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result. This burlesque is still revived in Foote's popular farce of the Mayor of Garrat, but in practice has been long discontinued.
PUTNEY is now at hand; and as there is much to interest us, the traveller will have the goodness to disembark, while we consider what are the chief objects of note in this place, and in its opposite neighbour, Fulham.
And first, of Putney. This pleasant village, from its situation a place of considerable intercourse, and from its agreeable air, and proximity to the river, a favourite place of resort for the citizens, has had the honour of producing two eminent statesmen : West, Bishop of Ely, a favourite ambassador of Henry VIII., an eminent scholar, and magnificent in his way of living, keeping in his house a hundred servants; to fifty of whom he gave four marks wages, to the other fifty forty shillings, allowing every one four yards of cloth for his winter livery, and three yards and a half for his summer livery. Bishop West was buried in Ely Cathedral.
Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex, was the son of a blacksmith of Putney. The place of his birth is yet pointed out by a tradition, which is in some measure confirmed by a survey of Wimbledon manor taken in 1617, describing the spot as “an ancient cottage, called the smith's shop, lying west of the highway leading from Putney to the Upper Gate, and on the south side of the way from Richmond to Wandsworth, being the sign of
the Anchor.” It is remarkable, that among the numerous possessions which this eminent statesman acquired during his prosperity, may be reckoned the manor of the place where he was born. The striking features of his history, his introduction at court by Wolsey, his sudden rise, the active part he took in the Reformation, and his subsequent disgrace and fall, are well known. His master Wolsey, to whose power he succeeded, was going up Putney Hill, on his road to Esher, when he was overtaken by Norris, who there presented him with a ring, as a token of the continuance of his Majesty's favour. Stowe declares that " when the Cardinal had heard Master Norris report these good and comfortable words of the king, he quickly lighted from his mule all alone, as though he had been the youngest of his men, and incontinently kneeled down in the dirt upon both his knees, holding up his hands for joy of the king's most comfortable message. Master Norris lighted also, espying him so soon upon his knees, and kneeled by him, and took him up in his arms and asked him how he did, calling upon him to credit his message. ‘Master Norris,' quoth the Cardinal, 'when I consider the joyful news that you have brought to me, I could do no less than greatly rejoice. Every word pierces so my heart, that the sudden joy surmounted my memory, having no regard or respect to the place; but I thought it
my duty, that in the same place where I received this comfort, to laud and praise God upon my knees, and most humbly to render unto my sovereign lord my most hearty thanks for the same.'»
Queen Elizabeth frequently visited the house of a Mr. Lacy, citizen and cloth-worker, at Putney, staying sometimes two or three nights. The courtesy shown by this great queen to eminent citizens of London appears to have been very great, and was equally wise and politic.
During the civil war, in 1647, Cromwell established his head-quarters here, for the double purpose of overaweing the king, then at Hampton, and the parliament. Fairfax, Ireton, Fleetwood, and Colonel Rich, had quarters in the town. These worthies held their councils in the church, sitting with their hats on round the communion-table, here entertaining fanatic preachers, native and foreign, and dividing their time between plotting treason and singing psalms. The church is a handsome structure, with a stone tower ; to the east of the south aisle is a little chapel, built by Bishop West, the roof adorned with rich Gothic tracery, interspersed with the bishop's arms and the initials of his name.
Toland the deistical writer, author of the Pantheisticon and other works, had lodgings at a carpenter's in Putney; and dying here, was decently interred in the churchyard.
Robert Wood, a native of Meath, in Ireland, Under Secretary of State during the administration of the Earl of Chatham, and well known as author of “The Ruins of Balbec and Palmyra," was buried here in 1771. The great historian, Edward Gibbon, was born, and spent his earliest years, at Putney. At the Bowlinggreen House, on Putney Heath, the Right Hon. William Pitt breathed his last on the 23rd of January, 1806.
Pitt, the great son of a great father, was born May 28th, 1759. He was the second son of the great Earl of Chatham, a man of whom it was said that his character was “stained by no vice, nor sullied by any meanness.” Under the eye, and beneath the roof of his father, William, his second son, acquired his early education; but at the age of fourteen, quitting the paternal home, was entered of Pembroke Hall, Cambridge. On leaving the university he visited France, studying at Rheims; and on his return entered himself a student of Lincoln's Inn, a society numbering among its members more of the aristocracy of talent and genius, than any other in the land. In due time, being then of age, he was called to the bar, making choice of the western circuit, which he attended once or twice, but relinquished when introduced to Parliament by Sir James Lowther, as representative for the nomination borough of Appleby. Like many other young men, Mr. Pitt began life as a reformer. His maiden speech was delivered in support of Mr. Burke's financial reform bill. His energetic support of reform, and his having been chosen and having acted as a delegate in one of the popular assemblies held at Westminster for the promotion of that measure, was long after thrown in his teeth by political adversaries.
In the short-lived administration called the Rockingham, he took no
share; but upon its dissolution, became, at the early age of twenty-three, Chancellor of the Exchequer under the ministry of the Earl of Shelburne. On his retirement from office, during the ill-assorted coalition of Fox and Lord North, Pitt resumed his efforts in favour of a reform in Parliament, supported by Fox, but without success. The failure of the memorable India Bill, and the dismissal of the Coalition ministry, raised Mr. Pitt, though at this time only in the twenty-fourth year of his age, to the lofty station of Premier Minister of England, and to the unlimited support and confidence of his sovereign, who stood by him, though in opposition to a large majority in the House of Commons; which, before he had done with them, he converted by degrees into a large minority. We now hear no more of the patriot or the reformer. Gaining, at so early a period of life, supreme power, his efforts were chiefly directed to the security and consolidation of the power he had gained. His first measure, when a large majority in his favour, in the election after the memorable dissolution in 1786, assured him of his strength, was passing the India Bill to which we are indebted for the establishment of the Board of Control. The establishment of the ingenious, but as to its consequences delusive, scheme of a sinking fund, was his next great measure, supported and advocated as a master-stroke of financial policy and wisdom. Notwithstanding the miracles of liquidation it was intended and expected to perform, the working of the scheme in practice has not justified the national expectation.
In 1787, he ratified a commercial treaty with France, and began to exhibit that jealousy of Russian aggrandisement, which, but for the manifest unpopularity of hostilities which shook his resolution, might have involved the two countries in war. A quarrel with Spain was approximated, respecting the right of free trade at Nootka Sound, an object for which war might be considered just, but could hardly be esteemed necessary.
But in 1788, on the memorable Regency Question, Pitt displayed his wisdom, firmness, and, we may add, power, by resisting the too liberal doctrines of the Opposition that, during the king's indisposition, the regency devolved by right upon the Prince of Wales. The minister, on the contrary, maintained the constitutional right of the two remaining branches of the legislature to fill up the office as they should think proper, admitting, at the same time, the propriety of appointing the heir-apparent, with restricted powers.
The storm which had been so long gathering in France, now burst upon the astonished world in all the horrors of the French revolution, and an immediate change in the state of parties in this country was the necessary consequence. The inevitable result of violence and outrage was the betrayal of both our political factions into great, but natural and pardonable errors and excesses.
Reformers, elated by what they imagined the triumph of their principles in another country, became violent and even outrageous; while with the conservative party of that day, reform became synonymous with revolution, and all abuses at home found their apology in the violence attending the abrogation of abuses abroad. It seemed that there was nothing for it but to resist all concession, lest concession should leave nothing worth resistance. A war against French principles was declared on the one side; while on the other the friends of temperate reform, and rational liberty, found themselves unavoidably confounded with a mass of unreasoning enthusiasm, espousing not only the wildest and most visionary notions of the French revolutionists, but going so far as to give a dangerous approval to the means they took to accomplish their purposes-means that after deluging first France, then Europe, with blood, wasting millions of money, and retarding all the truly glorious and useful arts, have left that too brave nation almost where they found her.
It was at this time that the genius of Pitt began to show itself; and that admiration on the one hand, and hatred on the other, began to confess his talent for command. There can be no doubt that at the commencement of the revolutionary war, Pitt had the voice of the nation strongly with his measures and his policy; but as these became more and more developed by the urgencies and necessities of the times, that enthusiasm which rushed into foreign warfare without staying to calculate consequences, cooled amazingly; while the power of withdrawing from the contest was denied, if not to prudence, at least to national honour. While Great Britain triumphed upon her native ocean, the revolutionary armies of France were on the Continent almost uniformly successful; while at home distress and discontent, the suspension of cash payments, stagnation of trade and productive industry, and state prosecutions, taught us a lesson we shall not soon forget-how little, namely, is to be gained by interference, unless when we are driven to it, with even the wildest political extravagances of foreign nations. Pitt's inability to bring this war to a satisfactory termination, induced him to retire; unless