Page:History of England (Macaulay) Vol 4.djvu/520

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obtain a seat. Such was the commencement of the public life of a man whose name, a quarter of a century later, was inseparably coupled with the High Church in the acclamations of Jacobite mobs.[482]

Soon, however, it began to be observed that in every division Harley was in the company of those gentlemen who held his political opinions in abhorrence; nor was this strange; for he affected the character of a Whig of the old pattern; and before the Revolution it had always been supposed that a Whig was a person who watched with jealousy every exertion of the prerogative, who was slow to loose the strings of the public purse, and who was extreme to mark the faults of the ministers of the Crown. Such a Whig Harley still professed to be. He did not admit that the recent change of dynasty had made any change in the duties of a representative of the people. The new government ought to be observed as suspiciously, checked as severely, and supplied as sparingly as the old one. Acting on these principles he necessarily found himself acting with men whose principles were diametrically opposed to his. He liked to thwart the King; they liked to thwart the usurper; the consequence was that, whenever there was an opportunity of thwarting William, the Roundhead stayed in the House or went into the lobby in company with the whole crowd of Cavaliers.

Soon Harley acquired the authority of a leader among those with whom, notwithstanding wide differences of opinion, he ordinarily voted. His influence in Parliament was indeed altogether out of proportion to his abilities. His intellect was both small and slow. He was unable to take a large view of any subject. He never acquired the art of expressing himself in public with fluency and perspicuity. To the end of his life he remained a tedious, hesitating and confused speaker.[483]