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Reign of George II. (Continued.) page 7


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In all these transactions Carteret showed the most facile disposition to gratify all the Hanoverian tendencies of the king, in order to ingratiate himself and secure the premiership at home. But in this he did not succeed; he was much trusted by George in foreign affairs, and in them he remained. Lord Wilmington, prime minister, had died two months before the signing of the treaty at Worms, and the competitors for his office were Pelham, brother of the duke of Newcastle, and Pulteney. Pelham was supported by Newcastle, lord chancellor Hardwicke, and still more powerfully by the old minister under whom he had been trained - lord Orford, who, though out of office, was consulted in everything relating to it. Pulteney and Pelham had both, according to their friends, neglected the necessary steps for succeeding Wilmington. Pulteney had declined any office, vainly hoping that his great popularity would enable him to guide public affairs. His friends reminded him that, had he taken the treasury on Walpole's resignation, he would now have been still at the helm. Pelham's great adviser, lord Orford, said to him, "If you had taken my advice, and held the exchequer under Wilmington, the whole had dropped into your mouth." Pelham, however, received the appointment from the king, and this was communicated in a letter from Carteret, who candidly told him that, as the old friend and colleague of Pulteney, lord Bath, he had done all in his power to secure the office for him, but now he would support Pelham cordially, notwithstanding.

Pelham was at this period forty-seven years of age, of far inferior talent to Orford, but pursued his cautious principles and acted under his advice. It was necessary for the king at this juncture, when the English generals were incensed against the Hanoverian officers, that he should have a powerful majority in the commons. This he could not expect with the unpopular Pulteney, but Pelham, ęsupported by all the adherents of both Newcastle and Orford, might carry him through. Orford gave Pelham the most able advice. "Gain time," he said, "strengthen yourself, and enter into no hasty engagements." To strengthen himself he found places for his friend Henry Fox, and for lord Middlesex, the friend of the prince of Wales. He bestowed the post of paymaster of the forces, which he now vacated, on lord Winnington, and assuming that of chancellor of the exchequer, he satisfied Sandys, who held it, by a peerage and a place in the household. In December the lords Gower and Cobham resigned in disgust, because the Hanoverian troops were still retained, and Pelham then gave the privy seal, which Gower had held, to lord Cholmondeley, though Bath strained every nerve to procure it for lord Carlisle.

The course of events co-operated with Pelham. At this juncture died lord Hervey and the duke of Argyll, by which the opposition was greatly weakened in the house of peers. Argyll had forfeited much of his once great reputation by his frequent changes, and by his late Jacobite tendencies; but his brother, the earl of Isla, who succeeded him, was a far meaner character. He was of a singularly base mind, and his countenance, according to Sir Hanbury Williams, denoted it.

On the return of the king and Carteret, parliament was opened on the 1st of December. The first trial of the opposition was on the address, on which occasion its real strength was not called forth, and this was carried by two hundred and seventy-eight votes against one hundred and forty-nine. But the subject of Hanoverian troops and Hanoverian measures soon displayed its extent and virulence. There was a vehement feeling against everything relating to Hanover, and Pitt lost no time in denouncing Carteret and his measures in the most bitter terms. On the very first night of the session he declared that he was "an execrable, a sole minister, who seemed to have drunk of the potion which poets described, as causing men to forget their country." On a subsequent occasion he denominated him "the Hanover troop minister," a "flagitious task-master," with the sixteen thousand Hanoverians as his placemen, and with no other party. The thunder of Pitt was echoed by others, and the scene in the commons was described by a spectator as like nothing but a tumultuous Polish Diet.

There was a determined resolve to force the dismissal of the Hanoverian troops, though France, irritated by the treaty of Worms, determined now no longer to act as auxiliaries merely, but to declare hostilities against both Austria and England, and take the field with still increased forces. Night after night the Hanoverian troops and Hanoverian measures were attacked by motions of varied form but like intent, and by speeches of the most outspoken character. The ministerial majorities betrayed a strong feeling on the subject, even amongst the supporters of government, whilst the public out of doors were fiercely inflamed against Hanover, bestowing on that electorate the deepest execrations. Toasts of "No Hanoverian King!" were heard in companies which were usually styled loyal, and Carteret received the full, concentrated abuse of the whole kingdom. He was accused of being a traitor, a drunkard, and a madman. "He is never sober," wrote Horace Walpole, "and his rants are amazing, but so are his parts and his spirit." Carte, the Jacobite historian, wrote to the pretender that Carteret was doing infinite service to his cause, and had been absurd enough to boast openly that it was impossible to govern England except by corruption.

Such was the ferment amid which opened the year 1744. The furious storm which was raging against everything Hanoverian, quailed ministers. Pelham was afraid of standing up for the continuance of the foreign troops, and his brother, the duke of Newcastle, was, from a zealous advocate for them, converted into as zealous an opponent of them. At this crisis lord Orford, roused by the danger, when France was not only preparing for a determined war, but was again encouraging an invasion by the pretender, suddenly quitted his retreat at Houghton, at the urgent request of the king, and appeared in his place in the house of lords. Though he had been a member of that house for some time, he had never spoken there, declaring to his brother Horace that he had left his tongue in the house of commons; he now determined to break silence. It was time; except Carteret, all the other ministers had come to the conclusion that it was necessary to drop all mention of the foreign troops, and to sacrifice the king's honour by leav ing unvoted the money necessary for the foreign subsidies, Orford first exerted his influence with the cabinet. He commended the firmness of Carteret, he encouraged Pelham and the rest of the timid members of the privy council. He reminded them of the statement of the king to both houses on the 18th of February; that he had received intelligence of unquestionable truth, that the pretender's eldest son had arrived in Paris, and was concerting an invasion under engagement of the French government, to support him with a fleet. Having revived their drooping courage, he then rose in the house of peers; and though suffering under an acute disease, he spoke with an animation which never was surpassed in his best years. He declared that he could never have believed that it would be necessary for him to appear amongst them on such an occasion as that; that he should be called upon to remind their lordships and the country of their danger, and their obligations to their king and the nation. Nothing but the wind, he declared, had at this moment preserved us from an invasion. "I have indeed," he continued, "particular reasons to express my astonishment and my own uneasiness. I feel my breast fired with the warmest gratitude to a gracious and royal master, whom I have so long served; my heart overflows with zeal for his honour, and ardour for the lasting security of his illustrious house. But, my lords, the danger is common; an invasion equally involves all our happiness, all our hopes, and all our fortunes. It cannot be thought consistent with the wisdom of your lordships to be employed in determining private property when the security of the whole kingdom demands your attention; when it is not known that at this instant the enemy has not set foot on our coast, is ravaging our country with fire and sword, and threatening us with no less than extirpation and servitude."

Walpole never presented so noble and patriotic a figure in the whole long and remarkable career of statesmanship. This speech had an instantaneous effect on the whole house. The prince of Wales, forgetting his deep enmity of many years, quitted his seat, and, taking Walpole by the hand, expressed his gratitude. He declared that had not lord Orford come to town, the foreign troops would have been lost, and the country left exposed to the most imminent danger. Not another word was said, even by the opposition, about the Hanoverian troops; all joined to ward off the common danger. Pitt, who had been so noted, led the way, and voted for measures of defence. The duke of Marlborough, notwithstanding his recent resignation, hastened up to London to move a loyal address in the peers. The earl of Stair forgot in an instant all his complaints, and offered his services in any station; and his offer was met in a corresponding spirit - he was immediately again appointed commander-in-chief. The Jacobites, who were expecting a speedy demonstration of their party, had the sense to avoid any open opposition in parliament, and, in consequence, the supplies were promptly voted. The extraordinary sum of ten millions of pounds was granted for the year, including the subsidies of three hundred thousand pounds to Austria, and two hundred thousand pounds to Sardinia.

Lord Orford, having rendered so great a service to his country, retired again to Houghton, oppressed with disease and anxiety for the fate of the nation. The Habeas Corpus Act was suspended for two months. A bill was brought in by the opposition, providing that the penalties for correspondence with the pretender should be extended to correspondence with his children; and on reaching the peers two additional clauses were added on the lord chancellor's motion - one to attaint the sons of the pretender in case of their attempting to land, and the other to extend the penalties of the act to the posterity of those who should be convicted under it, during the lifetime of both the young pretenders. Both of these clauses passed, the first unanimously, the second not without strong opposition, especially from the duke of Bedford and lord Chesterfield in the peers, and from Pitt and lord Strange in the commons. The magistrates of Edinburgh offered themselves six thousand pounds for the apprehension of the pretender or his eldest son.

A proclamation was issued, enforcing the laws against papists and non-jurors. Lord Barrymore and colonel Cecil were arrested and examined, but they were soon again released. Troops were sent by forced marches to the southern coast, and an express dispatch to Holland for the six thousand auxiliaries stipulated for by treaty. Loyal addresses poured in from all quarters, but not so the more essential requisite of men. Only seven thousand Englishmen could be assembled in arms for the defence of the capital and the neighbouring counties. On the other hand, the preparations of the Jacobites were never more extensive and complete. A modern historian asserts that the fate of England at this juncture "hung suspended on the winds and waves." Fortunately it depended on a higher Power, whom the winds and the waves obey. And as it was said of the Spanish Armada, so of these dangers - Afflavit Deus, et dissipantur.

Preparations had been making for the invasion of this country for some years. The Scottish Jacobites, disregarding the miserable failure of 1715, had in 1740 entered into an association to promote the return of the Stuarts. Amongst these were the notorious Simon Frazer, called lord Lovat, lord James Drummond, titular duke of Perth, lord Traquair, lord John Drummond, uncle to the duke of Perth, John Stuart, brother to lord Traquair, Sir John Campbell of Auchinbrech, Cameron of Lochiel, Drummond of Bohaldie, and others. This act of association, together with the names of such Highland chiefs as they thought would join the standard of the pretender if accompanied by a French force, was sent by Bohaldie to James, who approved of the proceeding, and sent Drummond of Bohaldie with the papers to cardinal Fleury, urging him to furnish the required aid. Fleury was averse to the enterprise, but two years after, the war on the continent having broken out, and England being active in assisting Austria against France and her allies, the French court showed a decided disposition to undertake it as a means of checking English interference in Germany. Bohaldie was then sent to the Scottish Jacobites, to assure them that if they could satisfy France that the Jacobites of England were as ready as themselves for a demonstration, she would send over thirteen thousand men, three thousand to be landed in Scotland, and ten thousand in England near London, under Marshal Saxe, a natural son of the late Augustus, king of Poland, and one of the best officers in the French service. With him prince Charles, the pretender's eldest son, was to come. Drummond held communication with the noblemen and gentlemen already named, who, joined by others, now styled themselves "The Concert of Gentlemen for managing the king's affairs in Scotland." From them he received the strongest assurances of the support of the scheme on this side of the water; but it does not appear that the English Jacobites were as ready to commit themselves as the Scotch, and nothing came of it during Fleury's life. After his( death, however, cardinal Tencin, having come into power, appeared more earnest in the matter. His agents, and those of the Scotch Jacobites, were travelling to and fro betwixt this country, France, and Rome, to hasten the crisis. Tencin sent Murray of Broughton to James in Rome, to desire him to send his eldest son, prince Charles, to France to be in readiness for the campaign of England. The old pretender, who had grown cautious with years, doubted this step till something more decided warranted it. The English Jacobites had, when urged to prepare themselves, given very little assurance of earnestness in the matter; and James wrote to Tencin, saying that, if the French court were bent on the expedition, it would be more prudent to defer the journey of the prince till it was actually ready to set out; otherwise, it would at once excite the attention of England, and induce it to make every preparation to defeat the invasion. This was sound advice, and the French government, accordingly, acted upon it by beginning to draw together at Dunkirk fifteen thousand veterans under marshal Saxe. A great number of transports were collected in the channel, and fifteen ships of the line were ready in the harbours of Rochefort and Brest to protect them. These preparations being notified to James, on the 23rd of December, 1743, he put his signature to various important acts. Amongst these were a proclamation to the British people, to be issued on landing; a commission, declaring prince Charles his regent, with full powers; and a patent, creating lord Lovat duke of Frazer, and royal lieutenant in all the counties north of Spey.

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Pictures for Reign of George II. (Continued.) page 7

Westminster election
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Harbour of Helsingfors
Harbour of Helsingfors >>>>
The retreat of Belleisle
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View near Egra
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George II. at the battle of Dettingen
George II. at the battle of Dettingen >>>>
Medal in commemoration of the battle of Dettingen.
Medal in commemoration of the battle of Dettingen. >>>>
View in the city of Worms
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Prince Charles
Prince Charles >>>>
Duke of Belleisle
Duke of Belleisle >>>>
Prince Charles Stuart
Prince Charles Stuart >>>>

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