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promised as the reward of his ser- 1 of labour and callous to abuse. He is vices.
kept constant to his vocation, in spite It was clear that there must be some of all its discomforts, at first by hope, change in the composition of the mi- and at last by habit. It was not so nistry. But scarcely any, even of those with Bute. His whole public life who, from their situation, might be lasted little more than two years. On supposed to be in all the secrets of the the day on which he became a poligovernment, anticipated what really tician he became a cabinet minister. took place. To the amazement of the In a few months he was, both in name Parliament and the nation, it was sud- and in show, chief of the administradenly announced that Bute had re- tion. Greater than he had been he signed.
could not be. If what he already posTwenty different explanations of sessed was vanity and vexation of this strange step were suggested. Some spirit, no delusion remained to entice attributed it to profound design, and him onward. He had been cloyed some to sudden panic. Some said that with the pleasures of ambition before the lampoons of the opposition had he had been seasoned to its pains. His driven the Earl from the field; some habits had not been such as were likely that he had taken office only in order to fortify his mind against obloquy to bring the war to a close, and had and public hatred. He had reached always meant to retire when that ob- his forty-eighth year in dignified ease. ject had been accomplished. He pub- without knowing, by personal expelicly assigned ill health as his reason rience, what it was to be ridiculed and for quitting business, and privately slandered. All at once, without any complained that he was not cordially previous initiation, he had found himseconded by his colleagues, and that self exposed to such a storm of invecLord Mansfield, in particular, whom tive and satire as had never burst on he had himself brought into the cabi- the head of any statesman. The emonet, gave him no support in the House luments of office were now nothing to of Peers. Mansfield was, indeed, far him ; for he had just succeeded to a too sagacious not to perceive that princely property by the death of his Bute's situation was one of great peril, father-in-law. All the honours which and far too timorous to thrust himself could be bestowed on him he had alinto peril for the sake of another. The ready secured. He had obtained the probability, however, is that Bute's Garter for himself, and a British peerconduct on this occasion, like the con- age for his son. He seems also to duct of most men on most occasions, have imagined that by quitting the was determined by mixed motives. treasury he should escape from danger We suspect that he was sick of office; and abuse without really resigning for this is a feeling much more common power, and should still be able to examong ministers than persons who see ercise in private supreme influence public life from a distance are disposed over the royal mind. to believe ; and nothing could be more Whatever may have been his monatural than that this feeling should tives, he retired. Fox at the same take possession of the mind of Bute. time took refuge in the House of Lords ; In general, a statesman climbs by slow and George Grenville became First degrees. Many laborious years elapse Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor before he reaches the topmost pinnacle of the Exchequer. of preferment. In the earlier part of We believe that those who made this his career, therefore, he is constantly arrangement fully intended that Grenlured on by seeing something above ville should be a mere puppet in the him. During his ascent he gradually hands of Bute; for Grenville was as becomes inured to the annoyances yet very imperfectly known even to which belong to a life of ambition. those who had observed him long. He By the time that he has attained the passed for a mere official drudge ; and highest point, he has become patient he had all the industry, the minute accuracy, the formality, the tediousness, friendship between the two statesmen. which belong to the character. But Grenville's nature was not forgiving ; he had other qualities which had not and he well remembered how, a few yet shown themselves, devouring am- months before, he had been compelled bition, dauntless courage, self-confi- to yield the lead of the House of Comdence amounting to presumption, and mons to Fox. a temper which could not endure op- We are inclined to think, on the position. He was not disposed to be whole, that the worst administration any body's tool; and he had no at which has governed England since the tachment, political or personal, to Bute. Revolution was that of George GrenThe two men had, indeed, nothing in ville. His public acts may be classed common, except a strong propensity under two heads, outrages on the litowards harsh and unpopular courses. berty of the people, and outrages on Their principles were fundamentally the dignity of the crown. different. Bute was a Tory. Gren- He began by making war on the ville would have been very angry with press. John Wilkes, member of Parany person who should have denied liament for Aylesbury, was singled out his claim to be a Whig. He was more for persecution. Wilkes had, till very prone to tyrannical measures than lately, been known chiefly as one of the Bute; but he loved tyranny only when most profane, licentious, and agreeable disguised under the forms of constitu- rakes about town. He was a man of tional liberty. He mixed up, after a taste, reading, and engaging manners. fashion then not very unusual, the His sprightly conversation was the detheories of the republicans of the light of green-rooms and taverns, and seventeenth century with the technical pleased even grave hearers when he maxims of English law, and thus suc- was sufficiently under restraint to abceeded in combining anarchical specu- stain from detailing the particulars of lation with arbitrary practice. The his amours, and from breaking jests on voice of the people was the voice of the New Testament. His expensive God; but the only legitimate organ debaucheries forced bim to have rethrough which the voice of the people course to the Jews. He was soon & could be uttered was the Parliament. ruined man, and determined to try his All power was from the people ; but chance as a political adventurer. In to the Parliament the whole power of parliament he did not succeed. His the people had been delegated. No speaking, though pert, was feeble, and Oxonian divine had ever, even in the by no means interested his hearers so years which immediately followed the much as to make them forget his face, Restoration, demanded for the King which was so hideous that the caricaso abject, so unreasoning a homage, as turists were forced, in their own deGrenville, on what he considered as spite, to flatter him. As a writer, he the purest Whig principles, demanded made a better figure. He set up a for the Parliament. As he wished to weekly paper, called the North Briton. see the Parliament despotic over the This journal, written with some pleanation, so he wished to see it also de- santry, and great audacity and impuspotic over the court. In his view the dence, had a considerable number of prime minister, possessed of the con- readers. Forty-four numbers had been fidence of the House of Commons, published when Bute resigned ; and, ought to be Mayor of the Palace. The though almost every number had conKing was a mere Childeric or Chil- tained matter grossly libellous, no peric, who might well think himself prosecution had been instituted. The lucky in being permitted to enjoy such forty-fifth number was innocent when handsome apartments at Saint James's, compared with the majority of those and so fine a park at Windsor. which had preceded it, and indeed
Thus the opinions of Bute and those contained nothing so strong as may in of Grenville were diametrically op- our time be found daily in the leading posed. Nor was there any private articles of the Times and Morning
Chronicle. But Grenville was now at to find at the entrance a chair, the the head of affairs. A new spirit had shape of which was well known to him, been infused into the administration. and indeed to all London. It was disAuthority was to be upheld. The tinguished by a large boot, made for government was no longer to be braved the purpose of accommodating the with impunity. Wilkes was arrested great Commoner's gouty leg. Grenunder a general warrant, conveyed to ville guessed the whole. His brotherthe Tower, and confined there with in-law was closeted with the King. circumstances of unusual severity. His Bute, provoked by what he considered papers were seized, and carried to the as the unfriendly and ungrateful conSecretary of State. These harsh and duct of his successors, had himself illegal measures produced a violent proposed that Pitt should be sumoutbreak of popular rage, which was moned to the palace. soon changed to delight and exulta- Pitt had two audiences on two suction. The arrest was pronounced un- cessive days. What passed at the first lawful by the Court of Common Pleas, interview led him to expect that the in which Chief Justice Pratt presided, negotiation would be brought to a and the prisoner was discharged. This satisfactory close ; but on the morrow victory over the government was cele- he found the King less complying. brated with enthusiasm both in London The best account, indeed the only and in the cider counties.
trustworthy account of the conference, While the ministers were daily be- is that which was taken from Pitt's coming more odious to the nation, they own mouth by Lord Hardwicke. It were doing their best to make them- appears that Pitt strongly represented selves also odious to the court. They the importance of conciliating those gave the King plainly to understand chiefs of the Whig party who had been that they were determined not to be so unhappy as to incur the royal disLord Bute's creatures, and exacted a pleasure. They had, he said, been the promise that no secret adviser should most constant friends of the House of have access to the royal ear. They Hanover. Their power was great; they soon found reason to suspect that this had been long versed in public business. promise had not been observed. They If they were to be under sentence of remonstrated in terms less respectful exclusion, a solid administration could than their master had been accus- not be formed. His Majesty could not tomed to hear, and gave him a fort-bear to think of putting himself into night to make his choice between his the hands of those whom he had refavourite and his cabinet.
cently chased from his court with the George the Third was greatly dis- strongest marks of anger. “I am sorry, turbed. He had but a few weeks be- Mr. Pitt," he said, “but I see this will fore exulted in his deliverance from not do. My honour is concerned. I the yoke of the great Whig connection. must support my honour.” How his He had even declared that his honour Majesty succeeded in supporting his would not permit him ever again to honour, we shall soon see. admit the members of that connection Pitt retired, and the King was reinto his service. He now found that duced to request the ministers, whom he had only exchanged one set of mas- he had been on the point of discarding, ters for another set still harsher and to remain in office. During the two more imperious. In his distress he years which followed, Grenville, now thought on Pitt. From Pitt it was closely leagued with the Bedfords, was possible that better terms might be the master of the court; and a hard obtained than either from Grenville, or master he proved. He knew that he was from the party of which Newcastle was kept in place only because there was no the head.
choice except between himself and the Grenville, on his return from an ex- Whigs. That under any circumstances cursion into the country, repaired to the Whigs would be forgiven, he Buckingham House, He was astonished thought impossible. The late attempt VOL. II.
to get rid of him had roused his resent- not very susceptible of shame, the sur. ment; the failure of that attempt had prise, the disgrace, the prospect of utter liberated him from all fear. He had ruin, put him beside himself. He picked never been very courtly. He now began a quarrel with one of Lord Bute's deto hold a language, to which, since the pendents, fought a duel, was seriously days of Cornet Joyce and President wounded, and when half recovered, Bradshaw, no English King had been fled to France. His enemies had now compelled to listen.
their own way both in the Parliament In one matter, indeed, Grenville, at and in the King's Bench. He was the expense of justice and liberty, gra- censured, expelled from the House of tified the passions of the court while Commons, outlawed. His works were gratifying his own. The persecution of ordered to be burned by the common Wilkes was eagerly pressed. He had hangman. Yet was the multitude still written a parody on Pope's Essay on true to him. In the minds even of many Man, entitled the Essay on Woman, moral and religious men, his crime and had appended to it notes, in ridi- seemed light when compared with the cule of Warburton's famous Com- crime of his accusers. The conduct of mentary. This composition was exceed- Sandwich, in particular, excited uniingly profligate, but not more so, we versal disgust. His own vices were think, than some of Pope's own works, notorious; and, only a fortnight before the imitation of the second satire of the he laid the Essay on Woman before the first book of Horace, for example; House of Lords, he had been drinking and, to do Wilkes justice, he had not, and singing loose catches with Wilkes like Pope, given his ribaldry to the at one of the most dissolute clubs in world. He had merely printed at a London. Shortly after the meeting of private press a very small number of Parliament, the Beggar's Opera was copies, which he meant to present to acted at Covent Garden theatre. When some of his boon companions, whose Macheath uttered the words -- " That morals were in no more danger of Jemmy Twitcher should peach me I being corrupted by a loose book than a own surprised me,”—pit, boxes, and negro of being tanned by a warm sun. galleries, burst into a roar which seemed A tool of the government, by giving a likely to bring the roof down. From bribe to the printer, procured a copy of that day Sandwich was universally this trash, and placed it in the hands of known by the nickname of Jemmy the ministers. The ministers resolved Twitcher. The ceremony of burning to visit Wilkes's offence against de- the North Briton was interrupted by a corum with the utmost rigour of the riot. The constables were beaten; the law. What share piety and respect for paper was rescued ; and, instead of it, morals had in dictating this resolution, a jack boot and a petticoat were comour readers may judge from the fact mitted to the flames. Wilkes had inthat no person was more eager for stituted an action for the seizure of his bringing the libertine poet to punish- papers against the Under-secretary of ment than Lord March, afterwards State. The jury gave a thousand pounds Duke of Queensberry. On the first day damages. But neither these nor any of the session of Parliament, the book, other indications of public feeling had thus disgracefully obtained, was laid on power to move Grenville. He had the the table of the Lords by the Earl of Parliament with him ; and, according Sandwich, whom the Duke of Bedford's to his political creed, the sense of the interest had made Secretary of State. nation was to be collected from the The unfortunate author had not the Parliament alone. slightest suspicion that his licentious Soon, however, he found reason to poem had ever been seen, except by his fear that even the Parliament might printer and by a few of his dissipated fail him. On the question of the legality companions, till it was produced in full of general warrants, the Opposition, Parliament. Though he was a man of having on its side all sound principles, casy temper, averse from danger, and all constitutional authorities, and the voice of the whole nation, mustered in / in that clear, concise, and lively manner, great force, and was joined by many which alone could win the attention who did not ordinarily vote against the of a young mind new to business, he government. On one occasion the spoke in the closet just as he spoke in ministry, in a very full House, had a the House of Commons. When he majority of only fourteen votes. The had harangued two hours, he looked storm, however, blew over. The spirit at his watch, as he had been in the of the Opposition, from whatever cause, habit of looking at the clock opposite began to flag at the moment when suc- the Speaker's chair, apologised for the cess seemed almost certain. The session length of his discourse, and then went ended without any change. Pitt, whose on for an hour more. The members eloquence had shone with its usual of the House of Commons can cough lustre in all the principal debates, and an orator down, or can walk away to whose popularity was greater than ever, dinner; and they were by no means was still a private man. Grenville, sparing in the use of these privileges detested alike by the court and by the when Grenville was on his legs. But people, was still minister.
the poor young King had to endure all As soon as the Houses had risen, this eloquence with mournful civility. Grenville took a step which proved, To the end of his life he continued to even more signally than any of his past talk with horror of Grenville's oraacts, how despotic, how acrimonious, tions. and how fearless his nature was. About this time took place one of Among the gentlemen not ordinarily the most singular events in Pitt's life. opposed to the government, who, on There was a certain Sir William Pynthe great constitutional question of sent, a Somersetshire baronet of Whig general warrants, had voted with the politics, who had been a Member of minority, was Henry Conway, brother the House of Commons in the days of of the Earl of Hertford, a brave soldier, Queen Anne, and had retired to rural a tolerable speaker, and a well-mean- privacy when the Tory party, towards ing, though not a wise or vigorous po- the end of her reign, obtained the litician. He was now deprived of his ascendency in her councils. His manregiment, the merited reward of faith- ners were eccentric. His morals lay ful and gallant service in two wars. It under very odious imputations. But was confidently asserted that in this his fidelity to his political opinions was violent measure the King heartily con- unalterable. During fifty years of securred.
clusion he continued to brood over the But whatever pleasure the persecu- circumstances which had driven him tion of Wilkes, or the dismissal of Con- from public life, the dismissal of the way, may have given to the royal Whigs, the peace of Utrecht, the desermind, it is certain that his Majesty's tion of our allies. He now thought aversion to his ministers increased day that he perceived a close analogy beby day. Grenville was as frugal of the tween the well remembered events of public money as of his own, and mo- his youth and the events which he had rosely refused to accede to the King's witnessed in extreme old age ; between request, that a few thousand pounds the disgrace of Marlborough and the might be expended in buying some disgrace of Pitt; between the elevation open fields to the west of the gardens of Harley and the elevation of Bute ; of Buckingham House. In consequence between the treaty negotiated by St. of this refusal, the fields were soon John and the treaty negotiated by covered with buildings, and the King Bedford ; between the wrongs of the and Queen were overlooked in their House of Austria in 1712 and the most private walks by the upper win-wrongs of the House of Brandenburgh dows of a hundred houses. Nor was in 1762. This fancy took such posthis the worst. Grenville was as libe- session of the old man's mind that he ral of words as he was sparing of determined to leave his whole proguineas. Instead of explaining himself perty to Pitt. In this way, Pitt unex