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the Catholic question was forbidden to be mentioned, and returning to it in 1804, under an express stipulation that no Member of the Government should agitate it contrary to the Royal inclination?

Was the promise that had been given only binding for two years? Was the secession from office a trick? Was the return to it a sacrifice-a sacrifice of honour and principle to the miserable gratification of place?

The death of Mr. Pitt threw Mr. Canning again into opposition, and no longer awed by the mightier genius and weightier authority of his master, he stood forward as a more prominent and powerful personage than he had hitherto appeared. On the breaking up of the Whig administration therefore, which could hardly have long existed if Mr. Fox had been spared, but which fell almost immediately to pieces on his dissolution, he re-entered office as a Member of the Cabinet and Minister of Foreign affairs.

In this situation he continued from this time until 1810, a period marked by our attack upon Copenhagen, our rupture with Russia, our fortunate intervention in Spain, and that melancholy expedition to the Scheldt, which hung during the years 1809 and 1810 over the debates in Parliament "like one of the dull fogs of that river."

In 1810 the fatal issue of the expedition to Walcheren and the negociation which had been secretly carrying on for the exclusion of Lord Castlereagh, occasioned a quarrel, decided by a duel between these two Ministers, which subsequently led to the resignation of both. It would be little worth while to recur to this now forgotten, and always, as far as the public were concerned, insignificant business. Lord Castlereagh acted as a vain and high-spirited man, who fancied his confidence betrayed-his abilities called in question; and who, like a true Irishman, saw but a short vista between an offence and a duel. Mr. Canning, equally high-spirited, felt that he had got into a disagreeable business, and that the fairest escape from it would be to fight his way out. Lord Castlereagh's conduct, when we think of a sober and wise statesman, is ridiculous. Mr. Canning's, when we picture to ourselves a high-minded and frank-hearted gentleman, in spite of the plausibility of his explanations, is displeasing. It becomes more so as we remember (after the failure in 1812 to form a united Cabinet) the embassy to Portugal; which, to say the least of it, placed the ex-minister in a situation of thankfulness and subserviency to the very man whose friendship he had violated, and whose incapacity for foreign affairs he had so peculiarly pointed out.

Mr. Canning's speech in answer to Mr. Lambton's, who made a motion on this subject, is perhaps the best he ever delivered. It is impossible even to read that speech without being borne along by the noble torrent of enthusiasm-the swelling tide of generous and haughty defiance which, disdaining subterfuge, courting investigation, burst from the passionate depths of the orator's eloquent indignation. Madame de Stael declared she would have been used as badly as Lady Byron to have been addressed by his Lordship's muse. There are many who have said with hardly greater exaggeration that they would be accused of Mr. Canning's crime as the price of having made his defence.

In 1818 he came again into power. It was a dark and troubled

period; a period of great private distress, so that the minds of men were bent with more acerbity than usual upon the redress of public grievances. The country borne down by debt, harassed by taxation, which had no longer for its excuse a monopoly of commerce, looked naturally enough to the source from which these calamities had flowed. They found the theory and the practice of the constitution at variance, and hearing they had a right to be taxed by their Representatives, they thought it hard and unjust that over the great majority of those who taxed them they had no control. Retrenchment and economy were what they required. Parliamentary Reform was the means of economy and retrenchment. Public meetings in favour of Parliamentary Reform were held; resolutions in favour of Parliamentary Reform were passed; petitions in favour of Parliamentary Reform were presented; the energies of a free people were aroused; great excitementor evailed. When a country is thus agitated, a Minister must resist with vigour, or yield with grace. Unjust and violent demands should be met with resistance-sober and legitimate requests with concession-weakly opposed, they are obtained by immediate violence; successfully refused, they are put off for a day-they are postponed for a week or a year; but they are not got rid of. Lord Castlereagh and Mr. Canning thought otherwise. The Habeas Corpus Bill was suspended-the Seditious Meeting Bill was passed-the lamentable affray-or, why palliate the expression?-the infamous massacre-at Manchester took place.

Mr. Canning defended his conduct in the House and out of it— that is to say, he made some bitter speeches in Parliament, and wrote three challenges, or demands for explanation. One to Mr. Hume, one to Sir Francis Burdett, and one to an anonymous pamphleteer. It was hard for liberty to have so ready and ruthless an antagonist: one who, not satisfied with those legitimate and classical weapons he was so well skilled to wield, forgot the days of " the Anti-jacobin," and pointed a pistol at every pen that was raised against him.

In 1820 the Qeeen returned to England, and Mr. Canning resigned his place in the Cabinet as President of the Board of Controul, and retired to the Continent. "His conduct on this occasion, according to universal consent, was marked by the most perfect correctness, and delicacy of feeling." Perhaps it was: we are not anxious to break a lance with Mr. Therry; but to us it does appear that a man of sound public principles, of high and honourable private feelings, had no middle course to take at that conjuncture.

Either the Queen of England was a guilty woman; she had draggled the high and royal rank she held, from which the honour of this country was inseparable, through the dirt in every Court in Europe; she was a disgrace to her exalted station; an unworthy consort to our Sovereign; a stain and blot upon our Court; shameless moreover as wanton, she had dared discovery and unblushingly solicited the exposure of her brutal amours; when she landed on the English shore, she stood before the people the very vilest of her sex ;-or she was the most persecuted and aggrieved of women. Will any one say that in the first instance it was the duty of a Minister of high station to desert the painful but responsible situation in which he stood, from any feeling of esteem or attachment to an individual so unworthy? In the other case, if Queen Caroline, as many believed,

and as Mr. Brougham solemnly swore that he believed, was innocent, was there any circumstance or consideration upon earth, the wreck of ambition, the loss of fortune, the fear of death, which should have induced an English gentleman, a man of honour, a man who had the feelings of a man, to leave a female whom he called "friend," beneath the weight of so awful an oppression? To us, we must confess, Mr. Canning's conduct on this occasion is one of the greatest blots we are acquainted with upon his public and private character, the almost unequivocal proof of a mind unused to the habit of taking sound and elevated views of human action.

The years 1821 and 1822 Mr. Canning spent abroad. On his return he was selected by the East India Company as GovernorGeneral of India; but Lord Castlereagh's melancholy termination of his existence took place, and he became once more Minister for Foreign affairs. This is the period which Mr. Stapylton may be said to have chosen for the commencement of "his Political Life," a work written with all the ability of a politician, but with all the partiality of a friend. Up to this time Mr. Canning had, through a long career, a career continued through nearly thirty years, been the forward and unflinching opponent of popular principles and concessions. He had never once shrunk from abridging the liberties of the subject; he had never once shown trepidation at any extraordinary powers demanded by the Crown. With his arms folded, and his looks erect, he had sanctioned without scruple the severest laws against the press; he had advocated the arbitrary imprisonment of the free citizen; he had eulogised the forcible repression of public meetings; he had constantly declared himself the determined opponent of Parliamentary Reform: the only one subject on which he professed liberal opinions (the Catholic Question), in corroboration of the theory we set out with, was precisely that subject to which the great bulk of the community was indisposed. Such had been the career-such was the character of Mr. Canning up to 1822. In 1827 he died-the Arch-Jacobin of Europe.

What were the doughty acts which procured him this fearful appellation?

The entry of the French troops into Spain was a new era in that war, which, as we have said before, has been carrying on since the Revolution of 1791 between Kings and the people. Our political interests, however, were in this instance decidedly opposed to the part we had formerly taken in the strife of opinions. The aggrandizement of France, and that spirit of military conquest by which she has been at all times distinguished, were almost as frightful to British eyes under the legitimate monarchy of the Bourbons as under the sway of the Directory, the Consul, or the Emperor. We would not that the French flag, whether white or tricolour, should float on the other side of the Pyrenees. Spain, moreover, was to English ears a name arousing peculiar feelings. It would have been impossible for any Minister to have sanctioned the French aggression; it would have been highly impolitic in him, not to have done all all at least which could be done by peaceful means-to arrest it. Mr. Canning, then, as Minister of Foreign affairs, was obliged, within forty-eight hours of his accession to office, to state the views and feelings of this country as decidedly hostile to a Spanish invasion. But this invasion

was based upon certain principles: against these principles, therefore, he found himself called to contend.

The speech from the French throne, intended to convey (according to the usual tactics of the French Chamber) one sense to France, another to the world, or those parts of the world where the different reading might be required, was still so inexplicable, except as a bold assertion of the divine right of Sovereigns, (an assertion flowing, let us remember en passant, from the present liberal of legitimacy, M. de Chateaubriand,) that Mr. Canning, who, whichever side he took, was not very guarded in his expressions, roundly stated that to the construction to which that speech was liable, and which it most naturally bore, he felt disgust and abhorrence. From that moment to the Emperors of Austria and Russia, to the Cabinet of Prussia, to the legitimates of Spain, Italy, and France, he was a liberal, a Jacobin, a Carbonaro, a regicide. As far as they were concerned, his character was cast, and if the Opposition in England had been satisfied, the Tories at home would already have begun not to feel discontented. Mr. Canning's disgust and abhorrence, however, were only vented in words. We do not blame him for this. A war with France would have been perfectly justifiable: perhaps Lord Heytesbury, by assuming a responsibility, for which events warranted him, did more than the world generally knows in preventing it: but a war not for Spain, but a party in Spain, however we might approve the principles of that party, would have been an imprudent and useless war. Still, in stopping short of going to war with France, it was the duty of our Government to do every thing which could diminish her power, or put a check upon her ambition. Hence the memorable declaration, which led afterwards to the recognition of those Colonies as independent States: "That the British Government felt itself called upon to state, that it considered the separation of the Colonies from Spain to have been effected to such a degree, that it would not tolerate for an instant any cession which Spain might make of Colonies over which she did not exercise a direct and positive influence."

This declaration did not proceed from any feelings in favour of liberty; it proceeded from political reasons only: not from a wish that the Colonies should possess free Governments of their own, but from a desire to prevent their possible subjection to the Government of France. The steps which followed were necessary consequences of this, and we have Mr. Canning's express authority for stating that the recognition of South America was no act of his sole and extraordinary liberality, but a measure of policy jointly concerted, and jointly agreed to by the united Cabinet of which he formed a part.

"I have not thought it necessary to dispute the assumptions of the Honourable and Learned Gentleman with respect to the state of the Cabinet; but one of his assertions I must deny. He has taken it for granted, that because on one interest the Cabinet, like the nation, is divided into two parts, whoever is against me as to the Catholic question, was equally against me as to the recognition of South America.-He is completely mistaken.-I beg to assure him, that the line that is fancifully drawn between the liberals and illiberals in the Cabinet, is not straight but serpentine; and that however easily that division as to the Catholic question may be traced, on others, to which the members are not pledged by habit, connection, or personal honour, I hope they bring minds fairly open to the arguments of their colleagues.”*

We now approach the affairs of Portugal. The free Constitution brought over by Sir Charles Stuart was necessarily a new offence against the unconstitutional Governments of Europe. They had engaged in a contest in favour of despotism. The recommendation of a Constitution, then, was almost like a declaration of war. Mr. Canning therefore found it necessary to explain, and he did explain that Sir C. Stuart had acted without his authority.

Still Sir C. Stuart remained without any mark of Ministerial displeasure, and he could hardly, therefore, be thought to have acted contrary to the Minister's inclinations. The form of Government to which we were inclined, since we had protested against putting down the old Government in Spain, it became the policy of the new Government of Spain to put down. But that could not be done without waging war upon Portugal, and Portugal we were bound by treaty to protect. Mr. Canning was obliged again to confront the Holy Alliance in the memorable speech, in which he announced the departure of our troops to Portugal he did so; and as he turned towards the benches beneath the gallery, his swelling voice, and his brandished arm and outstretched hand, seemed to defy the ministers of those sovereigns upon whom he threatened to let loose the indignation and vengeance of their subjects.-The character of the man overpowered the sense of his situation-the orator, anxious after immediate applause, forgot the minister balancing ulterior consequences. He spoke with vehemence, for with vehemence and bitterness he must speak, whether on the side of tyranny or revolution. It was indeed the same florid energy of diction, the same heat of temperament, which had formerly made him so obnoxious to the Reformers, which now exposed him to the censure of Royal and Imperial indignation.

What separated him from the enemies of Liberty united him with its friends; and as he had formerly been more assailed by the liberal Opposition than his colleagues, so now he became more praised and courted by it.

At this, to him, critical time, Lord Liverpool died. The talents, the length of service, the prominent situation in which he had long stood before the country, pointed Mr. Canning out as Prime Minister. There could only be one reason against his being selected-the sentiments he was known to hold on the Catholic question. His opinions on this subject, however, would hardly have gathered to him the ranks by which he had long been faced from the opposite benches-the resignation of Lord Eldon, of Mr. Peel, of the Duke of Wellington did; and he found himself on a sudden, without any act or solicitation, or perhaps even any wish of his own, at the head of the liberal party of England, which he had been so long opposing.

His last act (the foundation of which had long been laid) was happy for his fame-the Treaty of London, which allied the three Powers of England, Russia, and France, in favour of the liberties of Christian Greece.

It is easy to see, from the tone which we have assumed, that we rather trace the liberality of Mr. Canning's later career to circumstances extraneous from abstract feelings in favour of liberty, than from any

Vol. v. p. 316, Canning's Speeches.

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