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Majesty. “Well, Mr. Pitt,” such it is said were the concluding words of George the Third, “I see (or I fear) this “will not do. My honour is concerned, and I must sup“port it.” Thus ended this remarkable interview. “Mr. Pitt,” continues Lord Hardwicke in his letter, “professes himself “firmly persuaded that my Lord Bute was sincere at first, “and that the King was in earnest the first day, but that on “the intermediate day, Sunday, some strong effort was “made which produced the alteration. He likewise affirms “that if he was examined upon oath he could not tell upon “what this negotiation broke off, whether upon any parti“cular point or upon the general complexion of the whole.” At the time, however, every detail of these negotiations was left by the parties to them clouded with doubt and mystery, and the concealment of the truth gave birth as usual to a thousand fictions. Lord Chesterfield, writing to his son, drily remarks that all the newsmongers and coffee-houses, as they asserted, knew the facts minutely, but that he did not. Upon the whole, however, it was rightly felt and urged that this sudden re-appearance of Lord Bute in the character of go-between entirely belied all the assertions made since his resignation of his having ceased to advise the King, or to take any part in public affairs. The statesmen whom he had tried to supplant were, as may be supposed, most openmouthed against him. “He has attempted to sacrifice us to “his own fears and timidity;” – “he has carried us to mar“ket in his pocket;”— such were some of their expressions. Thus when, after parting with Pitt, the King found it necessary to press Grenville to remain Prime Minister, Grenville, though nothing loth, seized the occasion to lecture His Majesty at great length and in no courtly terms against the now no longer secret ascendency of the Scottish Favourite. Grenville, feeling the need of new strength, or at least new names, in his Cabinet, now invited to his aid the Bedford party. The Duke was made to believe (which was not the fact) that Pitt had proscribed him by name as the author of
1763. ADDRESSES ON THE PEACE. 43
a disgraceful Peace, and he was consequently filled with indignation. His Grace was by no means eager for office, and pleaded against it the indolence of his temper”, but his dependants, such as Rigby, for their own sakes urged him onwards. Thus he consented to become President of the Council (an office left vacant since the death of Lord Granville in the January preceding), and Lord Sandwich Secretary of State, being succeeded at the Admiralty by Lord Egmont. Lord Shelburne, who had been in close correspondence with Pitt during the latenegotiation, resigned the Board of Trade, and was replaced by Lord Hillsborough. On the general complexion of the Government thus altered Lord Chesterfield writes: “In my opinion they cannot as they are meet “the Parliament. The only and all the efficient people they “have are in the House of Lords, for since Mr. Pitt has “firmly engaged Charles Townshend to him there is not a “man of the Court side in the House of Commons who has “either abilities or words enough to call a coach.”* I have observed, however, that such predictions, common though they be, of oratorical feebleness and failure in any administration, are scarcely ever borne out by the event, since high office in some cases calls forth latent powers of eloquence, and, still oftener, by its weight and authority supplies to a great extent the want of them. The recent negotiation with Pitt had been so rapid in its progress, and so secret in its circumstances, that it afforded the people at large no opportunity to express their feelings upon it. But their indifference at least towards the Ministry was shown throughout the summer by their slackness to subscribe Addresses of Congratulation on the Peace. Such Addresses had been eagerly solicited by letters from men in office to the friendly Mayors of towns and Lord Lieutenants of counties; nevertheless, with every exertion but few could be obtained. One such there came from each English University, but the Duke of Newcastle as Chancellor, and Lord Hardwicke as High Steward, of Cambridge, refused to go to St. James's with the Address of that learned body. The same course was adopted by Pitt with regard to an Address from his constituents—the Corporation of Bath, –and he carried his resentment further still on finding that they had applied the term “adequate” to the Peace, which he deemed a reflection on himself, who had repeatedly called it “inadequate.” It afterwards appeared that the term had been inserted hastily, and without any offensive view, by Mr. Ralph Allen of Prior Park, the leading member of the Bath Corporation. This gentleman, whose kind heart endeared him to his contemporaries, has become known to posterity from the direct praise of Pope and the implied praise of Fielding. For the “humble Allen” of the Satires* was also, it is said, the original of Allworthy in Tom Jones. To him, Pitt now addressed a letter declaring that he would never stand again for Bath. “Give me leave, my dear good Sir, plainly to con“fess that I perceive I am but ill-qualified to form preten“sions to the future favour of gentlemen who are come to “think so differently from me on matters of the highest im“portance.” Mr. Allen, much mortified and grieved, answered Pitt by special express, imploring him to forego his resolution. Pitt, however, persevered, and the letters which had passed on this occasion were, as he desired, made public.” So great was Mr. Allen's concern, that he not only resigned his seat in the Corporation, but withdrew from any further part in public affairs until his death which happened in the ensuing year. It was supposed at the time, though without foundation,
* Bedford Papers, vol. iii. p. 245. On the 6th of September, the very day on which Bedford from Woburn accepted office, the “proscribing" expressions imputed to Pitt were on his part, it seems, fully and distincty denied. See the letter of Mr. Robert Wood in the Chatham Papers, vol. ii. p. 249.
** To his son, Sept. 30. 1763.
w “Let humble Allen, with an awkward shame, “Do good by stealth, and blush to find it fame.” Pope had at first written “low-born,” but afterwards changed the epithet to “humble” — a proof that in some quarter pride was lurking. See Bowles's ed., vol. iv. p. 330. ** Annual Register, 1763, part. i. p. 206. These letters, which bear date the beginning of June, are reprinted in the Chatham Correspondence. i the Kiss:
1763. BISHOP WARBURTON. 45
that in the Address which Mr. Allen framed he had been instigated by Dr. Warburton, who some years since, on Pitt's recommendation, had become the Bishop of Gloucester. Warburton had certainly promoted a similar Address from his own Chapter, and finding Pitt displeased he wrote him a letter of explanation and apology.* The reply of Pitt is couched in his usual epistolary style of humility, bordering on obsequiousness, which affords so strange a contrast to the proud and lofty tenor of his life. He first declares that he should be guilty of temerity were he to presume to exercise his own judgment in such a case, but he then proceeds to lay — as the Bishop himself afterwards confessed — his finger on the weak point of this transaction. “I will only “venture to observe, my Lord, that the Cathedral of Glou“cester, which certainly does not stand alone in true duty “and wise zeal towards His Majesty, has, however, the fate “not to be imitated by any other Episcopal See in the king“dom in this unaccustomed effusion of fervent gratulations “on the Peace.” At nearly the same period we find Pitt in his private correspondence refer to the Government as “a rash and odious “Ministry,” and express his hope for “some solid union on “Revolution principles.”** He was reckoning on the future co-operation of Charles Yorke, the second son of Lord Hardwicke, and at this time Attorney General, who it was thought differed from his colleagues in the case of the North Briton. But this expectation was not fulfilled. For, although Yorke did resign his office before the meeting of Parliament, he put it on family reasons, and professed himself ready to concur in the violent measures against Wilkes.
* To Mr. Pitt, Sept. 4. 1763. The Bishop grievously complains of a popular caricature at Bath, in which “your humble servant is brought in, “in his Episcopal habit, prompted by the Devil, to whisper in Mr. Allen's “ear the word ‘adequate ''” His Lordship adds, not very consistently, the usual phrase on such occasions: “I for my part, am callous to these things.” ** To the Duke of Newcastle, Oct. 13. 1763. See also the Duke's answer the next day. It is curious to contrast Newcastle's letters in the autumn of 1761 with those in the autumn of 1763; the former in the Bedford Collection, and the latter in the Chatham; the former all fire and flame against Pitt, the latter all humility and devotion towards him. * Examination of Michael Curry, printer, at the Bar of the House of Lords, Nov. 15. 1763. ** Potter had died in I759 as Vice-Treasurer of Ireland. See a note to Lord Orford's Memoirs of George III., vol. i. p. 310. In the last year of his life, according to his own account, he had become “a useless load to “others, and a wretched being to himself.” (Letter to Pitt, Oct. 25. 1758, Chatham Correspondence.)
Under such circumstances did the Session of Parliament commence on the 15th of November; and the very first day was marked in both Houses by a vehement prosecution — or rather, as the public deemed it, persecution — of Wilkes. In the Upper House Lord Sandwich started up, even before the King's Speech could be considered, and sprung a wholly unexpected mine upon his former associate, denouncing him as the author of a scandalous, obscene, and impious libel, called “the Essay on Woman.” It appears that Wilkes had, several years before, and in some of his looser hours, composed a parody of Pope’s “Essay on Man.” In this undertaking which, according to his own account, cost him a great deal of pains and time”, he was, it is said, assisted by Thomas Potter, second son of the late Archbishop of Canterbury, who had been Secretary of Frederick Prince of Wales, and had since shown ability and gained office in the House of Commons, but was (as well became one of Wilkes's friends) of lax morals in his private life.* The result of their joint authorship, however, has little wit or talent to make any amends for the blasphemy and lewdness with which it abounds. As the original had been inscribed by Pope to Lord Bolingbroke, so was the parody by Wilkes to Lord Sandwich; thus it began, “Awake my Sandwich!” instead of “Awake my St. John!” Thus also, in ridicule of Warburton's well-known commentary, some burlesque notes were appended in the name of the Right Reverend the Bishop of Gloucester.
This worthless poem had remained in manuscript, and lain in Wilkes's desk, until in the previous spring he had occasion to set up a press at his own house, and was tempted to print fourteen copies only as presents to his boon companions. Of one of these copies the Government obtained