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cornet in the Blues, by the jealousy of Walpole, suddenly attained the first offices in a free state, by the power of eloquence alone *. Nature appears to have been prodigal of her favours at his birth. He possessed a prominent figure, and the features of his face were admirably expressive of the ardor of his mind. His nose is said to have resembled the beak of an eagle; his look was fascination; his eye, suddenly transfixing with its lightning, seemed to destroy the victim before his lips had pronounced its final doom.
His dress, if we are to credit tradition, was in exact unison with his person; and the tie wig and rolled stockings, still to be seen on the canvas, were no less picturesque than appropriate. Add to all this a certain theatrical attitude and manner; gesticulations scrupulously adapted to the subject; a tongue, that could by turns drop honey or distil venom; words at once expressive, glowing, ardent; a voice, the varying tones of which seemed equally calculated to communicate delight by their music, or appal, terrify, and overawe, with their mimic thunders. Such a man could not be deemed a servile copy even from the ancients; like them, he was an original.
* Omnis vis virtusque in lingua sita est. Ad. C. Cas. de Repub. Ordinand.
But, if his oratory formed the lever by which he moved the house of commons, the British empire, and all Europe, let it be recollected, that he superadded the far rarer gift of a talent and capacity for command. This enabled him to conduct the affairs of his native country with an unexampled degree of vigour and ability: for, while eloquence issued from his lips, wisdom and success seemed to preside at his counsels. He was the first man who discovered the strength, and knew how to wield the combined energies of this nation. Equally great in the senate and the cabinet, Pitt stands unrivalled among our British statesmen, and even Cecil himself might have turned pale at his name.
Yet, unhappily, this great minister did not long possess the confidence of the young monarch; and as he could not be answerable for the effect of those measures which were not expressly dictated by himself, he suddenly withdrew. This sinistrous event seemed for a while to palsy the whole body-politic. The parliament, hitherto unanimous in his support, was suddenly split into factions; but the people, more constant, as well as more pure in their attachment, with one voice declared in behalf of their champion.
Meanwhile, it was decreed that a favourite—
a term always peculiarly odious and ungrateful in a free country-should succeed him, on whom had been conferred the flattering appellations of the "Great Commoner" and the "Heaven-born Minister."
This favourite was John earl of Bute, a nobleman, to whom sufficient justice has not been done, amidst the bitterness and malevolence of party rage. Illustrious in respect to family, being lineally descended from sir John Stuart, son of Robert II, king of Scotland, he was lofty in his manners, and at no period of his life either affected or acquired popularity. But he was a generous patron of the arts and sciences, and proved one of the first and most liberal protectors of botany and engraving in this country. His person was handsome, and to this circumstance, rather than to any extraordinary degree of talents, he is supposed to have been indebted for his power and riches. While still young, he married the daughter of the celebrated lady Mary Wortley Montague, with whom he obtained an immense fortune; and having occupied for some years an honourable situation in the household of the prince of Wales, father to his present majesty, at length became the governor of the reigning monarch; whose confidence he acquired early in life, and
retained for many years. Within two days after the accession of the young king, he was accordingly sworn a member of the privy council, and obtained the rangership of Richmond Park, while his influence in the cabinet soon became paramount.
Such a sudden elevation exposed this nobleman to jealousy and suspicion. Unendowed with the eloquence of the senate, unprotected by great family connexions, and upheld by the partiality of the prince alone, he soon became hateful to the people. The victories obtained under his administration were either deprecated as of no avail, or attributed to the antecedent plans of his more fortunate rival; and when he wished to put an end to the horrors of war, even the olive-branch itself ceased to be a boon, when it was to be received at his hands. Notwithstanding this, the peace of Paris must now be acknowledged to have been alike politic and liberal, although it was then odious in the extreme. Even the sudden and voluntary retreat of its author from power could not secure impunity; for a torrent of invective still continued to be poured out against him, while his successors were denominated his creatures, and his friends considered as the enemies of the nation.
But worse consequences ensued. The rival
ship of these two statesmen, which was compared to the contest between Narses and Belisarius, seemed not only to menace the prosperity of the empire, but actually engendered a contest between the court and the people. In the course of this dispute, a young and beloved monarch beheld himself for a while bereaved of popular favour; and that enthusiasm, with which he was wont to be received, was suddenly transferred to a patriot in disgrace.
The succeeding administration, too, instead of soothing the public mind, inflamed it almost to madness by the most impolitic measures. A gentleman, who commenced his career as a partisan of the ex-minister, was treated with a degree of rancour unsanctioned by sound policy, and prosecuted with a rigour unjustified by the laws. Arrested and sent to the Tower by an illegal process, the sympathy of the nation was aroused in his behalf, and he was soon after liberated, in consequence of a solemn decision of a court of law, amidst the acclamations of the people. As the rights of all were supposed to have been violated, so the franchises of the whole body of the nation were soon after said to be grossly infringed in his person; and the unceasing enmity of the ministers of that day never abated for a single moment, until, by a long series of perse