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looked into the Parliamentary history of the times we are now glancing over, suppose him to have been merely a great brewer, purchasing an obscure seat in the House of Commons by his ill-gotten wealth, who held his tongue during the session, and sold beer in vacation. But he possessed an intellect of the most vigorous frame, which had been garnished by a complete education, and liberalized by extensive foreign travel. He was the companion and counselor of Fox, Erskine, Sheridan, Grey, Mackintosh, Romilly, and Brougham--a frequent visitor at Holland House-a ready and strong debater, always foremost in the conflicts of those violent times for a short period the trusted leader of his party in the House-and in 1814, when the quarrel between the imprudent Caroline and her lewd husband came to an open rupture, he was selected, with Brougham, to be her confidential adviser and friend. Generous in the diffusion of his vast wealth-gentle and kindly in his affections—the warm friend of human freedom, and the sworn foe of oppression in all its forms he gave his entire powers to the cause of progress and reform, and resisted, in all places, at all seasons, and when others quailed, the foreign policy of Pitt, Perceval, and Castlereagh. The return of Napoleon from Elba alarmed all classes of Englishmen, and for the moment swept all parties from their moorings. An Address to the Throne for an enlargement of the forces was immediately moved by Grenville in the Lords, and Grattan in the Commons, (both Whigs,) and supported by a large majority of the panic-struck Opposition. Whitbread stood firm; and, though denounced as a traitor and a French Jacobin, made an able speech in favor of his motion that England ought not to interfere for the restoration of the Bourbons. Such a fact illustrates the inflexible metal of the man, more than a column of panegyric. His political principles approached the standard of democracy; and this, with his plebeian extraction and rather blunt manners, gave him less favor with some of the full-blooded patricians of his party
than with their common constituency. He died in 1815, and like Romilly and Castlereagh, fell by his own hand.
Many worthy and not a few illustrious names might find a place here. Grey, the dignified and uncompromising-Romilly, the sagacious and humane—Mackintosh, the classical and ornate-Grattan, the chivalrous and daring—Burdett, the manly and bold-Horner, the learned and modest-Holland, the polished and generous-Brougham, the versatile and strong---all of whom, with others scarcely less notable, sustained the drooping cause of freedom against the policy of Pitt and his followers, and kept alive the sacred fires, to break out brightly in happier times. But, each may be noticed in other connections. We will now speak of three statesmen of a different school.
LORD CASTLEREAGH was the life and soul of Pitt's continental policy during the six years before Napoleon fell. Like Sheridan, he was an Irishman. But, unlike him, he resisted every measure which promised to bless his nativé country, with the skill of a magician and the venom of a fiend. Ever ready to bribe, bully, or butcher, he plunged England deeper and deeper into debt and into blood, and seemed to regret when there was no more money to be squandered, and no more fighting to be done. As the best atonement he could make for permitting ber to come out of the conflict with a free Government, and without being utterly ruined, he went to the Congress of Vienna, and humbly begged leave to lay her constitution and her honor at the feet of the allied despots whom she had impoverished herself in sustaining against the arms of France, It has been contended that Perceval was an honest bigot; at least as honest as any man could be who performed so many bad deeds. But, beyond all question, Castlereagh is one of the most atrocious and despicable Englishmen of the nineteenth century. The name of no other modern statesman is so cordially and so justly detested by the mass of the peopie. With no more eloquence than a last vear's almanac
utterly incapable of cutting even a second-rate figure as a Parliamentary debater-yet, because of his intimate acquaintance with the affairs of that vast kingdom, his blunt sense, promptness in council, unflinching courage, and his unfaltering attachment to the Throne, and his unscrupulous execution of its decrees, he led the Tory party in the Commons, and controlled the counsels of the King through eleven of the most turbulent years in England's recent history. Though not the nominal Premier, he was the real head of its ministry during the war with this country, and in the times which preceded and followed the overthrow of Bonaparte, and bore a leading share in the subsequent despotic transactions which assumed the soft name of “the pacification of Europe." At the Cougress of Vienna he represented the Power which had staked all, and nearly lost all, in restoring the Bourbons. This gave him the right to demand, in her name, that the victories she had bought or won should redound to the advancement of constitutional liberty. But this cringing tool of anointed tyranny, so far from bearing himself in a manner worthy of his great constituency, succumbed to the dictation of Russia and Austria -aided them in forming the diabolical Holy Alliance, that politico-military Inquisition for “the settlement of Europe » --and, decked out in his blazing star and azure ribbon, seemed to take as vulgar a satisfaction in being permitted to sit at the council-board of these monarchs, as did Mr. Tittlebat Titmouse, when admitted to the table of the Earl of Dreddlington. His subsequent course in endorsing the military surveillance which this Holy Inquisition exercised over the people of Europe, encountered the tireless hostility of the liberal party of England, whose leaders made the island ring with their protests. At length, this bold, bad man, this “ice-hearted dog," as Ebenezer Elliott called him, having opposed the abolition of the slave trade, thc amelioration of the criminal code, the modification of the corn laws, Catholic emancipation, Parliamentary reform, and every other social and political improvement, during twenty-five years, suddenly finished a career which had been marked at every step by infamous deeds. Immediately thereupon, Mr. Canning, who succeeded to his place as Foreign Secretary, filed his protest against certain proceedings of the Holy Alliance, and England withdrew from that conspiracy of royal rogues.
Throughout the period just mentioned, LORD LIVERPOOL was the nominal head of the Ministry. He was a very respectable nobleman, with a large purse and few talents ; an casy, good-for-nothing, James-Monroc sort of a body, whom every Whig and Tory made a low bow to, but whom nobody feared or cared for ; a pilot that could steer the ship of state tolerably well in quiet waters, but who quit the helm for the cabin the instant the sky was overcast, or the waves raged. He was in office so long that he became a sort of ministerial fixture—a kind of nucleus around which more ambitious, showy, and potent materials gathered. People had become so accustomed to see him at the head of affairs, where he did so little as to offend no one, that they looked upon him as almost as necessary to the working of the governmental machine as the King himself. This commonplace man, under the successive names of Mr. Jenkinson, Lord Hawkesbury, and Lord Liverpool, held important stations in the Cabinet more than thirty years, nearly half of which he was Premier.
As has been remarked, MR. CANNING succeeded Lord Castlereagh as Foreign Secretary in 1823, and Lord Liverpool as Premier in 1827. Like Castlereagh, Canning was of Irish descent; but, unlike him, he had some Irish blood in his veins. Like him, he sustained the continental policy of Pitt; but, unlike him, he did not desire to degrade England, after she had destroyed Napoleon. Like him, he exercised great sway in the councils of the country ; but, unlike him, it was not so much the influence of mere official station, as the voluntary tribute paid to a splendid and captivating genius. For thirtyfive years, this remarkable man participated in public affairs ·
and whatever opinion may be formed of his statesmenship, he was undoubtedly the most brilliant orator (I use the term in its best and in its restricted sense) which has appeared in the House of Commons the present century.
Canning's father was a broken-down Irish barrister, who, having little knowledge of law, and less practice, quit Ireland for London, where he eked out a scanty existence by writing bad rhymes for the magazines, and tolerable pamphlets for the politicians. He died the day George was a year old — April 11, 1771. The mother, left penniless, listened to the flatteries of Garrick, went upon the stage, tried to sustain first-rate characters, failed, sunk silently into a secondary position, married a drunken actor, who then had two or three wives, and who, after strolling about the provinces a few yoars, died in a mad-house, when she married a stage-smitten silk mercer, who had a little more money than her late husband, and a rather better character. Failing in business soon after, he tried the stage in company with his wife, where he speedily broke down, and she continued for some years to figure in third-rate characters at the minor theaters. In such company as would naturally surround such guardians, the future Prime Minister of England spent the first nine or ten years of his life. He had a respectable paternal uncle in London—a merchant of some wealth. An old actor, by the name of Moody, detected the glittering gem of genius in the unpromising lad, went to this uncle, and urged him to take his nephew (whom he had never seen) under his care. He complied, sent him to a grammar school, then to Eton, and, dying, left the means of educating his ward at Oxford. Young Canning shone conspicuously at the University, as a wit, an elocutionist, and a poet, and contracted some aristocratic friendships which served his turn in subsequent life, especially that with Mr. Jenkinson, afterwards Lord Liverpool.
After he left the University, he became intimate with Sheridan, who knew something of his mother and his own history,