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fortune was now enormous, his passion for increasing it, by all lawful means, had grown in the same proportion. Others say (and they may be right) that he did not consider it honourable to continue in office after his great patron and friend had been obliged to resign; but the new ministry was still a Whig one, and no material change of policy was announced, either domestic or foreign, although the men now coming in had clamoured for the “Militia Bill,” and against the employment of Hanoverian troops. He more probably resigned because he knew that the ministry was very weak, and must be shortlived-perhaps anticipating that Newcastle, from his genius as a place-hunter, though contemptible in every thing else, might soon extricate himself from his present difficulties, and that they might return to office together, with a fair prospect of being able to carry on the government. Whatever his reasoning or his motives might be,-at a Council held at St. James's on the 19th of November, 1756, he actually did resign the Great Seal into the hands of the King, who received it from him with many expressions of respect and regret. After noticing the event in his Diary, he adds,

“Jam mihi parta quies, omnisque in limine portus.” But I suspect that his own mind dwelt more upon the preceding line,

“ Frangimur heu fatis, inquit, ferimurque procella."

“ Dreading the loud cry of the people for im

“Newcastle House, Nov, 2, 1756. peachments and inquiries," writes another, “My dearest, dearest Lord, You know“ into the authors of those counsels which had you see-how cruelly I am treated, and indeed brought the nation into such a calamitous persecuted, by all those who now surround and desperate situation, he wisely shrunk the King. The only comfort I have is in the from the storm he thought he saw bursting continuance of your Lordship’s most cordial on his head, and in 1756 resigned the Seals.” friendship and good opinion. The great and -Cooksey, 81. Historians and biographers honourable part which you are resolved to make sad mistakes when they begin to assign take will be my honour, glory, and security, motives—which, however, they often do as and upon wbich I can and do singly rely. I peremptorily as if they had lived in familiar despise testimonies from others, who, for their confidence with those whose actions they own sakes as well as mine, I should desire narrate.

not to give any of that kind at this time. m The following letter shows that the Duke But, my dearest Lord, it would hurt me exmost earnestly urged his resignation, and was tremely if yours should be long delayed. I under great apprehensions that he might re submit the particular time entirely to you, main in office :

-grateful for it whenever it shall happen."

A.D. 1756.

HIS CONDUCT AS EX-CHANCELLOR.

271

CHAPTER CXXXVI.

CONTINUATION OF THE LIFE OF LORD HARDWICKE TILL THE DEATH OF

GEORGE II.

A.D. 1756.

LORD HARDWICKE, after his resignation, continued to possess in a high degree the respect of all classes and of all parties. Lord Waldegrave, rather disposed to depreciate him, says that "he resigned the Great Seal much to the regret of all dispassionate men, and indeed of the whole nation. He had been Chancellor near twenty years, and was inferior to few who had gone before him, having executed that high office with integrity, diligence, and uncommon abilities. The statesman might, perhaps, in some particular be the reverse of the judge; yet even in that capacity he had been the chief support of the Duke of Newcastle's administration." n

He had no retired allowance, but, besides his own immense fortune, not only his sons, biit all his kith, kin, and dependants, were saturated with places, pensions, and reversions. If he had been required to sacrifice the patronage which enabled him to confer such appanages upon them, he would have looked with contempt upon the retired allowance of a modern Chancellor.

It is a curious fact, that although George II. had taken leave of him very tenderly, and had pressed him to come frequently to Court—when he presented himself a few days after at the levee, in a plain suit of black velvet with a bag and sword, he was allowed to make his bow in the crowd without the slightest mark of royal recognition. But as he was retreating, surprised and mortified, he was called back by the lord in waiting: the King apologised for not having known him when he first appeared without his full bottom, his robes, and the purse with the Great Seal in his hand, and renewed to him the assurance that his great services to the Crown were well known and remembered.°

n Lord Wald. Mem. 1756, p. 84.
• Cooksey's Memoirs. Another account

says, Lord Hardwicke was much diverted with the King's looking at him the first time

A.D. 1757.

His conduct as an ex-Chancellor deserves commendation.

He now resided more than he had formerly been per

mitted to do at Wimpole, but, instead of torpidly wasting his days there, he tried to find pleasure in literature; he took a lively interest in public affairs, and he carried on a frequent correspondence with his political friends. Always when parliament was sitting, and at other times when his presence in London could be serviceable to his party or the public, he was to be found at his town house in Grosvenor Square. He attended as sedulously as ever to the judicial business of the House of Lords, where the judgments were moved and dictated by himself, his successor not being a Peer, and being sometimes obliged to put the question for reversing his own decrees without being at liberty to say a word in their defence. Lord Hardwicke also diligently attended at the Council Board when juridical cases came before that tribunal. Although the common opinion is that he considered himself as having bid a final adieu to office, I cannot but suspect that he contemplated the chance of his being again Chancellor, and that with this view he was anxious to keep himself before the public, and from time to time to burnish up his legal armour.

The first occasion of his taking any open part in politics after his resignation, was respecting the condemnation of Admiral Byng. A bill had passed the House of Commons to release the members of the court-martial, who had sentenced him to death, from their oath of secrecy, so that they might disclose the consultations which took place among themselves when deliberating upon his sentence. In the House of Lords its fate depended entirely upon Lord Hardwicke, and he opposed it. For its rejection he was very severely blamed, and a cry was raised that she wished Ad. miral Byng to be shot to screen the late administration,”—the multitude being misled by the unfeeling words blurted out by

he went to the levee after giving up the vented by George IV. for ex-Chancellors Seal, and knowing him no more in a common (very much like a Field Marshal's), he could coat, and without the Chancellor's wig, than not have been mistaken for a common man. if he had never seen him. The lord in wait P No one contended that Parliament, like ing, observing this, told his Majesty Lord the Pope, might dispense with oaths. The Hardwicke was there; but this was a name statute for the discipline of the navy required the King did not know the sound of, and it the members of naval courts-martial to only brought out the usual cold question, take an oath“ not to disclose or discover the “How long has your Lordship been in town?" vote or opinion of any particular member, -Miss Catherine Talbot's Correspondence. unless thereunto required by act of parlia

Had he worn such a uniform as that in

ent."

A.D. 1757.

COURT-MARTIAL ON BYNG,

273

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the Duke of Newcastle, when a deputation waited upon him
from the City, complaining that Minorca had been abandoned :
“It is the fault of the Admiral; he shall be tried immediately,
he shall be hanged directly.” The sentence of death upon
Byng was erroneous,--the Court, acquitting him of treachery
and cowardice, having only found that “ he had not done his
utmost to relieve St. Philip's Castle, or to defeat the French
fleet, from mistake of judgment;" and the Government was highly
to be censured for carrying it into effect,-particularly after the
unanimous recommendation to mercy from the members of the
court-martial. Nevertheless, I think that the bill rested on no
principle, and that Lord Hardwicke would have been liable to
severe censure if he had assisted in establishing a dangerous
precedent by sanctioning it. In the course he took, he was
warmly supported by Lord Mansfield, who now began to show
the rare example of a lawyer having great success in both
Houses of Parliament, and who was destined to contest the
palm of eloquence with the Earl of Chatham, as he had done
with Mr. W. Pitt. They treated the subject with judicial
accuracy and precision, showing that criminal justice could not
be administered satisfactorily by any tribunal in the world if
there were to be a public disclosure of the reasonings and
observations of those who are to pronounce the verdict or
judgment while they are consulting together. They therefore
framed two questions to be put to the members of the court-
martial, all of whom were examined at the bar while the bill
was pending. 1. “Do you know any matter that passed pre-
vious to the sentence upon Admiral Byng which may show
that sentence to have been unjust ?” 2. “Do you know any
matter that passed previous to the said sentence which may
show that sentence to have been given through any undue
practice or motive ?” All (including Captain Keppel, at whose
request the bill had been introduced) answered both questions
in the negative. Lord Hardwicke then animadverted in a tone
of the highest scorn upon the haste and heedlessness with
which the bill had passed in the House of Commons, and on
his motion it was rejected without a division.

As every one had foreseen, the administration formed in the autumn of 1756 soon crumbled to pieces; and, after the dis

9 15 Parl. Hist. 803—822; Hor. Walp. the proceedings on the bill, with the evidence Mem. Geo. II., vol. ii. 687. The House of of the witnesses, should be printed and pubLords, in this instance, instead of forbidding lished under the authority of the House." — the publication of their proceedings, themselves very wisely made an order “that all

VOL. VI.

Lords' Journ. 1757.

T

missal of Pitt and Lord Temple, for nearly three months the country was without a government, although a foreign war was raging, and dangerous discontent began to be engendered among the people. But, in the midst of disgrace and despondency, the nation was on the point of seeing the most glorious period of its annals; for now, instead of a single victory in a European campaign, the flag of England was to ride triumphant on every sea, and territories to which the island of Great Britain was a mere speck on the globe were to be added to her dominion. This state of things was brought about by a coalition between the greatest and the meanest of statesmen, Pitt and the Duke of Newcastle, which was arranged chiefly under the auspices of Lord Hardwicke.' The first personal interview was brought about by the following letter from him to Mr. Pitt:

“Wednesday, May 25, 1757.

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“I have seen the Duke of Newcastle this morning, who is extremely willing and desirous to have a conference with you, and thinks it may be most useful to have a meeting first with yourself, before that which he will also be proud of having with my Lord Bute. He therefore proposes that his Grace and you should meet this evening at Lord Royston's, in St. James's Square, where I may attend you. The family is out of town, and that place will be better than any of our houses, and you (if you approve it) may come so far in your chair without hazard. I should think between eight and nine o'clock would be a proper time, unless you have any objection to itand then any other hour you shall name.--I beg you will send me notice to Powis House as soon as you can.”

In a subsequent stage of the negotiation we find that, while Leicester House was still a party to it, Lord Hardwicke thus addressed Mr. Pitt :

“ Powis House, 16th June, 1757. “Sir, “I am to desire, in the Duke of Newcastle's name as well as my own, that we may have the honour of meeting you and my Lord Bute at your house this evening a little before nine. I have in like manner sent notice to Lord Bute. I found the Duke of Newcastle pleased, in the highest degree, with your visit and conversation this forenoon."

The great difficulty in the way of a satisfactory settlement was the disposal of the Great Seal. The Duke of Newcastle

r Lord Mansfield had previously tried his hand at mediating between the parties, but in

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