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a pension of £3000 (being much less than was offered him), together with a peerage for his wife. Some, indeed, complained that, acting as he did for the people, he should have allowed the King to place him under any pecuniary obligations. "If he had gone into the city,” said Walpole, “and told them he had a poor wife and children unprovided for, and opened a subscription, he would have got £500,000 instead of £3000 a year.” He could never have done so, until he had ceased to be William Pitt. Mr. Burke has truly said, “ With regard to the pension and the title, it is a shame that any defense should be necessary. What eye can not distinguish, at the first glance, between this and the exceptionable case of titles and pensions ? What Briton, with the smallest sense of honor or gratitude, but must blush for his country, if such a man had retired unrewarded from the public service, let the motives of that retirement be what they would ? It was not possible that his sovereign should let his eminent services pass unrequited; and the quantum was rather regulated by the moderation of the great mind that received, than by the liberality of that which bestowed it." It is hardly necessary to add, that the tide of public favor, which had ebbed for a moment, soon returned to its ordinary channels. The city of London sent him an address in the warmest terms of commendation. On Lord Mayor's day, when he joined the young King and Queen in their procession to dine at Guildhall, the eyes of the multitude were turned from the royal equipage to the modest vehicle which contained Mr. Pitt and his brother-in-law, Lord Temple. The loudest acclamations were reserved for the Great Commoner. The crowd, says an eye-witness, clustered around his carriage at every step, " hung upon the wheels, hugged his footmen, and even kissed his horses.” Such were the circumstances under which he retired from office, having resigned on the 5th of October, 1761.
We now come to the fifth and last period of Mr. Pitt's life, embracing about sixteen years, down to his decease in 1778. During the whole of this period, except for a brief season when he was called to form a new ministry, he acted with the Opposition. When a treaty of peace was concluded by Lord Bute, in 1762, he was confined to his bed by the gout; but his feelings were so excited by the concessions made to France, that he caused himself to be conveyed to the House in the midst of his acutest sufferings, and poured out his indignation for three hours and a half, exposing in the keenest terms the loss and dishonor brought upon the country by the conditions of peace. This was called his “ Sitting Speech ;” because, after having stood for a time supported by two friends," he was so excessively ill," says the Parliamentary History, “and his pain became so exceedingly acute, that the House unanimously desired he might be permitted to deliver his sentiments sitting—a circumstance that was unprecedented.” But whether the peace was disgraceful or not, the ministry had no alternative. Lord Bute could not raise money to carry on the war. The merchants, who had urged upon Mr. Pitt double the amount he needed when. ever he asked a loan, refused their assistance to a minister whom they could not trust.
Under these circumstances, Lord Bute was soon driven to extremities; and as a means of increasing the revenues, introduced a bill subjecting cider to an excise. An Excise Bill has always been odious to the English. It brings with it the right of search. It lays open the private dwelling, which every Englishman has been taught to regard as his “castle.” “ You give to the dipping-rod,” said one, arguing against such a law, "what you deny to the scepter!" Mr. Pitt laid hold of this feeling, and opposed the bill with his utmost strength. There is no report of his
while suffering severe pain from the gout, never obeyed. When unable any longer to stand, he always kneeled on a cushion before the King.
? Annual Register for 1761.
• Parliamentary History, xv., 1262. The report of this speech is too meager and unsatisfactory to merit insertion in this work.
speech, but a single passage has come down to us, containing one of the finest bursts of his eloquence. “The poorest man in his cottage may bid defiance to all the forces of the Crown. It may be frail ; its roof may shake; the wind may blow through it; the storm may enter it; but the King of England can not enter it! All his power dares not cross the threshold of that ruined tenement !" It was on this occasion, as stated in the Parliamentary History, that Mr. Pitt uttered a bon mot which was long remembered for the mirth it occasioned. Mr. George Grenville replied to Mr. Pitt, and, though he admitted that an excise was odious, contended that the tax was unavoidable. • The right honorable gentleman,” said he, “
complains of the hardship of the tax-why does he not tell us where we can lay another in its stead?” “Tell me," said he, repeating it with strong emphasis, "tell me where you can lay another tax! Tell me where !" Mr. Pitt, from his seat, broke out in a musical tone, quoting from a popular song of the day, “ Gentle shepherd, tell me where." The House burst into a fit of laughter, which continued for some minutes, and Mr. Grenville barely escaped the sobriquet of Gentle Shepherd for the rest of his life. After six divisions, the bill was passed, but it drove Lord Bute from power. He resigned a few weeks after, and in May, 1763, was succeeded by Mr. Grenville, whose mistakes as minister, in connection with the peculiar temperament of the King, opened a new era in the history of Great Britain.
It was the misfortune of George III., in the early part of his life, to be governed first by favorites and then by his own passions. He was naturally of a quick and obstinate temper. During the first twenty years of his reign (for he afterward corrected this error), he allowed his feelings as a man to mingle far too much with his duties as a sovereign. This led him into two steps, one of which agitated, and the other dismembered his empire—the persecution of John Wilkes, and the attempt to force taxation on the American colonies. It is now known, that he sent a personal order to have Wilkes arrested under a general warrant, against the advice of Lord Mansfield, and insisted on all the subsequent violations of law which gave such notoriety and influence to that restless demagogue. And although he did not originate the plan of taxing America, the moment the right was questioned, he resolved to maintain the principle to the utmost extremity. This it was that forced the “ Declaratory Act" on Lord Rockingham, and held Lord North so long to the war, as it now appears, against his own judgment and feelings. In respect to both these subjects, Mr. Pitt took, from the first, an open and decided stand against the wishes of the King. He did it on the principle which governed his whole political life; which led him, nearly thirty years before, to oppose so violently the issue of searchwarrants for seamen'—the principle of resisting arbitrary power in every form ; of defending, at all hazards, the rights and liberties of the subject,“ however mean, however remote.” During the remainder of his life, all his speeches of any importance, with a single exception, related to one or the other of these topics. It was his constant aim, in his own emphatic language, “ to restore, to save, to confirm the CONSTITUTION."
This attachment of Mr. Pitt to the popular part of the government gave rise to an attack (it is not known on what occasion), which called forth one of those keen and contemptuous retorts with which he so often put down his opponents. Mr. Moreton, Chief Justice of Chester, having occasion to mention “the King, Lords, and Commons,” paused, and, turning toward Mr. Pitt, added, “or, as the right honorable member would call them, Commons, Lords, and King." Mr. Pitt, says Charles Butler, in relating the story, rose (as he always did) with great deliberation, and called to order. “I have,” he said, “heard frequently in this House doctrines which surprised me; but now my blood runs cold! I desire the words
9 See page 80.
of the honorable member may be taken down.” The clerk wrote down the words. “Bring them to me!" said Mr. Pitt, in his loudest voice. By this time Mr. Moreton was frightened out of his senses. “Sir," said he, addressing the Speaker, “I meant nothing ! King, Lords, and Commons; Lords, King, and Com
! mons; Commons, Lords, and King—tria juncta in uno. I meant nothing! Indeed, I meant nothing !" “I don't wish to push the matter further,” said Mr. Pitt, in a tone but little above a whisper. Then, in a higher note, “ The moment a man acknowledges his error, he ceases to be guilty. I have a great regard for the honorable gentleman, and, as an instance of that regard, I give him this advicea pause of some moments; then, assuming a look of unspeakable derision, he added, in a colloquial tone, “Whenever that gentleman means nothing, I recommend to him to say nothing!"
It has already been intimated that, during the period now under review, Mr. Pitt was called, for a brief season, into the service of the Crown. George Grenville, who succeeded Lord Bute, after acting as minister about two years, and inflicting on his country the evils of the American Stamp Act, became personally obnoxious to the King, and was dismissed from office about the middle of 1765. The eyes of the whole country were now turned toward Mr. Pitt, and the King asked the terms upon which he would accept office. Mr. Pitt replied that he was ready to go to St. James's, if he could “carry the Constitution along with him.” But upon entering into details, it was found impossible to reconcile his views with that court influence which still overruled the King. Lord Rockingham was then called upon to form a ministry; and Mr. Pitt has been censured by many, and especially by his biographer, Mr. Thackeray, for not joining heartily in the design, and lending the whole weight of his influence to establish, under his Lordship, another great Whig administration. This might, perhaps, have been an act of magnanimity. But, considering his recent splendid services, the known wishes of the people, and his acknowledged superiority over every other man in the empire, it could hardly be expected of Mr. Pitt that he should make himself a stepping-stone for the ambition of another. Lord Rockingham, though a man of high integrity and generous sentiments, had not that force of character, that eloquence in debate, that controlling influence over the minds of others which could alone reanimate the Whig party, and restore their principles and their policy under a Tory King. Mr. Pitt did not oppose the new ministers; but he declared, at the opening of Parliament, that he could not give them his confidence. “Pardon me, gentlemen," said he, bowing to the ministry, “confidence is a plant of slow growth in an aged bosom!"'10 The event justified his delay and hesitation. “The Cabinet," says Cooke, in his History of Party,
was formed from the rear-guard of the Whigs—men who were timorous and suspicious of their own principles; who were bound in the chains of aristocratic expediency and personal interest, and who dared not to loose them, because they knew not the power of their principles or their ultimate tendency.” The Rockingham administration performed one important service—they repealed the Stamp Act. But they held together only a year, and were dissolved on the 5th of August, 1766.
Mr. Pitt was now called upon to frame a ministry. It was plainly impossible for him to succeed ; and no one but a man of his sanguine temperament would have thought of making the attempt. The Rockingham Whigs, forming the wealthy and aristocratic section of the party, might of course be expected to oppose.
Lord Temple, who had hitherto adhered to Mr. Pitt in every emergency, now deserted him, and joined his brother, George Grenville, in justifying American taxation.
10 See page 103 for the speech containing this passage, and a description of Mr. Pitt's impressive manner in thus declaring off from Lord Rockingham. This single sentence decided the fate of that ministry.
Lord Camden and a few others, the pioneers of Whiggism as it now exists, supported Mr. Pitt, and carried with them the suffrages of the people. But the Tories were favorites at Court. They filled all the important stations of the household ; they had the readiest access to the royal presence; and, though Mr. Pitt might, at first, undoubtedly rely on the King for support, he could hardly expect to enjoy it long without gratifying his wishes in the selection of the great officers of state. Under these circumstances, the moment Mr. Pitt discovered his real situation, he ought to have relinquished the attempt to form a ministry. But he was led on step by step. His proud spirit had never been accustomed to draw back. He at last formed one on coalition principles. He drew around him as many of his own friends as possible, and filled up the remaining places with Tories, hoping to keep the peace at the council-board by his personal influence and authority. He had put down Newcastle by uniting with him, and he was confident of doing the same with his new competitors. But he made one mistake at the outset, which, in connection with his subsequent illness, proved the ruin of his ministry. It related to the
lead" of the House of Commons. His voice was the only one that could rule the stormy discussions of that body, and compose the elements of strife which were thickening around him. And yet he withdrew from the House, and gave the lead to Charles Townsend. Never was a choice more unfortunate. Townsend was, indeed, brilliant, but he was rash and unstable ; eaten up with the desire to please every body; utterly devoid of firmness and self-command ; and, therefore, the last man in the world for giving a lead and direction to the measures of the House. But Mr. Pitt's health was gone. He felt wholly inadequate, under his frequent attacks of the gout, to take the burden of debate ;. he therefore named himself Lord Privy Seal, and passed into the Upper House with the title of Lord Chatham. As might be expected, his motives in thus accepting the peerage were, for a time, misunderstood. He was supposed to have renounced his principles, and become a creature of the Court. The city of London, where he had ruled with absolute sway as the Great Commoner, refused him their support or congratulations as Lord Chatham. The press teemed with invectives; and the people, who considered him as having betrayed their cause, loaded him with maledictions. Such treatment, in connection with his sufferings from disease, naturally tended to agitate his feelings and sour his temper. He was sometimes betrayed into rash conduct and passionate language. His biographer has, indeed, truly said, that, "highly as Lord Chatham was loved and respected by his own family, and great as were his talents and virtues, he possessed not the art of cementing political friendships. A consciousness of his superior abilities, strengthened by the brilliant successes of his former administration, and the unbounded popularity he enjoyed, imparted an austerity to his manners which distressed and offended his colleagues."
Such were the circumstances under which Lord Chatham formed his third ministry. It would long since have passed into oblivion, had not Mr. Burke handed it down to posterity in one of the most striking pictures (though abounding in grotesque imagery) which we have in our literature. “ He made an administration,” says Mr. Burke, in his speech on American Taxation, “so checkered and speckled; he put together a piece of joinery so crossly indented and whimsically dovetailed ; a cabinet so variously inlaid ; such a piece of diversified mosaic ; such a tesselated pavement without cement, here a bit of black stone, and there a bit of white; patriots and courtiers, King's friends and Republicans, that it was indeed a very curious show, but utterly unsafe to touch and unsure to stand on. The colleagues whom he assorted at the same boards stared at each other, and were obliged to ask, 'Sir, your name?” “Sir, you have the advantage of me.' Mr. Such-a-one, I beg a thousand pardons.' I ventựre to say it did so happen, that persons had
single office divided between them who had never spoke to each other in their lives until they found themselves (they knew not how) pigging together, heads and points, in the same truckle-bed."'l| ***" If ever he fell into a fit of the gout, or if any other cause withdrew him from public cares, principles directly the contrary were sure to predominate. When he had executed his plan, he had not an inch of ground to stand on. When he had accomplished his scheme of administration, he was no longer a minister."
Such was literally the fact. Only a few weeks after his final arrangements were made, he was seized with a paroxysm of the gout at Bath, which threatened his immediate dissolution. Having partially recovered, he set out on his return for London, in February, 1767. But he was violently attacked on the road, and was compelled to retire to his country seat at Hayes, where he lay in extreme suffering, with a mind so agitated and diseased that all access to him was denied for many
months. It was during this period that Charles Townsend, in one of his rash and boastful moods, committed himself to Mr. Grenville in favor of taxing the colonies; and was induced to lay those duties on tea, glass, &c., which revived the contest, and led to the American Revolution. It is, indeed, a singular circumstance, that such a bill should have passed under an administration bearing the name of Chatham. But he had ceased to be minister except in name. Some months before, he had sent a verbal message to the King (for he was unable to write), that “such was the ill state of his health, that his majesty must not expect from him any further advice or assistance in any arrangement whatever.” When Grafton became minister, he sent in his formal resignation by the hands of Lord Camden. It is striking to observe how soon great men are forgotten when they fall from power, and withdraw, in the decay of their faculties, from the notice of the public. Lord Chatham's former resignation was an era in Europe. The news of it awakened the liveliest emotions throughout the civilized world. The time of his second resignation was hardly known in London. His sun appeared to have sunk at mid-day amid clouds and gloom Little did any one imagine, that it was again to break forth with a purer splendor, and to fill the whole horizon around with the radiance of its setting beams."?
11 Supposed to refer to Lord North and Mr. George Cooke, who were made joint paymasters.
1. There was a mystery connected with Lord Chatham's long confiuement which has created many surmises. A writer in the London Quarterly Review for 1840 has endeavored to show that it was, to a great extent, a thing of pretense and affectation; that he was shocked at the sudden loss of his popularity after accepting the peerage ; disconcerted by the opposition which sprung up; mortified at the failure of his attempts to strengthen his government; and that, under these circumstances, “ he felt some reluctance to come forward in his new character, and perhaps clung to office only that he might and some striking and popular occasion for resignation.” To an enemy of Lord Chatham's fame and priuciples this may seem probable ; but it is a mere hypothesis, with. out the least evidence to support it. It is probably true that Lord Chatham's withdrawal from public business was not owing to direct sufferings from the gout during the whole space of two years. Lord Chesterfield, who was no friend of Chatham, and not the least inclined to shelter him, attributed " bis inactivity to the effects of the injudicious treatment of his physician, who had prevented a threatened attack of the gout by dispersing the humor throughout the whole system. The experiment caused a severe fit of illness, which chiefly affected his nerves." Whether this was the cause or not, it is certain that his nervous system was in a very alarming state, and that his mind became greatly diseased. He was gloomy in the extreme, and perhaps yielded to unreasonable jealousies and suspicions. Such seems to have been at one time the opinion of Lord Camden, who says, in a confidential letter, “ Lord Chatham is at Hayes, brooding over his own suspicions and discontents—his return to business almost desperate—inaccessible to every body; but under a persuasion that he is given up and abandoned.” But Lord Camden soon after received information which probably changed his views. “On his return to London," says his biographer, " he heard such an account of Lord Chatham as to convince him that the country was forever deprived of the services of that illustrious man." This refers, undoubtedly, to a report of his being deranged, which was then prevalent. It now appears that this was not literally the fact, though his mind was certainly in such a state that Lady Chatham did not allow him to be master