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to substance. He perceived the essential realities which the outward trappings of constitutional government conceal from ordinary politicians. In this very treatise, which was on the face of it a pamphlet discussing a question of the hour, he finds space for an analysis of sovereignty which anticipates the rather pretentious work of John Austin :

There can be no government without a supreme power. That power is not always in the same hands, it is in different shapes and dresses, but still, wherever it is lodged, it must be unlimited. It hath a jurisdiction over everything else, but it cannot have it above itself. Supreme power can no more be limited than infinity can be measured; because it ceases to be the thing; its very being is dissolved when any bounds can be put to it.

The argument is that the power which dispenses can revoke the dispensation, and cannot be controlled by any promise for the future. But it is characteristic of Halifax that he escapes from the actual circumstances of the case into a disquisition upon the nature of power. In his capacious intellect things assumed their true proportions. If he was not-for no man can be-a spectator of all time and all existence, like the ideal philosopher in the Republic he at least looked beyond the controversies of his time to the central truths by which all controversies must in the long run be decided.

Halifax would not have been deceived by the fantastic though convenient theory of the Social Contract. He pointed out to the Dissenters that a contract was worthless unless one party could enforce it against the other. There may, of course, be contracts which the law will not compel men to discharge, such as bets under the law of England. But the payment of bets is secured by social usage and public opinion not less effectively than if it were secured by law. The Stuarts required a revolution to make them keep their word, and for revolutions Halifax had as strong a dislike as Pym. "That cannot be called good payment,' he tells the Nonconformists, 'which the party to whom it is due may not receive with ease and safety. It was a king's brother of England who refused to lend the Pope money, for this reason—that he would never take the bond of one upon whom he could not distrain.' A curious inversion of this argument may be found in the Irish politics of the expiring century. John Mitchel the Repealer received some support in ' loyal Ulster' because of his advanced views on agrarian reform. In the course of a speech on the land laws he adroitly introduced an attack upon the Union. He was met with cries of "To Hell with the Pope !' Gentlemen,' said Mitchel, “I am a Protestant, like yourselves, and I have no more love for the Pope than you. But there is one thing his Holiness cannot do : he cannot issue a writ of ejectment in the county of Antrim. Halifax, though suspected of lukewarmness by zealots and accused of heresy by the orthodox, was a true Protestant, if ever there had been one, and he gained the ear of the Dissenters. They had good reason to distrust the King. But Penn might have won them over, if it had not been for the incomparable tracts of the witty and persuasive Marquis. There is no man, save William of Orange himself, to whom the people of England are more indebted for their freedom. Even now, when two hundred years of parliamentary government have obliterated the memory, and almost removed the meaning, of despotism from the minds of Englishmen, the closing words of the Anatomy of an Equivalent make the great struggle of the seventeenth century seem as vivid as the events of yesterday.

Thus I have ventured to lay down my thoughts of the nature of a bargain and the due circumstances belonging to an equivalent, and will dow conclude with this short word. When distrusting may be the cause of provoking anger, and trusting may be the cause of bringing ruin, the choice is too easy to need the being explained.

It is no wonder, as Macaulay says, that Halifax should be the special favourite of historians. He has saved them so much trouble. He has anticipated their verdict, and told them what to think. There is something almost uncanny, and suggestive of the second sight, in the dispassionate judgment which was formed by a civil war and stood the test of a revolution. The Constitution of England, says he in the days of James and Jeffries, “is too valuable a thing to be ventured upon a compliment.' The sentence is from the Letter to a Dissenter on the gracious Declaration of Indulgence. No man hated religious persecution more than Halifax. He hated all persecution. There was neither malice nor resentment in his nature. But he saw that there could be no liberty without law, and that the Test Acts were a smaller evil than the arbitrary power of the Crown. If the King could abrogate a bad Act he could abrogate a good one, and the Parliament of England would be, like the Parliament of Paris, a machine for the registration of the royal will. This Letter to a Dissenter is in every way superior to the other treatise with the same name, which was despatched from The Hague and signed . T. W. These initials, which probably stood for “The Writer,' were supposed at the time to be an inversion of Sir William Temple's. But the style is the style of Halifax, and therefore altogether beyond the reach of Temple. It contains, moreover, an allusion to Penn which stamps it with the same authorship as the Anatomy of an Equivalent. Penn must have had a peculiarly irritating effect upon Halifax, who becomes almost bitter in writing of him. Yet how delicious the irony is !

The Quakers, from being declared by the Papists not to be Christians, are now made favourites, and taken into their particular protection; they are on a sudden grown the most accomplished men of the kingdom in good breeding, and give thanks with the best grace, in double refined language. So that I should not wonder though a man of that persuasion, in spite of his hat, should be Master of the Ceremonies.

This is a masterpiece of delicate satire; Lord Halifax must have had the picture in his eye when he wrote. 'In spite of his hat’ is a perfect touch, given with inimitable skill. The effect is deadly. There is so much insinuated, so little said. An inferior artist would have denounced Penn as a hypocrite, and accused the Catholics of tampering with the most sacred of all trutbs.

Want of space prevents any reference here to the Cautions for the Choice of Members to Serve in Parliament written in the last year, almost the last month, of his life, to the Rough Draft of a New Model at Sea, or to the Maxims of State.

Something must, however, in conclusion, be said of Lord Halifax's Advice to a Daughter. The daughter married the third Lord Chesterfield, who had neither the ability nor the politeness of his son. The marriage was not a happy one. Even the tact and good humour of Halifax were unequal to the task of reconciliation. But the advice was excellent, whatever the results may have been. Halifax was a devoted father, and this letter is composed in his most serious vein. Sometimes his cynical wit breaks out, as when he says that though drunkenness may be an odious vice, a drunken husband is easier to manage than a sober one. But far more often he writes with grave dignity, especially on the subject of religion. The following passage is thoroughly characteristic in its combination of reverence and good sense:

Take heed of running into that common error of applying God's judgments upon particular occasions. Our weights and measures are not competent to make the distribution either of His mercy or of His justice. Ale bath thrown a veil over these things, which makes it not only an impertinence, but a kind of sacrilege for us to give sentence in them without His commission,

One thinks of the tower of Siloam. But how few people do ! Halifax knew, as well as any man, what the material advantages of this world were worth. He enjoyed them all his life. He was very desirous that his children should have them after his death. No man was less like a morbid recluse, and what he says of money may be trusted. What does he say of it? “If it was well examined, there is more money given to be laughed at than for any one thing in the world, though the purchasers do not think so.' There is more depth and meaning in that closely packed apophthegm than in Juvenal's trite and obvious tag about the ridiculousness of poverty. Poverty excites the mirth only of those who have no sense of humour. But misapplied wealth and most wealth is misapplied—has furnished the satirists of all ages with a practically inexhaustible theme. And the beauty of it is that 'the purchasers do not think so.' They never did : they never will. Halifax did not know what it was to be poor. His life was passed in affluence, and much of it in splendour. But his intellect was quite untainted by vulgarity or prejudice. If he had been a country parson, and his daughter had been engaged to the curate, he could not have given her better counsel about economy.

The word necessary is miserably applied; it disordereth families, and overturneth Governments, by being so abused. Remember that children and fools want everything because they want wit to distinguish; and therefore there is no stronger evidence of a crazy understanding than the making too large a catalogue of things necessary, when in truth there are so very few things that have a right to be placed in it.

There is plenty of social satire in this letter for those who relish it. I feel, for my part, that though it is admirably done, it is too easy for Lord Halifax, too much within the range of inferior minds : * Vanity maketh a woman tainted with it so top full of herself that she spilleth it upon the company. The image is droll enough, but Halifax was capable of “better things. As he warms to his subject, and becomes fascinated with his own idea of the vain woman, his style improves, and the end of the description is perfect.

She is faithful to the fashion, to which not only her opinion, but her senses, are wholly resigned : so obsequious she is to it, that she would be ready to be reconciled even to virtue with all its faults, if she had her dancing master's word that it was practised at Court,

Like all really great humourists, Halifax directed his humour against the follies and vices, never against the virtues and pieties of mankind.

Such, then, was George, Lord Halifax-Constitutional Revolutionist, Conservative Republican, pious freethinker, philosophic politician. No finer intellect was devoted in the seventeenth century to the service of the State. Mentally he was above his contemporaries and in advance of his age. If his moral conviction and his personal enthusiasm had been on a level with his speculative powers, he would have been the greatest man of his time. His temper was too critical, his taste was too fastidious, bis wit was too little under restraint, for the rough work of troubled times. His attitude towards the Revolution resembled the attitude of Erasmus, a kindred spirit, towards the Reformation. He understood both the disease and the remedy, but he could not rid himself of the fear that the remedy might be worse than the disease. Prosperity,' says Bacon, doth best discover vice'; and to the vices of prosperity Halifax was pitilessly severe. He was no worshipper of

On the contrary, it moved his suspicion and prompted his

He could no more live with a party than Burke could live without one. When a number of people began to shout for a thing, Halifax began to ask himself whether it could be so good as it seemed. As a political pamphleteer he says more in one page than Burke says in twenty, and his style, if less gorgeous, is incomparably purer. We have no specimens of his oratory, but in the House of Lords the fear of all men was lest he should make an end.

Charles the Second, a thoroughly competent judge, considered




him the best talker in England. As a writer he is usually wise, often witty, and never dull. His own favourite author was, as he tells us, Montaigne. In his delightful letter to Mr. Cotton, Montaigne's translator, he describes the illustrious Frenchman in terms not inapplicable to himself:

He let his mind have its full flight, and sheweth by a generous kind of negligence that he did not write for praise, but to give to the world a true picture of himself and of mankind. He scorned affected periods, or to please the mistaken reader with an empty choice of words. He hath no affectation to set himself out, and dependeth wholly upon the natural force of what is his own, and the excellent application of what he borroweth.

It is impossible to read the works of Halifax without being struck by the intellectual affinity between him and the present Prime Minister. The aristocratic temper, the Conservative instincts, the audacious indiscretion, the irrepressible humour, the contempt for the solemn plausibilities of the world, even the epigrammatic turn of the phrases are common to the great Trimmer and the great Unionist. But Lord Salisbury has outgrown the love of minorities which Lord Halifax never lost.


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