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CHAP. not principle, which made him nominally a Tory. He followed the footsteps of that party as the lion A.D. 1716. follows the track of the jackals; and he seized upon the prey which their incessant clamour had brought within his reach. Ambition had influenced him in choosing his station-a respect for consistency forbade him to abandon it :--the one rendered him daring and successful in his rise--the other preserved him dignified after his fall.
Yet the Tories, in whose service he had sacrificed so much, were his most vehement and relentless calumniators. They were the first to give credence to the accusations dispersed by the immediate followers of the Pretender, and to add to the accusations of rebel to his king, that of traitor to his adopted chief, and of deserter from his party.
It was a misfortune which he thought the direst that could befal a public man, to be obliged to defend himself against such accusations and against such accusers; to be forced to reflect that, by associating with so much knavery and so much folly, he had become the victim of both. The hopelessness of the cause in which for their sakes he engaged, has already frequently come before us: the ungratefulness of the offices he had to fulfil was a theme no less copiously illustrated. The character of the man he was attempting to place upon the British throne was also a subject of reflection to him, and deprives him of much of his claim to the admiration of posterity.
Bolingbroke considered that it was necessary for
the preservation of the liberties of his country that CHAP. the protestant religion should be preserved, or at least that the public establishment of the Roman A.D. 1716. catholic religion should be excluded.* Let us see what he himself says of the religious views of the prince he was about to place upon the throne. We learn from him, that that person's religion was not founded on the love of virtue and the detestation of vice on a sense of that obedience which is due to the will of the Supreme Being, and a sense of those obligations which creatures formed to live in a mutual dependence on one another lie under. The spring of his whole conduct was fear-fear of the horns of the devil and the flames of hell. He had been taught to believe that nothing but a blind submission to the church of Rome, and a strict adherence to all the terms of that communion, could save him from these dangers. He had all the superstition of a capuchin; but one could discover in him no tincture of the religion of a prince. Bolingbroke declares that he heard the same description of his conduct given by those who knew him best, and that he conversed with very few among the Roman catholics themselves who did not consider him too much a papist.
We have a fine specimen of the conduct he would have pursued upon the throne, in the amendments which he insisted upon making in an address which Bolingbroke had drawn up to be dispersed in England.
*Letter to Sir William Windham.
CHAP. Every expression which had the most remote tenI. dency to bind him to any specific conduct with regard to religion, was altered and turned with the most jesuitical prevarication; and the object of the alterations was so evident and so base, that Bolingbroke refused to countersign it as settled. It was printed, therefore, without his name being attached to it. Among other evidences of his superstition contained in the alterations of this draft were, striking out the word "blessed," which had been applied to the memory of the late queen ;-the memory of no heretic could be blessed in the eyes of the regal bigot; an alteration of the expression "when it pleased Almighty God to take her to himself," into "when it pleased Almighty God to put a period to her life," (an unequivocal declaration of his opinion of his sister's future fate :) and other expressions relating to particular persons were used with equal care, that even no constructive offence against the strict tenets of his church might be committed. Another alteration made was yet more unequivocal and alarming. In the clause which related to the churches of England and Ireland, there was a plain and direct promise originally inserted, "of effectual provision for their security, and for their re-establishment in all those rights which belong to them." This clause was not suffered to stand; but another was inserted, in which all mention of the church of Ireland was omitted, and nothing was promised to the church of England but the "security and re
establishment of all those rights, privileges, and im- CHAP.
This account of the character of the Pretender might be suspected as highly coloured, did it rest solely upon the authority of Bolingbroke: but, from the testimony of his adherents, it appears that the disgraced secretary rather suppressed than magnified his imbecility. Dr. King, who was never suspected of any affection for the house of Hanover, describes the Pretender as ignorant, illiterate, mean-spirited, avaricious,* and ungrateful; and he gives us abundant instances to warrant his opinion.
* Dr. King's Anecdotes of his own Time. It appears from the memorials of the time, that George the Second was not untainted with the same vices. It is difficult to decide which of these competitors for the crown was the more unworthy
of it. To look with compla-
Some excuse may be admitted for the Tories in England, who at this time knew nothing of all this, and knew him only through the accounts of his emissaries as a moderate, tolerant, docile prince. None can be found for Bolingbroke, who knew it all, and yet continued his efforts in his behalf.
Such was the man to whom the determination of his party had attached Bolingbroke for life. Having once embraced his service, that consistency which he so dearly prized forbade him to think of returningcertainly forbade him to think of making any terms with the house of Hanover. He had seen this necessity when he took the decisive step, and he had then resolved upon his future conduct. This was the last struggle of the Tories for power: in it he determined to assist them. If it failed, he would have esteemed himself at liberty to retire from his service, and to abandon for ever all political pursuits.
This was a resolve which he was no doubt sincere in making, but which he would have been as certainly incapable of keeping. An affectation of a love of retirement, and a distaste for the cares of business, was a weakness which was often ridiculed by his friends; but his frequent disappointments countenance the supposition that these fits of retirement and ease were often as sincere as they always were transient. Had he put in practice such a design, he would have found himself strangely situated, ---unable to accept any offer of pardon or restoration,