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Statesmanship is not like poetry, or some of the other forms of higher literature, which can only be brought to perfection by men endowed with extraordinary natural genius. The art of management, whether applied to public business or to assemblies, lies strictly within the limits of education, and what is required is much less transcendent abilities than early practice, tact, courage, good temper, courtesy, and industry. In the immense majority of cases the function of statesmen is not creative, and its excellence lies much more in execution than in conception. In politics possible combinations are usually few, and the course that should be pursued is sufficiently obvious. It is the management of details, the necessity of surmounting difficulties, that chiefly taxes the abilities of statesmen, and these things can to a very large degree be acquired by practice. The natural capacities, even of a Walpole, a Palmerston, or a Peel, were far short of prodigy or genius. Imperfect and vicious as was the system of parliamentary government, it at least secured a school of statesmen quite competent for. the management of affairs, and the reign of corruption among them, though very threatening, was by no means absolute. Among the rich who purchased their seats there were always some few who were actuated by an earnest desire to benefit their country, and who, like Romilly and Flood, chose this way of entering Parliament as that which made them most independent. The county representation continued tolerably pure; of the other constituencies a proportion, though a small proportion, were really free, and some of these, through the operation of the scot and lot franchise, which was equivalent to household suffrage, were eminently popular. All placemen did not always vote with the Government, and all the forms of corruption did not act in the same direction. There was not

Chatham, in a speech which he made in 1770, while dwelling strongly on the corruption of the small boroughs, added: "The representation of the counties is, I think, still pure and uncorrupted, that of the

great cities is upon a footing equally respectable, and there are many of the larger trading towns which still preserve their independence.'-Aneodotes of Chatham, ii. 35.

much public spirit exhibited, but there was always some, and there was much of that spirit of moderation and compromise, that aversion to raising dangerous questions or disturbing old customs, that anxiety not to strain allegiance or abuse strength, or carry political conflicts to extremities, which has almost always characterised English politics, and which Walpole had done more than any other single man to sustain. Besides this, 'the influence of the House of Lords and a network of old customs, associations, and traditions opposed formidable barriers to precipitate or violent action. As Burke once said with profound truth, it is of the nature of a constitution so formed as ours, however clumsy the constituent parts, if set together in action, ultimately to act well.'

But perhaps the most important guarantee of tolerable government in England was the fear of the Pretender. During all the early years of the Hanoverian dynasty, it was more probable than otherwise that the Stuarts would be restored, and it was only by carefully and constantly abstaining from every course that could arouse violent hostility that the tottering dynasty could be kept upon the throne. This was the ever present check upon the despotism of majorities, the great secret of the deference of Parliament to the wishes of the people. The conciliatory ministry of Walpole turned the balance of probabilities in favour of the reigning family, but the danger was not really averted till after Culloden, and the Jacobite party did not cease to be a political force till the great ministry of Pitt. There were persons of high position-the most noted being the Duke of Beaufort-who were believed every year to send large sums to the Pretender. Jacobite cries were loud and frequent during the riots that followed the Bill for naturalising Jews in 1753. The University of Oxford was still profoundly disaffected. Complaints were made in Parliament in 1754 of treasonable songs sung by the students in the streets, of treasonable prints sold in its shops. Dr. King, whose sentiments were not doubt

1 Walpole's Memoirs of George II., i. p. 413. See, too, Smollett's Hist. book iii. ch. 1.

ful, in his speech on opening the Ratcliffe Library in 1754, introduced three times the word 'redeat,' pausing each time for a considerable space while the crowded theatre rang with applause.1 As late as 1756, when Lord Fitzmaurice travelled through Scotland, he observed that the people of that country were still generally Jacobite.2

Such a state of affairs was well fitted to moderate the violence of parties. The people had little power of controlling or directly influencing Parliament, but whenever their sentiments were strongly expressed on any particular question, either by the votes of the free constituencies or by more irregular or tumultuous means, they were usually listened to, and on the whole obeyed. The explosions of public indignation about the Sacheverell case, the Peace of Utrecht, the commercial treaty with France, the South Sea Bubble, the Spanish outrages, the Bill for naturalising the Jews, the Hanoverian policy of Carteret, foolish as in most instances they were, had all of them, at least, a great and immediate effect upon the policy of the country. It should be added that the duties of Government were in some respects much easier than at present. The vast development of the British Empire and of manufacturing industry, the extension of publicity, and the growth of an inquiring and philanthropic spirit that discerns abuses in every quarter, have together immeasurably increased both the range and the complexity of legislation. In the early Hanoverian period the number of questions treated was very small, and few subjects were much attended to which did not directly affect party interests.

The general level of political life was, however, deplorably low. Politics under Queen Anne centred chiefly round the favourites of the sovereign, and in the first Hanoverian reigns the most important influences were Court intrigues or parliamentary corruption. Bolingbroke secured his return from exile by the assist

Lord Shelburne's Life, i. p. 35. See too, on Oxford disaffection at an earlier period, the description of the

Excise riots. Lord Hervey's Memoirs, i. 205.

2 Lord Shelburne's Life, i. p. 50.


ance of the Duchess of Kendal, one of the mistresses of George I., whom he is said to have bribed with 10,000l. Carteret at first based his hopes upon the same support, but imagining that he had met with coldness or infidelity on the part of the Duchess, he transferred his allegiance to her rival, the Countess of Platen.1 On the death of George I. a crowd of statesmen and writersChesterfield, Pulteney, Swift, Bolingbroke, and Gay-were at the feet of Mrs. Howard, the mistress of the new king. A curious letter has been preserved, in which Mrs. Pitt, the mother of the great Lord Chatham, endeavoured by a bribe of 1,000 guineas to obtain from her, for her brother, the position of Lord of the Bedchamber.2 Chesterfield, towards the end of his career, intrigued against Newcastle with the Duchess of Yarmouth; and Pitt himself is stated, on very good authority, to have secured his position in the Cabinet in a great degree by his attentions to the same lady. The power of Walpole and Newcastle rested upon a different but hardly upon a nobler basis

upon the uniform employment of all the patronage of the Crown, and of a large proportion of the public money at their disposal, for the purpose of maintaining a parliamentary majority. Weapons we should now regard as in the highest degree dishonourable were freely employed. The secrecy of the Post Office was habitually violated. The letters of Swift, Bolingbroke, Marlborough, and Pope are full of complaints of its insecurity, and we know from Walpole himself that he had no scruple in opening the letters of a political rival.'

Marchmont Papers, i. 3-5.

2 Suffolk Correspondence, i. 102. See the very remarkable passages on this subject in Lord Shelburne's Autobiography, pp. 83-84. Mrs. Montagu's Letters, iv. 46.

Writing to Lord Townshend, Nov. 29, 1725, Walpole says: 'It is fit you should likewise be acquainted that the Pulteneys build great hopes upon the difficulties they promise themselves will arise from the foreign affairs, and especially from the Hanover treaty. I had a curiosity to open

some of their letters and found them full of this language. The last foreign mail brought a letter from Count Staremberg to William Pulteney, giving him great expectations of the materials he could furnish him with, when it might be done with safety, and very strong in general terms upon what is transacting with you. Wise Daniel fills all his inland correspondence with reflections of the same kind.'-Coxe's Walpole, ii. 492-493. See, too, Marchmont Papers, ii. 205, 245, 248. Coxe's Marlborough, ch.

Of these facts that which is most really important is the manner in which the Crown patronage and secret service money were disposed of. The system of habitually neglecting the moral and intellectual interests of the country, and of employing the resources of the Government solely with a view to strengthening political influence, was chiefly due to Walpole and Newcastle, and it was one which had very wide and very important consequences. The best argument that has ever been urged in favour of leaving at the disposal of the Government large sums of money in the form of pensions, sinecures, and secret service. money, is that the Government is the trustee of the nation, and that it should employ at least a portion of these funds in encouraging those higher forms of literature, science, or art, which are of the greatest value to mankind, which can only be attained by the union of extraordinary abilities with extraordinary labour, and which are at the same time of such a nature that they produce no adequate remuneration for those who practise them. It has been contended, with reason, that it is neither just nor politic that great philosophers, or poets, or men of science should be driven by the pressure of want from the fields of labour to which their genius naturally called them, or should be tempted to degrade the rarest and most inestimable talents, in order by winning popularity to obtain a livelihood, or should be deprived, when pursuing investigations of the highest moment to mankind, of the means of research which easy circumstances can furnish. That each man should obtain the due and proportionate reward of his services to the community is an ideal which no society can ever attain, but towards which every society in a healthy condition must endeavour to approximate; and although in matters of material production, of which common men are good judges, the law of supply and demand may at least be trusted to produce the requisite article in sufficient quantity and of tolerable quality, it is quite otherwise with the

xcvii. c. Chatham Correspondence, i. 167-168. Swift's Correspondence.

In 1723 Walpole even succeeded in making an arrangement with the

Postmaster - General in Brussels to open and send him copies of all the correspondence of Atterbury. Coxe's Walpole, ii. 284.

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