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Chap. gratifying spectacle of 3000 yeomanry cavalry, collected
from all the southern counties of Scotland, marching in procession before their Sovereign. Finally, the King, who during his residence in Scotland had been magnificently entertained at Dalkeith Palace, the seat of the Duke of Buccleuch, embarked on the 27th at Hopetoun House, the beautiful residence of the Earls of Hopetoun, where he conferred the honour of knighthood on Henry Raeburn, the celebrated Scottish artist, and arrived in safety 1 Ann. Reg. iu the Thames on the 30th, charmed with the reception
isomer-' he had met with, and having left on all an indelible iinTOtion?bM,> pression of the mingled dignity and grace of his manners, and felicity of his expressions.1
His return was accelerated by a tragical event, which Death of deprived England of one of her greatest statesmen, and do°nden^" the intelligence of which arrived amidst these scenes of Aug. 12. festivity and rejoicing. Lord Londonderry, upon whose shoulders, since the retirement of Lord Sidmouth, the principal weight of government, as well as the entire labour of the lead in the House of Commons, had fallen, had suffered severely from the fatigues of the preceding session, and shortly after exhibited symptoms of mental aberration. He was visited in consequence by his physician, Dr Bankhead, at his mansion at North Cray iu Kent, by whom he was cupped. Some relief was experienced from this, but he continued in bed, and the mental disorder was unabated. It was no wonder it was so: Romilly and Whitbread had, in like manner, fallen victims to similar pressure on the brain, arising from political effort. On the morning of the 12th August, Dr Bankhead, who slept in the house, being summoned to attend his lordship in his dressing-room, entered just in time to save him from falling. He said, "Bankhead, let me fall on your arms—'tis all over," and instantly expired. He had cut his throat with a penknife. The coroner's inquest brought in a verdict of insanity. His remains were interred on the 20th in Westminster Abbey, between
the graves of Pitt and Fox. The most decisive testi- Chap.
niony to his merits was borne by some savage miscreants, who raised a horrid shout as the body was borne from the hearse to its last resting-place in the venerable pile; a shout which, to the disgrace of English literature, has i ^ Reg since been re-echoed by some whose talents might have ^'m1^. led them to a more generous appreciation of a political ;eau.i.2»7;
. -ii • i Hughes, vi.
antagonist, and their sex to a milder view of the most 502. fearful of human infirmities.1 *
Chateaubriand has said, that while all other contemporary reputations are declining, that of Mr Pitt is hourly His cow-aeon the increase. The same is equally true of Lord Londonderry ; the same ever has, and ever will be, true of the first and greatest of the human race. Their fame with posterity is founded on the very circumstances which, with the majority of their contemporaries, constituted their unpopularity; they are revered, because they had wisdom to discern the ruinous teudency of the passions with which they were surrounded, and courage to resist them. The reputation of the demagogue is brilliaut, but fleeting, like the meteor which shoots athwart the troubled sky of a wintry night; that of the undaunted statesman, at first obscured, but in the end lasting like the fixed stars, which, when the clouds roll away, shine for ever the same iu the highest firmament. Intrepidity in the rulers of men is the surest passport to immortality, for it is the quality
* " The news of Lord Londonderry's doath struck the despots of Europe aghast upon their thrones—news which was hailed with clasped hands and glistening eyes by aliens in many a provincial town of England, and with imprudent shouts by conclaves of patriots abroad. There are some now, who in mature years cannot remember without emotion what they saw and heard that day. They could not know how the calamity of ono man—a man amiable, winning, and generous in the walk of daily life—could penetrate the recesses of a world but as a ray of hope in the midst of thickest darkness. This man was the screw by which England had riveted the chains of nations. The scrow was drawn, and the immovable despotism might now be overthrown. There was abundant reason for the rejoicing which spread through the world on the death of Lord Londonderry, and the shout which r.mg through the Abbey when his coffin was taken from the hearse was natural enough, though neither decent nor humane"—Miss Mabtineau, i. 287, 288.
which most fascinates the minds of men. All admire,
"Justum et tenacem propositi virum
Never was there a human being to whom these noble Its indomit- lines were more applicable than to Lord Londonderry. M'ss.6tm" His whole life was a continual struggle with the majority in his own or foreign lands; he combated to subdue and to bless them. He began his career by strenuous efforts to effect the Irish Union, and rescue his native country from the incapable legislature by which its energies had so long been repressed. His mature strength was exerted in a long and desperate conflict with the despotism of revolutionary France, which his firmness, as much as the arm of Wellington, brought to a triumphant issue; his latter days in a ceaseless conflict with the revolutionary spirit in his own country, and an anxious effort to uphold the dignity of Great Britain, and the independence of lesser states abroad. The uncompromising antagonist of Radicalism at home, he was at the same time the resolute opponent of despotism abroad. If Poland retained, after the overthrow of Napoleon, any remnant of nationality, it was owing to his persevering and almost unaided efforts; and at the very time when the savage wretches who raised a shout at his funeral were rejoicing in his death, he had been preparing to assert at Verona, as he had done to the Congresses of Laybach and Troppau, the independent action of Great Britain, and her non-accordance in the policy of the Continental sovereigns against the efforts of human freedom.
His policy in domestic affairs was marked by the same far-seeing wisdom, the same intrepid resistance to the
blindness of present clamour. He made the most stren- Chap. uous efforts to uphold the Sinking Fund, that noble x'
monument of Mr Pitt's patriotic foresight: had those 18'22efforts been successful, the whole national debt would His policy have been paid off by the year 1845, and the nation IShTM**'1* for ever have been freed from the payment of thirty millions a-year for its interest.4t He resisted with a firm hand, and at the expense of present popularity with the multitude, the efforts of faction during the seven trying years which followed the close of the war, and bequeathed the constitution, after a season of peculiar danger, unshaken to his successors. The firm friend of freedom, he was on that very account the resolute opponent of democracy, the insidious enemy which, under the guise of a friend, has in every age blasted its progress, and destroyed its substance. Discerning the principal cause of the distress which had occasioned these convulsions, his last act was one that bequeathed to his country a currency adequate to its necessities, and which he alone of his Cabinet had the honesty to admit was a departure from former error. Elegant and courteous in his manners, with a noble figure and finely-chiselled countenance, he was beloved in his family circle and by all his friends, not less than respected by the wide circle of sovereigns and statesmen with whom he had so worthily upheld the honour and the dignity of England.
Three vears only had elapsed since the great monetary change of 1819 had been carried into effect, and already it Political had become evident that that was the turning-point of Eng
lish history, and that an entire alteration would ere long remunption be induced in its external and internal policy. Changes ^fec^«h.pay great, decisive, and irremediable, had already occurred, or were in progress. The cutting off of a hundred millions a-year from the remuneration of industry, agricultural and manufacturing, while the public and private debts
* Vide History of Europe, chap. xli. sect. 24, whero this is demonstrated, and the caleulation given.
Chap. remained the same, had changed the whole relations of
society, altered all the views of men. Reduction in expenditure, when so great a chasm had been effected in income, was the universal cry. In 1819, the House of Commons had solemnly resolved that the Sinking Fund should under no circumstances be reduced below £5,000,000 a-year, and laid on £3,000,000 of indirect taxes to bring it up to that amount; but already the system was abandoned, taxes to the amount of £3,500,000 had been repealed in a single year, and the doctrine openly promulgated by Government, which has since been so constantly acted upon, that the nation should instantly receive the full benefit of a surplus income in a reduction of taxation, instead of a maintenance of the Sinking Fund. The fierce demand for a reduction of expenditure, which made itself heard in an unmistakable manner even in the unreformed House of Commons, had rendered it indispensable to reduce the land and sea forces of the state to a degree inconsistent with the security of its vast colonial dependencies, and the maintenance of its position as an independent power.
Changes still more important in their ultimate effects internal were already taking place in the social position and arising balance of parties in the state. The distress in Ireland— a purely agricultural state, upon which the fall of 50 per cent in its produce fell with unmitigated severity—had become such that a change in the system of government in that country had become indispensable; and the altered system of Lord Wellesley presaged, at no distant period, the admission of the Roman Catholics into the legislature, and the attempt to form a harmonious legislature out of the united Celt and Saxon—the conscientious servant of Rome, and the sturdy friend of Protestant England. The widespread and deep distress of the manufacturing classes, and the inability of the legislature to afford them any relief, had rendered loud and threatening the demand for reform in those great hives of industry, while the still
from the same cause.