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viz., Pondicherry, Chandenagore, Cochin, Martinico, &c., all cessions. Not they,_they are all so many traps and holes to catch this silly fellow in, and make a merchant of him ! I really think the best way upon this principle would be this :- let the merchants of London open a public subscription, and set him up at once. I hear a great deal respecting a certain statue about to be erected to the right honourable gentleman (Mr. Pitt) now in my eye, at a great expense.
Send all that money over to the First Consul, and give him, what you talk of so much, Capital, to begin trade with. I hope the right honourable gentleman over the way will, like the First Consul, refuse a statue for the present, and postpone it as a work to posterity. There is no harm, however, in marking out the place. The right honourable gentleman is musing, perhaps, on what square, or place, he will choose for its erection. I recommend the Bank of England. Now for the material. Not gold : no, no !-he has not left enough of it. I should, however, propose papier maché and old bank-notes !"
A few extracts from the speech of Mr. Sheridan upon the Additional Force Bill,--the only occasion on which he seems to have spoken during the year 1804,—will show that the rarity of his displays was not owing to any failure of power, but rather, perhaps, to the increasing involvement of his circumstances, which left no time for the thought and preparation that all his public efforts required.
Mr. Pitt had, at the commencement of this year, condescended to call to his aid the co-operation of Mr. Addington, Lord Buckinghamshire, and other members of that adminstration, which had withered away, but a few months before, under the blight of his sarcasm and scorn. In alluding to this coalition, Sheridan says ?
“The right honourable gentleman went into office alone ;but, lest the government should become too full of vigour from his support, he thought proper to beckon back some of the weakness of the former administration. He, I suppose, thought that the ministry became, from his support, like spirits above proof, and required to be diluted; that, like gold refined to a certain degree, it would be unfit for use without a certain mix. ture of alloy ; that the administration would be too brilliant
and dazzle the House, unless he called back a certain part of the mist and fog of the last administration to render it tolerable to the eye. As to the great change made in the ministry by the introduction of the right honourable gentleman himself, I would ask, does he imagine that he came back to office with the same estimation that he left it? I am sure he is much mistaken if he fancies that he did. The right honourable gentleman retired from office because, as was stated, he could not carry an important question, which he deemed necessary to satisfy the just claims of the Catholics; and in going out he did not hesitate to tear off the sacred veil of majesty, describing his sovereign as the only person that stood in the way of this desirable object. After the right honourable gentleman's retirement, he advised the Catholics to look to no one but him for the attainment of their rights, and cautiously to abstain from forming a connection with any other person. But how does it appear, now that the right honourable gentleman is returned to office? He declines to perform his promise ; and has received, as his colleagues in office, those who are pledged to resist the measure. Does not the right honourable gentleman then feel that he comes back to office with a character degraded by the violation of a solemn pledge, given to a great and respectable body of the people, upon a particular and momentous occasion ? Does the right honourable gentleman imagine either that he returns to office with the same character for political wisdom, after the description which he gave of the talents and capacity of his predecessors, and after having shown by his own actions, that his description was totally unfounded ?"
In alluding to Lord Melville's appointment to the Admiralty,
“But then, I am told, there is the First Lord of the Admiralty,—' Do you forget the leader of the grand Catamaran project? Are you not aware of the important change in that department, and the advantage the country is likely to derive from that change ? Why, I answer, that I do not know of any pe culiar qualifications the noble lord has to preside over the Admiralty; but I do know, that if I were to judge of him from the kind of capacity he evinced while Minister of War, I should entertain little hopes of him. If, however, the right honourable gentleman should say to me, “Where else would you put
that noble lord, would you have him appointed War-Minister again?' I should say, Oh no, by no means,—I remember too well the expeditions to Toulon, to Quiberon, to Corsica, and to Holland, the responsibility for each of which the noble lord took on himself, entirely releasing from any responsibilty the Commander-in-chief and the Secretary at War. I also remem. ber that which, although so glorious to our arms in the result, I still shall call a most unwarrantable project,—the expedition to Egypt. It may be said, that as the noble lord was so unfit for the military department, the naval was the proper place for him. Perhaps there were people who would adopt this whimsical reasoning. I remember a story told respecting Mr. Garrick, who was once applied to by an eccentric Scotchman, to introduce a production of his on the stage. This Scotchman was such a good-humoured fellow, that he was called 'Honest Johnny M'Cree.' Johnny wrote four acts of a tragedy, which he showed to Mr. Garrick, who dissuaded him from finishing it; telling him that his talent did not lie that way; so Johnny abandoned the tragedy, and set about writing a comedy. When this was finished, he showed it to Mr. Garrick, who found it to be still more exceptionable than the tragedy, and of course could not be persuaded to bring it forward on the stage. This surprised poor Johnny, and he remonstrated.
Nay, now, David' (said Johnny), 'did you not tell me that my talents did not lie in tragedy PYes' (replied Garrick), “but I did not tell you that they lay in comedy.'--' Then' (exclaimed Johnny),
gin they dinna lie there, where the de'il dittha lie, mon ?' Unless the noble lord at the head of the Admiralty has the same reasoning in his mind as Johnny M‘Cree, he cannot possibly suppose that his incapacity for the direction of the War department necessarily qualifies him for the presidency of the Naval. Perhaps, if the noble lord be told that he has no talents for the latter, his lordship may exclaim with honest Johnny M'Cree, Gin they dinna lie there, where the de'il dittha lie,
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The address to the Westminster electors which he delivered, at the Crown and Anchor Tavern, in declining the offer of support which many of them still pressed upon him, contains some of those touches of personal feeling which a biographer is more particularly bound to preserve. In speaking of Mr. Fox he said:
“ It is true there have been occasions upon which I have differed with him-painful recollections of the most painful moments of my political life! Nor were there wanting those who endeavoured to represent these differences as a departure from the homage which his superior mind, though unclaimed by him, was entitled to, and from the allegiance of friendship which our hearts all swore to him. But never was the genuine and confiding texture of his soul more manifest than on such occasions : he knew that nothing on earth could detach me from him; and he resented insinuations against the sincerity and integrity of a friend, which he would not have noticed had they been pointed against himself. With such a man to have battled in the cause of genuine liberty,—with such a man to have struggled against the inroads of oppression and corruption,---with such an example before me, to have to boast that I never in my life gave one vote in Parliament that was not on the side of freedom, is the congratulation that attends the retrospect of my public life. His friendship was the pride and honour of my days. I never, for one moment, regretted to share with him the difficulties, the calumnies, and sometimes even the dangers, that attended an honourable course. And now, reviewing my past political life, were the option possible that I should re-tread the path, I solemnly and deliberately declare that I would prefer to pursue the same course; to bear up under the same pressure ; to abide by the same principles; and to remain by his side an exile from power, distinction, and emolument, rather than be at this moment a splendid example of successful servility or prosperous apostasy, though clothed with power, honour, titles, gorged with sinecures, and lord of hoards obtained from the plunder of the people.”
At the conclusion of his address he thus alludes, with evidently a deep feeling of discontent, to the circumstances that had obliged him to decline the honour now proposed to him :
“Illiberal warnings have been held out, most unauthoritatively I know, that by persevering in the present contest I may risk my official situation; and if I retire, I am aware that minds, as coarse and illiberal, may assign the dread of that as my motive.
To such insinuations I shall scorn to make any other reply than a reference to the whole of my past political
I consider it as no boast to say, that any one who has struggled through such a portion of life as I have, without obtaining an office, is not likely to abandon his principles to re
tain one when acquired. If riches do not give independence, the next best thing to being very rich is to have been used to be very poor. But independence is not allied to wealth, to birth, to rank, to power, to titles or to honour. Independence is in the mind of a man or it is nowhere. On this ground, were I to decline the contest, I should scorn the imputation that should bring the purity of my purpose into doubt. No minister can expect to find in me a servile vassal. No minister can expect from me the abandonment of any principles I have avowed, or any pledge I have given. I know not that I have hitherto shrunk in place from opinions I have maintained while in opposition. Did there exist a minister of a different cast from any I know in being, were he to attempt to exact from me a different conduct, my office should be at his service tomorrow. Such a ministry might strip me of my situation, in some respects of considerable emolument, but he could not strip me of the proud conviction that I was right; he could not strip me of my own self-esteem; he could not strip me, I think, of some portion of the confidence and good opinion of the people. But I am noticing the calumnious threat I allude to more than it deserves. There can be no peril, I venture to assert, under the present government, in the free exercise of discretion, such as belongs to the present question. I therefore disclaim the merit of putting anything to hazard. If I have missed the opportunity of obtaining all the support I might, perhaps, have had on the present occasion, from a very scrupulous delicacy, which I think became and was incumbent upon me, but which I by no means conceive to have been a fit rule for others, I cannot repent it. While the slightest aspiration of breath passed those
lips, now closed for ever,—while one drop of life's blood beat in that heart, now cold for ever,I could not, I ought not, to have acted otherwise than I did. I now come with a very embarrassed feeling to that declaration which I yet think you must have expected from me, but which I make with reluctance, because, from the marked approbation I have experienced from you, I fear that with reluctance you will receive it, I feel myself under the necessity of retiring from this contest."
About three weeks after ensued the dissolution of Parliament,
-a measure attended with considerable unpopularity to the ministry, and originating as much in the enmity of one of its members to Lord Sidmouth, as the introduction of that noble