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the Presbyterian party blew over. Sir Robert Walpole conducted the whole affair on his part with great skill, temper, and dexterity: but the Presbyterians, as well as many who were unconcerned, saw plainly that the Dissenters' cause was betrayed, and their interests sold, by their factors in London.'—Jb. p. 156.
loyalty of questionable tells
Such was the treatment received at the hands of an administration which they had so long and so faithfully served, and none, therefore, will be surprised to learn, that when the dissenters, four years afterwards, brought this question before parliament, they were opposed with the utmost strength of the Walpole government. The general election was then passed, but the Whig ministry and their faction were as disinclined as ever to do an act of simple justice. Trust not in princes,' is the injunction of scripture, and the dissenters of England have found, to their cost, that the spirit of the precept is equally applicable to statesmen and political parties.
The conduct of the court was the more exceptionable, as the loyalty of dissenters was undoubted, while that of the church was very questionable. Lord Hervey supplies many illustrations of the latter. He tells us, for instance, that on the Excise Bill being relinquished, the joy of the people was unbounded, and that it was carried so far at Oxford, that for three nights together, round the bonfires made there, the healths of Ormond, Bolingbroke, and James the Third were publicly drank; and so much treason talked, and so many disorders committed, by the students as well as the townsmen, that the Vice-Chancellor's authority, joined to that of the civil magistracy, was hardly sufficient to quell the tumults.
On occasion also of the marriage of the princess royal, the university of Oxford is mentioned as one of the disaffected incorporated bodies, which took the opportunity to say the most impertinent things to the king, under the pretence of complimental addresses, that ironical zeal and couched satire could put together.'
In the mean time the bishops did not sit on down. Church power, even then, was on the wane, and men, in consequence, ventured to utter thoughts which had long been repressed. They despised the sordidness, and began to laugh at the pretensions of churchmen. The king joined heartily in this feeling, and gave it utterance in the coarse style he loved :
* The King,' says Lord Hervey, 'with his usual softness in speaking of any people he disliked, called the Bishops, whenever he mentioned them in private on this occasion, a parcel of black, canting, hypocritical rascals ; and said the government was likely to go on well if those scoundrels were to dictate to their prince how far he should or should pot comply with the disposition of his parliament; and to be giving themselves these impertinent airs in opposing everything that did not exactly suit with their silly opinions. And indeed church-power was so little relished at this time, and churchmen so little popular, that these cabals and combinations of the bishops to oppose and influence the transactions of parliament, and to irritate the passions of the inferior clergy, were generally exclaimed against and condemned.
• The Mortmain Bill and the Quakers' Bill were both passed in the House of Commons by great majorities, and everybody that spoke for them gave the bishops and the parsons very hard as well as very popular slaps; the young men all ran riot on these topics, and there were none to take the part of the poor church but a few old Tories and the Jacobites. Sir Robert Walpole, however, who hated extremes, and dreaded the consequences of all intemperance in parliament whatever, though he voted for these bills, endeavoured to quell and soften the zeal of those who voted with him; and rather followed in every step that was taken in them than promoted it.'-Vol. ii. p. 93.
Lord Hervey relates a conversation between the king and queen, which throws much light on the miserable state of the royal family, and reflects little credit on the temper or judgment of George 11. There is, however, some truth, mixed with great bitterness, in the references which he made to Bishop Hoadley. The anomaly of a bishop, with large revenues and a temporal barony, claiming to be a successor of the apostles, and a minister of a spiritual kingdom, is too obvious to escape the notice even of the grossest minds. After the departure of Lady Suffolk from the court, the king used to spend the early part of the evening with his daughters, and about nine o'clock he repaired to the apartments of the queen. Lord Hervey was usually in attendance, and tells us :
*One evening among the rest, as soon as Lord Hervey came into the room, the Queen, who was knotting whilst the King walked backwards and forwards, began jocosely to attack Lord Hervey upon an answer just published to a book of his friend Bishop Hoadley's on the Sacrament, in which the bishop was very ill treated; but before she had uttered half what she had a mind to say, the King interrupted her, and told her she always loved talking of such nonsense and things she knew nothing of; adding, that, if it were not for such foolish people loving to talk of those things when they were written, the fools who wrote upon them would never think of publishing their nonsense, and disturbing the government with impertinent disputes that nobody of any sense ever troubled himself about. The Queen bowed, and said, “Sir, I only did it to let Lord Hervey know that his friend's book had rot met with that general approbation he had pretended.' 'A pretty fellow for a friend ! said the King, turning to Lord Hervey. Pray what is it that charms you in him? His pretty limping gait' (and then he acted the Bishop's lameness), ‘or his nasty stinking breath 1-phaugh!-or his silly laugh,
when he grins in your face for nothing, and shows his nasty rotten teeth? Or is it bis great honesty that charms your lordship?--his asking a thing of me for one man, and, when he came to have it in his power to bestow, refusing the Queen to give it to the very man for whom he had asked it? Or do you admire his conscience that makes him now put out a book that, till he was bishop of Winchester, for fear his conscience might hurt his preferment, he kept locked up in his chest ? Is his conscience so much improved beyond what it was when he was Bishop of Bangor, or Hereford, or Salisbury (for this book, I hear, was written so long ago)? or was it that he would not risk losing a shilling a-year more whilst there was anything better to be got than what he had ? My Lord, I am very sorry vou choose your friends so ill ; but I cannot help saying, if the Bishop of Winchester is your friend, you have a great puppy and a very dull fellow and a great rascal for your friend. It is a very pretty thing for such scoundrels, when they are raised by favour so much above their desert, to be talking and writing their stuff, to give trouble to the government that has showed them that favour; and very modest in a canting hypocritical knave to be crying, “The kingdom of Christ is not of this world,' at the same time that he, as Christ's ambassador, receives £6,000 or £7,000 a year. But he is just the same thing in the church that he is in the government, and as ready to receive the best pay for preaching the Bible, though he does not believe a word of it, as he is to take favours from the crown, though, by his republican spirit and doctrine, he would be glad to abolish its power.'-— Ib. pp. 45-48.
Lord Hervey, with the tact of an experienced courtier, endeavoured to divert the king's attention, by relating a visit he had just paid to a bishop of a very different stamp, who had accompanied him to Westminster Abbey, to show him a pair of old brass gates belonging to Henry the Seventh's Chapel. The king suddenly stopped him, saying:
My Lord, you are always putting some of these fine things in the Queen's head, and then I am to be plagued with a thousand plans and workmen. Then turning to the Queen, he said, I suppose I shall see a pair of these gates to Merlin's Cave, to complete your nonsense there.' (This Merlin's Cave was a little building so christened, which the Queen bad lately finished at Richmond.) The Queen smiled, and said Merlin's Cave was complete already; and Lord Hervey, to remove the King's fears of this expense, said that it was a sort of work that if his Majesty would give all the money in his exchequer he could not have now. . Apropos,' said the Queen, 'I hear the Craftsman has abused Merlin's Cave. I am very glad of it,' interrupted the King: 'you deserve to be abused for such childish silly stuff, and it is the first time I ever knew the scoundrel in the right.'
This the Queen swallowed too, and began to talk on something else, till the conversation (I know not by what transition) fell on the ridiculous expense it was to people, by the money given to servants, to go and stay two or three days with their acquaintance in the country ; upon
which the Queen said she had found it a pretty large expense this summer to visit her friends even in town. That is your own fault,' said the King ; 'for my father, when he went to people's houses in town, never was fool enough to be giving away his money.' The Queen pleaded for her excuse that she had only done what Lord Grantham had told her she was to do: to which his majesty replied, that my Lord Grantham was a pretty director ; that she was always asking some fool or other what she was to do; and that none but a fool would ask another fool's advice. The Queen then appealed to Lord Hervey whether it was not now as customary to give money in town as in the country. He knew it was not, but said it was. He added, too, that to be sure, were it not so for particulars, it would certainly be expected from her majesty. To which the King said, “Then she may stay at home, as I do. You do not see me running into every puppy's house, to see his new chairs and stools. Nor is it for you,' said he, addressing himself to the Queen, 'to be running your nose everywhere, and trotting about the town to every fellow that will give you some bread and butter, like an old girl that loves to go abroad, no matter where, or whether it be proper or no.' The Queen coloured, and knotted a good deal faster during this speech than she did before, whilst the tears came into her eres, but she said not one word. Lord Hervey (who cared not whether he provoked the King's wrath himself or not, provided he could have the merit to the Queen of diverting his majesty's ill humour from her) said to the King, that, as the Queen loved pictures, there was no way of seeing a collection but by going to people's houses. “And what matter whether she sees a collection or not?' replied the King. The matter is, Sir, that she satisfies her own curiosity, and obliges the people whose houses she honours with her presence. Supposing,' said the King,' she had a curiosity to see a tavern, would it be fit for her to satisfy it ? and yet the innkeeper would be very glad to see her.' 'If the innkeepers,' replied Lord Hervey, 'were used to be well received by her majesty in her palace, I should think the Queen's seeing them at their own houses would give no additional scandal.' The King, instead of answering Lord Hervey, then turned to the Queen, and, with a good deal of vehemence, poured out an unintelligible torrent of German, to which the Queen made not one word of reply, but knotted on till she tangled her thread, then snuffed the candles that stood on the table before her, and snuffed one of them out; upon which the King, in English, began a new dissertation upon her majesty, and took her awkwardness for his text.' Ib. pp. 49–51.
What a melancholy scene do these passages present, and yet we need not wonder at the facts they disclose. The infidelity of the king was openly countenanced by the queen. She retained in her service, and invited to her palace, those from whom she ought to have shrunk as the plague. The woman and the wife were sacrificed to the queen. Ambition was her ruling passion, and for its indulgence she bartered the purest and noblest sentiments of our nature. The minister of her husband was permitted to insult her by urging, at length, and repeatedly, an active concurrence in that husband's infidelity; and, to crown the whole, and as if to destroy every vestige of respect and sympathy, the correspondence carried on with her husband, during his frequent absence, was minutely descriptive of the licentious intrigues in which he engaged. We pass over this subject, as well as the disputes, of the royal family, as too disgusting to be dwelt on. In the case of any other people, they would have left a permanently debasing influence; and even as it was, they did much to lower the morality of the nation. We are no admirers of the political character of George iii., but his personal influence, as well as that of his queen, was immensely beneficial. They found the court an Augean stable, and left it a not altogether unfitting residence for female modesty and manly virtue.
The sympathies of George in, were anti-English. He was a German in taste as well as birth, and the great difficulty of Walpole was, to prevent his sacrificing the interests of this kingdom to those of Hanover. Deep as were the faults of Walpole, we owe him much on this account. He was an English minister, and he acted as such. It is true, that his own interests and those of his party were identified with this policy, and we cannot, therefore, cede him very high praise. Nevertheless, from whatever motive it arose, he sought to prevent his master from being involved in the complex web of continental politics, and for this we thank him. The king was at no pains to conceal his preference; and the queen, though vastly his superior in intellect, did not greatly differ from him on this point:
'In truth,' says our author, ‘he hated the English, looked upon them all as king-killers and republicans, grudged them their riches as well as their liberty, thought them all overpaid, and said to Lady Sundon one day as she was waiting at dinner, just after he returned from Germany, that he was forced to distribute his favours here very differently from the manner in which he bestowed them at Hanover; that there he rewarded people for doing their duty and serving him well, but that here he was obliged to enrich people for being rascals, and buy them not to cut his throat.
• The Queen did not always think in a different style of the English, though she kept her thoughts more to herself than the King, as being more prudent, more sensible, and more mistress of her passions ; yet even she could not entirely disguise these sentiments to the observation of those who were perpetually about her, and put her upon subjects that betrayed her into revealing them.
'I have heard her at different times speak with great indignation against assertors of the people's rights; have heard her call the King, not without some despite, the humble servant of the parliament—the pensioner of his people—a puppet of sovereignty, that was forced to go