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they would have chosen for their spokesman. Conway, like Amherst, terminated his career a Field-Marshal; but his most glorious and joyous years were those which he passed as aide-de-camp to the Duke of Cumberland in Flanders. The immediate vicinity of that intrepid prince, during a battle, was quite hot enough for most people, but not for Harry Conway. At Fontenoy the young fellow contrived, on his own account, to get hand to hand with two French grenadiers; and at Lauffeld he was within a finger's breadth of being killed in a desperate scuffle with some French hussars. His courage, however, had seldom been so severely tested as when, in November 1775, he addressed the House of Commons on the limits of military obedience. That subject, (he said,) having been started in Parliament, it might look like an unworthy shrinking from the question if he did not say a few words to it. No struggle in the mind of a military man could be so dreadful as any doubt of this kind. There was a great difference between a foreign war, where the whole community was involved, and a domestic war on points of civil contention, where the community was divided. In the first case no officer ought to call in question the justice of his country; but, in the latter, a military man, before he drew his sword against his fellow-subjects, ought to ask himself whether the cause were just or no. Unless his mind was satisfied on that point, all emoluments, — nay, the sacrifice of what people in his situation held dearest, their honour, - would be nothing in the scale with his conscience. He, for his part, never could draw his sword in that cause. 1
Those words were frank and weighty; but for the purposes of history the manner in which they were taken is far more important and significant than the words themselves. The influence of Conway upon politics rose steadily in the course of the coming years, throughout which his view of a soldier's obligations
1 Debate in the Commons on bringing in the American Prohibitory Bill. Parliamentary History of England; Vol. XVIII., page 998.
PT. II.-VOL. II.
never wavered, and never was concealed. The candour and fairness of his character, (we are told,) drew much respect to him from all thinking and honest men. In February 1782, during his country's dark hour, Conway recommended Parliament to terminate the contest with America, - a course which he had always thought to be the duty of England, and which many, who had long been deaf to duty, were beginning to contemplate as necessary to her interests. His proposition was rejected by a single vote on a division in which nearly four hundred members took part; and a few nights afterwards he induced a larger and a wiser House to condemn any further prosecution of the war by a majority of nineteen. Such a Resolution on such a subject, - carried against all the efforts and influence of a powerful Court, and of a Cabinet which to external appearance was unanimous, - is unprecedented in the annals of our Parliament, and perhaps in those of any national assembly. No more sincere and striking proof could possibly be given of the estimation in which Conway was held by his fellow-senators. They admired him none the less, and trusted him all the more, because, at the outbreak of the war, he had not shrunk from declaring himself on as abstruse a point of conduct as a soldier and a patriot was ever called upon to determine.
The same respectful and considerate treatment was very generally extended to other military and naval men whose personal action was governed by the same motives. Some left the service outright, and re-entered private life, with no diminution to such popularity, or social predominance, as they had hitherto enjoyed. Some re
Walpole's Last Journals; February 22, 1782.
2 Such an one was Mr. Bosville of Thorpe Hall. That gentleman, after serving a campaign with Howe, had quitted the army because he would not act any longer against American Independence. Season after season he kept open house in town for Fox, and Grey, and Erskine, and Sheridan ; nor for them only; for one of his constant guests was Lord Rawdon, than whom the Americans had no more stern and dreaded adversary in arms all the while that the war had lasted. Until he grew old, in order to avoid the daily trouble of entertaining at home, Bosville's board was spread at the
mained on half-pay until Great Britain was attacked by European enemies, when they promptly and joyfully placed their swords once more at the disposal of the Government. Others, again, accepted a commission in the militia; a post of unusual danger and importance at a moment when England, stripped bare of regular troops, had temporarily lost command of the sea in consequence of the scandalous improvidence of the Board at the head of which Lord Sandwich sate. Whatever course they adopted, their fidelity to principle appeared reasonable, and even laudable, to their countrymen of the middle and lower classes; and in their intercourse with equals they brought down upon themselves and their families no penalties whatsoever. The American war, from the outset to the finish, was an open question in English society. A general or colonel, who had refused to take a command against the colonists, lived comfortably and pleasantly with his country neighbours. The strong Tory politicians among them might grumble against him as fanciful or factious; but much harder things would have been said about him if he had shot foxes, or given a piece of ground for the site of a Nonconformist chapel.
To the general public of our own day, - as indeed had always been the case with every well-read Englishman, the name of Lord Chatham stands for patriotism. For he raised England, in a very few years, from distress and discredit to a brilliant and unquestioned pre-eminence; he made our Empire; and he expressed the national sentiment, which was ever present with
Piazza Coffeehouse ; where, when five o'clock came, two dozen men of fashion frequently sate down to dine well, even though only balf a dozen had been expected. Whether the company was small or large, the host was king of it, or rather despot; and a despot of the kind which London needed then, and needs still. For dinner was served when the hour struck; and any one who came late knew that the only thing left for him was to go away, and dine elsewhere. The custom of proposing toasts and sentiments after the cloth was drawn, — destructive to conversation, and most depressing to the convivial happiness of the shy and the inarticulate, was abolished at Bosville's table. See the Life of General Sir Robert Wilson ; Volume I., chapter ii.
him, in unusually apt and glowing language. Chatham gave his sons to his country. Great as were the pains which he bestowed upon the training of the second brother as an orator and a ruler, it was with equal ardour that he incited and encouraged the military studies of his eldest boy. Lord Pitt was sent into the army at fifteen. The father, who never was entirely happy unless he had all his family about him, felt the separation keenly ;) and he was actuated by a sole view to the young man's usefulness in that profession which he regarded as not less honourable, and hardly less important, than the calling of a statesman. “My son's ambition," (so Lord Chatham informed the Governor of Canada in his stately manner,) " is to become a real officer; and I trust he already affixes to the appellation all the ideas that go to constitute a true title to the name.” General Carleton learned with infinite satisfaction that the ex-minister, — who possessed so extensive and accurate a knowledge of the higher ranks on the British army-list, -- wished his son to serve an apprenticeship on Carleton's staff, and had purchased him a pair of colours in the regiment of which Carleton was the Colonel.
The letter from which that extract is taken was dated in October 1773. In February 1776 Lady Chatham wrote to thank the Governor warmly, in her husband's name, for the favour and attention which Lord Pitt had received from his chief, in garrison and in the field. “Feeling all this, Sir," (so she proceeded,) “as Lord Chatham does, you will tell yourself with what concern he communicates to you a step that, from his fixed opinion with regard to the continuance of the unhappy war with our fellow-subjects of America, he has found it necessary to take.
It is that of withdrawing his son from such a service.” Two years afterwards, when the
1 “The time draws nigh for our dear Pitt joining his regiment at Quebec. What pain to part with him! And what satisfaction to see him go in so manly a manner, just in the age of pleasures !” Lord Chatham to Lady Stanhope ; March 23, 1774.
French war broke out, the family, (and who could blame them?) discovered a bright side to that great public calamity in the reflection that a son and brother could now return to the profession of arms with an easy conscience. Lord Pitt went back to the Service, and was appointed aide-de-camp to the Lieutenant-Governor of Gibraltar. He had not yet left England when Lord Chatham was struck down by death; but he sailed before the funeral, and handed over the post of chief mourner to his brother William. The House of Commons heard, with deep emotion, the noble words in which the dying man was said to have bidden his son honour a father's memory by responding on the instant to his country's call.2 Lord Pitt was rewarded for his filial behaviour by the privilege of taking his share in that immortal defence of our Mediterranean citadel which did so much to restore the imperilled supremacy, and to salve the wounded pride, of England.
The Earl of Effingham was a regimental officer, in the spring of life, and passionately attached to his vocation. At a moment when there was no fighting to be witnessed west of the Carpathians, he had joined the Russian army as a volunteer, and had gone through a campaign against the Turks with a name for conspicuous enterprise and valour.4 He did not belong to the class of people who are prone to self-questioning, and inclined to crotchets or fanaticisms. A plain, rather rough, country squire, he lived according to the less
1 Letter from the younger William Pitt to the Countess of Chatham ; March 19, 1778.
2 Speech of Lord Nugent ; May 13, 1778. Parliamentary History; Vol. XIX., page 1227.
3 In the Correspondence of the Marquis of Cornwallis, chapter i., Effingham is styled a Lieutenant General ; but, according to Collins's Peerage, he was not thirty years old in 1775. A note to the Parliamentary History describes him as a captain ; and that statement is borne out by the regimental lists preserved in the War Office. It was his father, the second Earl, who was a Lieutenant General.
+ Lord Effingham's behaviour was specially marked in 1770, when almost the whole of the Turkish fleet was burned in a bay on the coast of Anatolia. It was the Sinope of that war,