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Swavity of manner, and gentleness of difpofition were the most striking features in the character of this nobleman. Before he entered into office, a fort of anarchy had prevailed in the government of Britain, that became highly distreffing to the well-difpofed part of the community; and the public were well pleafed to fee, that by a steadiness of conduct, without any acts of unbecoming severity, a ftop was put, by him, to those turbulent proceedings, which, if not effectually checked, did threaten the well-being of the ftate. This faon conferred upon him a degree of popularity, which till then he had not poffeffed, and which laid the foundation of that power he long exercised, with the entire good-will of the nation at large; a power greatly augmented by the mild manner in which he exercised it,-and that native good humour, with which he repelled those rude attacks to which he was fo often expofed.
Indolence, however, and its native concomitant, a reluctance to disoblige those whofe oppofition feemed likely to produce trouble to him, formed the bafis of his character. Thefe laid the foundation of those errors in administration, which, at length, effectually overturned his power. From certain fundamental errors that had taken place under former minifters, refpecting colonial government, Lord North found himfelf placed in fuch critical circumstances with regard to this particular, that though it became neceffary to act, the most intelligent men on all fides, at the time, confeffed it was a difficult matter to choose how to act with propriety. Inftead of temporifing, as others had done, and endeavouring to leave matters in the fame ftate of indecifive uncertainty he had found them, Lord North, in an evil hour for himfelf, and as it is confidently afferted, much against his own wishes, was impelled, by the influence of a higher power, to adopt a line of conduct that required talents and difpofitions of mind in a minifter very different from thofe that fell to his fhare. From that moment, VOL. III. + C c
his adminiftration was marked with errors of the most confpicuous fort.
To carry on the operations of war with propriety, depends perhaps as much upon the particular temper of the minister, and the mode in which the energies of his mind operate, as on the reafoning faculties he poffeffes, and the power of judging as to what ought to be done. The talents of Lord North, in as far as respects the reafoning faculty, will perhaps admit of a fair comparison with thofe of any other minifter in Britain, without fuffering by the parallel.-But, as a war minifter, the timidity of temper proceeding from his averfion to buille and conteft, threw him into embarrassments, that perhaps the meaneft of his opponents never could have experienced. Feeling then, as he must have done, this natural defect, nothing could have been more injudicious in him than his agreeing to continue in office, when he found he must be placed in a fituation fo little congenial to his own natural propenfities of temper and difpofition: Nor can any other apology be offered for him, but that native love of fway, which the human heart can never refolve to abandon but with reluctance. And where, it may be afked, is the man, who, poffeffed of the cordial good-will of his fovereign, and the general favour of a great and free people, would deliberately refolve to refign the power and cmoluments of office, merely because he might conjecture that his own difpofitions were not fuited to the nature of the business in which he is about to engage, especially when he is fenfible too of no deficiency, in regard to the faculty of judging with propriety?—Where is the man who can form, without trial, a juft estimate of his own powers? and where is the man who can refift the flattering invitations of a great prince, fupported by the applause of a mighty people? This exertion prefuppofes a daring inflexibility of temper, very different from that which nature bestowed upon Lord North.
He yielded to the flattering 'feduction, and was un
What is paft, cannot be recalled: but it is not incurious to contemplate in imagination, the difference between the prefent fituation of Lord North, and that in which he would now have been placed, had he chofen to leave to another the conduct of the operations of war, when he found that war was unavoidable.-He would have been called upon by the unanimous voice of the nation,, to resume the reins of government in peace, and would have been now idolized by a whole people, as their guardian angel, inftead of being buffeted, abuf ed, and maltreated, as he now is, by every puny fcribbler, who thinks he displays his own prowefs, by spurning at the man to whom he formerly looked up with adoration and refpect. The lion being no longer the king of the forest, the afs dares ftrike him in fafety.
As an orator, Lord North, while in power, had no equal in the House of Commons: Nor did this proceed entirely from the fuperior refpect with which men liftened to the words of the man who had the power of difpofing of emoluments; a circumftance which adds infinite force to arguments on all occafions. While his mind was at ease, he was enabled to exert all his faculties in their fulleft force; and there is to be found in his fpeeches at that time, more real attic wit, feafoned with good humour, and conclufive reafoning, than is perhaps to be found any where elfe in the records of parliament. Since his difmiffion from office, however, the falling off, in these refpects, has been great and ftriking. On fome occafions, his reafoning, fince then, has been indeed clear and conclufive; but the wit, the good humour, the elegance, which gave to his fpeeches their former zeft, are now looked for in vain; and no man, we are affured, can be more fenfible of this defect, than the noble Lord himself.
No part of Lord North's oratorial powers could ever be afcribed to the manner in which thefe orations were
delivered. His tone of voice is heavy, drawling, and monotonous, fo as to form the greatest contrast we have. ever perceived to the matter they contain, which is in general, cheerful, elegant, and sportive. His figure, too, is heavy and inanimate: Nor does his manner improve, as he becomes more warm and animated in debate. Instead of strong and energetic tones, expreffive of pasfion or of feeling, he only rifes, on these occafions, to a louder fort of howl, a kind of bellowing vociferation, that can tend of itself only to excite disgust.
Among the compliances which Lord North, while in office, was obliged to make to higher powers, that of abruptly difmiffing Mr. Fox from an office he held under government, was one of the most confpicuous, from its confequences to him. From this moment, that daring orator became the open and avowed opponent of the minifter, and many and violent were the philippics he uttered against him. Thefe, however, Lord North attributed to their right caufe, nor ever troubled himfelf about them, farther than to make at times a few lively remarks, to put the house into good humour. Thefe two ftatefmen, however, though circumstances threw them into oppofite parties, it is poffible, as they now aver, never did differ very much from each other in refpect to important matters of ftate. Nor did they fcruple to unite, when circumstances rendered their po litical difunion no longer expedient for either party. This coalition, as it has been called, has given rife to a copious flood of popular abufe, and not perhaps with out caufe. Thefe ftatefmen fhould have known, that in a popular government like ours, men who wish to obtain fway, fhould be careful fo to conduct themselves as that their words and their actions should not be too obviously irreconcileable with each other, especially when not in place, and more particularly at the critical moment of their going out of office, when every word or action is construed in the worft fenfe. In this inftance, thefe gentlemen certainly finned against one of the clear,
eft rules of modern policy; and they now feel the effects that tranfgreffion *.
*These politicians may indeed allege, that it is in degree only, and not in kind, they have differed from their predeceffors in this refpect, all of them, without exception, having been guilty of inconfiftencies of the fame nature. There feems indeed to be a ftrange infatuation to which the bulk of the people in all ages are fubjected, that nothing is capable of removing: viz. the believing that stateimen in general, efpecially mini ters while in office, are men of irreproachable integrity of morals, who are entitled to equal credit for what they fay in their official capacity as other men. Though the most invariable experience hath decidedly proved, that in times past this hath perhaps in no one inftance been the cale; yet the prefent perfons are, by their party, always held up to view as an exception to this univerfal rule, and by the multitude of their favourers they are actually believed to be fo. Senfible men however know, that if ever there can be an exception to the rule, it must very rarely occur: nor can any individual be admitted as exceptionable, till it shall be clearly proved, that he is fairly entitled to that rare, and fingularly honourable diftinction, which can in no cafe be done, till long after he fhall have left the stage. It is upon the fuppofition that the conduct of minifters and their adherents, as well as that of their principal opponents, is regulated by the fame principles at prefent with what we know that of their predeceffors has been, that the writer of these fkethes pretends to delineate their characters, and to reprefent them in general, as regarding with great indifference fome of thofe fundamental moral principles, which other men rightly think, are of the greatest importance in civil fociety. God forbid, that ever the moral principles of the nation at large, fhould become as much relaxed as thofe of the minifterial tribe, and their chief rivals for power; for the ruin of the nation would then be at hand. But could men in general be induced to view the whole tribe of courtiers, in their true light, the people would not be in danger of being perpetually gulled by their little arts, as they noware.
Those who know nothing of courts, either from perfonal experience, or a careful perufal of the records of paft times, will read this note with horror.-Perhaps some may look upon it as little fhort of blafphemy.Others, however, will recognize the juftnefs of it; and while they inter nally smile at the ignorant credulity of the vulgar, will try to avail themfelves of its influence. It is the duty of every honeft man to display every interesting object in its true colours.-Error ought to be univerfally eradicated. We, with good reafon, laugh at the foily of our forefathers, who refpectfully believed in the infallibility of the Pope.-Do those act more confiftently, who rely, with implicit confidence, upon the infallibility of a minifter?
Thefe obfervations are general, and are not meant to be applied to any particular perfon, or concatenation of incidents.-The advancement or egradation of any particular party, is not, in the eye of a good citizen, an