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"Positively pledged, Mr. Percival?" said the Prince; "positively pledged to give away one of my bishoprics! I don't understand you."
"I mean that it was the King's positive and declared intention to give it to Dean Legge."
The Prime Minister, however, thus suddenly lost to his country, Government fell into total confusion. The
To this the embarrassed minister rising hopes of the Opposition were efreplies:fectually damped by the extraordinary animosity which the Prince had begun to conceive for them. Mr. Thomas Grenville tells us (vol., i., p. 300) that, "Lord Carysfort quotes Lord Grey for saying that the Prince, the day before yesterday, in speaking of the opposition, said 'his own friends had behaved to him like scoundrels, but that Lord Grenville he had no complaint against.'"
The story of the famous Liverpool Administration is soon told. The important question now submitted to the ministers was, whether, on their agreeing to the premiership of any public man then in the cabinet, they could carry on the Government without a junction either with Lords Grey and Grenville, or with Lord Wellesley and Mr. Canning. So doubtful were the answers returned individually to this question, which the Prince had instructed the Chancellor to propound, that a negotiation with the latter was resolved on.
"Mr. Percival," said the Prince, "if I had any direct intimation of what were really the King's wishes upon the subject, I would not only make Dean Legge Bishop of Oxford, but Archbishop of Canterbary, if it were in my power; but as this is not the case, I shall make my own Bishop. And further, I desire never to hear what were the King's wishes upon such subjects through a third person."
The following sketch from the same source is well worthy of attention :
Canning is in Wellesley's hands. builds upon that separation of the present cabinet in his favour, to which I have already adverted. I do not observe that any inroad upon opposition is meditated, save in the person of Whitbread, whose objects are high office for himself, and a peerage for his wife (!) The Sidmouths the Prince never will employ, having the greatest personal dislike to their chief.-P. 192.
Thus we find in another letter, when the final separation between Wellesley and Percival had taken place, that the latter recommended Lord Sidmouth to fill the Marquess's place:
"Is it possible, Mr. Percival," said the Prince," that you are ignorant of my feelings and sentiments towards that person?"
On the 11th of May, 1812, Mr. Percival was shot in the lobby of the House of Commons by Bellingham, "an applicant," as the Duke
VOL. XLVIII.-NO. CCLXXXIII.
correctly states, "for a recompense
Lord Liverpool (says the Duke) made his first proposal to Mr. Canning on the 17th of May, the details of which have been recorded in a minute; for, in all these transactions, the parties treated with insisted that everything should be put into black and white. This was taken down by them, and corrected, and authenticated by the opposite negotiator. The minute then proceeds to state that it was understood that Lord Castlereagh was to preserve the position in the Government and in the House of Commons he at present held; that his colleagues were desirous that Lord Liverpool should be at the head of the Administration, which was known to the Prince Regent; and that no change was anticipated in the policy of the Govern ment towards Roman Catholics.-p. 306.
&c., were interchanged.
It was first mooted that Canning should return to his old situation at the Foreign Office, to which Castlereagh agreed, on its being expressly stipulated in writing that he was to continue to manage the House of Commons-a point which he would not, holding himself successor of the great and good Mr. Perceval,' ever recede from. To this Mr. Canning objected (proposing a com promise). This proposition Castlereagh positively rejected, repeating the same thing over and over again, of his pious regard to the memory of Mr. Perceval, &c. ; and the meeting broke up re infecta.”— pp. 399-400.
While the Prince, under these difficulties, was once more relasping into his normal lethargy, and was resolved rather to put on with the headless administration which now nominally conducted the state, a motion was carried in the House of Commons at the in
stance of Mr. Stuart Wortley, calling on the Regent to establish "a strong and efficient administration." This produced the immediate resignation of the headless Cabinet. The Prince now hoisted general signals of distress. He first sent for Lord Wellesley. The Wellesley negotiation seems to have been based on the double principle of the inclusion of Roman Catholic claims, and the exclusion of petticoat government. The Duke tells us, quoting from Mr. Grenville
"It is reported that the Prince, in conversation with Wellesley, said he knew Wellesley must be shocked at the grossness of female connexions being adverted to in political controversies: and that Wellesley answered that he had female connexions enough, and that he did not care who knew of them: but he took ample care that no should have anything to say to him on the subject of politics."-P. 309.
The Catholic question, however, presented an effectual barrier to a Conservative reunion. After some negotiation between Canning and Lord Liverpool, and again between him and Lord Grenville, everything again fell through. The formation of a Government seemed as hopeless a task as the dethronement of Napoleon. Wellesley finally resigned the commission.
Lord Liverpool appears to have been now charged to concert a Government at all risks and hazards. The only interesting feature in the commission which devolved on this minister is to be found in the endeavours by which it was sought to establish a concert between Lord Castlereagh and Mr. Canning. The interview here brought about between the two rivals is thus vividly described by the anonymous correspondent of Lord Buckingham:
"In two days after this, Canning and Castlereagh had the proposed meeting, which apparently was a very cordial one; shaking hands, mutual acknowledgments of heathappiness at meeting-professions of regard
wish for renewal of connexion, and great admiration of each other's talents, integrity,
Thus, then, the disseverance of Canning from the high Tory party took place from 1812 to 1822—a period of ten years-at the close of which he succeeded, on the catas trophe which occurred to Castlereagh (then Lord Londonderry), to the Foreign Office and the lead in the House of Commons. He had, indeed, at an intervening period accepted the subordinate position of President of the Board of Control-a policy which must imply that he had lived to regret his refusal of the offer of the Fo reign Office in 1812. Indeed, if Canning had foreseen the glorious period which was about to open upon Europe in that juncture, in which a British minister could do more by diplomacy than by his position upon the treasury bench, there can be no doubt he would have cheerfully surrendered the leadership to Lord Castlereagh; and would have maintained, titularly as a subordinate minister, the primacy in parliament. This, we think, was not only the most unfortunate step in Mr. Canning's career, but it was a blunder upon his part; for he ought to have seen that his splendid oratorical and debating abilities would have cast into the shade the nominal leadership of his rival, whatever had been the prominence which events might have given to his departmental functions. In truth, the only means of attaining a practical equality between Canning and Castlereagh, was by conceding to the latter, as he perhaps himself foresaw, a titular superiority.
The second volume of the Memoirs of the Regency has far less merit than the first. His Grace of Buckingham gives a long and not unin
teresting narrative of Queen Caroline, then Princess of Wales; but there is very little of a novel character to be gleaned from this dissertation; nor are any illustrative letters annexed of any considerable value. The subject, indeed, of the Regency was scarcely one which naturally admitted of two such bulky volumes as those which have been devoted to it. There is also a long discussion on the subject of the Holy Alliance, without the merit of a communication of further knowledge on the designs by which its originators are generally supposed to have been actuated.
We feel called upon, however, to advert to the chapter relating to the death of Sheridan; because his Grace has republished without comment the story which until lately received general credit, and which ascribed to the Prince of Wales a total neglect of that great man in his distress. The duke has further quoted the insolent lines applied to the Prince by Tom Moore, as a characterisation of his behaviour to Sheridan.
Now it happens that the publication of Moore's Memoirs by Lord John Russell, elicited, from another quarter, the publication of a statement made by the Prince himself, on the first appearance of this charge shortly after the orator's death, being an unequivocal and also a very cir cumstantial contradiction of the accusation. According to this counterstatement [See a recent number of the Quarterly Review, containing a review of Moore's Memoirs, evidently from a very old and recognisable hand], it appears that Sheridan, after being defeated in his election in 1812, received a generous offer of the Prince's assistance to ensure his election by some other constituency; on terms, indeed, somewhat controlling his independence, yet such as Sheridan would generally not have hesitated to have accepted in haste and evaded at leisure. Sheridan, while rejecting this offer, writes to a friend proposing to raise an intrigue" which should induce the Prince to advance £4,000, in order to enable him " to buy a borough." He obtains the money; and the Prince finally discovers the imposition. From that time all communications cease between Sheridan and the Court. At length, in 1816, the Prince's secretary
informs his master that an applica tion has been made on behalf of Sheridan, who is represented to be dying in circumstances of destitution. The Prince immediately advances £500. Mr. Sheridan's friend is "with difficulty induced to accept so much as £200." This, however, he does take to expend on the comforts of the dying orator. Three days afterwards he returns to the Prince's secretary, asserting that Mrs. Sheridan's friends had taken care that "he should want for nothing," and restores the £200. The Prince hears no more till he learns that Sheridan is dead.
This is the simple statement of George IV. made impromptu, on learning the calumny circulated by Moore, and taken down at the time of its delivery. Now is it possible to believe that the Prince could have betrayed the impudence requisite for the spontaneous fabrication of a story so circumstantial? And, even supposing that such a story could have been thus concocted, it is obvious that no man would have ventured thus to put on record a deliberate and monstrous lie, while there were those living who would have been as able as they would have been willing emphatically to contradict it. We certainly think, therefore, that it is high time that such a stigma upon the Regent should be removed; inasmuch as there is a vast preponderance of evidence and of probability in favour of the statement communicated by the Prince.
It is difficult to surmise, amid as well the variety as the splendour of the intellectual development which adorned the period of the Regency and of the reign of George III., what will be the ultimate character which history will impart to it. If we remember the complaint of Cicero against Rome, in the age of its transcendant glory, that it had produced many illustrious generals, but very few even tolerable orators, we may look back with peculiar pride on this splendid passage in English history, as representing an epoch which filled all the theatres of political life with the grandest and most capacious intellect that the world has seen. There we find at once statesmen, orators, and generals, such as no other country ever before excelled, and such as few other countries ever before pro
duced. There were the elder and the younger Pitt standing unequalled in foresight, in ability, and in power; until it seemed as though that political supremacy which the Medicis usurped in their own free state, through the descent of their private wealth, was destined to be transmitted to the house of Pitt, as an intelJectual birthright. There, too, were such orators as Fox, and Sheridan, and Burke, and Canning, and Grattan. There arose a great military commander such as Bonaparte alone could rival, and who finally oversha dowed the romantic fame of Bonaparte himself. And if we turn from hence to the peaceful ornaments of life, we find no less splendid a constellation of poetical originality. It is thus hard to predict whether the splendour of the oratorical developnient the gigantic magnitude of the continental struggle, which brought to view the great naval and military commanders of these isles, as though the heroes of antiquity were more produced upon the earth--or
the rivalry which literature maintained against statesmanship and arms will hereafter arrogate the foreground in the history of these sixty years.
But one prediction may be safely entertained, that on whichever side the weight of genius and originality may incline, IRELAND will at least contribute the largest share to the intellectual splendour of Great Britain in that age. Wellington was hers: Sheridan was her's: Burke was hers: Canning and Grattan and Moore, and many another illustrious name, were also hers, Amid the differences of nationality, the the complaints of misgovernment, and the clamours for a legislative disseverance, there will ever remain this bond of union between the two coun tries that the sons of Ireland fought the battles, and created the intellectual renown, by which either nation was at once delivered from the perils of war, and maintained in the honours, the arts, and advantages of peace,
In this age of the world, when every, body has been everywhere, seen everything, and talked with everybody, it may savour of an impertinence if we ask of our reader if he has ever been at Massa. It may so chance that he has not, and if so, as assuredly has he yet an untasted pleasure before him.
A DUKE AND HIS MINISTER.
Now, to be sure, Massa is not as it once was. The little Duchy, whose capital it formed, has been united to a larger state. The distinctive features of a metropolis, and the residence of a sovereign Prince, are gone. The life, and stir, and animation which surround a Court have subsided; grass-grown streets and deserted squares replace the busy movement of former days; a dreamy weariness seems to have fallen over every one, as though life offered no more prizes for exertion, and that the day of her ambition was set for ever.
Yet are there features about the spot which all the chances and changes of political fortune cannot touch.~ Dy. nasties may fall, and thrones crumble, but the eternal Appenines will still rear their snow-clad summits towards the sky. Along the vast plain of ancient olives, the perfumed wind will still steal at evening, and the blue waters of the Mediterranean plash lazily among the rocks, over which the myrtle and the arbutus are hanging. There, amidst them all, half hid in clustering vines, bathed in soft odors from orange groves, with plashing fountains glit tering in the sun, and foaming streams gushing from the sides of marble mountains, there stands Massa-ruined, decayed, and deserted; but beautiful in all its desolation, and fairer to gaze on than many a scene where the tide of human fortune is at the flood.
As you wander there now, passing the deep arch over which, hundreds of feet above you, the ancient fortress frowns, and enter the silent streets, you would find it somewhat difficult to believe how, a very few years back, this was the brilliant residence of a Court, the gay resort of strangers from every land of Europe, that showy equipages traversed these weed-grown squares, and high-born dames swept proudly beneath these leafy alleys. Hard indeed to fancy the glittering throng of courtiers, the merry laughter of light-hearted beauty, beneath these trellised shades, where, moodily and slow, some solitary figure now steals along, "pondering sad thoughts over the byegone."!
But a few-a very few years ago, and Massa was in the plenitude of its prosperity. The revenues of the state were large, more than sufficient to have maintained all that such a city could require, and nearly enough to gratify every caprice of a Prince whose costly tastes ranged over every theme, and found in each a pretext for reckless expenditure. He was one of those men whom nature, having gifted largely, takes out the compensation by a disposition of instability and fickleness that renders every acquirement valueless. He could have been anything-orator, poet, artist, soldier, statesman; and yet, in the very diversity of his abilities, there was that want of fixity of purpose, that left him ever short of success, till he himself, wearied by repeated failures, distrusted his own powers, and ceased to exert them.
Such a man, under the hard pressure of a necessity, might have done great things; as it was, born to a princely station, and with a vast fortune, he became a reckless spendthrift-a dreary visionary at one time, an enthusiastic dilletante at another. There was not a scheme of government he had not eagerly embraced and abandoned in turn. He had attracted to his little capital all that Europe could boast of artistic excellence, and as suddenly he had thrown himself into the most intolerant zeal of Papal persecution denouncing every spe cies of pleasure, and ordaining a more than monastic self-denial and strictThere was only one mode of calculating what he might do, which
was, by imagining the very opposite to what he then was. Extremes wero his delight, and he undulated between Austrian tyranny and democratic licentiousness in politics; just as he vacillated between the darkest bigotry of his church and open infidelity.
At the time when we desire to present him to our readers, (the exact year is not material,) he was fast beginning to weary of an interregnum of asceticism and severity. He had closed theatres and suppressed all public rejoicings; and for an entire winter he had sentenced his faithful subjects to the unbroken sway of the Priest and the Friar,-a species of rule which had banished all strangers from the Duchy; and threatened, by the injury to trade, the direst consequences to the capi tal. To have brought the question formally before him in all its details, would have ensured the downfall of any minister rash enough for such daring. There was, indeed, but one man about the court who had courage for the enterprize; and to him we would devote a few lines as we pass. He was an Englishman, named Stubber; he had originally come out to Italy with horses for his Highness; and been induced, by good offers of employment, to remain. He was not exactly stable-groom, nor trainer, nor was he of the dignity of master of the stables; but he was something whose attributes included a little of all and something more. One thing he assuredly was: a consummately clever fellow, who could apply all his native Yorkshire shrewdness to a new sphere; and make of his homespun faculties the keen intelligence by which he could guide himself in novel and difficult circumstances.
A certain freedom of speech, with a bold hardihood of character, based, it is true, upon a conscious sense of honor, had brought him more than once under the notice of the Prince. His Highness felt such pleasure in the outspoken frankness of the man, that he frequently took opportunities of conversing with him, and even asking his advice. Never deterred by the subject, whatever it was, Stubber spoke out his mind, and by the very force of strong native sense, and an unswerving power of determination, soon impressed his master that his