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her, for it leads to treachery and persecution. Indulge the people. Attend Newmarket. Mr. Luttrell may again vacate his seat; and Mr. Wilkes, if not persecuted, will soon be forgotten. To be weak and inactive, is safer than to be daring and criminal; and wide is the distance between a riot of the populace and a convulsion of the whole kingdom. You may live to make the experiment, but no honest man can wish you should survive it.
HIS GRACE THE DUKE OF GRAFTON.
May 30, 1769. If the measures in which
have been most successful had been supported by any tolerable appearance of argument, I should have thought my time not ill employed, in continuing to examine your conduct as a minister, and stating it fairly to the public. But, when I see questions of the highest national importance carried as they have been, and the first principles of the constitution openly violated, without argument or decency, I confess I give up the cause in despair. The meanest of your predecessors had abilities sufficient to give a colour to their measures. If they invaded the rights of the people, they did not dare to offer a direct insult to their understanding; and, in former times,
tonic terms of friendship; which she rejected with contempt. His baseness to this woman is beyond description, or belicf.
the most venal parliaments made it a condition, in their bargain with the minister, that he should furnish them with some plausible pretences for selling their country and themselves. You have had the merit of introducing a more compendious system of government and logic. You neither address yourself to the passions, nor to the understanding, but simply to the touch. You apply yourself immediately to the feelings of your friends; who, contrary to the forms of parliament, never enter heartily into a debate, until they have divided.
Relinquishing, therefore, all idle views of amendment to your grace, or of benefit to the public, let me be permitted to consider your character and conduct merely as a subject of curious speculation. There is something in both, which distinguishes you not only from all other ministers, but all other men; it is not that you do wrong by design, but that you should never do right by mistake. It is not that your indolence and your activity have been equally misapplied; but that the first uniform principle, or, if I may call it the genius of your life, should have carried you through every possible change and contradiction of conduct, without the momentary imputation or colour of a virtue; and that the wildest spirit of inconsistency should never once have betrayed you into a wise or honourable action. This, I own, gives an air of singularity to your fortune, as well as to your disposition. Let us look back together to a scene, in which a mind like yours will find nothing to repent of. Let us try, my lord, how well you have supported the various relations in which you stood, to your sovereign, your country, your friends, and yourself. Give us, if it be possible, some excuse to posterity, and to ourselves, for submitting to your administration. If not the abilities of a great minister, if not the integrity of a patriot, or the fidelity of a friend, show us at least the firmness of a man. For the sake of your mistress, the lover shall be spared. I will not lead her into public, as you have done; nor will I insult the memory of departed beauty. Her sex, which alone made her amiable in your eyes, makes her respectable in mine.
The character of the reputed ancestors of some men has made it possible for their descendants to be vicious in the extreme, without being degenerate. Those of your grace, for instance, left no distressing examples of virtue, even to their legitimate posterity; and you may look back with pleasure to an illustrious pedigree, in which heraldry has not left a single good quality upon record, to insult or upbraid you. You have better proofs of your descent, my lord, than the register of a marriage, or any troublesome inheritance of reputation. There are some hereditary strokes of character, by which a family may be as clearly distinguished, as by the blackest features of the human face. Charles the First lived and died a hypocrite. Charles the Second was a hypocrite of another sort, and should have died upon
same scaffold. At the distance of a century, we see their different characters happily revived and blended in your grace. Sullen and severe without religion, profligate without gaiety, you live like Charles the Second, without being an amiable companion; and, for aught I know, may die, as his father did, without the reputation of a martyr.
You had already taken your degrees with credit, in those schools in which the English nobility are formed to virtue when you were introduced to Lord Chatham's protection* From Newmarket, White's, and the opposition, he gave you to the world with an air of popularity,
* To understand these passages, the reader is referred to a noted pamphlet, called, “ The History of the Minority.".
which young men usually set out with, and seldom preserve: grave and plausible enough to be thought fit for business; too young for treachery; and, in short, a patriot of no unpromising expectations. Lord Chatham was the earliest object of your political wonder and attachment; yet, you deserted him, upon the first hopes that offered of an equal share of power with Lord Rockingham. When the Duke of Cumberland's first negociation failed, and when the favourite was pushed to the last extremity, you saved him, by joining with an administration in which Lord Chatham had refused to engage. Still, however, he was your friend: and you are yet to explain to the world, why you consented to act without him; or why, after uniting with Lord Rockingham, you deserted and betrayed him. You complained, that no measures were taken to satisfy your patron; and that your friend, Mr. Wilkes, who had suffered so inuch for the party, had been abandoned to his fate. They have since contributed, not a little, to your present plenitude of power: yet, I think, Lord Chatham has less reason than ever to be satisfied; and as for Mr. Wilkes, it is, perhaps, the greatest misfortune of his life, that you should have so many compensations to make in the closet for your former friendship with him. Your gracious master understands your character; and makes you a persecutor, because you have been a friend.
Lord Chatham formed his last administration upon principles which you certainly concurred in, or you could never have been placed at the head of the treasury. By deserting those principles, and by acting in direct contradiction to them, in which be found you were secretly supported in the closet, you soon forced him to leave you to yourself, and to withdraw his name from an administration which had been formed on the credit of it. You had then a prospect of friendships better suited to your genius, and more likely to fix your disposition. Marriage is the point on which every rake is stationary at last: and truly, my lord, you may well be weary of the circuit you have taken; for, you have now fairly travelled through every sign in the political zodiac, from the Scorpion, in which you stung Lord Chatham, to the hopes of a virgin* in the house of Bloomsbury. One would think that you had had sufficient experience of the frailty of nuptial engagements, or, at least, that such a friendship as the Duke of Bedford's might have been secured to you by the auspicious marriage of your late duchess with his nephewt. But ties of this tender nature cannot be drawn too close; and it may possibly be a part of the Duke of Bedford's ambition, after making her an honest woman, to work a miracle of the same sort upon your grace. This worthy nobleman has long dealt in virtue. There has been a large consumption of it in his own family: and, in the way of traffic, I dare say, he has bought and sold more than half the representative integrity of the nation.
In a political view, this union is not imprudent. The favour of princes is a perishable commodity. You have now a strength sufficient to command the closet; and, if it be necessary to betray one friendship more, you may set even Lord Bute at defiance. Mr. Stewart M‘Kenzie may possibly remember what use the Duke of Bedford usually makes of his power; and our gracious sovereign, I doubt not, rejoices at the first appearance of union among his servants. His late majesty, under the happy influence of a family connection between his ministers, was relieved from the cares of the govern
* His grâce had lately married Miss Wrottesley, niece of the Good Gertrude, Duchess of Bedford.
+ Miss Liddel, after her divorce from the duke, married Lord Upper Ossory.