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who are raising their voices against your inexorable hardness.
And now for Hall :
I cannot but imagine the virtuous heroes, legislators, and patriots of every age and country are bending from their elevated seats to witness this contest, as if they were incapable of enjoying their eternal repose. Enjoy that repose, illustrious immortals! Your mantle
fell when you ascended; and thousands inflamed with your spirit are ready to swear by Him that sitteth upon the throne and liveth for ever and ever, that they will protect freedom in her last asylum, and never desert that cause which you sustained by your labours and cemented with your blood. And thou, sole Ruler among the children of men, to whom the shields of the earth belong, gird on thy sword, thou most Mighty; go forth with our hosts in the day of battle.
As the only compensation we can make for these most imperfect remarks, we earnestly recommend the reader to peruse the Rhetorical Articles of Lord Brougham. There is probably no better vade mecum_of oratory in our language. The author is a consummate orator himself, the most competent man living to teach his art, and no better way could be imagined than that which he has selected, namely, a cursory review of ancient and modern eloquence, illustrated by quotations whose excellence has been guaranteed by the unanimous suffrage of all men of letters. important lesson they will at least learn from these articles, for it is the one most frequently and most emphatically inculcated by the author, namely, that eloquence is an art rather than a gift-an art which requires the greatest special labour to learn, and which implies the greatest amount of general learning. He, 'the earnest student,' who will not be deterred by these difficulties, and who, with adequate preparation, will devote himself to the study of the art of eloquence, will derive the greatest benefit from these articles; while he who is deterred by the labour which, to his surprise, he will find is necessary in an art which haply he thought was of the easiest acquisition-open to all who have the two requisites of brass and volubility -will also derive benefit if he takes these precepts to heart. He will avoid making a fool of himself, and
save others from the infliction of much unnecessary talk.
We have already indicated the light in which we purpose to regard the Historical Sketches,' and the use we mean to make of them, namely, as illustrating the career of the ambitious man in general, and as illustrating reflectively the character of Brougham, whom we have selected as a type. But in this view the primary question is can we trust these sketches as giving a true insight into the character and motives of the men they purport to pourtray? We think we may. There is intrinsic evidence in each instance that Lord Brougham wishes to tell the truth, for he neither exaggerates the virtues of those who belong to his own party, nor slurs over their defects, and he is equally just to those of the opposite party, with some of whom he had been engaged in actual conflict. In the second place, we can have no doubt of his ability to give a just and discriminating character, once we are satis fied of his honesty. A statesman himself, who has experienced most of the phases of political life, who has run the gamut from something very like demagogism, to something be yond conservatism, Brougham has the advantage as a political portrait painter over most living men. He has a manifest advantage both over those who are still in the heat of party passion, and over those who have never mixed in party strife, or felt the ardent emotions which spring from ambition; for both the impassioned and the calm view of men and things present themselves to him-the one from memory, the other in the present, and the one corrects and clears the other. But without further preface let us join that group of listeners round Brougham, as he stands below the portrait of Walpole.
On the whole he gives you a favourable idea of that celebrated statesman, and one as different as might be from that which we would be compelled to entertain, if we he lieved the reports of his political adversaries, the patriots of the day, after the definition of Samuel Johnson. Of ancient, honourable, and wealthy family, Robert Walpole entered public
life under the auspices of Marlborough; and when, according to our author, "a vile court intrigue saved France from being undone by the victories of that great man, when what St. Simon calls the 'miracle de Londres' unexpectedly rescued Louis XIV from his doom," Walpole threw up his place with the Duke. The offence was not forgiven; he was impeached and sent to the Tower on a charge of having received £900 from a contractor.
The charge was substantially true, and the only extenuation which can be pleaded is, that they who impeached him would have done the same thing if they had the opportunity, and many of them had in reality done worse. Corruption, in fact, was the disease of the day-an epidemic which not unfrequently follows in the wake of a revolution. But to extenuate the
sins of an individual in consideration of the general turpitude, is dangerous; for it is a tempting method to excuse our own infirmities, to cast part of the burden of our sins on the broad shoulders of society, and go on our way sinning and rejoicing, not because we are better than others, but because others are so very bad we can hardly be worse than they are.
Whether worse or better, Walpole left £200,000, when it was notorious he lived at a rate nearly double his income; nor will his celebrated speculation in South Sea Stock, although he got a thousand per cent. profit, account for the balance at his credit.
So much with respect to his per sonal corruption. As he rather boasted of than concealed his corruption of others, it seems unnecessary to inquire further into its reality: but we hardly agree with Lord Brougham when he felicitates his readers on the loftier tone of our public morality. It may have been so in 1839, when he wrote this article, but in 1856 it may be questioned whether our public men are so immaculate as to entitle them to throw stones against the glasshouses of the members of Commons in Walpole's day. No doubt, our premiers and whippers-in do not in general carry on the business of political persuasion by means of the currency. You are not asked to dinner and find a five-hundred Bank of England note under your plate; but if you get a post for yourself, for your brother, or
your cousin, or a relation of your wife, worth as much a year, the motive brought to bear on you may be somewhat more refined, but it is essentially the same. Walpole, however, differed from our modern vote-brokers, in openly, and-what was rather aggravating to those who sold, and certainly more expensive to him, the buyer-contemptuously stating his opinion of the purchasability of public men. "Every man has his price; if you don't buy him, he becomes a patriot"-a maxim not without something to say for itself in the present day. "Patriots are easily raised. I have myself made many a one; 'tis but to refuse an unreasonable demand, and up springs a patriot." Lord Brougham also fathers upon Walpole the noted definition of gratitude as "a lively sense of favours to come." . Such frankness must have increased the cost of corruption fully twenty per cent.
It is difficult to account for the suc cess of Walpole's political career, and for his long tenure of unbroken power. Brougham but half solves the difficulty:
Inferior to many in qualities that dazzle the multitude, and undervaluing the mere outward accomplishments of English statesmanship-nay, accounting them merits only so far as they conduced to parliamentary and to popular influence, and even much undervaluing their effects in that direction-Walpole yet ranks in the very highest class of those whose unvarying prudence, clear apprehension, fertility of resources to meet unexpected difficulties, firmness of purpose, just and not seemingly exaggerated self-confidence, point them out by common consent as the men qualified to guide the course of human affairs, to ward off public dangers, and to watch over the peace of empires. His knowledge was sound and practical; it was like all his other qualities, for use and not for ornament, yet he lacked nothing of the information which in his day formed the provision of the politician. With men his acquaintance was extensive, and it was profound. His severe judgment, the somewhat misanthropic bias to which reference has been made, never misled him; it only put him on his guard, and it may safely be affirmed that no man ever made fewer mistakes in his intercourse either with adversaries or with friends, or the indifferent world.
Perhaps it may serve to the more complete solution of the problem in
volved in the political success of a man who wanted some of the requisites we have deemed essential to the success of the man of ambition, that the times in which he flourished somewhat resembled France of the present day. England had only recently passed through a cycle of intense political excitement, and lasstude, corruption, and want of public principle had been the natural result of the reaction; a desire to make money had replaced the desire of glory, whether on the field of battle or in the equally exciting field of revolutionary politics. In such a state of society any power which offers protection to the "men of order" is sure of the adhesion of the majority, and the very mediocrity of its professions, the "safeness" of its character, only increases its strength. Preserve property, foster trade, promote public companies, and a nation just recovering from a revolution can do for a time without glory and without excitement other than that of gambling.
Lord Brougham devotes considerable space to a consideration of the character of Bolingbroke. It is a finished portrait, painted con amore, perhaps from the latent idea that there was something in the character of Bolingbroke akin to his own.
Bolingbroke has left a reputation of being the greatest of English orators, though there is not in existence a solitary speech of his whereby we may test the accuracy of the common report. His fastidious contemporaries thought his eloquence supernatural, and when we consider that Swift and Pope were among them, we know not of any other English orator to whose excellence such testimony can be brought. And Pitt, looking to this great traditional fame, thought that a speech of Bolingbroke was a greater desideratum than any of the missing classics; while Brougham agrees as to this general opinion, on indeper dent grounds.
If Bolingbroke spoke as he wrote he must have been the greatest of modern orators, as far as composition goes; for he has the raciness and spirit, occasionally even the fire, perhaps not the vehemence, of Fox, with richer imagery and far more correct diction; the accurate composition of Pitt, with in
finitely more grace and variety; the copiousness, almost the learning, and occasionally the depth of Burke, without his wearily elaborate air; his speech never degenerates for an instant into dissertation, which Burke scarcely ever avoids.
We cannot resist the temptation of inserting one of the passages from Bolingbroke's writings, which Brougham adduces in support of his opinion. It is taken from the celebrated dedication to Sir Robert Walpole :-
Should a minister govern in various instances of domestic and foreign management, ignorantly, weakly, or even wickedly, and yet pay this reverence and bear this regard to the constitution, he would deserve certainly much better quarter, and would meet with it too from every man of sense and honour, than a minister who should conduct the administra. tion with great ability and success, and should at the same time procure and abet, or even connive at such indirect violations of the rules of the constitution as tend to the destruction of it; or even at such evasions as tend to render it useless. A minister who had the ill qualities of both of these, and the good qualities of neither; who made his admministration hateful in some respects and despicable in others; who sought that security by ruining the constitution which he had forfeited by dishonouring the government; who encouraged the profligate and seduced the unwary to concur in this design, by affecting to explode all public spirit, and to ridicule every form of our constitution-such a minister would be looked upon most justly as the shame and scourge of his country. Sooner or later he would fall without pity. and it is hard to say what punishment would be proportional to his crimes.
We have little time to trace the orbit of this wandering star, but the leading incidents of his political life are sufficiently known to deprive him of any claim to the respect of any party in the political world. His intrigues to overthrow the government of Godolphin and Marlborough, in which he succeeded, to the infinite injury of his country; his intrigues to overthrow the Protestant succession, in which he failed to his country's advantage; his banishment; his service with the Stuarts; his desertion of them and his return to retirement, literature, ennui, and political infamy, are known to every reader of history. But the political Satan had amiable points in his character; his
attachment to his friends was warm and zealous, and they cultivated it and looked up to him with somewhat like idolatry.
His spirit was high and manly, his courage, personal and political, was without a stain. He had no sordid propensities; his faults were not mean or paltry; they were, both in his private life and his public, on a large scale, creating for the most part wonder or terror more than scorn or contempt.
That the genius which he displayed in the Senate his wisdom, his address, his resources in council-should, when joined to fascinating manners and literary accomplishments, have made him shine in society without a rival, can easily be comprehended. So great an orator, so noble a person in figure and demeanour, one so little under dominion of the principle which makes men harsh, and the restraint which renders their manners formal, was sure to captivate all superficial admirers, and even to win the more precious applause of superior minds.
Such was Bolingbroke; one of those men who to the rarest endowments of genius add an almost total want of principle, and whose influence, both on their contemporaries and on posterity, is almost entirely evil, lending attractions to vice and prestige to a course of conduct setting at defiance all notions of duty.
Nor in such cases is there any sufficient antidote. The desire of fame is the great motive influencing the nobler order of public men. Power may have its attractions, and even the desire of wealth has urged many to climb the difficult ascent of state preferment; but it is the aspiration after the praise of future ages8-a motive perhaps irrational and ideal, but noble and chivalrous-which has been the main sustaining motive of all those who have left their impress on history; but when, as in a case like Bolingbroke's, this crowning glory is seen to be secured without the aid, and even in defiance of virtue, the spring of moral excellence is poisoned in its purest source, and the stream which otherwise would fertilize nations, forced into the narrow channels of egotism, becomes a torrent devastating the face of society.
Perhaps the best corrective against the influence of such anarchs of history is to point out that in general their career results in the shipwreck
of their personal fortunes; and the reason is, that they want one set of those dual qualifications which we have mentioned as necessary in the successful man of ambition. Thus, for instance, Bolingbroke, unhesitating in action-whose whole career, in fact, was a series of coups d'etat-was deficient in that party honour which alone can secure adherents; and though no man could be less accused of allowing the grass to grow under his heels, he was utterly destitute of that patience and perseverance essentrial to any lasting result.
In this and in other respects his instructive character presents an contrast to that of Walpole, who, while deficient in the qualities which rendered Bolingbroke notorious and pernicious, was eminently endowed with those which, if they could not have added to Bolingbroke's fame, would to a certainty have made him an eminently useful man in the state. While, on the other hand, had somewhat of Bolingbroke's dash been added to the laissez-aller nature of Walpole, his name might be mentioned with admiration by those young and ardent spirits who are the heralds of fame, and who now accord to him only a very dubious respect, if they do not absolutely decry his memory.
We now accompany Lord Brougham to the portrait of a statesman who, to all Bolingbroke's ability and impetuosity, combined a sagacity equal to that of Walpole, with a high and unstained honor without a parallel.
No man occupies so pure and unsullied a page in English history as that greatest of statesmen and patriots, William Pitt, Earl of Chatham. Lord Brougham is among his sincere admirers, as, indeed, who is the Englishman of what party or sect soever, who does not admire that pure and lofty patriot who knew no party or sectarian policy, save the good of his country?
The following is one of several delineations of Chatham's character by our author :
The first place among the great qualities which distinguished Lord Chatham is unquestionably due to firmness of purpose, resolute determination in the pursuit of his objects. Quicquid vult, id valde vult, and although extremely apt to exist in excess, it
must be admitted to be the foundation of all true greatness of character. Everything, however, depends on the endowments in company of which it is found; and in Lord Chatham these were of a very high order. The quickness with which he could ascertain his object and discover his road to it, was fully commensurate with his perseverance and his boldness in pursuing it; the firmness of grasp with which he held his advantage was fully equalled by the rapidity of the glance with which he discovered it. Add to this a mind eminently fertile in resources ; a courage which nothing could daunt in the choice of his means; a
resolution equally indomitable in their application; a genius, in short, original and daring, which bounded over the petty obstacles raised by ordinary men-their squeamishness, and their precedents, and their forms and their regularities-and forced away his path through the entanglements of this base undergrowth to the worthy object ever in view, the prosperity and renown of his country. In pursuing his course towards that goal, he disregarded alike the frown of power and the gales of popular applause, exposed himself undaunted to the vengeance of the court, while he battled against its corruptions, and confronted unappalled the rudest shocks of public indignation, while he resisted the dictates of pernicious agitators, and could conscientiously exclaim, with an illustrious statesman of antiquity," Ego hoc animo semper fui, ut invidiam virtute partam, gloriam non invidiam putarem."
The success of the administration of Chatham is familiar to every tyro of history. He found the country in the most depressed state in which it had ever stood in the Commonwealth of Europe, he left it undisputably, and for the first time in history, the paramount power of the world. "These," said Horace Walpole, the doings of Mr. Pitt, and they are marvellous in our eyes."
His ministry was the despotism of genius :-
Upon his first proposition for changing the conduct of the war he stood single among his colleagues, and tendered his resig nation should they persist in their dissent; they at once succumbed, and from that hour ceased to have an opinion of their own upon any branch of public affairs. Nay, so absolutely was he determined to have the control of these measures, of which he knew the reponsibility rested upon him alone, that he insisted upon the First Lord of the Admi ralty not having the correspondence of his own department; and no less eminent a naval character than Lord Anson, as well as his
junior Lords, was obliged to sign the naval orders issued by Mr. Pitt, while the writing was covered over from their eyes.
None but a man who held his commission to rule direct from nature could have acted in this way, and none other would have been obeyed. "Can I choose my own king?" says "I can the erudite Teufelsdrockh. choose my own King Popinjay, and play what farce and tragedy I may with him, but he who is to be my ruler, whose will is to be higher than my will, was chosen for me in Heaven."
Chatham's whole mind was kingly. While fighting what he thought the battle of the Constitution in the person of Wilkes, he took special care to mark his abhorrence of that demagogue's character, as one not deserv ing to be ranked with the human species." Nor did he lower the lofty tone which was his by right even to hereditary royalty; and George III., obstinate as he was and inflated with ideas of his prerogative, had to yield, like others, to the will of this man.
We have scanty materials for estimating his great reputation as an orator. His speech on the employment of the Indians in the American war is the longest extant, but it is somewhat hacknied, and loses its effect from our familiarity with it since our school days. Brougham gives some other selections not so well known, a few of which we will in