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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 51

Chapter VIII. — Bright Examples

page 80

Chapter VIII.

Bright Examples.

"Not all that heralds rake from coffined clay,
Nor florid prose, nor honied lies of rhyme,
Can blazon evil deeds or consecrate a crime."


"The widow is gathering nettles for her children's dinner: a perfumed seigneur, delicately lounging in the Œil de Beuf, hath an alchemy whereby he will extract from her the third nettle, and call it rent."


It has been shown pretty conclusively in previous chapters that the British aristocracy collectively have, from first to last, been public enemies of the most malignant type. It may now be well to glance at the achievements of a few of the more prominent families individually.

Take the Churchills to begin with. How did they come to be hereditary rulers of England? In this wise:—The Duke of York, afterwards James II., had an extraordinary taste for ugly mistresses; so much so, that one of them observed, "There are none of us handsome; and if we had wit, he (James) would not have the sense to find it out." Charles II. accounted for the plainness of his brother's harlots by maintaining that they were selected for him by his Father Confessor by way of penance. However, this singular love of female ugliness was the making of the Churchills. Arabella Churchill found her way into James's harem, and the fortunes of her brother, John Churchill, a penniless ensign, at once began to look up. He was a man of great intellectual ability, and undoubted physical courage, and being absolutely without page 81 the impediment of a conscience, he rapidly improved his opportunities.

The infamous Barbara Palmer, Duchess of Cleveland, the mistress of Charles II., conceived a violent passion for "handsome Jack," and on one occasion, when they were together, the king surprised them, and Churchill had to take a break-neck leap from her ladyship's bedroom window. The duchess rewarded this feat with a present of £5,000, which the young man invested with the utmost prudence. This was the foundation of the family fortunes, which were subsequently augmented by contributions from other court ladies, not less frail than Barbara Palmer. Virtue, it is affirmed, is its own exceeding great reward. This proposition can hardly be gainsaid, for the history of our old nobility conclusively shows that vice secures so many of the loaves and fishes, that hardly anything is left over to save virtue from penury.

The career of John Churchill is one unbroken record of successful crime. Starting with hardly a sixpence in the world, he was a major-general and a peer, both of England and Scotland, before he was forty. "Faithful, but unfortunate," is the singularly inappropriate family motto. If it had run, "Faithless and fortunate," the mark would have been hit exactly. James II. reposed such complete confidence in the traitor, that he made him lieutenant-general of the kingdom. The very day before he deserted to William of Orange, he drew his sword in a council of war, and protested that he would shed the last drop of his blood in defence of his royal master. Marshal Schomberg told him roundly that he "was the first lieutenant-general he had ever heard of that had deserted his colours." Churchill had the effrontery to appeal to "the inviolable dictates of his conscience and a necessary concern for his religion" as his excuse! Great Powers! Churchill's conscience! Churchill's religion!

For this abominable treachery he was made Earl of Marlborough by the Dutch king, who, however, was under no misapprehension as to the scoundrel's real character. Churchill, he held, "was a vile man, and he hated him, for though he could profit of treason, he could not bear the traitor." As a matter of fact, the earl was as faithless to William as to James. He was the centre of a page 82 conspiracy to bring back the exiled tyrant, to whom he systematically betrayed the secrets of the Cabinet and the strength and dispositions of the military forces of Great Britain. Suspicion however fell on him, and he was arrested on a charge of high treason. By dint of the most unblushing falsehoods he soon contrived not merely to recover his liberty, but his command also. He at once plunged into fresh enormities. It was determined to send a secret expedition under General Talmash, to destroy Brest. Thereupon Churchill wrote to Tames, under date 4th May, 1694:—"It came to my knowledge what I now send you that the bomb vessels and the twelve regiments which are now encamped at Portsmouth, together with two marine regiments, are to be commanded by Talmash, and designed to burn the harbour of Brest, and to destroy the men-of-war there. This would be a great advantage to England, but no consideration can, or ever shall, hinder me from letting you know what I think may be for your service, so that you may make what use you please of this intelligence."

Thus advised James warned Louis XIV., who at once rewarded the traitor with the gold for which he was ever clamorous, and prepared a warm reception for Talmash's force. The surprisers were the surprised. Eight hundred British soldiers fell, and their murderer enjoyed the recompense of his unheard-of villany!

When Queen Anne came to the throne, Marlborough and his wife, Sarah Jennings, were the de facto rulers of England, and of course the worthy couple took care to make ample provision for themselves in the distribution of public plunder. Between them they monopolized offices worth £46,000 per annum. But even this vast income could not satisfy the rapacity of the man who "loved money better than woman or fame." He took to wholesale embezzlement—the worst form of theft. The Commissioners of Public Accounts reported that, as commander-in-chief, he had pocketed £63,000 from army bread contractors, besides corruptly receiving two and a half per cent, on the pay of foreign troops subsidized by England. Altogether, his defalcations amounted to more than £400,000. The House of Commons resolved (1), "That the taking the several sums of money annually by the Duke of Marlborough, from the contractors page 83 for furnishing the bread and bread-waggons for 'the army in the Low Countries was unwarrantable and illegal;" and (2), "That the before mentioned two sums of £282,366 9s. 7d., and £177,695 17s. deducted from the troops in her majesty's pay, are public moneys, and ought to be accounted for." But though men called out to him in public places "Stop thief!" Churchill stuck to his plunder like a limpet, and not a penny could be recovered from him. Instead of being compelled to disgorge his shameless gains, he was rewarded with that infamous perpetual pension which the present pattern duke commuted the other day for £107,0001

Against Queen Anne, as against Kings James and William, he plotted as he found occasion. Anne suspected him, and consulted the sagacious Lord Somers regarding him. Lord Somers told her that "Marlborough was the worst man that God Almighty ever made; that his ambition was boundless and his avarice insatiable; and that he had neither honour nor conscience to restrain him from any wicked attempt even against her person as well as against the country."

Such, then, was the founder of this house of Marlborough. He had great ability, but it was the ability of the devil—ability divorced from honour, conscience, humanity. He was one of the greatest generals and one of the worst men Europe ever produced.

The tendency to steal did not die out with John Churchill. The Dukes of Marlborough managed to secure the rangership of Wychwood Forest, in Oxfordshire, and when the Land Revenue Commissioners visited it they found that the then duke had practically made it his own in defiance of the terms of the grant. "The greatest part of the timber had been cut at much waste, and there is now very little left," was the Commissioners' plaintive report. The duke had, moreover, it was shown, "pocketed" in hard cash £862 6s. 3d., the property of the Crown. If, instead of being a duke, he had been a starving City clerk, he would have been speedily initiated into the mysteries of oakum-picking.

Take next a family of' British Brahmins of far more reputable antecedents—the Cecils. The founder of this haughty family was one Richard Cecil, who, though Groom of the Robes to Henry VIII., contrived not merely to keep his head page 84 on his shoulders, but even to fill his pockets. His father had been water bailiff of Whittlesea, and his grandfather, it is said, was a "publican" At all events, Lord Salisbury did not "come over at the Conquest." Dick Cecil did well in the courtier business He first got hold of some Crown lands in Northamptonshire; then he annexed the priory of St. Michael, Stamford; next he absorbed the manor of Essendine, in Rutland; Tinwell manor, in Northamptonshire; to say nothing of grants made to him in Kent and Lincolnshire.

William Cecil, the son of this robber, afterwards Lord Burghley, was still more successful in the trade of courtier. He began by devouring a hospital at Lincoln; a monastery at Stamford; Ladybrigg Close, in Northamptonshire; the manors of Geddings and Boxe, in Hertfordshire, as well as the Hundreds of Hertford and Braughling. Burghley was a statesman who must have profited by the doctrines of Macchiavelli's Prince. He lived in plots, and has been justly described as "Spider" Cecil. He incessantly wove nets, from the meshes of which his victims rarely escaped. The rack was his great instrument of government, and he applied it with the utmost diligence.

His son Robert Cecil, James the First's "little beagle," was, if possible, a more unprincipled upholder of despotism than his father. His unscrupulous abuse of power even shocked Lord Clarendon, the Tory and High Church historian. "No act of power," he bewails, "was ever proposed that he did not advance and execute with the utmost rigour. No man so great a tyrant in this country." He literally revelled in offices and sinecures of all kinds, and annexed manor after manor with unappeasable voracity. His talons were everywhere—in York, Sussex, Kent, Norfolk, Essex. Nothing came wrong to him—abbeys, tithes, imposts on mines, glebe lands, advowsons, chases, warrens, profits of fairs, demesne lands and coppices in endless array.

In the present Marquis of Salisbury all the tyrannical traditions of the Cecils have received re-embodiment. The hard bargains he has driven with the Metropolitan Board of Works while endeavouring to improve his London property, and the costly litigation to which he has subjected the public, are simply scandalous. "Horrible Hatfield" is the outcome of his patriarchal notions of society and government. What page 85 bitter irony it was to put this man on the Commission for the Better Housing of the Poor! Truly, Sir Charles Dilke has much to account for.

"A king can make a belted knight,
A marquis, duke, and a' that,
But an honest man's aboon his might,
Good faith he canna' fa' that."

An exhaustive analysis of the peerage would show (1) how many noble lords owe their rank and estates to the rapine of conquest; (2) to royal favouritism; (3) to Church pillage; (4) to royal debauchery: (5) to purchase under the Stuarts; (6) to marriages of convenience; (7) to success in war; (8) to success in law, &c. The late Lord Beaconsfleld held that all the chief sources of the peerage have been "disgraceful," and it would be difficult, out of the five hundred existing creations, to point to five that can be set down to real merit. This proposition it would not be difficult to prove in detail; but I must be content with samples of the most and least creditable peerages.

Having investigated the origin of two leading families of Tory aristocrats—the Churchills and the Cecils, it is but fair that I should now glance at two leading Whig families—the Cavendishes and the Russells.

The Cavendishes are an old family—that is to say, they have a record, more or less genuine, for the last three centuries and a-half. It is also held to be a peculiarly honourable record. Be that as it may, such virtues as the Cavendishes possess have unquestionably been well rewarded. They have three peerages among them, and more than 220,000 acres of the national soil, yielding them £172,000 per annum.

The first Cavendish, an obscure man, about whose origin very little is known, was employed by Henry VIII. as a well-qualified church-robber. He was Auditor of the Court of Augmentations, and he of course took very good care, like the rest of the Commissioners, not to augment the royal revenues alone.

In 1540 he laid hold hold of the monastic lands of Cailde-wicke, Cuffley, and Northawe, in Herefordshire. This was a promising start, which he promptly followed up by annexing Northawberry (Lincoln), and the site of Cardigan Priory, to say nothing of extensive raids into Cornwall and other page 86 counties. He was great in "exchanges," and generally appears to have had the best of the bargains he made, especially in his dealings with the Crown.

He did not speculate in Church lands alone. He was almost as provident in the matter of wives. His third spouse, "Bess of Hardwicke," was a much-married lady, who even excelled her husband in the art of adding field to field. She had induced both her first husband and her brother to leave her their estates, and after the death of Cavendish, to whom she had several children, she married first Sir William St. Loe, and then the Earl of Shrewsbury. She stipulated that St. Loe's estates—he had daughters by a former marriage—should in default of issue by her go to the Cavendishes. Her son she married to Shrewsbury's daughter, her daughter to Shrewsbury's son.

These mercenary marriages, intrinsically more immoral than prostitution, were the making of the great house of Cavendish. "Bess's" second son became Earl of Devonshire, and her grandson, the son of her third son, the Royalist Marquis of Newcastle, of Civil War fame.

Till after the Restoration the Cavendishes were mere sequacious courtiers and matrimonial speculators. Then came a change over the spirit of their dream. They had lost immensely in purse in their unsuccessful efforts to uphold the Stuart tyranny. Newcastle, it is said, alone spent a million sterling in the Royalist cause, and they prudently determined not to do it again. They foresaw fresh troubles brewing, and they resolved to turn patriots. The fourth earl supported the claims of the Dutch Deliverer, and reaped his reward in a dukedom. It would be the height of credulity to suppose that any regard for the public good influenced his conduct.

Since "the glorious Revolution," the Cavendishes have literally revelled in public appointments of all kinds, though displaying very little capacity for public affairs. And they have not forgotten their old trick of profitably marrying and giving in marriage. The fourth duke married the only daughter of the Earl of Burlington—the heiress of the Cliffords and the Boyles—and thus contrived to add immensely to the patrimonial estates. The family motto, "Cavendo Tutus"—" By Caution Safe"—is eminently appropriate.

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The Marquis of Hartington, the ablest, perhaps, of all his race, is yet an exceedingly "dull man." Still there is no saying at what he may arrive by sedulously taking care and rowing with the stream. The founder of the family was what has been called an "agrarian Protestant"—he promptly turned Catholic when Mary came to the throne—and it is not impossible that the noble lord may yet figure as a ducal Republican. "Anybody's dog for a bone," Would be an excellent motto for some of our old aristocratic Whig houses.

Let us next consider the case of the Russells. Like the Cavendishes, they owe their greatness to the favour of the Crown and the spoliation of the Church. "The political merit of the first pensioner of the house of Bedford," says Burke, "was that of being concerned as a councillor of state in advising, and in his person executing, the conditions of a dishonourable peace with France, by instigating a tyrant to injustice to provoke a people to rebellion by giving his hand to the work and partaking the spoil with a prince who plundered a part of the National Church of his time and country, by being a prompt and greedy instrument of a levelling tyrant who oppressed all descriptions of his people. His grants were from the aggregated and consolidated funds of judgments iniquitously legal, and from possessions voluntarily surrendered by their lawful proprietors with the gibbet at the door. . . . His merits were by acts in which he served his master and made his fortune, to bring poverty, wretchedness, and depopulation on his country." Such was the founder of the great house of Russell whose praises have been in the mouths of all manner of Liberal publicists for generations.

John Russell was in truth one of the wiliest and most unscrupulous courtiers of his time. In 1540 he was little more than a needy adventurer, when there fell to his bow and spear twenty-five manors in Devonshire, being the whole circuit of the Abbey of Tavistock, In quick succession he fixed his talons on Dunkeswell, Devon, and Aston Abbots, Bucks. Later he laid hold of Hagh, Lincolnshire, and Castle Hymel, Northamptonshire. In the reign of the boy-king, Edward VI., Russell was a member of the Council, and he and the ring that composed it fraudulently produced a clause in Henry VIII.'s will ordering that certain alleged promises page 88 of the defunct Bluebeard to the Seymours, Russells, Wrio-theslys, and Company, should be made good forthwith. Thus armed, Russell proceeded successively to lay hands on Woburn Abbey, Melchburn Priory, Beds, and Thornhaugh, Northamptonshire. Later he absorbed Long-acre and Covent-garden, the property of the monks of Westminster. Truly did Burke call this outrageous despoiler "the Leviathan of all the creatures of the Crown."

In our own day another John Russell—" Wee Johnny "of reforming zeal—did his best to emulate the rapacity of the founder of the family. Mr. Grenville Murray thus truthfully summarized the results of his statesmanship:—"So the Reformers having conquered made Johnny Russell a Secretary of State, and by-and-by a Premier; and Johnny, looking on the horny handed men who had laboured to hoist him so high, told them to rest and be thankful, while he parted all the spoils of victory among his kinsfolk and acquaintances. He forgot not a cousin or a nephew in this royal distribution, which was carried on, with but few intermissions, for six-and-thirty years. All the great plum-devouring connection was installed in every post where public moneys could be fingered. They became lords spiritual and temporal, commanders of armies and fleets, governors of colonies, and ambassadors; they sucked the udders of the nation through every teat; nothing was done in Great Britain and her dependencies but by them and for them, so that it seemed in truth as if the greatest empire in the world had been created to no other end than to make them all fat. As for the thinkers and workers who had made the pulse of the nation beat at the name of Reform—the Tom Moores and Sydney Smiths, the Leigh Hunts and the Landors—they were left to suck their thumbs in the shadow."

A fortunate marriage with the heiress of Wriothesly, another insatiable Church robber, brought into the Russell family the immense Bloomsbury and Hampshire estates. No wonder that the Russells were active in promoting the "glorious Revolution." James II. and his Romans would have had something to say to such an unparalleled crew of sacrilegious cormorants as the Russells had they had their way.

Outside London the Russell domain consists of more than page 89 eighty-six thousand acres—rent, £142,000. Inside London yards are as valuable as acres outside, and the income is consequently perhaps nearly as great. The last penny is wrung from the people for ground-rents, and building leases are granted on the iniquitous principle that both the solum and that which has been erected on it revert entail to the lessor at the expiry of the term of occupation—ninety-nine years. A 'glorious Revolution "truly was that of 1688 for the Russells. Londoners are as badly off as Highland Crofters, if they had the wit to see it.

Let us now, by way of change, take an example of a law-made house of hereditary rulers—the Scotts, of Eldon.

John Scott, the founder of the Eldon family, was the son of a Newcastle coal merchant. He eloped with a banker's daughter, and betook himself to the bar. Being a perfect embodiment of self-seeking and political illiberality, he soon found his way into the House of Commons through the portal of the rotten borough of Weobly. He was an unblushing "king's friend," and Pitt had to reward him with the office of Solicitor-General. Speedily he rose to be Attorney-General, and in that capacity his peculiar merits soon came to light.

He was the most zealous prosecutor of political offenders who ever disgraced the English bar. For nine mortal hours he strained every nerve to induce a jury to convict Thomas Hardy, the secretary of the Corresponding Society, of treason. Hardy was an intelligent and patriotic shoemaker, and the coalman's son was shocked beyond measure that one of such humble station should venture to hold opinions on the questions of the day adverse to the Government. In this prosecution as well as in that of the celebrated Home Tooke, he failed ignominiously.

At the trial of the latter, the unblushing professional hypocrite professed to weep because the defence had challenged the purity of his motives. He could willingly part with life itself for the sake of his country; but the aspersion of his good name he could not endure. For why? It was the little patrimony he had to leave to his children. Thereupon Mitford, the Solicitor-General, thinking that professional etiquette required that he also should produce his handkerchief, began to sob. "What in the world is Mitford crying for?" asked a bystander of Tooke. "Ah," replied page 90 the wit, "he is weeping to think what a slender patrimony Sir John Scott's children will have to divide among them."

In several similar prosecutions against good men and true he was unfortunately more successful, and in 1801 he reaped the highest reward attainable—the Lord Chancellorship.

In this great office he had ample opportunities of wrongdoing, and he exercised them most sedulously. He contrived to throw out the Slavery Abolition Bill; He obstinately insisted on hanging for thefts of 5s. and upwards. He successfully resisted Lord Holland's Parochial School Bill, and enthusiastically applauded the Peterloo massacre. He bitterly opposed Catholic Emancipation, the Repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts, the abolition of the Corn-laws, the Reform Bill, municipal reform, the introduction of railways—in a word, of every enlightened measure he was the implacable and relentless enemy.

He loaded his son with sinecure offices, and himself so completely neglected the duties of his court that Joseph Hume declared "that the greatest curse that ever fell on any nation was having such a chancellor."

In his lifetime he bought large estates in Durham and Dorset: notwithstanding, he was able to leave behind him half a million in hard cash. How he came by such a prodigious sum is not apparent. He was an accomplished liar, whose habit it was to complain of the losses he sustained in the discharge of his public duties. When Solicitor-General he told the king that the office had entailed on him a sacrifice of £2,000 a-year. His fee-book showed that he was a gainer by £1,000 at the least. As Lord Chancellor, with an income of £17,000 per annum, he complained that his elevation had impoverished him. His fee-book showed that his receipts as Attorney-General had not averaged more than £10,000 a-year. Such was the founder of this family of hereditary rulers.

John Scott of Eldon's career forcibly recalls one of the sights which the arch-enemy of mankind saw in "the Devil's Walk:"—

"He saw a lawyer killing an adder
On a dung-hill beside his stable;
And the Devil smiled, for it put him in mind
Of Cain and his brother Abel."

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Yet another specimen of the law-made noble Lord. Take the Dundases.

The first of the Dundas gang with whom we need specially concern ourselves was made Lord Advocate for Scotland in 1775. In 1802 he was raised to the peerage as Lord Melville. His father was Lord President of the Supreme Court of Scotland. The family fortunes had been made by one Sir Lawrence Dundas, a leviathan army contractor, a synonym in those days for great public robber.

Lord Melville was the bosom friend of Pitt, who, if he was an honourable man, selected his confidants with an extraordinary disregard of their reputation. Fox said of Melville—and Fox was a most lenient critic—that he "ever showed an eagerness to heap up emoluments and to systematize corruption." He generally held three or four offices at the same time. He was Privy Seal of Scotland and Steward of Fife-shire. When he received the latter appointment, he exacted "arrears" amounting to £3,000. Of what the arrears consisted no one ever knew. For his wife he managed to secure a pension of £1,500 per annum. The wherefore was neither family poverty nor public desert. Shameless greed alone prompted to this raid on the public purse.

Melville's hatred of liberty in every form was, if possible, greater even than Eldon's. Both were alike steeped in corruption, but Melville was the more audacious of the two. Indeed, he disregarded the third injunction of the Dantean precept, "Be bold, be bold, be not too bold," and came to grief, though by no means adequate grief. Being at the same time Minister of War, Treasurer of the Navy, and President of the Board of Control, he had unsurpassed opportunities for robbing the national till. How far he actually improved them it is impossible to say. His instrument and accomplice was one Alexander Trotter, a Navy-office clerk, who started with the munificent salary of £50 per annum. This fellow was ultimately promoted to be Dundas's deputy, and during their connection the frauds perpetrated on the nation were legion. Contrary to law, Trotter kept balances of public funds with Coutts, the banker, amounting to £100,000 and upwards, and with these he did an enormous bill-discounting business. In 1802 his dividends from stock were over £11,000, and when he came to be examined by the House of Lords he page 92 admitted that he was worth £65,000. Trotter steadily refused, when under examination, to answer questions incriminating Melville; but it was proved that he had been in the habit of advancing to his chief, from time to time, sums of £10,000 and even of £20,000. Some of these advances had been invested in stock in Melville's name.

But the damning fact against Melville was this—Parliament appointed a Commission of Naval Inquiry, and the worthy couple took the alarm. They met, gave mutual releases, and burned accounts for public monies amounting to £134,000,000! Do honest men who wish to be exonerated from charges disgraceful to them hasten to destroy the very vouchers of their integrity? At the bar of the House of Commons Melville made a defence which the philanthropic Wilberforce declared was "an aggravation of his guilt." He was compelled to resign all his public appointments, and his name was struck off the list of Privy Councillors. He was subsequently tried by the House of Lords on ten counts, and acquitted! One crow does not pick out another crow's eyes. Fellow feeling makes us wondrous kind. No serious doubt has ever been raised as to Dundas's guilt. Miss Martineau held that it was "impossible that many, if any, should believe him actually innocent of the charges brought against him."

Such, then, was the founder of the Dundas family. He was a miracle of tyranny and corruption, yet his widow was adjudged worthy of a pension of £1,000 per annum. His descendants and collaterals have quartered themselves on the public with unsurpassed effrontery. Nothing in Church or State has ever come wrong to a Dundas.

There are two peerages in the family, that of Zetland being the more important. The earl has a rent-roll of £49,000, with estates in Yorkshire, as well as in Fife, Dumbarton, Stirling, and Clackmannan. In Orkney and Shetland (Zetland) he possesses 43,400 acres. This last domain was held by the inhabitants down to 1643, not feudally, but allodially—that is to say, every man was his own landlord, like the American homesteaders of the present day. The tenure was Norwegian, not British. The Zetland title is therefore one of confiscation—confiscation not finally confirmed till 1742. Happily, however, what parliament has done parliament can undo. If ever we do come to have a thoroughly Democratic page 93 House of Commons there will be such an examination of title-deeds to estates as will give our Old Nobility serious ground for reflection.

The Fitzroys, Dukes of Grafton, may be taken as a specimen of the peerages which owe their origin to royal debauchery. The first of this family was the son of Barbara Palmer, Duchess of Cleveland, by "the most religious King" Charles II., if Barbara was to be believe'd. But this infamous woman was so shamelessly vile that no reliance whatever was to be placed on her word. Her husband, Lord Castlemaine, was well aware of her infidelities, and did not scruple to profit handsomely by them. Pepys relates how Charles and his brother James both paid court to her at the same time; while her young affections were bestowed impartially on "handsome Jack Churchill" and other courtiers, with an occasional actor thrown in by way of variety. But whether the first of the Graftons was a Fitzroy (King's son), or a Fitz-Churchill, or a Fitz-Actor, is of no great consequence. Charles was pleased to saddle the nation with the Grafton incubus of hereditary rulers, and that is the point to be considered.

Barbara Palmer's son was splendidly provided for. The Earl of Arlington had an only daughter, to whom, at the age of twelve, Fitzroy was married. Charles heaped estates on Arlington, or rather, his son-in-law, Fitzroy, as Arlington's heir. The manors of Grafton, Hartwell, Alderton, Blisworth, Stoke-Bruerne, Green's Norton, Pollersbury, Ashton, and Paulers-bury; lands in Grimscolt, Northampton, Hardingston, Shuttle-hanger, Houghton Parva; parcel of Chacomb Priory and of Sewardsley Priory; the forests of Salcey and Whittlebury, and several other substantial gifts were the rewards of Barbara Palmer's easy virtue. Arlington was indefatigable in the acquisition of spoil in every shape. He formed one of the hated Cabal Ministry, and like his colleagues and royal master, he was in the pay of the French King. Through Arlington came the Suffolk estates of the Fitzroys. He was Secretary of State, Privy Purse, and Postmaster-General. Hence, he had always money for the purchase of fresh estates when no further accessions of Crown lands were to be secured.

But not content with these enormous grants of land, the Duke of Grafton contrived to secure two hereditary pensions, page 94 one of £9,000 a-year, charged on the Excise, and the other of £4,700 on the Post-office. The former was commuted in 1855 for £193,777, the latter in 1856 for £91,181. These vast sums, produced by the sweat and tears of honest English toilers, were paid to the Duke of Grafton for no better reason than that their ancestor "took the trouble to be born," and discreditably born too. "Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph."

As hereditary rangers of Whittlebury Forest the malversations of the Graftons have been most unblushing. In 1608 the forest contained 51,000 stately oaks, reserved by the Crown as suitable for navy construction. In 1783, when timber was sorely needed for this purpose, it was found that 5,200 trees alone remained. A Treasury warrant was issued to cut down a quantity of what remained. The deputy surveyor charged with this duty, unfortunately for himself, forgot to put the warrant in his pocket when he set about the work. He was pounced on by the hereditary ranger, who procured his dismissal from the service, and heartlessly accomplished his ruin. Was not this a touching example of ducal patriotism?

The Graftons have 13,600 acres in Suffolk; 8,400 in North-ampton; 7,300 in Bucks, and 2,700 in Banffshire—total 32,000 acres, with a rent-roll of £34,000. Their motto is simply delicious: "The ornament and reward of virtue"! The "reward," alas! is only too painfully real; but as for the "ornament"—great heavens! the ornament! Where does it come in?

In one respect the aristocracy paint themselves in their true colours. The coats of arms on which they pride themselves are hideously symbolic of their innate character. Wolves, tigers, panthers, lions; hawks, vultures, eagles; snakes, adders, vipers; swords, spears, daggers, arrows; griffins, ghouls, demons—everything horrible in nature and in the realm of imagination—grace the escutcheons of our "Old Nobility."

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