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A.D. 1748. HIGHLAND GARB RESTORED. 255
cient habit, and by him it was worn only occasionally and wantonly. The common people do not think themselves under any legal necessity of having coats; for they say that the law against plaids was made by Lord Chancellor Hardwicke, and was in force only for his life; but the same poverty that made it then difficult for them to change their clothing hinders them now from changing it again.” Instead of breaking the spirit of the clans, this tyrannical law only helped to keep up clannish distinctions and customs. In Lord Hardwicke's lifetime it was evaded by Highlandmen carrying a pair of breeches, suspended by a stick, over their shoulders; for the Highlanders wearing a short petticoat like the Romans,—thought, like the Romans, with contempt of all to whom the line of Ovid might be applied,—
“laxis arcent mala frigora braccis.” k
Jacobitism was not completely extinguished in the Highlands till Lord Hardwicke's obnoxious act was repealed on the motion of the late Duke of Montrose, who showed himself a wiser man than the Chancellor, and who, for his patriotism, was thus celebrated in the Rolliad:
“Thee, Graham thee the frozen chieftains bless,
Lord Hardwicke, after these exertions, talked so much of his fatigue, and desire of ease, as actually to create a belief among those who did not know him well, that he was goin to give up his office for one less laborious : “We talk much,” writes Horace Walpole to his correspondent at Florence, “of the Chancellor resigning the Seals from weariness of the fatigue, and being made President of the Council—with other consequent changes; but as this has already been a discourse of six months, I don't give it you for certain.”" Had the Chancellor been suddenly required to resign, he would have felt like the old man when Death actually appeared to him to relieve him of his burthen.
k Trist. v. 7. Pronouncing the c before i, garment, “breeks” being an abbreviation as the Italians do, and the Romans probably of “breeches,” as “steeks” of “stitches.”
did, it is wonderful with how little change of “Wha made your breeks 2
sound this word has descended to us from our He that sewed the steeks. Scythian ancestors.-See Luc. i. 430. Wha sewed the steeks f The etymon is equally apparent, whether He that made the breeks.”
we take the Scotch or English name for this
For several succeeding years his political career becomes obscure, partly from the quietness of the times, and partly from the growing deficiency of our parliamentary records. The treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle excited no discussion in the Lords, and, notwithstanding the machinations of the Prince of Wales and his party, the Chancellor, sitting on the woolsack, seems to have enjoyed nearly a sinecure. Mr. Pelham, with his unostentatious virtues, enjoyed the confidence both of the Sovereign and of the people, and, while he lived, faction was stilled almost into silence. The Chancellor in those halcyon days only came forward on occasions of ceremony, such as the choice of a Speaker, and, to keep his name before the public, he then tried to say something smart, which he would not have thought of had he been taking part in a debate on which the fate of the ministry depended." Compliments to Speaker Onslow, and such commonplaces, however prettily turned, have lost all their interest.”
The Mutiny Bill, which now passes as quietly as any road bill, still continued an annual occasion for patriots to declaim against a standing army. In 1749, the Lord Chancellor found it necessary to reply to them in a speech curious for the view it gives of the state of public feeling which prevailed while Prince Charles was advancing to Derby, and of the danger to which the government was then exposed :
“When the late Rebellion broke out, I believe most men were convinced that, if the rebels had succeeded, popery as well as slavery would have been the certain consequence; and yet what a faint resistance did the people make in any part of the kingdom 1 — so faint, that had we not been so lucky as to procure a number of regular troops from abroad time enough to oppose their approach,
* Letter to Sir H. Mann, 2nd Dec. 1748. of Cambridge, an honour which he held for
* 14 Parl. Hist. 93; 15 Parl. Hist. 328. his life, and which was long enjoyed by his
° About this time Lord Hardwicke was posterity. elected High Steward of the University
A.D. 1751. REGENCY BILL. 257
they might have got possession of our capital without any opposition, except from the few soldiers we had in London, and the fate of the kingdom would have depended upon a battle fought within a few miles of this city. Whilst the people therefore remain in their present unarmed and undisciplined condition, let the consequence be what it will, we must keep up a standing force, and no one ever heard of an army being long kept up in any country in the world without military laws and courtmartials for holding the officers and soldiers to their duty. But these officers and soldiers are still our fellow-citizens, actuated by the same feelings with ourselves, and, while they preserve internal quiet and defend us from foreign aggression, they would join us to preserve the constitution instead of combining against us to overturn it.””
After a few patriotic sallies on the subversion of liberty by military violence, the bill was carried, and dulness again overspread the House—till a great excitement was produced by a melancholy event which changed the succession to the throne.
CONTINUATION OF THE LIFE OF LORD HARDWICKE TILL HE RESIGNED THE GREAT SEAL.
THE sudden death of Frederick, Prince of Wales, in the flower of his age, which was little regretted at Court, placed Lord Hardwicke in a situation of considerable embarrassment, but he extricated himself from it with his usual prudence. The present heir-apparent, afterwards George III., being no more than twelve years old, and George II. being sixty-seven, it was indispensably necessary that provision should be made for the exercise of the royal authority on a demise of the Crown. The King wished much that the Regent to be named should be his favourite son, the Duke of Cumberland, who was himself strongly of opinion that the distinction was due to his station as first Prince of the blood, and to his services as the victor of Culloden; but this Prince, notwithstanding some high qualities which belonged to him, was now so unpopular, that when his brother's death was announced, the general cry was, “Oh I that it were the Butcher "
P 14 Parl. Hist. 451.
and his appointment as Regent would only have been satis-
A.D. 1752–53. FORFEITED ESTATES IN SCOTLAND. 259.
degradation of copying the example of the French, our natural enemies, and the Pope, the foe of our holy reformed faith. Had Lord Hardwicke followed this course, he might easily have defeated the opposition leaders, and we might still have been adhering, like the Muscovites, to the old Calendar, exploded by all civilised nations. But he candidly supported the bill, and, with his countenance, it passed so easily that people were astonished the reformation had been so long delayed.’
In 1752, the only public measure in which Lord Hardwicke took an ostensible part was a bill for annexing the A.D. 1752– forfeited estates in Scotland to the Crown, and en- **** couraging Englishmen and lowland Scotsmen to settle upon them. This measure, in the result, operated favourably, by }. the estates for the families of the individuals who
ad been attainted; but I cannot commend it, for it was meant as a measure of severity against them. Lord Hardwicke defended it on the ground that, if the estates were sold, they would be purchased at a low price for the former owners, and that there were fictitious charges upon them which would run away with the whole of the purchase-money—censuring, but in a manner not very mortifying to them, the whole Scottish nation, whom he seems to have considered “aliens in blood, language, and religion.” “The noble Duke,” said he, “is so sanguine as to hope that all these fraudulent claims may be detected; but, from experience, I am inclined to entertain no such hopes. The people of that country are so faithful to one another, in every case in which they think their honour concerned, that no reward can tempt them, no terror can frighten them, to betray their trust: they will take any oath you can frame rather than discover what they think their honour obliges them to conceal, and this fidelity reaches even to the very lowest of the people. Their contempt of rewards is proved by the escape of the young Pretender, and their disregard of threats by the impunity of the murder of Captain Porteous.”"
The year 1753 is memorable
r 14 Parl. Hist. 979; Lord Chesterfield's Letters to his Son; Dr. Matty's Life of Lord Chesterfield, Had Lord Hardwicke been inclined to crush the measure, he had an ample pretext in the manner in which it was first received by the Duke of Newcastle, the ostensible head of the government in the House of
in the life of Lord Hardwicke
Lords. Says Chesterfield: “His Grace was alarmed at so bold an undertaking, and entreated me not to stir matters that had been long quiet; adding, that he did not love new fangled things.”
* 14 St. Tr. 1237, 1248.