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A History of the Four Georges, Volume I

The recall of Schaub involved the fall of Carteret


Horace

Walpole acquitted himself very cleverly of the task assigned to him. He was a man of uncouth manners, but of some shrewd ability and of varied experience. He had been a soldier with Stanhope before acting as Under-Secretary of State to Townshend; he had managed to distinguish himself in Parliament and in diplomacy. He soon contrived to obtain the ear of the Duke of Orleans, and he found that Sir Luke Schaub had been deceiving himself and his sovereign about the prospect of La Vrilliere's dukedom. Philip of Orleans told Horace Walpole frankly that there never was the slightest idea of giving such a dukedom, and added that the dignity of France would be compromised if such a concession were made in order to enable the King of England "to marry his bastard daughter"--so the Duke put it--into the French _noblesse_. Sir Luke Schaub's haste and indiscreet zeal had, in fact, brought his sovereign into discredit, and even compromised the good understanding between England and France.

Philip of Orleans died almost immediately. His death was sudden, but he had long run a course which set all laws of health at defiance. He stuck to his pleasures to the very last--died, one might say, in harness. His successor in the administration of France, under the young King Louis the Fifteenth, who had just been declared of age, was the Duke de Bourbon, Philip's equal, perhaps, in profligacy, but not by any means his equal in capacity. Horace Walpole won over

the new administrator. The Duke de Bourbon told him that Sir Luke Schaub was {239} obnoxious to every one in the French Court, and that he was not fit, by birth, breeding, or capacity, to represent England there.

We need not follow the intrigue through all its turns and twists. Walpole and Townshend succeeded. Schaub was recalled; Horace Walpole was appointed ambassador in his place. The recall of Schaub involved the fall of Carteret. Carteret, however, was not a man to be rudely thrust out of office, and a soft fall was therefore prepared for him; he was made Lord-lieutenant of Ireland. He knew that he was defeated. Then, as at a later day and at an earlier, the Viceroyalty of Ireland was the gilding which enabled a man to gulp down the bitter pill of political failure. When Lord John Russell obtained the dismissal of Lord Palmerston from his cabinet in 1851, he endeavored, somewhat awkwardly, to soften the blow by offering to his dispossessed rival the position of Lord-lieutenant of Ireland. Lord Palmerston understood the meaning of the offer, and treated it--as was but natural--with open contempt. Carteret acted otherwise. Probably he felt within himself that he was not destined to a great political career. In any case, he accepted the offer with perfect good-humor, declaring that, on the whole, he thought he should be much more pleasantly situated as a dictator in Dublin than as the servant of a dictator in London.

{240}

CHAPTER XV.

THE DRAPIER'S LETTERS.

[Sidenote: 1724--Wood's coinage]

Lord Carteret arrived at the seat of his Viceroyalty in the midst of a political storm which threatened at one time to blow down a good many shaky institutions. He found the whole country, and especially the capital, convulsed by an agitation the like of which was not seen again until the days of Grattan and the Volunteers. The hero of the agitation was Swift; the spell-words which gave it life and direction were found in "The Drapier's Letters."


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