Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

that he should take off his wig, and show how his ears had been mutilated. But this proposal was received with horror by the opposition. They asked, if gentlemen wished to add to the wrongs suffered by Captain Jenkins, in thus subjecting him to the humiliation of exposing his disfigured person to public view? A war with Spain and the fall of Sir Robert Walpole were ultimately the consequences of the ferment excited in the nation by these complaints of the merchants. The removal of Sir Robert Walpole in February 1742 was not attended circumstances beneficial to the country. The leaders of the opposition were soon divided; each man being influenced by the hope of obtaining his own private views; and after much intrigue and cabal, Henry Pelham, and his brother, the Duke of Newcastle, remained the ministers; the first being placed at the head of the Treasury, and the second being made Secretary of State. The war which had been begun with Spain, soon involved us in a continental war with France. It was feebly conducted by the Pelhams, and terminated

by any

without wisdom by the peace of Aix la Chapelle.

Mr. Henry Pelham died in the year 1754. We have his character given us in the Memoirs of Mr. Glover, Mr. Glover was the author of several poetical compositions. He had published an epic poem, called "Leonidas," as well as some tragedies, two of which were called "Medea" and " Boadicea." From the epic poem, he was generally distinguished by the name of "Leonidas Glover.' He was a very indifferent poet, and his poetry has passed into oblivion; but he possessed very considerable knowledge on commercial subjects. He was employed by the merchants, in 1741-2, at the bar of the House of Commons, in support of their complaints of the depredations committed by the Spaniards; and afterwards, in 1775, by those British merchants who carried on commerce with our American colonies. On both occasions he displayed great knowledge and abilities. During the life of Frederick Prince of Wales, he had been an attendant at Leices¬ ter House; and after the death of the

[ocr errors]

Prince he seems always to have kept up his connection with that court. His "Memoirs' have been published since his death. The characters which he has given us of the principal political actors of that period, seem to have been drawn correctly; and I believe that the accounts of those transactions to which he was privy, are related with truth. His character of Mr. Henry Pelham is in the following words: " In August, 1754, Mr. Henry Pelham died. He was originally an officer in the army, and a professed gamester; of a narrow mind and low parts; of an affable dissimulation, and a plausible cunning; false to Sir Robert Walpole, who raised him, and ungrateful to the Earl of Bath, who protected him. long experience and attendance, he became considerable as a parliament-man : and even when minister, divided his time to the last between his office and the club of gamesters at White's."

By

This character certainly does not give us a high opinion of Mr. Pelham as a statesman; although when it is compared with the character of his elder brother, the Duke

of Newcastle, we are almost induced to think of Mr. Pelham with respect. Mr. Glover gives us the character of the Duke of Newcastle in the following terms:

"The Duke of Newcastle was a man of whom no one ever spoke with cordial regard: of parts and conduct which generally drew animadversions bordering on contempt; of notorious insincerity, political cowardice, and servility to the highest and the lowest; yet insincere without gall, ambitious without pride; luxurious, jovial, hospitable to all men; of an exorbitant estate; affable, forgetful of offences, and profuse of his favours, indiscriminately to all his adherents. He had established a faction, by far the most powerful in this country: hence he derived that influence which encouraged his unworthy pretensions to ministerial power; nor was he less indebted to his experience of a court, and long practice in all its craft; whence he had acquired a certain art of imposition, that in every negotiation with the most distinguished popular leaders, however superior to himself in understanding, from the

instant they began to depart from ingenuous and public principles, he never missed his advantage, nor failed of making them his property at last, and himself their master. Lord Cobham, Chesterfield, the Duke of Bedford, Pitt, and others, found him so in 1743, when he took them into his confederacy to rout the Earls of Bath and Granville. Pitt found him so in 1757, when this new coalition was formed to destroy the Duke of Cumberland and Fox.”

I will here subjoin the character which Mr. Glover has given us of George II. "A weak, narrow-minded, sordid, and unfeeling master; who, seated by fortune on a throne, was calculated by nature for a pawnbroker's shop; and was easily reconciled to a set of men, willing and able to gratify his low avarice; in his ideas, a sufficient compensation for the sacrifice he made to them of his resentments and his prerogative. Hating Mr. Pitt, he preferred him the ministers (the Pelhams) who had hurled back his favours in his face, he restored not only to employment, but to his

« PoprzedniaDalej »