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"I am truly sensible of Lord Townshend's embarrassments, CHAP, and foresee that, if he should not obtain this boon, he must expect to meet with some very disagreeable struggles. But, I dare say, his zeal, courage, and ability are equal to the whole, and I am sure he will cheerfully undertake what he has accepted, though your Grace should adhere to our first opinion, of keeping the Seal, for the present, in commission.
"Your Grace will be pleased to consider that the Chancellor, Chief Baron, and Chief Justices, are called to the Council in Ireland in the quality of statesmen, and that the Council in that country is an assembly of equal importance of either of the branches of the legislature. If the Lord Lieutenant is surrounded with Irish only filling these offices at the board, he is subject to be overruled in every quarter by the great chiefs of the law, in which case I doubt he must submit.
"But if your Grace should at last be determined to name an Irishman, you will please to consider whether Sir A. Malone is not clearly the properest person. He has not indeed applied for it, but I understand he would be happy with the offer; and such is the deference to his superior character, that every one of those gentlemen who has applied have put themselves only in the second place after him. So that, if your Grace is resolved upon an Irishman, 'Detur dignissimo!' Let it carry with it a march of public spirit, at the same time that it is a management of parties. I know your Grace will forgive my frankness: this is my present opinion, though I will most willingly submit to a contrary determination, and when your Grace has done it, I shall say in public that it is well done; indeed, I shall go near to think so, because I am sure the decision will be taken by those who understand Ireland better than I do.
"I presume your Grace has asked Lord N 's *
opinion upon this subject; that will have great weight with me, as well as your Grace. He used to think as I do, as did Lord Chatham; but different circumstances may well bring about a change of opinion.
* Lord Northiiigton's.
CHAP. "I know your Grace will be anxious to hear some
of Lord Chatham; if I had been able to have given you any
authentic intelligence of his amendment to any considerable
degree, I should have wrote before. The whole country in
his neighbourhood report him much better; but his knocker
is tied up, and he is inaccessible. I read a letter from Lady
Chatham yesterday, who is so fearful of owning my Lord
to be better, that she retracts it, even while she is admitting
it in the same sentence, and conveys hopes of his recovery
while she forbids them. I verily believe he is considerably
"I propose to be in town on Monday morning, the 7th of next month, to prorogue the Parliament, at eleven o'clock in the morning, if your Grace will be so good as to order the proper preparations, — to go to Court, — to swear in Lord North, and set out immediately for my return. I hope this will be permitted.
"I have the honour to be, with the most perfect respect and esteem, your Grace's
"Most obedient faithful Servant,
Lord Townshend still pressed very hard for the appointment of an Irish lawyer, and in a letter to Lord Camden, said, —" This measure is the very criterion of an odious or a popular administration; if the concession is not granted, it will be a proof of my own insignificance, and the safest course will be for me to confess it to all mankind." Lord Sept. 29. Camden, therefore, wrote to the Duke of Grafton: — "When 1767, such language is used, there are but two things to be done — to quarrel or to submit. The first being, at this time, to the last degree improvident and dangerous, which his Lordship well knows makes the latter necessary." However, the Cabinet resolved on resistance, as appears by the following letter from Lord Camden to the Duke of Grafton: —
Lord Camden on the
"I find by your Grace's letter, and one I received from appoint-" Lord Shelburne, that I am called upon to name a person for mentofan Tj.i8n Seal. He must be eminent, and one who at this
Irish Chan- ...... - - , „
cellor. ticklish juncture would be every way fit for the office. I
doubt it will be too much for me, in such a dearth of men CHAR
• • CXLIV
willing to accept, to recommend one who will answer that' description, nor dare I undertake it without the sanction of a cabinet. The whole business is, indeed, a state question, and does not properly fall within my department." Mr. Serjeant Hewitt, afterwards Lord LifFord, was fixed upon.
The Duke of Grafton says in his Journal, —" Lord Northington's opinion concurred so fully with Lord Camden's on the disposal of the Great Seal of Ireland, that the Cabinet was persuaded not to give way to Lord Townshend's reasoning in favour of an Irish lawyer's holding it, and I am persuaded that our firmness gave more real consideration to his Lordship's situation, and dignity and weight to his government, than any yielding of his own would have effected. Before Parliament met, Mr. Serjeant Hewitt Appointaccepted the Seal, with every good disposition to discharge ment of properly the great trust put into his hands, and his learning afterwaras as a lawyer sanctioned our expectations from the appointment. Lord I if_
Tt -itti • i i i , • , ii ford,asIrish
Me was a true Whig, and bore a character to which all chancellor, parties gave their assent of respect; and though his speeches in parliament were long, and without eloquence, they were replete with excellent matter, and knowledge of the law. His conduct in Ireland, under the peerage of LifFord, soon gained the esteem of the public."
Lord Camden's views on this subject were tinged by the prejudices which then subsisted in England, respecting the subjection of Ireland. The two countries must now be considered on a footing of perfect equality, and the only consideration is, what is most conducive to their mutual interest? That great statesman, Lord Wellesley, proposed (I think Proposal to wisely) as a solution of this question,—that there should be, g^1^ one bar for England and Ireland, and that while lawyers lawyers to practising in England should be occasionally appointed to judged and preside in the Courts of Justice in Ireland, lawyers practising Irish lawin Ireland should be reciprocally appointed to preside in the EngHshbe Courts of Justice in England. Judges re
Public affairs remained in a state of considerable tran- ciprocall-vquillity till the sudden re-appearance in England of the VOL. v. T \
Chap, notorious John Wilkes, which threw the whole nation into a i M.i \. ferment . After the popularity he had acquired by establishing
Wilkes the illegality of "general warrants" and of "the seizure of elected for papers by authority of the Secretary of State," he had been convicted of publishing seditious and obscene libels; he had been outlawed; and he had lived in exile. Having failed in negotiations to obtain a pardon, he now boldly presented himself at the hustings as a candidate to represent the city of London in parliament. Being defeated there, he started for Middlesex, and he was returned for this county March 28. by a great majority, being supported by a mob, who com1 's pelled all who appeared in the streets and highways to join
Alarm of in the cry of "Wilkes and Liberty!" The Government ment,°Vern was m0st seriously alarmed, and Lord Camden, with the other ministers, being summoned to attend a meeting of the Cabinet, wrote the following letter to the Duke of Grafton:
"Bath, April 3. 1768.
"My dear Lord Duke, Lord Cam- "Whatever vexation and inconvenience I may feel at this Diikeof6 unexpected summons, which calls me from hence above a Grafton, as week before the time, yet I shall, without fail, give my atcourse to be tendance at the time appointed. The event is disagreeable pursued. and unforeseen, for I am persuaded that no person living, after Wilkes had been defeated in London, would have thought it possible for him to have carried his election for the county of Middlesex. Sure I am, that if the Government had arrested him while he was a candidate, this step would have secured his election, and would have been considered as the cause of his success. I cannot pretend, at this distance, without further information, to advise what proceedings are now necessary, as the only subject for consideration seems to be, what measures ure to be taken by the House of Commons at the meeting of Parliament. If the precedents and the constitution will warrant an expulsion, that perhaps may be right. A criminal flying his country to escape justice—a convict and an outlaw! That such a person should, in open day-light, thrust himself upon the country as a candidate, his crime unexpiated, — is audacious beyond description. This is the light in which I consider the affair; the riot only inflaming the business, and not showing the weakness of the Government more than any A D 1768_ other election riot in the kingdom. But it would be well to consider what may be the consequences if W. should be reelected. That is very serious. I take it for granted that he will surrender, and receive judgment in the K. Bench, the first day of the Term,— when, I suppose, the outlawry will be reversed, and he will be imprisoned. We expect him at this place to-night, where, I suppose, he intends to remain till the Term; and this town is not a little alarmed lest the same spirit of violence should follow him hither. But, I trust, we are not mad enough here to follow the example of the metropolis. Whatever may be the heat of the present moment, I am persuaded it will soon subside, and this gentleman will lose his popularity in a very short time after men have recovered their senses.
"I am, &c."
At the Cabinet all present appear to have acquiesced in ^g^iied the determination that Wilkes should immediately be ex- the House pelled the House of Commons; but when it appeared that the demagogue, instead of submitting to his sentence, meant to insist that the outlawry was erroneous, — that all the proceedings against him were void,—and that he was entitled to be treated as an innocent man,—the Chancellor quailed, and thus addressed the Premier:
"20th April, 1768.
"My dear Lord,
"I dare say you have been informed of what passed to-day Lord Camin the Court of King's Bench, and that Mr. W. is still at Duke'oV" large. His counsel, however, promised that he should be Grafton, forthcoming in custody, and then move to be bailed; sue out "h^pro? *° a writ of error and reverse the outlawry. They gave notice, ceding, likewise, that they intended, after they had got rid of the outlawry, to move in arrest of judgment. Your Grace will be pleased to perceive that Mr. W. stands at present convicted only by verdict; and if there shall appear to be any material