« ZurückWeiter »
Collins, &c. of whom they indulged an illiberal envy. The Traveller,' however, is a very noble poem. It's sentiments are always interesting, generally just, and often new; it's imagery is elegant, picturesque, and occasionally sublime; and it's language nervous, highly-finished, and full of harmony. It is, indeed, far superior to the • Deserted Village, which (to say nothing of it's strange mixture of important truths and dangerous fallacies, in respect of political economy) with
passages, is strikingly defective in closeness of compression and novelty of imagery, and sicklied over with a tone of affected or morbid melancholy.
EARL OF CHATHAM.*
Clarum et venerabile nomen
THIS illustrious statesman, the second son of Robert Pitt, Esq. of Boconnoc in Cornwall, and Harriet sister of the Earl of Grandison, was born on the fifteenth of November, 1708.7 The early part of his education he received at Eton, as a scholar on the foundation ; after which he spent a
* AUTHORITIES. Life of the Earl of Chatham, 1783; Abstract of his Speeches, 1779; Collins' Peerage, and Smollett's History of England,
† His grandfather was Thomas Pitt Esq., for some time Governor of Fort St. George, Madras, who sold to the King of France in 1717 for 135,0001. the celebrated diamond, commonly known by the appellation of Pitt's Diamond, or the Regent.' This extraordinary jewel, which weighed 1368 carats after cutting, he had purchased in 1706 for 20,0001. By Jefferies' canon of valuation, it is worth about 150,0001.
The largest diamond known in the world is one belonging to the King of Portugal, still uncut, which is estimated (according to some writers) at 224 millions sterling, and by the lowest computation exceeds in value 53 millions. It weighs 1,680 carats. The next, weighing 779 carats, adorns the Russian Sceptre; short time, as gentleman commoner, at Trinity College, Oxford: but of his academical studies the only testimony remaining is, a copy of Latin verses in the · Luctus' published by that University upon the death of George I. It was, perhaps, in consequence of an hereditary disposition to the gout, which had appeared even while he was at school, that he left college without taking his degree, in order to try the effect of a tour on the Continent. If his disorder, however, intercepted in some degree his studies, it probably compensated to him this privation, by precluding the too usual indulgences of juvenile dissipation. Upon his return, he entered into the army, and became a cornet of horse: but he seems soon to have discovered, that the senate, and not the camp, the cabinet and not the field, were the scenes for which nature had destined him.' ACcordingly, in 1735, through the interest of the Duchess Dowager of Marlborough he obtained a seat in the House of Commons, as representative (if it may be so called) for the borough of Old Sarum. In the same parliament his two friends, Lyttelton and Richard Grenville (subsequently Lord Temple) made their senatorial début.
Mr. Pitt uniformly voting with the Opposition, Sir
and is pronounced worth nearly 5 millions, though it cost little more than 135,0001.
The Diamond of the Great Mogul, cut in rose, weighs 279% carats, and is valued at 380,000 guineas.
Another Diamond of the King of Portugal, of 215 carats, is rated at 369,800 guineas.
The Emperor of Germany's Diamond, weighing 139) carats, is worth 109,520 guineas.
Robert Walpole took from him his commission, or to adopt the poetical language of Lyttelton,
Snatch'd the servile standard from his hand:'
this, however, only raised him more rapidly to eminence as a patriot. In the ranks of the Minority, he quickly attained the first place. A manly figure, an expressive countenance, a' melodious voice, a keen eye, and a graceful manner gave lustre to a copious elocution animated with the fire of genius, and frequently marked with passages which from their peculiar energy were almost irresistible. The records of the British senate scarcely present another name so distinguished by that eloquence, which lightens and thunders and confounds!'. To these powers he added true elevation of mind, undeviating integrity, and a genuine love for the pure principles of the constitution.
It was not therefore surprising that, as an able and vigilant opposer of suspicious or impolitic measures, he should have risen so rapidly in the public estimation. He exerted himself against the Spanish Convention in 1738. · He also, in 1740, opposed the bill for Registering Seamen, as a most arbitrary regulation. Upon the latter occasion the Minister's brother, Mr. Horatio Walpole, having attacked him with great severity as a young man,' and observed that
the discovery of truth was little promoted by pompous diction and theatrical emotion,' incurred a tremendous castigation from his indignant antagonist. Mr. Pitt, in answer addressing himself to the Speaker, observed :
“Sir, The atrocious crime of being a young man, which the Honourable Gentleman has with so much
spirit and decency charged upon me, I shall neither attempt to palliate nor deny; but content myself with wishing, that I may be one of those whose follies cease with their youth, and not of that number who are ignorant in spite of experience. Whether youth' can be imputed to any man as a reproach, I will not assume the province of determining ; but age becomes justly contemptible, if the opportunities which it brings have passed without improvement, and vice appears to prevail when the passions are subsided. The wretch who, having seen the consequences of a thousand errors, continues still to blunder, and whose age has only added obstinacy to stupidity, is surely an object of contempt or abhorrence, and deserves not that his grey head should secure him from insult. Much more, Sir, is he to be abhorred, who as he is advanced in age, has receded from virtue, and become more wicked with less temptation; who prostitutes himself for money which he cannot enjoy, and spends the remainder of his life in the ruin of his country.
But "youth' is not the only crime I have been accused of; it has been said, I have acted a theatrical part.' A theatrical part may imply either some peculiarities of gesture, or a dissimulation of my real sentiments, and the adoption of the opinions and the language of another man. In the first sense, the charge is too trifling to be confuted, and deserves only to be mentioned to be despised. I am at liberty, like other men, to use my own language; and though, perhaps, I may have some ambition to please that Honourable Gentleman, I shall not lay myself under any restraint, nor very solicitously copy either his mien or his diction, however matured by