was ancient and honourable, had been came so accomplished a master. In settled, for about three centuries, at the September of the following year, Felbrigg on the north-eastern coast he was entered a gentleman commoner of Norfolk, when their estates in that of University College at Oxford, where neighbourhood, which were very con. his tutor was Sir Robert Chambers. siderable, descended to Colonel Wil. It is not a little remarkable, that, at liam Windham. He was a man of the most enthusiastic season of life, lively talents ; and lived on terms of when young ambition burns most intimacy with Marquis Townshend, brightly, and hope is perpetually at Mr Garrick, and other inen the most hand to fan its fires, a man of Mr distinguished in that day for genius Windham’s fervent soul, and possessor wit. He married Mrs Lukin, a ing, as circumstances afterwards evins widow Lady, by whom he, had one ced, so peculiar a turn and talent for son, William Windham, the subject of political business, should have been tothe present memoir.

tally indifferent to all public affairs. So William Windham was born, in absolute was his apathy at this period, Golden Square, in the city of West- that, as he was wont himself to relate, minster, on the 3d of May, old style, it was a frequent jest amongst his conA. D. 1750. He was sent, at the temporaries to exclaim, “ Windham early age of seven, to Eton school, will never know who is prime miniswhere he had remained about four ter.” He had not attained the age of years, when he suffered a heavy cala- twenty-one, when he actually declined mity in the death of his father. He the advantageous offer of the secrecontinued, however, to pursue his stu- taryship to the new Lord Lieutenant dies there, till he was about sixteen of Ireland, the Marquis Townshend. years old, when he quitted school with In the year 1771, Mr Windham a high and deserved reputation. Those, quitted the university. It was not who were acquainted with him in af long before the ardour of his temperater life, will be little surprised at ment induced him to form an attachfinding, that he was not more distin- ment to a lady in the immediate neigh. guished for the rapidity of his studious bourhood of Felbrigg, who seemed to talents than for the enterprising open- return his affection with equal warmth. ness and manly gaiety of his temper and But on a sudden, when all things were courage. Dr Barnard, the head mas- apparently ripening for their union, ter, used to relatę, when the names of she became involved in a connexion Windham and Fox had become cele. with a gentleman already married, brated in the parliamentary annals of which terminated in a disgraceful their country, that they were the two elopement. We forbear, through molast boys he had ever flogged. It was tives of delicacy, to mention names for eloping together to see a play at and minute particulars. Mr WindWindsor, that this chastisement was ham resolved to seek relief, in a change inflicted.

of scene, from the distress of this afFrom Eton he transferred the seat Alicting event. He therefore joined, of his studies to Glasgow, where, un- as a passenger, in the expedition under the tuition of Professor Ander- der Commodore Phipps and Sir Joseph son, and Dr Robert Simson, the cele. Banks, which had for its object the brated editor of Euclid, he laid the extension of geographical discovery foundation of those mathematical ac- towards the North Pole ; but indispoquirements of which he afterwards be- sition compelled him to desist from his

undertaking, and he was landed, with ing the immediate advance of the cusa faithful servant, on the coast of Nor- tomary allowance, grounded theirarms.

Mr Windham, undaunted, repeated way.

It was not till more than five years the order. The firmness of his man. after this time that he made his first ner seemed to disconcert some of the essay as a public speaker. A meeting mutineers, and they were about to reof Norfolk gentlemen had been called pair their fault by a seasonable obedi. at Norwich, to collect a private sub- ence, when one of their body, stepping scription in aid of the war against the forward from the ranks, reproached American colonies. This object Mr his comrades with their pusillanimity, Windham strenuously opposed, in a and revived the drooping spirit of their speech, which drew from the Marquis sedition. Mr Windham's presence of Townshend himself, the proposer of mind did not forsake him. He seithe subscription, a candid and warm zed the offender with his own hand, panegyric. Many of the assembly, as and, obtaining some assistance, promight have been expected, persevered ceeded to escort him to the guard. in the measure of the subscription ; house. and those, who concurred with Mr The disturbance then began to asWindham, withdrew to another part sume a more serious aspect. The solof the town, where they framed a diers opposed the commitment of their strong protest against the proceedings comrade ; and the populace, joining of the subscribers.

the malcontents, began a riotous asThe Norfolk militia had been greatly sault with stones. The tumult every indebted, for the goodness of its disci- moment increased; the clamour swellpline, to the care and ability of Mred more and more loudly; and the Windham's father, the author of a personal danger of Mr Windham be. military treatise, of great value and came appalling and immediate. But practical utility. This force was call. his was not a constitution which threats ed out in 1778, and the statesman, could unnerve. He persevered in his whose biography we are sketching, attempt, and, after a personal conflict had the rank of Major in the Western with three of the ringleaders, succeedbattalion. When the corps was about ed in lodging the culprit within the to leave Norwich for an adjoining guard-house. county, an order was issued by the The evening wore away, but withlieutenant-colonel, that the bounty, out any satisfactory symptom of returnwhich is called the marching guinea, ing tranquillity ; and when the day should not be paid till the regiment shut in the town was not yet quiet. had actually quitted Norfolk. This It now seemed probable that a rescue measure Mr Windham opposed, but would be attempted; and, in the anin vain ; and he therefore felt himself ticipation of that occurrence, Major bound to submit, and to enforce, as a Windham resolved to continue with soldier, what he could not help dissua. his prisoner during the night. ding as an adviser. The men, as he At four o'clock in the morning the seems to have foreseen, were deeply expected attack was commenced. A discontented at the delay of payment; party of the militia surrounded the and when Mr Windham, who, as guard-house, and, with their bayonets major, commanded the regiment in the fixed, demanded the liberation of the absence of the lieutenant-colonel, gave prisoner.

Mr Windham presented them the order to march, they pro- himself at the door with his sword ceeded to open mutiny, and, demand-drawn. “ While I have life,” ex


claimed he, “ to defend this spot, the nately defeated ; but Mr Windhani prisoner shall not be suffered to escape. had the satisfaction to poll a very conThe mob encouraged the soldiery, and siderable body of voters, and to receive stood at hand to abet the rescue; and, warm assurances of support for a futhus incited, the mutineers were pro- ture occasion. ceeding to acts of absolute force, when He now attached himself to the the prisoner himself came forward, and party of the Marquis of Rockingham, addressed them. “ Do not,” said he, which already boasted the talents of “ do not, I beseech you, offer vio- Mi Fux, and of the celebrated Edmund lence to Major Windham, He is the Burke, to whom Mr Windham bebest of men; and even if you succeed came a zealous friend, personal and in rescuing me from my confinement, political. This private intimacy was I will again surrender myself into cus- cemented by their intercourse at a 80tody,"

ciety, then called the Literary Club, This declaration had some effect in and claiming to itself at the present appeasing the ferment of the assailants. hour (for it still subsists) the title, The civil powers contributed their aid; par excellence, of The Club. Of this and, by the coolness and intrepid wis- distinguished fraternity Dr Johnson dom of Mr Windham, the disturbance was a member; and the high opinion was at last allayed, without any con- entertained by that mighty veteran of sequences of more serious mischief. the yet untried abilities of Mr Wind. The battalion was thus reduced to ham, may be gathered from a letter order; and marched peaceably into written in Dr Taylor's house at Ashthe county of Suffolk.

bourne, which Mr Boswell has But a fever, occasioned by a conti- ved, and which contains the following nuance for several hours in wet clothes, remarkable eulogium : very shortly deprived the militia of 6 Mr Windham has been here to Mr Windham's valuable services. His

He came, I think, forty illness was long and dangerous, and it miles out of his way; and staid about is supposed that his constitution never a day and a half; perhaps I may make entirely overcame the ill effects which the time shorter than it was. Such it left behind. When his strength conversation I shall not have again, till began to return, he was advised to I come back to the regions of literaundertake a tour on the continent for ture ; and there Windham is inter ig. the re-establishment of his health ; and nes Luna minores." two years were accordingly employed Shortly after the accession of the by him, in a journey through various Rockingham ministry, Mr Windham parts of Switzeriand and Italy. He declined an invitation from the Westreturned to his native country in Sep. minster election committee, to come tember 1780, on the eve of a general forward as a candidate for that city on election.

the next vacancy. The popular claOn arriving at Norwich in his way mour, in that day as in the present, home, he found that his friends, who was loud and high for a parliamentary had supposed him to be still upon the reform ; and Mr Windham had too continent, had nevertheless nominated sincere an affection for the established him as a candidate for the representa- constitution of the country in which tion of the city in parliament. In he had been brought up, and too clear three days the poll was to commence. an insight into the perilous consequenUnder the disadvantage of so short a ces of innovation in so radical an artipreparation, their object was unfortu. cle as the composition of the House

see me.

of Commons, to purchase an honour, the principle of general representation, however Aattering, by so hazardous à would therefore be no restoration of sacrifice to the ignorance, prejudice, ancient rights, but a new and dangerand passion, of the people. He felt ous experiment, demanded by no urthat the House of Commons is, upon gent necessity, enforced by no solid the whole, a full representation of all argument, and totally unsupported, classes of the people : not indeed an even by that meanest of all recommenequal representation of all places, but, dations, the recommendation of preceundoubtedly an equal representation dent. With such opinions, it cannot of all interests, whether of talents, of be matter of surprise that Mr Windland, of money, of merchandize, of ham refused to accept a delegation manufactures, or of personal industry. from the noisy citizens of Palace-yard He knew that the representatives of and

Covent-garden. the people were governed by the peo- The death of Lord Rockingham, ple's voice, not indeed obeying it on and the succession of Lord Shelburne each particular occasion, because, if the to the head of the treasury, shortly depeople must direct the votes on every termined Mr Fox and Mr Burke to republic measure in detail, representa. sign their offices; and the friends of Mc tives are useless interlopers ; but pay. Windham therefore continued in op-' ing, on the whole, a fair deference to position until, by the coalition of Mr the sense of the people. But he dis- Fox and Lord North, the Shelburne tinguished the people from the mob. administration was dragged from the He doubtless understood the word helm, and the opposition, under the people, in its real sense, as signifying, nominal supremacy of the Duke of not the alehouse boors and unwashed Portland, arrived at the direction of artificers of country or town, but the affairs. On Lord Northington's apgreat mass of rational, well-educated, pointment to the lieutenancy of Ireand well-informed persons, who em. land, Mr Windham accepted the of: ploy their understandings fairly in sub, fice of chief secretary.

6 I am only jects of public concern. Theirs and afraid,” said he to his friend Dr Johna theirs only are the opinions, which à son, “ that I shall not be able to premember of parliament is called on to vail upon myself to do all the services respect in the guidance of his political which will be expected of me in my course. Nor could Mr Windham

per- new post.” “ Nay, sir,” answered ceive that the British constitution, in the doctor humourously, “ do not be point of fact, ever was what modern afraid ; you will make a very pretty theorists, in the plenitude of their ig- rascal in time." But (whether from norance on historical points, have had this repugnance to discreditable servi. the confidence to describe it: he knew ces, or from some other cause not dise that even in the earliest periods of our tinctly known,) Mr Windham thought annals there never was, in reality, or in proper to resign his office in August design, a general representation of the 1782, having held it about four months. people; that, for hundreds of years, the Mr Hardy, in his Life of Lord Charparliaments, so far from being the peo- lemont, has the following interesting ple's guardians, were the mere stewards anecdote of Mr Windham's popular of the crown ; that boroughs, in all behaviour, during the short period of their present rottenness, were familiar his ministry under the lord lieutenant: to our ancestors, even from the days “ A few days previous to his leaving of the commonwealth ; and that to Ireland, a gentleman waited on him, reorganize she House of Commons, on with a strong letter of recommendation

own land."

gree at Oxford.

from Mr Burke, requesting Mr Wind- tifying the dock-yards of Portsmouth ham would embrace an opportunity of and Plymouth. To fortifications in presenting him with some little pre- general he had the strongest objections, ferment, that might fall in the gift on account not only of their enormous of government. Mr Windham assured expence, but of their ultimate insecuthe gentleman he should be happy to rity. The only defence of this depresent a person, so strongly recom- scription which he approved was the mended by Mr Burke, with a much Martello Tower, a structure of comgreater piece of preferment than that paratively small expence, and incaparequested; but that it was his fixed ble of producing any great advantage determination, should he remain in the to an enemy, even in the event of its secretaryship, of which he had some capture. doubts, to give every place in his On the impeachment of Mr Has. power to Irishmen; as he had long tings, Mr Windham supported the been persuaded that the natives had charges with much ability. Of his the best right to the bread of their opinions on this subject we shall ata,

tempt no detail, because the question In this

he took his master's de- was personal and temporary. Nor

shall we dwell on the assistance which The India Bill of Mr Fox, at the he rendered to his party, towards the close of 1783, after long and obstinate close of the year 1788, in their vigordebates, occasioned the downfall of ous vindication of the right of the that statesman and his party; and Mr. heir apparent to exercise the regency, Pitt, who now presided at the treasury, during the continuance of an indisposithought it expedient, in the following tion which affected the capacity of March, to dissolve the House of Com- the sovereign. The restoration of his mons. Mr Windham, at the general majesty's health superseded the neces. election, presented himself, a second sity of any legislative provision at that time, as a candidate for the city of period. Norwich, and, after a close contest That dread of foreign philosophy with the Honourable Henry Hobart, and foreign corruption, which was alwas returned to parliament.

ways remarkable in the constitution, His first speech in the House of of Mr Windham, now began to mani, Commons was on the Westminster fest itself in his parliamentary speeches. scrutiny ; but no satisfactory report There are some animals, of nerves so has been preserved, either of this essay, exquisitely fine, that, even under 2 or of his second display, which was in sunny sky, they can feel that alteration opposition to Mr Pitt's shop-tax. It in the temperature of the atmosphere , was his principle to resist all partial which prepares and announces the taxation : He was of opinion that the coming of storms. Mr Windham weight of every tax should be distri- seems to have had a political sensibibuted at once among the whole com- lity of this kind ; for, while the clouds munity.

of the French revolution were still far That department of public affairs, distant and high in the air, he had beon which the mind of Mr Windham gun to forebode and shrink from the appeared to be most ardently and con- yet invisible mischief. Mr Flood, in stantly employed, was the military de- the beginning of March 1790, had fence of the country. In 1786, he was made a motion, having for its object among the successful

opposers a reform in parliament. This motion plan, suggested by ministers, for for. Mr Windham earnestly opposed, in

of a

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