« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
the country, and the opposition loudly joined in their cry for war, Walpole—whose great, but too little commended, merit was the desire of peace—resisted hostilities, and attempted negotiations which failed. With a divided cabinet he at last consented to a war, which simply kept him in place. All allow that at that period he would have spared his fame by resigning. On the 15th of February, 1741, Sandys prefaced with a long and plausible speech, a motion for an address to remove the minister. All the power of both sides was employed in the debate. The motion was lost by a large majority, but it effectually shook the minister's stability. With all the influence of the crown and of his own wealth, both of which he unhesitatingly used, the next elections were unfavourable. Questions, as to controverted elections, which were then not of law but of party, were decided in favour of the opposition. On the 9th of February, 1742, he was created earl of Orford, and on the Ilth he resigned. On the motion of Lord Limerick, a secret committee was appointed to examine into the last ten years of his ministry. He was accused of having made use of the secret service-money in inAuencing elections. The persons through whose hands the money passed refused to answer questions, and a bill of indemnity was thrown out in the lords, so that the accusation must be considered as not proved.' He was accused of influencing the elections by the patronage of government, and certain distinct acts were adduced, which his biographer has been pleased to term “petty abuses of power.” He was accused of having enriched himself at the public expense. His biographer maintains, and his son solemnly assures us," that the vast sums he spent were derived entirely from his paternal estate, his salary as paymaster, and a fortunate speculation in the South sea funds. The accusations against him were pursued no farther than an inquiry. Sir Robert was privately consulted by the king for some time after his resignation, and he had influence sufficient to perplex the new ministers, and to baffle his ancient enemy Pulteney. But he gradually ceased to be useful even for such services as these. His resignation was not the retirement of the high-minded statesman, who would not yield to his opponents; he stuck to office until his hands lost their hold with feebleness. The consciousness of fallen greatness, and the loss of his long-accustomed labours, preyed upon his mind, and disease made ravages on his body. When the cares of Europe were upon his shoulders he slept soundly; but now he was watchful and restless. In his letters to Sir Horace Mann, his son frequently paints a melancholy picture of his state. “ I cannot say I think he will preserve his life long, as he has laid aside all exercise, which has been of such vast service to him. He talked the other day of shutting himself up in the farthest wing of Houghton. I said, my dear lord, you will be at a distance from all the family there; he replied,
so much the better. Speaking of Smitsart, the Dutch general, who said · he was too old to be hanged;' this reply,' he continues, was told to my father yesterday; ay,' said he, so I thought I was; but I may live to be mistaken.'
Sir Robert Walpole died on the 18th of March, 1745, in the 69th year of his age. The character of his administration cannot be better or more briefly told than in the words of Hume:-“ His ministry has
is Vol. ii. pp. 14, 18.
" Nichol's Literary Anecdotes.
been more advantageous for his family than to the public,-better for this age than for posterity, and more pernicious for bad precedents than real grievances." **
James, Duke of Orinond.
BORN A. D. 1665.--DIED A. D. 1745.
James, son of Thomas, earl of Ossory, and grandson of James, twelfth earl and first duke of Ormond, was born on the 29th of April, 1665. He succeeded to the dukedom on the death of his grandfather, in 1688. He was actively concerned in bringing about the Revolution, and fought with great gallantry at the battle of the Boyne. He subsequently obtained the command of a body of troops, destined to secure the quiet of Dublin; and, during the campaign of 1693, he served as one of the king's aides-de-camp at the battle of Landen, where he was severely wounded. He had now become a great favourite with William III., whose confidence he enjoyed during the remainder of that monarch's life.
On the accession of Queen Anne, he lost none of his influence at court.
In 1702 he was appointed, jointly with Admiral Rooke, to the command of the forces sent out against Cadiz and Vigo. His conduct in this expedition won for him the thanks of both houses of parliament, and rendered him for a time much more popular than his colleague in command. In 1703 he was appointed lord-lieutenant of Ireland. Haying adopted the views of his predecessor, his measures soon rendered him generally unpopular in that country. The Irish parliament, with which he was on very bad terms, severely annoyed him, by ordering an inspection of the public accounts;" for," says Burnet, “though he was generous, and above all sordid practices himself, yet, being a man of pleasure, he was much in the power of those who acted under him, and whose integrity was not so clear.”
In 1705 he is said to have fomented the divisions between the protestants and catholics, and to have rendered himself deservedly obnoxious to both parties. During the latter part of his vicegerency, which continued until 1711, he appears to have not only favoured the - high church party, but to have laid himself open to a suspicion of encouraging the adherents of James Frederick. At the termination of his vicegerency-in which, notwithstanding the general obnoxious character of his measures, he had displayed some redeeming good qualities, that rendered him occasionaliy, or rather locally popular-he joined in the parliamentary clamour against the duke of Marlborough. He was soon afterwards appointed commander-in-chief of all the forces in Great Britain; and, in April, 1712, was sent out to succeed the hero of Blenheim, as captain-general of the army in Flanders. His conduct in this command was singularly unprincipled. He received positive orders from the queen not to hazard a battle, yet he assured the Dutch authorities that it was his intention to prosecute the war with all the vig, our in his power; but, on a favourabie opportunity to attack the eneniy
occurring, he not only refused to march towards them, but declared that he would abandon the allies unless they consented to a cessation of
This conduct, while it greatly incensed the confederates, was secretly agreeable to Queen Anne; by whom, on his return to England, the duke was received in a very flattering manner. He continued to be a great favourite with the multitude, and, about this period, increased the sphere of his popularity by zealously encouraging literature and the arts. In June, 1713, he was appointed governor of Dovercastle and warden of the cinque-ports ; and in addition to these valuable sinecures, he obtained a grant of £5000 per annum for fifteen years out of the Irish revenue.
The more auspicious part of the duke's career terminated on the death of Queen Anne. The new monarch refused to admit him to the privy chamber, and dismissed him from his post as captain-general of the forces;
but a pitiful attempt was subsequently made to allay his resentment, by appointing him a member of the Irish privy council, and giving him an invitation to make his appearance at court. He was still the darling of the mob. On his birth-day, in 1715, the streets of the metropolis were thronged by large bodies of bis admirers, who severely assaulted all such as refused to join in their shouts of “ Ormond for ever!” On the 28th of May, in the same year, riots of a more alarming character took place; the populace, on this occasion, mixing religion with politics, vociferated, “ High church and Ormond !” It was supposed that these disorderly acts were secretly encouraged by the duke: threats of an impeachment were, consequently, held out to him by ministers; but blind to the probable consequences of his folly, he continued to render himself offensive to government, until, at length, the menaces which he had despised were actually carried into effect.
The turbulence of his spirit, and his greediness for applause, led him to commit a number of absurdities, for which the moderate portion of his friends in vain endeavoured to excuse him. About the middle of June the following advertisement appeared in the public prints, without the least foundation, it is suspected, for the purpose of exciting the feelings of the populace in his favour:-“ On Tuesday the 7th instant, her Grace, the dutchess of Ormond, on her return from Richmond, was stopped in her coach by three persons in disguise, well-armed and mounted, who asked if the duke was in the coach, and seemed to have a design on his life; and it has been observed, that many armed persons lurk about in the Richmond road, both day and night, no doubt with a view to assassinate him.” On the 21st of June, after a debate of nine hours' duration, in which several of his friends spoke warmly in his favour, he was impeached by a majority of forty-seven. On the 5th of August, articles of impeachment were exhibited against him, for having treacherously neglected to fight the enemies of England, while he was captain-general of the forces in Flanders, &c. Being consequently attainted of high treason, his name was erased from the list of peers. On the 12th of November, in the same year, the Irish parliament not only attainted him, but offered a reward of £10,000 for his head.
It appears that he felt desirous of personally engaging in the rebellion of 1715, having actually embarked for England on receiving intelligence of the insurrection, and hovered for several days about the coast, but without being able to effect a landing. In 1716-17 he made an unsuccessful attempt to induce the king of Sweden-who had affectec great consideration for the pretender-to invade England with an army of Swedes. In 1718–19 the Spanish government determined on making an attempt to place James Frederick on the British throne. An armament, consisting of ten sail of the line, and numerous transports, with six thousand regular troops, and twelve thousand stand of arms for the pretender's English and Scotch adherents, was accordingly fitted out at Cadiz, and placed under the duke of Ormond's command. Rumours of the intended invasion having reached this country, the house of commons addressed the king to offer a reward of £5000 for the duke's apprehension. The Jacobites eagerly prepared for his landing; and great alarm appears to have prevailed among the more loyal classes of his majesty's subjects. But the expedition was unsuccessful. Many of the transports drifted ashore and went to pieces,—most of the troops were rendered unserviceable, and the duke, after having narrowly escaped shipwreck, was compelled to return to Cadiz without having seen an enemy, but utterly discomfited by the elements.
In 1722 a Jacobite, named Layer, was executed for having partly, it is said, at the instigation of Ormond, attempted to enlist a body of recruits for the service of the pretender in Essex. In 1726 the duke appears to have made some fruitless efforts to engage the Spanish government in a new project for the invasion of this country. From this period he gradually dwindled in importance. He spent the remainder of his life chiefly at Avignon, in melancholy indolence, wholly subsisting on a pension from Spain of 2000 pistoles per annum. His death took place on the 16th of November, in the memorable year 1745.
The duke married at rather an early period of his public career; but he left no children by his wife, for whom, although they lived upon tolerable terms, he appears to have entertained but very little affection. He was principally indebted for that importance which he so long enjoyed to his rank and connexions. His abilities were good, but not splendid ;-his morals in private life, and his principles as a public character, were equally lax,—his judgment was evidently weak, and bis vanity contemptible. He has been praised for his fidelity to the pretender ; but it does not appear that he ever received any temptation to be treacherous to James Frederick, or that he could have bettered himself by abandoning the Jacobite cause.
John, Earl of Stair.
BORN A. D. 1673.-DIED A. D. 1747.
This celebrated general and accomplished statesman was the eldest son of Jobn Dalrymple, created, for his services at the Revolution, first viscount, and afterwards earl of Stair. His mother was Lady Elizabeth Dundas, daughter of Sir John Dundas of Newliston. He was early sent to the college of Edinburgh under a guardian, and had run through the whole course of his studies at the fourteenth year of his age. He was designed by his father for the law; but his passion for the military life was unconquerable. He left Edinburgh in 1687, and went over to Holland, where he passed through the first military gradations under the eye of the prince of Orange. About this time he learned the French, Spanish, German, Italian, and Dutch languages, all of which he spoke with great purity.
At the Revolution he came over to Scotland, where he performed the most substantial services for the prince of Orange. He was amongst the first to declare for King William ; and went up with his father to London to pay his homage to the deliverer, by whom he was most graciously received. He attended the king to Ireland, and also accompanied him to Holland, in the beginning of the year 1691. Upon this occasion his majesty conferred a colonel's commission upon Mr Dalrymple. In this capacity he served under bis great commander at the battle of Steenkirk, fought on the 3d of August, 1692. No British officer signalized himself more in this engagement than Colonel Dal. rymple. He several times rallied his regiment when the ranks were broken by the cannon, and brought them back to the charge, and was instrumental in saving many of the troops from being cut in pieces, as he stopped the pursuit till they could rally and renew the attack.
From this time to the year 1702, we have no accounts of Colonel Dalrymple; but, in the campaign of that year, we find him taking a vigorous part in the expulsion of the French from Spanish Guelderland. Marlborough honoured Colonel Dalrymple with his particular notice, though, by national prejudice, not very fond of encouraging Scotsmen. The duke promoted our hero to be colonel of the Royal North British dragoons. At the assault on the citadel of Venloo, when the fort of Chartreuse was taken by the allies, Colonel Dalrymple had the happiness to save the life of the prince of Hesse-Cassel, afterwards king of Sweden, who, in wresting the colours from a French officer, was upon the point of being cut down by a grenadier, when Dalrymple shot the assailant dead upon the spot with his pistol. He subsequently became aid-de-camp to Marlborough; and, after the battle of Hockstet, was appointed colonel of the Scotch Greys.
When the success of the British arms in Flanders obliged Louis XIV. to sue for peace, and the duke of Marlborough had returned home in March, 1709, he took occasion to introduce Colonel Dalrymple to her majesty, as an officer who had performed the most signal services in the campaign in the Low Countries. Soon after this he succeeded to the title of Earl of Stair by the death of his father; and the queen, as a reward for his military conduct, and as a first essay of his political abilities, was pleased to appoint him her ambassador-extraordinary to Augustus II., king of Poland. The success of this negotiation was owing, in a great measure, to the amiable qualities of the earl of Stair, by which he gained the entire confidence and esteem of the king of Poland, who entered heartily into all the measures of the allies. His lordship remained four years at the Polish court; in which time he formed an intimate acquaintance with most of the foreign ambassadors, and framed to himself a clear idea of the interests of the several courts in the north. He is thought by some to have been the first, who, by means of the duke of Marlborough, projected the renunciation of Bremen and Verden, on the part of the king of Denmark, in favour of George I.
He was called home in 1713, when he was stripped off all his em