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"self; his speech faltered, his sentences broken, and "his mind not master of itself. His words were shreds "of unconnected eloquence and flashes of the same fire "which he, Prometheus-like, had stolen from Heaven, "and were then returning to the place from whence they "were taken. Your Grace sees even I, who am a mere :' prose-man, am tempted to be poetical while I am dis"coursing of this extraordinary man's genius." The purport of his speech was to rouse, if yet could be, a British spirit on both sides of the Atlantic; with an unconquerable courage he protested against surrendering the birth-right of the British princes, and the union of the British race and name. "I will never consent," he cried, "to deprive the Royal offspring of the House of "Brunswick, the heirs of" — (here he faltered for some moments, while striving to recall the name) — " of the "Princess Sophia, of their fairest inheritance. My '' Lords, His Majesty succeeded to an empire as great in "extent as its reputation was unsullied. Shall we "tarnish the lustre of that empire by an ignominious "surrender of its rights? . . . Shall we now fall pros"trate before the House of Bourbon? Surely, my Lords, "this nation is no longer what it was! Shall a people "that, seventeen years ago, was the terror of the world, "now stoop so low as to tell its ancient inveterate
enemy: 'Take all we have; only give us peace?' It "is impossible t I wage war with no man or set of men. 'I wish for none of their employments, nor would I co"operate with men who still persist in unretracted error. "But in God's name, if it is absolutely necessary to de"clare either for peace or war, and the former cannot be "preserved with honour, why is not the latter com"menced without hesitation? I am not, I confess, well "informed of the resources of this kingdom, but I trust "it has still sufficient, though I know them not, to "maintain its just rights. My Lords, any state is better "than despair. Let us at least make one effort, and if "we must fall, let us fall like men!"
When Chatham had resumed his seat the Duke of Richmond rose to reply. "My Lords," he said, " there "is not a person present who more sincerely wishes than 'I do that America should remain dependent on this
country. But as I am convinced that it is now totally "impracticable, I am anxious to retain the Americans as "allies, because if they are not on terms of friendship "with us they must necessarily throw themselves into "the arms of France; and if we go to war with France "on account of her late treaty, the Colonies will look 'i upon themselves as bound in honour to assist her. "And what prospect of success have we? . . . Not one "of your Lordships has a more grateful memory than I "have of the services performed for his country by the "Noble Earl who spoke last; he raised its glory, repu"tation, and success to a height never before expe"rienced by any other nation. His Lordship's name — "I beg his pardon for mentioning it — the name of "Chatham, will ever be dear to Englishmen; but while "I grant this, I am convinced that the name of Chatham "is not able to perform impossibilities; and that even "high and respectable as it is, the present state of the "country is by no means what it was when the Noble "Earl was called to direct our councils. We had then "America for us; we have now America against us; "instead of Great Britain and America against France "and Spain, it will now be France, Spain, and Ame- "rica against Great Britain."
At the conclusion of the Duke of Richmond's speech Lord Chatham stood up to speak again. But his frame, already overwrought, was unequal to this last exertion He staggered, and fell back in a fit, or, as termed by his friends, a swoon. To all appearance he lay in the very agonies of death. Deep and earnest was the sympathy. The debate was immediately adjourned. The Peers started up and crowded round the illustrious sufferer, eager to assist him. One only, the Earl of Mansfield, retained his seat, and looked with slight concern on the fall of his former rival; almost as much unmoved," Lord Camden writes, " as the senseless body itself." In the arms of his friends Chatham was borne to a neighbouring apartment, and thence to a neighbouring house. By the prompt aid of a physician he had in some measure rallied, and within a few days could be removed to his own dwelling at Hayes. There, on the morning of the 11th of May, and in the seventieth year of his age, he expired. Whether since his seizure he ever recovered full consciousness, I do not find recorded. Of his last days nothing further is known, but I have observed that in the cast taken of his features after death, the mouth is greatly drawn on one side.
On the very day of his decease, Colonel Barre rose in the House of Commons to move that the remains of the great statesman should be interred at the public charge. He was seconded by Thomas Townshend, a rising Parliamentary speaker, afterwards Secretary of State and Lord Sydney. No voice but in eulogy was raised on this occasion. Even Rigby, with many professions of high respect, only said that, in his judgment, a monument to Lord Chatham's memory would be a more eligible, as well as a more lasting, testimony of the public gratitude. If, as is probable, Rigby's view in this suggestion was to defeat or elude the motion indirectly, he must have been not a little disappointed when he saw Dunning rise to say that he thought the two proposals in no degree opposed to each other, and that he would readily move Mr. Rigby's as an addition to Colonel Barre's. The amended motion, combining both proposals, was accordingly put from the Chair. Meanwhile Lord North, who had gone home, not expecting any business of this kind to be brought forward, entered the House in great haste. He declared himself happy to have arrived in time enough to give his vote in favour of the motion. He was only sorry, he said, that he had not breath enough, from the hurry in which he came, to express himself with the degree of respect which he wished to show to Lord Chatham's memory. The motion, as amended, then passed unanimously.
Two days afterwards the subject was resumed by Lord John Cavendish. He expressed his hope that the first vote would not be the limit of public gratitude, but that adequate provision might be made for the descendants of a statesman who, whilst in the nation's service, had ever neglected his own interests. In this suggestion, also, Lord North and the House cordially concurred. An Address was carried to the King, in consequence of which His Majesty declared his readiness to grant a pension of 4000/. a-year, and invited the aid of Parliament that the same might be annexed for ever to the Earldom of Chatham. A measure for that purpose — the Chatham Annuity Bill — was accordingly brought in. The munificence of the House of Commons was completed by a vote of 20,000/. to discharge the debts which Lord Chatham left behind.
The Chatham Annuity Bill passed the House of Commons without one dissentient voice. Not so among the Lords. A keen debate, mainly on the plea of public economy, arose upon the third reading, when eleven Peers were found to vote in opposition to the Bill; and a Protest against it was afterwards signed by four. Let the names of these last by all means be duly recorded: they were the Lord Chancellor Bathurst, Archbishop Markham of York, the Duke of Chandos, and Lord Paget. Only a few days before Lord Camden had written as ,'ollows: —" Some few Lords, as I hear, are inclined to "mutter dislike to the Bill. I do not know their names, "and I hope they will be too wise to transmit them with "this stain to posterity." *
To the House of Commons the City of London presented a petition praying that the remains of the great statesman, for whom they had ever felt especial love and reverence, might rest in the midst of themselves, beneath their own dome of St. Paul's. This petition was supported both by Dunning and Burke. "St. Paul's," said Burke, " is now a mere desert, while Westminster Abbey "is overcrowded." But the preparations for Westminster Abbey were already made, and the Ministers little inclined to show favour to the constituents of Wilkes. In Westminster Abbey, therefore, were the remains of Chatham laid. It was moved by Lord Shelburne that the House of Peers, as a body, should attend his
* To the Countess of Chatham, May 32. 1778. The signing of the protest by Archbishop Markham was certainly in no good taste, since it might be imputed to personal resentment. In the House of Lords, not long before (Dec 5. 17771, Lord Chatham had inveighed with severity against a sermon which the Archbishop had preached and published, reflecting on "the ideas of savage liberty," in America. "These," cried Chatham, "are the doctrines of "Atterbury and Sacheverell!" The same sermon had also been tho subject of animadversion in an earlier debate (May 30. 1777).
interment, but the motion was overruled by the majority of a single vote.
Notwithstanding the concurrence of all parties in the public funeral of Chatham, it was, with few exceptions, attended only by the party out of power. "Thus the "government," writes Gibbon, "ingeniously contrived to "secure the double odium of suffering the thing to be "done, and of doing it with an ill grace."* The pall was upheld by Burke and Savile, Thomas Townshend, and Dunning. The banner of the Barony of Chatham was borne by Colonel Barre, supported by the Marquis of Rockingham and the Dukes of Northumberland, Manchester, and Richmond. In the absence of the elder son on foreign service, the chief mourner was William Pitt, and in his train of eight Peers, as assistant mourners, walked Lord Shelburne and Lord Camden.
Over the dust of Chatham, in the northern transept of the Abbey, the stately monument decreed by the Commons to his memory soon afterwards arose. High above, and nobly wrought, stands his effigy, with eager gesture and outstretched arm, as though in act to hurl the thunderbolt of eloquence, f Not full twenty-eight years pass and the coffin of the son is brought beneath the father's statue! The pavement is opened and the same vault receives the second William Pitt!"What grave"— thus exclaims another illustrious man present at this last sad solemnity—"what grave contains such a father and "such a son? What sepulchre embosoms the remains of "so much human excellence and glory?"J
The sudden illness of the great statesman on the 7th of April was from the first regarded as fatal; as closing, at all events, his political career. On the very next morning we find the King write as follows to Lord North: — " May not the political exit of Lord Chatham "incline you to continue at the head of my affairs?"
* Letter to Holroyd, June 12. 1778.
f This phrase, or one not far dissimilar, is applied to great orators by one of themselves. "Brachium procerius projectum quasi "quoddam telum orationis," — are the words of Cicero. (De Oratore, lib. iii. c. 59.)
t Letter of Lord Wellesley, dated November 22. 1836, and published in the Quarterly Review, No. cxiv. p. 487.