Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

moirs :

pearance of the Statistical Account, attention from the subject, we know flowed in from many of the most emi. not, but the “ General Report of Engnent statesmen and philosophers of land” remains, and is long likely to Europe, and proceed to notice the ap- remain, a work in nubibus. pointment of Sir John Sinclair to the When Mr Addington came into Board of Agriculture. This establish- power, we find Sir John Sinclair again ment was organized at his suggestion assuming rather an active part in poby Mr Pitt, and the first place was litics. The particular views he took, naturally assigned to the originator. and the influence he excited, will be Sir John, on entering on the duties of best explained by the following very president, made an inaugural speech, interesting passage from the Me. in which he pledged himself—unnecessarily, since his character was pledge

“ Among my father's private memoranenough-to devote his time and labour

da I find a curious paper, describing the to promote the great objects contem

state of parties while Mr Addington' was plated by the Board. This promise in power. Exclusive of minor sections, he fulfilled to the letter, but it may be

they amounted to no less than seven, doubted whether much benefit, of any

namely, the friends of the King and his sort, resulted from the' establishment.

Minister, occupying a central position, The funds allotted by Parliament for

with those of Mr Pitt, Lord Melville, and agricultural and statistical purposes Lord Grenville on the one hand, and on were too small for the attainment of the other those of the Prince of Wales and the desired ends, and the most impor. Mr Fox. In the King's party were inclus tant undertakings were starved by the ded many members of both Houses, who, parsimony of the government. At from motives of personal esteem, of prilength, through the influence of Mr vate interest, or of political expediency, Pitt, Sir John Sinclair was superseded were anxious to support the government in the office of president by Lord of George III., whoever might be his Somerville. From that period the Counsellors. The Grenville party, or New vigour and activity of the establish- Opposition, took the lead in the attack ment visibly declined; and in a few upon the Minister, and received occasional years the Board of Agriculture, from support from Mr Pitt, who, at the same which so much had been expected, time, maintained privately a connexion

with several members of the Cabinet, in died a natural death, unregretted, we

particular with Mr Addington, Lord believe, by any one.

Hawkesbury, and Lord Castlereagh. So Before Sir John Sinclair retired

eager were the Grenvilles for the return from the situation above alluded to,

of Mr Pitt to office, that they affirmed any he had made preparation for embark

man to be a public enemy who kept him ing in an enterprise, the boldness and out ; ' a strange declaration,' observes Sir magnitude of which afford no uninter- John, “considering who the person is that esting illustration of the character of

can alone replace him.' Lord Melville, the man. We allude to his intention it was understood, would carry with him of preparing, from the forty octavo about thirty members if he joined the Advolumes of County Reports, a General ministration. The friends of the Prince Report of England. When he com- of Wales, headed by Lord Moira, were a municated his intention to Sir Joseph numerous body, but their real strength did Banks, the latter expressed his asto- not appear, as his Royal Highness would nishment, that a single individual

not at that time take an active part in poshould have the hardihood to under

litics. take even the perusal of a collection

Assailed by powerful enemies on both which was in itself a library. In a

sides, the Ministry could hardly attend to letter to Sir John he thus writes, “I any thing but their own preservation

they could not venture upon the vigorous think I may fairly say that no man

and decisive measures necessary at so criever yet has, or ever will be endowed

tical a juncture for the public safety. They with patience enough, to read through could not even stand without additional the whole, excepting only yourself.

support. Sir John conceived that the My dear Sir John," he continues, most natural addition to their strength the very reading through the matter

would be the friends of the Prince of you intend to abridge is the labour of Wales. He wrote, accordingly, to Mr some years." Whether this remon

Bragge, a relation of the Premier, sugstrance proved effectual, or whether gesting that Lord Moira should be invited other causes contributed to divert his to take office. He urged that the noble

a

[ocr errors]

an

Lord would not only, by his talents for could not venture upon a step which would public speaking, be a powerful supporter have brought him nearer to the Whig in the Upper House, where a fit antagonist party, or Old Opposition, and would hare to Lord Grenville was much wanted, but estranged him altogether from Mr Pitt. would also, by his military experience, his His situation is depicted in a very lively political connexions, and his influence with manner by various correspondents of my the heir-apparent, contribute to the vigour father, out of whom I select his Royal and stability of the Administration. Highness the Duke of Clarence, and Mr

“ In the mean time, the Baronet had Tyrwhitt, M. P. Secretary to the Prince. prepared the way for the intended acces- Had this country,' says the Duke, sion to the Cabinet, by writing to his noble able and active Administration, I should friend, from whom he received an answer be afraid of nothing ; but, in my opinion, not unfavourable to the project.”

our Ministers, and even the country, want

energy, which I will endeavour to give it Letter from the Earl of Moira. in every debate we shall have in Parlia

ment. I am ready either for the Cabinet Donnington, Dec. 2, 1801.

or the fleet; but I have no reason to ex""My dear Sir John,

pect either situation, and must, therefore, " . All that you say of the feebleness do all the good I can in Parliament ; and, of the present Administration, both with if the invasion does take place, I shall regard to Parliamentary support and to have the honour of attending his Majesty, general opinion through the country, is if permitted.' perfectly just. It is clear, that in a mo- “ A subsequent letter has these words : ment of such infinite exigency as the pre- * As for these politics, you never heard sent, Government cannot go on upon such me say I thought the present Administraprecarious terms. There are many pub- tion efficient, and without doubt Lord Ho. lic circumstances, the pressure of which bart is the worst of them all. But I see must be inmediately answered ; and if no likelihood of a change ; where Pitt goes they cannot (as is beyond hope) be satis- against Addington, there Fox will support factorily encountered, the people should Ministers; and Fox will oppose Governat least have the notion that the embar- ment in those measures which Pitt will rassment arises from the nature of the dif

approve.

In short, if these champions ficulties themselves, and not from inade- could unite, they would not carry one hunquacy of skill in those who manage affairs. dred members out of six hundred and The latter supposition would affect more fifty-eight. The crown, the union with than the Administration; and, in the Ireland, and above all, the dread of the qualmish state of public disposition, would times, will, in my opinion, prevent a operate mischievously against our form of change of men. Certainly Lord Moira government. It is probable that Mr Ad

ought to be brought forward, and I wish dington will cast about to strengthen him- the overtures of the Prince of Wales had self. He is an honourable and an amiable not been rejected.' man ; with, I believe, many just and man- “ Mr Tyrwhitt expressed similar sentily principles respecting the execution of ments in a strain of characteristic jocularthe trust reposed in bim. Of course, there ity. • Rumour says the Grenvilles and could not be, in limine, any objection to Pitt are again one; if so, the Doctor cansuch a junction as you indicate. Ulterior not stand long ; but really it appears to me points would possibly be difficult to settle. to require a supernatural genius to guess The opening which you exhibit for com- what is probable to happen, or who will munication has been anticipated by a dis- be Minister. All I know is, that there cussion of the Premier's situation, which seems at present want of confidence in the took place long since; and, I trust, some- public as far as regards the present men.' thing has been matured for extricating his About a year afterwards, Mr Tyrwhitt Royal Highness from a position intended thus renews his conjectures :-" The latest to lower him in the estimation of the intelligence to be relied on brings a cercountry. Thank Heaven, it has had the

tainty we shall have to contend pro aris et very contrary effect ; but he has suffered focis. You will have observed how each under it in his personal feelings too long,

party has flirted with the other. Till some Perhaps I may run up to town in a few

junction takes place, the Doctor will condays, but it is doubtful.

tinue to pursue his milk-and-water system. "I have the honour, my dear Sir He may have, and certainly enjoys, a maJohn, to be, very faithfully, yours,

jority, it is true ; but it is also true there is

a general want of confidence, and rumour " • Sir J. Sinclair, Bart." ;

states that a question is to be cooked, on “ I need hardly inform the reader that which two hundred will be brought to the this negotiation failed. Mr Addington post against the Doctor. What this can

6. MOIRA.

be, unless it be the Catholic question, I

"Donnington, Nov. 6, 1802. cannot imagine.' A more favourable opi. Many thanks, my dear Sir John, for nion of the Addington Administration is the printed Report which I yesterday re. given by my father's old friend the Earl of ceived from you, as well as for your obligBuchan (eldest brother of Lord Chancel- ing letter. The publication is of a very lor Erskine), who draws a comparison useful nature. between the Premier and his predecessor "I do not think any discussions are thus :- I like the present Chancellor of likely to arise, in the present moment, of the Exchequer the better for his having consequence sufficient to make it worth been long in the trammels of a Speaker of while to take your seat before Christmas. the House of Commons, and having been That we shall have war I firmly believe, more accustomed to hear and to act than but I am persuaded that Buonaparte, by to harangue and to disturb. If the son of the semblance of an accommodating dismy old friend Chatham, instead of having position on the points in dispute, will probeen brought from Eton school to govern tract the time of rupture till he shall be a great nation, had been nursed, like Ad- better prepared to strike at our foreign dington, or bred up in the school of ad. possessions. The delay will not be above versity like the old cock bis father, he three or four months. In the mean-while, would have been in a more enviable and

an arrangement is in agitation, and will, I honourable situation, and certainly in a think, take place, by which Pitt is again to more useful one than he is or can be at be Prime Minister. He is not to transact present.

business with the King, but Addington “ Sir John Sinclair and his political (peer and Privy Seal) is to be charged friends had agreed, as we have seen, in ap- with that function. Lord Westmoreland proving the peace of Amiens; but the in- probably displaces Lord Hobart; the Duke satiable ambition of the First Consul, who of Portland remains; Lord Spencer, Lord maintained his armies on a war establish- Grenvillo, and Windham, not to be taken ment, and acted as the dictator of the in. Such is the outline of a plan which Continent, adding new territories to his certainly has been presented, and has been dominions without scruple or apology, made in some degree approved. You see what it clear to them that the treaty of Amiens a jumble it is; Lord St Vincent is vehewas a dangerous armistice, rather than a ment against it. It is possible I may soon settled peace. The following extract from

see you.

The Duc de Berri has proposed a letter of the Duke of Clarence, shows to visit me early in spring. I ought to that his Royal Highness, who took a lively make my bow to him, and I may probably interest in the politics of the times, con- arrange to make the jaunt with the Duke curred in this opinion.

of Orleans, who has the same intention. I ""I am happy to see you think with me have the honour to be your faithful and that war is better than the state we have obedient servant, been in since the truce (I will not call it

"Morra.'' the peace) of Amiens. I cannot help think

Nothing could be more disgraceful ing war must be the event.

In this case,

than the general panic which spread and indeed in any other, the valuable and through the country in the years 1803 interesting paper respecting parties you

and 1804. The victorious career of sent me, will form a page in the history of

Napoleon seemed to have scared men's the country:

"• I shall now conclude with this senti- judgments from their propriety, and ment--either a glorious and vigorous war,

they gazed across the channel with or an honourable and safe peace, which

fear and trembling. Fortunately the must secure to the King and the empire, helm of state was consigned to strong Malta imprimis ; no footing in America to

and skilful hands. Perhaps no man France; no foreign possessions to be re

but Mr Pitt could have weathered the quired by France, either of Spain, Portu- storm, and preserved inviolate both gal, or Holland ; no more than a certain the national honour and interests. proportio' of ships and troops to be main. Had the timid and truckling Whigs tained by France in India ; and last, though succeeded in scrambling into power a not least, no commercial agent, or, in other year or two sooner than they did, a words, no distinguished officers of the deep and permanent stain would in French artillery and engineers to be per- all probability have been left on the mitted by Great Britain to reside in her fair name of England. Personal sea-port towns throughout the empire., I friendship attached Sir John Sinclair think we must, and do agree. Adieu.' to Lord `Melville, but even after his “The sentiments of Lord Moira, to the

retirement from office he continued his same effeet, are embodied in the following strenuous support of Mr Pitt ; and on

learning that the great minister con

[ocr errors]

letter:

templatou retiring from public life, he already spread, not from Indus, but addressed a letter to him, entreating Edinburgh to Peru; but it did add to that he would not desert his King and the number of benefits he conferred on country at a crisis when his exertions his country. It certainly drew forth were most wanted. Mr Pitt, so far the applause of all those whose knowfrom being offended by this freedom, ledge of the subject qualified them to bestowed increased marks of confi- appreciate the success and importance dence on his correspondent. Soon of his labours. afterwards he appointed him a com. Being a staunch Highlander, it was missioner for tho construction of roads not to be expected that Sir John, with and bridges in the north of Scotland. his characteristic activity of mind, He likewise transmitted to him through would escape from having some part Mr Huskisson, the secretary to the in the Ossianic controversy. Accordtreasury, a very flattering message, ingly we find him filling the situation expressing readiness to bestow on him of president of a committee of the a remuneration for his laborious and Highland Society, appointed to superextensive services to the public. But intend the translation of certain Gaelic the lamp of this great statesman's life MSS. bequeathed by Macpherson, was already flickering in the socket, with the sum of L.1000 to defray the and before the object could be accom- cost of publication. The work was plished he died.

published in three volumes octavo, The next of Sir John's great labours with a prefatory dissertation on the was the Code of Health and Longevi- authenticity of the Ossianic poems, by ty. Valuable as the work is, we are the president. Of the flanne of connot sure that it exhibits the most judi- troversy which once burned so fiercely cious application of his talents. We on this trite and tiresome subject, think he might have left health and

scarcely enough now remains to light longevity to the doctors, whose ire we a cigar. Polemics, Celtic and Sascan readily conceive to have been very senach, wrote on it, and abused each great at this irregular poaching on other as long as the public would read, their manor. These gentlemen having and then quietly left Ossian to share duly taken out license, were naturally the admiration of schoolboys, with annoyed at not being quietly suffered Robinson Crusoe and the Seven Chamto kill their game in their own way. pions of Christendom. The following It was of course provoking to have note from the author of Waverley, in swan-shot publicly recommended by a relation to this subject, is interesting, dilettante practitioner, in cases where as every thing must be that proceeded they had always employed No. 6.

from his pen :They accordingly devoted the work to summary destruction. Magazines ""Mr Scott has the honour to offer and reviews, both medical and literary, respectful compliments to Sir John Sinmade furious attacks on it. Physician, clair, with his best thanks for the copy of surgeon, and apothecary, all joined in the Essay on Ossian's poetry. Mr Scott this professional hostility, and armed is totally ignorant of the Gaelic, without with pill and pestle, gallipot and sy- which he conceives it almost impossible ringe, rushed forward in disorderly ar- to form an accurate opinion concerning ray and with loud outcry to defend the the merits of the respective translations ; mysteries of their common craft. The but he has no doubt, from the superior coalition, however, was not very suc

simplicity of expression in the new vercessful. They succeeded in making a

sion, it must be nearer the original. few holes in the obnoxious work, but

When circumstances permit Mr Scott to these were by no means between wind

bestow a more attentive perusal on Sir and water; and having passed through be happy to embrace the opportunity Sir

John Sinclair's curious pamphlet, he will five editions it still holds its place, and is confessedly, from the vast mass of John offers him, of conversing upon the

subject. The principal difficulty seems to information it contains, a work of great

Mr Scott to lie in proving the authenticity utility even to the professional student.

of the Gaelic version itself, as it seems The code of agriculture, in which entirely to rest upon the credit of Mr Sir John next engaged, was a more Macpherson himself, whose character felicitous subject for the exercise of his seems to be given up on all hands. The peculiar powers. This excellent work

business of the Court, joined to some percould not add to his fame, for that had sonal avocations, prevents Mr Scott from

[ocr errors]

at present considering the controversy vealed. In regard to tliose of the with much attention.

subject of these Memoirs, Mr Sin" • Castle Street, Thursday, 27th No clair has, with a delicate and reverent vember 1806,"?

hand, thought proper to raise the On the bullion question, Sir John veil; and it is with heartfelt gratificawrote a great deal, but with little ef- tion that we learn that he who confect, and the subject has been too ferred so many important benefits on often discussed to retain much inte his country died an humble and sinrest at the present day. In 1811, he cere believer in that faith, without retired from Parliament, owing to the which there is no hope. embarrassed situation of his affairs, and

“ The remaining pages of this work accepted the office of Cashier of Excise in Scotland, the emoluments of of my father's preparation for the closing

will naturally be employed in an account which amounted to about L.2000 a.

scene of his honourable life. I have alyear. We have hitherto regarded Sir re:dy in my first chapter mentioned, that John Sinclair only as a public man. he received in early youth a religious eduIt becomes proper now to shift the cation from his excellent mother, and in scene, and exhibit him as he appeared her had seen a living example of practical in the retirement of his family, sur

piety.

• Under her care,' he says (in a rounded by those to whom he was an private memorandum upon the subject), object of mingled reverence and at- "I was accustomed to read the Scriptachment. To the education of his tures ; to pray regularly; and to attend children Sir John brought the same the ordinances of religion. There are acuteness and practical good sense still extant among his papers various eviwhich distinguished him in other mat- dences of the timely impression made by ters.

Christian principle upon his mind, in In 1814, Sir John again visited the hymns, forms of prayer, and striking quoContinent, and was every where re

tations from the best divines. At a later ceived with great distinction. Short period, however, after he had entered ly after his return, he finally took up

upon public life, and had become immerhis abode in Edinburgh. Though

sed in those absorbing pursuits, which,

without habitual watchfulness and prayer, retired from public life, no diminution of his mental activity took place. religious feelings, he had reason to lament,

are so apt to weaken, and even paralyse His correspondence was voluminous,

as he himself acknowledged, that spiritual and the great public questions of the

interests were in a great degree forgotten. day afforded abundant materials for

His moral character continued irreproachdiscussion by means of the press. In able, but his piety had declined. truth, writing with him had grown occasion, liis friend Arthur Young, with a into a habit, which it would have fidelity not common in the world, ventured been painful to discontinue. The

to remonstrate with him on his spiritual last labour in which he was engaged lukewarmness. • Your conduct,' said Mr was the collection of materials for a Young, surprises me beyond measure. code of political economy and code of You are a moral man. You do all the religion, neither of which works did good in your power ; you fulfil with great he live to complete. The former strictness all your relative duties ; but you would, no doubt, have been a compi- are not a Christian. You hardly ever at. lation of great utility. With regard tend the public ordinances of religion. to the latter, the title seems to have

You rarely, if ever, read the Bible, and been ill-selected. We presume the you probably neglect private prayer. How work contemplated by Sir John was a

can you, who know that you ought to act

differently, expect to prosper? Think of sort of catalogue raisonné of the va

these things before it is too late.' rious theological tenets which, since

“ This kind remoustrance was taken in the introduction of Christianity, have engaged the belief of any portion of good part, although it was in one respect

too severe ; for a form of private prayer, its followers. We have now only to advert to the composed by my grandfather, was used by

my father daily throughout his long life. closing scene of this admirable and

He confessel, however, with regret, that well spent life. Religion is an affair the expostulation, upon the whole, was too between man and his God, and in all well-founded ; but that it was ineffectual that relates to it, we consider it un- at the time. " The admonition,' says he, warrantable to pry into tenets or sen- however just, made only a transient timents which are not voluntarily re- impression upon my mind.

Numerous VOL. XLI. NO. (CLXI.

On one

6

[ocr errors]
« PredošláPokračovať »