Historical Sketches of Statesmen Who Flourished in the Time of George III - Vol. 2

By Lord Henry Brougham | Go to book overview
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LORD CASTLEREAGH.

WE have stepped aside from contemplating the figures of those who had the confidence of George III., and who also presided over the councils of George IV. during the Regency and during his reign, in order to consider three of their opponents; but it is time that we return to survey others of the leading men in whose hands the guidance of the state was placed, until the period towards the end of his reign, when the Tory party was broken up by the differences between Mr. Canning and his colleagues. Those men also belong to the times of George III. They were, like Lord Eldon, the component parts of Mr. Addington's administration, the cabinet which enjoyed his favour more than any he ever had after the dismissal of Lord North; and perhaps it was the mediocrity of their talents, in general, that chiefly recommended them to his regards. For with the exception of Lord Eldon and Lord St. Vincent, the list comprises no great names. Of the "safe and middling men," described jocularly by Mr. Canning, as "meaning very little, nor meaning that little well," Lord Castlereagh was, in some respects, the least inconsiderable. His capacity was greatly underrated from the poverty of his discourse; and his ideas passed for much less than they were worth, from the habitual obscurity of his expressions. But he was far above the bulk of his colleagues in abilities; and none of them all, except Lord St. Vincent, with whom he was officially connected

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