supports Mr. Lecky's conclusion that Pulteney was ‘probably the most graceful and brilliant speaker in the House of Commons in the interval between the withdrawal of St. John and the appearance of Pitt’ (History, &c., i. 374). Lord Shelburne wrote that he was ‘by all accounts the greatest House-of-Commons orator that had ever appeared.’ Speaker Onslow described him as ‘having the most popular parts for public speaking of any great man he ever knew.’ When at his best he went to the point with unsurpassed directness. Walpole said that he feared Pulteney's tongue more than another man's sword. The irresistible power of passion possessed Pulteney so notably in his younger days that in the ‘Characteristic List of Pictures’ mentioned by Lady Hervey in 1729 (Suffolk Letters, i. 341) he is credited with ‘A Town on Fire.’ Yet his most distinctive gift as a parliamentary orator must have been his versatility—his power of ‘changing like the wind,’ as Chesterfield put it, from grave to gay, and alternating pathos and wit, which, naturally enough, degenerated into that ‘miscellaneousness’ of style so amusingly illustrated by Horace Walpole (Coxe, Walpole, iv. 24–6).
As a politician, Pulteney showed to a remarkable extent the ‘defects of his qualities,’ which came to overshadow and overwhelm these qualities themselves. According to Lord Hervey, he was ‘naturally lazy,’ and ‘resentment and eagerness to annoy first taught him application, and application gave him knowledge’ (Memoirs', i. 9). There may be truth in this, and in the remarks of the same biassed critic as to his jealousy when in opposition of his associates. But the gist of the matter is that his career exhibits a spirit of faction uncontrolled by patriotic sentiment. Pulteney, in the most important part of his political career, staked his whole reputation on overthrowing Walpole, whose steady policy was maturing the nation's strength; in later life he tried hard, though with reduced energy, to get rid of Pitt, who was to establish her imperial greatness. In the protracted course of the former contest, on which his reputation depends, he deliberately narrowed political life to the petty conditions of a duel, and at last, for reasons which no onlooker could understand, fired into the air. Thus he called down upon himself his proper nemesis; he ‘left not faction, but of it was left.’
Pulteney was twice painted by Sir Godfrey Kneller; the earlier portrait, taken in 1717, was engraved by Faber in 1732, the later was engraved by I. Simon. There are also two portraits of him by Sir Joshua Reynolds in the National Portrait Gallery. One of these, painted in 1757, has been engraved by M'Ardell and by S. W. Reynolds. He was likewise painted by Allan Ramsay and engraved by D. Martin in 1763. A miniature is the property of Mr. Jeffery Whitehead.
[The Memoirs of the Life and Conduct of William Pulteney, Esq., M.P. (1731), are worthless and dateless; the other contemporary tracts, by or against Pulteney, cited in the text are all factious pamphlets. Dr. Douglas (afterwards Bishop of Salisbury) is supposed to have been prevented from writing a life of his patron by the destruction of all Lord Bath's papers after his death by his brother. There are, however, many facts, received at first hand, in the Life of Dr. Zachary Pearce, late lord bishop of Rochester (by himself), and the Life of Dr. Thomas Newton, bishop of Bristol (by himself), here cited from vols. i. and ii. respectively, of the collected Lives of Dr. E. Pocock, &c., 2 vols., London, 1816. See also Lord Hervey's Memoirs of the Reign of George II, &c., ed. J. W. Croker, 3 vols., 1884; Horace Walpole's (Lord Orford) Letters, ed. P. Cunningham, 9 vols., ed. 1886, and Memoirs of the Last Ten Years of the Reign of George II, 2 vols., 1822; Letters to and from Henrietta, Countess of Suffolk, 2 vols., 1874; Letters of Mary Lepel, Lady Hervey, 1821; Mr. Pennington's Memoirs of the Life of Mrs. Elizabeth Carter, with her poems, &c., 2 vols., 3rd ed., 1816; the Works of Sir Charles Hanbury Williams, K.B., with notes by Horace Walpole, 3 vols., 1822; the Craftsman, 14 vols. 1831; Coxe's Memoirs of the Life and Administration of Sir Robert Walpole, 4 vols., ed. 1816 (still the vade mecum for all students of this period, but needing constant revision), and Memoirs of the Administration of the Right Hon. Henry Pelham, &c., 2 vols., 1829; Lord E. Fitzmaurice's Life of William, Earl of Shelburne, afterwards Marquis of Lansdowne (chap. i. ‘A Chapter of Autobiography’), 3 vols., 1875–6; Lord Stanhope's (Lord Mahon) Hist. of England, &c., 5th ed., 1858; John Morley's Walpole (Twelve English Statesmen), 1889; Macknight's Bolingbroke; Hassall's Bolingbroke (Statesmen Ser.); Doyle's Official Baronage of England, 3 vols., 1886; Wright's Caricature History of the Georges, 1867; Notes and Queries, 8th ser. x. 210; Edinburgh Review, vol. lxxi. 1840, art. ‘Walpole and his Contemporaries.’]
PULTON or POULTON, ANDREW (1654–1710), jesuit, second son of Ferdinando Poulton, esq., of Desborough, Northamptonshire, and his wife, Mary Giffard of Blackladies, Staffordshire, was born in Northamptonshire in 1654. Ferdinando Pulton [q. v.] was probably his grand-uncle. He made his humanity studies in the college of the English jesuits at St. Omer, entered the Society of Jesus on 31 Oct. 1674, studied theology at Liège, and was professed of the four vows on