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THE EARL OF CHATHAM
(Edinburgh Review, October 1844.)
More han ten years ago we commenced a sketch of the political life of the great Lord Chatham. We then stopped at the death of George the Second, with the intention of speedily resuming our task. Circumstances, which it would be tedious to explain, long prevented us from carrying this intention into effect. Nor can we regret the delay. For the materials which were within our reach in 1834 were scanty and unsatisfactory, when compared with those which we at present possess. Even now, though we have had access to some valuable sources of information which have not yet been opened to the public, we cannot but feel that the history of the first ten years of the reign of George the Third is but imperfectly known to us. Nevertheless, we are inclined to think that we are in a condition to lay before our readers a narrative neither uninstructive nor uninteresting. We therefore return with pleasure to our long interrupted labour.
We left Pitt in the zenith of prosperity and glory, 11. Correspondence of William Pitt, Earl of Chathcm. 4 vols. 8vo. London: 1840.
2. Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford, to Horace Mann. 4 vols Bvo. London: 1813-4.
the idol of England, the terror of France, the admiration of the whole civilised world. The wind, from whatever quarter it blew, carried to England tidings of battles won, fortresses taken, provinces added to the empire. At home, factions had srnk into a lethargy, such as had never been known since the great religious schism of the sixteenth century had roused the public mind from repose.
In order that the events which we have to relate may be clearry understood, it may be desirable that we should advert to the causes which had for a tine suspended the animation of both the great English parties.
If, rejecting all that is merely accidental, we look at .he essential characteristics of the Whig and the Tory, we may consider each of them as the representative of a great principle, essential to the welfare of nations. One is, in an especial manner, the guardian of liberty, and the other, of order. One is the moving power, and the other the steadying power of the stat 3.
One is the sail, without which society would make no progress, the other the ballast, without which there would be small safety in a tempest. But, during the fortysix years which followed the accession of the House of Hanover, these distinctive peculiarities ser med to be effaced. The Whig conceived that he could not better serve the cause of civil and religious freedom than by strenuously supporting the Protestant dynasty. The Tory conceived that he could not better prove his hatred of revolutions than by attacking a government to which a revolution had given birth. Both came by degrees to attach more importance to the means than to the end. Both were thrown into unnatural situations; and both, like animals transported to an un