Imatges de pÓgina
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will be like any of the other pictures drawn of him.

In private life he was good-natured, cheerful, social; inelegant in his manners, loose in his morals. He had a coarse, strong wit, which he was too free of for a man in his station, as it is always inconsistent with dignity. He was very able as a minister, but without a certain elevation of mind necessary for great good or great mischief. Profuse and appetent, his ambition was subservient to his desire of making a great fortune. He had more of the Mazarin than of the Richelieu. He would do mean things for profit, and never thought of doing great ones for glory.

He was both the best parliament-man, and the ablest manager of parliament, that, I believe, ever lived. An artful, rather than an eloquent speaker; he saw, as by intuition, the disposition of the house, and pressed or receded accordingly. So clear in stating the most intricate matters, especially in the finances, that, whilst he was speaking, the most ignorant thought that they understood what they really did not. Money, not prerogative, was the chief engine of his administration; and he employed it with success, which in a manner disgraced humanity. He was not, it is true, the inventor of that shameful method of governing, which had been gaining ground insensibly ever since Charles II.; but, with uncommon skill, and unbounded profusion, he brought it to that perfection, which at this time dishonours and distresses this country, and which (if not checked, and God knows how it can be now checked) must ruin it.

Besides this powerful engine of government, he had a most extraordinary talent of persuading and working men up to his purpose. A hearty kind of frankness, which sometimes seemed impudence, made people think that he let them into his secrets, whilst the impoliteness of his manners seemed to attest his sincerity. When he found any body proof against pecuniary temptations; which, alas! was but seldom, he had recourse to a still worse art; for he laughed at and ridiculed all notions of public virtue, and the love of one's country, calling them, "The chimerical school-boy flights of "classical learning;" declaring himself, at the same time, "No saint, no Spar"tan, no reformer." He would frequent

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He was the easy and profuse dupe of women, and in some instances indecently He was excessively open to flattery, even of the grossest kind; and from the coarsest bunglers of that vile profession; which engaged him to pass most of his leisure and jovial hours with people whose blasted characters reflected upon his own. He was loved by many, but respected by none; his familiar and illiberal mirth and raillery leaving him no dignity. He was not vindictive, but, on the contrary, very placable to those who had injured him the most. His good-humour, good-nature, and beneficence, in the several relations of father, husband, master, and friend, gained him the warmest affections of all within that circle.

His name will not be recorded in history among the "best men," or the "best "ministers;" but much less ought it to be ranked among the worst.

Chesterfield.

§ 127. Character of Lord GRANVILLE.

Lord Granville had great parts, and a most uncommon share of learning for a man of quality. He was one of the best speakers in the house of lords both in the declamatory and the argumentative way. He had a wonderful quickness and precision in seizing the stress of a question, which no art, no sophistry, could disguise in him. In business he was bold, enterprising, and overbearing. He had been bred up in high monarchical, that is, tyrannical principles of government, which his ardent and imperious temper made him think were the only rational and practicable ones. He would have been a great first minister of France, little inferior, perhaps, to Richelieu: in this government, which is yet free, he would have been a dangerous one, little less so, perhaps, than Lord Strafford. He was neither ill-natured, nor vindictive, and had a great contempt for money; his ideas were all above it. In social life he was an agreeable good-humoured, and in

structive companion; a great but enter taining talker.

He degraded himself by the vice of drinking; which, together with a great stock of Greek and Latin, he brought away with him from Oxford, and retained and practised ever afterwards. By his own industry, he had made himself master of all the modern languages, and had acquired a great knowledge of the law. His political knowledge of the interest of princes and of commerce was extensive, and his notions were just and great. His character may be summed up, in nice precision, quick decision, and unbounded presumption.

Chesterfield.

§ 128. Character of Mr. PELHAM. Mr. Pelham had good sense, without either shining parts or any degree of literature. He had by no means an elevated or enterprising genius, but had a more manly and steady resolution than his brother the Duke of Newcastle. He had a gentleman-like frankness in his behaviour, and as great point of honour as a minister can have, especially a minister at the head of the treasury, where numberless sturdy and insatiable beggars of condition apply, who cannot all be gratified, nor all with safety be refused.

He was a very inelegant speaker in parliament, but spoke with a certain candour and openness that made him be well heard, and generally believed.

He wished well to the public, and managed the finances with great care and personal purity. He was par negotiis neque supra: had many domestic virtues and novices. If his place, and the power that accompanies it, made him some public enemies, his behaviour in both, secured him from personal and rancorous ones. Those who wished him worst, only wished themselves in his place.

Upon the whole, he was an honourable man, and a well-wishing minister. Ibid.

§ 129. Character of RICHARD Earl of

SCARBOROUGH.

In drawing the character of Lord Scar borough, I will be strictly upon my guard against the partiality of that intimate and unreserved friendship, in which we lived for more than twenty years; to which friendship, as well as to the public notoriety of it, I owe much more than my pride

will let my gratitude own. If this may be suspected to have biassed my judgment, it must, at the same time, be allowed to have informed it; for the most secret movements of his whole soul were, without disguise, communicated to me only. However, I will rather lower than heighten the colouring; I will mark the shades, and draw a credible, rather than an exact likeness.

He had a very good person, rather above the middle size; a handsome face, and, when he was cheerful, the most engaging countenance imaginable; when grave, which he was oftenest, the most respectable one. He had in the highest degree the air, manners, and address of a man of quality; politeness with ease, and dignity without pride.

Bred in camps and courts, it cannot be supposed that he was untainted with the fashionable vices of these warm climates; but (if I may be allowed the expression) he dignified them, instead of their degrading him into any mean or indecent action. He had a good degree of classical, and a great one of modern knowledge; with a just, and, at the same time, a delicate taste.

In his common expences he was liberal within bounds; but in his charities, and bounties he had none. I have known them put him to some present inconveni

ences.

He was a strong, but not an eloquent or florid speaker in parliament. He spoke so unaffectedly the honest dictates of his heart, that truth and virtue, which never want, and seldom wear, ornaments, seemed only to borrow his voice. This gave such an astonishing weight to all he said, that he more than once carried an unwilling majority after him. Such is the authority of unsuspected virtue, that it will sometimes shame vice into decency at least.

He was not only offered, but pressed to accept, the post of secretary of state; but he constantly refused it. I once tried to me, that both the natural warmth and persuade him to accept it; but he told melancholy of his temper made him unfit for it; and that moreover he knew very well that, in those ministerial employments, the course of business made it necessary to do many hard things, and some unjust ones, which could only be authorised by the jesuitical casuistry of the direction of the intention: a doctrine

which he said he could not possibly adopt. Whether he was the first that ever made that objection, I cannot affirm; but I suspect that he will be the last.

He was a true constitutional, and yet practical patriot; a sincere lover, and a zealous assertor of the natural, the civil, and the religious rights of his country: but he would not quarrel with the crown, for some slight stretches of the prerogative; nor with the people, for some unwary ebullitions of liberty; nor with any one for a difference of opinion in speculative points. He considered the constitution in the aggregate, and only watched that no one part of it should preponderate too much.

His moral character was so pure, that if one may say of that imperfect creature, man, what a celebrated historian says of Scipio, nil non laudandum aut dixit, aut fecit, aut sensit; I sincerely think (I had almost said I know), one might say it with great truth of him, one single instance excepted, which shall be mentioned.

He joined to the noblest and strictest principles of honour and generosity, the tenderest sentiments of benevolence and compassion; and, as he was naturally warm, he could not even hear of an injustice or a baseness, without a sudden indignation: nor of the misfortunes or miseries of a fellow creature, without melting into softness, and endeavouring to relieve them. This part of his character was so universally known, that our best and most satirical English poet

says,

When I confess there is who feels for fame, And melts to goodness, need I Scarborough name?

He had not the least pride of birth and rank, that common narrow notion of little minds, that wretched mistaken succedaneum of merit; but he was jealous to anxiety of his character, as all men are who deserve a good one. And such was his diffidence upon that subject, that he never could be persuaded that mankind really thought of him as they did; for surely never man had a higher reputation, and never man enjoyed a more universal esteem. Even knaves respected him; and fools thought they loved him. If he had any enemies (for I protest I never knew one), they could be only such as were weary of always hearing of Aristides

the Just.

He was too subject to sudden gusts of passion, but they never hurried him into any illiberal or indecent expression or ac tion; so invincibly habitual to him were good-nature and good-manners. But if ever any word happened to fall from him in warmth, which upon subsequent reflection he himself thought too strong, he was never easy till he had made more than a sufficient atonement for it.

He had a most unfortunate, I will call it a most fatal kind of melancholy in his nature, which often made him both absent and silent in company, but never At other times he was a

morose or sour.

cheerful and agreeable companion; but, conscious that he was not always so, he avoided company too much, and was too often alone, giving way to gloomy reflections.

a train of

His constitution, which was never robust, broke rapidly at the latter end of He had two severe strokes of his life. apoplexy or palsy, which considerably affected his body and his mind.

I desire that this may not be looked upon as a full and finished character, writ for the sake of writing it; but as my solemn deposit of the truth to the best of my knowledge. I owed this small deposit of justice, such as it is, to the memory of the best man I ever knew, and of the dearest friend I ever had.

Chesterfield.

§ 130. Character of Lord HARDWICKE.

Lord Hardwicke was, perhaps, the greatest magistrate that this country ever had. He presided in the court of Chancery above twenty years, and in all that time none of his decrees were reversed, nor the justness of them ever questioned. Though avarice was his ruling passion, he was never in the least suspected of any kind of corruption: a rare and meritorious instance of virtue and self-denial, under the influence of such a craving, insatiable, and increasing passion.

He had great and clear parts; understood, loved, and cultivated the belles lettres. He was an agreeable, eloquent speaker in parliament, but not without some little tincture of the pleader.

Men are apt to mistake, or at least to seem to mistake, their own talents, in hopes, perhaps, of misleading others to allow them that which they are conscious: they do not possess. Thus Lord Hardwicke valued himself more upon being a

great minister of state, which he certainly was not, than upon being a great magistrate, which he certainly was.

All his notions were clear, but none of them great. Good order and domestic details were his proper department. The great and shining parts of government, though not above his parts to conceive, were above his timidity to undertake.

By great and lucrative employments, during the course of thirty years, and by still greater parsimony, he acquired an immense fortune, and established his numerous family in advantageous posts and profitable alliances.

Though he had been solicitor and attorney-general, he was by no means what is called a prerogative lawyer. He loved the constitution, and maintained the just prerogative of the crown, but without stretching it to the oppression of the people.

He was naturally humane, moderate, and decent; and when, by his former employments, he was obliged to prosecute state-criminals, he discharged that duty in a very different manner from most of his predecessors, who were too justly called the "blood-hounds of the crown."

He was a cheerful and instructive companion, humane in his nature, decent in his manners, unstained with any vice (avarice excepted), a very great magistrate, but by no means a great minister.

Chesterfield.

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The Duke of Newcastle will be so often mentioned in the history of these times, and with so strong a bias either for or against him, that I resolved, for the sake of truth, to draw his character, with my usual impartiality: for as he had been a minister for above forty years to gether, and in the last ten years of that period, first minister, he had full time to oblige one-half of the nation, and to of fend the other.

We were contemporaries, near relations, and familiar acquaintances; sometimes well, and sometimes ill together, accord. ing to the several variations of political affairs, which know no relations, friends, or acquaintances.

The public opinion put him below his level: for though he had no superior parts, or eminent talents, he had a most

indefatigable industry, a perseverance, a court craft, a servile compliance with the will of his sovereign for the time being: which qualities, with only a common share of common sense, will carry a man sooner and more safely through the dark labyrinths of a court, than the most shining parts would do without those meaner talents.

He was good-natured to a degree of weakness, even to tears, upon the slightest occasions. Exceedingly timorous, both personally and politically, dreading the least innovation, and keeping, with a scrupulous timidity, in the beaten track of bu siness, as having the safest bottom.

I will mention one instance of this disposition, which, I think, will set it in the strongest light. When I brought the bill into the house of lords, for correcting and amending the calendar, I gave him previous notice of my intentions: he was alarmed at so bold an undertaking, and conjured me not to stir matters that had been long quiet; adding that he did not love new-fangled things. I did not, however, yield to the cogency of these arguments, but brought in the bill, and it passed unanimously. From such weaknesses it necessarily follows, that he could have no great ideas, nor elevation of mind.

His ruling, or rather his only, passion was, the agitation, the bustle, and the hurry of business, to which he had been. accustomed above forty years; but he was as dilatory in dispatching it, as he ways in a hurry, never walked, but always was eager to engage in it. He was al

run, insomuch that I have sometimes told him, that by his fleetness one should rather take him for the courier than the author of the letters.

He was as jealous of his power as an impotent lover of his mistress, without activity of mind enough to enjoy or exert it, but could not bear a share even in the appearances of it.

His levees were his pleasure, and his triumph; he loved to have them crowded, and consequently they were so; there he made people of business wait two or three hours in the ante-chamber, while he trifled away that time with some insignificant favourites in his closet. When at last he came into his levee-room, he accosted, hugged, embraced, and promised every body, with a seeming cordiality, but at the same time with an illiberal and degrading familiarity.

He was exceedingly disinterested: very profuse of his own fortune, and abhorring all those means, too often used by persons in his station, either to gratify their avarice, or to supply their prodigality; for he retired from business in the year 1762, above four hundred thousand pounds poorer than when he first engaged in it. Upon the whole, he was a compound of most human weaknesses, but untainted with any vice or crime. Chesterfield.

§ 132. Character of Mr. PITT.
(Lord Chatham.)

Mr. Pitt owed his rise to the most considerable posts and power in this kingdom, singly to his own abilities; in him they supplied the want of birth and fortune, which latter in others too often supply the want of the former. He was a younger brother of a very new family, and his fortune only an annuity of one hundred pounds a-year.

The army was his original destination, and a cornetcy of horse his first and only commission in it. Thus, unassisted by favour or fortune, he had no powerful protector to introduce him into business, and (if I may use that expression) to do the honours of his parts; but their own strength was fully sufficient.

His constitution refused him the usual pleasures, and his genius forbad him the idle dissipations of youth; for so early as at the age of sixteen, he was the martyr of an hereditary gout. He therefore employed the leisure which that tedious and painful distemper either procured or allowed him, in acquiring a great fund of premature and useful knowledge. Thus, by the unaccountable relation of causes and effects, what seemed the greatest misfortune of his life, was, perhaps, the principal cause of its splendour.

His private life was stained by no vices nor sullied by any meanness. All his sentiments were liberal and elevated. His ruling passion was an unbounded ambition, which, when supported by great abilities, and crowned by great success, make what the world calls " a great man." He was haughty, imperious, impatient of contradiction, and overbearing; qualities which too often accompany, but always clog, great ones.

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He had manners and address; but one might discern through them too great a consciousness of his own superior talents. He was a most agreeable and lively com

panion in social life; and had such a versatility of wit, that he could adapt it to all sorts of conversation. He had also a most happy turn to poetry, but he seldom indulged and seldom avowed it.

He came young into parliament, and upon that great theatre soon equalled the oldest and the ablest actors. His eloquence was of every kind, and he excelled in the argumentative as well as in the declamatory way; but his invectives were terrible, and uttered with such energy of diction, and stern dignity of action and countenance, that he intimidated those who were the most willing and the best able to encounter him; their arms fell out of their hands, and they shrunk under the ascendant which his genius gained over theirs.

In that assembly, where the public good is so much talked of, and private interest singly pursued, he set out with acting the patriot, and performed that part so nobly, that he was adopted by the public as their chief, or rather only unsuspected, champion.

The weight of his popularity, and his universally acknowledged abilities, obtruded him upon king George II. to whom he was personally obnoxious. He was made secretary of state: in this difficult and delicate situation, which one would have thought must have reduced either the patriot or the minister to a decisive option, he managed with such ability, that while he served the king more effectually in his most unwarrantable electoral views, than any former minister, however willing, had dared to do, he still preserved all his credit and popularity with the public; whom he assured and convinced, that the protection and defence of Hanover, with an army of seventy-five thousand men in British pay, was the only possible method of securing our possessions or acquisitions in North America. So much easier is it to deceive than to undeceive mankind.

His own disinterestedness, and even contempt of money, smoothed his way to power, and prevented or silenced a great share of that envy which commonly attends it. Most men think that they have an equal natural right to riches, and equal abilities to make the proper use of them; but not very many of them have the impudence to think themselves qualified for power.

* Hume, Campbell, and Lord Chief Justice Mansfield,

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