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towards the young, and as it hoped pure and patriotic, son of Chatham. The Tories wished the King to choose his own ministers. The few Radicals that there were hated the great Whig houses. The Coalition was
hated by all.
In the middle of the struggle the Clerkship of the Pells (a sinecure office with an income of £3,000 a year) fell vacant. The minister might have taken it himself, and Pitt was poor. He fancied that if he lost his place he should have to go back to the bar. But he used the windfall to redeem a pension which had been improperly bestowed by the other party, thus placing his own purity in contrast with their corruption. As a minister he waged no war on great sinecures, and he held the Wardenship of the Cinque Ports himself. But this act proved at least that he was playing a high game, and that he would not let his cupidity stand in the way of his ambition. He shewed sagacity, too, in putting off the dissolution, and thus giving the Opposition rope to hang themselves, and the tide of opinion time to rise in his favour. Even in the House, the Opposition was at the last gasp; and when urged by its leaders to throw out the Mutiny Bill, it no longer answered the spur. A last effort was made by a devoted adherent in the falling hour of the great Whig houses. The day before the dissolution somebody stole the Great Seal. But the fortitude and resource of the young minister were equal to the occasion, and a new Great Seal was at once made.
When Pitt at last went to the country, there was a rout of the Opposition never paralleled except when the Whigs, in their turn, threw the Tories to the reformed constituencies in 1832. The great majority
with which Pitt returned to the House was a medley, in which high Tories were mixed up with Alderman Sawbridge and John Wilkes. But he rapidly gave it consistency by making his name the symbol of prosperity and sound finance, and by attaching commerce, whose interests he alone understood, firmly to his banner. Soon he was all-powerful; and the beginning of his reign is an epoch in our history. There had been no revolution. All the cabinet were peers except Pitt himself; and he was an earl's son. He had come into power by the personal favour of the do nothing against the King or his these restrictions, he wished to rule for the public good. His intellect was probably not so high as that of Turgot, but it was more practical: and his task was not, like that of Turgot, almost hopeless. Bright years, years bright for himself—and, on the whole, bright for his country-lay before him. Such a part can scarcely
ever be played again. In ordinary times, connection and experience must rule. But it is possible that, under certain circumstances, the House of Commons may once more weary and disgust the nation; and that a statesman of high bearing and known public spirit may once more appeal with success from cabal and faction to the heart of the people.
The highly aristocratic composition of Pitt's Cabinet is a proof that there had been no revolution: it has also been justly cited as one of the many confutations of the theory that the Tories are less oligarchical than the Whigs. Under the influence of this theory, Lord Stanhope, a moderate Tory, sometimes lapses into language fundamentally democratic. In 1784 the independent freeholders of Yorkshire boldly confronted
the great houses-this is an appeal to a dangerous spirit, unless care is taken to insert "Tory' before 'freeholders, and 'Whig before 'great houses." The fact seems to be that the Tories being, through some cause unexplained by political science, rather more stupid than the Whigs, have been rather more often obliged to take adventurers into pay; but they do this for oligarchical purposes, and an oligarch is not the less an oligarch because he keeps a bravo.
The young conqueror sullied his triumph by a most ungenerous conduct to his rival on the subject of the Westminster Scrutiny. He had the mortifiation, as deserved as it was bitter, of finding himself at last placed in a minority by the more generous feeling of his own followers. In one of these debates, which, in spite of the aristocratic character of the speakers, were as rancorous and personal as anything in an American Congress, Fox made a really great speech, in which he read his young rival a well-merited lecture on the expediency of moderation in the use of victory. Nothing can exceed the pertness of Pitt's reported reply 'I am not surprised if he should pretend to be the butt of ministerial persecution; and if, by striving to excite the public compassion, he should seek to reinstate himself in that popularity which he once enjoyed, but which he so unhappily has forfeited. For it is the best and most ordinary resource of these political apostates to court and offer themselves to persecution, for the sake of the popular predilection and pity which usually fall upon persecuted men; it becomes worth their while to suffer for a time political martyrdom, for the sake of the canonisation that awaits the suffering martyr; and I make no doubt the right
honourable gentleman has so much penetration, and at the same time so much passive virtue about him, that not only would he be glad to seem a poor, injured, persecuted man, but he would gladly seek an opportunity of even really suffering a little persecution, if it be possible to find such an opportunity.' It must have been difficult for an opponent, or for any one indeed but a partisan, to help very cordially abhorring the gifted youth, from whose lips flowed unbidden such perfect periods as these; especially when at his back. was a mob of Tory squires, under the famous Rolle, hooting down the speakers on the other side a habit perhaps not yet quite extinct. If there was any one in that assembly to whom the term apostate might with justice have been applied, it was the vehement "advocate of Parliamentary Reform as the great antidote to secret influence who now stood, through a most flagrant exercise of secret influence, First Minister of the Crown.
Pitt's great glories are economical and financial. In that sphere, as he touched neither prerogative nor privilege, royalty and aristocracy allowed him to have fiee play. They even formed his support in contending against the commercial tyranny of protection.
He found the finances after the American war and the North Administration in a desperate state. There were 14 millions of unfunded debt; exchequer bills were at 20 discount; consols were at 56. The customs were so laid on that the smuggliug trade in tea was double the lawful trade in amount. The pupil of Adam Smith set all this right, brought income by bold taxation to a level with expenditure, and applying the principle which he was the first to grasp-that reduction
of duties will increase revenue by increasing consumption—transferred the gains of the smuggler to the national exchequer. He was at the same time enabled to do away with a number of places in the Customs and Excise, and thereby not only to reduce the national expense, but to stanch some of the sources of corruption. He thus, in spite of some occasional waste in armaments, the debts of the Prince of Wales, and the voracity of the civil list, turned deficit into surplus, and saved England perhaps from a crash like that to which deficit was hurrying France. He was also the author of the reform which put up loans to the highest bidder, instead of making them government patronage, with a toll to corruption.
Adam Smith had denounced funding. His pupil, when obliged to borrow, borrowed in the five rather than in the three per cents, to keep down the capital debt and improve the chance of paying off. He had not read Lord Macaulay, who from the growth of suburban villas 'embosomed in gay little paradises of lilacs and roses, proves that a funded debt of eight hundred millions is no burden to the nation. He had not learnt that in the case of a national debt, debtor and creditor are the same, so that, as it seems, we might as well simplify the transaction by the use of the sponge. Still less, probably, had he, like Lord Macaulay, discerned the recondite truth, that the practice of fighting with soldiers hired at the expense of posterity, which removes the last restraint on war, is favourable to the ascendancy of intellect over force. He might have asked Lord Macaulay, if a national debt was a blessing, why it should not be doubled?
In his anxiety to reduce the debt Pitt was caught