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and ruinous ; and last, not least, the separately detailing the various rerevolted feelings of a parent. Such turns of this question before the public. are the real and aggravated features It was for a long time the court card which the assailants of George II. in the hands of Mr. Fox's party. From have sunk into specious generalities to time to time it was brought before parfind other less honourable reasons for liament, and continued to attract the the common conduct of every father attention of the country, and to be a who is influenced by a sense of the pa- topic of mutual exasperation between ternal tie.
the Prince and his father. For a long We are far from attributing unques. time the moral firmness of George III. tionable soundness to the expedients frustrated designs which were largely adopted by George III. Nor do we alloyed with party motives and with desire to be understood to express an strong apparent detriment to the unqualified acquiescence in the stric. Prince's better interests. It was first tures, which a cursory glance would unsuccessfully introduced in 1786, by apply to the Prince of Wales. The Sheridan, in a question on the arrears king was a zealot for order, decorum, of the civil list; and continued to and morality; and in his anxiety to return, in various forms, for the next isolate his young family from the profli- sixteen years. gacy of the time, he did not sufficiently After Mr. Pitt became established calculate on the effects of a sudden in the confidence of the king and transition from the austere system he the nation, beyond the power of op adopted into the glittering and volup. position, the prince's political enthutuous enchantments of a circle, in which siasm subsided, and a long interval pleasure was a religion and a study, began, in which his connection with and in which the distinctions of right the Whigs ceased entirely to be poliand wrong were refined into a specious tical. They became the counsellors, and graceful ornament for the rim of the examples, and associates of dissipations Circeun cup. Kings and princes are but and debaucheries, which human nature men, and subject to the laws of our na- must look on with a conscious charity, ture; the Prince of Wales acted on the pity, and condemnation, but over which impulses of youth, passion, and inexpe- the friendly biographer should desire rience ; and the suggestions as well as to throw the veil of oblivion. They examples of those on whom we still look were in him excusable on the score of with admiration, if not respect. He did youth, and the total absence of sane not, and could not reasonably be ex
counsel or example, but they were not pected at ouce to rise above such more debasing than destructive. temptations as seldom try the heart ; “ Carlton House," says one of our able and it is not without excuse if he guides, “ was both the subject and the yielded to circumstances above human scene of profuse expenditure. The pervirtue to resist. It has, however, petual extensions and changes of design been one of our maxims that a right in building and decoration, consumed education so modifies the heart, that in enormous sums; and splendid entertaiothe worst of its errors it will maintain ments to persons of rank, wit, or reputaa constitutional and conservative ten. tion, alternated with the orgies of vulgar dency, which will ultimately renew it debauchery and gaming. It would seem as in the course from which it had been if, adopting the batterers of the day, led astray. And this is well illustrated which compared his career to the Shak. in the life of Georye the Fourth. spearian youth of Henry V. he thought
The Whigs, into whose arms he had to complete the parallel, by defiling himbeen seduced, and whose triumphs he self with the intimacy of buffoons and had assisted, were pledged as a party parasites, whose names are not worth reto his personal interests. And when calling from oblivion and contempt."the Coalition came into their shortlived Life of George IV. power their first trial of strength was To Mr. Fox we may concede, and on the subject of his establishment. for Sheridan we may claim the allowTheir efforts failed, from the refusal of ance that the personal sympathies the king. An allowance which, with ex. of private friendship, may have cellent but mistaken intentions, was less largely entered into their conduct, than his rank entitled him to, and an so far as regards the Prince of extravagance which would have drained Wales. But when the Whig historians the treasures of the east, soon placed of that period inpute fickleness and him in a state of undignified necessity. hollowness to the latter, in his conduct We shall not lengthen our narrative by to some of these persons, we, or our
· part, think it just to remind them of the king, which throws a clear and i ihat which they will not be so simple even sublime illustration over the con
or disbonest as to deny, that the duct of that great man, even if we allow | party of Fox took the prince's in'erests it to have been carried to the length
as they would have taken any other of error. He endeavoured to impress debateable topic, for its efficacy as a on his son's mind that he should con. party weapon; and as directly conso- trol his passions, and act on the prinnant with their policy of subduing, ciple of a due regard to his influential controlling, and dictating to the king station. Neither the king nor the prince, both eminently sagacious men, were to be
« Pleasure," replied the Prince, “in duped by the hollow demonstrations of my mind, belongs not to the man's sta party. And while, on this score alone, tion, but to the man; and you are yourwe might justify the whole conduct of self the victim of adopting the converse
of this proposition.
You have never the king, it may alsı) serve to show in its true aspect the conduct of the prince. of an afluent private gentleman, nor
enjoyed one pleasure, not within the reach While opposing, sternly opposed by suffered one pain which has not proceeded a power that was exercised to his personal annoyance, it is a shallow
from your station.” mistake to imagine that he was so ig. A sentence on which the apologist norant and so unprincipled as to be for George III. might build a truer without some feeling for the dignity exposition than that which accompanies and honor of the crown wbich he was the narrative from which we extract it.
to wear at a future day, or to be alto Through the whole of these long !
gether imposed on by the party so- protracted negociations, Sheridan was phistications of his debauched compa a principal agent They brought fornions. The able writers on this topic ward in the honse his eloquence and seem to have disregarded the moral party talents ; in private council his fact, that while men are carried away tact, sagacity, and knowledge of men by the torrent of passion and the im- and affairs. Occasionally he had the posing fallacies of party, they may all opportunity to exhibit the zeal of an adthrough retain an impression that they herent and the devotedness of a perare under delusive influence; and that sonal friend. Nor will it be believed, a sense of what is true and fit, will now that during these transactions his soand then operate to check, moderate, cial fascinations were unemployed to and rectify their conduct. The prince gain the affections and confidential re. was too much and too long behind the gard of one so much alive to the attracscenes to be the dupe of demonstra- tions of genius and wit as the Prince. lions which impose on none but histo There was a natural assimilation of rians. We trust our readers will ex- tastes, passions, intellect, and habits, cuse the controversial tone into which which ripened political alliance and we are forced by the party stateinents buon companionship into friendshipof many of our respected authorities, such, at least, as can be presumed to from whose views we are obliged exist under terms of such inequality. rather frequently to dissent, even wbile Tact, taste, wit, were the talents of we respectfuliy assent to their state- both—both were social and pleasurements.
loving in the extreme-both were desThe sincerity of George III. seems titute of prudence-both were warmed to be placed beyond question by the by bonourable feelings and amiable pertinacious consistency with which sentiments—both had a constitutional ibroughout the varied repetitions of recklessness of consequences--a pasthis negociation, he stipulated for the sion for wild sallies and mischievous marriage of the prince, and for a pledge frolics. The Prince had of the two not to contract further debts. We the firmest inoral principle, and the shall mention one anecdote which higher prudence ; but he was comparaillustrates this. In 1785, when he tively a boy in years, and these qualiproposed to the prince to increase his ties were in abeyance. Their tastes allowance to £100,000 a year, and and inclinations jumped together with grant £200,000 for his debts, &c. a more than ordinary aptitude and conon the condition of his marrying, sent; and it will be felt by those who and ceasing to oppose the measures of read the lives of either, that there must government ; the prince refused, and have existed for each a charm in the à conversation is reported as having other, quite independent of the ostensoon after occurred between hin and tations or interested considerations,
which many are so lynx-eyed to per- blunder, or dulness of some plodding ceive in the intercourse of prince and brain-so amplified with gay ridiculesubject. Niany amusing and singular so adorned with airy touches of quinstories, preserved among the numerous tessential spirit, so harmonized into chacontemporary, memoirs and critical racteristic absurdity, that its first pronotices of their period, are already in genitor could scarce imagine the brik possession of the public, and illustrate liant emanation to have in any way that alliance in exploits of gaiety and originated in any thing he ever said,
or In have formed a bond between them. And latter days, indeed, poor Sheridan must if these outbreaks are far less equivocal have been sadly changed ; and it is in character than the nocturnal incidents but too much the common lot, that our of Gadshill in Henry IV. yet they do later years throw a shade over the renot at least fall very far deficient in putation of our better days. It is very spirit and mischief. In that grave hard to bring home to a Youth's fancy, play of ready-witted and specious that there ever was a day when his knavery which amuses the simplicity, father was a straight, slim, bright-eyed and turns off the attention of the de. youth, without a corporation, and abie voted victim of a jest, until he is fairly to go a foot beyond him in a running lodged within the premunire of a ri- leap!-Sic transit gloria mundi. diculous eclat, Sheridan was facile prin. if our scope were ample, or if the ceps among the wits.
career of Sheridan afforded an excuse As Sheridan has been accused of for parliamentary narration, further than labour in the construction of his dramas, the bare statement of a question, for 30 the same comment has been, with the occasion it gave for the display of more truth than discrimination, ap- his wit or eloquence, no period would plied to his colloquial wit. We can present more deep interest than that afford little notice to the subject now; at which we are arrived. The conbut may observe in passing, that the test between the Wbig party and the most abundant and overflowing wit crown, long carried on with vast abi. must have its periods of exhaustion, lity, and the pretext, at least, of much and that when a man becomes pro- constitutional wisdom and principle on fessionally a wit, the excitement les- the part of the foriner, had, as will ever sens, while the constraining de- be the case in the development of party niand of social expectation grows. purposes, essentially changed their In the beginning of life, vivacity like character, and degenerated into the Sheridan's would triumph over this struggle of a faction for power, and for torpifying influence; but as he ad- the victory of party. Mr. Fox, who vanced in years—as he came into a pursued his purposes with the keen more brilliant and fastidious circle, and spirit of a gamester, and with an unhad not only to preserve his reputation, scrupulous and fearless audacity, which but to maintain his superiority-it was neither influenced by any regard ought not to be a matter of doubt that either to principles or consequences, he would lose no advantage that he became the leader and the idol of the could secure. There is, however, a opposition. It was, however, the turn. very obvious fact overlooked by those ing point of a strong and Conservative who imagine that this species of pre- reaction of the antagonist principles of paration has in it any thing derogatory the constitution, under the over-presto the reputation of the wit. The viva- sure of popular principles—for the line cious fancy from which wit Aows, is between constitutional and revolutionseldom at rest ; and though its in- ary opposition was for a moment tensest excitements are in the social passed, by the able men who yet stood hour, yet its best material occurs in the round the champion of the lawless collisions and various encounters of constituency of Westminster, in whose busy occupation. Every one who favour we may paraphrase an old sayknows the reigning spirit of any circle ing—“the nearer the legislature, the in which gaiety has a place, is aware farther from law.” The efforts of this how the slightest bint is seized, ex- party were now expended in a violent panded, adorned, treasured up, and and pertinacious struggle to force Mr. brought forth at the seasonable mo Fox into power, and to wrest from the ment-as the butterfly, with its bright crown a prerogative which involves its expansion of many-coloured wings, very identity as a constitutional power. bursts from the grublike state of its We are not among those who can performer existence, so comes the folly, the ceive any thing unconstitutional in a
course adopted to restrain, or constrain, the commercial interests of mankind, the exercise of prerogative. We think were transferred from the countingit as necessary as the opposite influence house to the sovereignty of a great which the crown should be enabled to empire ; a regular apprenticeship seexert over the representative system- cured experience in those who rose by the reduction of either is, in principle, slow degrees of subordination into destructive. But the Whig party in trust and authority ; and a system of the Commons seized upon the pre- written communication, which involved rogative itself, and rashly asserted the minutest details, and gave to the a negative voice over the king's most complicated and most casual occhoice of bis ministers. The ques. currences, of whatever nature, the action was hotly debated, and the curacy and evidence of a merchant's obnoxious minister pursued in every leger, brought the whole and every form, by speech, and pamphlet, and part into actual contact with the goaddress. Mr. Pitt held out with firm. vernment of Leadenhall-street. Now ness, against remonstrances unsup- the accusations against Mr. Hastings ported by the constitutional power of were, that he violated all these prothe Commons,* and saved the country visions, and established in their place a for better times. Such is our general system of corruption, of which he made view of Sheridan's party and the prin- use for the purposes of plunder and ciples they maintained. We now pass oppression. By infringing the regular to a topic more closely connected with order of service and promotion, he our proper subject. The impeachment was alleged to have acquired a vicious of Warren Hastings.
patronage ; by suppressing the corresOn this it is necessary to be brief. pondence and various written docuIt gave occasion to the most distin- ments, which were to have submitted guishing displays of Sheridan; but its to the Company the proceedings of vast and massive details were the labor their servants, he was said to have of Burke. His was the digestion and secured the secrecy which his purposes arrangement of the voluminous mass of required. The exceeding strictness of the facts—the instruction of the agents, the Company's regulations, he was deand the statements from which can be scribed as using to involve all his drawn the most precise notions of the subordinates in the necessity of con. importance and evidence of the greatest nivance and cooperation. By these cause that was ever brought before alleged means, the government was any human judicature. It is very pro- converted into a tremendous engine of bable that a great part of our readers oppression and spoliation ; the charges may not be intimately acquainted with drawn up by Mr. Burke, accordingly, the history of this cause. We do accused "Mr. Hastings of crimes pronot, however, think that the secondary portioned to such a preparation. These part which it fell to Sheridan to take we cannot detail with any justice to in it, authorises details which will more their character, in narrow limits. Spoproperly find their place in a future liation and cruelty, under all the varied sketch. We must here endeavour to forms that have ever stained the represent, in general terms, a notion cords of history, were alleged to have sufficiently accurate for our design.
been exercised with a lavish power ; The reader is aware that the govern- all pretexts were seized to plunder and ment of India was vested by charter oppress the independent kings of India, in a company of British merchants. whose power and property it was the The distance between this government pledge, and had been the wise and and their territory, was a disadvan. humane policy of the Company to protage remedied by provisions of great tect. All sorts of underhand agency seeming efficiency and wisdom ; and were employed, to entangle them into which, until their operation was viti- misunderstandings which might be ated by the interference of those cor- made the excuse to seize their domiruptiny influences which enter into and nions, and confiscate their possessions ; impair all institutions, had the most large bribes and annuities were taken prosperous effects. The same precise for protection ; and while the lowest and methodical system which protects present was illegal, a system of bribery
• We are not here disputing the right of the Commons to exert every privilege they have, whatever may be the consequence.
The effort we have noticed, was to obtain a new power destructive of every other. They endeavoured to do illegally, what they might have legally effected.
which far exceeded the regnlar re. praise as an orator. But let the trath venues of the empire, was established. be said : this praise, high as is its worth, Mr. Hastings was a man of reputation fixes no place in the standard : the and talent, and soon became possessed test of mere effect is uncertain,-it i of an influence in England, that in composed of circumstances, of which some measure threw a sanction over some are extrinsic from the speaker, his alleged irregularities. In obtaining and some of the nature of defects. The his own ends, he had extended and peculiarities of the subject may be seemingly consolidated the Indian charged with the electric matter of poempire ; he had effected further inroads pular excitement-the character of the on the native powers, than wisdom and man does much-glittering ornament equity, only using lawful means, might which it is the part of disciplined taste have done, and he had thus secured him- to reject, is often the means of altractself a defensive line of representations, ing the admiration of a popular assem. the strength of which was increased bly. The ear may be pleased with by other circumstances. His haughty pointed sentences and flowery phrases, defiance-his private reputation-the and when wit is anticipated,' it will natural tendency of party opposition, mostly be discovered by the crowd. which is to carry on its incessant war A little aid from the matter, the man fare on every question. During the ner, and the more genuine merits of protracted discussion in the Commons, the speaker, gives a specious support to and afterwards during the still inore language, which might, without such protracted trial in the House of Peers, aid, appear nonsensical. To esticate the whole array of Mr. Burke's party the fame of this speech aright, these was brought into action ; and session considerations should be applied with after session witnessed a contention great caution, rather as illustrative than of eloquence, such as is not soon likely explanatory. "Mr. Fox used to ask. to grace the same stage.
of a printed speech, · does it read In January 1787, Mr. Burke gave well ? and, if answered in the affirma. notice that he would renew the pro- tive, said then it was a bad speech.** -ceedings against Mr. Hastings, on the The general inference of such a dictus 1st of February; and on the 7th of tends to lower the value of eloquence that month, Mr. Sheridan opened the as test of intellectual power. And third charge, the subject of which was yet it is founded on truth; the expanthe resumption of the Zaghires, and sion of matter, the obvious and write the confiscation of the treasures of the evidence of conceptions necessary to Princesses of Oude, the mother and secure the intelligence of a popular grandmother of the Nabob of that assembly, are not consistent with the principality. The subject was allotted purer, or the more profound in matter, or with regard to Sheridan's peculiar or the more refined in style. The fewest powers. For five hours and a half he words, and these the most exact-the kept the house in a state of fascination closest, most compact and unencom-ihe effects of which are said to be bered chain of reason-the utmost oriunparalleled. When he ceased, the ginality of manner and conception, whole house joined in an unusual ex are merits little consistent with the flos pression of tumultuous applause ; and of popular speech that admits not of Mr. Burke pronounced the praise of his pause or reflection in the hearer. It oratory in language from which, al- must, if regarded as composition, be though much is to be subducted for the either at best referred to an inferior warmth of the moment, the interest to class, or we must redeem it by another himself, and the feelings of human consideration which may reconcile the nature, yet we may satisfactorily infer higher effects of oratory with the laws the power of the effect. He declared of perfect composition. The speeches it to be the most astonishing effort of of Demosthenes are, we think, allowed eloquence, argument and wit, united, to reconcile the two seemingly opposite of which there is any record or tra- merits of reading well, and of baring dition.” In truth, if we are to estimate been effective in the delivery. The the worth of a speech, solely by its two principles are to be reconeiled effect at the moment, there can be no alone in that perfect simplicity of lanjust reason why we should dissent from guage which it only belongs to genius of this opinion ; and even when we shall the highest order to command with have reduced it to its just dimensions, perfect propriety, and without sacrificthere will remain enough for the just ing either grace or power. For, witbadmirer of Sheridan to claim for his out these conditions, success is not