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in his pocket, that they say Lord Bute has attempted to CHAP.
sacrifice them to his own fears and timidity; that they do not
depend upon him, and will have nothing to do with him; and I have been credibly informed that both Lord Halifax and George Grenville have declared that he is to go beyond sea, and reside for a twelvemonth or more. You know a certain cardinal was twice exiled out of France, and governed France as absolutely whilst he was absent as when he was present.
While the Ex-chancellor was thus speculating upon Lord Hardchanges of administration, and his own return to office, he ^truck with was struck with a mortal disorder. Hitherto he had enjoyed j.m°jtal uninterrupted health, and such attention had he paid to temperance and to exercise when in his power, that, although originally by no means of a robust constitution, he was still active in his body, and the hand of time had been laid so gently on his frame, that he seemed to be only entering into a green old age.
Being made aware that he could not hope to recover, he submitted to the will of Providence with firmness, and even with cheerfulness, — gratefully reflecting on the long and singularly prosperous career which he had run.
When parliament again met he was unable to take part Nov. 15. in the stormy discussions which arose out of the prosecution 1763" and imprisonment of Wilkes; but his faculties were still unimpaired, and, though confined to his bed, he could occasionally see and converse with his political as well as his private friends.
A resolution being moved and carried in the House of His opinion Commons, "that privilege of parliament does not extend to ^entary the case of writing and publishing seditious libels," was sent privilege in up to the Lords, who were called upon to concur in it. v,IUss As Mr. Wilkes had attacked Lord Bute so violently and so successfully, he was warmly supported by the opposition,—and Pitt in one House and Earl Temple in the other, boldly resisted the resolution; —but Lord Hardwicke, though a strong party-man to the last, when consulted, expressed a clear
VOL. v. M
CHAP, opinion " that privilege of parliament does not extend to pre
vent a member from being prosecuted and imprisoned for any
crime; that the words in the common cantelena, 'treason, felony, and breach of the peace,' are only put as example?, and that it would be most discreditable to parliament to assert the right of all its members to commit with impunity all misdemeanours which did not amount to an actual breach of
Nov. 28. the peace." In consequence of this opinion, the Duke of
1763. Newcastle, and the peers more immediately connected with him, refused to vote with Lord Temple, or to join in his protest — much to the annoyance of that nobleman.
His death. This was Lord Hardwicke's last interference with politics.
Finding that his disease made rapid progress, he deliberately settled his worldly affairs, and then devoted himself to preparation for the awful change which was at hand. Amidst the most affectionate attentions of his family, he expired at Powis House on the 6th of March, 1764, in the seventy-fourth year of his age. He was buried at Wimple, where a monument is erected to his memory, with an inscription, which after stating the dates of his several promotions, thus eulogises him: —
His epi- "The Strength and Quickness of his Parts, joined to an unwearied Appli
taph. cation and Industry, recommended him, soon after his entrance into Business, to
an extensive course of Practice, and advanced him, before the usual Age, to those Inferior Honors of the Robe, from which is open'd the fairest Prospect to the Highest. In this Situation as an Advocate, and a Servant of the Crown, his Skill in the various Branches of the Law and Constitution, his Eloquence, his Integrity, his Zeal for Justice, and his Candor and Tenderness to the Subject, were universally acknowledged and admired. In each of the Courts where he presided, his Firmness and Dignity, his clear and ready Apprehension, his patient and close Attention, the Compass and Profoundness of his Knowledge, and the Justice of his Decisions, afforded the most valuable Instruction to the Profession, and the Highest Satisfaction to the Parties. His Eloquence in Parliament was natural and manly, his Method exact, his Reasoning powerful and persuasive, his Manner modest yet commanding, his Voice clear and harmonious; and all these received a lustre and a force, almost irresistible, from the acknowledged Integrity of his Character. When he advised in the more Secret Councils of State, his superior Judgement, his long Experience, his Acquaintance with History and Treaties, enabled him to state precisely, to debate fully, and to determine wisely and usefully to the Public those arduous Questions which were the Subject of Deliberation. In his Political Connexions, as well as private.Friendships, he was uniform and constant. In his Religious Principles, he was attached to the National Establishment, with that Spirit of Moderation and Charity which becomes a sincere and enlightened Member of a Protestant Communion. In private Life he was distinguished by the Amiableness of his Manners, his engaging Address, and his general Benevolence; ever easy and cheerful in the Conversation of his Family and Friends; and retaining the Taste of his early Classical Studies amidst his most laborious and highest Employments. Thus he lived during the Exercise of his great Offices; and in his Retirement was honor'd and revered by the whole Nation, and distinguished by CHAP,
the Approbation and peculiar Favor of his Sovereign, till his 74th year; when CXXXVII
a long and painfull Disorder, supported by an uncommon patience, and a .
Strength of Mind unimpaired, put a Period to his Life, March the 6th, 1764."
These are the effusions of filial piety ; but notwithstanding His chahis failings, and the censure to which some parts of his conduct may be liable, he is certainly to be considered a very eminent and very meritorious personage in English history. Entering public life very early, he lived to a great age in very interesting times, and he acted an important part in many of the events which distinguished the century in which he flourished. He had heard speeches delivered from the throne by His long William III. and by George III.; he had seen the reins of government in the hands of Godolphin and in the hands of Pitt; he had witnessed the rejoicings for the victory of Blenheim and for the capture of Quebec; his ears had been split with cries of " Sacheverell and High Church!" and with cries of" Wilkes and Liberty!" he had been acquainted with Bolingbroke and with Burke; he had marked the earliest burst of admiration called forth by the poetry of Pope and by the poetry of Churchill; he himself had been fifty years a member of the legislature, holding a most distinguished station in either House of parliament; he had filled various important offices with singular ability; he had held the highest civil office in the kingdom longer than any of his predecessors (one excepted), since the foundation of the monarchy, and with greater applause than any of his predecessors had ever gained or any successor could hope for; he had been mainly instrumental in keeping the reigning dynasty on the throne, by the measures which he advised for crushing a dangerous rebellion raised to restore the legitimate line; he was the great legislator for Scotland, freeing that country from the baronial tyranny by which it had been immemorially oppressed; in England he was the finisher and almost the author of the great Code of Equity to which his name might justly be attached; though of low degree, in his own lifetime his blood was mingled with that of the Campbells and the Greys, and he established one of the most potent families in the nobility of Britain. Unceasing good luck
CHAP, attended him through life; but along with that luck such
results required lofty aspiration, great ability, consummate
prudence, thorough control of temper, rigid self-denial, and unwearied industry. His chief glory is, that, as a public man, he was ever consistent and upright. Compare him with preceding and with succeeding Chancellors, who started by making themselves formidable as the ultra-zealous champions of freedom, and who rose by renouncing and by persecuting the principles which they professed. He was from boy to old man a sound Whig—loving our monarchical form of government, but believing that it exists for the good of the people, and that for the good of the people the prerogatives of the Crown are to be restricted, and are to His love of be preserved. The heaviest charges I find brought against baTraan"1 ^7 impartial writers, are love of money and arrogance of ners. manner in common society. "He was undoubtedly an excellent Chancellor," says Lord Waldegrave, "and might have been thought a great man had he been less avaricious, less proud, less unlike a gentleman."* Cooksey's "The stately and ceremonious reception of his visitors on him'in'so'^ a Sunday evening," says Cooksey, "was insipid and disciety. gusting in the highest degree. Stranger as he was to the life and habits of country gentlemen, he treated them with insulting inattention and hauteur. Came they from ever so great a distance, either to visit his Lordship or to see his place, their horses were sent for refreshment to the 'Tiger,' a vile inn near half a mile distant, as I have experienced more than once. He submitted indeed, like other Lords, sometimes to entertain the natives, but with that visible and contemptuous superiority as disgusted rather than obliged them. When in high good-humour, he had two or three stock stories to make his company laugh, which they were prepared and expected to do. One was of his bailiff Woodcock, who, having been ordered by his Lady to procure a sow of the breed and size she particularly described to him, came one day into the dining-room, when full of great company, proclaiming, with a burst of joy he could not suppress, '1 have been at Royston fair, my Lady, and got a sow exactly of
* Mem. p. 20.
your Ladyship's breed and size.' He also used to relate an CHAP.
incident that occurred to him in a morning ride from Wim- 1
ple. Observing an elegant gentleman's house, he conceived a wish to see the inside of it. It happened to be that of Mr. Montague, brother to Lord Sandwich, who, being at home, very politely, without knowing his Lordship, conducted him about the apartments, which were perfectly elegant; and expatiated on the pictures, some of which were capital. Among these were two female figures, beautifully painted, in all their native naked charms. 'These ladies,' says the master of the house, 'you must certainly know, fur they are most striking likenesses' On the guest's expressing his perfect ignorance, ' Why, where the devil have you led your life, or what company have you kept,' says the Captain, 'not to know Fanny Murray and Kitty Fisher, with whose persons I thought no fashionable man like you could be unacquainted?' On my taking leave, and saying, '/ should be glad to return his civilities at Wimple,' what surprise and confusion did he express on his discovering he had been talking all this badinage to Lord Hardwicke !" *
Others have given a more favourable view of his manners, Chalmers, representing that "he rose from the fatigues and anxieties of business to the enjoyment of the society of his family and his friends, with the spirits of a person entirely vacant and disengaged, preserving in old age the vivacity as well as appearance of youth, and ever uniting the characters of dignity and amiableness." f
The censure of his love of money should be softened by the His recollection of the penury from which he had suffered in his menUVom youth, and from the consideration that it never exposed him l'terat"re even to the suspicion of corruption. A graver fault, and letters, attended with less palliation, may, I think, be imputed to him in his abandonment of literature and literary men. It might have been expected that, in the breast of one who had been taken to dine at the Kit-cat, who had acquired credit by writing a paper in the Spectator, and who had witnessed the glory shed over Lord Sorners in his decline by continuing the protector and the associate of wits and philosophers, the
* Cooksey, 101. t l>y Chalmers.