Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors][merged small]

king of Prussia, was paying a visit to his native country, prizes, or of the neutrality of Germany. He broke off the and, being well acquainted with the language and diplomacy negotiation, recalled Stanley from Paris, dismissed Bussy of Spain from his long residence and connections there, in from London, and advised an immediate declaration of war an interview with Pitt gave him positive information of the against Spain, whilst it was yet in our power to seize the compacts. This was still further corroborated by the British treasure ships. But there was but one Pitt-one great consul at Cadiz, who wrote that great preparations were mind capable of grasping the affairs of a nation, and of making in the south of Spain, and the surprise of Gibraltar seizing on the deciding circumstances with the promptness was not very secretly talked of. If these, however, had left essential to effect. The rest were feeble and purblind any doubt, it would have been expelled by the receipt of a creatures, dazzled by the light which enabled Pitt to see French memorial through M. Bussy, to which a second distant objects, and hesitating where they should have acted. memorial on Spanish affairs was appended. These together To their narrow and earth-bound vision his clear sight demanded that all captures of Spanish vessels made during appeared wild presumption. The usually timid Newcastle the war should be restored ; the Spanish claim of fishing on became suddenly courageous with alarm. Bute pronounced the coasts of Newfoundland should be conceded, and that Pitt's proposal as "rash and unadvisable ; " the king, the English settlements in the bay of Honduras should be obstinate as was his tendency, declared that, if his minisdestroyed. These matters, the French memorial implied, ters had yielded to such a policy, he would not; and Pitt, were introduced in order that the negotiations betwixt having laboured in vain to move this stolid mass of minisEngland and France might not be liable to be frustrated by terial imbecility through three cabinet councils, at last, in the a third power, and it therefore proposed that Spain should beginning of October, declared that, as he was called to the be invited to take part in the treaty.

ministry by the people, and held himself responsible to them, Pitt received the proposition with a tone of indignation he would no longer occupy a position, the duties of which that made it manifest that he would suffer no such inter- he was not able to discharge. He warned them that now ference of a third party—would not yield a step to any such was the time to humble the whole house of Bourbon ; that alliance. He declared, in broad and plain terms, that his if it were neglected, such an opportunity might never again majesty would not permit the affairs of Spain to be intro- | occur; and he resigned. duced by France; that he would never suffer France to Lord Granville, the president of the council, once very presume to meddle in any affairs betwixt himself and Spain, loud in his boasts of a determined policy, now taunted the and that he should consider any further mention of such great minister, by saying that he was by no means sorry matters as a direct affront. A similar message was dispatched to see him retire; that though he might think himself to the earl of Bristol in Spain, declaring that England was infallible, they also had their opinions, and were not conopen to any proposals of negotiation from Spain, but not vinced of the superior wisdom of his. It would have been through the medium of France. This was, in fact, tanta- well had they been so. On the 5th of October, when Pitt mount to a defiance to both France and Spain, and would waited on the king to surrender the seals, George received undoubtedly have put an end to all further negotiation had him in a very different manner. He made a full and frank there not been a purpose to serve. The Spanish treasure ships avowal of his sense of his great services, and offered him any vere yet out at sea on their way home. Any symptoms of reward in the power of the crown. Pitt was melted to hostility would insure their capture by the English, and cut tears, expressed his sense of the royal goodness, and withoff the very means of maintaining a war. General Wall, drew. Thus closed the most glorious tenure of office by therefore, concealed all appearance of chagrin ; admitted any minister, perhaps, in the annals of England. When that the memorial had been presented by France with the Pitt assumed the reins, the character of England was sinkfull consent of his catholic majesty, but professed the most ing daily; her wealth was wasted in useless endeavours to sincere desire for the continuance of peaceful relations. prop up German nations; her fleets and armies were dis

Pitt was not for a moment deceived. He saw that the graced ; Minorca was lost ; her enemies were making steady war with France and Spain was inevitable, and he recom- inroads on her American colonies. Within the short space mended that we should be ready to act on the instant, and of five years, all that had been reversed. The French islands to seize the treasure ships, which would render Spain utterly of Guadaloupe, Desiada, Marigalante, and Dominica, had impotent. So far from seeing any hazard from this combined been taken in the West Indies; in Africa we had taken war, he foresaw the prospect of the easiest and most valuable their settlements of Goree, Senegal, and others. In the conquest of the Spanish colonies. France had no fleet to East Indies, Clive, Coote, and others, had made themselves belp her, and his mind, in its wide and daring range, con- | masters of Calcutta, Pondicherry, and Arcot, and laid the templated the seizure of the isthmus of Panama, thus opening foundations of our present great Indian empire. The up to us free access to the Pacific, and cutting off the com- French had not only been driven out of our North American munication betwixt Spain, Mexico, and Peru. Cuba and colonies, but their colonies of Canada and Cape Breton had the Philippine Islands he proposed to take, and add them been reft from them, and added permanently to the British permanently to our dominions, and, considering the state of crown. The prestige of the fleet had been restored by insecurity of these splendid possessions at that time, and the admirals Boscawen, Hawke, Watson, and other brave utter inability of Spain or France to prevent us, they must officers, inspired by the spirit at the helm; and though Pitt, have been secured with comparative ease.

following his one great ambition, instead of the spirit of He had now received the ultimatum of France, which opposition, had continued the war in Germany, it was no yielded several points, but not that of the restitution of longer, as well observed by lady Harvey in her Letters, " to

spend vast sums in purchasing infamy and disgrace; we had but men of aristocratic connection. For this reason he success and honour for our money."

conferred the privy seal on the duke of Bedford, and the

seal of secretary on the earl of Egremont, who had nothing CHAPTER II.

remarkable about him but his earldom, and being the son of

Sir William Wyndham, who had great talents, but had not REIGN OF GEORGE III. (Continued.)

transmitted them to his son. To break the force of popular Bute Prime Minister-A Pension bestowed on Pitt, with a Peerage to

indignation for the loss of Pitt from the helm-for the his Wife - Dowry for the Queen - War with Spain declared-Prussian Subsidy discontinued-Death of the Czarina-Policy of the Czar Peter people knew who was the great man and successful minister Newcastle resigns-John Wilkes commences his Career-Fights with well enough—the king was advised to confer some distinLord Talbot-Birth of the Prince of Wales - Assassination of the Czar

guished mark of favour on Pitt. He was offered the Usurpation of the Throne by his Wife and Murderess, Catherine-War in Silesia-in Westphalia and Portugal-Cuba and the Philippine Islands government of Canada as a sinecure, with five thousand taken by England-Preliminaries of Peace signed at Fontainebleau pounds a year. Pitt was not the man to undertake a highly Ministerial Changes-Pitt opposes the Peace-Its Conclusion-Peace of

responsible office without discharging the duties, and Hubertsburg betwixt Prussia and Austria-The Cider Tax-Great Unpopularity of Bute-He resigns-George Grenville Prime Minister-Fox he was next offered the chancellorship of the duchy of created Baron Holland-Wilkes starts "The North Briton"-Committed Lancaster ; but he preferred a simple pension of three to the Tower-Discharged-Retires to Paris-Popular Rejoicings at his

thousand pounds a-year, and that a title should be conferred Return-Overtures to Pitt-His Terms refused–Former Ministry restored -Accession of Duke of Bedford-Wilkes' "Essay on Woman"-Fights on his wife. By this arrangement he was left in the house A Second Duel-Retires again to Paris - The Question of General Warrants of commons, and in a position to continue his exertions for -Grenville resolves to Tax our American Colonies.

the country. Both these suggestions were complied with. The Bute ministry was now in power, and determined on Much abuse was heaped on Pitt for the acceptance of a

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][merged small]

réversing the policy of Pitt-policy which had added so I pension. “What !” cried Walpole, "to blast one's character magnificently to the territory and glory of the country. for the sake of a paltry annuity and a long-necked Bubb Dodington congratulated Bute on being delivered peeress!” “Oh, that foolishest of great men!" exclaimed from a most impracticable colleague, his majesty from a most | Gray, the poet. And Sir Francis Delaval said that Pitt imperious servant, and the country from a most dangerous was a fool; if he had gone into the City and asked for a minister. He intimated that Pitt had gone out because he subscription he might have had three hundred thousand saw that he could not carry on the war on its present

carry on the war on its present pounds instead of three thousand pounds a year. Du footing, and had left his successors to bear the discredit of these clever men talked beside the mark. Pitt was not a its failure. These were the talk of little men, incapable rich man; and, if any man ever deserved a reward from his either of comprehending or following out the measures of a country for his services, it was he. The conquest of Canada great one. Pitt was only impracticable, and imperious, and alone was surely worth more than a pension of three dangerous, because he was too vigorous and far-seeing to thousand pounds a year for three lives his own, his wife's, work in harness with pigmies, and must drag their dead and that of his eldest son. It was not the City, but the weight along with him or retire. They were soon to be country, which owed Pitt a mark of recognition of his taught their own folly.

services. It was not for him to go a-begging ; but he had Bute had now to seek powerful connections to enable him a great right, when his country offered him a small reward, to carry on. The commonplace man seeks to make up for to suggest what it should be. Pitt understood, if his his feebleness by associating with him, not men of merit, accusers did not, that the mischief of conferring pensions is

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

not in conferring them for real services, but for no services, or diverted from the king and the new queen to the simple for real disservices, and another thing to give them where due. chariot and pair in which Pitt and his brother-in-law, lord He accepted his pension as his due—a reward for the past, Temple, were following. The crowd left the royal coach not a tongue-tier for the future; and he soon showed the to throng round the carriage of Pitt, with the most goverument that he regarded his pension as given by the thundering acclamations, and numbers of the mob hung country, and not by the crown, which was only the upon the wheels, hugged his coachman, and kissed his medium.

horses. The sight was wormwood to the court and his Much also was made of the unpopularity which his ' enemies, and he now was blamed for making this parade of.

[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][merged small]

acceptance of this reward had produced towards him. It himself in presence of royally. The parade was not made was said that there was great indignation against him in by Pitt; nothing could be more simple or unostentatious the City, and Pitt himself was made to believe it; but the than his appearance; but the parade was in his renown, falsity of this was speedily demonstrated. The common which overshadowed all mere splendours of rank, and council voted him an address of thanks for his public reduced them to their proper but mortifying level. Services, and instructed their representatives in parliament Ministers were not only compelled to witness the acto press on government his line of politics. On the 9th of knowledged glory of their rival—they were compelled to November-Lord Mayor's Day—when the royal family went pursue the policy which he had so successfully inaugurated. in state to dine at Guildhall, the publie attention was With all the determination of lord Bute and his colleagues

VOL. V.-No. 210.

to make a speedy peace, they found it impossible. The confession on the part of lord Bristol that he had suffered Family Compact betwixt France and Spain was already | Wall to throw dust in his eyes till his object was accomsigned; and in various quarters of the world Pitt's plans plished, and it made patent the fact that Pitt had been too were so far in progress that they must go on. In east and sagacious to be deceived; but that the new ministers, whilst west, his plans for the conquest of Havanna, of the insulting Pitt and forcing him to resign, had been themPhilippine Isles, and for other objects, were not to be selves completely duped. Spain now, in the most perempabruptly abandoned ; and ministers were compelled to carry tory terms, demanded redress for all her grievances; and, out his objects, in many particulars, spite of themselves. before the year had closed, the Bute cabinet was compelled

The new parliament met on the 3rd of November. to recall lord Bristol from Madrid, and to order Fuentes. George Grenville, the brother of lord Temple, now treasurer the Spanish ambassador in London, to quit the kingdom. of the navy, was the person who had been designed by his On the 4th of January, 1762, declaration of war was party for the speakership, and for which he was well issued against Spain. Thus the nation was engaged in the qualified by his habits. He had of late deserted Pitt, his very war which Pitt declared to be unavoidable ; but with brother-in-law, and become an active supporter of Bute. this difference, through the rejection of his advice, that we Bute calculated on him to take the lead, as ministerial had to fight Spain with her treasury full instead of empty, member, in the commons, and Sir John Cust, the member for and of her means of war being transferred to us. But such Grantham, was elected speaker in his stead. The king's speech lessons are lost on inferior minds. Neither king nor was framed on the old basis of Pitt's policy; it declared ministers, seeing the wisdom of Pitt's policy and the folly of that the war should be vigorously prosecuted, and praised their own, were prevented from committing another such the king of Prussia, as our able and magnanimous ally; at absurdity. They abandoned Frederick of Prussia at his the same time that there was the utmost secret aversion to greatest need. They refused to vote his usual subsidy. the war, and a settled determination to abandon Frederick. Bute contended that the true policy of this country was to Pitt showed, by the tempered freedom of his remarks, that keep clear of continental quarrels—a grand truth, which we he was not likely to be at all fettered in the expression of have again and again insisted upon in this History—but he his opinions by his pension. On the other hand, the most did not see that, being deep in such a quarrel, and our ally ungenerous attacks were made on him, especially by Colonel contending against gigantic odds, it was equally base and Barré, a young Irishman of talent, who had solicited from dishonourable to abandon him in such circumstances. and been refused favours by Pitt, and now poured out on him Engagements may be properly avoided, which, when made, his vengeful bile. He had only sate two days in the house, cannot be abruptly torn asunder without disgraceful and when he denounced Pitt as a profligate minister, deserving even criminal conduct. The consequences of this blind and the execration of mankind; and declared that he had too ungenerous policy were as pregnant with future evil to this long been allowed to tear out the bowels of his mother country as it was petty in itself. Prussia, indignant at our country. Pitt passed the worthless onslaught without breach of faith, at our shameful desertion of her in her notice.

utmost extremity, refused to assist us when our own The first topic of the royal speech called on the commons colonies of America rebelled against us, and France lent her to settle the dowry of the queen. The precedent of queen ready aid to avenge the deprivation of Canada. Then, as Caroline was adopted, and a hundred thousand pounds we had left Prussia to stand alone, we were left to stand a year settled on Charlotte, in case of her surviving the alone, instead of having a stanch, because a grateful, friend king. When George went to the house of lords to give the in the Prussian king and people. By this same execrable royal assent to the act, which was passed accordingly, he proceeding—for we not only abandoned Frederick, but brought the queen with him, who sate in a chair at his right made overtures to Austria, with which he was engaged in a hand, and characteristically expressed her thanks by rising mortal struggle—we thus threw him into the arms and close and bowing to the king. Royalty could not admit that the alliance of Russia, and were, by this, the indirect means of handsome settlement came from the nation, but from the that guilty confederation by which Poland was afterwards king; and therefore the thanks were not given to parlia- rent in pieces by these powers. “Seldom, indeed," justly ment, but to the crown.

observes lord Mahon, “ has any minister, with so short a And now the unpleasant truth was forced on the attention tenure of power, been the cause of so great evils. Within a of ministers, that the war which Pitt declared to be inevi- year and a half he had lost the king his popularity, and the table was so, and that he had recommended the only wise kingdom its allies.” measure. The country was now destined to pay the penalty One of those allies, Frederick of Prussia, found himself as of their folly and stupidity, in rejecting Pitt's proposal to suddenly furnished with a new friend as he had been abanweclare war against Spain at once, and strip her of the doned by England. On the 5th of January, 1762, died the means of offence, her treasure ships. Lord Bristol, our czarina Elizabeth. She was succeeded by her nephew, the ambassador at Madrid, announced to lord Bute, in a duke of Holstein, under the title of Peter III. Peter was dispatch of the 2nd of November, that these ships had an enthusiastic admirer of the Prussian king; he was extraarrived, and that all the wealth which Spain expected from vagant and incessant in his praises of him. He accepted the her American colonies for the next year was safe at home. commission of a colonel in the Prussian service, wore its And he had to add that, with this, Wall, the minister, had uniform, and was bent on clothing his own troops in it. It thrown off the mask, and had assumed the most haughty was clear that he was not quite sane, for he immediately reand insolent language towards this country. This was a 'called the Russian army wlid was acting against Frederick,

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

hastened to make peace with him, and offered to restore all head of the treasury, and named George Grenville secretary that had been won from him in the war, even to Prussia of state—a fatal nomination, for Grenville lost America. Lord Proper, which the Russians had possession of. His example Barrington, though an adherent of Newcastle, became treawas eagerly seized upon by Sweden, which was tired of the surer of the navy; and Sir Francis Dashwood chancellor of war. Both Russia and Sweden signed treaties of peace with the exchequer. Bute, who, like all weak favourites, had not Frederick in May, and Peter went further : he dispatched the sense to perceive that it was necessary to be moderate to an army into Silesia, where it had so lately been fighting acquire permanent power, immediately obtained a vacant against him, to fight against Austria.

garter, and thus parading the royal favours, augmented th? Elated by this extraordinary turn of affairs, the Prussian rapidly growing unpopularity which his want of sagacity ambassador renewed his applications for money, urging that, and honourable principle was fast creating. He was beset now Russia had joined Frederick, it would be easy to subdue by legions of libels, which fully exposed his incapacity, and Austria and terminate the war. This was an opportunity as freely dealt with the connection betwixt himself and the for Bute to retrace with credit his steps ; but he argued, on mother of the king. the contrary, that, having the aid of Russia, Frederick did Amongst these libellers now started into notice John not want that of England; and is even accused of endeav- Wilkes, a name destined to figure before the public for many ouring to persuade Russia to continue its hostilities against long years, and to draw around it the enthusiasm of the people, Prussia ; and thus he totally alienated a power which might as the great champion of political liberty. Wilkes was one of have hereafter rendered us essential service, without gaining those demagogues with a certain amount of talent, and any a single point.

amount of audacity, who are forced into notoriety by the A fresh extension of the war, instead of a contraction of it, folly and despotism of governments. He was the son of a dissoon developed itself. We were bound by ancient treaties to tiller in Clerkenwell, who had received a classical education, assist Portugal in any hostile crisis, and that country was translated parts of Anacreon, and published editions of noy called upon by France and Spain to renounce our Theophrastus and Catullus, by which he acquired the alliance and declare against us. Large bodies of troops were acquaintance of Pitt, lord Temple, and other persons of rank marched to its frontiers to add weight to these demands, but and distinction. But his character was by no means of a the king of Portugal most honourably refused to break with stamp to recommend him. He was notorious for his excesses his old allies, whatever might happen to him. War was and dissipation. He had ill-used and quarrelled with his instantly declared against him by both Spain and France ; wife, and separated from her under disgraceful circumstances, troops were marched to invade his territories and unite them being only compelled by law to allow her an annuity. He to Spain; and king Joseph sent an urgent appeal to London was at this time member of parliament for Aylesbury, and for succour. On the 11th of May the king sent down a had just commenced a newspaper called “The North Briton," royal message to the house of commons, recommending them in opposition to one published in defence of Bute's adminito take measures for the assistance of Portugal. A vote of a stration, called “ The Briton.” Parliament was prorogued million pounds for that purpose was proposed and carried, on the 2nd of June, and Wilkes's paper appeared immebut not without opposition from lord George Sackville, who diately, and was excessively abusive, not only of Bute, but complained of the wonderful expenditure which had taken of Scotland and Scotchmen generally. place in the German wars, and denounced this as excessive. Amongst his most active coadjutors was Charles Churchill, Pitt started up to defend himself against any charge of cor- | the satirist, a man of much caustic vigour, as his works ruption in the appropriation of the money whilst he was in testify, but, like Wilkes, a mnost dissipated rake, though a office, opening his hand, shaking his fingers, and crying, clergyman, who, like Wilkes, had also separated from his " They are clean! none of it sticks to them !” He reminded wife, and lived by satirising the actors, in his “Rosciad;" them that, had they taken his advice, this Spanish war could Dr. Johnson, in “ The Ghost;" Hogarth, in an Epistle to hardly have existed; but, he continued, undauntedly, “You that great painter, and by aimiog his missives at all sorts of who are for continental measures, I am with you; you who persons and parties. Churchill, by the encouragement of are for assisting the king of Portugal, I am with you; and Wilkes, published his “Prophecy of Famine, a Scots' you who are for putting an end to the war, I am with you Pastoral,” which he inscribed to Wilkes. In this satire he also; in short, I am the only man to be found that is with describes Scotland as the most barren and miserable of you all!”

countries, and in terms which showed that he had never seen The session was growing to a close, and no vote for the it, for he makes its rivers, the most lovely of mountain king of Prussia's subsidy was brought forward. The duke streams, dull and stagnant : of Newcastle, man of mediocre merit as he was, saw

Where, slowly winding, the dull waters creep,

And seem themselves to own the power of sleep. farther than Bute into the disgraceful nature of thus aban

Famine appears to "the poor, mean, despised race" of doning a powerful ally at an extremity, as well as the im

Scotchmen, and tells them to quit an accursed country, policy of converting such a man into a mortal enemy; and,

wheretinding all remonstrances vain, resigned. Bute was glad to

Far as the eye could reach no tree was seen ; be rid of him; and Newcastle, finding both his remonstrance

Earth clad in russet scorned the lively green; and resignation taken very coolly, had the meanness to seek

The plague of locusts certain to defy,

For in three hours a grasshopper must die; to regain a situation in the cabinet, but without effect, and

No living thing, whate'er its food, feeds there, threw himself into the opposition.

But the chameleon, who can feast on air. On Newcastle's resignation Bute placed himself at the She bids them quit this poverty-stricken country, and points

« ZurückWeiter »