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The state thus unsettled, and the people equally dissatisfied, a change was not to be avoided ; and accordingly, in 1766, Mr. Pitt was authorised to nominate a ministry. For himself he chose the post of Lord Privy Seal, and was therefore necessarily created a Peer by the title of Earl of Chatham. In the task of filling up the other appointments, he proceeded with his wonted decision, and actually completed a list of coadjutors without consulting with a single friend. This independence led to the most serious disappointments: Lord Temple told him he wished to make himself a dictator, and positively refused to act with him on any but equal terms. Still he felt too secure to admit of any control, or deviate from an arrangement once fixed by his own judgment. He hoped to govern unshackled by any sinister influence, and solely trusted for support, to the honesty of his views, the confidence of the King, and the attachment of his fellow-countrymen :-he stood, therefore, resolute and unyielding. The noble friends met in coldness, and parted with angry warmth..
The disagreement was ominous, and heavily involved Lord Chatham in embarrassment. He was chagrined to find adversaries in the very associates he desired to possess, and was in a manner constrained to pack a casual ministry of strangers, who were connected together by no ties of mutual regard, and upheld by no particular influence. He had now, thereforė, to experience that in England splendid talents alone are not sufficient to give security to the highest situations, and that the government of the nation, and the management of a party were things arduously distinct. The Lords Temple and Chatham together constituted a host: the one moved by the graciousness of his address, the other commanded by the greatness of his powers; but apart, they fell the prey of conflicting interests. It was in vain that the former laboured to attach some men of family interest, of weight and dignity, to his side; he had professed to prosper independent of their connexions, and they would not forgive the aspiration. Under this pressure of cares his health suffered considerably; he was obliged to visit Bath, where he remained ailing and inactive during the rest of the year. As soon as he was able to travel, he took a house at Hampstead, but soon after removed to his seat at Hayes, because he thought the air there better. While thus incapacitated both by indisposition and disgust, it is evident he could have taken
little share in the councils of the cabinet ; indeed, the abstract of this his second administration is nothing more than a painful story, of bad health, aggravated by intrigues which he was incensed to grapple with, and mortified not to surmount. During the whole period, negotiations for a change were going on with the King, and several substitutions were actually made in office, while he remained in the country. At one time his infirmity was so extreme, that the seal was put into commission, and the parliamentary session passed over without his attendance. This anomalous predicament could not long continue; the minister who never interferes and is never consulted, can never be safe ; so that in December 1767, he was ultimately roused to the propriety of relinquishing a station, which he could not hold either to his own honour, or the contentment of the country. This, perhaps, is the only passage in the life of the Earl of Chatham, which the reader can neither envy nor admire: it may therefore be somewhat satisfactory to characterize it in his own words.—"When,” said he, upon a subsequent occasion, “I was earnestly called upon for the public service from Somersetshire, I came on the wings of zeal ;-I consented to preserve a peace which I abominated,-a peace I would not make, but would preserve when made;-I undertook to preserve a government by law, but to shield no mani from public justice. These terms were accepted—I thought with sincerity accepted. I own I was credulous: I was duped, I was deceived; for I soon found there was no ORIGINAL administration to be suffered in the country. The same secret invisible influence still prevailed, which had put an end to all preceding
administrations as soon as they opposed or declined to act - under it.”
Being now emancipated from the trammels of office, he turned round with eagerness to seek a reconciliation with Lord Temple, and the brothers were soon bound again together in affection. For two sessions the Earl was unable to take his seat in Parliament, but in 1770, the general excitement of the country stimulated him also into indignant vigour. England was exasperated by the unconstitutional proceedings relative to the Middlesex election, and America maddened by the most odious measures of taxation. On the first day the Parliament assembled he attended in his place, and pronounced a speech memorable in the annals of oratory for the astonishing powers it revealed, and the mighty effect it produced. Upon this, and several occasions immediately subsequent, he may almost be said to have fought with his opponents in personal .contest, and to have always flung them from him crippled with defeat: it is no hyperbole to speak of the thunders of eloquence in describing the deep vehemence with which he launched out his denunciations; for the ministers seemed actually to crouch before him around the throne. The Lord Chancellor Camden divided with him, and was dismissed ; several other resignations took place, and before the year ended he drove the Duke of Grafton from place and power. Some idea of these formidable exertions may be gathered from an extract :
“I thank my God, my lords, for having thus long preserved so inconsiderable a being as I am, to take a part upon this great occasion, and to contribute my endeavours, such as they are, to restore, to save, to confirm the constitution. My lords, I need not look abroad for grievances : the grand capital mischief is fixed at home ; it corrupts the very fountain of our political existence, and preys upon the vitals of the state. The constitution has been violated—THE CONSTITUTION AT THIS MOMENT STANDS VIOLATED. Until that wound be healed, until that grievance be redressed, it is in vain to recommend union to Parliament, in vain to promote concord among the people. If we mean seriously to unite the nation within itself, we must convince them (the petitioners) that their enquiries are regarded, that their complaints shall be redressed. On that foundation, I would take the lead in recommending peace and harmony to the people; on any other, I would never wish to see them united again. If the breach in the constitution be effectually repaired, the people will of themselves return to tranquillity -if not, MAY DISCORD PREVAIL FOR EVER! I know to what point this doctrine and this language will appear directed; but I feel the principles of an Englishman, and I utter them without apprehension or reserve. The crisis is indeed alarming :-so much the more does it require a prudent relaxation on the part of government. If the King's servants will not permit a constitutional question to be decided according to the forms and on the principles of the constitution, it must then be decided in some other manner; and rather than it should be given up-rather than the nation should surrender its birthright to a despotic minister, I hope, my lords, old as I am, I shall see the question brought to issue, and fuirly tried between the people and the government. My lords, this is not the language of faction: let it be tried by that criterion, by which alone we can distinguish what is factious from what is not by the principles of the English constitution. I have been bred up in these principles, and know, that when the liberty of the subject is invaded, and all redress denied him, resistance is justified. If I had a doubt upon the question, I should follow the example set us by the most reverend bench, with whom I believe it is a maxim, when any doubt in points of faith arises, or any question of controversy is started, to appeal at once to the greatest source and evidence of our religion-1 mean the Holy Bible. Now the constitution has its Political Bible, by which, if it be fairly consulted, every political question may and ought to be determined. Magna Charta, the Petition of Rights, and the Bill of Rights, form the code, which I call the Bible of the English Constitution. Had some of his Majesty's unhappy predecessors trusted less to the comments of their ministers, had they been better read in the text itself, the glorious revolution would have remained only possible in theory, and would not now have existed upon record a formidable example to their successors."
At the meeting of Parliament for 1772, he seems to have adopted a resolution of taking no farther part in public business, and thus remained absent from the House during two sessions. He had proved that talents, integrity and experience were of no avail, that an invisible power baffled or controlled every sense of honour and fear of danger; that abuse and insult were the only weapons of defence resorted to by the government; and he there-fore receded from them with becoming dignity. Affairs continued to rush on to desperation, but in 1774 he found it impossible to stand aloof while the constitution was falling into a general wreck. He returned, therefore, to his post, and in a series of admirable speeches which it is impossible to describe separately in the limited compass of these pages, exemplified the fatality of the war, foretold its issue, and characterized with glowing precision the independent prosperity in arms and arts to which we were urging on the Americans. On these topics his addresses were convincing, and his positions irrefragable: but when it became known that we employed the native Indians as allies in the war, his excitement was at the highest.
"I am astonished !” he exclaimed, “shocked to hear such principles confessed to hear them avowed in this house or in this
country; principles equally unconstitutional, inhuman, and unchristian! My lords, I did not intend to have encroached upon your attention, but I cannot repress my indignation-I feel myself impelled by every duty. My lords, we are called upon as members of this house, as men, as Christian men, to protest against such notions standing near the throne, polluting the ear of majesty.—' That God and nature put into our hands.' I know not what ideas that lord may entertain of God and nature; but I know that such abominable principles are equally abhorrent to religion and humanity. What! to attribute the sacred functions of God and nature to the Indian scalping knife-to the cannibal savage, torturing, murdering, roasting, and eating-literally, my lords, eating the mangled remains of his barbarous battles! Such horrible notions shock every principle of religion, divine or natural, and every feeling of humanity: and, my lords, they shock every sentiment of honour; they shock me as a lover of honourable war, and a detester of murderous barbarity. These abominable principles, and this more abominable avowal of them, demand the most decisive indignation. I call upon the right reverend bench, those goodly ministers of the gospel, and pious pastors of our church; I conjure them to join in the holy work; -I appeal to the wisdom and the law of this learned bench, to defend and support the justice of their country ;-I call upon the bishops to interpose the unsullied sanctity of their lawn-upon the judges to interpose the purity of their ermine, to save us from this pollution ;-I call upon the honour of your lordships to reverence the dignity of your ancestors, and to uphold your own ;-I call upon the spirit and humanity of my country to vindicate the national character ;-I invoke the Genius of the Constitution. From the tapestry that. adorns these walls, the immortal ancestor of this noble lord* frowns with indignation at the disgrace of his country. In vain he led your victorious fleets against the boasted armada of Spain; in vain he defended and established the honour, the liberties, the religion, the Protestant religion of his country, against the arbitrary cruelties of Popery, and the Inquisition, if these more than Popish cruelties and inquisitorial practices are let loose amongst us; to turn forth into our settlements, among our antient connexions, friends and relations, the merciless cannibal thirsting for the blood of man, woman, and child! to send forth the infidel savage-against
* The defeat of the Spanish armada by Howard, Earl of Nottingham, is wrought in worsted on the hangings of the House of Peers: this speech was a reply to Lord Howard, of Effingham, a descendant from that gallant nobleman, whose life will be found under the letter N.