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good humor endeared him to the younger part of the bar. After he became minister he continued to ask his old circuit intimates to dine with him, and his manners re. mained unchanged."

In January, 1781, he was returned as member of Parliament from Appleby, a borough belonging to Sir James Lowther. He immediately joined the Opposition un. der Burke and Fox, at a time when Lord North, besides the revolt of the American colonies, was engaged in a war with France, Spain, and Holland. His maiden speech was delivered on the twenty-sixth of the next month, and being wholly unpremeditated, gave a surprising exhibition of the readiness and fertility of his mind. One of Mr. Burke's bills on Economical Reform was under debate, and when Lord Nugent rose to oppose it, Mr. Byng, a member from Middlesex, asked Mr. Pitt to come forward in reply. He partly assented, but afterward changed his mind, and determined not to speak. Byng, who understood him otherwise, the moment Lord Nugent sat down, called out “Pitt, Pitt," and the cry at once becarne general throughout the House. At first he declined ; but finding that the House were bent on hearing him, he rose with entire self-possession, took up the argument with all the dexterity and force of a practiced debater, and threw over the whole a glow, an elegance, a richness of thought and fervor of emotion, which called forth a round of applause from every quarter of the House. Burke took him by the hand, declaring that he was “not merely a chip of the old block, but the old block itself.” Fox carried him to Brookes' when the House adjourned, and had him enrolled among the élite of the Whigs; and the nation felt that the mantle had fallen upon one who was already qualified to go forth in “the spirit and power” of his illustrious predecessor. He spoke but twice that session ; and at the close of it, as some one was remarking, “Pitt promises to be one of the first speakers that was ever heard in Parliament,” Mr. Fox, who was passing at the moment, turned instantly round and replied, He is so already.Thus, at the age of twenty-two, when most men are yet in the rudiments of political science, and just commencing their first essays in oratory, he placed him. self at a single bound in the foremost rank of English statesmen and orators, at the proudest era of English eloquence. What is still more wonderful, he became, not by slow degrees, like Mr. Fox, but, as it were, by "inspiration" (in the language of Lord Brougham), one of the most accomplished debaters in the British Parliament.

At the next session, commencing in November, 1781, Mr. Pitt entered into debate on the broadest scale, and made the most strenuous exertions to put an end to the American war. The defeat of Cornwallis had rendered the contest absolutely hopeless; and he denounced it as one which “wasted the blood and treasure of the kingdom without even a rational object.” But he avoided the error of Fox; he made no personal attack on the King. With that forecast which marked all his actions, in opposing the favorite measure of his sovereign, he did nothing to wound his pride or to rouse his resentment. He put the responsibility on his ministers, where the Constitution rests it, and inveighed against them as men, “who, by their fatal system, had led the country, step by step, to the most calamitous and disgraceful situation to which a once flourishing and glorious empire could possibly be reduced-a situation which threatened the final dissolution of the state, if not prevented by timely, wise, and vigorous efforts.” A few days after, he again called forth a burst of admiration by one of those classical allusions, united to the keenest sarcasm, with which his early productions were so often adorned. In a speech on the army estimates, while commenting with severity on a contradiction in the statements of Lord North and Lord George Geimaine, he saw the two (who were seated near each other) conversing with great earnestness, while Welbore Ellis, Treasurer of the Navy, was interposing between them as if to impart some seasonable information. Stopping in the middle of a sentence, and turning the eyes of the whole House upon the group, be said, in a

significant tone, “I will pause until the Nestor of the Treasury Bench shall settle the difference between Agamemnon and Achilles.” The suddenness of the stroke, and the idea especially of making Lord George an Achilles after the part he acted at the battle of Minden, produced a roar of laughter throughout the House, which was instantly followed by a tumult of applause. It was by such means that Mr. Pitt always took care to repress any disposition to treat his remarks with levity or disrespect.

At the end of a few weeks, Lord North was driven from office, and the Rockingham administration came into power, March 28, 1782, with Mr. Fox and Lord Shel. burne as principal secretaries of state. Various stations, and among them one of great emolument, the vice-treasurership of Ireland, were offered Mr. Pitt, but he declined them all, having resolved, with that lofty feeling which always marked his character, never to take office until he could come in at once as a member of the cabinet.

The Rockingham ministry was terminated by the death of its chief, at the end of thirteen weeks. Lord Shelburne succeeded, and with him brought in Mr. Pitt as Chancellor of the Exchequer and leader of the House of Commons. Such an event had never before happened in the history of English politics. The conduct of the entire finances of the empire had hitherto been reserved for men of tried experience. Gudolphin, Oxford, Walpole, Pelham, Grenville, Townsend, and North, had risen by slow degrees to this weighty and responsible office. Mr. Pitt alone received it at once without passing through any subordinate station, at the age of twenty-three, and the country hailed him with joy as worthy to take his father's place in the management of the highest concerns of the empire. Lord Shelburne now made peace (Novem. 30, 1782), on terms quite as favorable as could have been expected, after the disgraceful results of Lord North’s contest with America and France. But it was already obvious that his Lordship, though head of the government, was not master of the House of Commons. Mr. Fox, who had seccded when the new ministry came in, held the balance of power between them and Lord North : some union of parties was, therefore, indispensable, or the government could not go on, and Mr. Pitt was commissioned to negotiate with Mr. Fox for a return to power. Their in terview was short. Fox instantly demanded whether, under the proposed arrangement, Lord Shelburne was still to remain prime minister. Pitt replied that nothing else had ever been contemplated. “I can not,” said Fox, warmly, “ever consent to hold office under his Lordship.” “And I certainly have not come here," replied Pitt, to betray Lord Shelburne." They parted, and never again met under a privato roof. From the entire contrariety of their habits and feelings, they could never have acted except as political opponents. Fox now united with Lord North, and voted down the ministry, as already mentioned, on the 17th of February, 1783. Four days after, Lord John Cavendish followed up the blow by moving a resolution involving a severe censure upon ministers, for the terms on which they had concluded peace. The debate was a long one, and Mr. Fox reserved himself for the close of the evening, obviously intending to overwhelm his young antagonist and put an end to the discussion by the force and severity of his remarks. The moment he sat down, Mr. Pitt rose, to the surprise of all, and grappled at once in argument with “the most accomplished debater the world ever saw." Though imperfectly reported, his speech contains passages which he never surpassed in his long and brilliant career of eloquence. Some of them will here be given, and the reader can not fail to admire the dignity with which he faces his opponent, the compact energy of his defense touching the con

2 Mr. Pitt was seriously indisposed during this debate, and, as Mr. Wilberforce states, was oally holding Solomon's porch door (a portico behind the House) opec while voraiting during Fox's speech to which he was to reply "


cessions inade in the treaty, and the lofty spirit of self-assertion with which he tums back the assault of Mr. Fox, and vindicates his conduct and his motives.

“Sir, revering as I do the great abilities of the honorable gentleman who spoke last, I lament in commor with the House, when those abilities are misemployed, as on the present question, to inflame the imagination and mislead the judgment. I am told, sir, 'he does not envy me the triumph of my situation on this day,' a sort of language which becomes the candor of that honorable gentleman as ill as his present principles. The triumphs of party, sir, with which this self-appointed minister seems so highly elate, shall never seduce me into any inconsistency which the busiest suspicion shall presume to glance at. I will never engage in political enmities without a public cause! I will never forego such enmities without the public approbation; nor will I be questioned and cast off in the face of this House by one virtuous and dissatisfied friend ! 3 These, sir, the sober and durable triumphs of reason over the weak and profligate inconsistencies of party violence; these, sir, the steady triumphs of virtne over success itself, shall be mine, not only in my present situation, but through every future condition of my life-triumphs which no length of time shall diminish, which no change of principle shall ever sully."

Having dwelt at large on the disgraces and dangers of the country at the close of the American war, Mr. Pitt now asks, “Could Lord Shelburne, thus surrounded with scenes of ruin, affect to dictate the terms of peace ? Are these articles seriously compared with those of the peace of Paris in 1763 ?" This leads him to speak of the elevated position in which the country was at that time left by his father, and from this he passes to defend the concessions made by Lord Shelburne.

"I feel, sir, at this instant, how much I have been animated in my childhood by the recital of England's victories. I was taught, sir, by one whose memory I shall ever revere, that at the close of a war far different, indeed, from this, she had dictated the terms of peace to submissive nations. This, in which I have something more than a common interest, was the memorable era of England's glory. But that era has passed; she is under the awful and mortifying necessity of employing a language which corresponds to her true condition : the visions of her power and pre-eminence are passed away.

“We have acknowledged American independence. That, sir, was a needless form : the incapacia ty of the noble Lord who conducted our affairs (Lord North]; the events of war; and even a vole of this House, had already granted what it was impossible to withhold.

We have ceded Florida. We have obtained Providence and the Bahama Islands.

“We have ceded an extent of fishery on the coast of Newfoundland. We have established an ex. tensive right to the most valuable banks.

We have restored St. Lucia and given up Tobago. We have regained Grenada, Dominica, St. Kitts, Nevis, and Montserrat, and have wrested Jamaica from her impending danger. In Africa we have ceded Gorée, the grave of our countrymen; and we possess Senegambia, the best and most healthy settlement.

“We have likewise permilted his most Christian Majesty to repair his harbor of Dunkirk. The humiliating clause for its destruction was inserted, sir, after other wars than the past, and the im. mense expense attending its repair will still render the indulgence of no value to the French.

" In the East Indies, where alone we had power to dictate the terms of peace, we have restored what was useless to ourselves, and scarcely tenable in a continuance of the war.

But we have abandoned the American Loyalists to their implacable enemies. Little, sir, are those unhappy men befriended by such language in this House ; nor shall we give much assistance to their cause, or add stability to the reciprocal confidence of the two states, if we already impute to Congress a violence and injustice which decency forbids us to suspect. Would a continuance of the war have been justified on the single principle of assisting these unfortunate men? or would a continuance of the war, if so justified, have procured them a more certain indemnity? Their hopes must have been rendered desperate, indeed, by any additional distresses of Britain ; those hopes which are now revived by the timely aid of peace and reconciliation.

“These are the ruinous conditions to which this country, engaged with four powerful states, and exhausted in all its resources, thought fit to subscribe for the dissolution of that alliance, and the immediate enjoyment of peace. Let us examine what is left with a manly and determined courage. Let us strengthen ourselves against inveterate enemies, and reconciliate our ancient frier.ds. The misfortunes of individuals and of kingdoms, when laid open and examined with true wisdom, are more than half redressed ; and to this great object should be directed all the virtue and abilities of this House. Let us feel our calamities—let us bear them, too, like men!

3 This was one of Mr. Pitt's severest sarcasms. Sir Cecil Wray, Mr. Powys, and others, who had long been connected with Mr. Fox as political adherents and personal frie ads, had put to hire during this debate the most painful interrogatories respecting his coalition with Lord North, ano renounced all connection with him is that measure was consummated.

“ But, sir, I fear I have too long engaged your attention to no real purpose ; and that the publia safety is this day risked, without a blush, by the malice and disappointment of faction. The honorable gentleman who spoke last (Mr. Fox] has declared, with that sort of consistency that marks his conduct, . Because he is prevented from prosecuting the noble Lord in the blue ribbon (Lord North) to the satisfaction of public justice, he will heartily embrace him as his friend.' So readily does he reconcile extremes, and love the man whom he wishes to prosecute! With the same spirit, sir, I suppose he will cherish this peace, too-because he abhors it !"

We have here another instance of that keen and polished sarcasm which Mr. Pitt had more perfectly at command than any orator in our language, and which enabled him, as Charles Butler remarks, “ to inflict a wound even in a single member of a sentence, that could never be healed.” From this passing notice of Mr. Fox, he turns to Lord Shelburne, for whom he had a personal attachment as a friend and adherent of his father, and bestows upon him the following splendid eulogium :

“This noble Earl, like every other person eminent for ability, and acting in the first department of a great state, is undoubtedly an object of envy to some, as well as of admiration to others. The obloquy to which his capacity and situation have raised him, has been created and circulated with equal meanness and address; but his merits are as much above my panegyric, as the arts to which he owes his defamation are beneath my attention. When, stripped of his power and emoluments, he once more descends to private life without the invidious appendages of place, men will see him through a different medium, and perceive in him qualities which richly entitle him to their esteem. That official superiority which at present irritates their feelings, and that capacity of conferring good offices on those he prefers, which all men are fond of possessing, will not then be any obstacle to their making an impartial estimate of his character. But notwithstanding a sincere predilection for this nobleman, whom I am bound by every tie to treat with sentiments of deference and regard, I am far from wishing him retained in power against the public approbation ; and if his removal can be innocently effected, if he can be compelled to resign without entailing all those mischiefs which seem to be involved in the resolution now moved, great as his zeal for his country is, powerful as his abilities are, and earnest and assiduous as his endeavors liave been to rescue the British empire from the difficulties that oppress her, I am persuaded he will retire, firm in the dignity of his own mind, conscious of his having contributed to the public advantage, and, if not attended with the fulsome plaudits of a mob, possessed of that substantial and permanent satisfaction which arises from the habitual approbation of an upright mind. I know him well; and dismiss him from the confidence of his sovereign and the business of the state when you please, to this transcendent consolation he has a title, which no accident can invalidate or affect. It is the glorious reward of doing well, of acting an honest and honorable part. By the difficulties he encounter. ed on his accepting the reins of governmen“, by the reduced state in which he found the nation, e.nd by the perpetual turbulence of those who thought his elevation effected at their own expense, he has certainly earned it dearly; and with such a solid understanding, and so much goodness of heart as stamp his character, he is in no danger of losing it.”

Mr. Pitt next took up the Coalition, which had not yet assumed any definite shape, and delighted the House with one of those sudden hits as to its going on to be consummated, which have always so peculiar a power in a large and promiscuous assembly.

“I repeat it, sir, it is not this treaty, it is the Earl of Shelburne alone whom the movers of this question are desirous to wound. This is the object which has raised this storm of faction; this is the aim of the unnatural Coalition to which I have alluded. If, however, the baneful alliance is not already formed—if this ill-omened marriage is not already solemnized, I know a just and lawful impediment—and, in the name of the public safety: I HERE FORBID THE BANS !"

Pausing for a moment during the applause which followed this bold image, he then addressed himself to Mr. Fox with a proud consciousness of integrity, glancing at the same time at the supposed motives of those, lately the bitterest enemies, who were now transformed into bosom friends.

“My own share in the censure, pointed by the motion before the House against his Majesty's ministers, I will bear with fortitude, because my own heart tells me I have not acted wrong.

To this monitor, which never did, and, I trust, never will deceive me, I shall confidently repair, as to an adequate asylum from all clamor which interested faction can raise. I was not very eager to come in, and shall have no great reluctance to go out, whenever the public are disposed to dismiss me from their service. It has been the great object of my short official existence to do the duties of my station with all the ability and address in my power, and with a fidelity and honor which should bear me up, and give me confidence, under every possible contingency or disappointment. I can say, with sincerity, I never had a wish which did not terminase in the dearest interests of the nation. “I will, at the same time, imitate the honorable gentleman's candor, and confess that I too have my ambition. High situation and great influence are desirable objocts to most men, and objects which I am not ashamed to pursue—which I am even solicitous to possess, whenever they can be acquired with honor and retained with dignity. On these conditions, I am not less ambi. tious to be great and powerful than it is natural for a young man, with such brilliant examples before him, to be. But even these objects I am not beneath relinquishing, the moment my duty to my country, my character, and my friends, renders such a sacrifice indispensable. Then I hope to retire, not disappointed, but triumphant; triumphant in the conviction that my talents, humble as they are, have been earnestly, zealously, and strenuously employed, to the best of my apprehension, in promoting the truest welfare of my country; and that, however I may stand chargeable with weakness of understanding or error of judgment, nothing can be imputed to me in my official capacity which bears the most distant connection with an interested, a corrupt, or a dishonest intention.

“But it is not any part of my plan, when the time shall come that I quit my present station, to threaten the repose of my country, and erect, like the honorable gentleman, a fortress and a refuge for disappointed ambilion. The self-created and self-appointed successors to the present adminisSration have asserted, with much confidence, that this is likely to be the case. can assure them, however, when they come from that side of the House to this, I will for one most cordially accept the exchange. The only desire I would indulge and cherish on the subject, is, that the service of the public may be ably, disinterestedly, and faithfully performed. To those who feel for their country as I wish to do, and will strive to do, it matters little who are out or in; but it matters much that her affairs be conducted with wisdom, with firmness, with dignity, and with credit. Those intrusted to my care I shall resign, let me hope, into hands much better qualified to do them justice than mine. But I will not mimic the parade of the honorable gentleman in avowing an indiscriminate opposition to whoever may be appointed to succeed. I will march out with no warlike, no hostile, no menacing protestations; but hoping the new administration will have no other object in view than the real and substantial welfare of the community at large; that they will bring with them into office those truly public and patriotic principles which they formerly held, but which they abandoned in opposition; that they will save the state, and promote the great purposes of public good, with as much steadiness, integrity, and solid advantage, as I am confident it must one day appear the Earl of Shelburne and his colleagues have done. I promise them, beforehand, my uniform and best support on every occasion, where I can honestly and conscientiously assist them.”

He had now carried the House to the utmost point of interest and expectation. Something more directly relating to himself was obviously yet to come ; and it is not wonderful that the ablest of the eloquent men before him, when they saw the perilous height to which he had raised his audience, felt he could never descend to his own personal concerns without producing in the minds of his hearers a painful shock and revulsion of feeling. But no, his crowning triumph was yet to come.

“Unused as I am to the factions and jarring clamors of this day's debate, I look up to the inde. pendent part of the House, and to the public at large, if not for that impartial approbation which my conduct deserves, at least for that acquittal from blame to which my innocence entitles me. My carliest impressions were in favor of the noblest and most disinterested modes of serving the public: these impressions are still dear, and will, I hope, remain forever dear to my heart: I will cherish them as a legacy infinitely more valuable than the greatest inheritance. On these principles alone I came into Parliament, and into place; and I now take the whole House to witness, that I have not been under the necessity of contradicting one public declaration I have ever made.

“I am, notwithstanding, at the disposal of this House, and with their decision, whatever ii shall be, I will cheerfully comply. It is impossible to deprive me of those feelings which must always result from the sincerity of my best endeavors to fulfill with integrity every official engagement. You may take from me, sir, the privileges and emoluments of place, but you can not, and you shall not, take from me those habitual and warm regards for the prosperity of Great Britain, which coristitute the honor, the happiness, the pride of my life, and which, I trust, death alone can extinguish. And, with this consolation, the loss of power, sir, and the loss of fortune, though I affect not to de. spise them, I hope I soon shall be able to forget.”

Here he went on to quote the beautiful lines of Horace in respect to Fortune (Odes, book iii. Ode 29, line 53-6):

* The reader can not have forgotten the declaration of Mr. Fox, made only a few months before that nothing could ever induce him to think of a coalition with Lord North, and that he was will ing to be considered as infamous if he ever formed one. See page 445.

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