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rathcrtrust to the apothecary of a modern viltage than to the physician of a large town in Anne's reign. A modern boarding-school miss could tell the most learned professor of Anne's reign some things in geography, astronomy, and chemistry, which would surprise him. The science of government is an experimental science; and therefore it is, like all other experimental sciences, a progressive science. Lord Mahon would have been a very good Whig in the days of Harley. But Harley, whom Lord Mahon censures so severely, was very Whigish when compared even with Clarendon; and Clarendon was quite a democrat, when compared with Lord Burleigh. If Lord Mahon lives, as we hope he will, fifty years longer, we have no doubt that, as he now boasts of the resemblance which the Tories of our time bear to the Whigs of the Revolution; he will then boast of the resemblance borne by the Tories of 1882, to those immortal patriots, the Whigs of the Reform Bill. Society, we believe, is constantly advancing in knowledge. The tail is now where the head was some generations ago. But the head and the tail still keep their distance. A nurse of this century is as wise as a justice of the quorum and cust-alorum in Shallow's time. The wooden spoon of this year would puzzle a senior wrangler of the reign of George the Second. A boy from the National School reads and spells better than half the knights of the shire in the October Club. But there is still as wide a difference as ever between justices and nurses, senior wranglers and wooden spoons, members of Parliament and children at charity schools. In the same way, though a Tory may now be very like what a Whig was one hundred and twenty years, the Whig is as much in advance of the Tory as ever. The stag, in the Treatise on the Bathos, who “feared his hind feet would overtake the fore,” was not more mistaken than Lord Mahon, if he thinks that he has really come up with the Whigs. The absolute position of the parties has been altered; the relative position remains unchanged. Through the whole of that great movement, which began before these party names existed, and which will continue after they have become obsolete; through the whole of that great movement, of which the charter of John, the institution of the House of Commons, the extinction of villanage, the separation from the See of Rome, the expulsion of the Stuarts, the reform of the representative system, are successive stages, there have been, under some name or other, two sets of men; those who were before their age, and those who were behind it; those who were the wisest among their contemporaries, and those who gloried in being no wiser than their greatgrandfathers. It is delightful to think, that in due time the last of those who struggle in the rear of the great march, will occupy the place now occupied by the advanced guard. The Tory Parliament of 1710 would have passed for a most liberal Parliament in the days of Elizabeth; and there are few members of the '-onservative Club, who would not have been
fully qualified to sit with Halifax and Somers at the Kit-Cat. | Though, therefore, we admit that a modern | Tory bears some resemblance to a Whig of Queen Anne's reign, we can by no means admit that a Tory of Anne's reign resembled a modern Whig. Have the modern Whigs passed saws for the purpose of closing the entrance of the House of Commons against the new interests created by trade? Do the mo dern Whigs hold the doctrine of divine right" Have the modern Whigs laboured to exclude all dissenters from office and power? Thi, modern Whigs are, indeed, like the Tories of 1712, desirous of peace and of close union with France. But is there no difference be. tween the France of 1712 and the France of 1832 Is France now the stronghold of the “Popish tyranny” and the “arbitrary power" against which our ancestors fought and prayed 1 Lord Mahon will find, we think, that his parallel is, in all essential circumstances, as incorrect as that which Fluellen drew between Macedon and Monmouth; or as that which an ingenious Tory lately discovered between Archbishop Williams and Archbishop Ver nonWe agree with Lord Mahon in thinking highly of the Whigs of Queen Anne's reign. But that part of their conduct which he selects for especial praise, is precisely the part which we think most objectionable. We revere them as the great champions of political and intellectual liberty. It is true, that, when raised to power, they were not exempt from the faults which power naturally engenders. It is true, that they were men born in the seventeenth century, and that they were therefore ignorant of many truths which are familiar to the men of the nineteenth century. But they were, what the reformers of the Church were besore them, and what the reformers of the House of Commons have been since—the leaders of their species in a right direction. It is true, that they did not allow to political discussion that latitude which to us appears reasonable and safe; but to them we owe the removal of the Censorship. It is true that they did not carry the principle of religious liberty to its full extent; but to them we owe the Toleration Act. Though, however, we think that the Whigs of Anne's reign were, as a body, far superior in wisdom and public virtue to their contemporaries the Tories, we by no means hold ourselves bound to defend all the measures of our favourite party. A life of action, if it is to be useful, must be a life of compromise. But speculation admits of no compromise. A public man is often under the necessity of consenting to measures which he dislikes, lest he should endanger the success of measures which he thinks of vital importance. But the historian lies under no such necessity. On the contrary, it is one of his most sacred duties to point out clearly the errors of those whose general conduct he admires. It seems to us, then, that on the great question which divided England during the last four years of Anne's reign, the Tories were in the right and the Whigs in the wrong. That ques
tion was, whether England ought to conclude peace without exacting from Philip a resignation of the Spanish crown. o No parliamentary struggle from the time of the Exclusion Bill to the time of the Reform Bill, has been so violent as that which took lace between the authors of the Treaty of itrecht and the War Party. The Commons were for peace; the Lords were so: vigorous hostilities. The queen was compelled to choose which of her two highest prerogatives she would exercise: whether she would create Peers or dissolve the Parliament. The ties of party superseded the ties of neighbourhood and of blood; the members of the hostile factions would scarcely speak to each other or bow to each other; the women appeared at the theatres bearing the badges of their political sect. The schism extended to the most remote counties of England. Talents such as had never before been displayed in political controvery were enlisted in the service of the hostile parties. On the one side was Steele, gay, lively, drunk with animal spirits and with factious animosity; and Addison, with his polished satire, his inexhaustible fertility of fancy, and his graceful simplicity of style. In the front of the opposite ranks appeared a darker and fiercer spirit—the apostate politician, the ribald so the perjured lover—a heart burning with atred against the whole human race—a mind richly stored with images from the dunghill and the lazar-house. The ministers triumphed, and the peace was concluded. Then came the reaction. A new sovereign ascended the throne. The Whigs enjoyed the confidence of the king and of the Parliament. The unjust severity with which the Tories had treated Marlborough and Walpole was more than retaliated. Harley and Prior were thrown into prison; Bolingbroke and Ormond were compelled to take refuge in a foreign land. The wounds inflicted in this desperate conflict continued to rankle for many years. It was long before the mem. bers of either party could discuss the question of the peace of Utrecht with calmness and iro, partiality. That the Whig ministe's had sold us to the Dutch, and the Torv ministos had sold us to the French; that he war had been carried on only to fill tho, pockets of Marlborough; that the peace mad been concluded only to facilitate the Kinging over the Pretender; these imputations and many others, utterly un: founded or grossly exaggerated, were hurled backward 2*d forward by the political disputants or the last century. In our time the question may be discussed without irritation. W: will state, as concisely as possible, the reasons which have led us to the conclusion at which we have arrived. The dangers which were to be apprehended from the peace were two; first, the danger that Philip might be induced, by feelings of private affection, to act in strict concert with the elder branch of his house, to favour the French trade at the expense of England, and to side with the French government in future wars; secondly, the danger that the posterity of the Duke of Burgundy might become extinct, that Philip Wor... II-27
might become heir by blood to the French Crown, and that thus two great monarchies might be united under one sovereign. The first danger appears to us altogether chimerical. Family affection has seldom preduced much effect on the policy of princes. The state of Europe at the time of the peace of Utrecht proved that in politics the ties of interest are much stronger than those of consanguinity. The Elector of Bavaria had been driven from his dominions by his father-inlaw; Victor Amadeus was in arms against his sons-in-law; Anne was seated on a throne from which she had assisted to push a most indulgent father. It is true that Philip had been accustomed from childhood to regard his grandfather with profound veneration. It was probable, therefore, that the influence of Louis at Madrid would be very great; but Louis was more than seventy years old; he could not live long; his heir was an insant in the cradle. There was surely no reason to think that the policy of the King of Spain would be swayed by his regard for a nephew whom he had never seen. | In fact, soon after the peace the two branches of the house of Bourbon began to quarrel. A close alliance was formed between Philip and Charles, lately competitors for the Castilian crown. A Spanish princess, betrothed to the King of France, was sent back in the most insulting manner to her native country, and a decree was put forth by the court of Madrid commanding every Frenchman to leave Spain: It is true that, fifty years after the peace of Utrecht, an alliance of peculiar strictness was formed between the French and Spanish governme, “s. But it is certain that both governments were actuated on that occasion, not by domestic affection, but by common interests and common enmities. Their compact, though called the Family Compact, was as purely a political compact as the league of Cambrai or the league of Pilnitz. The second danger was, that Philip might
have succeeded to the crown of his native country. This did not happen. But it might have happened; and at one time it seemed very likely to happen. A sickly child alone stood between the King of Spain and the heritage of Louis the Fourteenth. Philip, it is true, solemnly renounced his claims to the French crown. But the manner in which he had obtained possession of the Spanish crown had lately proved the inefficacy of such renunciations. The French lawyers declared the renunciation null, as being inconsistent with the fundamental law of the monarchy. The French people would probably have sided with him whom they would have considered as the rightful heir. Saint Simon, though much less the slave of prejudice than most of his coun trymen, and though strongly attached to the regent, declared, in the presence of that prince, that he never would support the claims of the house of Orleans against those of the King of Spain. “If such,” he said, “be my feel; ings, what must be the feelings of others?"
Bolingbroke, it is certain, was fully convinced
that the renunciation was worth no more than
the paper on which it was written, and de-we think that an estimate approximating to
manded it only for the purpose of blinding the English Parliament and people. Yet, though it was at one time probable that the posterity of the Duke of Burgundy would become extinct, and though it is almost certain that if the posterity of the Duke of Burgundy had become extinct, Philip would have successfully preferred his claim to the crown of France, we still defend the principle of the Treaty of Utrecht. In the first place, Charles had, soon after the battle of Willa Viciosa, inherited, by the death of his elder brother, all the dominions of the house of Austria. It might be argued, that if to these dominions he had added the whole monarchy of Spain, the balance of power would be seriously endangered. The union of the Austrian dominions and Spain would not, it is true, have been so alarming an event as the union of France and Spain. But Charles was actually emperor. Philip was not, and never might be, King of France. The certainty of the less evil might well be set against the chance of the greater evil. But, in fact, we do not believe that Spain would long have remained under the government either of the emperor or of the King of France. The character of the Spanish people was a better security to the nations of Europe than any will, any instrument of renunciation, or any treaty. The same energy which the people of Castile had put forth when Madrid was occupied by the allied armies, they would have again put forth as soon as it appeared that their country was about to become a province of France. Though they were no longer masters abroad, they were by no means dis#. to see foreigners set over them at home. f Philip had become King of France, and had attempted to govern Spain by mandates from Versailles, a second, Grand Alliano would easily have effected what the first had famed to accomplish. The Spanish nation would have rallied against him as zealously as it had before rallied round him. And of this he seems to have been fully aware. For many years the favourite hope of his heart was that he might ascend the throne of his grandfather; but he seems never to have thought it possible that he could reign at once in the country of his adoption and in the country of his birth. These were the dangers of the peace; and they seem to us to be of no very formidable kind. Against these dangers are to be set off the evils of war and the risk of failure. The evils of the war—the waste of life, the suspension of trade, the expenditure of wealth, the accumulation of debt—require no illustration. The chances of failure it is difficult at this distance of time to calculate with accuracy. But
the truth, may, without much difficulty, be formed. The allies had been victorious in Germany, Italy, and Flanders. It was by no means improbable that they might fight their way into the very heart of France. But at no time since the commencement of the war had their prospects been so dark in that country which was the very object of the struggle. In Spain they held only a few square leagues. The temper of the great majority of the nation was decidedly hostile to them. If they had persisted, if they had obtained success equal to their highest expectations, if they had gained a series of victories as splendid as those of Blenheim and Ramilies, if Paris had fallen, is Louis had been a prisoner, we still doubt whether they would have accomplished their object. They would still have had to carry on interminable hostilities against the whole population of a country which affords peculiar facilities to irregular warfare; and in which invading armies suffer more from famine than from the sword. We are, therefore, for the peace of Utrecht. It is true, that we by no means admire the statesmen who concluded that peace. Hariey, we believe, was a solemn trifier. St. John a brilliant knave. The great body of their followers consisted of the country clergy and the country gentry; two classes of men who were then immeasurably inferior in respectability and intelligence to decent shopkeepers or farmers of our time. Parson Barnabas, Par son Trulliber, Sir Wilful Witwould, Sir Francis Wronghead, Squire Western, Squire Sul len—such were the people who composed the main strength of the Tory party for sixty years after the Revolution. It is true, that the means by which the Tories came into power in 1710 were most disreputable. It is true, that the manner in which they used their power was often unjust and cruel. It is true, that in order to bring about their favourite project of peace, they resorted to slander and deception, without the slightest scruple. It is true, that they Passed tof on the British nation a renunciation which they knew to be invalid. It is true, that they gave up toe Catalans to the vengeance of Philip, in a manuor inconsistent with humanity and oional hour. But on the great question of Peace or War, we cannot but think that, though their motives "may have been selfish and malevolent, their àecision was beneficial to the state. But we have already exceeded our romits. It remains only for us to bid Lord Mahon hexotii farewell, and to assure him, that whatever o. like we may feel for his political opinions, we shall always meet him with pleasure on the neutral ground of literature.
WAITOLE's LETTERS TO SIR HORACE MANN.”
[EDINBURGH Review, 1833.]
We cannot transcribe this title-page without strong feelings of regret. The editing of these volumes was the last of the useful and modest services rendered to literature by a nobleman of amiable manners, of untarnished public and private character, and of cultivated mind. On this, as on other occasions, Lord Dover performed his part diligently, judiciously, and without the slightest ostentation. He had two merits, both of which are rarely found together in a commentator. He was content to be merely a commentator—to keep in the background, and to leave the foreground to the author whom he had undertaken to illustrate. Yet, though willing to be an attendant, he was by no means a slave; nor did he consider it as part of his editorial duty to see no faults in the writer to whom he faithfully and assiduously rendered the humblest literary offices.
The faults of Horace Walpole's head and hcart are indeed sufficiently glaring. His writings, it is true, rank as high among the delicacies of intellectual epicures as the Strasburgh pies among the dishes described in the .dlnianack des Gourmands. But, as the pâté-defoie-gras owes its excellence to the diseases of the wretched animal which furnishes it, and would be good for nothing if it were not made of livers preternaturally swollen, so none but an unhealthy and disorganized mind could have produced such literary luxuries as the works of Walpole.
He was, unless we have formed a very erroneous judgment of his character, the most eccentric, the most artificial, the most fastidious, the most capricious of men. His mind was a bundle of inconsistent whims and affectations. His features were covered by mask within mask. When the outer disguise of obvious affectation was removed, you were still as far as ever from seeing the real man. He played innumerable parts, and overacted them all. When he talked misanthropy, he out-Timoned Timon. When he talked philanthropy, he left Howard at an immeasurable distance. He scoffed at courts, and kept a chronicle of their most trifling scandal; at society, and was blown about by its slightest veerings of opinion; at literary fame, and left fair copies of his private letters, with copious notes, to be published after his decease; at rank, and never for a moment forgot that he was an honourable; at the practice of entail, and tasked the ingenuity of conveyancers to tie up his villa in the strictest settlement.
* Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford, to Sir Horare Afarm. British Enroy at the Court of Tuscany. Now first published from the Öriginals in the possession of the Earl of Walponave. Edited by Lord Doven. 3 vols.
8vo. London. 1833.
The conformation of his mind was such, that whatever was little, seemed to him great, and whatever was great, seemed to him little, Serious business was a trifle to him, and trifles were his serious business. To chat with bluestockings; to write little copies of complimentary verses on little occasions; to superintend a private press; to preserve from natural decay the perishable topics of Ranelagh and White's; to record divorces and bets, Miss Chudleigh's absurdities and George Selwyn's good sayings; to decorate a grotesque house with piecrust battlements; to procure rare engravings and antique chimney-boards; to match odd gauntlets; to lay out a maze of walks within five acres of ground—these were the grave employments of his long life. From these he turned to politics as to an amusement. After the labours of the print-shop and the auctionroom, he unbent his mind in the House of Commons. And, having indulged in the recreation of making laws and voting millions he returned to more important pursuits—to researches after Queen Mary's comb, Wolsey's red hat, the pipe which Van Tromp smoked during his last seafight, and the spur which King William struck into the flank of Sorrel.
In everything in which he busied himself— in the fine arts, in literature, in public affairs —he was drawn by some strange attraction from the great to the little, and from the useful to the odd. The politics in which he took the keenest interest were politics scarcely deserving of the name. The growlings of George the Second, the flirtations of Princess Emily with the Duke of Grafton, the amours of Prince Frederic with Lady Middlesex, the squabbles between Gold Stick and the Master of the Buckhounds, the disagreements between the tutors of Prince George—these matters engaged almost all the attention which Walpole could spare from matters more important still:—from bidding for Zinckes and Petitots, from cheap: ening fragments of tapestry, and handles of old lances, from joining bits of painted glass, and from setting up memorials of departed cats and dogs. While he was fetching and carrying the gossip of Kensington Palace and Carlton House, he fancied that he was engaged in politics, and when he recorded that gossip, he fancied that he was writing history.
He was, as he has himself told us, fond of faction as an amusement. He loved mischief" but he loved quiet; and he was constantly on the watch for opportunities of gratifying both his tastes at once. He sometimes contrived. without showing himself to disturb the course of ministerial negotiations, and to spread “onfusion through the political circles. He lees not himself pretend that, on these occasinus, he was actuated by public spirit; nor does he appear to have had any private advantage in view. He thought it a good practical joke to set public men together by the ears; and he enjoyed their perplexities, their accusations, and their recriminations, as a malicious boy enjoys the embarrassment of a misdirected traveller. About politics, in the high sense of the word, he knew nothing and cared nothing. He called himself a Whig. His father's son could scarcely assume any other name. It pleased him also to affect a foolish aversion to kings as kings, and a foolish love and admiration of rebels as rebels; and, perhaps, while kings were not in danger, and while rebels were not in being, he really believed that he held the doctrines which he professed. To go no farther than the letters now before us, he is perpetually boasting to his friend Mann of his aversion to royalty and to royal persons. He calls the crime of Damien “that least bad of murders, the murder of a king.” He hung up in his villa a fac-simile of the death-warrant of Charles, with the inscription, “Major Charta.” Yet the most superficial knowledge of history might have taught him that the Restoration, and the crimes and follies of the twenty-eight years which followed the Restoration, were the effects of this “Greater Charter.” Nor was there much in the means by which the instrument was obtained which could gratify a judicious lover of liberty. A man must hate kings very bitterly, before he can think it desirable that the representatives of the people should be turned out of doors by dragoons, in order to get at a king's head. Walpole's Whigism, however, was of a very harmless kind. He kept it, as he kept the old spears and helmets at Strawberry Hill, merely for show. He would just as soon have thought of taking down the arms of the ancient Templars and Hospitallers from the walls of his hall, and setting off on a crusade to the foly Land, as of acting in the spirit of those daring warriors and statesmen, great even in their errors, whose names and seals were affixed to the warrant which he prized so highly. He liked revolution and regicide only when they were a hundred years old. His republicanism, like the courage of a bully or the love of a fribble, was strong and ardent when there was no occasion for it, and subsided when he had th opportunity of bringing it to the proof. As soon as the revolutionary spirit really began to stir in Europe, as soon as the hatred of kings became something more than a sonorous phrase, he was frightened into a fanatical royalist, and became one of the most extravagant alarmists of those wretched times. In truth, his talk about liberty, whether he knew it or not, was from the beginning a mere cant, the remains of a phraseology which had meant something in the mouths of those from whom he had learned it, but which, in his mouth, meant about as much as the oath by which the Knights of the Bath bind themselves to redress the wrongs of all injured ladies. He had been fed in his boyhood with Whig speculations on government. He must often . seen, at
Houghton or in Downing street, men who had been Whigs when it was as dangerous to be a Whig as to be a highwayman; men who had voted for the exclusion bill, who had been concealed in garrets and cellars after the battle of Sedgmoor, and who had set their names to the declaration that they would live and die with the Prince of Orange. He had acquired the language of these men, and he repeated it by rote, though it was at variance with all his tastes and feelings; just as some old Jacobite families persisted in praying for the Pretender, and passing their glasses over the water-decanter when they drank the king's health, long after they had become zealous supporters of the government of George the Third. He was a Whig by the accident of hereditary connection; but he was essentially a courtier, and not the less a courtier because he pretended to sneer at the object which excited his admiration and envy. His real tastes perpetually show themselves through the thin disguise. While professing all the contempt of Bradshaw or Ludlow for crowned heads, he took the trouble to write a book concerning Royal Authors. He pried with the utmost anxiety into the most minute particulars relating to the royal family. When he was a child, he was haunted with a longing to see George the First, and gave his mother no peace till she had found a way of gratifying his curiosity. The same feeling, covered with a thousand disguises, attended him to the grave. No observation that dropped from the lips of majesty seemed to him too trifling to be recorded. The French songs of Prince Frederic, compositions certainly not deserving of preservation on account of their intrinsic merit, have been carefully preserved for us by this contemner of iroyalty. In truth, every page of Walpole's works betrayed him. This Diogenes, who would be thought to prefer his tub to a palace, and who has nothing to ask of the masters of Windsor and Versailles but that they will stand out of his light, is a gentleman-usher at heart. He had, it is plain, an uneasy consciousness of the frivolity of his favourite pursuits; and this consciousness produced one of the most diverting of his ten thousand affectations. His busy idleness, his indifference to matters which the world generally regards as important, his passion for trifles, he thought fit to dignify with the name of philosophy. He spoke of himself as of a man whose equanimity was proof to ambitious hopes and fears; who had learned. to rate power, wealth, and fame at their true value, and whom the conflict of parties, the rise and fall of statesmen, the ebbs and flows of public opinion, moved only to a smile of mingled compassion and disdain. It was owing to the peculiar elevation of his character, that he cared about a lath and plaster pinnacle more than about the Middlesex election, and about a miniature of Grammont more than about - the American Revolution. Pitt and Murray might talk themselves hoarse about trifles. But questions of government and was were too insignificant to detain a mind which was occupied in recording the scandal of club