and overbearing torrent; but they join at last; and long may they continue united, to the comfort of each other, and to the glory, honour, and happiness of this nation!"'
A rhetorical shaft, fledged with metaphor, does not always fly straight to the bull's-eye; and, if we may trust an amusing story told by Walpole, so it fared with this celebrated missile. Fox, who by all the rules of war ought to have considered himself a dead man, had the face to ask Pitt good-humouredly, after the division, 'Who is the Rhone?', the Saone of course being Newcastle. Pitt replied, 'Is that a fair question?' 'Why,' said Fox, 'as you have said so much that I did not desire to hear, you may tell me one thing that I would hear. Am I the Rhone or Lord Granville?' Pitt answered, 'You are Granville.'
It is of this Parliamentary Coblentz figure of the two French rivers that Lord Rosebery writes in his summing up of the grand debate: 'These are all the shreds that remain of this glorious rhapsody. It would perhaps be better that nothing had survived. Each student must try and reconstruct for himself, like some rhetorical Owen, out of these poor bones the majestic structure of Pitt's famous speech.'
One result of it, I may mention in passing. Pitt was at once dismissed from office, and no wonder.
Within three years, in 1758, he was at the height of his power. By coalescing with Newcastle, and reserving to himself, as Secretary of State, the entire management of all Foreign affairs, for nearly four years he made England the terror of France and the wonder of Europe.
Some of my hearers may have read—is it possible that one or two octogenarians may have even heard?—the description of that renowned Administration by Dr. Arnold in 1842, when, as Regius Professor of Modern