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covered, and who were now ready to point all their indignation against those who, having pledged themselves to bring him to the block, were treading in his footsteps. Lord Hardwicke's importance (as he had expected) rose considerably in the new government. The Earl of Wilmington, the nominal chief, was a mere cipher. Lord Carteret had great influence, particularly in foreign affairs, but domestic measures were left chiefly to the Chancellor, and he was called upon to defend in debate the treaties that were entered into, and the arrangements which were made for the prosecution of the war and for the defence of the kingdom. The grand object of attack with the Jacobites, Tories, and disappointed Whigs, was the measure of taking 10,000 Hanoverian troops into British pay, which was so unpopular that many who pretended to be well-wishers to the Protestant succession joined in the cry of “no Hanoverian King!” In the spring of 1743 this subject was brought forward in the House of Lords, in a very offensive manner, by Earl Stanhope (the son of the Minister), who moved an address to the King, praying “that his Majesty, out of compassion to his English subjects, would exonerate them from those mercenaries who had been taken into pay without the consent of parliament.” A furious debate was closed with a very able pleading by the Chancellor, which was much applauded at the time, although it has now nearly lost all its interest. One passage of it might have really called forth the exclamation,-‘‘Well done, Colonel Yorkel ” In answer to the observation that, under the present administration, the nation was reduced to poverty and had lost all its spirit, he replied,—“If our wealth is diminished, it is time to ruin the commerce of that nation which has driven us from the markets of the Continent, by sweeping the seas of their ships and by blockading their ports. Our courage is depressed—not by any change in the nature of the inhabitants of this island, but by a long course of inglorious compliance with the demands, and of mean submission to the insults, of other nations. Let us put forth all the strength we can command, and we are secure. The complaint is, that we have the aid of a friendly state. My Lords, we had auxiliaries in our pay at Blenheim and at Ramillies, and by the same means equal victories may still be won.” He then, as a lawyer, combated the objection that this arrangement with Hanover should have been the subject of a treaty,+contending that such a mode of proceeding was
A.D. 1743. EMPLOYMENT OF HANOWERIAN TROOPS. 231
impracticable:–“It is well known that no power in this kingdom can enter into a treaty with a foreign state except the King, and it is equally certain that with regard to Hanover the same right is limited to the Elector. This proposed treaty, my Lords, is therefore a treaty of the same person with himself —a treaty of which the two counterparts are to receive their ratification from being signed by the same person, and exchanged by being conveyed from his left hand to his right, and reciprocally from his right hand to his left.” He insisted that if Hanover had been governed by another Sovereign wholly unconnected with the present royal family of England, the arrangement would have been highly advantageous to English interests, and would have met with general applause. This speech made Lord Hardwicke ever after a special favourite with George II., who had a high opinion of his own skill in the art of war, and was now burning to eclipse the glories of Marlborough, -a wish which he soon after thought he had actually accomplished at Dettingen, although the French claimed the victory, and his undutiful nephew, Frederick of Prussia, represented him as “standing all the day with his drawn sword in his hand, in the attitude of a fencing-master who is about to make a lunge in carte.” The Chancellor, amidst the plaudits bestowed upon his great Hanoverian speech, was this summer in some anxiety about ministerial arrangements. The Earl of Wilmington was dying, and Pulteney Earl of Bath, finding too late that he could not have influence without office and patronage, made a vigorous effort to succeed him. Such a proposal was highly alarming to Lord Hardwicke, for their cordiality had been fleeting, and their ancient enmity had lately burst out afresh. He therefore stirred up Henry Pelham, brother of his patron, the Duke of Newcastle, to claim the office, although this quiet, judicious man, with characteristic timidity, shrunk from the dangerous eminence. He farther prevailed upon the fallen minister, who, in his retreat at Houghton, still had much influence over the royal mind, to back the application. On Wilmington's death, the King, who was abroad, sent a despatch announcing his decision in favour of Pelham. Lord Hardwicke was of course asked to continue Chancellor. The Duke of Newcastle then wrote to him, giving a hint, in a very amusing manner, about his over-caution: “My brother has all the prudence, knowledge, experience, and good intention that I can wish or hope in man; but it will or may be difficult for us w
to stem alone that which, with your great weight, authority, and character, would not be twice mentioned. Besides, my brother and I may differ in opinion, in which case I am sure yours would determine both. There has been for many years a unity of thought and action between you and me; and if I have ever regretted any thing, it has been (forgive me for saying it) too much caution in the execution, which I have sometimes observed has rather produced than avoided the mischief apprehended.” For many years afterwards Lord Hardwicke held the Great A.D. 1743– Seal as securely as his fee-simple estate at Wimpole. 1744. All divisions in the Cabinet were obviated by the dismissal of Carteret, become Earl Granville, the most accomplished, but the most fantastical, politician of that age. The opposition was soon after weakened by the death of Lord Hervey and the Duke of Argyle, and by Lord Chesterfield's acceptance of the vice-royalty of Ireland. Horace Walpole considers that from this time the Chancellor was Prime Minister, saying, “When Yorke had left none but his friends in the Ministry, he was easily the most eminent for abilities.” Yet great difficulty was sometimes experienced in managing the King, who long remained sulky for the loss of Carteret, and was not at all reconciled to the English notion of “parliamentary government.” Lord Hardwicke, in his Diary, has left us a very amusing account of a royal audience which he had demanded (January 5th, 1744-5):—
Chancellor.—“Sir, I have forborne for some time to intrude upon your Majesty, because I know that of late your time has been extremely taken up; but as the Parliament is to meet again in a few days, I was desirous of an opportunity of waiting on your Majesty, to know if you had any commands for me. [Pause for above a minute ; the King stands silent.] Sir, from some appearances which I have observed of late, I have been under very uneasy apprehensions that I may have incurred your Majesty's displeasure; and though I am not conscious to myself of having deserved it, yet nothing ever did, or ever can, give me so great concern and so sensible a mortification in my whole life. [Another pause of above a minute; the King still quite silent.] I beg your Majesty will have the goodness and condescension to hear from me a few words upon the motives of my own conduct, the nature of your present situation, and the manner in which I think it may be improved for your service.” [A long discourse follows, which was listened to without interruption, till a remark was made about measures taken for
* “Ten last Years of George II.” p. 139.
A.D. 1744–45. SCENE BETWEEN KING AND CHANCELLOR. 233
the defence of Hanover.] King.—“I can call home my troops for the defence of my own dominions.” Chancellor.—“I mention it as part of the general system of carrying on the war, and as an instance of the readiness of your ministers to get over their old prejudices. But, sir, there still remains something very material behind.” King.—“I have done all you asked of me. I have put all power into your hands, and I suppose you will make the most of it.” Chancellor.—“This disposition of places is not enough if your Majesty takes pains to show to the world that you disapprove of your own work.” King.—“My work I was forced; I was threatened.” Chancellor.—“I am sorry to hear your Majesty use these expressions. I know of no force; I know of no threats. No means were used but what have been used in all times— the humble advice of your servants, supported by such reasons as convinced them that the measure was necessary for your service.” King.— “The changes might have been made by bringing in proper persons, and not those who had most notoriously distinguished themselves by a constant opposition to my government.” Chancellor.—“If changes were to be made in order to gain strength, such persons must be brought in as could bring that strength along with them. On that account it was necessary to take in the leaders; and, if your Majesty looks round the House of Commons, you will find no man of business, or even of weight, capable of heading or conducting an opposition. [Pause. King silent.] Sir, permit me to say, the advantage of such a situation is a real advantage gained to the Crown. Your ministers, sir, are only your instruments of government.” King [smiles].—“Ministers are the King in this country.” Chancellor.—“Sir, I ask your Majesty's pardon for troubling you so long, but I thought it my duty to lay my poor thoughts before you.”
According to this representation, it must be admitted that the Sovereign does not appear to so much advantage as the Keeper of his Conscience.
CONTINUATION OF THE LIFE OF LORD HARDWICKE TILL THE DEATH OF FREDERICK PRINCE OF WALES.
WE now approach the rebellion of 1745, with respect to which we shall find Lord Hardwicke acting an important part in the measures to suppress it, — in the trial of the rebel Lords, – and in the new laws framed to introduce order and subordination into the country in which it originated. On the 15th of February, 1744, he brought down a message from the King, stating that “his Majesty had received undoubted intelligence that the eldest son of the Pretender, having arrived in France, was making active preparations to invade the kingdom, in concert with disaffected persons here.” Both Houses joined in an address of thanks and assurance of support. This had been drawn by the Lord Chancellor, and concluded in the following eloquent and touching terms:–
“Loyalty, duty, and affection to your Majesty; concern for ourselves and our posterity; every interest and every motive that can warm or engage the hearts of Britons and Protestants, call upon us on this important occasion to exert our utmost endeavours, that, by the blessing of God, your enemies may be put to confusion; and we do all sincerely and earnestly assure your Majesty, that we will with zeal and unanimity take the most effectual measures to enable your Majesty to frustrate so desperate and insolent an attempt, and to secure and preserve your royal person and government, and the religion, laws, and liberties of these kingdoms.”
However, a general supineness prevailed, and in about ten days afterwards a rebuke was administered to the Chancellor and his colleagues by the Earl of Orford, who had never before opened his mouth in the House of Lords. By command of his Majesty, they had laid some papers before the House containing information on oath of the arrival of Prince Charles Edward at Dunkirk, and of the equipment of a fleet, and the assembling of an army there, for the invasion of England. No motion being made, except “that the papers should lie on the table,” the ex-Premier said:—
“I little expected that any thing would happen to make it necessary for me to offer my sentiments in this assembly, but I feel that I cannot continue silent without a crime. Little did I expect that the common forms of decency would have been violated by this august assembly. It is with the greatest surprise and emotion that I see such a neglect of duty. When his Majesty has communicated to you intelligence of the highest importance, is he to receive no answer from the House P. As such treatment, my Lords, has never been deserved by his Majesty, so it has never before been practised. And sure, my Lords, if his hereditary council should select for such an instance of disrespect a time of distraction and confusion, a time when the greatest power in Europe is setting up a Pretender to his throne, and when only the winds have hindered an attempt to invade his dominions,—it may give our enemies occasion to imagine and report that we have lost all veneration for the person of our Sovereign. It cannot be thought consistent with the