« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
there emerges that alliance between Shaftesbury, the Xonconformists, the disaffected, and William of Orange which was of such importance later. Shaftesbury presently gave this point by arming his household ostensibly against the Papists, and later seeking refuge in the City with an Anabaptist preacher. Thence he was ordered to his estates in the country by the King, and shortly before the session of 1074 deprived of his offices.143 When that session began he was the leader of the opposition, and with this a new chapter in affairs began.
The party which had found a spokesman in Bristol and a minister in Buckingham, now, driven from power, secured a leader in Shaftesbury, who united against the Anglican minister, Danby, the elements of national discontent, the Parliamentary opposition, and Protestant nonconformity. In this larger body, the Country Party, later the Whigs, the group we have here discussed was, for the most part, absorbed. The issues for which they had striven were modified in the presence of greater interests. The fate of Shaftesbury, his followers and his successors, belongs to another chapter of English history. But in that struggle some of the men we have described played a part. Lord Howard of Escrick again appeared in the ignoble character of informer, contributing to the fate of his kinsman, Strafford, as well as to that of Algernon Sidney, who, with Lord Russell, found an end of all his strivings on the scaffold. 144 Others played less conspicuous though perhaps not less important parts in the later tragedies. Blood, indeed, was dead before the agitation over the Exclusion Bill and the ensuing disturbances, which would have given his peculiar talents such an excellent field, took place. But when the Earl of Argyle fled from Scotland in 1681, in the first stage of his wanderings that ended in his rebellion, he found refuge first among the conventiclers of northern England and was guided thence to London by Blood's relative and companion in arms and conspiracies, Captain Lockyer.145 The Thomas Walcott, against whom Fitzgerald gave evidence in 1670-1671, was executed for a share in the Rye House Plot. When Monmouth led his illfated forces in his last throw for the crown it was the “ turbulent and Christie (Life of Shaftesbury, II. 197-198, and rote), who rejects, the story. The connection between Shaftesbury and this party, like that of Buckingham, is, and must be, obscure. But it seems to me wholly probable. It is difficult to agree with those who see in it anything inconsistent with Shaftesbury's character
Restoration standards, circumstances and methods were not like our own, and it serves no good purpose to Bowdlerize them.
143 Macpherson, State Papers, I. 74; Christie, Shaftesbury, II. 197-198; cf. also Cal. St. P. Dom., 1671, pp. 562-563.
14 Dict. Vat. Biog.
town of Taunton" that gave them the warmest reception and paid the heaviest price for its devotion to that hopeless cause.146 In all of those events, in Argyle's rebellion, among the men who followed Shaftesbury to Oxford, in the plots against Charles, the Monmouth rebellion and the invasion of William, were found survivors of these earlier activities. When Titus Oates and Israel Tonge sought material for their monstrous fabrication of the Popish Plot it was in the stories of these early revolutionary movements they found no small part of the detail which lent verisimilitude to their information. Conceived in the same spirit, and in not dissimilar terms they raised the Popish Terror on the same foundations that had previously supported the Nonconformist Terror. Shaftesbury and his followers thus found ready to their hands the same weapon so long and so effectively used against them, and sensible of its value from their own experience, they seized it eagerly, wielding it against their opponents as vigorously and successfully as it had once been used against them. Even in the plots that brought Essex to suicide and Sidney and Russell to the scaffold we find the persistent story of the Council of Six, meeting at the Green Ribbon Club in the King's Head Tavern,147 a mystic number at least as old in the history of conspiracy as Tonge and his Council of Six which met at the Wheatsheaf twenty years before. Thus, though many of the old revolutionaries had passed away before those stirring times, those who remained acted generally in accordance with their older character. Above all, the party and tradition on which they depended formed not the least powerful element in those great agitations. Such a study as this must, of necessity, be more or less obscure and unsatisfactory. But without some account of an element whose aims changed in expression but not in strength or direction between the beginning and the end of the Restoration period, no picture of that time can be complete. Above all, such a study may help to restore that sense of continuity between revolution and revolution which has so long been lacking, to the great detriment of a proper understanding of that period.148
W. C. ABBOTT. 116 Macaulay, History of England, I. 510, note, 520 ; cf. also Fea, King Monmouth.
147 Pollock, Popish Plot, pp. 237, 334.
149 It has not been possible to insert in this article the great amount of material on the subject existing in manuscript in the Journals of the Privy Council in the Public Record Office in London. The information there given would add much to the details of this account but would hardly affect the general conclusions. It is hoped that such parts of this as are not covered here may be included in a later study. Owing to an oversight references to the Dublin Plot from the Calendars of State Papers, Ireland, were unfortunately omitted in the first part of this study which appeared in this Review for April. Such references will be found under the appropriate dates in the volume for 1663– 1665, pp. 100-265 passim.
CHATHAM belongs not only to the English race, but to the English race as a whole—to the English race in the length and breadth of its dispersion throughout the world. Other statesmen have been more judicious, more temperate, more simple-minded. It is the glory of Chatham that he possessed an eye which swept the full horizon, a greatness of soul which raised him above insular prejudice and pride. Let us not deify the Anglo-Saxon breed. But such as it is, and in so far as it cherishes a certain community of sentiment, Chatham's deeds and aspirations are an indivisible part of its inheritance. The farther its activities extend the higher will mount his reputation, since the three things for which he strove were the freedom of the English, their greatness and their unity.
It is true that one can find little edification in the methods by which Pitt fought for promotion to the cabinet. Nor are his speeches free from rants that suggest the more turgid outbursts of Marlowe. By act and word he showed himself devoid of humor. He does not escape the sarcasm which Persius flings at those who love popular applause-pulchrum est digito monstrari. He could adopt an air of insufferable superiority. Histrionic by temperament it was difficult for him not to mingle passions that were simulated with those that were sincere.
But Chatham's failings are of a type which suggests regret rather than reprobation. Indeed modern pathology affords us a better key to his disposition than was possessed by earlier critics. It has been said that " There was never yet philosopher who could endure the toothache patiently", and every day we accept physical infirmity in explanation of an uncertain temper. But when organic disease stretches its victim upon the rack, the spectator can no longer stop short at an indulgent forbearance. His active sympathy is aroused, and the greater the talents which are impaired the deeper will be the pity. Now Sir Andrew Clark has said of Chatham: “Suppressed gout disordered the whole nervous system, and drove him into a state of mental depression, varying with excitement and equivalent to insanity. But there was no specific brain disease.”
"A paper read before the American Historical Association at Richmond on December 30, 1908.
AM. HIST. KEV., VOL. XIV.--47. ( 723 )
If Chatham's nerves were subject to constant irritation from the derangements of his body, he was no less unfortunate in another circumstance which affected his public actions. I refer to the fact that the English people did not then choose their own Prime Minister. Hence for Pitt a long and painful ascent to power.
The Reverend Francis Thackeray could shut his eyes to any blemish. Less hardy admirers of Chatham cannot but admit that in his dealings with the Pelhams he fell far below his best. To be more explicit, he displayed an eagerness in his quest for office which was equal to that of his competitors. The king disliked him, for though a Whig he was a frondeur. There was a further obstacle in that
. he did not belong to the narrow circle of the Whig oligarchy. Thus at a time when the masses were unable to give him direct, decisive support, he ran his race under a great handicap. I think it cannot be shown that in his quest of power he compromised his principles on any fundamental issue. His worst sins were a willingness to enter mixed and warring coalitions, the employment of factious opposition to enhance his importance, and lack of dignity in asking others for their support. It is sad that only by adopting pushful methods could he break through the cordon of prejudice which opposed him. Essentially, however, he was an idealist. He cared nothing for money, and if he coveted power it was that he might win fame by exalting his country.
After all, the dissection of character into merits and imperfections is an anatomical process. What should interest biographers most is psychic physiology. Now there are those who seem to demand that every great man should be a duplicate of Tennyson's King Arthur. In family life Chatham satisfies even this test, proving himself the "selfless man and stainless gentleman ". For the rest he came a little too late to take pattern in youth after Sir Charles Grandison. Perhaps this was not altogether a misfortune.
In any case one must refrain from drawing out the catalogue of qualities. Certain foibles and weaknesses have been mentioned, but not for the sake of ushering in that formal antithesis of vices and virtues which was once the fashion. If Chatham's limitations have been mentioned it is because they are conspicuously present; and furthermore because after the utmost allowance for them has been made, it is still clear that he possessed true loftiness and nobility of soul. To moral endowments above everything else he owed his standing and his power. I do not underrate the capacity which he displayed as an organizer of victory. But during the crisis of the Seven Years' War the inspiration he imparted was of more
service to England than any skill of strategy that he displayed. How much is summed up in the words “No one ever left Pitt's closet without feeling himself a braver man!”
Grounded in robustness of character was Chatham's eloquence, by which Fox was subdued and Murray cowed. Faults of taste his speeches might contain, but they possessed such impact as belong to no other utterances that have been delivered in the House of Commons. It was the rush of the philippic rather than the calm Olympic oratory which Pericles is said to have learned from Anaxagoras. But often in elevation of sentiment, of mood, Chatham's periods reached the up-in-the-clouds strain of the Athenian statesmen as Plutarch has described it-tlie μετεωρολογία και μεταρσιολεσχία of genius. His judgments rested on the broadest considerations which the case presented rather than on special or temporary circumstance. He is defining his own openness of outlook when he says: “ Oliver Cromwell, who astonished mankind by his intelligence, did not derive it from spies in every cabinet in Europe: he drew it from the Cabinet of his own sagacious mind."
When face to face with an idealist like Chatham we are bound to ask: Whence comes his idealism? From what streams does he quaff? On what spiritual food has his soul been nourished ? In this case a partial answer is supplied by Chatham's letters to his nephew with their enthusiastic commendation of Latin literature. Fortunately one need not be a great scholar to derive inspiration from classical antiquity. Keats found in Lemprière's Dictionary enough Hellenism to furnish forth his “ Ode on a Grecian Urn". Chatham, whose knowledge of Latin was most unscientific, managed somehow to imbibe a sense of hero-worship for the austere patriots of the Roman Republic. And to bring his idealism, his romanticism, into touch with England he added to Livy, Spenser. In the record of his life, I find few facts more significant than his sister's statement that the only thing he knew accurately was the Faerie Queene.
To the literary attainments just mentioned, and to his marvellous oratory, must be added Chatham's political creed. Dr. Johnson might call Whiggism the negation of all principle, but with Pitt it was not so. His conception of the state pointed to Aristotle's Rotteia, wherein public affairs are conducted by all for the general benefit. For him liberty postulated the right of the whole people to participate in the decision of national issues. Hence he advocated Parliamentary reform. Hence he was fain to feel that his best title to the tenure of power was that popular approval which