Historical Sketches of Statesmen Who Flourished in the Time of George III - Vol. 1

By Lord Henry Brougham | Go to book overview

MR. ERSKINE.

THE Ministry of Mr. Pitt did not derive more solid service from the Bar in the person of Mr. Dundas, than the Opposition party did ornament and. popularity in that of Mr. Erskine. His Parliamentary talents, although they certainly have been underrated, were as clearly not the prominent portion of his character. Nevertheless, it must be admitted that, had he appeared in any other period than the age of the Foxes, the Pitts, and the Burkes, there is little chance that he would have been eclipsed even as a debater; and the singular eloquence and powerful effect of his famous speech against the Jesuits' Bark Bill in the House of Lords,* abundantly proves this position. He never appears to have given his whole mind to the practice of debating; he had a very scanty provision of political information; his time was always occupied with the laborious pursuits of his profession; he came into the House of Commons, where he stood among several equals, and behind some superiors, from a stage where he shone alone, and without a rival; above all, he was accustomed to address a select and friendly audience, bound to lend him their patient attention, and to address them by the compulsion of his retainer, not as a volunteer coming forward in his own person; a position from which the transition is violent and extreme, to that of having to gain and to keep a promiscuous and, in great

____________________
*
1808.

-236-

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Historical Sketches of Statesmen Who Flourished in the Time of George III - Vol. 1
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • States Men of the Times of George Iii. 1
  • George Iii. 5
  • Lord Chatham. 17
  • Lord North. 48
  • Lord Loughborough. 70
  • Lord Thurlow. 88
  • Lord Chief Justice Gibbs. 124
  • Mr. Burke. 142
  • Mr. Fox. 178
  • Mr. Sheridan. 210
  • Mr. Windham. 219
  • Mr. Dundas. 227
  • Mr. Erskine. 236
  • Mr. Perceval. 246
  • Lord Grenville. 254
  • Mr. Grattan. 260
  • Sir Samuel Romilly. 290
  • Franklin 314
  • Fredkric Ii. 320
  • Gustavus Iii. 346
  • The Emperor Joseph. 359
  • Appendix. 387
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