LORD CLIVE. (After the Portrait by Gainsborough.)
The prince found in the Opposition in England the most unfortunate fosterers of his unfilial temper. Pulteney, Wyndham, Chesterfield, Carteret, Cobham, and, worst of all, Bolingbroke, became his associates, and the frequenters of his house. Fast ripening into a pattern of unfilial popularity under such influences, possessing some accomplishments, and a desire to stand well with the people, he married in April, 1736, Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, a princess of so much beauty and good sense, as might have reclaimed many a nature; who seems to have at least won the heart of her husband from his former romantic passion. It was an ominous circumstance, however, that the address of congratulation on this occasion was moved, not by the king's own Ministers, but by the king's own Opposition. Pulteney was the mover, and it was supported by two young men who that evening made their first speeches, and in them burst suddenly forth with that splendour which was destined to grow transcendent through many years. They were Pitt, afterwards Lord Chatham, and Lord Lyttelton.
There were some circumstances, however, which came out that created considerable suspicion and displeasure in Ireland. Wood had given a bribe to the king's mistress, the Duchess of Kendal, to procure him the contract, and the Government had ordered the coinage without paying the Irish Privy Council and Lord-Lieutenant the compliment of consulting them on this occasion. Swift saw these errors, and seized on them for his own purposes. He did not stop to inquire whether, after all, the proposed coinage would not, in any circumstances, be much better than the present distressing scarcity of copper money, and whether the farthings and halfpence might not turn out as good, though they were contracted for. It was enough for him that there was a cause of discontent which he could fan into a flame against the British Government. He threw all his spiteful soul into it, and his "Drapier's Letters" inflamed the public mind to such a degree that Walpole was compelled to cancel the patent.