Page images
PDF

“ at once secure from every attack, they “were enabled to retire in peace, and “ without, as they conceived, any dimiru“tion of character or reputation." That this favour was conferred solely on Mr. Pitt must be evident; for Mr. Addington was the successor of only that one gentleman; nor had the others, except Mr. Dodas, perhaps, any share in recommending him to either the king or the people; and, things so turned out, that he never received any support srom them, never having, in their opinion, deserved it. But, what we have to attend to at present, is, the Family notion expressed in this passage. This writer talks of “engaging to carry on the adminis“ tration," as one tasks of carrying on another's business for him ; and the concern seems to be considered perfectly as a A, ivate one: no idea of public duty appears to have entered into the writer's mind: Mr. Addington was so kind as to carry on the government and to shelter Mr. Pitt, and for that, whether Mr. Pitt ought to be sheltered or not, Mr. Addington is to be applauded A little further on the writer has to speak of the change in Mr. Pitt's Parliamentary conduct towards Mr. Addington, and to remark upon the causes and influence whence that change proceeded. “I will “believe,” says he, “that he"[Mr. Pitt) was not so insensible to the force of private friendship as to resolve, all at once, to separate himself from the companion of his youth and the friend of his riper years; from the man with whom he had lived so long upon terms of the utmost familiarity. I believe he felt, as every man must feel, that, by taking office with his approbation,

“ and under such circumstancés, Mr. Ad- .

“ dington had acquired a claim to his support.” Here again, the taking office is considered as a mere private concern. The claim to support does not profess to be grounded upon any public reason, but solely upon the private connexion and obligations of the parties. After having pointed out, pretty intelligibly, the persons who had secretly been labouring to withdraw Mr. Pitt's support from Mr. Addington, and describing the danger there was of seeing the former ring d in opposition to the latt-r, the writer cotcludes thus: “It was, no doubt, in order “ to avert a state of things so distressing to his feelings, and to procure a return of that friendship which he continued affection

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

a ely to cherish, as well as to secure to the

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

“ be made for the purpose of admitting Lord

“ Melville into the cabinet, and others of “ Mr. Pitt's friends into different official si“ tuations. Now," says he, “let it be con“ sidered, who, besides Mr. Addington, are “ the members of the cabinet. Be it re“ membered, that they were originally Mr. “ Pitt's friends, and not Mr. Addington's ; “ that they even came into the cabinet, not “ only invited, but named by Mr. Pitt ; and “ what could be apprehended by Mr. Pitt from an administration composed of such “ persons? What doubt could be entertained of his m intaining all the influence and all the propoliderance which belong to a prime minister Cau any man seriously believe that he could object upon any “ such grounds For we are not told what “ situation Mr. Addington could be placed in upon any such supposition, or how it “ was to be contrived that he should take “ the lead of his leader. The fact is, that “ in this respect, as in all others, Mr. Ad“ dington acted towards Mr. Pitt with that “ full confidence which became an honourable man towards one whom he considered to be equally honourable. and as yet, “ his friend. He offered either to go out entirely, or to take the situation, whitever it “ was, which Mr. Pitt should assign him ; such a situation as would put it out of his power if he were so inclined, to be again “Mr. Pitt's successor. Could now, I a k, Mr. Addington give stronger or more “unequivocal proofs of his sincerity of his “ attachment to M. Pitt " Very strong indeed! Unquestionably very strong | So anxious was he geod soul | to quiet the apprehensions of his jealous friend, that he was ready to submit even to breome a peer of the realm for that purpose 1 And yet we have

the confidence so reproach the French, for

their time submission to the insolence of Napoleon and his brethren But, let us take one more passage. Returning to the subject of Mr. Pitt's conduct in Parliament, the writer says : “his support has not been even “ that which an indifferent person, coming ** into office under such circumstances, “ would have been entitled to claim : still “ less was it that which was due to a man, “ who had been his intimate friend and companion for so many years, who had “ gone along with him in every public measure, and who, in the very act of taking “office, was plainly doing an act of friend. slip." This is, perhaps, more outrageous than any thing else we have ever heard from one of The Family. The writer, in the course of his pamphlet, brings forward several public measures of Mr Pitt that were unwise, injurious to the conntry, and “cal-ilated only to keep his place;” he accuses him of having onisconducted the war against France, and of having, in 1791, done an act by which our influence on the Continent was finally destroyed: and, it is after all this, that he brings forward the circumstance of Mr. Addington having gone along with Mr. Pitt in every one of these measures, as a ground whereon the former was entitled to claim the parliamentary sup: port of the latter! This clearly shows, that the interests of the nation never enter into the arguments on either side. ' He spoke ‘ and voted for you upon every measure, ‘ right or wrong, for so many years, and “you ought to speak and vote for him in ‘ return o' This, considering the concern as a Family one, was perfectly fair. But, how insolent, how outrageously insolent, is it to . wards the King and the People! Yet, such are the notions that pervade all the publications and discourse of the Family and their partisans. So indisputable do their partisans consider their right to use any means for the purpose of excluding all others from any share of the power or eluoluments of the government, that they never think it neces. sary to enter into any justification of the means they make use of, be they what thry may. At the time that the partisans of Mr. Addington were representing him as the “ confidential servant of the King," as the m in most fit to manage the affairs of the nation, as the person whose loss would be irreparable; at the time when he was accepting of the support of several persons, upon the evidently implied condition, that he would resist the return of Mr. Pitt to administration; at that very time, we now find, that, if his partisans speak truth, he was ready to do almost any thing to smooth the way for that return. He was ready to go out altogether, to take whatever situation Mr. Pitt might think proper to assign him,

[ocr errors]

even a peerage not excepted! Hear this, ye pretenders to modesty, and “bide your di“ minished heads:" the son of Doctor Addington, Mr. Pitt's family physician, is willing to become a /ter of England; and that too from the sole, the disinterested, the amia ble notive of allaying he jealousy and tranquilizing the mind of his friend!—That a friendship like this should ever have been, for a noment, interrupted, must be a subject of considerable surprize to every one unacquaint d with the discordant tempers, the jarring interests, and io.stling pursuits of the several members of this numerous Family. For this reason, and in order the more correctly to judge of the probable consequences of the reconciliation, it sterns necessary to say a few words as to the causts and progross of the late quarrel in The Family. That, to the moment of Mr. Adding on’s leaving the chair of the House of Como ons, the most perfect horrory and affectio; su' sisted between him and Mr. Pitt is agreed to upon all sides. The circumstances, under which the former came into the cabint to have been differently described by the differen writers. Mr. Long represents Mr. Addington as being “recommended to the King by Mr. Pitt," while the author of the P1. A 1 N It ply positively asserts, that “ Mr. Addington con-, “ tinued to be perfectly ignorant of every thing relative to the misunderstanding be“ tween His Majesty and Mr. Pitt, till the “ moment when, most une. pectedly, he re“ ceived His Majesty's commands to attend “ him at St. James's, for the purpose of “ forming an administration ; that be re“ upon Mr. Addington hesitated ; that he “, took every means to prevent the change “ that was in agitation ; that it was not “ without great reluctance, and after some “ delay, that the mater was settled; and “ that it was during this interval, that the “ offer, spoken of in the PLA IN ANswer “ was made by Mr. Pitt," that is to say, “ a distinct offer to retain H is situ A Tios, “ until the war should be conc used, and the c. untry relieved from its most Arcosing diffcutics.'" This last fact is stated by Mr. Long, and allowed to be correct by the opposite party. It has often been asked, what could induce Mr. Pitt to make this offer; and why, if he could, with propriety, have retained his situation, his colleagues could not have retained theirs 2 The time of making the offer is, too, to be well remembered : it was afer the King had sent for Mr. Addington for the purpose of forming a new administration. The object of Mr. Pitt in making the offer must be too evident to need explanation; but, there is one circumstance atteod

[ocr errors]

ing it that never has been, that I recollect, stated in print, and that is, that none of his colleagues, except Mr. Dundas (and, perhaps, not he) ever were consulted as to the making of the offer, and never heard of it, till it came out in the Aamoh'et of Mr. Long? The offer was, however, rejected by the King. This is stated by Mr. Long, and agreed to by his opponent. Thus situated, Mr Pitt must have seen that, if Mr. Addington accepted the premiership and formed a ministry without his approbation and support, such a ministry must soon have recourse for aid to the opposition, who, in that case, would, in a little time, have come in to the

full possession of power, under all the po- '

pularity which peace could have given them. The consequences of such an event to Mr. Pitt himself were too alarming to be risked. If Mr. Addington decline& the undertaking, the opposition came in at once, and the consequences were the same, only still nearer at hand. No wonder, therefore, that Mr. Pitt advised Mr. Addington to become minister, though his own offer of service was rejected; and what is stated by Mr. Long, as to Mr. Pitt's recommending Mr. Addington to the King, is likely to be perfectly correct, only that, from the manner in which the statement is nade, one would suppose, that the recommendation Areceded the King's choice of Mr. Addington, whereas, it now appears, that the royal choice preceded the recommendation. When we reflect on the offer made by Mr. Pitt, at the time above-mentioned, to retain his place without any intiniation thereof given to his colleagues ; when we reflect, that, in the negotiation for his return to place in 1803, not a word was said about the Catholic question, and that, it is stated in the “ PLA, N “ REPLY," that, at that time, Mr. Pitt “ had made up his mind upon that head, and “ had actually relinquished it;" when we reflect on what has passed since, and on what is likely to pass this winter relative to the subject, it is next to impossible to believe, that the obstacles to Catholic emancipation, or that any circumstance or circumstances attending it, was the real cause of Mr. Pitt's resignation. It was, however, alleged to be the cause; he himself openly avowed it; and, therefore, we cannot be reasonably refused the liberty of asking, how he came to recommend to the King, the Parliament, and the Nation, a successor, who has not less openly avowed, that he came into power upon the express condition of resisting the Catholic claims; or, in the words of the PLAIN Reply, “he” [Mr. Addington; “could not “but be aware that he must be known as com“ing into administration in direct opposition

“to the measure of Catholic emancipation.” Surely we have some right to ask, how, upon any other than the Family principle, Mr. Pitt could recommend such a person as his successor. But, there is another question not less material to our present purpose; and, that is, how came Mr. Addington to be directly opposed to Mr. Pitt upon this solitary question, after having, to use the words of the Plain Reply, been the “friend and “ companion of his youth and of his riper “ years;" after having, during all the time, placed “implicit reliance on him;" after having “gone along with him in every “ public measure.” I should like very much to hear what can be said in order to account for their difference, their wide and decided difference of opinion, upon this single point, Mr. Addington never heard of the question, we are told, as a matter of dispute, till be went to the King: then, we are assured, that he “ hesitated:" he er;deavoured to accommodate the matter between the King and Mr. Pitt: at last he accepts office by the advice of the latter, and with the promise of his support, though it is well known that he accepts it for the express purpose of opposing the very measure, because he could not carry which Mr. Pitt resigned Where is the man so dull as not to perceive the motives by which both must have been actuated 2–In advising and encouraging Mr. Addington to take the helm, Mr. Pitt secured, too, the power of filling all the other offices; and, we see, that the PLAIN Reply states, that the other members of the cabinet “were “ not only invited, but actually nominated “ by Mr. Pitt." Thus, though it is tolerably well known, that Mr. Pitt intended another person for the premiership, things were arranged very much to his liking. The peace, for the purpose of making which upon terms like those of the treaty of Amiens, if better could not be obtained, is thought to have been the real object of his resignation, was made; the arrears of the loans, for which the Income Tax was pledged, were funded; and the people seemed to forget his errors; but, they also seemed to be very much inclined to forget himself too. He retired: nobo. dy asked after him. His news-writers gave out that he was studying agriculture: not a word by way of invitation to him to quit his rural pursuits. His friends lamented his absence from Parliament, and found themselves solitary mourners; till Mr. Canning, bursting with mortification, got up in the House of Commons, and, in a voice that was heard through the pauses of a horselaugh, made the following remarkable declaration: “Never did young ambition la“bour so much to attach popularity and “ power, as my right honourable friend has “laboured for two years past to detach them. “ He has, in that period, laboured, not for “fame, but for obscurity; but, much as he “ has laboured, be cannot succeed; for he * cannot withdraw himself from the notice “ of a people whom he has saved."* Mr. William Gitford has told us, in a note to one of his poems, of a poet, or novel-writer, who, in a desperate case of public neglect, caused it to be given out that he was dead, in order thereby to furnish occasion for the expression of such sentiments of regret for his loss as might have a favourable operation upon his restoration to life. Mr. Pitt's friends did not give out that he was dead: they de

[ocr errors]

clared him, however, to be very sick; but,

though they accompanied this declaration with the expression of most awful apprehensions as to the consequences, the nation appeared perfectly resigned ; and, when Mr. Pitt came back to Parliament from Bath, it appeared, by his division upon Mr. Patten's motion, that in detaching people from him, he had succeeded to a much greater extent than Mr. Canning appeared six months before to have been aware of; for, upon that occasion, it appeared, that Mr. Fox, at the end of a twenty-years' opposition, had a far greater number of steady friends than Mr. Pitt had, at the end of a twenty-years' ministry. In short, Mr. Pitt now began to feel that he was in imminent danger of sinking into complete obscurity, and he appears to have resolved, about the end of the year 1802, to make an effort to save himself from so intolerable an end. Mr. Canning, who had never opened his lips against the mimistry from the time they came into power to the month of November 1802, now began to attack them, and that, too, in a manner which clearly shewed, that his shafts were levelled at the men. Mr. Pitt kept away. He was sick. He went to Bath. They wanted no witch to tell them what all this meant. Their newspapers attacked Mr. Canning with unbounded rage; and their pamphlets have since made his conduct the main charge against Mr. Pitt, whom they accuse of having kept aloof himself, while he let loose Mr. Canning upon them, in order to worry them into a surrender at discretion; and, indeed, whoever reads Mr. Canning's speeches during the period alluded to, and compares them with the pamphlet of Mr. Long, will not be much astonished at the accusation. When the signal was thus thrown out in the conduct of Mr. Canning, the ministers, as appears by the state

* Register, vol. II, p. 1755. # See Register, vol. II and III.

ment of the Plain Reply, complained

to Mr. Pitt and “what they expected from “ him, and could never obtain rom him, “ was, not that he should put any restraint “ upon Mr. Canning's oratory, but that he “should disavow the sentiments uttered by “ that gentleman : that he should say, or “ give authority to others to say, that Mr. “ Canning was not his representative in “ parliament, was not delivering his opi“nions; which was a mistake, that, ow g “ to Mr. Pitt's silence on that head, was ac“tually made by some persons, and hardly “ kept clear of by obers.” Thus soured were the tempers of The Family at the close of the year 1802, a time when the ministers were utterly at a loss to know whether they should determine upon the continuance of peace, or a renewal of the war ; a time, to them, of uncommon anxiety and alarm. Under the favourable effects of peace and of two abundant harvests, Mr. Addington's affairs had been so prosperous, that he probably began to forget every thing that he and Mr. Pitt must have talked about, during the days of interval between his being sent for by the King, and the final acceptance of the premiership. The newspapers seemed to have become his instead of Mr. Pitt's : he paid little attention to what was said, in the House, against the measures of the former ministry: the place appeared to begin to look like his own : and, he evidently did, at one time, think himself capable of holding it as long as he pleased by playing off the three other parties against each other, as occasion might serve. But, when he saw another war coming on, so close upon the heels of his peace, he began to tremble, and lost no time in endeavouring to avoid the open hostility of Mr. Pitt, which he dreaded much more than that of Buonaparté or of all the Gornmanders in the world. Accordingly we are told in the PLAIN Refly, that “ in order to avert a state of things “ so distressing to his feelings, and to pro“ cure a return of that friendship which he “ continued affectionately to cherish, he, “ early in the year 1803, listened to sug“ gestions thrown out of Mr. Pitt's being “ disposed to enter again into administra“tion.” This led to the negotiation for place, which, as we have seen, terminated in widening the breach. Mr. Pitt wanted Mr. Addington first to resign, in effect, and to suffer him, called upon by the King himself, to form just such an administration as he pleased ; intimating at the same time, his intention to bring in Lords Spencer and Grenville, if they chose it, because he readily supposed, that his coming in without some such aid, would only be a prelude to his fall, never to rise again. proposition, however, Mr. Addington would not consent ; and thus was he left to reel along as well as he could, sustained by the contests of the other parties rather than by any strength of his own. This was peculiarly the case in the discussion of the several questions at the breaking out of the war. And here, it was truly curious to observe the exact proportion that was observed in the movespents of Messrs. Canning and Pitt respectively. At the outset of Mr. Addington's ministry, and all along through the discussions relative to the peace with France and the Convention with Russia, Mr. Canning preserved a profound silence, but gave the ministers his vote ; while the latter gave them his active oratorical support : from the meeting of parliament in November, 1802, to the breaking out of the war in May, 1803, the disapproving silence of the former gradually grew into an oratorical disapprobation; while the active oratorical support of the latter sunk by degrees into a disapproving silence: at the breaking out of the war, and upon the question on Mr Patten's motion in particular, the former came to direct and general censure, in vote as well as in language; while the latter, keeping at his stated distance, found some things to censure, but not every thing, and, there fore, moved, supported, and voted for, thc previous question. But, the disguise was no longer to be preserved. The Addingtons say that it was useless any longer to attempt to keep their places by conciliating Mr. Pitt ; they appear to have resolved to stand as long as they could in defiance of him ; and, as some of the Old Opposition were disposed to lend them their aid, and even to continue to support them rather than suffer them to fall under Mr. Pitt, there appeared to be some reason to suppose, that they would have lived over the next session, unless a co-operation should take place between Mr. Pitt and Mr. Fox ; if that co-operation took place, though only for a few days, it was evident that their ministry was at an end. To effect this co-operation was in agitation so early as the summer of 1803 : it was not brought to bear till the month of April

last, and the consequences are well known.

Mr. Erskine and Mr. Sheridan were averse

from the co-operation, because, said they, the consequence will be the re-opening of the cabinet to Mr. Pitt, rather than which we ought to support the present minister. These gentlemen certainly acted consistently, it that was their view, and they have declared it to have been their only view; but, their judgment, in my opinion, failed them; tor, Lothing, in the then state of things,

To this

would have been gained by prolonging the administration of Mr. Addington, seeing that, whenever he went out Mr. Pitt would, at first, come in. The nation wanted to see him fairly turned out. He had still the reputation et resigning: his partisans were still bold and loud: it was necessary that he should come again and try what he could do with affairs which he had so embroiled, with the vessel which he had “piloted into “ port in safety.” Mr. Pitt and Mr. Canning appear to have thought, that, when they had formed their new ministry, they had out witted the opposition, made them the ladder of their ambition. They now, perhaps, begin to feel, that they were mistaken ; and, that they were doing the very thing that every sensible man of the opposition must have wished them to do, unless, indeed, Mr. Pitt could have been brought to take a second place in the ministry. I think I can venture to say, that no one of the leaders of the opposition was at all deceived by the result of their co-operation with Mr. Pitt ; and, as to myself, let the pages of the Register for the months of April and May last speak for me, and say, whether I was not, all along, fully aware of what finally took place. To me it was equally clear, and I have endeavoured to render it so to my readers, that the Addingtons would not long remain separated from Mr. Pitt. That he would do without them as long as he could was certain; and, if he could have regained his former colleagues, their penance would have been, perhaps, of long duration; but, they would naturally seek to rejoin him, well knowing, that, of themselves, they could do nothing, and that they never could rise to any degree of consequence amongst the opposition. The formation of the present ministry was singularly favourable to them : it has already effected their purpose, and that, too, in a way that they scarcely could have hoped for. They know Mr. Pitts distress, they know the endeavours he has made to stand without their aid, and thy will value themselves accordingly.——This brings us to the third point. But, in order to form a judgment as to the probable co" sequences of the reconciliation that has now taken place, we must look back a little to reasons which were alleged for turningthe A* dingtons out. There were several distinct so" sons, but there was one general one, namely, their unfitness for office, or, in the wor". of Mr. Pitt himself, their “, incapacity 4"

imbecility.” In the pamphlet of Mr. Long, this charge is repeated no less than eigh." times; in the pamphlet of Mr. Roo. Ward, who now sits close at the back of his

modern Camillus, it is repeated, and **

« PreviousContinue »