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present ministers, for their nomination of Mr. Rose, jun. to execute a certain special mission to the United States of America. The manner in which the writer of the article in question has discussed the point, shews that his zeal has outstripped his prudence, otherwise he would not have committed the credit of his party so egregiously as to publish the names of the persons who were selected to fill the situations of our residents abroad, and to challenge his contemporaries to dispute their talents and capa. city. It certainly is not judicious to provoke an investigation of this kind, unless the writer is sure that his favourites are without blemish, or, in other words, that they are sufficiently accomplished to go through, without derogation, the ordeal of a public scrutiny. But this is the concern of the partizan, not ours; and if he will voluntarily expose his friends to the lash of criticism, h: must not complain of the chastisement that is inflicted upon him, since he himself has put the rod into our hands. I shall apply the touchstone of truth to the fallacies contained in this laboured article of the Morning Chronicle ; and, indeed, it is a duty which I owe to myself to expose thein in a proper light, because, at the period of those diplomatic appointments, I was, I believe, the only writer who denounced them to the public.
Before we proceed, it will not be irrelevant to remind the reader of the letter that Í addressed to the late Mr. Fox, upon the appointment of our foreign ministers, in the 13th number of the first volume of this work. I had adverted to the same sub. ject during the life of Mr. Pitt ;* and when “All the Talents” took upon
themselves the management of our affairs, after the death of the Great Patriot, it was natural to expect, that men of such high promise would be particular in detaching a portion of those talents to represent us at foreign courts. Anxious for the honour and character of our country, both of which I apprehended would suffer under such a partycoloured piece of Mosaic as the late ministry, I did not hesitate to remonstrate with Mr. Fox, for the want of judgment and respect towards the feelings, both of this nation and of foreign countries, which he had displayed, in the appointments of Mr. Adair, (whom I shall no longer call Bobby Adair) of lord Douglas, and of Mr. Erskine, not forgetting the precious choice of Jemmy Green to the consulate of Morocco. At the time when the several animadversions were written, the party might have justified the wisdom and patriotism of their leader, if they had been justifiable; for they were fairly and openly challenged. But, whether these gentlemen were so conscious of their weak side, or whether they were so busied in striving each man to secure for himself a slice of the good things which had devolved to the party by the death of the great statesman who had controlled their insatiable propensities, it is most certain that the challenge was never accepted, that the appointments passed on their part sub silentio, and that we considered ourselves as the undisputed masters of the field. This, however, our opponents are not willing to allow, and, therefore, they revive the controversy, in the false hope that our former reasonings have sunk into oblivion, or that a change of ministry will necessarily occasion a change also in the estimation which the people had before entertained of public characters. But this is a mistaken hope. The same causes which provoked the public indignation at the appointment of such men, operate with equal force to strengthen their reflections now. The times, indeed, are altered, but the men remain, and they would have remained unnoticed, if it had not been for this ill-judged attempt to extol the reputation of a censured and degraded ministry, who, for endeavouring to split the vessel against a rock, are happily put under the hatches. As long, however, as I can wield a pen, that constellation of state enipirics shall not attempt to creep once upon deck without an effort, on my part, to thrust them down again ; and this object cannot be better attained, than by a manly exposure of their quackeries, ignorance, and follies. Let us begin in the north.
According to the Morning Chronicle, the marquis Douglas, who was chosen by Mr. Fox to be our minister at the court of St. Petersburg, was better fitted than any other man in the united empire for that situation, on account not only of his rank, but also of his talents and splendid acquirements. To the rank of his lordship no exception is made, and it is extremely edifying to see the Chronicle advert with reve. rence to hereditary nobility, as entitled to a preference in the enjoyment of important
offices in the state, especially when we recollect that it was not wont, a few yea's ago, to treat this branch of our political establishment with much respect. But he may be permitted, I hope, to remark, that, though talents and splendid acquire. ments shine with greater lustre when attached to hereditary rank, yet they are not necessarily the effects of that rank. It is a fair presumption, that they who are gifted with opulence, ease, and leisure, should possess great acquiremenis, because their means are proportionally greaier than other men's; but as to talents, they spring up. indifferently, from a dunghill as well as a cultivated garden. Of the wonderful en dowments of lord Douglas, however, no one had ever heard a syllable, until the Morning Chronicle blazoned forth his praises in March, 1806, in the following strain. * Lord Douglas, with the advantage of being the representative of one of the first families in Europe, is a man who has turned his attention to foreign affairs, and knows the character and manners of foreign courts. The marquis of Douglas, had he chosen that sphere, would have been one of the best speakers in parliament, and we have no doubt that he will discharge the duties of a foreign minister with honour to himself, and advantage to his country.” Such was the character given to his lordship by his friends. As I happened to be abroad at the very time that bis lordship was, and to fall into some of the societies which he frequented, it was natural that I should feel a considerable degree of surprise on reading so high a pane. gyric, especially as it differed materially from the representations that I had heard made by foreigners respecting him. Accordingly, I could not refrain from observ. ing, that if, as the Chronicle stated, the noble lord had only turned his attention, and not constantly fixed it upon our foreign relations ; if he had not deeply studied human nature, and made the science of public law the foundation of such knowledge ; 11 his travels over foreign countries had merely consisted, to use lord Chesterfield's admi: rable words, in counting the mile stones; and if he had explored the characters and manners of foreign courts in the coteries of women of fashion only, or in the conter. sationes of the cognoscenti ; his lordship would do better to remain at home, “ for the honour of himself, and the advantage of his country.” And, as to the other ground of recommendation, that his lordship would have been one of the best speukers in parliament, if he had chosen the line of a parliament-man, it was answered, that the best speaker in parliament might be one of the worst negociators out of it; " for I think with Old Hodge, that great talkers do the least ye see,” and with another grave old gentleman, a great negociator in his day, who said, that discretion in speech is more than cloquerce ; and to speak agreeally to him with whom we deal, is more than to speak in good words, or in good order."*
These, then, were the qualifications of lord Douglas, as recorded in the Morning Chronicle; and, from all the information that I can collect, the display of his abilities has been equal to the expectations which might have been formed fron such qualifications. I do not deny the merits of his lordship; on the contrary, I am willing to acknowledge all, and more than what has been stated in ile party paper ; but it is not unreasonable to require some proofs of these great talents having been properly applied. Hitherto we have seen none. Whence it may be interred, that those who censured the late ministry for appointing his lordship to take a distinguished part upaa a stage that was the most troubled and important which Europe had ever witnessed, do not deserve those reproaches which the writer in the Chronicle has so profusely 2vished upon them. But the zeal of this writer has furnished us with an irresistiba weapon of offence against his own arguments. He admits, that lord Douglas is remarkable for certain singularities, but these, hie philosophically tells us, have no iuftence upon the principles, or general character of the man. This is a novel doctrine, the absurdity of which will be best exposed by plain allusions. If it be granted that
* Lord Bacon. Nothing can be more entertaining than the ceremonious account which lord Bacon gives of the conference between the foreign embassadors and the ministers of Henry the seventh.-See his life of that prince. No one has written so well as lord Chesterfield upon the qualifications of a foreign minister ; but by compa. ring his ietters with the essays of lord Bacon, the reader will find, that there is scarcely a new idea in lord Chesterfield relative to the rules of prudeuce, and of conduct is public life.
none among us is without some particularities, it does not follow, that we are all remarkable for singularities; and I conceive, an odd fish should be the last upon earth whom we ought to select to represent the nation abroad, where the rules of decorum prescribe, that the representive, without forgetting the dignity of his character or his duties, should conform, as much as possible, to the habits of the court to which he is sent; or, as lord Chesterfield expresses it, when at Rome, to do as Rome does. Much depends upon the exteriour qualities of a foreign minister ; and, therefore, if he cannot divest himself of singularities, which, in defiance of the most splendid interiour endowments, must reuder him ridiculous in society, he ought not to be entrusted with a foreign mission. For when the representative of a country is looked upon with derision, when he is considered as a burlesque representation of the majesty of a state, the state itself incurs the risk of falling into contempt. If Algernon Sydney had followed the advice of Oliver Cromwell, when he was sent ambassador from the commonwealth to the king of Sweden, he would never have been able to have effected the purpose entrusted to his
Iu one of his official dispatches to Sidney, Oliver the saint instructs him, “in the midst of the most solemn and interesting part of a conference with the ministers whom he may have to deal with, to run into a corner, and, have a little talk with the Lord, which he would find marvellously refreshing, and a great help to business."* Sidney neglected the admonition, and, without being singular compelled the victorious Swede to raise the siege of Copenhagen.
There is a wide distinction between particularities and singularities, the former of which are not always observable ; but the latter are invented for the express purpose of observation. For instance, wlien I sit down in my study, to prepare my review for the press, there are two requisites necessary, without which, my pen is sure to lag ; these are, a favourite chair or tripod, and my snuff-box stationed close by the inkstand. Now these are particularities, frivolous in themselves, which no one was acquainted with until this day, and which I can, and do often dispense with, especially when I am from home. But, whenever I appear abroad, if, instead of dressing myself as other men do, I should rig my carcase with histrionick buskips, and display a tail as thick and as long as the tail of a kangaroo, it is most certain that I should be the laughing-stock of all my countrymen : and, if they should turn me into ridicule, what may not be expected from foreigners, at the sight of such an human baboon, exhibiting himself in their country ? Suppose when general Andreossy went to St. James's, as the ambassador froin France, that he had appeared in a red cap, with his neck bare, à la guillotine, and in a pair of half boots, without stockings, as I have, seen some of the mad-caps of the French legislature habiled, what would the court have thought of such a singular animal ?-Why both the collared gentry and the sunscủllottes would have taken him for a devil, the representative of the great devil, notwithstanding that every one of them might have known that he was a man of irreproachable character, a profound mathenatician, and the best writer in the world upon the subject of a canal. Again, it is possible, that one day or other, we may send to a foreign court, remarkable for etiquette, a minister of vast acquirements, and endowed also with a handsome leg and thigh. If it should happen, that this distinguished personage should prize himself more upon the symmetry of his leg, than upon the furniture of his upper works, and take it into his cranium to go to court in a smart pair of white leather breeches, and hussar boots, of the Bond-street çut, what consternation would such violation of the established rules of etiquette create, among a circle of princes, princesses, counts, countesses, barons, and baronesses, every one of whom could trace their genealogy for centuries back; to Pelig, grandson of Salah, who was the grandson of Noah! Could we wonder that such an ambassador should ever after go by the name of p. Leg? Another case: Whenever I go. to town, I am almost certaią of meeting, at the west end of it, north of Oxford-street, a gentleman, who, from his dress, and the episcopal rotundity of his wig, I take to be a dignified clergyman. As he walks along, I have observed his head in constant motion, and in a direction different from that of his body. Every step he takes, the head, beginning at the chin, making a jerk upwards, describes the quadrant of a circle, not unlike the heads of the little Chinese mandarins, which were formerly
See Milton's State Papers, and Hollis's life of Sidmey,
stationed over the chimney pieces of our thrifty housewives of the old yeomanry school, and which, once touched, would bob up and down and round about for half an hour together. If it were not for the general appearance of this gentleman, and especially the three-cornered hat upon the wig, I should certainly have taken him for some member of the whig club, whose neck had fortunately slipped through a noose, and that the recollection of the unpleasant sensation, had occasioned that sympathetic, perpetual motion, which I have so often noticed and admired. I distinguish this action by the name of singularity, because, learned doctors, whom I have consulted upon the occasion, tell me, that no cutaneous, or paralytic affection, will occasion such an everlasting oscillation of the head. If, therefore, my surmise be just, that the person I allude to is actually a divine, and that he is distinguished by this singularity in the pulpit, his parishioners, I apprehend, must possess a great command of their muscles, as long as he remains in it. I could produce many other instances of singularity, but these will suffice to shew, that this quality is 110 recommendation of a man's character, much less of that of a diplomatic person, What the singularities are which adorn the character of lord Douglas, the Chronicle has not thought proper to inform its readers ; but, it is clear, if they be at all similar to any of those which have been described above, that they could not fail to render his lordship an object of ridicule in a foreign court. It has been very generally whispered that these singularities did occasion some inconvenience, and report goes so far as to say, some loss to his lordship. However, the public will learn, with pleasure, that his lordship’s tongue has not been excised, and that, after his travels of discovery over the wilds of Siberi?, and the steppes of the vast Russian empire, he may, on his return to this country, choose the sphere of an oralor, and be, in the dialect of the Chronicle,
one of the best speakersin parliament.” In that case it is to be hoped that he will leave his singularities in the country where they baye afforded so much diversion ; for though John Bull is so fond of humour that he will, with his wonted good nature, tolerate any species of drollery, yet he cannot endure any thing forced or unnatural.
With respect of the animadversions that were made upon Mr. Adair's appointment, they were, in my opinion, conclusive; and I do not hesitate even now to repeat, the circunistance alleged against his appointment to fill a diplomatic capacity, was sufficient to have disqualified him. But, it may be said, the present ministry retain him in his official employment, which fact is, alone, a sufficient proof that they are satisfied with him. To this I answer, that it is an argument only, and no proof. For aught I know, the present administration may be satisfied with him, or, from a motive of state complacency, they may judge it expedient to let him remain at the court of Vienna: ard the last motive seems to be the fact, for, according to the Morning Chronicle, he is continued solely at the particular request of that court. The circumstance has afforded to the Chronicle an opportunity for exultation; and, no doubt, it is a just ground of triumph, in which every honest Briton may participate. It is a very pleasing reflection, that we have a minister, though a member of the whig club, who has made himself respected abroad ; and when we consider how this nation has been represented, for some years past, upon the continent, the distinguished approbation conferred upon the character of Mr. Adair, is truly consoling. But this agreeable circumstance, does not, in the least, invalidate our original ground of exception to that gentleman's appointment by Mr. For. The people had not forgotten the clandestine mission of Mr. Adair to Petersburg, for the treacherous design of counteracting the views of his majesty's government, and of giving to a factious leader a momentary advantage over his political adversary. The success of that pernicious stratagem, the civilized world feels at this day. It is notorious that Mr. Adair was the secret agent whom Mr. Fox employed upon that occasion ; that he was commissioned too without the knowledge of the confidential associates of Mr: Fox, to betray and frustrate the policy of the British minister, than which, no act could more fully prove that the welfare of their country was a matter of subordinate consideration to them, when placed in competition with the defeat of a political rival. What honest man could reflect upon that base transaction, and dissemble his anxieties and his indignation at the nomination of Mr. Adair to the embassy at Vienna, the moment that Mr. Fox was invested with power? Did not their previous intrigue justify suspicion of their future conduct, especially when Mr. Fox did not disguise that the present was a war of wanton ag.
gression on our part against France? We contemplated this appointment both retrospectively and prospectively; and, dreading the future from our experience of the past, we said that our country's interests might be committed. What I wrote upon that occasion, I glory in repeating here; and I challenge the Morning Chronicle to adduce the shadow of an argument against the propriety of my reasonings. The most glaring and indecent act of impropriety, I observed,* the greatest aitiont to public opinion, next to the appointment of Alexander Davison to the treasurership of the ordnance,t is the act of sending Mr. Robert Adair to the court of Vienna, in the character of minister plenipotentiary from this country. I call it an act of impropriety, because when we refer to Mr. Adair's previous diplomatic excursion to Petersburg, and reflect by whose authority, and with whose instructions he went thither, it is an high insult to the public spirit of the country, and an indignity to our sovereign. Is Britain descended so low in the comparison with foreign countries, that the person selected by our secretrary for foreign affairs, as the fittest to fill a most important, and, at this time, arduous situation, is a man whom Mr. Burke branded with the charge of having committed "an high-treasonable misdemeanor," and whom no one ever heard of, except under the names of Bobby Adair, the balf letter writer, and the representative of Mr. Fox at the court of St. Petersburg ? This last circumstance is a most weighty aggravation of the indignity cast upon this nation by the selection of this particular man; and that my readers may enter fully into this opinion, that they inay see the nature and characters of the men who are managing our interests at home and abroad, that they may have a full-length portrait of this accomplished plenipo, this bantling of rank, weight, and talents, I request their attention to the following extract from Mr. Burke's “ Observations on the conduct of the Minority," « The laws and constitution of the kingdom, entrust the sole and exclusive right of treating with foreign potentates to the king. This is an undisputed part of the legal prerogative of , the crown. However, notwithstanding this, Mr. Fox, without the knowledge or participation of any one person in the House of Commons, with whom he was bound, by every party principle in matters of delicacy and importance, confidentially to come municate, thought proper to send Mr. Adair as his representative, and with his cypher, to St. Petersburg, there to frustrate the objects for which the minister from the crown was authorized to treat. He succeeded in this, his design, and did actually frustrate the king's minister in some of the objects of his negociation; This proceed. ing of Mr. Fox does not (as I conceive) amount to absolute high treason, Russia, though on bad terms, not having been then declaredly at war with this kingdom.-Bat such a proceeding is, in law, not very remote from that offence; and is, undoubtedly, a most unconstitutional act, and a high-treasonable misdemeanor. The legitimate and sure mode of communication between this nation and foreign powers, is rendered uncertain, precarious, and treacherous, by being divided into two channeis, one with the government, one with the head of a party, in opposition to that gweroment; by which means the foreign powers can never be assured of the real authority or validity of any public transaction whatsoever. On the other hand, the advantage taken of the discontent which at that time prevailed in parliament, and in the nation, to give to an individual an influence directly against the government of his country, in a foreign court, has made a highway into England for the intrigues of foreign courts in our afairs. This is a sore.evil; an evil from which, before this time, England was more free than any other nation. Nothing can preserve us from that evil, which connects cabinet factions abroad with popular factions here, but the keeping sacred the crown, as the only channel of communication with
These were the strong grounds which led reflecting persons to feel a just alarm at Mr. Adair's appointment, and to remonstrate against it as an act of gross eífrontery on the part of Mr. Fox. In these exceptions, nothing personal was meant against
* See No. 27, of the 1st volume. + By the bye, I hear nothing more about the prosecution of this delinquent. I have been hitherto silent from a regard to justice. But if, upon inquiry, I should find that the long fingers of the law cannat, or will not, be outstretched to overtake him, I shall feel myself bound to resume my criticisms upon his adventures.