends, his policy consisted in sincerity, fidelity, directness, and constancy. In opposition, he respected the principles of government: in administration he provided for the liberties of the people. He employed his moments of power in realizing every thing which he had professed in a popular situation; the distinguishing mark of his public conduct. Reserved in profession, sure in performance, he laid the foundation of a solid confidence.
He far exceeded all other statesmen in the art of drawing together, without the seduction of selfinterest, the concurrence and cooperation of various dispositions and abilities of men, whom he assimilated to his character, and associated in his labours. For it was his aim through life to convert party connexion and personal friendship (which others had rendered subservient only to temporary views and the purposes of ambition) into a lasting depository of his principles; that their energy should not depend upon his life, nor fluctuate with the intrigues of a court, or with capricious fashions amongst the people. But that, by securing a succession in support of his maxims, the British constitution might be preserved according to its true genius, on ancient foundations, and institutions of tried utility.
The virtues of his private life, and those which he exhibited in the service of the state, were not in him separate principles. His private virtues, without any change in their character, expanded with the occasion into enlarged public affections. The very same tender, benevolent, feeling, liberal mind, which in the internal relations of life conciliated the genuine love of those who see men as they are, rendered him an inflexible patriot. He was devoted to the cause of freedom, not because he was haughty and intractable, but because he was beneficent and humane.
A sober, unaffected, unassuming piety, the basis of all true morality, gave truth and permanence to his virtues.
He died at a fortunate time, before he could feel, by a decisive proof, that virtue like his must be nourished from its own substance only, and cannot be assured of any external support.
Let his successors, who daily behold this monument, consider that it was not built to entertain the eye, but to instruct the mind. Let them reflect that their conduct will make it their glory or their reproach. Let them feel that similarity of manners, not proximity of blood, gives them an interest in this statue. Remember; resemble ; persevere.