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Strype, the historian. These (as has been mentioned Bookii,
in a former chapter) were looked upon, with somewhat Bookcovetous eyes by Humphrey Wanley, who hoped to have p""TM * seen them become part of the treasures of the Harleian ^K,A0 Library. On Strype's death they passed into the hands of James West, and from his executors into the Library at Shelburne House. They comprised a hundred and twenty-one volumes of the collections and correspondence of Lord Burghley, together with his private note-book and journal.
Another valuable acquisition, made after Lord ShelBurne's retirement in 1768 from political office, consisted of the vast historical Collections of Bishop White Kennett, extending to a hundred and seven volumes, of which a large proportion are in the Bishop's own untiring hand. Twenty-two of these volumes contain important materials for English Church History. Eleven volumes contain biographical collections, ranging between the years 1500 and 1717. All that have been enumerated are now national property.
Other choice manuscript collections were added from time to time. Among them may be cited the papers of Sir Paul Bycaut—which include information both on Irish and on Continental affairs towards the close of the seventeenth century; the correspondence of Dr. John Pell, and that of the Jacobite Earl of Melfort.
These varied accessions—with many others of minor importance—raised the Shelburne Library into the first rank among private repositories of historical lore. To amass and to study them was to prove to its owner the solace of deep personal affliction, as well as the relief of public toils. At the close of 1770, he lost a beloved wife, Book Ii, after a union of less than six years. He remained a
Book-1"' widower mi til 17.79
Lord SHELBurne As A Landscape
Another source of solace was found in labours that have Benefac- an inexhaustible charm, for those who are so happy as to have means as well as taste for them. Lord Shelburne lived much at Loak.es—now called Wycombe Abbey—a Gardener, delightful seat, just above the little town of High Wycombe.
Its striking framework of beech-woods, its fine planetrees and ash-trees, and its broad piece of water, make up a lovely picture, much of the attraction of which is due to the skill and judgment with which its then owner elicited and heightened the natural beauties of the place.* But those of Bowood exceeded them in Lord Shelburne's eyes. There, too, he did very much to enhance what nature had already done, and he had the able assistance of Mr. Hamilton of Pains-Hill. In consequence of their joint labours, almost every species of oak may be seen at Bowood, with great variety of exotic trees of all sorts. Both wood and water combine to make, from some points of view, a resemblance between Wycombe and Bowood. And both differ from many much bepraised country seats in the wise preference of natural beauty—selected and heightened—to artificial beauty. Lord Shelburne himself was wont to say: 'Mere workmanship should never be introduced where the beauty and variety of the scenery are, in themselves, sufficient to excite admiration.'
But, in their true place, few men better loved the productions of artistic genius. He collected pictures and sculpture, as well as trees and books. He was the first of
* Loakes had been purchased from the last owner of the Archdall family by Henry, Earl of Shelburne. Earl William (first Marquess of Lansdowne) eventually sold it to the ancestor of the present Lord Carrington.
his name who made Lansdowne House in London, as well Bookii, as Loakes and Bowood in the country, centres of the best Book"1 society in the intellectual as well as in the fashionable p°TM^AND
Years passed on. The course of public events—and especially the death of Lord Chatham and the issues of the American war—together with many conspicuous proofs of his powers in debate, tended more and more to bring Lord Shelburne to the front. Between him and Lord Rockingham, as far as regards real personal ability— whether parliamentary or administrative—there could, in truth, be little ground for comparison. But in party connection and following, the claims of the inferior man were incontestible. Lord Shelburne, towards the close of 1779, signified his readiness to waive his pretensions to take the lead—in the event of the overthrow of the existing Government—and his willingness to serve under Lord Rockingham; so little truth was there in the assertion, made by Horace Walpole to his correspondent at ^j^ole Florence, that Shelburne 'will stick at nothing to gratify Who.
. . i • • March 21.
But that very charge is, in fact, a tribute. Walpole's indignation had been excited just at that moment by the zealous assistance which Shelburne had given, in the House of Lords, to the efforts of Burke in the lower House in favour of economical reforms. He had brought forward a motion on that subject on the same night on which Burke had given notice for the introduction of his famous Bill (December, 1779). He continued his efforts, and presently had to encounter a more active and pertinacious opponent of retrenchment than Horace WalPole.
In the course of a vigorous speech on reform in the
Lord ShelBurne's Duel With Fullerton.
administration of the army, Lord Shelburne had censured a transaction in which Mr. Fullerton, a Member of the House of Commons, was intimately concerned. Fullerton made a violent attack, in his place in the House, upon his censor. But his speech was so disorderly that he was forced to break off. In his anger he sent Lord Shelburne a minute, not only of what he had actually spoken, but of what he had intended to say, in addition, had the rules of Parliament permitted. And he had the effrontery to wind up his obliging communication with these words:—' You correspond, as I have heard abroad, with the enemies of your country.' His letter was presented to Lord Shelburne by a messenger.
The receiver, when he had read it, said to the bearer: 'The best answer I can give Mr. Fullerton is to desire him to meet me in Hyde Park, at five, to-morrow morning.' They fought, and Shelburne was wounded. On being asked how he felt himself, he looked at the wound, and said: 'I do not think that Lady Shelburne will be the worse for this.' But it was severe enough to interrupt, for a while, his political labours.
On the formation in March, 1782, of the Rockingham Administration, he accepted the Secretaryship of State, and took with him four of his adherents into the Cabinet. But the most curious feature in the transaction was that Lord Shelburne carried on, personally, all the intercourse in the royal closet that necessarily preceded the formation of the Ministry, although- he was not to be its head. George The Third would not admit Lord Rockingham to an audience until his Cabinet was completely formed. The man whose exclusion from the Grafton Ministry the King had so warmly urged a few years before, was now not less warmly urged by him to throw over his party, and to head a cabinet of his own. He resisted all blandishment, Bookii, and virtually told the King that the triumph of the Oppo- Booksition must be its triumph as an unbroken whole; though p"TM^"" he doubtless felt, within himself, that the cohesion was of BTMErAc
singularly frail tenacity.
On the 24th of March, Shelburne had the satisfaction of conveying to Lord Rockingham the royal concession of his constitutional demands—obtained after a wearisome negotiation, and only by the piling up of argument on argument in successive conversations at the 'Queen's House,' lasting sometimes for three mortal hours. Three death 01
t t LoBD ROCK
months afterwards, the new Premier was dead. And with Inqham, him departed the cohesion of the Whigs.
As Secretary of State, Lord Shelburne's chief task FoKMATION
J' OF LOED
had been the control of that double and most unwelcome Sai;Lnegotiation which was carried on at Pans with France and Mimstky. with America.* For it had fallen to the lot of the utterer * See..h«r«
after, m life
of the ' sunset-speech,'f—' if we let America go, the sun of Gren" Great Britain is set'—to arrange the terms of American BooklII-c'3pacification. And the obstructions in that path which were created at home were even more serious stumblingblocks than were the difficulties abroad. The cardinal points of Lord Shelburne's policy, at this time, were to retain, by hook or crook, some amount or other of hold upon America, and at the worst to keep the Court of France from enjoying the prestige, or setting up the pretence, of having dictated the terms of peace.
That the split in the Whig party was really and alto
f This famous speech was delivered on the 5th of March, 1778. 'Then' said Lord Shelhurne, after denouncing measures which would sever the Colonies from the Kingdom, 'the sun of Great Britain is set. We shall be no more a powerful or even a respectable people.'—Parliamentary Debates, vol. xix, col. 850.