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Bolingbroke, however, was unpopular in the country; he was wearied of the secondary place he was compelled to occupy in party warfare, and owing to this and perhaps to other causes which we are not able to unravel, he retired to France in 1735, and did not again visit England till after the downfall of Walpole. But before his departure he had obtained a great ascendency over the mind of Frederick, Prince of Wales, who soon became the leading opponent of the Government. It is natural in a government like that of England, that a party in opposition should turn their hopes to the successor to the throne, and it is equally natural that an ambitious Prince should lean towards a course of policy which alone during his father's lifetime enables him to take an independent and a foremost place. Many private causes conspired to inflame the jealousy. The Prince desired to marry a Prussian Princess, and the King refused his request. After the marriage of the Prince with the Princess of Saxe-Gotha, the King only granted him an allowance of 50,000l. a year, though the King himself when Prince of Wales had received an allowance of 100,000l. Besides this, the Prince's affable manners rendered him more popular in the country than the King, and his tastes inclined him to the brilliant literary and social circle which was in opposition to the ministry. From 1734 there was an open breach, and in 1737 the Prince took the extraordinary step of inducing the Opposition to bring forward a motion in Parliament urging the King to allow his son out of the Civil List 100,0007. a year. The Court was naturally furious, and Walpole succeeded with some difficulty in defeating the motion. Lord Hervey has left us a curious picture of the feelings of the royal family at this time-the Queen a hundred times a day saying she wished her son would fall dead with apoplexy, cursing the hour of his birth, and describ

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ing him as a nauseous beast,' the greatest liar that ever spoke,' while his sister declared that she grudged him every hour he continued to breathe, and the King regarded him with a steady though somewhat calmer hatred. The Prince, on the other hand, seems to have lost no opportunity of irritating his father and his mother; and when his wife was in labour he hurried her, in the midst of her pains and at the imminent danger of her life, from Hampton Court to St. James's, for the sole purpose of insulting the King, who had given orders that the lying-in should take place at the former palace. With the same motive he made his Court the special centre of opposition to the Government, and he exerted all his influence for the ruin of Walpole.1

While all these elements of strength were combining against the minister, the death of the Queen deprived him of his firmest friend. She died solemnly commending her husband to his care, and her loss was never replaced. He now stood alone, confronting all the ablest debaters in Parliament, whom his jealousy had driven into opposition, while intrigues and dissensions were undermining his position at the Court and in the Cabinet, and while a fierce storm of popular indignation was raging without. He had somewhat ostentatiously displayed his contempt for literature, and most of the ablest political writers were arrayed against him. He had ridiculed the cry of parliamentary purity and the aspirations of young politicians, and all the hope and promise of England was with his opponents. He had laboured through good report and through evil report to maintain the peace of Europe, and the Opposition leaders succeeded in arousing in the country a martial frenzy which it was impossible to resist.

The pretext was the severities of the Spaniards to

'Hervey's Memoirs. Walpole's Reminiscences.

2 Nov. 20, 1737.

English sailors. Spain, in attempting to monopolise the commerce of the most important part of the New World, and in forbidding all other European countries from holding intercourse with it, had advanced a claim which sooner or later must inevitably have led to war. Her right, however, to regulate the traffic with her trans-Atlantic dominions had been fully recognised by England: the principle of trade monopoly was strenuously maintained by England in her own dominions, and by an article in the Treaty of Utrecht, in addition to the trade in negroes, English commerce with Spanish America had been expressly restricted to a single ship of the burden of 600 tons. This treaty was soon systematically violated. An immense illicit trade sprang up, which was for a time unmolested, but was afterwards met by a rigid exercise of the right of search on the high seas, and by the constant seizure of English ships, and it was accompanied on both sides by many acts of violence, insolence, and barbarity. A dispute had at the same time arisen between the two nations about the right of the English traders to cut logwood in the Bay of Campeachy, and to gather salt on the island of Tortuga, and there were chronic difficulties about the frontiers of Georgia and Carolina on the one side, and of Florida on the other. For many years the ill feeling smouldered on, and it gradually assumed very formidable proportions. The maintenance of the balance of power had been the chief cause of the wars of the century, and it was observed with truth that there was a balance by sea as well as by land. The growing preponderance of the English navy and of English commerce had long been seen with a jealous eye both in Spain and in France, and strong mutual interests drew the two countries together. The recovery of Gibraltar had since the Peace of Utrecht been a great object of Spanish policy, and Spain had lost, with her dominions in the

VOL. I.

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Netherlands, her chief reason for desiring an English alliance and her chief cause of quarrel with France. In the counsels of the latter country a strong military party had appeared who protested against the pacific policy of Fleury, who maintained that French continental interests had been unduly sacrificed to England, and who desired to revive, in part at least, the policy of Lewis XIV. and to seek new combinations of power. This party was strengthened by the English treaty with the Emperor in 1731, which was regarded with some reason as the abandonment of a French for an Austrian alliance, and also by the great danger of an English declaration of war during the struggle of 1733. At the close of that year a secret treaty, called the Family Compact, was signed by the Kings of France and Spain, with the object of guarding against the naval supremacy of England. By this treaty the French agreed, if necessary, to assist Spain in her efforts to extirpate the abuses which crept into her trade with England, and also to endeavour to procure for Spain the cession of Gibraltar ; while Spain agreed, on a fitting occasion, to revoke the trade privileges of England and to admit France to a large share of her trans-Atlantic commerce.

This treaty was a profound secret, and was unknown both to Walpole and the Opposition, but there were several signs of a growing coldness between England and France. Chauvelin, who was Secretary of State for foreign affairs from 1727 to 1737, gradually acquired almost a complete empire over the mind of Fleury, and his influence was usually very hostile to the English. alliance. In 1735 the English minister carried on a very secret negotiation with him, and endeavoured by the offer of a large bribe to win him to his interest; but the attempt does not appear to have been successful, and the disgrace and exile of Chauvelin, in the beginning of 1737, was regarded as a great triumph of English

policy. On sea France displayed a new activity, while Spain, secure in her secret alliance, grew more severe in enforcing the right of search against British sailors. The latter, who despised and hated the Spaniards as foreigners, as Papists, and as ancient enemies, appear to have continually acted with great insolence. The Spaniards in their turn retaliated by many acts of violence, which were studiously collected, aggravated and circulated in England. One story especially produced a deep impression. An English captain named Jenkins was brought before Parliament and alleged that when sailing for Jamaica, so far back as 1731, he had been seized by Spanish sailors, tortured and deprived of his ears; and when he was asked what he thought when he found himself in the bands of such barbarians, he answered, in words which had doubtless been suggested to him and which were soon repeated through the length and breadth of England, that he had recommended his soul to God and his cause to his country.' The truth of the story is extremely doubtful, but the end that was aimed at was attained. The indignation of the people, fanned as it was by the Press and by the untiring efforts of all sections of the Opposition, became uncontrollable. Every device was employed to sustain it. English sailors returned from captivity in Spain were planted at the Exchange, exhibiting to the crowds who passed by, specimens of the loathsome food they were obliged to eat in the dungeons of Spain. Literature caught up the excitement, and it was reflected in the poetry of Pope,

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