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1769. THE POLITICAL O PINIONS OF JUNIUS. 227
whose personal friendship I had the honour of enjoying, — the same to whose most able suggestions on the character of Walpole I have elsewhere acknowledged myself as much beholden,* — and why, now that he has gone from us, need I forbear to name Sir Robert Peel? — observed to me in 1832 that in his judgment several of the leading articles of THE TIMEs newspaper during the last year were not at all inferior in ability to Junius. The opinions of Junius were by no means uniformly on the popular side. He maintained the right, although he questioned the policy, of taxing the Americans by an Act of the British Parliament. He defended the practice of presswarrants for seamen. He warmly supported a return to Triennial Elections, but no less warmly opposed any disfranchisement of the smaller, or as they were termed the rotten, boroughs. “I would not,” he adds, “give represen“tatives to those great trading towns which have none at “present. If the merchant and the manufacturer must be “really represented, let them become freeholders by their “industry, and let the representation of the counties be “increased.”* Such doctrines do honour as some may think to his judgment; as few will deny to his courage. But at all events they contrast a little strangely with the spirit of republican liberty, or rather licence, that breaks forth in other parts of his writings, – with all his hints of armed resistance, — his sneers against the Bishops, – and his insults to the King. Of all the statesmen then living the one for whom this writer appears to have felt the most of esteem and reverence was George Grenville. It was to Grenville's party, if to any, that Junius in truth belonged. In 1767 some of the earlier letters inveigh with great bitterness against Lord Chatham, who was then at variance with the houses of Wotton and of Stowe.*Butafter their reconciliation the asperity of Junius was much softened; he owns in 1771 that the character of Lord Chatham has “grown upon his esteem,” and he refers to him at last in terms of high, though not unqualified, admiration. To lawyers or to Scotchmen he can seldom allude without a sneer. Thus in one place he observes of the former: “The indiscriminate defence of right and wrong “contracts the understanding, whilst it corrupts the heart. “Subtlety is soon mistaken for wisdom, and impunity for vir“tue. If there be any instances on record, as some there “are undoubtedly, of genius and morality united in a lawyer, “they are distinguished by their singularity and operate “as exceptions.”* But no doubt his fiercestrancour was reserved for the Duke of Grafton and the King. Thus on one occasion he writes to the Duke: “Though I am not so par“tial to the Royal judgment as to affirm that the favour of a “King can remove mountains of infamy, it serves to lessen “at least, for undoubtedly it divides, the burthen. While I “remember how much is due to his sacred character, I cannot “with any decent appearance of propriety call you the “meanest and the basest fellow in the kingdom. I protest, “my Lord, I do not think you so.”* Far from blushing at this ribald strain of calumny, Junius viewed it with especial pride. He says of it in a private note to Mr. Woodfall: “I am “strangely partial to the inclosed. It is finished with the “utmost care. If I find myself mistaken in my judgment of “this paper I positively will never write again.” Nor are his invectives by any means confined topolitical affairs. He delights to stir and exacerbate any private wound. George the Third is taunted with the suspected frailty of his mother! The Duke of Grafton is reminded of the recent elopement of his wife! The Duke of Bedford is accused of displaying indifference at the death, and of pocketing money from the wardrobe, of his only son! With all this, however, and contradictory though it
* See vol. i. p. 277. ** Private letter to Wilkes, Sept. 7. 1771. *** From this great bitterness the authenticity of the earlier letters has been called in question, but, I think, without sufficient ground. See Mr. Wright's note to the Chatham Papers, vol. iii. p. 805. * To Lord Mansfield, January 21, 1772. ** Letter xlix., June 22. 1771.
1769. WHO WAS JUNIUS? 229
seems, the feelings of Junius, so far as we can trace them, were certainly on some points good and generous. He loved to assail the mighty, not to trample on the fallen; and malignant as he was in his language, he was never sordid in his views. There are many indications that a real regard for what he deemed the welfare and honour of his country was often present in his thoughts. But he was plainly under the dominion of a temper arrogant and proud beyond all ordinary limits of pride, — liable to gusts and sallies of anger, or I should rather say of fury, - and when once offended both implacable in his resentments, and unscrupulous as to the method of indulging them. But who was Junius? Who lurked beneath that name, or rather, according to the motto he assumed, that “shadow “of a name?”* This question, which has already employed so many pens and filled so many volumes, cannot be fully dealt with in these pages. But I will not affect to speak with doubt when no doubt exists in my mind. From the proofs adduced by others, and on a clear conviction of my own, which I am bound thus frankly to express, I affirm that the author of Junius was no other than SIR PHILIP FRANCIS, Philip Francis was born at Dublin in the year 1740. His father, the Rev. Dr. Francis, still remembered from his translation of Horace, was domestic tutor in the family of the first Lord Holland, then Mr. Henry Fox. By Mr. Fox's favour young Francis obtained in 1756 a small place in the Secretary of State's office. When shortly afterwards Mr. Pitt became the head of that office he extended his protection to the client of his recent rival. In 1758 Philip Francis was named Secretary of General Bligh in the expedition against Cherbourg, and in 1760 Secretary of the Earl of Kinnoul on a special embassy to Lisbon. After the retirement of Mr. Pitt he found other friends in Mr. Grenville's party, and in 1763 obtained a clerkship of considerable value in the War Office. This post he held until March 1772 when he resigned or was removed, full of ire against Lord Barrington, who had promoted Mr. Chamier over his head to be Deputy Secretary at War. Francis then went abroad, visiting both France and Italy. He returned to England about the beginning of 1773, and shortly afterwards discovered that he had been much in error in supposing Lord Barrington fo be his ill-wisher and his enemy. On the contrary, Lord Barrington “most honourably and most generously,” as was afterwards acknowledged on the part of Francis, recommended him to Lord North, and Lord North inserted his name in an Act of Parliament which passed in June 1773, and which appointed him with General Clavering and Colonel Monson members of the new Council to be constituted for the government of Bengal. Important as was this office, and large as were its emoluments *, the choice of Francis may, perhaps, be sufficiently explained by the good opinion which Lord Barrington must have formed of his abilities, and the regret which he may have felt at his estrangement. Some persons, however, are rather disposed to rely on a vague traditionary story that the King in one of his rides about this time let fall to a trusted attendant: “We know who Junius is; and he will “write no more.”” These persons then suppose that the authorship of Junius having by some means become known to His Majesty and to the Ministers they had conferred this place on Francis as a bribe for his future silence. Early in 1774 Philip Francis sailed for Calcutta. — In this History, should it further be continued, I shall have occasion to relate the fierce struggle which he forthwith commenced against Warren Hastings, – the long altercao less than 10,000l. a year as fixed by the Act, 13 Geo. 3. c. 63. “”. “Junius Identified," p. 399. ed. 1818. Sir Philip's widow, in 1769. who was JUNIUs? 231
* Stat Nominus Umbra ; the motto affixed to Woodfall's first collective edition of 1772. — I observe, on referring to the files of the Public Advertiser at the British Museum, that according to the custom of the time the letters of Junius, as originally published, abound in blanks and dashes, – but such as it was easy for readers to fill up. Thus the famous letter to the Duke of Bedford (Sept. 19. 1769) is addressed “To the Duke of —;" and W–n and G–n stand for Woburn and Grafton.
her letter to Lord Campbell, admits this story as certainly true, but for my own part I consider it apocryphal.
tions and the final duel between them. It may be said with truth that the character to be deduced of Junius from his writings, – most arrogant and angry, and yet on many points high-minded, - exactly tallies with the character to be deduced of Francis from his life. To the end of his days indeed Francis was noted among his friends both for his testy temper and his pithy sayings. * In 1781 Francis returned to England; and in 1784 obtaining a seat in Parliament took a forward and eager part in the prosecution of Hastings. On other questions also he spoke sometimes with great force and spirit, but even by his own account with no easy flow of words. Upon the accession of the Whig party to power in 1806 he was invested with the red riband of the Bath, and became Sir Philip. Hitherto he had never been suspected as the secret libeller of 1769.* But the publication of Woodfall's edition in 1812, comprising all the secret notes and unacknowledged letters of Junius, gave a new turn to the inquiry, and was followed at no long interval by “Junius Identified,” an able and ingenious work by Mr. John Taylor, fixing on Sir Philip by many cogent proofs the authorship of Junius. Sir Philip, however, on no occasion, at least not on any public one, acknowledged the impeachment, but, on the contrary, always denied, or more commonly evaded it. — He died in 1818. In considering this question of identity the first point is to compare the two handwritings. The hand of Junius was plainly a disguised one; it is upright, while that of Francis is slanting. But on examining especially the fragments of sentences from each, which have been engraved and placed in collocation, it is impossible to doubt that the two hands closely agree in the form of several letters and the junction of several words; as also in some peculiarities both of spelling and punctuation. * See as an instance the anecdote in Moore's Life of Sheridan, vol. ii. p. 300. ed. 1825. ** “Until the work before us, Sir Philip Francis had never, as far as
** we }*, been suspected,” (Edinburgh Review, No. lvii. p. 96, Nov. 1817.