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FROM THE RETROSPECTIVE REVIEW. Anecdotes of the Life of the Right Hon. William Pitt, Earl of
Chatham, and of the principal Events of his Time. With his Speeches in Parliament from the year 1756 to the year 1778. In 3 vols. 8vo. London, 1790.
The character of Lord Chatham has been so often (and in many cases so ably) delineated within the last forty years, that some apology may be required for any attempt to throw upon it additional light. Every one knows, that all the political parties who, within that time, have divided the state, though differing in every thing else, have yet been emulous to admire and to quote Lord Chatham: that Burke and Grattan have left to the world sketches of his character, which do equal honour to him and to themselves; and that even the pen of Junius has conspired to praise him. Nor is his name heard only in the senate, or familiar only to those who are acquainted with history and politics: the rawest schoolboyquisquis adhuc uno partam colit asse minervam-is taught to recite his speeches: the Walpoles, Winnington, Fox, are annually routed in some baby-senate; and the ghost of Pitt-like that of the unfortunate lover in Boccacio and Dryden-gains a periodical revenge upon those who formerly insulted and opposed him.
We are far indeed from insinuating, that the name of Chatham is one which Englishmen have without reason delighted to honour. On the contrary, we conscientiously and gladly acquiesce in that unanimous verdict, which all writers and all orators, since his death, have agreed to pass upon his fame. And it is only because certain works, which, though very recently published, were yet written in Lord Chatham's life-time, have had an unquestionable tendency to lower that opinion of his patriotism, which has ever since his death been general in this country, that we solicit the attention of our readers to some observations upon so trite a subject. It will be understood, of course, that the works to which we allude, are the posthumous publications of Horace Walpole and Lord Waldegrave.
This is hardly the place to inquire how far the strictures of Horace Walpole would have been deserving of any serious notice, had they not been confirmed, in some material points, by the far more trustworthy account of his noble .contemporary. That he has calumniated almost every man whose name he mentions, is more than probable; that he should have misunderstood the character of Lord Chatham cannot appear strange to those who know any thing of his own. It surely was not for a man like Horace Walpole--a man of petty notions, of narrow views, and of very
Vol. III. No. 13. Museum,