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since the reign of James the Second. In the debates on the Middlesex election, he distinguished himself, not only by his precocious powers of eloquence, but by the vehement and scornful manner in which he bade defiance to public opinion. He was at that time regarded as a man likely to be the most formidable champion of arbitrary government that had appeared since the Revolution-to be a Bute with far greater powers-a Mansfield with far greater courage. Happily his father's death liberated him early from the pernicious influence by which he had been misled. His mind expanded. His range of observation became wider. His genius broke through early prejudices. His natural benevolence and magnanimity had fair play. In a very short time he appeared in a situation worthy of his understanding and of his heart. From a family whose name was associated in the public mind with tyranny and corruption-from a party of which the theory and the practice were equally servile-from the midst of the Luttrells, the Dysons, the Barringtons-came forth the greatest parliamentary defender of civil and religious liberty.
The late Lord Holland succeeded to the talents and to the fine natural dispositions of his House. But his situation was very different from that of the two eminent men of whom we have spoken. In some important respects it was better; in some it was worse than theirs. He had one great advantage over them. He received a good political education. The first lord was educated by Sir Robert Walpole. Mr. Fox was educated by his father. The late lord was educated by Mr. Fox. The pernicious maxims early imbibed by the first Lord Holland, made his great talents useless, and worse than useless, to the state. pernicious maxims early imbibed by Mr. Fox, led him, at the commencement of his public life, into great faults, which, though afterwards nobly expiated, were never for
gotten. To the very end of his career, small men, when they had nothing else to say in defence of their own tyranny, bigotry, and imbecility, could always raise a cheer by some paltry taunt about the election of Colonel Luttrell, the imprisonment of the lord mayor, and other measures in which the great Whig leader had borne a part at the age of one or two-and-twenty. On Lord Holland no such slur could be thrown. Those who most dissent from his opinions must acknowledge, that a public life, more consistent, is not to be found in our annals. Every part of it is in perfect harmony with every other; and the whole is in perfect harmony with the great principles of toleration and civil freedom. This rare felicity is in a great measure to be attributed to the influence of Mr. Fox. Lord Holland, as was natural in a person of his talents and expectations, began at a very early age to take the keenest interest in politics; and Mr. Fox found the greatest pleasure in forming the mind of so hopeful a pupil. They corresponded largely on political subjects when the young lord was only sixteen; and their friendship and mutual confidence continued to the day of that mournful separation at Chiswick. Under such training, such a man as Lord Holland was in no danger of falling into those faults which threw a dark shade over the whole career of his grandfather, and from which the youth of his uncle was not wholly free.
On the other hand, the late Lord Holland, as compared with his grandfather and his uncle, laboured under one great disadvantage. They were members of the House of Commons. He became a Peer while still an infant. When he entered public life, the House of Lords was a very small and a very decorous assembly. The minority to which he belonged was scarcely able to muster five or six votes on the most important nights, when eighty or ninety lords
were present. Debate had accordingly become a mere form, as it was in the Irish House of Peers before the Union. This was a great misfortune to a man like Lord Holland. It was not by occasionally addressing fifteen or twenty solemn and unfriendly auditors, that his grandfather and his uncle attained their unrivalled parliamentary skill. The former had learned his art in "the great Walpolean battles," on nights when Onslow was in the chair seventeen hours without intermission; when the thick ranks on both sides kept unbroken order till long after the winter sun had risen upon them; when the blind were led out by the hand into the lobby; and the paralytic laid down in their bed-clothes on the benches. The powers of Charles Fox were, from the first, exercised in conflicts not less exciting. The great talents of the late Lord Holland had no such advantage. This was the more unfortunate, because the peculiar species of eloquence, which belonged to him in common with his family, required much practice to develope it. With strong sense, and the greatest readiness of wit, a certain tendency to hesitation was hereditary in the line of Fox. This hesitation arose, not from the poverty but from the wealth of their vocabulary. They paused, not from the difficulty of finding one expression, but from the difficulty of choosing between several. It was only by slow degrees, and constant exercise, that the first Lord Holland and his son overcame the defect. Indeed, neither of them overcame it completely.
In statement, the late Lord Holland was not successful; his chief excellence lay in reply. He had the quick eye of his House for the unsound parts of an argument, and a great felicity in exposing them. He was decidedly more distinguished in debate than any Peer of his times who had not sat in the House of Commons. Nay, to find his equal among persons similarly situated, we must go
back eighty years to Earl Granville. For Mansfield, Thurlow, Loughborough, Grey, Grenville, Brougham, Plunkett, and other eminent men, living and dead, whom we will not stop to enumerate, carried to the Upper House an eloquence formed and matured in the Lower. The opinion of the most discerning judges was, that Lord Holland's oratorical performances, though sometimes most successful, afforded no fair measure of his oratorical powers; and that, in an assembly of which the debates were frequent and animated, he would have attained a very high order of excellence. It was, indeed, impossi ble to converse with him without seeing that he was born a debater. To him, as to his uncle, the exercise of the mind in discussion was a positive pleasure. With the greatest good nature and good breeding, he was the very opposite to an assenter. The word disputatious' is generally used as a word of reproach; but we can express our meaning only by saying that Lord Holland was most courteously and pleasantly disputatious. In truth, his quickness in discovering and apprehending distinctions and analogies was such as a veteran judge might envy. The lawyers of the Duchy of Lancaster were astonished to find in an unprofessional man so strong a relish for the esoteric parts of their science; and complained that as soon as they had split a hair, Lord Holland proceeded to split the filaments into filaments still finer. In a mind less happily constituted, there might have been a risk that this turn for subtilty would have produced serious evil. But in the heart and understanding of Lord Holland there was ample security against all such danger. He was not a man to be the dupe of his own ingenuity. He put his Logic to its proper use; and in him the dialectician was always subordinate to the statesman.
His political life is written in the chronicles of his coun
try. Perhaps, as we have already intimated, his opinions on two or three great questions of Foreign Policy were open to just objection. Yet even his errors, if he erred, were amiable and respectable. We are not sure that we do not love and admire him the more because he was now and then seduced from what we regard as a wise policy, by sympathy with the oppressed; by generosity towards the fallen; by a philanthropy so enlarged, that it took in all nations; by love of peace, which in him was second only to the love of freedom; by the magnanimous credulity of a mind which was as incapable of suspecting as of devising mischief.
To his views on questions of Domestic Policy, the voice of his countrymen does ample justice. They revere the memory of the man who was, during forty years, the constant protector of all oppressed races, of all persecuted sects -of the man, whom neither the prejudices nor the interests belonging to his station could seduce from the path of right —of the noble, who in every great crisis cast in his lot with the commons-of the planter, who made manful war on the slave-trade-of the landowner, whose whole heart was in the struggle against the corn-laws.
We have hitherto touched almost exclusively on those parts of Lord Holland's character which were open to the observation of millions. How shall we express the feelings with which his memory is cherished by those who were honoured with his friendship? Or in what language shall we speak of that House, once celebrated for its rare attractions to the furthest ends of the civilised world, and now silent and desolate as the grave? That House was, a hundred and twenty years ago, apostrophised by a poet in tender and graceful lines, which have now acquired a new meaning not less sad than that which they originally bore: