His Majesty had at first been indifferent to the plan; then 안전놀이터 ridiculed it to all who came near him. Now, being in a humour of heroism and criticism, he took it up in the bitterest terms, and did the Generals the honour of treating them as ill as his own son, the Duke, seizing every opportunity of casting reflections on the one and the others; and[75] on the news of the King of Prussia’s success, the Monarch said, “Yes, people may beat, if they do not always retreat; but there are so many cowards, I am almost afraid of growing one myself.” Pitt, though really more hurt, and apt enough to take any step to illustrate his own measures, behaved with greater decency. He pressed no violent resolutions against the officers; he prevented the City from addressing against them; and only took the more sensible, though not less severe style of punishing the miscarriage, by raising Wolfe at once over the heads of a great number of officers.[12]

Sir John Mordaunt finding no notice taken of him in any shape, went to Mr. Pitt, and told him he had waited a week to see what would be done on his affair: he found he was in disgrace, but found it only by neglect and silence. He entreated Mr. Pitt to ask the King to permit an inquiry on it. Pitt told him, this had been thought of; owned they did blame the first Council of War; but this was always the case when officers went prejudiced against a measure.

Accordingly, November 1st, a Commission of Inquiry[76] was directed, composed of the Duke of Marlborough, Lord George Sackville, and General Waldegrave: a Court that could not be called unprecedented, for one of the very same nature had been held in the foregoing year, but most unconstitutional and dangerous; nay, absurd, for they had neither power to acquit nor condemn. As the Ministers selected whom they pleased, if the criminal was to be saved, a favourable report from this Board would exclude a legal trial; if to be condemned, was not such a preparatory inquisition likely to influence future judgment? The present Board was indeed artfully constituted. Two of the Commissioners were attached to Fox; if their majority acquitted, the odium would fall on Mr. Pitt’s antagonist—and to them he had joined Lord George Sackville, as much devoted to himself, and more than a balance to the other two in abilities. But another step Pitt took, still more novel, and as pernicious for the precedent. He sent Mr. Blair of the Secretary’s office to the Lord Mayor of London, to inform the City that an inquiry was appointed. What right the City of London had to such notification above all other towns in the kingdom could not well be told. What use they will make of such admission into the executive part of Government can easily be conceived; and what confusion may follow from incorporating the mob of London with the other parts of the Legislature, where they are[77] already represented, and where they have no title to be more than represented.

The inquiry began on the 12th. The Generals, and Knowles, and Broderick, utterly disavowing Sir Edward Hawke’s minutes, Lord George took them to pieces severely, and censured Hay, the composer of them. The Duke of Marlborough asked many questions, with appearance of thinking ill of the conduct of the Generals. Waldegrave took no part at all. Sir John Mordaunt defended himself weakly; Conway most ably; exposed Clarke; and at last producing his own narrative, it silenced all further inquiry; yet the resolutions of the Court, which were not explicit, seemed to say, that they thought more might have been performed; or at least that there had not been sufficient reasons for desisting from the attempt. The report of these opinions was made to the King on the 21st, who, on the 30th, ordered a Court-Martial on Sir John Mordaunt alone.

The Duke of Cumberland[13] espoused the cause of the Generals, wished them to make it a common cause, and to pin down their whole defence to the impracticability of the measure. To this Conway could not consent. He had too much endeavoured to explore whether it was practicable or not, to[78] submit to involve himself in the remissness of those for whose sake he now suffered. Yet the delicacy with which he avoided whatever might set their failings in a strong light, the management he used invariably for Sir John Mordaunt, for whom he drew up every paper he could want, the obstinacy with which he persisted to sink material articles of his own defence, rather than charge his colleagues, at the same time that no worthy mind was ever so wounded with disgrace, these and every instance of his behaviour made the solidity of his virtue appear most amiable and interesting; and it was still heightened by not meeting with an equal degree of tenderness from those in whose protection it was exerted.

The Court-Martial began its session on the 14th of December, and finished on the 18th; though it was opened again for one day to hear Sir Edward Hawke’s evidence, who had been at sea. Lord Tyrawley was President. Mr. Pitt appeared before them, as he said, to authenticate his own orders, but took the opportunity of making an imperious speech, and defended Clarke and Thierri, the pilot; who, he affirmed, had supported their information, though sifted in so extraordinary a manner. General Cholmondeley interrupted him, reminding him that he only came thither to authenticate. Pitt replied with haughtiness; and being asked, who had sifted Clarke and the pilot, he said, the military men; and[79] often spoke of Mordaunt and Conway by name. There have been times when a Minister, in less odour of popularity, would have been impeached for presuming to awe a legal Court of Justice; but as it did Mr. Pitt no harm, neither did it produce any good to the cause he favoured. The whole Court treated the expedition as rash and childish; and acquitted the General with honour. Sir Edward Hawke reflecting on Thierri as an ignorant Fanfaron, General Cholmondeley asked if there were two Thierris? Surely, he said, this ignorant Fanfaron could not be the one so applauded by Mr. Pitt!

Thus ended the chimera of taking Rochfort. The public, however, were entertained for part of the following winter with a literary controversy, which it produced between General Conway and Mr. Potter. Mr. Doddington, too, flung in one or two bitter pamphlets against Mr. Pitt.

I have dwelt so long on the singular events of this year, that I shall hasten to the conclusion of this book, touching briefly the other most material passages, the chief of which, relating to the victories of the King of Prussia, will be found at large in other histories, and demand a more exalted pen than mine, sullied with the faults and follies of my countrymen, and though suited perhaps to the trifling province of catching ridicules, unequal to the lofty compass of history.

Lord Mansfield was called to the conciliabulum,[80] or essence of the Council; an honour not only uncommon and due to his high abilities, but set off with his being proposed by Lord Hardwicke himself, who wished, he said, to get repose for three months in the country: Lord Mansfield would amply supply his place. It was about this time that this great Chief Justice set himself to take information against libels, and would sift, he said, what was the real liberty of the press. The occasions of the times had called him off from principles that favoured an arbitrary King—he still leaned towards an arbitrary Government.

At the end of October came news that our Fleet under Holbourn, blocking up a French squadron at Louisbourg, had been dispersed by a great storm, in which the Nassau was lost, the Eagle was driven home, and ten ships were dismasted.

The year concluded with a torrent of glory for the King of Prussia. On the 5th of November, he defeated the combined Imperial and French Armies at Rosbach; and though the Austrians took Schweidnitz, and beat the Prince of Bevern, the King repaired that disadvantage by a complete victory over their best Army, commanded by Prince Charles and Count Daun, at Lissa: a single month intervening between this and his success at Rosbach. His uncle’s efforts were neither exerted nor crowned with equal honour. The decline of the arms of France in the empire encouraged the King to break[81] the convention of Closter Seven. The Hanoverians were reassembled, and Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick, a general of repute, appointed to command them. Some trifling infractions of the neutrality on the part of the French were pretexted to cover this notorious breach of faith—a monument to future politicians, in how short a space of time a treaty may be commanded, concluded, disavowed, made advantage of, and violated!

During these transactions, the unfortunate Queen of Poland died suddenly at Dresden; a witness of calamities to which she had not contributed, and which she had in vain remained there to temper.

In England, Sir John Ligonier, to whom the supreme command of the British armies was entrusted, was created a Viscount of Ireland, and a Marshal, with his seniors, Sir Robert Rich and Lord Molesworth. Lord George Sackville succeeded as Lieutenant-General of the Ordnance; and by that employment escaped the unwelcome command in America, which he could not with any grace have otherwise avoided.

Colley Cibber, that good-humoured and honest veteran, so unworthily aspersed by Pope, and whose Memoirs, with one or two of his comedies, will secure his fame, in spite of all the abuse of his contemporaries, dying about this time at a very great age, the Duke of Devonshire bestowed the laurel on Mr. Whitehead, a man of a placid genius. His[82] Grace had first designed it for Gray,[14] then for Mason, but was told that both would decline it. In truth, it was not Cibber’s silly odes that disgraced the employment, but an annual panegyric venally extorted for whatever King, and with or without occasion, that debased the office. Gray, crowned with the noblest wreaths of Parnassus, could not stoop to be dubbed poet by a Lord Chamberlain; and Mason, though he had not then displayed all the powers of his genius, had too much sense and spirit to owe his literary fame to anything but his own merit.

On the 28th of December died the King’s third daughter, Princess Caroline. She had been the favourite of the Queen, who preferred her understanding to those of all her other daughters, and whose partiality she returned with duty, gratitude, affection, and concern. Being in ill health at the time of her mother’s death, the Queen told her she would follow her in less than a year. The Princess received the notice as a prophecy; and though she lived many years after it had proved a vain one, she quitted the world, and persevered in the closest retreat, and in constant and religious preparation for the grave; a moment she so eagerly desired, that when something was once proposed to her, to[83] which she was averse, she said, “I would not do it to die!” To this impression of melancholy had contributed the loss of Lord Hervey,[15] for whom she had conceived an unalterable passion, constantly marked afterwards by all kind and generous offices to his children. For many years she was totally an invalid, and shut herself up in two chambers in the inner part of St. James’s, from whence she could not see a single object. In this monastic retirement, with no company but of the King, the Duke, Princess Emily, and a few of the most intimate of the Court, she led, not an unblameable life only, but a meritorious one: her whole income was dispensed between generosity and charity; and, till her death by shutting up the current discovered the source, the jails of London did not suspect that the best support of their wretched inhabitants was issued from the Palace.

From the last Sunday to the Wednesday on which she died, she declined seeing her family; and when the mortification began, and the pain ceased, she said, “I feared I should not have died of this!”