« PreviousContinue »
and to their patriotism, and call on them by all they deem holy, and in the name of those they love best, to awake from their slumber, and to come forward with their swords and their gold to insure their country from the risk of all the horrors of invasion.
The navy will, I know, do their duty, but let us remember that, although we have a noble fleet in commission, it is scattered over the face of the ocean ; that although we have numerous ships in ordinary, sailors cannot be found on a sudden to man them ; and that we have many hundred miles of coast to guard, while we must at the same time be watching the ports of France.* At this present moment I will venture to say that the French have more ships and steamers ready for sea at a week's notice in their northern ports, than we could send from our southern dockyards and the Thames in the same time. In those ports we have scarcely forty-four steamers armed with guns and above a hundred horse power, while as they have upwards of a hundred in their navy, no doubt more than sixty will be found in the northern ports ready to tow a fleet of transports across the Channel. The great point, however, to be settled is whether it is possible for a fleet to get across and an army to land, and the best authorities answer it in the affirmative. Nobody can deny that we are perfectly unprepared to meet that army, and thus I think every one who has a spark of patriotism in his composition, or has even any regard for bis own safety and property, will be ready to come forward with his purse or his sword for the defence of his country.
I am much amused at reading the numerous letters which appear from nameless generals in the public prints, kindly endeavouring to soothe the minds of the multitude, to calm the panic they talk of, by assuring them that there is not the slightest danger of a visit from any foe. How cleverly they show that an army cannot leave a French port without being attacked; that if it manages to get outside it cannot cross; that if it crosses it cannot land ; that if it lands we shall very soon have troops collected to oppose it. But, may I ask where the troops are to come from with which these doughty generals are to fight their battles ? Will they attack them with yeomany and other volunteer corps ?
No, but we will have the Guards down on them from London by the next train," they answer. Do railroads run to every part of the coast ? May not an arch give way, or a rail be displaced ? May not a few steamers appear off one part of the coast and draw our troops in one direction, while the
People who are unaware how the navy lists are drawn out, are completely deceived when they examine them. By the list, the navy of Great Britain appears to consist of 671 ships, but of these 240 only are in commission, the greater number of which are scattered over the ocean; some on the Canadian lakes, and others lent to colonial governments; others are on exploring expeditions, and some are merely small craft and tenders. Of the remainder, 102 are condemned as unfit for service, and are waiting their turn to be broken up; others have only their keels laid, a great number are hospital ships, coal depôts, convict hulks, &c., &c. A comparatively few only could be fitted for sea within some months, and then where are the men to be found for them? The channel squadron is what we at present have to consider, and although we might send out about forty-four steamers to form part of it, there are ot half a dozen line-of-battle ships nor ten frigates in our ports which could under many weeks, or months rather, be got ready for sea. It is much better to know the truth than to be deceived by false statements; and how can such a force, I ask, blockade all the ports of France and guard our own coasts, even if we had notice sufficient to get them ready, which we should not have, we may be assured? Our fleet is not manned, and our artillery is incomplete. The teeth of the British Lion are blunt.
real landing is effected in another ? In case of a war, will Ireland remain so quiet that we shall not require more tooops there, and will no descents be made on her coasts? Some talk very scientifically of fortifying all our small harbours, but quite forget to enumerate the men necessary to work the guns in them, and how they are to be taught. They all
, without exception, also by a species of clairvoyance peculiar to, themselves, seem to know exactly the plans the generals of the enemy will pursue, and show most clearly how they will counteract them. Now I certainly acknowledge that the chief who can foresee or discover the plans of the enemy, has already half gained the victory ; but unfortunately for us, the reality is we shall not be able to foresee the plans of our invaders, nor know within some hundred miles where they will make their descent. In fact, these paper heroes are anxious to prove themselves far greater generals than the Duke of Wellington or any other old Peninsula chief; and, scorning all advice, are ready to perform feats of valour which wiser men would not hope to accomplish. The flippant, self-sufficient, vaunting tone which has been assumed in this discussion, ana the utter disrespect which has been exhibited towards age and experience, and the disregard for all warnings, and the ridicule with which they have been received, is one of the worst signs of the tiines.
In the same manner did the nations of old, when warned by their sages and elders to arm against the invasion of the barbarians, blinded by avarice and enervated by luxury and vice, disregard the warnings, and fell to rise no more.
Except we also are willing to see the downfall of England and an eternal disgrace affixed to the British name, we must strengthen our fleets, increase our army, and, not trusting to forts or walls, call out an efficient militia, and raise and thoroughly discipline strong corps of volunteers in every part of the United Kingdom, and then, and not till then, may we consider ourselves secure. Then our enemies, seeing us well prepared to give them a warm reception, will probably think twice before they attempt to break the peace.
THE NEWS OF THE BATTLE!
BY J. WILLYAMS GRYLLS, ESQ.
“ Dinna weep for the days that are gane-Mither!
Dinna weep for a Sun that has set !
We'll trust to gude Providence yet!"
In the Winter of Life from me ta'en ?
Lying dead on a far battle-plain ?
(And in sooth I care little to dee)
Deal couth'er wi' you than wi' me!"
LIFE OF LORD CHANCELLOR HARDWICKE.*
A CENTURY ago lawyers and judges were far less bound by precedent than they are in these days. Hence greater inducements were held out to argue and to decide cases entirely from principle ; and, by a necessary consequence, also, to study this more deeply, and to cultivate the mind more assiduously for dealing with pursuits of this nature. Longer time was also allowed, owing to the less intricate nature of our laws, for general study, and for turning attention to the higher authorities connected with this science, and referring to them on all occasions. Had Bacon and Hale lived in these days of multitudinous decisions and reports, and new acts of parliaments and rules of pleading, it is impossible that they could ever have found leisure to enter so much into the world of general literature ; to store their minds so fully with knowledge, and to give so many of their researches to the public.
Herein we have the main features of the Lord Chancellor Hardwicke's character. At school young Philip Yorke displayed a general great proficiency, while his amiable disposition, easy temper, and pliancy, made him, as they also contributed to do throughout life, an almost universal favourite. When articled to Mr. Salkeld, the attorney, while he applied himself diligently to the study of the law, and became well-grounded in Coke and Hale (for there was no Blackstone in those days), it is certain at the same time that his mind was no less ardently devoted to philosophical studies, and to such as appertained to a more general literary and polemical character. In the same manner, in after life, Mr. Harris, his able biographer, remarks that Yorke was, from the constitution of his mind, naturally better fitted for a leader than for a junior. Many of his principal powers and qualifications were quite lost in the latter capacity, and could only be displayed in the former. Knowledge of principles, reasoning power, eloquence, discrimination, and all the great resources of the mind which enable the leader to distinguish himself, have no opportunity of being evinced in the junior, in whom an accurate acquaintance with the details of the case, and a knowledge of the legal decisions bearing upon it, are mainly expected.
Philip Yorke was born at Dover, on the 1st day of December, 1690. His father was an attorney, of limited means, but respectably connected, and who held the important and somewhat lucrative office of town-clerk. Young Yorke having pre-eminently distinguished himself at school, his father determined to give him every advantage, articled him to a solicitor of eminence and extensive practice in London. It is well known that many of the most successful lawyers have, in their earliest days, felt the pressure of poverty, and not a few, perhaps, have been largely indebted to this circumstance. The future lord chancellor was not an ception.
A curious and amusing anecdote (says his biographer) is toldt of his career while in his clerkship, which is certainly not uncharacteristic of Yorke. Mrs. Salkeld, who considered herself as his mistress, and who was a notable woman, thinking she might take such liberties with a clerk with whom the writer says
The Life of Lord Chancellor Hardwicke; with Selections from his Corres. pondence, Diaries, Speeches, and Judgments. By George Harris, Esq., of the Middle Temple, Barrister-at-Law. 3 vols. Edward Moxon.
+ Cooksey's Anecdotes.
no premium had been received, used frequently to send him from his business on family errands, and to fetch in little necessaries from Covent Garden and other markets. This, when he became a favourite with his master, and was intrusted with his business, and cash, he thought an indignity, and got rid of by a stratagem which prevented complaints or expostulation. In his accounts with his master, there frequently occurred coach-hire for roots of celery and turnips from Covent Garden, or a barrel of oysters from the fisnmonger's, and other sundries for the carriage of similar dainties indicative alike of Mrs. Salkeld's love of good cheer and the young clerk's dexterity and spirit in freeing himself from her attempted domination. Mr. Salkeld observing this, irged on his spouse the impropriety and ill housewifery of such a practice, and thus Yorke's device for its discontinuance proved completely successful.
There is, Mr. Harris justly remarks, nothing more interesting to observe than the early struggles of men who afterwards obtained a high degree of celebrity, and whose minds were first fortified by contending with the difficulties which beset their course. Nothing belongs more strictly to the tragedy of real life than this, and in no walk of life are there scenes more vividly displayed than in the commencement of that profession to which our hero belonged.
But these very struggles of an early youth, his knowledge of the poverty which he had witnessed at home, and the feeling that he was himself so far dependent on the liberality of others, only stimulated young Yorke to further exertion. With Mr. Salkeld's good-will Yorke quitted, after only two years' apprenticeship, that branch of the profession for which he had been originally destined, and embarked on a more ambitious career. " It was," says his biographer, “in the magnificent hall of the Middle Temple- a building at once famous for its beauty and its antiquity, and renowned yet more for the rich associations connected with it-that Yorke commenced his career as a student. Inspired by the illustrious example of the great men who had gone before him in the same course, he himself eventually contributed in no small degree to the glory of the society which enrolled him among its members.”
On the 27th of May, 1715, Yorke was called to the bar by the benchers of the Middle Temple, being then in his twenty-fifth year, and there cannot be a doubt that he commenced practice with a mind well cultivated and invigorated by general study and knowledge, and adorned with acquirements of a very varied nature. He began at a very early period to adopt that logical system of subdividing the argument into different portions, which afterwards so particularly characterised his speeches." The two circumstances which, undoubtedly, contributed most to Mr. Yorke's success, at least so far as regards the opportunities he had of exhibiting his proficiency and powers, were his connexion with Mr. Salkeld and the high and marked favour shown to him by Lord Macclesfield, who was at that time Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench.
Mr. Harris will not allow, however, that this latter patronage so far influenced Mr. Yorke's career as Lord Campbell, Cooksey, and other writers would have us believe. He naïvely enough remarks, that “the grand turning point in a barrister's professional career-the real change which occurs in his condition-is that which takes place when from being employed because his client would be useful to him, he is now employed because he is thought useful to his client." No one would venture to doubt this manifest fact. Lord Campbell may be in error, and it is to be hoped that he is so, when he intimates that Yorke succeeded on his circuit by methods which were not legitimate, for such an opinion is opposed to the whole features of his life, although there seems to be little doubt but that our hero was indebted mainly to Lord Macclesfield for his sudden promotion in 1719 to the office of solicitor-general over the heads of many of his seniors, who, according even to Mr. Harris, were well able to fill the office.
The rising reputation of Mr. Yorke soon caused him to be sought out by the government of the day, who were anxious to secure the services of so able a speaker as their political supporter in the House of Commons, and he was on the 2nd of May, 1719, elected for the borough of Lewes, in Sussex. This was indeed altogether an eventful year with young Yorke. He was at this time one of the handsomest men of the day, and it is even said that he took all due care to set off these natural advantages. By this, says his biographer, he attracted the notice of the youthful and pretty widow of Mr. W. Lygon, of Maddersfield, niece to the then Master of the Rolls, Sir Joseph Jekyll; and although, when the young M. P. addressed himself to the father of the young lady, the old gentleman told him to leave his rental and writings with him, objections were soon overcome, and the marriage took place on the 16th of May, 1719, a few days after Yorke's election for Lewes.
On the 2nd of April, 1720, Mr. Yorke was re-elected member for Lewes, and soon afterwards he received from his majesty the honour of knighthood. He had been appointed to the solicitor-generalship in March, 1719. In 1722, Sir Philip Yorke was returned to parliament for Seaford, although it is said that his constituents in Lewes continued favourable to his re-election.
It was in this latter year that a great conspiracy to raise a rebellion in favour of the Pretender was discovered. Many persons of distinction were concerned in this unfortunate Jacobite demonstration, and a serious demand was made upon the services of the Attorney-General, Sir Robert Raymond, and of the Solicitor-General, Sir Philip Yorke; the latter of whom contributed in no small degree, by his forensic eloquence, in procuring the conviction of Mr. Layer, who was executed at Tyburn on the 18th of May, 1723, and his head set up on Temple Bar ; as also of Dr. Francis Atterbury, Bishop of Rochester ; of George Kelly, of John Plunkett, and others.
On the 31st of January, 1724, after Sir Philip Yorke had been nearly nine years at the bar, and had during more than three years filled the office of solicitor-general with the most distinguished success, he was chosen to succeed Sir Thomas Raymond as attorney-general, and he thus arrived at the head of the profession to which he belonged.
He was in this capacity called upon at a very early period to deal with a culprit whose rank and the nature of whose offences varied very greatly from those of the state criminals against whom he had been employed the previous year, but whose exploits in a certain way have gained for their perpetrator scarcely less note than the enormities directed against the very existence of the state obtained for the latter. This was no less a person than the notorious John Sheppard, of whose extraordinary feats, and of whose numerous escapes from Newgate, Mr. Harris gives a lengthened account from the newspapers of the day. The biographer of Lord Hardwicke concludes with the following remarks :
Thus ended the career of a person who, from the extraordinary dexterity with which he pursued his nefarious schemes, has obtained a certain kind of cele