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ployed as one of the Lords of Trade and Plantations, until that board experienced a total eclipse in consequence of the operation of an act of parliament (Mr. Burke's bill), which deprived the members of their salaries.
In 1787, Lord Walsingham, who had succeeded to the family-honours, obtained the advantageous appointment of Joint Postmaster-General, which he held until 1794; and it was during that period, if we mistake not greatly, that the grand improvement, suggested by Mr. Palmer, took place in this department. Unhappily, they did not exactly accord on this subject.
In 1795, being then out of employment, this nobleman was selected for the important office of Chairman of the Committee of Privileges of the House of Lords. Notwithstanding the occasional assistance of two barristers, this is an employment of great difficulty and delicacy, as all estate, naturalization, and private bills usually originate in this house, and a daily attendance therefore becomes necessary, during a large portion of the session of Parliament. In addition to this, to him was assigned the great and important employment of presiding at all committees, where the honours of the Peerage were claimed.
The industry and abilities displayed by the noble chairman, on every
occasion, have always been acknowledged, not only by the candidates for the Peerage, but also by the numerous clients and their agents who solicited the various bills submitted to his inspection. Notwithstanding occasional fits of the gout, he was punctual in his attendance, and not unfrequently was carried down with his legs wrapped in flannel, in order that the public business might not experience any delay from his corporeal infirmities.
This nobleman acted as chairman of the Committee of the Lords, in the trial of the late Warren Hastings, Esq. for high crimes and misdemeanours. It was not until the 13th of April, 1795, however, that he found an opportunity of delivering his own opinion on the resolutions entered into by the House, anterior to a final decision. On this occasion, he lamented, that he had been deprived of the power of speaking until then, by
his official engagements; but added, that he would then take the opportunity of stating his opinion in the shortest possible manner.
“ The principle on which I mean to act, is this: to acquit Mr. Hastings wherever he appears to have acted directly for the public service, or wherever any doubt arose in point of law, of so critical a nature as that the most learned authorities in the house differ in their construction of it. Upon this principle I acquit him upon the Benares and Begum charges, because he sought only the Company's advantage without any views of self-interest: the same principle applies to the present given through Sandanund; there is a difference in respect to the other presents.” His lordship then stated his opinion in respect to the contracts, and concluded by saying that Mr. Hastings, “ by the vigour of his mind, had preserved an empire to the nation which, without this, might have been lost for ever.”
After an able and impartial speech, of which the above is a brief outline, Lord Walsingham concluded by acquitting the prisoner on all the sixteen articles, the ninth only excepted: 6 for having granted the opium contract to Stephen Sullivan, Esq. in 1781, upon terms glaringly extravagant and wantonly profuse."
In 1816, his lordship was afflicted with a paralytic affection, in consequence of which he retired on a pension, a moiety of which was reversionary to his family. His Lordship died at his house at Old Windsor, January 16, 1818, after a long and painful illness.
Lord Walsingham who, in addition to the offices already mentioned, enjoyed that of Comptroller of the First Fruits and Tenths, was exceedingly wealthy, his personal property alone amounting to near 200,0001. Among other pecuniary bequests, he has left a legacy of 100 guineas to testify his esteem for his old friend, the Lord Chancellor Eldon.
This nobleman, for a long series of years, stood high in the confidence, both of the King and Queen:
RECENT BIOGRAPHICAL WORKS.
MEMOIRS OF John DUKE OF MARLBOROUGH; WITH HIS
ORIGINAL CORRESPONDENCE : COLLECTED FROM THE FAMILY RECORDS, &c. AT BLENHEIM, AND OTHER AUTHENTIC SOURCES. ILLUSTRATED WITH PORTRAITS, MAPS, AND MILITARY PLANS. BY WILLIAM Cox, M. A. F.R.S. F.S. A, ARCHDEACON OF Wilts. 3 vols. 4to. 1818-19.
This splendid work, partly composed under the auspices of the late Duke of Marlborough, is dedicated to the present, who has recently afforded a proof of his veneration to the hero of these volumes, by assuming the name and arms of Churchill.
It is no less surprising than true, that until now, no regular authentic biography of the great John Duke of Marlborough has made its appearance, notwithstanding materials, both original and authentic, have ever existed in great abundance. Sarah, his surviving Duchess, was always anxious that a tribute of this kind should be paid to the memory of her consort, and, long before her death, collected and compiled numerous materials for a life of the most splendid military character of that age. To Glover, and Mallet, she entrusted her manu
cripts, and assigned by will, the sum of 1000l., as a compensation for their literary labours. One condition however was sufficient to deter any prudent man from such an arduous task: viz., “ that the work should be approved by her executors ;” another, of a different nature, might have been easily complied with: “ that it should not contain a single line of verse."
On the death of the two gentlemen, alluded to above, the papers were restored to the family; and, having been once more deposited at Blenheim, were regularly arranged, by order of the late Duke. An accidental conversation with Lord Charles Spenser, led to an application to his father for permission to examine these documents; and a nearer view of this rich collection strengthened the wish of our author to become the biographer of their distinguished ancestor.
“My object was,” observes he in the preface," not merely to exhibit the Duke of Marlborough as a general, but also as a statesman, and a negotiator. It was no less my wish to de lineate his character as a man, and to exhibit those qualities of his mind, and heart, which have either been misrepresented, or passed without notice.
“ In fulfilling my task, I have endeavoured to avoid an error, too common with biographers, who often hold forth the subject of their memoirs as a perfect being, like a lover of romance, without frailty or blemish. On the contrary, I have not hesitated to bring to light those feelings with which the virtues, and the talents of the Duke of Marlborough were blended. In particular, I have not attempted to conceal or palliate his clandestine correspondence with his former sovereign and benefactor. This intercourse, although misrepresented, and exaggerated in the garbled pages of Macpherson and Dalrymple, is an historical fact, too well authenticated to be either controverted or denied. I have, however, scrutinised his views and motives, and I trust have shown that he never entertained a serious wish for the return of James II. or the pretender; but that in common with many other persons of all ranks and
conditions he was merely anxious to secure pardon in case of a counter-revolution.
- In the materials to which I have recourse,” adds he, spon after, “ I may deem myself particularly fortunate. Nothing
I perhaps shows the character of an individual, and his true motives of action, more than his confidential letters, which were neither expected or intended to meet the public eye. Of this kind is the greater part of the Duke's correspondence, consisting principally of his private communications, with the Duchess and the Treasurer.
To bring therefore, these memoirs, as nearly as possible, to that species of biography which is at once the most interesting and instructive; I have endeavoured to render him his own historian, by adopting, on every important occasion, his unaffected and expressive language, and blending the correspondence with the narrative.”
It might be deemed tedious here, to enumerate either the various persons, or the mass of authentic documents, applied to and perused by Mr. Coxe. No author has ever been more fortunate, in respect to this most essential article.
He traces the Churchill family from the period of the conquest, Roger de Courcil, or Courselle, a Norman Baron, who accompanied William, being originally descended from the Courcils of Poitou. This chief, appears to have been liberaly rewarded for his valour, by certain grants of land ; and his descendants, at the time of the unhappy civil wars, took part with Charles I. against the parliament.
John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, was the second son of Sir Winston Churchill, Knight, who had suffered greatly during the civil wars, by siding with Charles I. He was born at Ashe, on the 24th of June, 1650; and his elder brother, Winston, having died in his infancy, he of course became heir to the declining fortunes of this ancient house. In respect to his education, it is only known that the illustrious subject of this memoir was brought up under the care of his father, who was himself a man of letters, and well versed in history. He was also, for a time, instructed in the rudiments of human knowledge by a neighbouring clergyman, after which, he was