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sent to Annapolis - Pray where is Annapolis ?”
Cape Breton an island! wonderfull — show it me in the map. So it is, sure enough. My dear sir, you always bring us good news. I must go and tell they King that Cape Breton is an island."
And this man was, during near thirty years, Secretary of State, and, during near ten years, First Lord of the Treasury! His large fortune, his strong hereditary connection, his great parliamentary interest, will not alone explain this extraordinary fact. His success is a signal instance of what may be effected by a man who devotes his whole heart and soul without reserve to one object. He was eaten up by ambition. His love of influence and authority resembled the avarice of the old usurer in the Fortunes of Nigel. It was so intense a passion that it supplied the place of talents, that it inspired even fatuity with cunning. “ Have no money dealings with my father,” says Martha to Lord Glenvarloch ; “ for, dotard as he is, he will make an ass of you.” It was as dangerous to have any political connection with Newcastle as to buy and sell with old Trapbois. He was greedy after power with a greediness all his own. He was jealous of all his colleagues, and even of his own brother. Under the disguise of levity he was false beyond all example of political falsehood. All the able men of his tiine vidiculed him as a dunce, a driveller, a child who never knew his own mind for an hour together; and he overreached them all round.
If the country had remained at peace, it is not im possible that this man would have continued at the head of affairs without admitting any other person to a share of his authority until the throne was filled by * new Prince, who brought with him new maxims of
government, new favourites, and a strong will. But the inauspicious commencement of the Seven Years' War brought on a crisis to which Newcastle was alto gether unequal. After a calm of fifteen
a years the spirit of the nation was again stirred to its inmost depths. In a few days the whole aspect of the political world was changed.
But that change is too remarkable an event to be discussed at the end of an article already more than sufficiently long. It is probable that we may, i? RO remote time, resume the subject.
WILLIAM PITT, EARL OF CHATHAM.'
(Edinburgh Review, January, 1884.)
I'HOUGH several years have elapsed since the publication of this work, it is still, we believe, a new publication to most of our readers. Nor are we surprised at this. The book is large, and the style heavy The information which Mr. Thackeray has obtained from the State Paper Office is new ; but much of it is very uninteresting. The rest of his narrative is very little better than Gifford's or Tomline's Life of the second Pitt, and tells us little or nothing that may not be found quite as well told in the Parliamentary History, the Annual Register, and other works equally
Almost every mechanical employment, it is said, has a tendency to injure some one or other of the bodily organs of the artisan. Grinders of cutlery die of consumption ; weavers are stunted in their growth ; smiths become blear-eyed. In the same inanner almost every intellectual employment has a tendency to produce some intellectual malady. Biographers, translators, editors, all, in short, who employ themselves in illus
"A History of the Right Honourable William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, com laining his Speeches in Parliament, a considerable Portion of his Correspondence when Secretary of State, upon French, Spanish, and American Afairs, never before published; and an Account of the principal Events and Persons of his Time, connected with his Life, Sentiments, and Administration By the Rev. FRANCIS THACKERAY, A. M. 2 vols. 4to. London: 1827.
trating the lives or the writings of others, are peculiarly exposed to the Lries Boswelliana, or disease of admiration. But we scarcely remember ever to have seen a patient so far gone in this distemper as Mr. Thackeray. He is not satisfied with forcing us to confess that Pitt was a great orator, a vigorous minister, an honourable and high-spirited gentleman. He will have it that all virtues and all accomplishments met in his hero. In spite of Gods, men, and columns, Pitt must be a poet, a poet capable of producing a heroic poem of the first order; and we are assured that we ought to find many charms in such lines as these :
“ Midst all the tumults of the warring sphere,
And the small freight unanxious glide." I Pitt was in the army for a few months in time of peace. Mr. Thackeray accordingly insists on our confessing that, if the young cornet had remained in the service he would have been one of the ablest commanders that ever lived. But this is not all. Pitt, it seems, was not merely a great poet in esse, and a great general in posse, but a finished example of moral excellence, the just man made perfect. He was in the right when he attempted to establish an inquisition, and to give bounties for perjury, in order to get Walpole's head. He was in the right when he de. clared Walpole to have been an excellent minister. He was in the right when, being in opposition, he maintained that no peace ought to be made with Spain, till she should formally renounce the right of search. He was in the right when, being in office, he silently acquiesced in a treaty by which Spain did not renounce the right of search. When he left the Duke of Newcastle, when he coalesced with the Duke of Newcastle, when he thundered against subsidies, when he lavished subsidies with unexampled profusion, when he exocrated the Hanoverian connection, when he declared that Hanover ought to be as dear to us as Hampshire, he was still invariably speaking the language of a vir tuous and enlightened statesman.
1 Tho quotation is faithfully made from Mr. Thackeray. Perhaps Pit wroto guite in the fourth line.
The truth is that there scarcely ever lived a person who had so little claim to this sort of praise as Pitt He was undoubtedly a great man.
But his was not a complete and well-proportioned greatness. The public life of Hampden or of Somers resembles a regular drama, which can be criticised as a whole, and every scene of which is to be viewed in connection with the main action. The public life of Pitt, on the other hand, is a rude though striking piece, a piece abounding in incongruities, a piece without any unity of plan, but redeemed by some noble passages, the effect of which is increased by the tameness or extravagance of what precedes and of what follows. His opinions were unfixed. His conduct at some of the most important conjunctures of his life was evidently determined by pride and resentment. He had one fault, which of all human faults is most rarely found in company with true greatness. He was extremely affected. He was an almost solitary instance of a man of real genius, and of a brave, lofty, and commanding spirit, without simplicity of character. He was an actor in the Closet, an actor at Council, an actor in Parliament; and even in private society he could not lay aside his theatrical ones and attitudes. We know that one of the most