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fall, that it was a dangerous thing to be a minister; that there were few minds which would not be injured by the constant spectacle of meanness and depravity. To his honour, it must be confessed, that few minds have come out of such a trial so little damaged in the most important parts. He retired, after more than twenty years of power, with a temper not soured, with a heart not hardened, with simple tastes, with frank manners, and with a capacity for friendship. No stain of treachery, of ingratitude, or of cruelty rests on his memory. Factious hatred, while flinging on his name every other foul aspersion, was compelled to own that he was not a man of blood. This would scarcely seem a high eulogium on a statesman of our times. It was then a rare and honourable distinction. The contest of parties in England had long been carried on with a ferocity unworthy of a civilized people. Sir Robert Walpole was the minister who gave to our government that character of lenity which it has since generally preserved. It was perfectly known to him that many of his opponents had dealings with the Pretender. The lives of some were at his mercy. He wanted neither Whig nor Tory precedents for using his advantage unsparingly. But, with a clemency to which posterity has never done justice, he suffered himself to be thwarted, vilified, and at last overthrown, by a party which included many men whose necks were in his power. That he practised corruption on a large scale is, we think, indisputable. But whether he deserved all the invectives which have been uttered against him on that account, may be questioned. No man ought to be severely censured for not being beyond his age in virtue. To buy the votes of constituents is as immoral as to buy the votes of representatives. The candidate who gives five guineas to the freeman is as culpable as the man who gives three hundred guineas to the member. Yet we know that, in our own time, no man is thought wicked or dishonourable, no man is cut, no man is black-balled, because, under the old system of election, he was returned, in the only way in which he could be returned, for East Retford, for Liverpool, or for Stafford. Walpole governed by corruption, because, in his time, it was impossible to govern otherwise. Corruption was unnecessary to the Tudors: for their Parliaments were feeble. The publicity which has of late years been given to parliamentary proceedings has raised the standard of morality among public men. The power of public opinion is so great, that, ever, before the reform of the representation, a faint suspicion that a minister had given pecuniary gratifications to members of Parliament in return for their votes, would have been enough to ruin him. But, during the century which followed the restoration, the House of Commons was in that situation in which assemblies must be managed by torruption, or cannot be managed at all. It was not held in awe, as in the sixteenth century, by the throne. It was not held in awe, as in the nineteenth century, by the opinion of the

people. Its constitution was oligarchical. Itsdeliberations were secret. Its power in the state was immense. The government had every conceivable motive to offer bribes. Many of the members, if they were not men of strict honour and probity, had no conceivable motive to refuse what the government offered. In the reign of Charles the Second, accordingly, the practice of buying votes in the House of Commons was commenced by the daring Clifford, and carried to a great extent by the crafty and shameless Danby. The Revolution, great and manifold as were the blessings of which it was directly or remotely the cause, at first aggravated this evil. The importance of the House of Commons was now greater than ever. The prerogatives of the crown were more strictly limited than ever, and those associations in which, more than in its legal prerogatives, its power had consisted, were completely broken. No prince was ever in so helpless, so distressing a situation as William the Third. The party. which defended his title was, on general grounds, disposed to curtail his prerogative. The party which was, on general grounds, friendly to the prerogative, was adverse to his title. There was no quarter in which both his office and his person could sind favour. But while the influence of the House of Commons in the government was becoming paramount, the influence of the people over the House of Commons was declining. It mattered little in the time of Charles the First, whether that House were or were not chosen by the people, it was certain to act for the people; because it would have been at the mercy of the court, but for the support of the people. Now that the court was at the mercy of the House of Commons, that large body of members who were not returned by popular election had nobody to please but themselves. Even those who were returned by popular election did not live, as now, under a constant sense of responsibility. The constituents were not, as now, daily apprized of the votes and speeches of their representatives. The privileges which had, in old times, been indispensably necessary to the security and efficiency of Parliaments, were now superfluous. But they were still carefully maintained; by honest legislators, from superstitious veneration; by dishonest legislators, for their own selfish ends. They had been a useful defence to the Commons during a long and doubtsul conflict with powerful sovereigns. They were now no longer necessary for that purpose; and they became a defence to the members against their constituents. That secresy which had been absolutely necessary in times when the Privy Council was in the habit of sending the leaders of opposition to the Tower, was preserved in times when a vote of the House of Commons was sufficient to hurl the most powerful minister from his post. The government could not go on unless the Parliament could be kept in order. And how was the Parliament to be kept in order? Three hundred years ago it would have been enough for a statesman to have the support of the crown. It would now, we hope and believe, be enough for him to enjoy the confidence

and approbation of the great body of the midile class. A hundred years ago it would not have been enough to have both crown and people on his side. The Parliament had shaken off the control of the royal prerogative. It had not yet fallen under the control of public opinion. A large proportion of the members had absolutely no motive to support any admimistration except their own interest, and in the Jewest sense of the word. Under these circumstances, the country could be governed only by corruption. Bolingbroke, who was the ablest and the most vehement of those who raised the cry of corruption, had no better remedy to propose than that the royal prerogative should be strengthened. The remedy would no doubt have been efficient. The only question is, whether it would not have been worse than the disease. The fault was in the constitution of the legislature; and to blame those ministers who managed the legislature in the only way in which it could be managed, is gross injustice. They submitted to extortion because they could not help themselves. We might as well accuse the poor Lowland farmers who paid “black mail” to Rob Roy, of cor. rupting the virtue of the Highlanders, as Sir Robert Walpole of corrupting the virtue of Parliament. His crime was merely this; that he employed his money more dexterously, and got more support in return for it, than any of those who preceded or followed him. He was himself incorruptible by money. His dominant passion was the love of power; and the heaviest charge which can be brought against him is, that to this passion he never scrupled to sacrifice the interests of his conntry. One of the maxims which, as his son tells us, he was most in the habit of repeating was, quieta non movere. It was indeed the maxim by which he generally regulated his public conduct. It is the maxim of a man more solicitous to hold power long than to use it well. It is remarkable that, though he was at the head of affairs during more than twenty years, not one great measure, not one important change for the better or for the worse in any part of our institutions, marks the period of his supremacy. Nor was this because he did not clearly see that many changes were very desirable. He had been brought up in the school of toleration at the feet of Somers and of Burnet. He disliked the shameful laws against Dissenters. But he never could be induced to bring förward a proposition for repealing them. The sufferers represented to him the injustice with which they were treated, boasted of their firm attachment to the house of Brunswick and to the Whig party, and reminded him of his own reeated declarations of good-will to their cause. e listened, assented, promised, and did nothing. At length the question was brought forward by others; and the minister, after a hesitating and evasive speech, voted against it. The truth was, that he remembered to the latest day of his life that terrible explosion of highchnrch feeling which the foolish prosecution of a foolish parson had occasioned in the days of Queen Anne. If the Dissenters had been

turbulent, he would probably have relieved them; but while he apprehended no danger from them, he would uot run the slightest risk for their sake. He acted in the same manner with respect to other questions. He knew the state of the Scotch Highlands. He was constantly predicting another insurrection in that part of the empire. Yet during his long tenure of power, he never attempted to perform what was then the most obvious and pressing duty of a British statesman—to break the power of the chiefs, and to establish the authority of law through the farthest corners of the island. Nobody knew better than he that, if this were not done, great mischiefs would follow. But the Highlands were tolerably quiet at this time, He was content to meet daily emergencies by daily expedients; and he left the rest to his successors. They had to conquer the High lands in the midst of a war with France and Spain, because he had not regulated the Highlands in a time of profound peace. Sometimes, in spite of all his caution, he "found that measures, which he had hoped to carry through quietly, had caused great agitation. When this was the case, he generally modified or withdrew them. It was thus that he cancelled Wood's patent in compliance with the absurd outcry of the Irish. It was thus that he frittered away the Porteous Bill to nothing, for fear of exasperating the Scotch. It was thus that he abandoned the Excise Bili, as soon as he found that it was offensive to all the great towns of England. The language which he held about that measure in a subsequent session is eminently characteristic. Pulteney had insinuated that the scheme would be again brought forward. “As to the wicked scheme,”

call it, which he would persuade gentlemen is not yet laid aside, I, for my part, assure this House, I am not so mad as ever again to engage in anything that looks like an excise; though, in my private opinion, I still think it was a scheme that would have tended very much to the interest of the nation.” The conduct of Walpole with regal d to the Spanish War is the great blemish of his public life. Archdeacon Coxe imagined that he had discovered one grand principle of action to which the whole public conduct of his hero ought to be referred. “Did the administration of Walpole,” says the biographer, “present any uniform principle which may be traced in every part, and which gave combination and consistency to the whole 1 Yes, and that principle was, The Love of Peace.”. It would be difficult, we think, to bestow a higher eulogium on any statesman. But the eulogium is far too high for the merits of Walpole. The great ruling principle of his public conduct was indeed a love of peace, but not in the sense in which Archdeacon Coxe uses the phrase. The peace which Walpole sought was not the peace of the country, but the peace of his own administration. During the greater part of his public life, indeed, the two objects were inse: parably connected. At length he was reduced to the necessity of choosing between them-of plunging the state into hostilities for which

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said Walpole, “as the gentleman is pleased to . there was no just ground, and by which nothing was to be got; or of facing a violent opposition in the country, in Parliament, and even in the royal closet. No person was more thoroughly convinced than he of the absurdity ef the cry against Spain. But his darling power was at stake, and his choice was soon made. He preferred an unjust war to a stormy session. It is impossible to say of a minister who acted thus, that the love of peace was the one grand principle to which all his conduct is to be referred. The governing principle of his conduct was neither love of peace nor love of war, but love of power. The praise to which he is fairly entitled is this, that he understood the true interest of his country better than any of his contemporaries, and that he pursued that interest whenever it was not incompatible with the interest of his own intense and grasping ambition. It was only in matters of public moment that he shrunk from agitation, and had recourse to compromise. In his contest for personal influence there was

no timidity, nor flinching. He would have all

or none. Every member of the government who would not submit to his ascendency was turned out or forced to resign. Liberal of every thing else, he was avaricious of nothing but power. Cautious everywhere else, when power was at stake, he had all the boldness of Wolsey or Chatham. He might easily have secured his authority if he could have been induced to divide it with others. But he would not part with one fragment of it to purchase defenders for all the rest. The effect of this policy was, that he had able enemies and feeble allies. His most distinguished coadjutors left him one by one, and joined the ranks of the opposition. He faced the increasing array of his enemies with unbroken spirit, and thought it far better that they should inveigh against his power than that they should share it. The opposition was in every sense formidable. At its head were two royal personages, the exiled head of the house of Stuart, the disgraced heir of the house of Brunswick. One set of members received directions from Avignon. Another set held their consultations and banquets at Norfolk House. The majority

of the landed gentry, the majority of the paro

chial clergy, one of the universities, and a strong party in the city of London, and in the other great towns, were decidedly averse to the government. Of the men of letters, some were exasperated by the neglect with which the minister treated them—a neglect which was the more remarkable, because his predecessors, both Whig and Tory, had paid court, with

emulous munificence, to the wits - and the

poets; others were honestly inflamed by party zeal; almost all lent their aid to the opposition. In truth, all that was alluring to ardent and imaginative minds was on that side :-old associations, new visions of political improvement, high-flown theories of loyalty, high-flown theories of liberty, the enthusiasm of the Cavalier, the enthusiasm of the Roundhead. The Tory gentlemar... fed in the common-rooms of Oxford

wrh the doctrines of Filmer and Sacheverell,

and proud of the exploits of his great-grandę

father, who had charged with Rupert at Marston, who had held out the old manor-house against Fairfax, and who, after the king's return, had been set down for a Knight of the Royal Oak, flew to that section of the opposition which, under pretence of assailing the existing administration, was in truth assailing the reigning dynasty. The young republican, fresh from his Livy and his Lucan, and flowirg with admiration of Hampden, of Russell, and of Sydney, hastened with equal eagerness to those benches from which eloquent voices thundered nightly against the tyranny and perfidy of courts. So many young politicians were caught by these declarations, that Sir Robert, in one of his best speeches, observed, that the opposition against him consisted of three bodies—the Tories, the discontented Whigs, who were known by the name of the patriots, and the boys. In fact, every young man of warm temper and lively imagination, whatever his political bias might be, was drawn into the party adverse to the government; and some of the most distinguished among them— Pitt, for example, among public men, and Johnson, among men of letters—afterwards openly acknowledged their mistake. The aspect of the opposition, even while it was still a minority in the House of Commons, was very imposing. Among those who, in Parliament or out of Parliament, assailed the administration of Walpole, were Bolingbroke, Carteret, Chesterfield, Argyle. Pulteney, Wyndham, Doddington, Pitt, Lyttleton. Barnard, Pope, Swift, Gay, Arbuthnot, Fielding, Johnson, Thomson, Akenside, Glover. The circumstance that the opposition was divided into two parties, diametrically opposed to each other in political opinions, was long the safety of Walpole. It was at last his ruin. The leaders of the minority knew that it would be difficult for them to bring forward any important measure, without producing an immediate schism in their party. It was with very great difficulty that the Whigs in opposition had been induced to give a sullen and silent vote for the repeal of the Septennial Act. The Tories, on the other hand, could not be induced to support Pulteney's motion for an addition to the income of Prince Frederic. The two parties had cordially joined in calling out for a war with Spain: but they had now their war. Hatred of Walpole was almost the only feeling which was common to them. On this one point, therefore, they concentrated their whole strength. With gross ignorance, or gross dishonesty, they represented the minister as the main grievance of the state. His dismissal, his punishment, would prove the certain cure for all the evils which the nation suffered. What was to be done after his fall, how misgovernment was to be prevented in future, were questions to which there were as many answers as there were noisy and ill-informed members of the opposition. The only cry in which all could join was, “Down with Walpole !” So much did they narrow the disputed grounds, so purely personal did they make the question, that they threw out friendly hints to the other members of the administration, and heads, their fortunes, even their places, if only the great father of corruption were given up to the just vengeance of the nation. If the fate of Walpole's colleagues had been inseparably bound up with his, he probably would, even after the unfavourable elections of 1741, have been able to weather the storm. But as soon as it was understood that the attack was directed against him alone, and that, if he were sacrificed, his associates might expect advantageous and honourable terms, the ministerial ranks began to waver, and the murmur of sauve qui peut was heard. That Walpole had foul play is almost certain: but to what extent it is difficult to say. Lord Islay was suspected; the Duke of Newcastle something more than suspected. It would have been strange, indeed, if his grace had been idle when treason was hatching. “Che Ganfu traditor primache nato.” “His name,” said Sir Robert, “is perfidy.” Never was a battle more manfully fought cut than the last struggle of the old statesman. His clear judgment, his long experience, and his fearless spirit, enabled him to maintain a defensive war through half a session. To the !ast his heart never failed him ; and, when at length he yielded, he yielded, not to the threats of his enemies, but to the entreaties of his dispirited and refractory followers. When he could no longer retain his power, he compounded for honour and security, and retired to his garden and his paintings, leaving to those who had overthrown him—shame, discord, and ruin. Every thing was in confusion. It has been said that the confusion was produced by the dexterous policy of Walpole; and undoubtedly, he did his best to sow dissensions amongst his triumphant enemies. But there was little for him to do. Victory had completely dissolved the hollow truce which the two sections of the opposition had but imperfectly observed, even while the event of the contest was still doubtful. A thousand questions were opened in a moment. A thousand conflicting claims were preferred. It was impossible to follow any line of policy, which would not have been of'fensive to a large portion of the successful party. It was impossible to find places for a tenth part of those who thought that they had a right to be considered. While the parliainentary leaders were preaching patience and confidence, while their followers were clamoring for reward, a still louder voice was heard from without—the terrible cry of a people angry, they hardly knew with whom, and impatient, they hardly knew for what. The day of retribution had arrived. The opposition reaped what they had sown: inflamed with hatred and cupidity, despairing of success by any ordinary mode of political warfare, and

declared that they refused quarter to the prime Walpole was to be the beginning of a political minister alone. His tools might keep their millennium; and every enthusiast had figured

to himself that millennium according to the

fashion of his own wishes. The republican

expected that the power of the crown would be reduced to a mere shadow; the high Tory that the Stuarts would be restored; the mode. rate Tory that the golden days which the church and the landed interest had enjoyed during the last years of Queen Anne, would immediately return. It would have been im

possible to satisfy everybody. The conquerors

satisfied nobody. We have no reverence for the memory of those who were then called the patriots. We are for the principles of good government against Walpole; and for Walpole against the opposition. It was most desirable that a purer system should be introduced; but if the old system was to be retained, no man was so fit as Walpole to be at the head of affairs. There were "frightful abuses in the government, abuses more than sufficient to justify a strong opposition; but the party opposed to Walpole, while they stimulated the popular fury to the highest point, were at no pains to direct it aright. Indeed, they studiously misdirected it. They misrepresented the evil. They prescribed inefficient and pernicious remedies. They held up a single man as the sole cause of all the vices of a bad system, which had been in full operation before his entrance into public life, and which continued to be in full operation when some of these very bawlers had succeeded to his power. They thwarted his best measures. They drove him into an unjustifiable war against his will. Constantly talking in magnificent language about tyranny, corruption, wicked ministers, servile courtiers, the liberties of Englishmen, the Great Charter, the rights for which our fathers bled—Timo leon, Brutus, Hampden, Sydney—they had absolutely nothing to propose which wouid have been an improvement on our institutions. Instead of directing the public mind to definite reforms, which might have completed the work of the Revolution, which might have brought the legislature into harmony with the nation, and which might have prevented the crown from doing by influence what it could no longer do by prerogative, they excited a vague craving for change, by which they profited for a single moment, and of which, as they well deserved, they were soon the victims. Among the reforms which the state then required, there were two of paramount importance, two which would alone have remedied almost every abuse, and without which all other remedies would have been unavailing—the publicity of parliamentary proceedings, and the abolition of the rotten boroughs. Neither of these was thought of. It seems to: us clear, that if these were not adopted, ali other, measures would have been illusory.

blind to consequences which, though remote, Some of the patriots suggested changes which were certain, they had conjured up a devil iwould, beyond all doubt, have increased thu

which they could not lay. They had made the existing evils a hundredfold.

These inen

public mind drunk with calumny and declama- wished to transfer the disposal of employ

tion. They had raised expectations which it

'ments, and the command of the army, troun against corruption was to be, that the memkers, instead of having a portion of the public plunder doled out to them by a minister, were to help themselves. The other schemes, of which the public mind was full, were less dangerous than this. Some of them were in themselves harmless. But none of them would have done much good, and most of them were extravagantly absurd. What they were we may learn from the instructions which many constituent bodies, immediately after the change of administration, sent up to their representatives. A more deplorable collection of follies can hardly be imagined. There is, in the first place, a general cry for Walpole's head. Then there are bitter complaints of the decay of trade—decay which, in the judgment of those enlightened politicians, was all brought about by Walpole and corruption. They would have been nearer to the truth, if they had attributed their sufferings to the war into which they had driven Walpole against his better judgment. He had foretold the effects of his unwilling concession. On the day when hostilities against Spain were proclaimed, when the heralds were attended into the city by the chiefs of the opposition, when the Prince of Wales himself stopped at Temple-Bar to drink succe’s to the English arms, the minister heard all the steeples of the city jingling with a merry peal, and muttered : “They may ring the bells now : they will be wringing their hands before long.” Another grievance, for which of cours.” Walpole and corruption were answerable, was the great exportation of English wool. In the judgment of the sagacious electors of several large towns, the remedying of this evil was a matter second only in importance to the hanging of Sir Robert. There are also earnest injunctions on the members to veto against standing armie, in time of peace; injunctions which were, to say the least, ridiculously unreasonable in the midst of a war which was likely to last, and which did actually last, as long as the Parliament. The repeal of the Septennial Act, as was to be expected, was strongly *ressed. Nothing was more natural than that tne voters should wish for a triennial recurrence of their bribes and their ale. We feel tirmly convinced that the repeal of the Septennial Act, unaccompanied by a complete reform of the constitution of the elective body, would have been an unmixed curse to the country. The only rational recommendation which we can find in all these instructions is,

was impossible to satisfy. The downfall of the crown to the Parliament; and this on the very ground that the Parliament had long been a grossly corrupt body. The security of administration had produced no change of system, he gave vent to his indignation in the


- that the number of placemen in Parliament

should be limited, and that pensioners should not be allowed to sit there. It is plain, however, that this reform was far from going to the root of the evil; and that, if it had been adopted, the consequence, would probably have been, that secret bribery would have been more practised than ever. We will give one more instance of the absurd expectations which the declamations of the opposition had raised in the country. Akenside was one of the fiercest and most

uncompromising of the young patriots out of Parliament. When he found that the change

“Epistle to Curio,” the best poem that he ever wrote; a poem, indeed, which seems to indicate, that, if he had left lyric composition to Gray and Collins, and had employed his powers in grave and elevated satire, he might have disputed the pre-eminence of Dryden. But whatever be the literary merits of the epistle, we can say nothing in praise of the political doctrines which it inculcates. The poet, in a rapturdus apostrophe to the Spirits of the Great Men of Antiquity, tells us what he expected from Pulteney at the moment of the fall of the tyrant.

“See private life by wisest arts reclaimed,
See ardent youth to noblest manners framed,
Ree us achieve whate'er was sought by you,
If Curio, only Curio, will be true.”

It was Pulteney's business, it seems, to abolish faro and masquerades, to stint the young Duke of Marlborough to a bottle of brandy a dav, and to prevail on Lady Vane to be conte..t with three lovers at a time. Whatever the people wanted, they certainly got nothing. Walpole retired in safety, and the multitude were defrauded of the expected show on Tower Hill. The Septennial Act was not repealed. The placemen were not turned out of the House of Commons. Wool, we believe, was still exported. “Private life” afforded as much scandal as if the reign of Walpole and corruption had continued; and “ardent youth” fought with watchmen, and betted with blacklegs as much as ever. The colleagues of Walpole had, after his retreat, admitted some of the chiefs of the opposition into the government. They soon found themselves compelled to submit to the ascendency of one of their new allies. This was Lord Carteret, afterwards Earl Granville. "No public man of that age had greater courage, greater ambition, greater activity, greater talents for debate or for declamation. No public man had such profound and extensive learning. He was familiar with the ancient writers. His knowledge of modern languages was prodigious. The Privy Council, when he was present, needed no interpreter. He spoke and wrote French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, even Swedish. He had pushed his researches into the most obscure nooks of literature. He was as familiar with canonists and schoolmen as with orators and poets. He had read all that the universities of Saxony and Holland had produced on the most intricate questions of public law. Harte, in the preface to the second edition of the “History of Gustavus Adolphus,” bears a remarkable testimony to the extent and accuracy of Lord Carteret's knowledge. “It was my good fortune or prudence to keep the main body of my army (or in other words my matters of fact) safe and entire. The late Earl of Granville was pleased to declare himself of this opinion; especially when he found that I had made Chemnitius one of my principal guides:

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