Page:Lord Chatham as an Orator.djvu/17

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Lord Chatham as an Orator

So far Macaulay, writing in 1834 from his post in India.

Horace Walpole, in a letter to his friend Conway on November 15, which by the by was Pitt's forty-seventh birthday, first passes a warm eulogy on the maiden speech of young 'Single-Speech' Hamilton, and then continues, 'You will ask, what could be beyond this? Nothing, but what was beyond whatever was, and that was Pitt! He spoke at past one, for an hour and thirty-five minutes: there was more humour, wit, vivacity, finer language, more boldness, in short, more astonishing perfections, than even you, who are used to him, can conceive. He was not abusive, yet very attacking on all sides. He ridiculed my Lord Hillsborough, crushed poor Sir George,[1] terrified the Attorney,[2] lashed my Lord Granville,[3] painted my Lord of Newcastle, attacked Mr. Fox, and even hinted up to the Duke of Cumberland,' that is, the conqueror at Culloden.

Writing the next day to another friend, Mr. Richard Bentley, Walpole is even more ecstatic. 'Pitt surpassed himself, and then I need not tell you that he surpassed Cicero and Demosthenes. What a figure would they, with their formal, laboured, cabinet orations, make vis-à-vis his manly vivacity and dashing eloquence at one o'clock in the morning, after sitting in that heat for eleven hours! He spoke above an hour and a half, with scarce a bad sentence. The most admired part was a comparison he drew of the two parts of the new administration, to the conflux of the Rhone and the Saone at Lyons: "the latter a gentle, feeble, languid stream, languid but not deep; the other a boisterous

  1. Lyttelton.
  2. The Attorney-General, afterwards the great Lord Mansfield.
  3. Formerly Lord Carteret.