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age, but already gave indication of that eminent skill and ability which have since shed lustre on his well-earned title of Malmesbury. His letters to Lord Weymouth as the Secretary of State are now before me.” He reports that the Catholic King and several of his Ministers felt themselves unprepared for war, and were sincerely desirous of peace. Still, however, they could not be brought to yield the full measure of retribution that England claimed. Others among the Spanish statesmen partook in the designs of Choiseul, and like him no doubt looked forward to a vigorous attack on England. Under such circumstances it is probable that hostilities would have been renewed had the power of Choiseul himself stood firm. But the nearer did these aggressive schemes approach the time for execution, the more did the repugnance to them of Louis the Fifteenth grow manifest. Towards the close of 1770 he wrote with his own hand to his “good brother” of Spain. “My Minister wishes “for war, but I do not.” Moreover at the same period a different train of events was leading to the downfal of this lately all-powerful Minister. Madame de Pompadour had died several years before. In the selection of herself and of the other favourites of the King of France some regard to station, to rank, may even to character, had been observed. But the woman to whom henceforth Louis the Fifteenth without disguise or reserve attached himself, - a new Nell Gwyn, – had none of the “decencies of a mistress,” according to the phrase employed by Bishop Burnet.** By a singular contrast she was born at Waucouleurs, the same village in Lorraine from which the heroic Joan of Arc had sprung. Her lovers in her early youth were both numerous and various. Some of them, in admiration of her beauty, used to call her “the angel;”

* The despatches of Mr. Harris from Mädrid are published in his Diaries and Correspondence (vol. i. p. 33–78.). See also Coxe s Bourbon Kings of Spain, vol. iv. p. 385. et seq. ** History of his Own Times, vol. i. p. 263. folio ed. The reader may recollect Swift's caustic note upon the margin of that passage. (Works, vol. x. p. 266.)

1770. MADAME DU BARRY. 293

and thus she became known by the name of Madomoiselle L'Ange. But no sooner had she attracted the Royal notice than a ruined spendthrift of quality — a Comte Du Barry — was induced to secure her rank and his own fortune by giving her, for form's sake, his hand in marriage. In state affairs she showed much greater aptitude than might have been imagined, and her influence over the amorous monarch grew to be unbounded. Sometimes indeed he seemed conscious of his degradation; nor were there wanting many significant hints even from the most servile of his courtiers.” But love, or what he called so, never failed to resume its sway. Madame Du Barry had no desire or design to enter the lists against Choiseul had not Choiseul himself haughtily set her at defiance. His temper, always overbearing, was now elated by long possession of power. He deemed also that he had fully secured that power by the support of Austria, having only a few months since negotiated and solemnized a marriage between the King's eldest grandson, the heir apparent to the Crown, and a daughter of the Empress Queen, the Archduchess Marie Antoinette. By his arrogance he added Madame Du Barry to the number of his enemies, while his ambition and his perfidy supplied them with formidable weapons. He was denounced to the King for his perpetual thirst of war, for his restless machinations against England, for his unauthorized promises to Spain; and the whole dispute of the Falkland Islands was said to be raised and fomented by his arts. Early in December Choiseul received secret information that his downfal was resolved upon; and on the 24th of that month there was put into his hands a LETTRE DE CACHET dismissing him from office and banishing him from Court, the place of his banishment, however, being fixed at his own country seat of Chanteloup in Touraine. Then, subject to the smiles of Madame DuBarry, did an unworthy Triumvirate rule the King and kingdom; D'Aiguillon at the head of foreign affairs; Terray at the head of the finances; and Maupeou at the head of the law. Then did the Crown of France lose all influence, all dignity, in the eyes of other nations; then for a while did it wholly cease to weigh in the balance of European powers. The effect of Choiseul's retirement on the Spanish councils was immediate and decisive. In the course of December the Prince de Masserano had transmitted to Lord North the answers from his Court. They had refused the terms demanded, and only offered that the King of Spain would disavow the expedition of Buccarelli if the King of England on his part would disavow the threats of Captain Hunt. Upon this Lord Rochford declared the negotiation at an end, and sent orders to Mr. Harris to quit the Spanish capital. Mr. Harris therefore in the January ensuing set out on his journey homewards. But he had not proceeded beyond a small hamlet twenty leagues from Madrid when he was stopped by a second courier from Lord Rochford informing him of a subsequent and satisfactory communication from the Prince de Masserano. Spain at last conceded everything that England had asked. The attack of Buccarelli was expressly disavowed. The settlement of Port Egmont was respectfully restored. It was stipulated that this restitution was not to affect any claim of right which His Catholic Majesty might have to the territory, but it is wholly false as alleged by the Opposition of that day that there was a secret article pledging England at some future time to surrender it to Spain. The Court of St. James's, however, had learnt by experience how great and how unprofitable was the charge of this distant settlement. Nor had we then as now other settlements and Colonies in the Southern Seas, giving to the possession of the Falklands a value beyond its own. Thus after recovering Port Egmont, and retaining it for nearly two years more, the English of their own accord abandoned it. Even then they did not surrender it to Spain. They left their flag flying from the rocks, and affixed large sheets of lead 1771. ALTERCATION BETWEEN THE Two Houses. 295

* “Un jour quil sentait son abjection, Louis dit au Duc de Noailles: “‘Je sais bien que je succède a Sainte Foy.’ — ‘Oui, Sire," dit le Duc en “s'inclinant, ‘comme Votre Majesté succède a Pharamond l'" (Sismondi, Hist, des Français, vol. xxix. p. 401.)

with engraved inscriptions declaring to all other states that the Falklands were the sole right and property of the King of Great Britain. The Spaniards at that time showed not the least desire to seize or people the sterile island which their rivals had forsaken, and it continued during many years the same bleak desert we first found it.* And thus while the digmity of the British name had not been stained or lowered, the dangers of an European conflict were happily averted. The Opposition did not fail during the remainder of this Session to exclaim most vehemently against the provisions of the Treaty; but in both Houses a large majority approved it. Far less happy was the chance which at the same period involved the House of Commons in unseemly and unprofitable altercation, first with the House of Peers, and next with the City of London. In the first the immediate cause was one of the debates on the Falkland Islands, before the negotiation was concluded and while war was deemed imminent. The Duke of Manchester was descanting on the neglected and insecure condition of Gibraltar, when a motion was made to clear the House of strangers that the weakness of the nation, if weakness there were, might not be publicly disclosed. This motion was warmly resisted by Lord Chatham and the Duke of Richmond, but such was the agitation that the former could not even obtain a hearing, and they finally retired with their friends to the number of eighteen, and all in the utmost anger. Then the order for clearing the House was enforced, and extended also to such Members of the Commons as were present, some of whom had come not from curiosity but on business with a Bill. Colonel Barré who was among them gave to his own House an inflamed and passionate description of what had passed. “I could not suppose,” said he, “that a single Peer remained in the House. It seemed “as if the mob had broke in, and they certainly acted in a “very extraordinary manner. One of the heads of this mob “— for there were two — was a Scotchman. I heard him call “out several times: CLEAR THE Hoose! CLEAR THE Hoose! “The face of the other was hardly human; for he had con“trived to put on a nose of enormous size that disfigured him “completely!”* In this coarse caricature the two Peers aimed at were the Earl of Marchmont and the Earl of Denbigh. The Commons were provoked into some retaliation, and had not the Ministers displayed more judgment and temper than their adversaries this small spark might have been blown into a violent flame. It is worthy of note in these debates as an indication of the state of parties that Burke seized the opportunity of paying high compliments to Chatham. “Conscious of my own “natural imbecility I endeavour to get knowledge wherever “I can. I desire to hear the discussions of the other House. “I desire to learn the opinions of that greatman who, though “not a member of the Cabinet, seems to hold the key of it, “and to possess the capacity of informing and instructing us “in all things.” Chatham himself was to the full as indignant at the diminution of his audience. Thus he writes to the Countess Stanhope: “The House being kept clear of hearers, “we are reduced to a snug party of unhearing and unfeeling “Lords and the tapestry-hangings; which last, mute as Mi“nisters, yet tellus more than all the Cabinet on the subject “of Spain, and the manner of treating with an insidious and “haughty Power.” — These tapestry-hangings, it will be recollected, portrayed the defeat of the Spanish Armada. Of all the Members of the Commons there was none more eager and zealous in resenting the alleged insult they had received than Lord George Sackville, who about this period to inherit an estate had taken the name of Germaine. In reply to him Governor Johnstone said sarcastically, that a man ought to clear his own honour before he set himself up as

* The island was re-colonized in 1826 by the Republic of Buenos Ayres, and was held by that Republic, chiefly as a place of banishment, until 1831. (Note to Cavendish Debates, vol. ii. p. 306.) In 1833 the British flag was for the second time unfurled at Port Egmont, a British officer being again sent out in command, and “We found him,” says Mr. Darwin, “in charge of a population of which rather more than half were runaway “rebels and murderers : " (Journal, vol. i. p. 188.)

* Cavendish Debates, vol. ii. p. 162. See also the Chatham Papers vol. iv. p. 58.

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