« PreviousContinue »
plays—the Amphitryon, we think—who wishes | ex officio informations. When we blamed to decide a cause after hearing only one party, them for talking nonsense, t:rey cried out that and when he has been at last compelled to they were insulted for being reformers-just listen to the statement of the defendant, flies as poor Ancient Pistol swore that the scars into a passion, and exclaims, “There now, which he had received from the cudgel of sir! see what you have done. The case was Fluellen were got in the Gallia wars. We, quite clear a minute ago; and you musi come however, did not think it desirable to mix up and puzzle it!” He is the zealot of a sect. political questions, about which the public We are searchers after truth. He wishes to mind is violently agitated, with a great prohave the question settled. We wish to have it blem in moral philosophy. sisted first. The querulous manner in which Our notions about government are not, howwe have been blamed for attacking Mr. Mill's ever, altogether unsettled. We have an opi. system, and propour.ding no system of our nion about parliamentary reform, though we own, reminds us of the horror with which that have not arrived at that opinion by the royal shallow dogmatist, Epicurus, the worst parts road which Mr. Mill has opened for the exof whose nonsense the Utilitarians have at plorers of political science. As we are taking tempted to revive, shrank from the kcen and leave, probably for the last time, of this consearching scepticism of the second Academy. troversy, we will state very concisely what our
It is not our fault that an experimental doctrines are. On some future occasion we science of vast extent does not admit of being may, perhaps, explain and defend them at settled by a short demonstration ;-that the length. subtilty of nature, in the moral as in the phy Our fervent wish, and, we will add, our sansical world, triumphs over the subtilty of syllo- guine hope, is, that we may see such a reform gism. The quack who declares on affidavit in the House of Commons as may render its that, by using his pills, and attending to his votes the express image of the opinion of tlie printed directions, hundreds who had been middle orders of Britain. A pecuniary qualidismissed incurable from the hospitals have fication we think absolutely necessary; and in renewed their youth like the eagles, may, per- settling its amount, our cbject would be to haps, think that Sir Henry Halford, when he draw the line in such a manner that every feels the pulses of patients, inquires about their decent farmer and shopkeeper might possess symptoms, and prescribes a different remedy i the elective franchise. We should wish to see to each, is unsettling the science of medicine an end put to all the advantages which parti for the sake of a fee.
cular forms of property possess over other If, in the course of this controversy, we have forins, and particular portions of property over refrained from expressing any opinion respect other equal portions. And this would content ing the political institutions of England, it is us. Such a reform would, according to Mr. noi because we have not an opinion, or be- Mill, establish an aristocracy of wealth, and cause we shrink from avowing it. The Utili- leave the community without protection, and tarians, indeed, conscious that their boasted exposed to all the evils of unbridled power. theory of government would not bear investi- Most willingly would we stake the whole congation, were desirous to turn the dispute about troversy between us on the success of the ex. Mr. Mill's Essay into a dispute about the whig | periment which we propose. party, rotten boroughs, unpaid magistrates, and
THE EARL OF CHATHAM.*
[EDINBURGH REVIEW FOR OCTOBER, 1844.]
Monx than ten years ago we commenced a sing a government to which a revolution had sketch of the political life of the great Lord given being. Both came by degrees to attach Chatham.t We then stopped at the death of more importance to the means than to the George the Second, with the intention of speed-end. Both were thrown into unnatural situa. ily resuming our task. Circumstances which tions; and both, like animals transported to it would be tedious to explain, long prevented an uncongenial climate, languished and de. us from carrying this intention into effect. Nor generated. The Tory, removed from the suncan we regret the delay. For the materials shine of the court, was as a camel in the which were within our reach in 1834 were snows of Lapland. The Whig, basking in the scanty and unsatisfactory, when compared with rays of royal favour, was as a reindeer in the those which we at present possess. Even now, sands of Arabia. thoug we have had access to some valuable Dante tells us that he saw, in Malebolge, a sources of information which have not yet been strange encounter between a human form and opened to the public, we cannot but feel that a serpent. The enemies, after cruel wounds the history of the first ten years of the reign of inflicted, stood for a time glaring on each other. George the Third is but imperfectly known to A great cloud surrounded them, and then a us. Nevertheless, we are inclined to think wonderful metamorphosis began. Each creathat we are in a condition to lay before our ture was transfigured into the likeness of its readers a narrative neither uninstructive nor antagonist. The serpent's tail divided itself uninteresting. We therefore return with plea- into two legs; the man's legs intertwined themsure to our long interrupted labour.
selves into a tail. The body of the serpen! We left Pitt in the zenith of prosperity and put forth arms; the arms of the man shrank glory, the idol of England, the terror of France, into his body. At length the serpent stood up the admiration of the whole civilized world. a man, and spake; the man sank down a The wind, from whatever quarter it blew, serpent, and glided hissing away. Something carried to England tidings of battles won, for- like this was the transformation which, during tresses taken, provinces added to the empire. the reign of George the First, befell the two At home, factions had sunk into a lethargy, English parties. Each gradually took the shape such as had never been known since the great and colour of its foe; till at length the Tory religious schism of the sixteenth century had rose up erect the zealot of freedom, and the roused the public mind from repose.
Whig crawled and licked the dust at the feet In order that the events which we have to of power. relate may be clearly understood, it may be It is true that, when these degenerate politidesirable that we should advert to the causes cians discussed questions merely speculative, which had for a time suspended the animation and, above all, when they discussed questions of both the great English parties.
relating to the conduct of their own grandIf, rejecting all that is merely accidental, we fathers, they still seemed to differ as their look at the essential characteristics of the grandfathers had differed. The Whig, who Whig and the Tory, we may consider each of during three Parliaments had never given one them as the representative of a great principle, vote against the court, and who was ready to essential to the welfare of nations. One is, sell his soul for the Comptroller's staff, or for in an especial manner, the guardian of liber- the Great Wardrobe, still professed to draw ty, and the other, of order. One is the moving his political doctrines from Locke and Milton, power, and the other the steadying power of still worshipped the memory of Pym and the state. One is the sail, without which Hampden, and would still, on the thirtieth of society would make no progress; the other January, take his glass, first to the man in the the ballast, without which there would be mask, and then to the man who would do it small safety in a tempest. But, during the without a mask. The Tory, on the other hand, forty-six years which followed the accession while he reviled the mild and temperate Walof the house of Hanover, these distinctive pole as a deadly enemy of liberty, could sec peculiarities seemed to be effaced. The Whig nothing to reprobate in the iron tyranny of conceived that he could not better serve the Stafford and Laud. But, whatever judgment cause of civil and religious freedom than by the Whig or the Tory of that age might prostrenuously supporting the Protestant dynasty. nounce on transactions long past, there can The Tory conceived that he could not better be no doubt that, as respected the practical prove his hatred of revolutions than by attack questions then pending, the Tory was a re
former, and indeed an intemperate and inCorrespondence of William Pitt, Earl of Chatham. discreet reformer, while the Whig was con4 vols. 8vo. London, 1840.
servative even io bigotry. We have ourselves Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford, to Sir Horace seen similar effects produced in a neighbour Mann. 4 vols. 8vo. London, 1843-4. See page 226.
ing country by similar causes. Whc wouls!
have believed, fifteen years ago, that M. Guizot generally succeeds to morbid excitement. The and M. Villemain would have to defend pro- people had been maddened by sophistry, by perty and social order against the Jacobinical calumny, by rhetoric, by stimulants applied to attacks of such enemies as M. Genoude and the national pride. In the fulness of bread, M. de La Roche Jaquelin ?
they had raved as if famine had been in the Thus the successors of the old Cavaliers land. While enjoying such a measure of civil had turned demagogues; the successors of and religious freedom as, till then, no great the old Roundheads had turned courtiers. Yet society had ever known, they had cried out for was it long before their mutual animosity a Timoleon or a Brutus to stab their oppresbegan to abate; for it is the nature of parties sors to the heart. They were in this frame of co retain their original enmities, far more firm- mind when the change of administration took
y than their original principles. During many place; and they soon found that there was to jears, a generation of Whigs whom Sidney be no change whatever in the systein of gevould have spurned as slaves, continued to vernment. The natural consequences follow'vage deadly war with a generation of Tories ed. To frantic zeal succeeded sullen indifferwhom Jefferies 'would have hanged for re-ence. The cant of patriotism had not merely publicans.
ceased to charm the public ear, but had become Through the whole reign of George the First, as nauseous as the cant of Puritanism after and through nearly half of the reign of George the downfall of the Rump. The hot fit was the Second, a Tory was regarded as an enemy over: the cold fit had begun: and it was long of the reigning house, and was excluded from before seditious arts, or even real grievances, all the favours of the crown. Though most could bring back the fiery paroxysm which of the country gentlemen were Tories, none had run its course, and reached its termination. but Whigs were created peers and baronets. Two attempts were made to disturb this Though most of the clergy were Tories, none tranquillity. The banished heir of the house but Whigs were created deans and bishops. In of Stuart headed a rebellion; the discontented every county opulent and well-descended Tory heir of the house of Brunswick headed an opsquires complained that their names were left position. Both the rebellion and the opposition out of the commission of the peace; while came to nothing. The battle of Culloden anmen of small estate and mean birth, who were nihilated the Jacobite party; the death of for toleration and excise, septennial parlia- Prince Frederic dissolved the faction which, ments and standing armies, presided at quarter under his guidance, had feebly striven to ansessions, and became deputy lieutenants. noy his father's government. His chief fol
By degrees some approaches were made lowers hastened to make their peace with the owards a reconciliation. While Walpole was ministry; and the political torpor became at the head of affairs, emnity to his power complete. induced a large and powerful body of Whigs, Five years after the death of Prince Freheaded by the heir-apparent of the throne, to deric, the public mind was for a time violently make an alliance with the Tories, and a truce excited. But this excitement had nothing to even with the Jacobites. After Sir Robert's do with the old disputes between Whigs and fall, the ban which lay on the Tory party was Tories. England was at war with France. taken off. The chief places in the administra- The war had been feebly conducted. Minorca tion continued to be filled by Whigs, and, had been torn from us. Our fleet had retired indeed, could scarcely have been filled other before the white flag of the House of Bourbon. wise; for the Tory nobility and gentry, though A bitter sense of humiliation, new to the strong in numbers and in property, had among proudest and bravest of nations, superseded them scarcely a single man distinguished by every other feeling. The cry of all the countalents, either for business or for debate. Å ties and great towns of the realm was for a few of them, however, were admitted to sub- government which would retrieve the honour ordinate offices; and this indulgence produced of the English arms. The two most powerful a softening effect on the temper of the whole men in the country were the Duke of New. body. The first levee of George the Second castle and Pitt. Alternate victories and deafter Walpole's resignation was a remarka- feats had made them sensible that neither of ble spectacle. Mingled with the constant sup- them could stand alone. The interests of the porters of the house of Brunswick, with the state, and the interests of their own ambition, Russells, the Cavendishes, and the Pelhams, impelled them to coalesce. By their coalition appeared a crowd of faces utterly unknown to was formed the ministry which was in power the pages and gentlemen-ushers, lords of rural when George the Third ascended the throne. manors, whose ale and fox-hounds were re The more carefully the structure of this nowneii in the neighbourhood of the Mendip celebrated ministry is examined, the more hills, or round the Wrekin, but who had never shall we see reason to marvel at the skill or crossed the threshold of the palace since the the luck which had combined in one harmodays when Oxford, with the white staff in his nious whole such various and, as it seemed, hand, stood behind Queen Anne.
incompatible elements of force. The influence During the eighteen years which followed which is derived from stainless integrity, the this day, both factions were gradually sinking influence which is derived from the vilest arts deeper and deeper into repose. The apathy of of corruption, the strength of aristocratical she public mind is partly to be ascribed to the connection, the strength of democratical enthuanjust violence with which the administration siasm, all these things were for the first time of Walpole had been assailed. In the body found together. Newcastle brought to the politic, as in the natural body, morbid languor Icoalition a vast mass of power, which had
descended to him from Walpole and Pelham. I did him too much honour. Such matters were The public offices, the church, the courts of beyond his capacity. It was true that his poor law, the army, the navy, the diplomatic ser- advice about expeditions and treaties was vice, swarmed with his creatures. The bo- listened to with indulgence by a gracious roughs, which long afterwards made up the sovereign. If the question were, who should memorable schedules A and B, were repre- command in North America, or who should be sented by his nominees. The great Whig ambassador at Berlin, his colleagues would families, which during several generations had probably condescend to take his opinion. But been trained in the discipline of party warfare, he had not the smallest influence with the and were accustomed to stand together in a secretary of the treasury, and could not venfirm phalanx, acknowledged him as their cap- ture to ask even for a tide-waiter's place. tain. Pitt, on the other hand, had what New It may be doubted whether he did not owe castle wanted, an eloquence which stirred the as much of his popularity to his ostentatious passions and charmed the imagination, a high purity, as to his eloquence, or to his talents for reputation for purity, and the confidence and the administration of war. It was everywhere ardent love of millions.
said with delight and admiration that the great The partition which the two ministers made Commoner, without any advantages of birth of the powers of government was singularly or fortune, had, in spite of the dislike of the happy. Each occupied a province for which he court and of the aristocracy, made
himself the was well qualified; and neither had any inclina- first man in England, and made England the tion to intrude himself into the province of the first country in the world; that his name was other. Newcastle took the treasury, the civil mentioned with awe in every palace from and ecclesiastical patronage, and the disposal Lisbon to Moscow; that his trophies were in of that part of the secret service money which all the four quarters of the globe; yet that he was then employed in bribing members of was still plain William Pitt, without title or Parliament. Pitt was secretary of state, with riband, without pension or sinecure place. the direction of the war and of foreign affairs. Whenever he should retire, after saving the Thus the filth of all the noisome and pestilen- state, he must sell his coach-horses and his tial sewers of government was poured into one silver candlesticks. Widely as the taint of channel. Through the other passed only what corruption had spread, his hands were clean. was bright and stainless. Mean and selfish They had never received, they had never politicians, pining for commissionerships, gold given, the price of infamy. Thus the coalition sticks, and ribands, flocked to the great house gathered to itself support from all the high at the corner of Lincoln's Inn Fields. There, and all the low parts of human nature, and at every levee, appeared eighteen or twenty was strong with the whole united strength of pair of lawn sleeves; for there was not, it was virtue and of mammon. said, a single prelate who had not owed either Pitt and Newcastle were co-ordinate chief his first elevation or some subsequent transla- ministers. The subordinate places had been tion to Newcastle. There appeared those filled on the principle of including in the gomembers of the House of Commons in whose vernment every party and shade of party, the silent votes the main strength of the govern- avowed Jacobites alone excepted; nay, every ment lay. One wanted a place in the excise public man who, from his abilities or from his for his butler. Another came about a prebend situation, seemed likely to be either useful in for his son. A third whispered that he had office or formidable in opposition always stood by his Grace and the Protestant The Whigs, according to what was then succession; that his last election had been considered as their prescriptive right, held by very expensive ; that pot-wallopers had now far the largest share of power. The main no conscience; that he had been forced to take support of the administration was what may up money on mortgage; and that he hardly be called the great Whig connection—a conknew where to turn for five hundred pounds. nection which, during near half a century, had The duke .pressed all their hands, passed his generally had the chief sway in the country, arms round all their shoulders, patted all their and which derived an immense authority from backs, and sent away some with wages, and rank, wealth, borough interest, and firm union. some with promises. From this traffic Pitt To this connection, of which Newcastle was stood haughtily aloof. Not only was he him- the head, belonged the houses of Cavendish, self incorruptible, but he shrank from the Lennox, Fitzroy, Bentinck, Manners, Conway, loathsome drudgery of corrupting others. He Wentworth, and many others of high note. had not, however, been twenty years in Par There were two other powerful Whig conliament, and ten in office, without discovering nections, either of which might have been a how the government was carried on. He was nucleus for a formidable opposition. But perfectly aware that bribery was practised on room had been found in the government for a large scale by his colleagues. Hating the both. They were known as the Grenvilles practice, yet despairing of putting it down, and the Bedfords. and doubting whether, in those times, any The head of the Grenvilles was Richara ministry could stand without it, he determined Earl Temple. His talents for administration to be blind to it. He would see nothing, know and debate were of no high order. But his nothing, believe nothing. People who came great possessions, his turbulent and unscruto talk to him about shares in lucrative con- pulous character, his restless activity, and his tracts, or about the means of securing a skill in the most ignoble tactics of faction, Cornish corporation, were soon put out of made him one of the most formidable enensies countenance by his arrogant hamility. They ) that a ministry could have. He was keeper