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a diary which, going back as it does to the year 1736, must be the earliest of its kind in the kingdom. There is a portrait, reproduced by Lord Ilchester, of Henry ready to start shooting, in a short jacket and long gaiters, with a very heavy and clumsy fowling-piece in his right hand, and two very • leggy'spaniels in couples at his feet. He has the unmistakable face of the younger branch of the Foxes-heavy eyebrows, half-melancholy, half-humorous brown eyes, rather coarse mouth and rather heavy jaw--a curious departure from the austere, well-chiselled features of Sir Stephen. Yet the face is kindly and good-humoured, a little too easy-going perhaps, but welcome enough in a shooting companion. Men worked hard for their sport in those days; and the two brothers would scour the country for hours, generally on horseback, and return delighted with a bag of six or eight birds. Stephen must have been a remarkably fine shot, for, even with the awkward weapons of that primitive time, he once killed twenty-two partridges, a pheasant, and a wild-duck without missing a shot. Henry, though a diligent keeper of the journal, was not equal to his brother with the gun and not so ready to go out in all weathers. Still his entries show keen delight in the sport; though occasionally incidents are recorded which are heart-rending. Thus on one day four noble cockpheasants were killed and not one brought home'; on another, The dogs caught a fine old cock-pheasant and ate it all up but the two legs.' We should guess from the picture that Fox's spaniels were quite capable of this crime. And so the journal goes on, intermittently, to the year 1753, when Henry Fox records that, being Secretary at War etc. he resigns the place of Recorder of the Chasse’; and we have reluctantly to tear ourselves away and follow him through the devious course of his public life.
Of what profit, it may be asked, can it be to study the political vagaries of such an one as Henry Fox who, rated at his highest, was never above the second or even the third rank? Has he any real claim at all upon our notice except as the father, and, from an educational point of view, the very bad father, of the famous Charles James? Who was Henry Fox ? He was one of a fairly large class, the younger son of a country-gentleman,
who, having a certain amount of ambition and a fair proportion of brains, thought it no more than his right that he should be supported at the expense of his country, and entered political life as the surest means to that end. To speak plainly, he was an adventurer. The word has an ugly sound, but there are at all times many more adventurers in the political world than are called by that name. An adventurer is supposed to work mainly for his own advantage, to adopt such political opinions as will serve to that advantage, and to adapt them to the perpetual change of circumstances. Hence he is held to be always pliant and, if he knows his business, to be also, within certain limits, sagacious. But, after all, the political opinions of most of us are coloured, consciously and unconsciously, by predilection for that which may be profitable to ourselves. If we are well off under the existing system of government, we desire little or, at best, most cautious change; whereas, if we are ill off, we clamour for a revolution. No doubt it is wrong for any one class to order the ways of a whole community for its own interests; but the crime is no more heinous in country-gentlemen than in miners or transport-workers. An adventurer who works exclusively for his own class as against the rest of the nation is probably more mischievous than one who works entirely for himself as against other individuals.
Now in Henry Fox's time the dominance of the country-gentlemen was not seriouly threatened, indeed hardly threatened at all. His battles were, in consequence, chiefly with individuals, cliques, côteries, and factions. He was not altogether ill-equipped for his venture. He possessed beyond question a good intellect, administrative talent, readiness and felicity both with tongue and with pen, no inconvenient encumbrance of principle, and a courage that amounted almost to recklessness. In private life the happy nature, which was his strong characteristic, had been strengthened by a runaway marriage, which endured to the end as an ideal partnership with an adored and adoring wife. Such a nature necessarily carried with it a genial manner; and this, added to a keen sense of the ridiculous, an affable courtesy and a very real and sympathetic generosity, made and secured for him many friends. On the other hand, he was, in public life, hampered by very strong prejudices-he hated lawyers, for instance, far worse than he hated the devil, and took no pains to conceal the fact-and he had in him a streak of vindictiveness, not untinged by positive cruelty, which he kept under no control in hours of triumph. This touch of recklessness made him in reality a gambler rather than an adventurer; and it is not difficult to see from what source his son Charles derived the gambling spirit which was his bane alike in political and in private life.
Again, Henry Fox had not trained himself to be a full man even as a politician.
a politician. He had made no study of foreign politics and knew little about them; and, as he happened to live at the time when Frederick the Great was hewing the way for Prussia to the hegemony of the Empire, and England was contesting with France the sovereignty of India and the New World, the deficiency was a little unfortunate. But, in truth, he was not ambitious of power unless it were as a means to patronage. What he really wanted was wealth and rank, with perhaps a certain standing in Parliament, where he could shine among his brother country-gentlemen and give some satisfaction to his intellectual vanity. For he was what is called a very clever fellow; and very clever fellows, who are far from uncommon, are frequently mistaken by superficial contemporaries for those rarest of God's creatures, wise men. But, after all, he obtained, in great measure, his heart's desire. He cut a considerable figure. He was thrown, as friend or enemy or both, with all the leading men of his time, and treated by them as of some importance. Finally, he amassed a very large fortune, not dishonestly gotten according to the standard of his day, by long tenure of the Paymastership of the Forces, and gained the barony of Holland. He did indeed fail to obtain an earldom-the one drop needed to fill his cup of satisfaction—and this, judging from the abject spirit in which he sought the honour, must have been somewhat of a mortification. Still, on the whole, he did well for himself. He acquired a delightful residence in Holland House, and, after he retired into private life, he had money enough to spend in a veritable riot of bricks and mortar at Kingsgate. Such a riot affords untold pleasure to some people; and the first Lord Holland revelled in it as thoroughly as any. It is true that his two sons developed at an early age the extravagance which is hardly possible in any young men save those who, upon paternal principle, have been denied nothing. But, though Lady Holland mourned and lamented over this, his Lordship seems to have met the demands of the Israelites with unfailing good temper. He had helped many friends out of pecuniary difficulties without demanding a penny
of interest, and could not be less sympathetic towards his sons than towards his friends. He had an enjoying nature, and judged no enjoyment, were it innocent or the reverse, with harshness. Altogether we confess to a liking for the man, with all his faults, and we feel sure that we should have found him likeable. But to take him, or even his son Charles James, seriously as public men is beyond our power, especially when we have such a standard whereby to measure them as that of old Sir Stephen Fox.
It seems very wonderful that, at a period when England was governed mainly by Foxes, Newcastles, and their kind, she should still have contrived to wrest North America and India from France. The substitution of Pitt for them during but a few short years sufficed for this; and yet Pitt was not one who could have governed for long. His strength was that his horizon was not limited as was that of his fellows. He could see visions and dream dreams, and, more than that, he could inspire others not merely to see and to dream likewise but to turn the shadow into substance. This gift of inspiration is rare and great; but it was the beginning and the end of Pitt's genius. His strategical designs were often faulty. His methods of arming the nation to execute them were, at best, imperfect and, at worst, vicious. His military commanders, Amherst and Wolfe, were neither of them of the first rank, and far inferior to the two Admirals, Saunders and Hawke. The greatest man of all at that period, greater, in our opinion, than Pitt himself, was Robert Clive; and he was not discovered, though he was instantly recognised as of extraordinary stature, by Pitt. Henry Fox, to his honour, was Clive's friend; but it is significant of the times that Clive sought recognition in England by joining the ranks of the
country-gentlemen in the House of Commons. One wonders what Henry Fox made of that moody, masterful genius. Clive's name occurs but twice in these two volumes, once when he described Fox as the patron of the East India Company'-a compliment which must rather have astonished the man to whom it was paidand once when Fox intervened to save Clive from being unseated on petition. In this latter instance Fox 'threw the whole into a cause of faction,' stirring up one of those heated debates in which his soul delighted, because it gave him a chance, not so much of showing his friendship for Clive, as of wreaking his hatred upon the lawyers. In such strange fashion are the great names mingled with the little in this comical world.
And so we take leave, not without a kindly farewell, of Henry Fox. He and his like among the countrygentlemen can no longer claim support, in virtue of their position, for themselves and their children at the country's expense; and politicians no longer, depend upon Court intrigues for advancement. We live in other and purer times. So we are told; but is it true? Other classes, more numerous than the country-gentlemen and quite as greedy, are now clamorous not merely for high wages at the cost of the State, that is to say of their neighbours, but for appropriation and division, in the name of the State, of all their neighbours' goods. And a Court is not needed as a centre of intrigue, for there are plenty of other centres, both political and financial. It may well be that when, a century hence, the secrets of the past fifteen years are laid bare, there will be revealed quite as much that is petty, contemptible, and even corrupt, as in the reigns of George II and George III. England does not readily part with her old traditions, be they good or evil. We venture to predict that, when the history of the great German war is written as fully as is that of the war of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years' War, there will be found plenty of Henry Foxes though there will be no William Pitt.