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age or by experience. If any person, by charging me with theatrical behaviour, shall imply that I utter any sentiments but my own, I shall treat him as a calumniator and a villain; nor shall any protection shelter him from the treatment, which he de serves. I shall, on such an occasion, without scruple trample upon all those forms, with which Wealth and Dignity entrench themselves, nor shall any thing but Age restrain my resentment; Age, which always brings one privilege, that of being insolent and supercilious without punishment.
But with regard to those, Sir, whom I have offended, I am of opinion that, if I had acted a borrowed part, I should have avoided the censure. The heat which offended them is the ardor of conviction, and that zeal for the service of my country, which neither hope nor fear shall ever influence me to suppress. I will not sit unconcerned, while my liberty is invaded, nor look in silence upon public robbery. I will exert my endeavours, at whatever hazard, to repel the aggressor and drag the thief to justice, whoever may protect them in their villainy, or whoever may partake of their plunder."
It was in 1745, in which year he resigned his appointment as a Groom of the Bedchamber to Frederick Prince of Wales, that he was first proposed to George II. by the Duke of Newcastle for the post of Secretary at War: but so obnoxious had he rendered himself to his Majesty, probably on account of his constant opposition to Hanoverian politics,* that he was
* For his opposition to the measures of ministry upon various occasions, his early patroness the Duchess of Marlborough, who hated Sir Robert Walpole, bequeathed him a legacy of 10,000l.; “ upon account of his merit," as her will expressly states, “ in decidedly rejected, and a general resignation of the Pelham party took place. Necessity, however, as they had foreseen, soon produced their re-instatement; and in February, 1746, he was appointed Joint Vice Treasurer of Ireland, and the same year Treasurer and Paymaster General of the Army, and a Privy Councillor.
As Paymaster of the Army, he had an opportunity of displaying his natural disinterestedness. It had been the custom of his predecessors to retain large balances of the public money in their hands, of which they made considerable advantage by subscribing them in government-securities. Mr. Pitt, on the contrary, invariably placed his surplusses in the Bank, in order that they might be at all times ready for the public service, and never derived from them the smallest private emolument. He even refused the usual perquisite, upon a subsidy voted to the King of Sardinia; and, still more to the surprise of that Sovereign, declined a large present, of which he had requested his acceptance.
In 1754, he married Hester, daughter of Richard Grenville, Esq. of Wotton in Buckinghamshire, lady of great merit, with whom he passed his life in uninterrupted harmony.
A disappointment, however, about the post of Secretary of State, with his want of confidence in a weak and divided ministry, rendered him indifferent to a continuance of office; and when the King in 1755 returned from Hanover, bringing subsidiary treaties with Hesse Cassel and Russia for it's defence, he warmly joined Mr. Legge in opposing their ratification. Upon this account they both, and with them
the noble defence he has made for the support of the laws of Eng. land, and to prevent the ruin of his country."
the Grenvilles, were dismissed. He now strenuously opposed the favourite measures of defending England by foreign troops, and Hanover by subsidies. The war had opened disastrously; and the Duke of Newcastle, having in vain attempted to gain him over to his party, resigned. In the autumn of 1756, a fresh administration was formed, and Mr. Pitt became Secretary of State. A national militia was constituted; a body of Highlanders were levied to serve in North America; squadrons were despatched to the East and West Indies, and a successful expedition was sent out against Goree. Still hostile however to the war in Germany, at least under the conduct of the Duke of Cumberland, the new Secretary in April 1757 with his friends Lord Temple and Mr. Legge received the royal command to resign. But such was the public discontent upon this precipitate measure, evinced by animated addresses from all parts of the kingdom, that the Duke of Newcastle was commissioned in the ensuing June to offer the Ex-minister his own terms. He, accordingly, resumed his office; and having arranged a cabinet, of which he was the pervading and master-spirit, raised his country from depression and disgrace to the highest pitch of glory. His fundamental principle was, to disregard all party and family-interests, and to employ talents wherever he found them. The result might naturally be anticipated. Never had been witnessed such 'an instantà. neous and radical change. Whatever comprehensive genius, extended intelligence, deep political knowledge, and indefatigable industry could effect, was accomplished. From torpid supineness, England astonished the enemy with unremitted activity. Not a ship, or a man, was suffered to remain unemployed.
Europe, America, Africa felt the influence of his character in an instant. Under his auspices, Amherst and Boscawen reduced Cape Breton; Wolfe* and Saunders triumphed at Quebec; the French were defeated in the East Indies, and ruined in Europe ; Belleisle was rent from their monarchy, their coasts were insulted and ravaged, their fleets destroyed, their trade annihilated, and their state reduced to bankruptcy.
In the duties of his office, he was exact and dilia gent beyond example. He gave all his time to business, and none to parade; not holding a single levee during his secretaryship. Well-informed of the practicability of his orders, he was peremptory in insisting upon the execution of them. In illustration of this feature of his character, the following anecdote has been frequently related. Preparatory to one of his secret expeditions, he had issued directions to the different officers presiding in the military, naval, and ordnance department, to prepare a large body of forces, a certain number of ships, and a proportional quantity of stores, &c. against an appointed day. He received answers from all the individuals concerned, affirming that they could not possibly execute them within the time prescribed. It was then a very late hour of the night: but he instantly sent for his secretary, and despatched him with the following commands: “ I desire, Mr. Wood, that you will immediately go to Lord Anson.--You need not
* Wolfe was appointed, in opposition both to the Prime Minister and to the King. It is said that, in order to secure himself from unconsciously doing any thing against the constitution, he by Lord Northington's recommendation availed - himself of the assistance of Mr. Pratt, afterward the great Lord Camden.
trouble yourself to visit the Admiralty, he is not to be found there: you must pursue him to the gaming-house, and tell him from me, that if he does not fulfil the orders of government which he has received at my hands, I will most assuredly impeach him.' Proceed from him to Lord Ligonier; and though he should be bolstered with harlots, undraw his curtains, and repeat the same message. Then direct your course to Sir Charles Frederick, and assure him that if his Majesty's orders are not obeyed, they shall be the last which he shall receive from me.
The consequence was, that in spite of impossibilities, every thing was ready at the time appointed.
Never, indeed, did any minister possess more of the public confidence. For a considerable period, opposition was scarcely heard of; and yet the art of managing a parliament was the least part of his study.* The events of his war-administration are too recent to require much detail.
His Majesty, having refused to ratify the disgraceful convention of Closter-Seven, was enabled, by the victory of the King of Prussia over the French at Rosbach, to propose a resumption of arms in the North of Germany. This was acceded to by Mr. Pitt; whether through the desire of supporting himself in power by the royal favour, or under the hope of more important advantages to accrue from the talents of the new General (Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick) and the alliance of Frederick the Great, or from both united, it may be difficult to decide. His change
* He knew of no majorities,' he used to say, 'except such as arose from the sense of the House. Any others were the Duke of Newcastle's.'