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I mention with great pain Lord Bathurst's next public ^j^f' exhibition, for hitherto he has appeared, if not a bright, a _
worthy and amiable man. After the glorious death of Lord BaChatham, which caused such public enthusiasm, and ex- tnur*t0P
.... poses the
tinguishcd all enmity against him in almost every bosom,— bill making insomuch that King George III. himself professed to be J^X'tT friendly to the making of some provision for his family, — mily of when the bill for this purpose, which passed with much Chatham, applause through the Commons, came up to the Lords, the Lord Chancellor (I am afraid from an illaudable desire to please the Court) did his best to throw it out, and opposed it in a most unfair manner, by pretending that, although purely a money bill, it might be properly amended by their Lordships. "The deceased Earl's services," said he, "when actually minister, I will not depreciate: but they were sufficiently rewarded. A few years after he accepted the high post of Privy Seal, with great emoluments, at a time when it was well known his bad state of health rendered it impossible for him to assist his Majesty's councils." Having drawn an invidious comparison between Lord Chatham and the Duke of Marlborough, although himself one of the ministers who had wasted so many millions in the fruitless contest with America, he meanly resorted to the cant that "this was not a proper time to be lavish of the people's money." "But," he added, "what operates powerfully with me against the bill is, that the provision is for the family of him who is supposed to have done the services. Why was not the reward given to him in his lifetime? Because the answer would have been, 'he has had reward enough already from what his Sovereign has done for him.' I never can agree, that by either rejecting or amending a money bill, we invade the privileges of the other House, for we are as much trustees for the people as the Commons. The King has assented to th^ bill; but, addressed as he was by the other House, he was in a great measure obliged to assent — and we cannot suppose that his Majesty will be offended by our exercising our right to reject or amend it. The grant did not spontaneously come from the Crown, as it ought to have done, and would have done, if there had been any
ground for it. Before I conclude, I must use the freedom to declare, that I see no cause to despond because the Earl of Chatham is no more. There still remain as firm wellwishers to their country, and men as capable of doing it real service."* I have shown, in the Life of Lord Camden, the merited chastisement inflicted upon the author of tins most ungracious and foolish efrusion.f
Lord Bathurst's last speech in the House of Lords as Chancellor, was in opposition to a motion of the Duke of Bolton, for an address to his Majesty, "to implore him that he would be graciously pleased to defer the prorogation of parliament until the present very dangerous crisis may be happily terminated." This was warmly supported by Lord Camden, who drew a most melancholy picture of the state to which the country had been reduced by the misconduct of ministers, and forcibly pointed out the necessity of a change both of measures and of men to preserve our national independence.
The Chancellor followed, and attempted to answer him, but seems to have entirely failed, if he did not actually break down. He confined himself to some technical remarks on the mode in which parliament may be summoned at common law and by the statute, and on the inconvenience which would be felt if the two Houses were merely to adjourn,
* The Earl of Chatham is dead, but Earl Bathurst survives!!! At any rate our Chancellor thought it was fitter to imitate the King of England than the King of Scotland.
"This news was brought to Edinburgh,
"O heavy news, King James did say;
"Like tidings to King Henry came
"Now, God be with him, said our King,
f Ante, p. 307.
instead of being prorogued. The motion was negatived by Chap. a majority of 42 to 20, but the opposition Peers being triumphant in the debate, it was thought indispensable that the Government should be strengthened in the House of Lords.
The following day the prorogation took place, and as soon June 3. as the ceremony was over, a Council was held at St. James's, JJe resigns when the Great Seal was surrendered by Lord Bathurst, the Great
and was delivered to Thurlow, the Attorney General, as Lord Chancellor, the Ex-chancellor being declared President of the Council.
This proceeding seems to have been very precipitate: it Reasons for was not accompanied with any other changes, and I am unacquainted with its secret history. One would have expected that having tided over the session, Lord Bathurst, notwithstanding his inefficiency, would have been allowed to retain his office till after the long vacation, and till Parliament and the Court of Chancery were to meet again in November. He had not had any difference with Lord North, or any of the other ministers, and they were conscious that he had done his best to serve them. I suspect that, from the approaching war against France and Spain, and the questions which were anticipated with neutral powers, some advice was required in the cabinet upon international law, which might be given in a bolder tone, and acted upon with more confidence. It is very much to be deplored that, when the disputes with the colonies were ripening into civil war, and when sound constitutional councils might have saved the state, there sat in the cabinet one of the weakest, though one of the worthiest, of our Chancellors.
His most meritorious act while he held the Great Seal .His merit (which I have much pleasure in commemorating) — was his ising sir giving spontaneously a commissionership of bankrupts to Sir ^^am William Jones,— still, notwithstanding brilliant talents and stupendous acquirements, struggling with pecuniary difficulties. Soon after Lord Bathurst's resignation, came out the "Translation of the Orations of Isaeus," dedicated to the Exchancellor. The dedicator, a little at a loss for topics of public commendation, dexterously takes shelter under the supposed
CHAP, modesty of his patron, and, preserving at once a character for CLIII. gratitude and for sincerity, contents himself with saying: Dedication "^ check myself, therefore, my Lord, with reluctance, and to him of abstain from those topics to which the overflowing of my latlon oTthe zeal wou^ naturally impel me; but I cannot let slip the opOrations of portunity of informing the public who have hitherto indulgently approved and encouraged my labours, that although I have received many signal marks of friendship from a number of illustrious persons, to whose favours I can never proportion my thanks, yet your Lordship has been my greatest, my only benefactor; that, without any solicitation, or even request on my part, you gave me a substantial and permanent token of regard, which you rendered still more valuable by your obliging manner of giving it, and which has been literally the sole fruit that I have gathered from an incessant course of very painful toil." Attempt to While Lord Bathurst held the Great Seal, an attempt was Chancellor. m vam made to corrupt him by a secret offer to Lady Bathurst of three thousand guineas for the living of St. George's, Hanover Square. The offer was traced to the famous Dr.Dodd, then a King's Chaplain, and he was immediately dismissed from that situation. This Chancellor is allowed to have disposed of his church patronage very creditably, although on one occasion he incurred considerable obloquy by conferring a chaplaincy on Martin Madan, the translator of Juvenal, whose heterodox opinions and indifferent morals were then generally notorious, and who afterwards gave such serious offence to the Church by the publication of his "Thelyphthora" in favour of the doctrine of polygamy.
Lives of Eminent English Judges, p. 36.
CONCLUSION OF THE LIFE OF LORD BATHURST.
Lord Bathurst continued President of the Council nearly Chap. four years, till the formation of Lord Rockingham's adminis- Cli\. tration — when he resigned with Lord North. During this ^ ^ disastrous interval, although he was still a member of the thurst's cabinet, he did not take a leading part in public affairs, ^UePrennd he seldom opened his mouth in the House of Lords, sident of — Thurlow, his successor, treating him with very little Coun" consideration or courtesy. In 1779 he made a speech in defence of the management of Greenwich Hospital, when he was very roughly handled by Lord Camden, but rescued by Lord Mansfield.* Soon after he came forward to resist the Duke of Richmond's motion about the Civil List Expenditure, contending that, "if a system of economy was to be adopted, it should not begin with the Crown, the splendour of which should be maintained by an ample revenue for the honour and dignity of the empire." f
In the following session, government being hard pressed March G. upon the occasion of Lord Shelburne's motion for an address His speech to his Majesty praying to be informed "by whose advice the TM.f Marquis of Carmarthen and the Earl of Pembroke had been Lord Lieudismissed from the office of Lord Lieutenant by reason of '<-nants<0'
J their votes
their conduct in parliament,"—Lord President Bathurst de- in pariiaclared " he could say, with truth, that after upwards of thirty ment' years' public service, he did not know that he had ever made an enemy, or given just cause of offence, in any public character he had filled; he disapproved of removing persons from their appointments under the Crown, except for misconduct or incapacity, but he thought the present motion highly objectionable, as it went to intrench on the King's prerogative of choosing his own servants: this, like other prerogatives,
* 20 Pari. Hist. 569. f H,. 1259.
VOL. V. H II