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called “the broad bottom,” Lord Chesterfield owed his admission into it to almost any cause more than to his manners and address. His audience of leave-taking, upon going the second time to Holland, granted to him by the king most reluctantly, was only one continued insult. It seemed as if the occasion presented itself only to manifest the royal resentment of the peer's courtly good-breeding. Dr. Maty tells us, that, in return for the elaborate civility and offers of service which the earl made, the king vouchsafed no other answer than the cold words, “ You have your instructions, my Lord.”
It rarely happens to politicians to be perfectly consistent. The man who had distinguished himself above all others by his opposition to that system of foreign alliances which drew the country into continental wars, was now to reopen his path to court favor by his efforts "to bring the Dutch roundly into the war" against France. He succeeded in obtaining the appointment of the Duke of Cumberland to be chief of the confederate army, which, if it cost his country the defeat of Fontenoy, at any rate earned for himself some title to his sovereign's regard. Yet even after his return from his mission, and before he went over to assume the post of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, he obtained no personal interview with the king. It was not until the rebellion of 1745 took place, in the midst of which George found himself deserted by his ministers, when they knew he must submit to their dictation of their own terms, as he could not do without them, that his Lordship's disapprobation of their course seems to have entirely removed the burden of prejudice that had weighed against him in the royal mind. His services had also been of no slight value in keeping Ireland tranquil throughout the period of commotion in the neighbouring kingdom, and they were appreciated. After the lapse of a few months, his Lordship found himself at last in the king's closet, at the king's desire, acting in the capacity of one of the secretaries of state. The avenue to power seemed once more perfectly open to him. He had regained it by services, and not by his address ; yet here seemed another chance by which to show how much the cultivation of insinuating mappers might avail to fix a growing impression. Once more did his Lordship resort to his favorite theory to sustain him. The queen was no longer living to embarrass him, so that he felt • VOL. LXIII. — NO. 132.
safe inde as he spartip continued in every thinsuke of
safe in devoting his attention to the Countess of Yarmouth. Yet, little as he spared exertion, the expected effect did not follow. His Lordship continued in office long enough to be convinced that he was overruled in every thing, down to the smallest appointment, by his colleague, the Duke of Newcastle, the man who made no pretension to “the graces" ; and he then resigned. The result of this last experiment seems to have been so decisive with him, that he never attempted another. At the early age of fifty-four, he retired from public life in disgust. He had failed to be first, and he wished to be nothing less. And in his want of success he gave to posterity the most convincing proof, that, after all, polished manners cannot be relied on as the basis of a political career, even though they be connected with wit, eloquence, and knowledge of the world.
It will be perceived, that, even upon the mere utilitarian view of the system of his Lordship, we maintain, from a review of his own history, that it is good for nothing. We have thrown all higher arguments out of consideration, with much the same coolness that he does himself. Yet we would not be understood to affirm, that refined breeding and manners are of no use in forwarding a man's success ; on the contrary, we are willing to believe them to be of the greatest use, provided only there be a heart beneath. This little element is the important omission in his Lordship's doctrine. He seems to have thought it unessential what the inside might be, if only the surface was sufficiently polished to conceal it. But by a compensating process of nature, men are rendered penetrating in proportion to the efforts made to deceive them. The suspicion of art destroys confidence in professions. Accordingly, we find in Lord Chesterfield's case, that, though he was much admired, he was little liked. In his assiduous court to all whom he believed to possess influence, even his sagacity could not save him from betraying himself to the most inexperienced eyes. When one of the pages about the court found himself more than once made the object of unusual attention by the earl, the boy could not help, at last, intimating to him his suspicion that he had been mistaken for M. Louis, a youth who passed for the king's son by Lady Yarmouth. His suspicion was well founded, and the misdirected civility, thus known to be hollow, had done his Lordship harm instead of
" the king's "sistaken for mating to him hi by the earl,
good. Thus we may see that he who learns to be civil to his neighbour solely for the use he may make of his friendship can never become less than a selfish hypocrite, whom the first accident that unmasks him will render contemptible.
The cultivation of a general spirit of benevolence and charity is a far better foundation for refinement of manners, because it imposes no task of insincerity. It is rather unusual, we know, to go to the Scriptures for any rule of fashionable life, and it may from some expose us to the charge of writing sermon-fashion ; but we must say that we have never understood the reason why it was necessary to go farther for the very highest theory of good-breeding, than the broad principle laid down in the Holy Book, of doing unto others as you would they should do unto you. To be sure, we should be prevented by it from saying flattering falsehoods, merely for the sake of deluding our neighbour's vanity ; yet, on the other hand, we might be allowed the pleasure of using the truth to encourage and sustain his virtuous exertion. How much may be done in this way few people entirely understand ; or how many young hearts yearn for a word of judicious consolation, under the inevitable mortifications and chill produced, on first entering into the conflicts of the world. To them, flattery is rank poison, whilst discriminating praise serves as the breath of life. But there is a higher reason why the Christian precept is a more perfect rule of manners. It forbids one from committing wrong or injustice of any kind. Had his Lordship followed it, he would have been saved from many mortifications, the consequence of such injustice. It would have beld him back from the cold blooded undertaking of seducing a weak woman, merely because it had come to his ears that she expressed a very natural indignation at his licentious habits, and from the equally cruel endeavour to train up the offspring of that connection to a place it was impossible for him to reach, except through the possession of a character and abilities as much above those of his father as that father's were above the level of the generality of men of his time.
Lord Chesterfield has much to answer for on many accounts, but most especially on this, that he formed a school, the members of which, whilst committing the most immoral acts, have kept each other in countenance by quoting his specious maxims in their defence. We do not mean to say that vicious and plausible men of fashion did not exist before his day. Such persons have always been found in every cultivated society. What we do mean is, that he laid down a code of rules which gained immediate currency in that society, whereby great latitude was, almost by consent, conceded to certain kinds of vice. According to him, it is a perfectly gentlemanly proceeding to corrupt another man's wife, and much more advisable, as it saves the personal risk attending general licentiousness. Yet no consideration is given to the inevitable effects that follow, upon the happiness of families, and the peace of society itself. And generally it is, according to him, perfectly allowable to disregard the rights or feelings of the rest of the world, provided appear. ances be preserved, and a smile be kept upon the face which meditates a wrong.
Let us now consider one of the cases in which, as it appears to us, his Lordship fully exemplified the tendencies of his nature. He had married a woman whom he did not love, and he was not so fortunate as to have children by her, which might have awakened some interest in her welfare. On the other hand, it happened that he had a son by one Mrs. Du Bouchet, a French woman, already alluded to, and this son he determined to make the subject of a grand experiment. His own theory was, that differences of character depend more upon education than upon nature ; so he resolved to spare no pains in making, at all hazards, this unfortunate subject fill up his beau ideal of a man. In order to do this, he wilfully overlooked the enormous difficulty before him, at the very outset, of making an illegitimate son play a first part in the history of such a country as Great Britain. Nor was this all. He neglected to consider the extent of the trial he was preparing for the poor young man. Who shall say how much of the awkwardness and bashfulness for which his father perpetually reproached him might have been owing to an impression early received, of inequality with those immediately around him? Who that knows boys, and especially English boys, can fail to understand how soon the smallest difference of condition makes itself felt among them, to the depression of those who are suspected of laboring under a disadvantage? How Mr. Stanhope was made to feel this in later life, both at Brussels, and in the fruitless effort to get the appointment of minister at Venice, we see and know, from the letters before us. It may be very well for his Lordship to glide over such mortifications lightly, and call them inevitable evils, to be remedied only by greater exertions ; but his duty was not the less plain to reflect, before he forced a young man into such a situation, how apt it is to break down the spirit and disable it from ever entering upon the exertions required. How few men in Great Britain have made head against such an early disadvantage! Is it, then, to be wondered at, that Stanhope, who had not elements of character strong enough to succeed, even without it, should have failed so entirely whilst under its influence? The fault surely was not so much in him as in his father's heartless error of judgment in educating him. Neither is this all the penalty which the poor young man has been compelled to pay. Not only has the record of his failure to be a great man been made up against him on the book of history, but his memory is destined for ever to be associated with the evidence of the labor and pains expended in vain upon him to produce any extraordinary result whatever. As a matter of common justice, the readers of the present collection should have seen a few of Mr. Stanhope's own letters, at least sufficient to give them an opportunity to judge him fairly. As it is now, his reputation fluctuates between those who call him a stupid booby, and those who describe him as a dull pedant, whilst still a third party do not let him off even so easily as that. Yet, admitting all that may be said against him, who is most in fault for it? Is it to be supposed that the young man was worse, in any respect, than ten thousand people of his own or of any age, who live out their appointed number of days, respectable citizens, and who go to their graves deeply regretted by the usual circle of afflicted relations ? Why is it, then, that he should be singled out for everlasting infamy, as a dunce and a cub, or as
“ Base, degenerate, meanly bad,” because his father chose in his person to immortalize his own crime, and his unfeeling ambition of making an experiment, against the success of which the chances were as a thousand to one ?
A common remark is, also, that, if Lord Chesterfield found his son a dull scholar in the graces,” he proved rather too apt in the acquisition of hypocrisy. Mr. Stanhope died,