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step, he was quickly desirous of retracting it; and, even where he had not deviated into a hasty imprudence, but had resolved on a scheme in which spirit was requisite, he had not a' sufficient degree of firmness and vigor to prevent him from yielding to the pertinacity of faction or the clamors of the multitude. He was also destitute of that insinuating address and those conciliatory manners which might have been usefully employed in soothing the rage of party, and in allaying the ardor of popular zeak'
Having dwelt so long on the earlier periods of this history, the limits of our Review necessarily compel us to be the less circumstantial in our account of the remaining volumes, though they are replete with great and important events. We must pass over the circumstances which led to the abdication of James, and to the revolution in our government under William III. as well as the numerous transactions of his reign, and the still more brilliant occurrences which marked that of his successor. We cannot, however, omit to observe that the account of the Union with Scotland is fully, correctly, and satisfactorily stated; and that a minute detail of the disgracefal treaty of Utrecht is also given. Leaving the remaining events of this reign, and the narrative bestowed on the two succeeding monarchs, we shall close our remarks and extracts with an account of the transactions of the present reign ; be. cause, in the whole annals of our country, no period is equally remarkable for great and uncommon events, and none has met with fewer impartial historians.
Dr. Coote has allotted two books to the consideration of the reign of his present majesty. In the first, he discusses the subject from the death of George II. to the rupture between Great Britain and the American colonies.
. No sovereign ever mounted a throne with more brilliant prospects than the reigning prince ; his subjects witnessed his accession with feelings of unmixed joy; and they Aattered themselves that, being a native of this country, he would not be influenced by Germanic attachments, which had borne too much sway over the minds of his immediate predecessors. Their foreign prejudices had created disgust; and the people reasonably expected an alteration of measures, under a prince who had been born and educated in England.
The determination of prosecuring the war, commenced at the close of the laté reign, till an honourable and secure peace could be obtained for Great Britain and her allies, was satisfaczory to the majority of the nation; and the brilliant successes which crowned their exertions, in almost every corner of the globe, could not fail of rendering the kiog highly popular.On the other hand, the relinquishment of many of the advan
tages tages which our arms had secured to us, by the treaty of Paris, produced no small dissatisfaction. It was remarked that the arts of the French were constantly attended with success, and that we generally losť by negociation what we obtained by arms.– The disgraceiul circumstances belonging to the treaties of Utrecht and Paris originated in the selfish conduct of the ministers by whom they were concluded.—Harley, Bolingbroke, and their Tory friends, were influenced, in the peace which they accelerated, by the desire of continuing in office; and they surrendered the interests of their country to the gratification of their personal ambition. There is also strong reason for believ. ing that the wish of continuing their sway in the administration induced the Earl of Bute, and his party, to submit to inade. quate and dishonourable terms.-On the subject of the peace, Dr. Coote thus expresses himself :
• To secure a parliamentary approbation of the treaty, the ministerial arts of corruption were exercised with extraordinary eager. ness, under the management of Fox; and the minister looked forward with hope, not however free from anxiety, to the sanction of the lcgislature for an inadequate peace. This approbation, perhaps, he would not have obtained, if Pitt, the duke of Newcastle, and other persons who had resigned, or had been dismissed for a want of servility, had been firmly united against the court. The strength of such a phalanx, being supported against the power of the favorite by the voice of the people, might have frustrated the views of the court, and branded the treaty with the ignominy of reprobation. ... After the signature of the preliminaries, the parliament assembled. The king's speech stated, that his desire of relieving his people from the calamities and burthens of a complicated war, and of promoting their commercial and general prosperity, had irresistibly urged him to expedite a pacification ; that, by the articles which had been adjusted, an immense territory was added to the British empire, and a good foundation was laid for the extension of commerce; that proper attention had been paid to the removal of all grounds of future dispute; and chat the interests of the allies of this nation had not been neglected. It was also intimated in this harangue, that it would be advise. able to proceed without delay to the settlement of the new acquisi. tions; and a hope was expressed, that such measures would be adopted, as should most effectually tend to the security of those countries, and to the improvement of commerce and navigation. The subjects by whose valor those conquests had been achieved, were recommended to the gratitude of parliament ; and internal union was mentioned as a good preparative to the exercise of that ceconomy which, after a series of heavy expences, became particularly necessary.
The usual addresses were soon followed by debates on the preliminaries. In the upper house, the terms of peace were condemned by the dukes of Newcastle and Giafton, cari Temple, and other peers, as inadequate to the reasonable expectations of the public, and as very favourable to the enemy : but the earls of Halifax and More 15
ton, ton, the lord chancellor Henley, and lord Mansfield, defended them as honorable and advantageous; and the earl of Bute highly applauded himself for his concern in such a negociation. An address was voted (without a division), declaring the satisfaction of the peers “ at the foundation laid by these articles for a treaty of peace, which would greatly redound to his majesty's honor, and the real benefit of his kingdoms."
"In the house of commons, Charles Townshend was one of the speakers in favor of the peace ; but he rather contended for the necessity of putting an end to the war in the present state of the nation, than for the adequacy of the preliminaries to the success of the British arms. The principal advocate for the inglorious convention was Fox, who maintained, that, as the encroachments of the French on our colonies had occasioned the war, the security of those settlements naturally formed the chief object of the negotiations for peace ; that the extent of American dominion now ceded to Great Britain would establish the power of this kingdom beyond the reach of Gallic competition; that the advantage thus gained was in itself an indemnification for the charges of the war; that, as we had succeeded in this essential point, it was reasonable to relax in other particulars ; that the restitutions which had been stipulated were not only calculated for preventing a continuance of the war, but for procuring to our allies more favorable terms than they would otherwise have obtained; that the dread of oppressing the people with new burthens forcibly suggested the expediency of an immediate peace; and that a treaty much less advantageous than that which was now under parlia. mentary consideration, would be preferable to the danger of prolonged hostilities.
6. The most distinguished opponent of Fox, on this occasion, was Pitt, who, though tortured with the gout, harangued the house for several hours in censure of the recent stipulations, and in vindication of the superiority of the terms on which he had insisted, considered with regard to the state of affairs at the time of his negotiation. He affirmed, that, by making too many concessions to the French in the case of the American fisheries, and by restoring too many of the islands in the West Indies, we enabled them to recover from their losses, and to 'excite renewed jealousy as a maritime and commercial power; that the Senegal settlement would be insecure without the possession of Goree ; and that our restitutions to the French in the East Indies were instances of profuse generosity, or of inconsiderate weakness, as “ we retained nothing, though we had conquered every thing.” He observed, that for Minorca, which was the only cona quest that France had to restore, we relinquished our acquisitions in the East and West Indies, and in Africa; whereas Belle-Isle alone ought to be deemed an equivalent for that island. He mentioned Florida as a very inadequate return for the Havanna. Adverting to the German war, he intimated his opinion, that, by furnishing employment for the French in that scene of operations, we had been enabled to succeed in our Trans-Atlantic enterprises : “ America (he said) had been conquered in Germany.” He condemned the conduet of the court towards the king of Prussia, as base and treacher
ous; and, after a variety of remarks, he protested against the peace as insecure, because it restored our enemies to their former power, and as inadequate, because the territories which we retained out of our numerous conquests were greatly disproportionate to those which we surrendered. Notwithstanding these strong objections, the house, by a majority of 254, sanctioned an address which represented the preliminaries as pregnant with honor and advantage, and entitled to the hearty applause of the public.
• The report of this address from the committee rekindled the debate; and the speech of Legge was not unnoticed. He observed, that the negotiators had not even attempted to dissolve the dangerous union of the house of Bourbon ; that the fishery granted to the French would prove to them a mine of wealth ; that the restitution of the settlements in the West Indies to them and the Spaniards, would quickly re-establish the commerce of both, and provide ren sources for a new war; and that, before the British acquisitions could be rendered valuable, this nation would be subjected to the risque and burthen of a new course of hostilities, amidst the pressure of an enormous debt. After other speeches, the address was confirmed by a renewed division, in which the court had a plurality of 164 votes.
“This signal triumph of the court may astonish the reader, when he considers that the peace was unpopular and dissatisfactory. It may, therefore be proper to intimate, that the lavish disbursements from the treasury, the multiplication of places in the household and of other employments, and the allurements of liberal promises, had a great effect in softening the stubbornness of the members of the senate; that Pitt did not exert himself in forming a party against the peace ; that the early declarations of many persons of distinction, alleging the necessity of a peace, relaxed the firmness with which they and their friends would otherwise have opposed the obnoxious articles now adjusted ; that the provincial gentry were desirous of an alleviation of their burthens; and that many individuals were induced to acquiesce in the pacification by the hope of regaining the royal favor, which, by opposing the favorite measure of the court, they might have irrecoverably forfeited. These were the causes of the extraordinary majority of votes by which the preliminaries were approved." ;
Our historian censures the whole of Lord Bute's conduct in administration, and appears to impute to his public influence at one time, and to his secret influence afterward, many of the unsuccessful transactions of this reign. Though we by ro means admire this minister's character, nor approve his conduct, we still think that the picture here drawn of him is over. charged :.' .
"No minister,' Dr. C. observes, 'ever underwent a greater seve. rity of censure and sarcasm than this nobleman. That these attacks, in many respects, partook of abuse and calumny, every person of moderation will be disposed to allow; and it must, at the same time, be admitted, that the portraits drawn of him by his advocates ex
ceeded the bounds of truth * His abilities were not of that nature which would have qualified him for the chief direction of the affairs of a nation. His mind was more adapted to petty, trivial, and nar. row considerations, than to the comprehension of great objects. His principles were adverse to the true spirit of the constitution, and to the maxims of genuine liberty. He was haughty, yet mean ; obstinate, yet timid; fond of profession, yet faithless and ungenerous. His manners were those of a pedant, rather than those of a gentle. man. He affected a taste for science and a love of virtù; but did not possess any great portion of learning or knowledge : he was, however, an encourager of those attainments in others.' · On the expulsion of Mr. Wilkes from the House of Commons, on the question of general Warrants, on the application for a repeal of the test and corporation acts, and on those questions and measures which eventually separated the colonies from Great Britain, Dr. Coote has uniformly espoused the cause of liberty, and has maintained liberal sentiments with moderation and good sense. On the most important of these subjects, we find the following remarks:
• The expence of protecting the American colonies being considered by the ministry as burthensome to Great Britain, it was resolved, that the inhabitants of those flourishing settlements should be compelled, by the authority of parliament, to contribute more considerable supplies to the relief of the parent state, than had yet been exacted from them. The only duties to which they had been hitherto subjected related to imports and exports: but it was now proposed, that internal taxes should be levied upon them, at the discretion of the British legislature. This scheme has been generally attributed to Grenville; but he probably received instructions on the subject from the earl of Bute, and, as a financier, completed a plan which the favorite had previously concerted with those courtiers who, while they were styled the friends of the king, did not always act as the friends of the people, thought the true interests of both are undivided. When the commons, in the last session, voted the exaction of neur commercial duties from the colonists, it was intimated, in a distinct resolution, that it might be proper to subjeet them to stamp-dutics. This scheme of taxation was so far from being approved, that loud clamors immediately arose ; and the discontent which was produced by the endeavours of the ministry (oppressively exerted) for the prevention of illicit trade, was highly inflamed by the prospect of severe burthens, imposed by legislators who were not constitutionally justified in the exercise of such authority.
• * Of this class is Dr. Smollett's panegyric. “ He was (says that writer) a nobleman of such probity as no temptation could warp ; of such spirit as no adversity could humble; severely just in all his transactions ; learned, liberal, courteous, and candid; an enthusiast in patriotism ; a noble example of public, an amiable patteri of domestic virtue." It may be observed, that the Doctor had weighty reasons for thus flattering his countryman.'.