« EdellinenJatka »
the King of Prussia.* Bolingbroke, therefore, could only write letters of thanks to the King, to the Duchess, and to Townshend, entreating, at the same time, their further favour ; but he availed himself of his stay in England to renew his political connections, especially with his tried friends, Sir William Wyndham and Lord Harcourt. The former still stood at the head of the Tories in the House of Commons; the latter, who had filled the office of Chancellor in the last years of Anne, was by no means as steady in his public course. Even at that time Swift had called him “trimming Harcourt;” f but now he had entirely left his party, and risen so high in Ministerial favour, as to be created a Viscount, gratified with a pension, and appointed one of the Lords Justices at the King's departure. Thus it had been in Harcourt's power greatly to promote the pardon of his friend, in May last, and he deserved gratitude, both the true sense of that word, and in that which Bolingbroke gives it, where he says, in one of his letters, that “what we call gratitude is “ generally expectation."
Boling broke also waited on Walpole, and, alluding to Harcourt's accession, told him that Wyndham, Lord Bathurst, and Lord Gower, were beginning to be disgusted with a fruitless opposition. They had, he said, been for some time in communication with Lord Carteret; but now thought themselves deceived by him, and might probably be brought into the measures of the Court, and into a support of Townshend and Walpole. Nothing could have been more advantageous to the country than such a junction: it would have healed many wounds of faction, and broken one great lever of the Jacobites ; but it might also have endangered the supremacy of Walpole, and given a strong claim to Bolingbroke. Walpole, therefore, with whom his own power was always the
* Of the King's journey, Swift writes with much humour : “The next packet will bring us word of the King and Bishop of Rochester leaving England. A good journey to the one, and a speedy return “ to the other, is an honest Whig wish !” (To Mr. Cope, June 1. 1723.) The King's visit to Berlin is described in the Mém. de Bareith. vol. i. pp. 84-87. + Swift's Works, vol. x. p. 398.
To Sir William Wyndham, January 5. 1736.
paramount consideration, received these overtures most coldly and ungraciously, and met them with a positive refusal; adding, that as Boling broke's restoration de. pended on a Whig Parliament, he ought, in Prudence, to shun any fresh connection with Tories ; and that the Ministers would not hazard the King's affairs by proposing this restoration rashly.*
Bolingbroke, seeing that no impression was to be made in this quarter, seemed to acquiesce in the Minister's reasoning, and left England for Aix-la-Chapelle, in hopes, from thence, to pay a visit at Hanover. But not obtaining the desired permission, he returned to Paris, where a new field was opening to his ambition and abilities. Cardinal Dubois had died in August, and was followed by his patron, the Duke of Orleans, in less than four months. The young King having nominally come of age, no other Regent was appointed; but the new Prime Minister was the Duke de Bourbon, a weak man, chiefly governed by an aspiring mistress, Madame de Prie. Over this prince, and over this lady, Boling broke had great influence; “for these many years,” says he, “I have “ been honoured with his friendship;” † and his own marriage with the Marquise de Villette, a niece of Madame de Maintenon, was another link of his close connection with the Court of France. There was no variation in the foreign policy of that Court; the scene had not shifted, though the actors were changed. But a struggle for power was now going on in the English Cabinet between Lords Townshend and Carteret; and that struggle, as will presently be seen, was brought to issue on French ground, where Bolingbroke had both the means and the inclination to take an active part.
The new Secretary of State, John Lord Carteret (afterwards, on the death of his mother, Earl Granville), was born in 1690. No one ever combined, in a more eminent degree, the learning of a scholar with the talents of a statesman, The ancient languages he had deeply studied; of the modern, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, and Swedish, were equally familiar to him. Mr. Harte, in a preface to his “Gustavus Adolphus," after
* Walpole to Townshend, July 23. 1723.
Granville's death, and, therefore, without any interested adulation, celebrates his knowledge of Chemnitz and other recondite writers; and observes, that “ he under“ stood the German and Swedish histories to the highest
perfection." He might have lectured upon public law. He might have taken his seat in a synod, and taught the Canonists. Yet in public life no rust of pedantry ever dimmed his keen and brilliant intellect. In debate, his eloquence was always ready, always warm, and has even been blamed for the profusion of ideas which crowded from him. In council, men of letters are, in general, bewildered by too nice a balance of opposite advantages : Carteret, on the contrary, was always daring and decisive. Most remarkable testimonies to his ability might be gathered from the writings even of his strongest political opponents. Chesterfield was his enemy; yet Chesterfield writes to his son, They say Lord Granville is dying. “ When he dies, the ablest head in England dies too, “ take it for all in all.”* Horace Walpole was his enemy; yet when Walpole weighs him in the balance with his own father, with Mansfield, and with Chatham, he declares that none of them had the genius of Granville.f
Yet, with all this, Carteret neither fills, nor deserves to fill, any very high niche in the Temple of Fame. There was a want of consistency, not in his principles, but in his efforts and exertions. He would be all fire to-day, all ice to-morrow. He was ready to attempt any thing, but frequently grew weary of his own projects, and seldom took sufficient means to secure their accomplishment. Ambition generally ruled him, but the mastery was often disputed by wine.' Two daily bottles of Burgundy made him happy in himself, and independent of state affairs. Seldom granting a kindness, and as seldom resenting an injury, he was incapable both of firm friendship and settled animosity — not above revenge, but below it. At the most critical period of his life, when, on the fall of Walpole, he had become chief Minister, and was driven from office by a combination formed partly of his own pretended friends, even then, says a contemporary, he showed no anger nor resentment, nor, indeed, any feeling
* Letter, December 13. 1762.
except thirst.* A careless, lolling, laughing love of self; a sort of Epicurean ease, roused to action by starts and bounds—such was his real character. For such a man to be esteemed really great, he must die early! He may dazzle as he passes, but cannot bear a close and continued gaze.
Carteret had come forth in public life under the guidance of Stanhope and Sunderland. The former made him Ambassador to Sweden in 1719; the latter, Secretary of State on the death of Craggs. For the memory of both these statesmen he always expressed the highest veneration and attachment, and he considered himself as representing them and their principles in the Cabinet. Like them, he thought, that as time proceeded, the basis of administration might be enlarged, and some moderate Tories brought over to join it. Like them, he maintained, that to shut all Tories and high Churchmen from employment, had been, at the King's accession, a measure of necessity, but should not be continued ever afterwards from choice. With the King he had ingratiated himself by his German studies, being the only one of his Ministers who could converse with him in that language. It is very strange, I may observe in passing, that though under the two first Georges a knowledge of German was almost a sure road to Royal favourt, it seems to have been much less cultivated, than it is from literary motives at the present day. In foreign affairs Carteret had succeeded to the great influence of Stanhope over the Court of the Palais Royal. He confirmed it by immediately appointing Sir Luke Schaub Minister at Paris, as the former and the most friendly channel of communication with Dubois. In fact, it was through Dubois that Eng. land for six years drew France into a close concert of measures : in return, the Abbé, it has been said, but
* Walpole to Mann, March 4. 1745. † “ German will, I fear, always be a useful language for an “ Englishman to know.” Lord Chesterfield to Mr. Dayrolles, Sept. 15. 1752.
Dubois transferred his devotion to Carteret, as the Minister “who was supported by Sunderland, and who boasted, that he had suc“ ceeded to the influence, as well as to the principles, of Stanhope. “ The friendship of Dubois increased the consequence of Carteret.” (Coxe's Walpole, vol. i. p. 179.)
never shown, received a yearly pension from the English Government; and at all events it is certain, that it was partly at the application, and with the aid of George and his Ministers, that Dubois obtained first an Archbishop's mitre, and then a Cardinal's hat.*
Carteret and Walpole could not long continue to agree. Walpole was aiming at a monopoly of power; Carteret was determined to hold fast a share of it. The one expected to find a dependent and not a colleague ; the other, à superior and not a master. In this contest Carteret was backed (but very cautiously, and so as not to commit themselves) by Lord Carleton, Privy Seal, by the Duke of Roxburgh, Secretary for Scotland, and by Lord Cadogan, who had succeeded Marlborough as Commander in Chief; while, on the other hand, Townshend and all the other Ministers were firmly linked to Walpole, and mainly guided by him. The Hanoverian courtiers and favourites were in like manner split in two sections. The Duchess of Kendal, who had a strong liking for the most powerful party, and a happy instinct in discerning it, sided with Walpole and Townshend, as she had before with Stanhope and Sunderland; and the brother Ministers always speak of her in their letters as their firm friend, and the “ good Duchess.” On his part, Carteret had secured the Countess of Darlington, and her sister Madame de Platen. And thus the struggle for the Royal confidence on this occasion turned, perhaps, on the attractions of ladies, rather than on the merits of statesmen.
It has also been alleged, that at Hanover Carteret endeavoured to strengthen his interest by promoting the King's German measures, which Townshend, more patriotically, withstood. Yet this does not seem very consistent with the charge shortly afterwards made on precisely the same authority against Townshend himself, as wholly Hanoverian. “ Hanover is Lord Townshend's
great merit,” says the Duke of Newcastle.t
“ He en
* See the Mémoires de Duclos, vol ii. p. 81., and the letter of Stanhope in the Mém. Sécrets de Sevelinges, vol. i. p. 275. Sevelinges throws great doubt on the story of the pension from England. (p. 16.)
* To Lord Harrington, April 23. 1730.