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The last public Appearance, and the Death of Lord

Chatham, as described by Mr. Belsham.

The mind feels interested in the minutest circumstances relating to the last day of the public life of this renowned statesman and patriot. He was dressed in a rich suit of black velvet, with a full wig, and covered up to the knees in flannel. On his arrival in the house, he refreshed himself in the lord chancellor's room, where he stayed till prayers were over, and till he was informed that business was going to begin. He was then led into the house by his son and son-in-law, Mr. William Pitt and Lord Viscount Mahon, all the lords standing up out of respect, and making a lane for him to pass to the earl's bench, he bowing very gracefully to them as he proceeded. He looked pale and much emaciated, but his eye retained all its native fire; which, joined to his general deportment, and the attention of the house, formed a spectacle very striking and impressive.

When the Duke of Richmond had sat down, Lord Chatham rose, and began by lamenting that his bodily infirmities had so long and at so important a crisis prevented his attendance on the duties of parliament. He declared that he had made an effort almost beyond the power

ers of his constitution to come down to the house on this day, perhaps the last time he should ever be able to enter its walls, to express the indignation he felt at the idea which he understood was gone forth of yielding up the sovereignty of America. My lords," continued he, “ I rejoice that the grave has not closed upon me, that I am still alive

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to lift up my voice against the dismemberment of this ancient and noble monarchy. Pressed down as I am by the load of infirmity, I am little able to assist my country in this most perilous conjuncture ; but, my lords, while I have sense and memory, I never will consent to tarnish the lustre of this nation by an ignominious surrender of its rights and fairest possessions. Shall a people, so lately the terror of the world, now fall prostrate before the house of Bourbon ? It is impossible! In God's name, if it is absolutely necessary to declare either for peace or war, and if peace cannot be preserved with honour, why is not war commenced without hesitation? I am not, I confess, well informed of the resources of this kingdom, but I trust it has still sufficient to maintain its just rights, though I know them not. Any state, my lords, is better than despair. Let us at least make one effort, and if we must fall, let us fall like men.”

The Duke of Richmond, in reply, declared himself to be " totally ignorant of the means by which we were to resist with success the combination of America with the house of Bourbon. He urged the noble lord to point out any possible mode, if he were able to do it, of making the Americans renounce that indepen dence of which they were in possession. His Grace added, that if he could not, no man could; and that it was not in his power to change his opinion on the noble lord's authority, unsupported by any reasons but a recital of the calamities arising from a state of things not in the power of this country now to alter.”

Lord Chatham, who had appeared greatly moved during the reply, made an eager effort to rise at the conclusion of it, as if labouring with some great idea,

and impatient to give full scope to his feelings; but before he could utter a word, pressing his hand on his bosom, he fell down suddenly in a convulsive fit. The Duke of Cumberland, Lord Temple, and other lords near him, caught him in their arms. The house was immediately cleared; and his lordship being carried into an adjoining apartment, the debate was adjourned. Medical assistance being obtained, his lordship in some degree recovered, and was conveyed to his favourite villa of Hayes, in Kent, where, after lingering some few weeks, he expired May 11, 1778, in the 70th year of his age.

Character of Lord Chatham, as drawn by Grattan.

The secretary stood alone. Modern degeneracy had not reached him. Original and unaccommodating, the features of his character had the hardihood of antiquity. His august mind overawed majesty; and one of his sovereigns thought royalty so impaired in his presence, that he conspired to remove him, in order to be relieved from his superiority. No state chicanery, no narrow system of vicious politics, sunk him to the vulgar level of the great; but, overbearing, persuasive, and impracticable, his object was England, his ambition was fame. Without dividing, he destroyed party; without corrupting, he made a venal age unanimous. France sunk beneath him. With one hand he smote the house of Bourbon, and wielded in the other the democracy of England. The sight of his mind was infinite; and his schemes were to effect, not England, not the present age only, but Europe and


posterity. Wonderful were the means by which those schemes were accomplished ; always seasonable, always adequate, the suggestions of an understanding animated by ardour and enlightened by prophecy.

The ordinary feelings which make life amiable and indolent were unknown to him. No domestic difficulties, no domestic weakness, reached him; but aloof from the sordid occurrences of life, and unsullied by its intercourse, he came occasionally into our system to counsel and to decide.

A character so exalted, so strenuous, so various, so authoritative, astonished a corrupt age, and the treasury trembled at the name of Pitt through all the classes of venality. Corruption imagined, indeed, that she had found defects in this statesman, and talked much of the inconsistency of his glory, and much of the ruin of his victories; but the history of his country, and the calamities of the enemy, answered and refuted her. Nor were his political abilities his only talents: his eloquence was an era in the senate, peculiar and spontaneous, familiarly expressing gigantic sentiments and instinctive wisdom; not like the torrent of Demosthenes, or the splendid conflagration of Tully; it resembled sometimes the thunder, and sometimes the music of the spheres. Like Murray, he did not conduct the understanding through the painful subtlety of argumentation; nor was he, like Townsend, for ever on the rack of exertion; but rather lightened upon the subject, and reached the point by the flashing of the mind, which like those of his eye were felt, but could not be followed.

Upon the whole, there was in this man something

that could create, subvert, or reform; an understanding, a spirit, and an eloquence to summon mankind to society, or to break the bonds of slavery asunder, and to rule the wilderness of free minds with unbounded authority; something that could establish or overwhelm empire, and strike a blow in the world that should resound through the universe.

Speech of Lord Chatham against the employment of

Indians in the war with America.

I cannot, my lords, I will not, join in congratulation on misfortune and disgrace. This, my lords, is a perilous and tremendous moment; it is not a time for adulation; the smoothness of flattery cannot save us in this rugged and awful crisis. It is now necessary to instruct the throne in the language of truth. We must, if possible, dispel the delusion and darkness which envelope it, and display, in its full danger and genuine colours, the ruin which is brought to our doors. Can ministers still presume to expect support in their infatuation? Can parliament be so dead to their dignity and duty, as to give their support to measures thus obtruded and forced upon them; measures, my lords, which have reduced this late flourishing empire to scorn and contempt? But yesterday, and England might have stood against the world ; now, none so poor to do her reverence !

The people whom we at first despised as rebels, but whom we now acknowledge as enemies, are abetted against you, supplied with every military store, have their interest

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