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Death of the

1751

passed away, and the cause of the Exile was lost for ever. An event which happened a few years afterwards

im was alone wanting to consolidate the GoPrince of Wales. vernment. This was the death of the

heir-apparent, which, instead of being a calamity to his family and to the nation, was a relief to both. The prince had, from his earliest years, endured the rancorous hatred of both the King and Queen. He reciprocated the animosity of his parents; and, on one occasion, hazarded the life of his consort, and the existence of his yet unborn child, merely for the purpose of wreaking his filial spite. That he caballed against the King's government, and comforted the avowed enemies of his family, at the time when the stability of the House of Hanover was imperilled, might possibly have been owing to faction or folly, and not to the gratification of a base and reckless malignity. These are shades which it is hardly worth while to discriminate in such a character. But without adopting the virulence of his mother,* there is abundant evidence that the character of the Prince of Wales was a compound of frivolity and baseness.

The Court of Leicester House maintained a rivalry Party jealousy.

with that of St. James's; and the aspirants Quase to Court favour were perplexed by the necessity of making their election between the present and the future reign. Every man who paid his respects to the Heir was excluded from employment under the Sovereign ; in like manner, the service of the King was disqualification for that of the Prince. The demise of the Crown had been, of course, ex

* My dear Lord, I will give greatest beast in the whole world, it you under my hand if you are and that I heartily wish he was in any fear of my relapsing; that out of it.'—Queen Caroline to my dear first-born is the greatest Lord Hervey.--Memoirs of Lord ass, and the greatest liar, and Hervey. the greatest canaille, and the

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pected by the heir-apparent with the greatest impatience. Eleven years before it took place, and at a time when neither the King's age, nor his state of health, offered any hope of its early approach, the Prince of Wales had taken the trouble to arrange the details of his intended administration.* His sudden death was a sad reverse to the worshippers of the rising sun; but they showed great promptitude and decision in repairing their misfortune. Of the many great and noble persons who had been devoted to the Prince of Wales, not a single British peer, temporal or spiritual, except those appointed to bear the pall, ventured to attend his remains to the grave. None of the royal family were present at the funeral.

The Opposition, which had been loosely held together by the name of the Prince, was The Opposition dissolved at his death. Parliament ceased dissolved. for a time to be the arena of party conflict, and the Government was jobbed on under the direction of the Duke of Newcastle and his brother, Mr. Pelham.

The death of Pelham, in 1753, disturbed the smooth career of Government by corruption. There were at that time three men Pelham. of high political mark, either of whom was fit for the lead of the House of Commons. These were Fox, Pitt, and Murray. The first may be described as a politician by profession, and he lived in days when public life was a lucrative calling. For many years he had enjoyed one of the richest places in the Government, that of Paymaster. He had made money; and now, like professional men of a certain standing, he looked to position and advancement. Experienced, able, and ready, Fox was the foremost of that class of public men from which ministers of state are ordinarily selected ; and if he was distinguished for any quality, it was, that in a

Death of

1753

public cady, por adva

* Diary of Bubb Dodingtor.

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corrupt age, he exhibited a preeminent contempt for public virtue.

The next was of a different mould. William Pitt was a genius for brilliant achievements, for extraordinary emergencies, for the salvation of a country.* As a statesman, Pitt can endure comparison with the greatest names of modern history. As an orator he is yet unrivalled; and to find his equal, we must ascend to the great masters of antiquity.

Such a panegyric may seem loose and extravagant. But the claim of Chatham to the character of a statesman rests no less on his unfinished designs, and on his opposition to the rash and shallow policy of the inferior men who supplanted or succeeded him, than on his political achievements. His fame, indeed, as a master of eloquence can be but imperfectly vindicated. Passages may be quoted, grand, affecting, and sublime; these, perhaps, can be matched in oratorical essays, which fell flat upon their audience;t but who shall do justice to those qualities which constitute the essence of oratory-countenance, voice, gesture—all that the Greek calls Action ? Yet these were carried by Chatham to an excellence which has not been equalled in modern times. Pitt's character had many faults, and one above

www all, which is hardly consistent with true Earl of Chat- greatness. A vile affectation pervaded his

whole conduct, and marred his real virtues. Contempt of gain was one of the traits which distinguished him in a corrupt and venal age. But not content with foregoing official perquisites which would have made his fortune, and appropriating only the salary which was his due, he must go down to the House of Commons and vaunt in tragic style how

* Pitt's magnanimous boast Burke are performances of suron a memorable occasion is well passing power; but, as speeches, known, 'I am sure that I can they were hardly listened to, besave the country, and that no- cause the speaker had not the body else can.'

gift of delivery,--more rare than † The oratorical discourses of that of eloquent composition.

Character of the

ham.

1753.

THE EARL OF CHATHAM.

7

those hands were clean. On resigning office after his first great administration, he could not retire with his fame, but must convert a situation, full of dignity and interest, into a vulgar scene, by the ostentatious sale of his state equipages.

Sometimes, to produce an effect, he would seclude himself from public business, giving rare Chatham's audience to a colleague, or some dignified affectation. emissary of the Court. Then, after due attendance, the doors were thrown open, and the visitor was ushered into a chamber, carefully prepared, where the Great Commoner himself sat with the robe of sickness artfully disposed around him. Occasionally, after a long absence, he would go down to the House in an imposing panoply of gout, make a great speech, and withdraw.

At a later period, he affected almost regal state. His colleagues in office, including members of the great nobility, were expected to wait upon him; at one time he did not even deign to grant them audience, and went so far as to talk of communicating his policy to the House of Commons through a special agent of his own, unconnected with the responsible Government. The under-secretaries of state were expected to remain standing in his presence. When he went abroad he was attended by a great retinue; when he stopped at an inn he required all the servants of the establishment to wear his livery.*

Yet all this pride tumbled into the dust before royalty. Chatham's reverence for the sovereign was Oriental rather than English. reverence for After every allowance for the exaggeration" of his style, it is still unpleasant to witness the self

* The story of Lord Chatham's the story to his son, the present dressing up the waiters and Marquis of Lansdowne.—LORD ostlers at the Castle Inn at Marl- JOHN RUSSELL'S Memoirs and borough, in his livery, is con Correspondence of Fox, vol. i. firmed by Lord J. Russell, who p. 117. states that Lord Shelburne told

Chatham's

royalty.

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abasement of such a spirit before George the Second and his successor. The weight of irremoveable royal displeasure,' said he, is a load too great to move under; it must crush any man; it has sunk and broke me. I succumb, and wish for nothing but a decent and innocent retreat.'* At the time when Pitt used this servile language he was the most considerable man in England, and on the eve of an administration that carried the power and glory of England to a height which it had never approached since the days of the Protector.

If it were just to resolve the character of such a man into detail, it would be easy to collect passages from the life of Chatham which should 'prove him a time-server, a trimmer, an apostate, a bully, a servile flatterer, an insolent contemner of royalty. All these elements are to be found in the composition, as poisons are to be detected in the finest bodies. But taken as a whole, a candid judgment must pronounce the character of Chatham to be one of striking grandeur, exhibiting the noblest qualities of the patriot, the statesman, and the orator. Last of this distinguished triumvirate was William

Www Murray, memorable, as long as the laws Lord Mansfield.

center of England shall endure, by the title of Mansfield. He entered Parliament soon after Pitt, with a finished reputation from the other side of Westminster Hall. During the whole of the fourteen years that he passed in the House of Commons he was a law officer of the Crown; and, though in that subordinate capacity, so eminent were his parliamentary talents, that the defence of the Government principally devolved upon him. This position brought him into frequent conflict with Pitt; and though he yielded, like the rest, to the irresistible ascendancy of the Opposition leader, his concession was that of

* Pitt to Lord Hardwicke, April 6, 1754.-Chatham Correspondence.

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