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the licence void without the consent of parents or guardians — the banns to be for three successive Sundays in the parish church — and the granting of ordinary and special licences to be subject to certain regulations — the ceremony to be performed by a priest according to the liturgy of the Church of England. The first great blot upon the measure was, that it required Roman Catholics, Dissenters, and others who might have serious scruples of conscience against being married according to the prescribed service (the least felicitous in the English liturgy) to submit to it, — or debarred them from matrimony altogether. Another great defect was, that no provision was made by it respecting the marriage out of England of persons domiciled in England, so as to prevent the easy evasion of it by a trip to Gretna Green. The measure was likewise highly objectionable in making no provision for the marriage of illegitimate children — who had no parents recognised by law, and could only have guardians by an application to the Court of Chancery,—and in declaring marriages which were irregular by reason of unintentional mistakes in banns or licences absolutely void, although the parties might live long together as man and wife, having a numerous issue considered legitimate until the discovery of the irregularity.
Lord Hardwicke laid the bill on the table, and explained its provisions at the commencement of the session. On the second reading, the Duke of Bedford made a speech against it; but it passed easily through the Lords. In the Commons, however, it experienced the most furious opposition, particularly from Henry Fox, who was supposed to feel very deeply on the subject, because he himself had run off with Lady Caroline Lennox, eldest daughter of the Duke of Richmond, and married her without the consent of her family.
I cannot compliment him, or the other opposers of the bill, on the topics they employed. Instead of pointing out its real defects, which in practice were found oppressive and mischievous, they absurdly denied the right of Parliament to legislate upon the subject; they dwelt upon the aristocratic tendency of the bill; they denounced it as leading to vice and immorality; they prophesied that it would thin our population, and endanger our existence as a nation. Fox, Chap.
• • • • exxxv
who kept the bill in committee many nights, became so
heated by his own opposition to it against Murray, the
Solicitor General, and other lawyers who defended it, that he
inveighed bitterly against all lawyers and their jargon. He
even indulged in a personal attack upon its author, whom he
designated "the great Mufti," whom he accused of pride
and arrogance, and whose motives in bringing it forward he
described as selfish and sordid.* On a subsequent evening
he made an apology for these expressions, and declared his
high respect for the learning and integrity of the noble and
learned Lord he was supposed to have alluded to.
The bill at last passed the Commons by a majority of Attack by
125 to 56, and was sent back to the Lords. When the L?rdHa"1
amendments were to be considered, the Mufti resolved to Henry Fox. have his revenge; and as the parliament was to be prorogued the following day, he knew that he was safe from a rejoinder. In a most unusual manner, he read his observations from a paper which he held in his hand, as if he were afraid to trust himself to express his excited feelings; and he commented, with much warmth and asperity, on the conduct of Fox, whom he designated as "a dark, gloomy, and insidious genius, an engine of personality and faction;" thus concluding his philippic: "I despise the invective, and I despise the retractation; I despise the scurrility, and I despise the adulation." f Fox, who had that evening attended some ladies to Vauxhall, being soon told by a good-natured friend how he had been abused in the House of Lords, gathered some young members of parliament round him, and told them, with great eagerness, that he wished the session had lasted a little longer, as, in that case, "he would have paid off the Lord Chancellor with interest." X
* I suppose it was from this vituperation that the vulgar said out of doors that the Chancellor was afraid hU own children would form some low connection in marriage — whereas they were all already married into the first families.
f According to Cooksey, in the warmth of his invective he called his antagonist "that bad, black man."—Coolu. 103.
} 15 St. Tr. 84—86. It is curious how this hatred of Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Bill descended to Henry Fox's posterity. His son, the celebrated Claries James, several times abused it in the House of Commons; and I myself
CHAP. The session of 1754 passed over without a single debate in CXXXV. the jjouse 0£ Lord8; but, in the midst of the profoundest Death of quiet, a storm of short duration was suddenly raised by the Mr. Pel- death of the prime minister, Mr. Pelham. Till his brother could decently appear, Lord Hardwicke was called into council by the King, and, according to his own account, he Lord Hard- was for some days prime minister. In a letter from him to tCTto Mr ^tt;, which seems to have escaped the notice of his
Pitt, de- torians and memoir writers, he gives an interesting account *tate ofSpar* 0f tnis crisis. After apologising for not sooner replying to a ties on the communication he had received from Mr. Pitt, he proceeds: Mr. Pel- —" Besides this, I have lived in such continual hurry, ever ham. since the day of our great misfortune, Mr. Pelham's death, —
Ille dies, quem semper acerbum,
Semper honoratum (sic Dii voluistis) habebo,
that I have no time for correspondence.
"The general confusion called upon somebody to step forth; and the Duke of Newcastle's overwhelming affliction and necessary confinement threw it upon me. I was a kind of minister ab aratro, I mean the Chancery plough, and am not displeased to be returned to it, laborious as it is to hold. I never saw the King under such deep concern since the Queen's death. His Majesty seemed to be unresolved; professed to have no favourite for the important employment vacant, and declared that he would be advised by his cabinet council, with the Duke of Devonshire added to them" * In a
have frequently heard his grandson, the late Lord Holland, in private, express high disapprobation of it — still adhering to the old doctrine, that marriage should be contracted when and where and how the parties please — and therefore still censuring the last Marriage Bill, which I had the honour to assist in framing, and which I consider quite perfect. I excuse a churchman who says that the Church alone ought to lay down regulations for marriages, and judge of its validity; but I cannot understand how a statesman who allows it to be a civil contract can deny that the manner of entering into it may be regulated by law as much as the manner of entering into a contract to purchase goods or to let land.
• The writer proceeds at great length to try to persuade Mr. Pitt that he had been labouring to bring him into office; and having stated the opposing difficulties, he thus concludes: "I agree that this falls short of the mark; but it gives encouragement. It is more than a colour for acquiescence in the eyes of the world; it is a demonstration of fact. No ground arises from hence to think of retirement rather than of courts and business. We have all of us our hours wherein we wish for those otia tuta; and I have mine frequently: but I have that opinion of your wisdom, of your concern for the public, of your regard and few days the Duke of Newcastle was placed at the head of CHAP, the Treasury, and Lord Hardwicke was again secure in his cxxxvoffice of Chancellor, and, if possible, with more influence. Now Hard. he was created Earl of Hardwicke and Viscount Royston. wickecreIt is said that he might sooner have enjoyed this elevation, ^lti" as far as the King was concerned, had not a superior power interposed. One of his biographers, in giving an account of his two daughters and of his wife, thus explains the delay. "Both these young ladies my informer has often seen at Powis House (his town residence) opening the door of their mother's apartment, (where he had the honour of attending her during the settling her domestic accounts, on Monday mornings,) and, with the most graceful deference, asking what company was expected, and in what manner they should dress for the day? Having received her Ladyship's directions, they courtesied and withdrew. On this she observed, that the Lord Chancellor was in a hurry to be made an Earl, which the King would make him any day he chose it, but I delay it as much as I can. These girls you see submitting, with so much humility and observance, to consult me even in the little article of dress, would perhaps, by the acquisition of titles, be transformed into fine ladies, and abate in their respects to me. Their fortune, too, on marriage must be doubled. Ten thousand pounds, which would be deemed a sufficient fortune for a Miss Yorke, must be made twenty to a Lady Elizabeth and Lady Margaret." * These young ladies had been recently married, the one to the celebrated navigator Lord Anson, and the other to Sir Gilbert Heatheote.
In the year 1755 the political horizon began to blacken. Duke of Domestic politics were much perplexed by the machinations prime" Mu of Leicester House, and by the Duke of Newcastle's doubts "kter. whether he should ally himself with Pitt or with Fox, while
affection for your friends, that I will not suffer myself to doubt that you will
'Lord Hardwicke to Mr. Pitt, 2d April, 1754. VOL. T. K
CHAP, hostilities being ready to break out on the Continent, the cxxxv 0 .
'King, for the protection of Hanover, had entered into subsidiary treaties with Russia and Hesse Cassel, which were . exceedingly unpopular. On the meeting of parliament these treaties were furiously assailed in the House of Lords, and the defence of them rested chiefly on the Chancellor; for the new prime minister, although he had considerable volubility of gabble, was quite incapable of reasoning, and was only listened to that he might be laughed at. There is no tolerable report of Lord Hardwicke's speech on this occasion, but we have what must be considered more curious and more valuable, the notes which he made for it, in his own handwriting, showing the immense pains which he still took to prepare himself, notwithstanding all his experience, and all the authority which he possessed. *
• Introductory Observation*. Foreigners, if present, must be surprised.
No false colours needful to support — only to wash off false colours thrown upon it to sully it.
All the objections reducible to two general heads —
Legal — Political.
Restrictive clause in Act of Settlement.
1. A previous objection.
No subsidiary treaty at all to be made without the previous approbation of parliament
This depends on the general rules of the constitution.
2. Strictly on the Act of Settlement.
No such subsidiary, in which the King's German dominions may be included,
Treaty of Hanover, 1725.
Hessian Treaty of 1740.
Russian Treaty of 1741, almost in the same words with that of 1742.
Times of making these two last treaties.
Times of laying them before parliament.
Acts done by the administration in execution of these treaties.
Times of those acts.
Nobody then thought of suggesting it to be a breach of the Act of Settlement.
Reserved for the sagacity, the penetration of these time*.
Lord Hardwicke's mode of preparing to speak in the House of Lords.