CORRESPONDENCE OP THE EARL OF CHATHAM.
THE letters of this second volume commence in 1757, and close in 1766 ; embracing the most important period of CHATHAM'S life. From 1757 to 1760, he was at the height of his glory—a virtual dictator to the Ministry and the Parliament, triumphant abroad, and so popular at home that party seemed to have dis- appeared. With the accession of GEcotos the Third, (in October 1760) a tricky King and intriguing favourite encouraged factious and personal enemies so successfully, that in less than a twelve- .
;month he found himself compelled to tender his resignation ; to be succeeded very shortly by Lord Bowl. The incapacity of the man, the anger of the people, and the difficulties foreseen by PITT, but which King and colleagues refused to provide for, very soon ;forced the favourite ostensibly to withdraw ; and a succession of feeble and vacillating Ministries tbllowed. With the exception of making an occasional speech, and entering into two negotiations with the King which came to nothing, Par retired to private life from his resignation till 1766; partly from infirmities caused by the gout ; partly, as he says himself, from despair of his country ; but chiefly, perhaps, because he saw that the disease of incapacity must be allowed to run its course,—the most thorough exposure of shal- low, selfish, and dishonest men, being their own conduct. In 1766, American affitirs took PITT to the Commons, to thunder forth his tahilippies upon the illegality of the Grenville Stamp-act, and the mischiefs that would flow from upholding it. Staggering under their own weakness and the assaults of their enemies, the Rom- rarouAm Administration made overtures for his assistance, or rather for a sort of coalition ; but Inc steadily refused. At length they could go on no longer ; the King sent for PITT ; and the volume 'breaks off in the midst of the negotiations for the formation of his
• Apart from their intrinsic merit, and their historical or biographical
• value, letters derive interest from association—from our knowledge Of the events or persons to which they relate. Tested by any of :these points except that of intrinsic merit, this present volume • Seems to us not superior to the first. If it throws fuller, it does not 'throw fresher light on CHATHAM'S character ; the other corre- ispondents want the interest attached to the names of CLIVE, WOLF, XEWCASTLE ; and the letters, moreover, are very fragmentary- Jleticient in coherence, and frequently failing at the very point on 'which we desire information. Thus, the first two years have only letter apiece ; in 1759 there are but four ; we have nothing tinder PITT'S own hand respecting his enforced resignation. Either mach of his correspondence has not been preserved ; or many in- 'dents, with the comments upon them, were never trusted to paper ; r the editors have made a selection.
The defects we have mentioned are drawbacks upon the value of he volume ; but it is of course impossible to go over even *ag- ents of the correspondence of so distinguished a man without mists of interest turning up, some personal, some public. The ersonal chiefly regard the conjugal and paternal affections ; in Inch CHATHAM appears to have been exemplary, (or a most stounding hypocrite) his wife and children rising uppermost in his boughts amid the triumphs of the Minister or the arduous anxie- tea of the politician. Kindness and consideration towards his Jaendents, or persons connected with him, are also everywhere 'sable, together with a greater suavity than one has been accus- omed to associate with the idea of CHATHAM. In public matters IS .sauvity is sometimes visible, but more frequently a polished utmn. Occasionally, when his pride or his temper are excited, e rises to a dignified and cutting rebuke, compared with which, fly thing that Lord DURHAM in our times has done is milky mild- ”S. If a person wishes a short cut to some of these points, let nu turn to PITT'S letters to ALLEN on the subject of the Bath ddress upon the peace, negotiated after his resignation ; or to his ashmg reply to one PAUL BRENTON, an ignorant country par- n, who wished to bring in WILKES for Kent, and to dedicate a mphlet to PITT which should advocate the repeal of the Union. he following fragment of an answer to WARBURTON, whom PITT ad. made a Bishop, is also very keen. The Bishop, after pro- ssmg much gratitude to the ex-Minister on his retirement, had awn up an address from the clergy of his diocese on the peace ; 4 excused himself in a letter to his patron, as he held it to be his first duty to show some regard to his royal master," and to thank him " for peace as the greatest blessing, in the estimation of ministers of the gospel." To this PITT replies—
[From an imperfect draught in Mr. Pitt's handwriting.)
',lath September 1763. iiMy Lord—In addition to many former marks of your Lordship's goodness to me, 1 am honoured with a fresh and very unmerited instance of your regard, in the favour of a letter of the 4th, from Prior Park. Your Lordship's con- descension on so delicate a subject is indeed much too great, in taking the trouble to mention to me the motives which determined you to advise and draw up the address from the Cathedral of Gloucester.
" The high station, and still higher consideration, which your Lordship so deservedly holds in the world, together with the peculiar delicacy of the sub- ject, must draw on me the charge of temerity if I presumed to exercise my own judgment on the propriety of this step. I will venture to observe, my Lord, that it is singular, insomuch that the Cathedral of Gloucester, which certainly does not stand alone in true duty and wise zeal towards his Majesty, has, however, time fate not to be imitated by any other episcopal se e in the kingdom, in this unaccustomed effusion of fervent gmtulations on the peace. " Your Lordship will please to observe, that the doubt I venture to suggest, in point of propriety, turns, not on the merits of the peace, concerning Which no one is more able than your Lordship to judge, but rests singly on a general notion, which I imbibed early, and which reflection and experience have strengthened into a fixed opinion in my mind ; and it is this, my Lord, that the purposes of the state will be as well served, and that Christianity, of which your Lonlship justly observes war to be the opprobrium, will Surely be served much better, when the clergy do not —"*
It is difficult to tell whether this next passage is a sarcasm or a compliment. The Prince of BRUNSWICK had written to say he would have gone to Bath to see him, but for " des raisons dictiaca par la prudence." To this PITT replies-
" Monseigneur—Tout respectable que soit le motif qui me prive pour un tems the llonneur tont desire de mace jotter flux pieds de V. A. S., ye ne ruin tine Mplorer l'effet, en admirant la haute linoleum: qui a diet6 mon infortune. La bontii infinie the V. A. S. en daignant s'inti:resser h mon sant6 one comble de gloire, et present, en mi,me temps, Wen dire ma mot."
There are glimpses, of course, of "hot friends cooling" towards the Minister in disgrace, and of a disposition to keep up appear- ances by asking his "advice" as to whether they should take posts they had perhaps solicited. The following is the reverse of the medal—a handsome offer neatly conveyed.
VISCOUNT INWIN TO MR. VITT.
•• Templenewsam, 5th November 1763. " Sir—As I have not the honour of being personally acquainted with you, I am under a necessity of troubling you with a letter ; a liberty which my sin- cere regard for your character and conduct occasions, and. which, I hope, you will excuse.
" My inheriting a peerage has made a vacancy in Parliament for the borough of Horsham ; and it is my great ambition that you will do me the honour to name some friend of yours to supply my place.
" And believe use to be, with great regard and attachment, Sir, your most obedient humble servant, Tawny."
We saw in the first volume how conspicuously the Duke of NEw- CASTLE figured as the constant correspondent and political intimate of Purr. Here is the great statesman's final opinion of him. It is a reply to a letter from COOKE, Member for Middlesex, who had been solicited by the Duke to second tlw address, and wrote to PITT for his " advice." Such is the mutability of friendship !
rryr TO GEORGE COOKE, ESQ. " Bath, 7th December 1765. " My dear Sir—Truly sensible of the many proofs of your kind friendshih I will venture to do what I generally wish to avoid even when asked, that as obey your commands in offering my advice to you upon the matters you pro- pose. I confess it appears to me that nothing would be less suited to your situation, or your opinions of men, than to be held out to the world as con- nected with the Duke of Newcastle ; who, in my poor judgment, will render impossible any solid o stem for the settlement of this distracted country, as long as his Grace's influence predominates. What his Grace proposes to you is nothing but a little artifice to hold out to the public an appearance of con- nexion where he knows he has none, and I know he never shall have any. When his Grace does me the honour to say that any thing is ' exactly con- formable to my ideas,' he is pleased to use tine mune of a man wlio inns never communicated his ideas to the Duke of Newcastle upon the present state of affairs ; and who is finally resolved never to be in confidence or concert again with his Grace. Whenever my ideas, in their true and exact dimensions, reach the public, I shall lay them before the world myself. In the wan time, be assured, my dear Sir, that I do not form the least wish to withhold you, or any friend, from taking any step your own judgment or inclination may lead to. I only mean, being asked any thoughts, to say frankly, that I shall IleVer depart from the principles and systems of measures in which I have been so often sacrificed by the Duke of Newcastle, nor accede to his Grace's Ministry, because be occasionally is pleased to adopt in words, and to mar in effect, any parts of that system which Inc has first subverted. My paper grows full, amid a folio would not be too large to tell you with what affectionate esteem "I am ever, dear Sir, most fhithfully yours, WILLIAM PITT."
One part of the correspondence bears a curious analogy to the present time, in the lingering existence of a tottering, weak, and disunited Ministry—existing because no party wishes to displace it, preferring to wait for its dissolution, or rather decomposition. Under what PITT characterized as "the extreme double pressure of affairs all in confusion, and doubtful internal situation," they applied to almost everybody in turn ; but all instinctively shrunk from them. Yet, though daily expected to give up the ghost, they continued to "rub con" by the mere cis inertke of place and its influences. . We take a few passages indicative of the theory that affairs move in cycles.
LORD SHELBURNE, ON A DERATE IN TIIE PEERS.
The prejudice against the Americans, on the whole, seemed very great, and no very decided opinion hi favour of the Ministry; yet such is the power of even a changeable Court influence, that the Administration divided SO to 24.
CHESTERFIELD ON A MAJORITY OF ELEVEN.
"The other day, the Ministers had a contested election in the House of Commons, and got it but by deem votes—too small a majority to carry any thing!"
CHESTERFIELD AT FAULT.
"Perhaps you expect from me a particular account of' the present state of
• The remainder of this letter bas, unfortunately, not been preserved.
aKairs; .hut, yen do, you win be disappointed, Sig aft 134440in kaitavaiamitatl it. is ; it varies.not only daily but hourly. Most people.thials,pau“,amongitti the rest, that the date of the present Ministers ia pretty nearly. out li.ti;t Ttaw, soon we are to have a neiv style, God 'knew's ! This, however, sertanthis.t the other day they lost a question in the Howie of Lords by three. • The'qtres3-: tion Was, to .enforce the execution. of the Stamp-act inmthoCtolonies vi .et (wink 'What conclusion you will draw from these premises, I dettiot know. I protest IT draw none, but, only stare at the present ..undecipherable state ef nifairtm, which, in fifty years' -experience, I have acres seen any thing 'like. The Stamp-act has proved a most pernicious measure ; for 'whether it is repealed or not, it has given such terror to the Americans, that 'our tittle with them will not be for some years what it used to be. Great numbers of ,ournumn- facturers at home-will be turned a starving ; and hanger is always the cause of tumults and sedition."
For the sake of those who look to "coincidences," we pl.tty say this was.written in February 1766; in July the "date of the Minis- ters was out." One class of the manufacturers whom CHESTERFIELD dreaded has experienced a wonderful change. About that time, the cotton manufacture consumed three million pounds of raw materials annually ; in 1837, the quantity imported exceeded three hundred millions. In 1750, the population of Lancashire was 297,400; in 1831, it had increased to 1,336,854.
We will close with a couple of extracts from CHATHAM'S speeches.
ON TAXATION AND SEIZING COLONIAL MONIES.
"Taxation is no Part of the governing or legislative power. The taxes are a voluntary gift and grant of the Commons alone. In legislation, the three estates of the realm are alike concerned ; but the concurrence of the Peers and the Crown to a tax, is only necessary to close with the form of law. The gift and grant is of the Commons alone. In ancient days, the Crown, the Barons, and the Clergy possessed the lands. In those days, the Barons and the Clergy gave and granted to the Crown. They gave and granted what was their own. • At present, since the discovery of America, and other circumstances permit- ting, the Commons are become the proprietors of the land ; the Crown has divested itself of its great estates. The Church (God bless it !) has but a pittance. The property of the Lords, compared with that of the Commons, is as a drop of water us the ocean ; and this. House represents those Commons, the proprietors of the lands ; and those proprietors virtually represent the rest of the inhabitants. When, therefore, in this House we give and grant, we give and grant what is our own. But in an American tax, what do we do? We, your Majesty's Commons of Great Britain, give and grant to your Majesty, what ? Our own property ? No! We give and grant to your Majesty the property of your Majesty's Commons of America. IA is au absurdity in terms. " The.distmetiou between taxation and legislation is essentially necessary to liberty. The Crown, the Peers, are equally legislative powers with the Com- mons. - If taxation be a part of simple legislation the Crown, the Peers, have rights in taxation as well as yourselves ; rights which they will claim, which they will exercise, whenever the principle can be supported by tower." ON VIRTUAL REPRESENTATION..
"There is an idea in some, that the Colonies are virtually represented in this Haase. I would fain know by whom an American is represented here? Is he represented by any knight ot the shire in any county in this kingdom? Would to .God that respectable representation was augmented to a greater member! Or will you tell him that he is represented hy any representative of a borough—ti borough which, perhaps, its own representatives never saw ? This is what it called the rotten part of the constitution.' It caunot continue a century : if it does not drop, it must be amputated. The idea of a virtual representation of America ia this House, is the most contemptible idea that ever entered into the head 'of man it does not deserve a serious refutation."
This volume is edited with as much care and judgment as the former one ; and is enriched by some letters from Single-speech Haraufaos: to CALCRAFT. The few appearing in the present volume (for they continence towards the end) arc pleasant and pithy sketches of passing events, especially of what took place in the Commons at a tune when few records of the debates are remaining.