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of the splinters wounding Seaforth in the wrist, his clan carried him off, and at the same time retired in the greatest confusion. The rebels placed in the right hand of the pass having given way, those on the left made off full speed, deserting the Spaniards, who were all made prisoners. This was the last effort in favour of the old pretender during the reign of George I.
During the remainder of the reign of George I., Stair was one of the cabinet council; and, on George the Second's ascending the throne, he was received into the same confidence.
In April 1730, he was made lord-admiral of Scotland, which, with his other posts, he held till April 1733, when he fell into disgrace at court, upon the occasion of bringing in a bill for changing the duties upon tobacco and wine, and bringing them under the laws of excise, in order to prevent frauds in the revenue. This affair was greatly disliked by the trading part of the nation. Among the number of those who opposed it in the house of peers, was the earl of Stair. A little time after, he resigned all his places into his majesty's hands ; as did the Lord Cobham, the duke of Bolton, the earl of Chesterfield, the earl of Burlington, and many others. In June 1734, he appeared at the general elections in his native country; and as the party who had sided with Sir Robert Walpole in promoting the excise scheme had been at great pains to carry the elections of Scotland, he was the first to enter a protest against the minister's interference, and because the military, who, by act of parliament, ought to be moved some miles from the place of election, were, nevertheless, under arms at no farther distance than half a mile. During his retirement from court, he was visited by the nobility from all quarters; he corresponded with several generals abroad, and with some of those noblemen in England who had resigned at the same time with himself. But a change in the ministry, which took place in 1741, rendered his presence necessary at court.
The British merchants had long complained that letters of marque had been issued out from the Spanish admiralty, against British ships, under pretence of searching for contraband goods and passports. Numerous representations had been inade upon this head at Madrid; several conferences were held upon the subject; and at last a convention was signed on the 4th of January, 1739, in which Spain agreed to pay £95,000, to compensate the losses sustained by the British subjects. This affair might have been amicably terminated, had not Spain mustered up a claim of £68,000 upon the African company, concerning the negroes ; and refused to pay the £95,000, till the £68,000 were deducted. In consequence of fresh insults, on the 23d of October, 1739, war was declared against Spain. Admiral Vernon, who had been sent to the West Indies to protect our trade, took Porto Bello on the 22d of November, and received 30,000 piastres as a ransom for not pillaging the town. On the 1st of April, 1740, he sailed for Carthagena, whose out-works he took, but failed in an attack upon the place itself. About a year after the beginning of the war with Spain, the emperor Charles VI. died on the 9th of October, 1740; on which day, his eldest daughter, late empress-dowager, and mother to the present emperor, was proclaimed queen of Hungary and Bohemia, and archduchess of Austria. Her ministers at the several courts of Europe notified her accession, but the elector of Bavaria claimed the crown for himself. The troops of his electorate marched, in September, 1741, in support of his claim, and were followed by 30,000 French forces, under pretence of securing the free election of an emperor, according to the treaty of Westphalia, of which their king was the guarantee. On the other hand, his Britannic majesty supported the Pragmatic sanction, and opposed the election of an emperor by the influence of the court of Versailles.
During the winter of 1741, the armies were active abroad ; Lintz, and a few other places, were taken by the Austrians, who gained some advantages in the field. At home, the parliament was taken up with examining into the merits of elections ; many of which being carried against Sir Robert Walpole, he resigned his place into his majesty's hands; on which a total change ensued in the ministry. A resolution was taken for supporting the queen of Hungary, and restoring the balance of power, which must have been entirely destroyed, if the treaty for dividing the dominions of the house of Austria had succeeded, according to the proposal of France. In consequence of this resolution, three hundred thousand pounds were voted to her Hungarian majesty ; and a considerable body of British troops were sent to Flanders, the command of which, as also of the Hanoverians and Hessians, was given to the earl of Stair. In March, 1742, he was made fieldmarshal of his majesty's forces, and ambassador-extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the states-general.
His lordship instantly applied himself to the management of the important business committed to him; and knowing that he had to deal with the ambassadors of Spain, France, and the new emperor, he assiduously studied their memorials, and prepared replies to them before he set out for Holland, where, on the 10th of April, five days after his arrival, being conducted to a public audience of their High Mightinesses, he made them a very spirited harangue, which had the desired effect of engaging them in the queen's cause. This memorial was fol. lowed by another of the 18th of August, in which the pressing applications of the queen of Hungary, for assistance from his Britannic majesty, against a powerful French army, were laid down, and the pitful artifices of the French detected. Suffice it to say, the earl of Stair at length brought about a general pacification, but not till after the battle of Dettingen, where he, for the last time, distinguished himself, in concert with King George II., as a general of undaunted bravery and intrepidity. Soon after this action he petitioned to resign, which being granted, he again returned to the pleasures of a country life; but ever ready to serve his king and country, upon the breaking out of the rebellion in 1745, he repaired to court, and offered his service to suppress it, which was gladly accepted. He accompanied the duke of Cumberland to Edinburgh. After the suppression of this insurrection, he continued at court till the winter of the year, 1746, when he repaired to Scotland, finding himself in a languishing condition, and unfit for business. On the 7th of May, 1747, he breathed out a life which had been spent in eminent services to his country. The earl of Stair, in person, was about six feet high. He was, perhaps, one of the handsomest men of his tine, and remarkable, among the nobility, for his graceful mien and majestic appearance. His complexion was fair, but rather comely than delicate ; his forehead was large and graceful, his nose straight and exquisitely proportioned to his face. As a diplomatist, Lord Stair was without a rival in his day.
Charles Seymour, Duke of Somerset.
BORN A. D. 1662.-DIED A. D. 1748.
The proud duke of Somerset, as he is commonly called, belongs to the period now under consideration, as far as his political character is concerned; for after the imaginary affront which he received from George I., the particulars of which will be related presently, he accepted of no office at court, and nearly retired altogether from public life.
He was born on the 12th of August, 1662, and succeeded his brother Francis, fifth duke of Somerset, on the murder of the latter at Lerice, in 1678.' In 1682, he married the lady Elizabeth, sole daughter and heiress of Josceline Percy, the last earl of Northumberland. It was stipulated on this occasion, that the duke should relinquish the name of Seymour, for that of Percy, after his marriage; but his dutchess released him from the obligation.
At the death of Charles II. Seymour was one of the privy-councillors who signed the proclamation of James II.; but he soon fell into disgrace at court, in consequence of his stern refusal to introduce Dada, nuncio from Pope Innocent XI., to an audience at Windsor. In 1688, he succeeded Monk, duke of Albemarle, in the chancellorship of Cambridge university; and, in the same year, he declared for the prince of Orange, on his landing in England. During William's reign, he was for some time president of the council ; he was also one of the lords of the regency in 1701.
In January, 1711, his dutchess succeeded her grace of Marlborough, in the high offices which the latter held about the person of Queen Anne ; but neither she nor her husband retained their influence long. On the arrival of George 1. in England, Seymour was nominated one of the new privy-council
, and also appointed master of the horse, from which office he had been removed in 1712. But, within four weeks after, he threw up all his appointments. The occasion of the duke's sudden and extraordinary disgust is not very clearly known ; unless it be that his grace was offended at something like a breach of royal faith in the matter of his son-in-law, Sir William Wyndham's commitment to the Tower. It is said that his grace had obtained a promise, before Sir William's arrest, that he should be very gently dealt with, and not even placed under confinement; but that this pledge was broken. Whatever was the real cause of the duke's indignation, the manner which he took to manifest it, bordered a little on the ridiculous. “ Having commanded his servants to strip off the royal, and put on the family livery, he sent for a common dust-cart, and directed that all the badges of his office should be thrown into it; he then, follow
' He was shot by Horatio Botti, in revenge of an insult which the duke and some of his liccntious companions had offered to his lady.
ed by his retinue and the aforesaid vehicle, proceeded to the court-yard of St James's palace, and after ordering the driver to shoot the rubbish, he stalked back indignantly to Northumberland house, accom. panied by the same cavalcade, in precisely the form in which he had left it.” 2 The court must have been exceedingly amused at the proud duke and his dust-cart. There are many other anecdotes on record, equally illustrious of the duke's miserable pride. His second dutchess, Lady Charlotte Finch, daughter of the earl of Winchelsea, having, in a moment of playfulness, given him a familiar tap on the shoulder with her fan, he turned round, and sternly observed, “ My first dutchess was a Percy, and she never took such a liberty !" Noble relates that the duke having the celebrated painter, James Seymour, one day at his table, was pleased to drink to him in these terms, “ Cousin Seymour, your health ;” but, on the painter replying, “ My lord, I really do believe I have the honour of being of your grace's family;" the duke blushing with offended pride, rose from table, and desired his steward to pay Seymour his bill, and dismiss him. On some occasions his intolerable pride was deservedly dealt by. “Get out of the way!" said one of the outriders, who commonly preceded the duke's carriage, to a countryman who was driving a hog along the path, by which the great man was about to pass. “Why?" inquired the boor. “ Because my lord duke is coming, and he does not like to be looked at,” rejoined the courier. “ But I will see him, and my pig shall see him too!" exclaimed the clown, enraged at the imperious manner of the lacquey, and, seizing the animal by the ears, he held it up before him until his grace and retinue had rolled past.
His grace died in 1748. There is a fine statue of him, by Rysbrack, in the senate-house of the university of Cambridge. Algernon, earl of Hertford, succeeded him in the dukedom.
William, Earl Cowper.
BORN A, D, 1670.-DIED A. D. 1723.
This eminent lawyer was the son of Sir William Cowper, Bart., of Hertford. He was educated for the bar, and became recorder of Colchester soon after his entering upon practice. In 1695 he was returned to parliament for the town of Hertford, and made a very successful debut in the house. In the next year he assisted as one of the crowncounsel in the trial of Sir William Perkins for high treason. He also supported the bill of attainder against Fenwick.
In October, 1705, he was made keeper of the great seal. His services in promoting the union of the Scottish and English crowns were rewarded by a peerage. On the 9th of November, 1706, he was created Baron Cowper of Wingham; and in the month of May following he was appointed lord-high-chancellor of England.
On the resignation of the whig ministry in 1710, he resigned the seals of office, which were reluctantly received by his royal mistress. George I. restored him to the chancellorship in August, 1714. In
Memoirs of the Kit Cat Club, p. 10, 11.
April, 1718, he resigned the great seal, having previously been raised to an earldom. In 1723 his political integrity was impeached by one Christopher Layer, who having been apprehended on a charge of high treason, in the course of his examination insinuated that Lord Cowper was connected with certain parties who were aiming at the expulsion of the house of Brunswick. His lordship indignantly denied the charge, and demanded an investigation of the whole affair by his brother-peers, but this was declined as unnecessary for the vindication of his character, which was unsullied. Among the latest acts of his lordship’s life was his opposition to the bill of pains and penalties against Atterbury, and his protest against an act for imposing a tax upon Roman Catholics. He died in October, 1723.
All parties concur in ascribing considerable professional talents to Chancellor Cowper. Chesterfield declares, that, as a speaker, he was almost without a rival. “ He never spoke without universal applause,"
“ The ears and the eyes gave him up the hearts and understandings of the audience.” A writer of his own time has applied to him the compliment passed by Ben Jonson on Lord Verulam :-“ He commanded when he spoke; he had his judges angry and pleased at his devotion. No man had their affections more in his power; and the fear of every man that heard him was lest he should come to an end." In general politics, Cowper was liberal; but he was not a partyman, though he usually voted with the whigs, and shared their triumphs or reverses. Swift, in speaking of Queen Anne's advisers, says of him :-“ Although his merits are later than the rest, he deserveth a rank in this great council. He was considerable in the station of a practising lawyer ; but as he was raised to be a chancellor and a peer without passing through any of the intermediate steps which, in the late times, have been the constant practice; and little skilled in the nature of government or the true interests of princes, further than the municipal or common law of England; his abilities, as to foreign affairs, did not equally appear in the council. Some former passages of his life were thought to disqualify him for that office, by which he was to be the guardian of the queen's conscience; but these difficulties were easily overruled by the authors of his promotion, who wanted a person that would be subservient to all their designs, wherein they were not disappointed. As to his other accomplishments, he was what we usually call a piece of a scholar, and a good logical reasoner; if this were not too often alloyed by a fallacious way of managing an argument, which makes him apt to deceive the unwary, and sometimes to deceive himself."
Thomas, Earl of Macclesfield.
BORN A. D. 1667.-DIED A. D. 1732.
Thomas PARKER, lord-chancellor of Great Britain, was the son of an English attorney of good family. He was born at Leeke, in Staffordshire, in 1667; and educated at Trinity college, Cambridge. Have ing adopted the profession of the law, in 1705, he was appointed coun