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readiness to grant a pension of 40007. 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 Chandas , and Lord Paget. Only a few days before Lord Camden had written as follows: — "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,
* To the Countess of Chatham, May 31. 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. 1777), 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 Sachevereli:" The same sermon had also been the subject of animadversion in an earlier debate (May 30. 1777).
were- the remains of Chatham laid. It was moved by Lord Shelburne that the House of Peers, as a body, should attend his 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 do"ing 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 Barrel 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.** 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 con"tains such a father and such a son? What sepulchre em"bosoms the remains of so much human excellence and "glory?"***
The sudden illness of the great statesman on the 7th of April was from the first regarded as fatal; as closing, at all
* Letter to Holroyd, Jane 12. 1778.
** 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. (DeOratore, lib. iii. c. 59.)
"* Letter of Lord Wellesley, dated November 22. 1836, and published in the Quarterly Review, No. cxiv. p. 487.
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?" Lord North, on his part, continued to the end of the Session to express his earnest desire to resign. But he could no longer point with clearness to the choice of a successor. The small party which Chatham had headed, though comprising such names as Shelburne, Dunning, and Barre', could not hope to form a government of themselves since they had lost their chief. The Whigs, under Lord Rockingham, had, in great measure at least, committed themselves to the independence of America; and on that ground Lord North could not but deprecate their return to power. There was henceforth no great statesman to lead^to that middle path, that course of conciliation without compromise, which Chatham had pointed out, and might perhaps have trodden. Under these altered circumstances , Lord North was gradually prevailed upon to remain in office. At the close of the Session he also complied with the King's desire, and greatly added, not indeed to the moderation of his councils, but to his resources of debate, by accepting or inviting the resignation ofLordBathurst, and conferring the Great Seal, with a peerage, upon Thurlow.
It was likewise, at this juncture, that the King, without solicitation, showed his sense of Lord North's services by appointing him Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. To that office, at that time, was attached, besides the possession of Walmer Castle, the annual salary of 5000£. Henceforth, then, the official emoluments of Lord North, as First Lord of the Treasury, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, and as Lord Warden, exceeded 12,000/. a-year. It might, perhaps, have been more thoroughly consistent with his amiable and upright character, had he, at so difficult a crisis, and while kept in office in his own despite, refrained from so great remuneration. Already, during the past Session, there had appeared in the House of Commons a strong distaste to large official profits. A motion had been made by Mr. Gilbert to 1778. LORD NORTH CONTINUES, MINISTER. 247
lay a tax of no less than one-fourth on the incomes of placemen and pensioners; this tax to continue during the continuance of the American war. Let the reader, if he can, picture to himself the horror and surprise, on this occasion, of such men as Mr. Rigby! — The motion was affirmed in Committee by a majority of eighteen; next day, on bringing up the Report, it was, after great exertions, rescinded by no more than six. In like manner a Bill from Sir Philip Jennings Clerke, to exclude contractors from the House of Commons, unless their contracts were obtained by a public bidding, was carried through the first division, and barely negatived on the second.*
In the course of these last debates some strong instances of disadvantageous bargains were adduced by Sir Philip. These might,perhaps,be questioned; but who,in the present day at least, will deny the truth of his general remarks ? — "It is impossible not to perceive that giving these contracts "to Members is an arrant job, and creates a dangerous in"fluence in this House; for the more money is raised on the "public the greater is the profit to these gentlemen.... We "should not hear one Member rise up and assure the House "that he sells his coals as cheap as any merchant in London; "another should not engage to furnish coats, another should "not contract to supply shoes! I never heard of there being "any tailors or shoemakers in this House." To such arguments Lord George Gordon, in a maiden speech, added some personal abuse. "The Noble Lord in the blue riband (Lord "North) is himself the greatest of all contractors; he is a "contractor for men, a contractorforyourflock, Mr. Speaker, "a contractor for the representatives of the people .... Oh, "let that Noble Lord 'turn from his wickedness, and live!'"
The latter part of the Session was also marked by the return of General Burgoyne to England, and his re-appearance in the House of Commons. On a motion by Mr. Vyner he had an opportunity to deliver, in vindication of his conduct, an able speech. His reception by the Government was
* Pari. Hist. vol. xis. pp. 873. 1088.
by no means such as he had hoped. The King refused to admit him to his presence, and when, hereupon, the General asked for a Court Martial, or Commission of Inquiry, he was reminded that, according to precedents, a prisoner on parole could not be tried. Under such circumstances Burgoyne, perhaps too eagerly and warmly, threw himself into the arms of Opposition. They, on their part, in pursuance of the tactics too common in such cases, no sooner found him disposed to join them, than they viewed him with altered eyes. From censures of his conduct they passed over to declare that his first instructions had been faulty, and his ill reception undeserved. With Lord North he continued on a footing of courtesy and respect, but he did not spare Lord George Germaine. Certainly some allowance should be made for his excited feelings, when his painful position is considered; when all he asked was the speediest opportunity to defend himself before some competent tribunal, and then abide its judgment. "I provoke a trial!" he cried. "Give me inquiry! "I put the interests that hang most emphatically by the "heart-strings of man—my fortune — my honour —my head "— I had almost said my salvation, — upon the test 1" *
But this Session of Parliament was not wholly engrossed by financial or American affairs. It is also memorable for the relaxation which it sanctioned of the Penal Code against the English Roman Catholics. For a long time they had suffered in silence. At length, on the 1st of May in this year, a most loyal and dutiful Address was presented to the King from the principal members of their body, declaring not merely their obedience to the Government, but their attachment to the Constitution. "Our exclusion," say they, "from many "of its benefits has not diminished our reverence to it. . . . "We beg leave to assure Your Majesty that we hold no "opinions repugnant to the duties of good citizens. And we
* Pari. Hist. vol. xix. p. 1194. In reply, Lord George Gcrmaine was provoked to some personalities. He declared that Monsieur St. Luc, a Canadian officer, to whose testimony on some points Uurgoyne appealed, had in conversation said to him of the General: "Vest un brave homme, "mais lonrd comme iw AUemaml!"