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Title: Memoirs of the Reign of King George the Third, Volume II (of 4)
Author: Walpole, Horace
Language: English
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  VOL. II.


  _Benj. West. pinx.^t_        _J. Cook, Sc._


London, Published by Richard Bentley, 1844.]




  VOL. II.

  Publisher in Ordinary to Her Majesty.

  Printed by S. & J. BENTLEY, WILSON, and FLEY,
  Bangor House, Shoe Lane.




  A. D.                                                             PAGE
        CHAPTER I.

  1764. Appearance of “An Address to the Public on a late
          Dismission”                                                  4

        Walpole’s Answer to that Pamphlet                          _ib._

        Charles Townshend’s “Defence of the Minority in the House of
          Commons on the Question relative to General Warrants”        8

        July 8th. Death of the Earl of Bath                           13

        July 10th. Trial of the Chevalier d’Eon                       14

        Aug. 23rd. Death of Mr. Legge                                 17

        Of the Duke of Devonshire                                     20

        Nov. 1st. Outlawry of Wilkes                                  35

        Nov. 4th. Death of Churchill                               _ib._

        CHAPTER II.

  1765. Church Preferments                                            41

        Jan. 10th. Meeting of Parliament                              42

        Lord Chatham’s Legacy from Sir William Pynsent                44

        Jan. 23rd. Debate on Dismissal of Officers                    46

        Jan. 26th. Duel between Mr. Chaworth and Lord Byron           51

        Jan. 29th. Renewal of the Question of General Warrants     _ib._

        CHAPTER III.

  1765. Jan. 30th. Distinction between late Motions on General
          Warrants shown in the Votes                                 63

        Dismissal of Officers                                         64

        Feb. 6th. Proceedings against Almon deferred                  67

        Mr. Grenville’s Resolutions                                   68

        Dr. Browne’s Pamphlet                                         79

        CHAPTER IV.

  1765. Isle of Man Act                                               81

        King’s Illness                                                82

        March 4th. Motion respecting _Ex-officio_ Informations        84

        March 29th. Budget opened by Grenville                        87

        April 3rd. Newfoundland and Virginia Petitions                89

        CHAPTER V.

  1765. State of Parties                                              93

        King’s Illness                                                95

        April 24th. Regency-Bill                                     106

        CHAPTER VI.

  1765. May 7th. Debates in the House of Commons on the
          Regency-Bill                                               127

        CHAPTER VII.

  1765. May 9th. Debates on the Regency-Bill                         138

        May 13th. The Princess-Dowager’s name reinserted in the Bill 149

        Bill for altering the Duties on Italian Silks                154

        May 15th. Riots of the Weavers on its introduction           155

        Projected Change in the Ministry                             160


  1765. May 18th. The King’s differences with his Ministers          163

        May 20th. Negotiations with Mr. Pitt to form a new
          Administration                                             165

        Contemplated appointment of a Captain-General                170

        Reconciliation of Lord Temple and Mr. Grenville              171

        Ministers recalled                                           172

        Dismissal of Mr. Mackenzie                                   175

        May 25th. Parliament Prorogued                               179

        CHAPTER IX.

  1765. June 12th. Differences between the King and his Ministers    182

        June 17th. Further Negotiations with Mr. Pitt                186

        Attempts to form a Whig Administration                       187

        Summary of the Negotiations                                  189

        July 8th. New Ministry formed                                192

        Mysterious Behaviour of Mr. Pitt                             202

        Arrival of the Prince and Princess of Brunswick              209

        CHAPTER X.

  1765. Walpole’s Separation from his Party                          210

        His Character of Mr. Conway                                  213

        Commencement of the Troubles with North America              217

        Oct. 31st. Death of the Duke of Cumberland                   223

        Negotiations with the Courts of Versailles and Madrid        227

        CHAPTER XI.

  1765. Dec. 17th. Meeting of Parliament                             235

        Debates on the Stamp Act and the State of North America      236

        Dec. 29th. Death of Prince Frederick, the King’s youngest
          brother                                                    238

        Walpole’s Observations upon the state of France at this
          period                                                     239

        Death of the Dauphin                                         241

        CHAPTER XII.

  1766. Jan. 1st. Death of the Pretender                             255

        Intrigues against the Ministry                               257

        Jan. 14th. Debate on the Stamp Act                           260

        Jan. 27th. On the Petition from America                      270

        First Speech of Mr. Edmund Burke                             273


  1766. Irksome Position of the Ministers                            276

        Feb. 3rd. Debate on Five Resolutions on American Affairs     277

        Feb. 5th. Continuation of the Debate                         283

        Pitt’s eccentric Conduct                                   _ib._

        Feb. 7th. Mr. Grenville moves an Address to the King, to
          enforce the Laws                                           284

        Opposed strenuously by Pitt                                  285

        Violent Scene in the House                                   286

        Double Dealing of George III.                                289

        Feb. 17th. Warm Debate on the Production of Papers           290

        CHAPTER XIV.

  1766. Lord Bute humiliates the Duke of Bedford and Mr. Grenville   294

        Feb. 21st. General Conway moves the Repeal of the Stamp Act  296

        Obtains leave to bring in a Bill                             298

        Excited State of the Country                                 299

        Recommitment moved and rejected                              301

        Desultory Opposition                                         302

        March 4th. Final Debate                                      303

        The Repeal passed by a large Majority                        307

        Conduct of Lord Rockingham                                   309

        CHAPTER XV.

  1766. Difficulties of the Ministry                                 311

        Further Negotiation with Mr. Pitt                            320

        May 1st. Meeting of Ministers                                322

        The Seals given to the Duke of Richmond                      324

        Grant to the Royal Dukes                                     328

        June 3rd. Portion of the Princess Caroline                   330

        Treachery of Dyson                                           331

        July 7th. Conduct of the Chancellor                          334

        Virtual Fall of the Rockingham Administration                338

        CHAPTER XVI.

  1766. July 13th. Mr. Pitt proposes to Conway to remain in the
          Ministry                                                   339

        July 16th. Quarrel with Lord Temple                          342

        Townshend Chancellor of the Exchequer                        346

        Rockingham displaced to make way for Grafton                 349

        Resignation of Lord John Cavendish                           352

        Lord Rockingham affronts Pitt                                355

        July 30th. Mr. Pitt is raised to the Peerage                 356

        Unpopularity of the new Lord Chatham                         358

        Changes and Preferments                                      359

        Foreign Policy                                               362

        Disturbed State of the Country                               366

        Chatham’s Interview with Walpole                             368


  1766. Nov. 11th. Debates on the Embargo laid on Corn               371

        Party Tactics                                                374

        Walpole exerts himself to prevent Conway from resigning      382

        View of Lord Chatham’s Conduct                               385


  1766. Nov. 25th. Lord Chatham proposes to examine the East India
          Company’s Affairs                                          394

        His unaccountable Conduct                                  _ib._

        Nov. 27th. More signs of Weakness in the Cabinet             395

        Negotiation with the Duke of Bedford                         398

        Bill of Indemnity                                            403

        Dec. 9th. Debates on the East India Question               _ib._

        Dec. 10th. Attack on Lord Chatham in the House of Lords by
          the Duke of Richmond                                       410

        CHAPTER XIX.

  1767. Jan. 16th. Desultory Discussions on American and East
          Indian Affairs                                             413

        Debates on the Land-Tax                                      420

        Defeat of the Ministers                                      423

        March 2nd. Conduct of Lord Chatham                           426

        March 6th. Offer made by the East India Company              428

        Motion for Papers                                            429

        CHAPTER XX.

  1767. March 19th. Provision for the King’s Brothers                437

        March 24th. Debate                                           438

        Death of the Marquis of Tavistock                            440

        Of the Dauphiness                                            443

        Regulation of America                                        447

        New Project of using force towards the Colonies              448

        March 30th. Discussion in the House of Lords on the
          American Papers                                          _ib._

        The East India Question                                      449

        Insanity of Lord Chatham                                     450

        Interview of the Author with the Lord Chancellor             452

        April 10th. Debate on an Act of the Assembly of Massachusets 454

        Attempted reconciliation between Conway and Rockingham       455





  Appearance of “An Address to the Public on a late Dismission.”--
    Walpole’s Answer to that Pamphlet.--Dr. Lloyd, Dean of Norwich.--
    Charles Townshend’s “Defence of the Minority in the House of Commons
    on the Question relative to General Warrants.”--Death of the Earl of
    Bath.--The Chevalier d’Eon.--The Count d’Estaign.--Death of Mr.
    Legge.--Of the Duke of Devonshire.--Outlawry of Wilkes and Death of

While the factions at Court thus held one another at bay, Lord Holland
was endeavouring to persuade Lord Bute to take again an office of
business. But the rash fit, like the small-pox, never seized him but
once. He chose to insinuate opinion of his power, rather than to
display it. Nor, though the Favourite professed that Lord Holland was
the only man who never deceived him, could I on the nicest inspection
ever discover that Lord Holland had any real weight with him; whether
it was owing to Lord Bute’s want of courage, or want of confidence in
the adviser.

Though I saw clouds enough to comfort me with the prospect of a storm,
yet, there being no open hostilities commenced, it was difficult for
me to unravel the windings and turnings of so many minds, who were
all my enemies. Though I was disposed to widen any breach that might
happen, by inclining our force to one side or the other, yet it was not
prudent to slacken our measures against the united body. Temporizing
too far might cool the zeal of our friends; and the distance of six or
seven months to the meeting of Parliament might wear out the memory
of Mr. Conway’s wrongs, as the Ministry had intended it should, they
having forborne to dismiss him till the session was over. The public
cause, as well as private injury, called for spirit. The higher we
could raise the flame of Opposition, the sounder benefit we conferred
on our country. Prerogative was the object of the Court; and corruption
so flagrant in both Houses of Parliament, that, if the people were
not animated enough to hold both in check, no resource would be left
but a civil war. Early opposition was the only preservative against
the latter. My nature shuddered at the thoughts of blood, and I felt
what every good man will feel in civil commotions, _that there is
nothing so difficult as to make the people go far enough, and prevent
their going too far_. An opportunity presented itself that shewed me
what I could have done, but, thank God! I was not so culpable as
to embrace it. As one of my objects was to raise the characters and
popularity of our party, I had inserted a paragraph in the newspapers
observing that the abolition of vails to servants had been set on foot
by the Duke of Bedford, and had been opposed and not complied with by
the Duke of Devonshire and family of Cavendish. Soon after, a riot
happened at Ranelagh, in which the footmen mobbed and ill-treated some
gentlemen who had been active in that reformation. I was apprehensive
lest any personal mischief should happen to the Duke of Bedford, and
forbore to spirit up that contest, though I desired so much to make
the Ministers both odious and ridiculous. To the first, indeed, their
characters were open: but the worse they were, the more difficult it
was to make them ridiculous. They were so profligate, that they were
the first to laugh and the last to feel. It was more my business, too,
to incense the people than to divert them. Our party was more popular
than fashionable; and in a very corrupt age fashion is very formidable.
Nor was this all the difficulty: I wished to secure liberty, and to
revenge my friend without passing the bounds allowed against public
enemies. My friends were timid, or cautious, or over-candid; and I
experienced what I have said before, that a country will never be saved
by the best men in it. Ours had been rescued by two of the worst--Lord
Temple and Wilkes. I had little but my pen to carry on the cause
with; and I knew any violence would not be more disrelished by my
enemies than by friends. Half our party was likely to desert us; and
the other half not likely to support me. When a man is borne up by
party, abuse little affects him; but I did not choose to encounter it
when I might be left to stand the fire alone. I had seen the fate of
Wilkes, abandoned by all he had served; and had no mind to accompany
him in his exile. Still, my honour and my pride would not suffer me to
sit patient under the insults offered both to Mr. Conway and myself. I
determined to vindicate his character and assert my own independence in
a manner that should do credit to both; and I succeeded, happily, by
observing at once so much firmness and decency, that while I held him
up as a perfect character, I secured my own as a faithful and undaunted
friend. The opportunity was offered to me by a most shameless and
illiberal attack made on him officiously by the agents of the Ministry
in a thing called “An Address to the Public on a late Dismission.”
This I answered in a Counter-Address.[1] It was replied to by the
first author, one Guthrie, in a style at once so gross and tedious,
that if any man could have patience to read it, I should desire he
would form his idea of that Ministry from that production. The only
sentence worth refuting was my being charged with having flattered and
been obliged to George Grenville. I, who had never stooped to comply
with Lord Holland while connected with him; who had set at defiance the
power of the Pelhams; had not bowed to the plenitude of Lord Bute’s
power, nor courted even Mr. Pitt when I admired him most in the zenith
of credit and victory; was not likely to have bent the knee to the
prater Grenville, with whom I had broken almost as soon as he had any
power at all. Let that imputation answer itself!--But I was obliged to
him, said the pamphlet--hear in what manner. Almost every friend or
dependent I ever had could witness my refusals of soliciting Ministers
for them or for myself. But when Grenville was Treasurer of the Navy,
I had, at the desire of one of my voters at Lynn, desired him to get a
child into the academy at Greenwich, which he granted. Another time,
for I will be rigorously sincere in stating my obligations to him, I
had heard that American officers were to repair thither, or forfeit
their places. My deputy, who enjoyed a sinecure in Philadelphia (I
think it was), came to me in a fright, and begged I would intercede for
his being excused, as he was in a deplorable state of health, which
terminated in less than two years in his being bed-ridden, or seldom
able to stir out of bed. Still, I would not ask his being excused, but
wrote to Mr. Grenville to beg that if no fault was alleged against
my deputy, and the order was not general, he might not be laid under
the cruel necessity of throwing up his employment. Mr. Grenville
civilly answered, that he knew of no such order or intention; that he
would inquire into it, and no particular hardship should be laid on
the person I interceded for. I have preserved his letter; and have
thus stated my obligations. Whether they were so mighty that they
ought to have balanced in my mind Mr. Conway’s ruin, the world will
judge; or, if I forgot them, I must own I had not so accurate a memory
as that minute Minister. The pamphlet, however, being enriched with
this anecdote of my obligations, must have been directed by Grenville
himself--and it was tedious enough to have been written by him too.

This was not the only instance of Grenville’s borrowing scraps of
reputation by the hands of his dependents. I have some tracts corrected
by himself. The writers, as they were communicated to me _in confidence
by the authors, I will not name_. There was another scribe who laboured
hard in extolling his patron. This was Dr. Lloyd, tutor to Mr.
Grenville’s sons, and promoted by him to the Deanery of Norwich.[2]
This Zany published a most fulsome panegyric on him, addressed to
himself, crying him up as the first financier in Europe, and obliquely
insinuating his enmity to Lord Bute. When Grenville was attacked in
the preceding winter in a celebrated tract called the Budget,[3]
written by Mr. Hartley,[4] and exposing the blunders, and fallacies,
and triflingness of his system, Grenville inveighed bitterly in the
House of Commons against such liberties, and protested he had never
been concerned in any libels. I sat and heard these solemn falsehoods;
having, I protest, seen Mrs. Grenville take out of her bureau and
deliver to the author in my presence a rancorous pamphlet, written
against Lord Temple and Mr. Pitt, corrected by Mr. Grenville’s own
hand,[5] and published immediately afterwards. This confidence I would
not abuse.

There came out, not long after my pamphlet, another piece that _was to
have_ made much noise. It was called “A Defence of the Minority in the
House of Commons on the Question relating to General Warrants;” and
had no meaner an author than Charles Townshend. His prodigious parts
must not be judged of by this, or indeed by any of his few writings.
He never was an author in proportion to his abilities. His thoughts
flowed in too rapidly to give him time to digest them; nor was he
ever enough in earnest about anything to consider it deliberately.
This piece had poor success; and was confuted by some able retainer,
if not by some able member of the Administration. Townshend was hurt
by this miscarriage; and as he was, though so superior to rivals,
infinitely jealous, he could not avoid conceiving a little spleen
against me, though posterity may take my word, ay, and my vanity’s
word, that I never felt myself so little as the moment he opened his
mouth. I do not know whether they would own it with equal frankness,
but many men greatly excelling me in talents, ought to have shrunk,
too, into themselves, and felt their own futility when Charles
Townshend was present. Yet such alloy did he bear about him to those
marvellous parts, that children and women had more discretion and
fewer weaknesses. Being hurt at the success of my Counter-Address, he
wrote these very words to Mr. Conway: “The touches and re-touches on
your character are fine; some strokes nobly free; but in general not
what I expected. So Charles Yorke and others of our friends think.”
Then, speaking of his own pamphlet, he added, “Mr. Pitt says it has
had prodigious effect, and turned many. Grenville says it is serious,
of great weight, and very hostile.” At that very instant Mr. Conway
and I happened to know that Mr. Pitt declared he would not read it;
and having afterwards read it, said he found it very inaccurate. There
was the same want of truth in affirming that Grenville called it _very
hostile_. Townshend was afraid his friends should perceive how far it
was from being offensive.[6]

It must not be supposed that I would pass off these trifling anecdotes
of myself and others for a history of England. But they contain
that most useful part of all history, a picture of human minds. They
shew how little men are, though riding at what is called _the Top of
the World_. These and the following scenes were what filled me with
disgust, and made me quit that splendid theatre of pitiful passions;
not from having been too good for my company, but ashamed of being
one of such _Dramatis Personæ_: and so far more inexcusable than
the rest, that neither ambition nor interest had led me behind the
curtain--perhaps if they had, I should have remained there still.

I have mentioned my surprise at the coldness of Lord Temple. What was
become of that unwearied alacrity with which he used to unbosom all his
factious soul on every man that was ill-used or discontented? Whatever
his views were, they were not ripe: and therefore, to retain a party,
or the appearance of it, he gave a great dinner to the Opposition. I
was of it; and after dinner took occasion to explain the threats and
arbitrary language tried upon Mr. Conway, and scorned by him. I forbore
to name Grenville, but painted him plainly enough to fill the company
with surprise and indignation. As the company was promiscuous, the
discourse was circulated about the town, and reached Mr. Grenville’s
ears. On the 1st of June I received a letter from Mr. Thomas Pitt,
desiring me to contradict a report said to come from me, charging Mr.
Grenville with having said that if Mr. Conway voted according to his
conscience he must be turned out. Thus had they dressed up the real
report and substance in absurd terms that nobody might believe it. I
immediately comprehended that this was a mandate issued to me as an
inferior officer of the Exchequer, to justify Grenville and sacrifice
my friend. I perceived, too, the advantage they had put into my hands,
and determined to make the most of it. Pitt’s letter was so incredibly
weak, and owned so much, that nothing was easier than to confute
it. To add to their confusion, I had preserved exact minutes of the
two conversations with Pitt and Grenville, of which they had had no
suspicion. I felt the opportunity of doing justice both to Mr. Conway
and to myself; and of making Mr. Grenville understand, that if he
did not do me justice in the regularity of my payments, he was at my
mercy, and must expect those letters would be laid before the public,
if not before the House of Commons. This I hinted obscurely, being
determined that nothing but persecution should drive me to that step.
Knowing, however, the narrowness of Grenville’s mind, it was useful to
curb him by this menace, as I did too in the Counter-Address, and very
successfully. I wrote a long, firm, and unpleasant letter in answer
to Pitt’s, and received another from him before there could be time
for it (as he was in Cornwall), but by Grenville’s opening mine at the
post: for with him was it concerted; and yet so flimsy, so fallen from
the arrogance of the former was their reply, that I enjoyed not only
triumph, but, I own, the teazing amusement of keeping them in hot water
many months--the only use I allowed myself to make of those letters
in punishing their culpable behaviour--moderate revenge enough after
such insolence! and in which, when I had suffered the period to elapse,
Grenville was far from having the generosity to imitate me. My payments
were carefully made before the Parliament opened. When I had let the
Session pass over without making use of the materials in my hands, an
embargo was laid on the income of my employment. Have I been unjust in
saying that almost any steps that are lawfully taken against banditti,
were justifiable against such men? But I found means to retaliate,
without violating the strictest laws of honour: nor have they been
able to reproach me, though I had such opportunities of resembling
them. Happily, I shall not have occasion to say more of myself for many
pages, for though _I_ slept not, the Opposition did.

Mechell, the King of Prussia’s minister, was recalled. That Prince had
formerly desired Sir Charles Hanbury Williams might be recalled by us,
without assigning reasons for that request. He was now reminded of
that transaction, and called upon to satisfy us in the same manner. An
epigram in politics very consonant to the genius of Sandwich, who loved
to strike a stroke, and never allowed for the bad consequences it might

About the same time our merchants printed a memorial in the newspapers,
complaining of their not being permitted to cut logwood; an ill
appearance after a peace so favourable to them, and so recent. The
Ministers published in the Gazette the King of Spain’s denial of
knowing anything of that refusal, yet was not the Spanish Governor
punished or recalled: and ere this matter was cold, Monsieur de Guerchy
presented a memorial, demanding restitution of effects appertaining
to the Duchy of Bretagne, that had been plundered from Belleisle. The
Ministers referred the matter to General Hodgson,[7] who replied, “he
had been ordered to take Belleisle, and had taken it: he knew nothing

On July 8th died William Pulteney, Earl of Bath,[8] little considered,
though immensely rich; for it was known that he would neither part
with his money to do good or harm. He left his vast wealth to an old
brother whom he despised, and a few legacies to ancient domestics; but
so sparingly, that it was plain he thought the smallest sum a valuable

On the 10th came on the trial of the Chevalier d’Eon. He had asked
for farther time to assemble witnesses, but being refused, made no
defence; and absconding, was found guilty. He remained in England, and
often in London, undisturbed and unnoticed.[9] The printers of the
“North Briton” were likewise found guilty. Lord Mansfield reprimanded
Sergeant Glynn, counsel for the prisoners, for telling the jury that
they were judges both of law and fact; the former of which, the Chief
Justice denied, and said, if it was controverted he would take the
opinion of the Judges thereon--a resource he was fond of applying to,
when he could not alone support his own arbitrary assertions. He and
the Ministers now finding themselves almost irresistible, pursued their
blow. Two hundred informations were filed against printers: a larger
number than had been prosecuted in the whole thirty-three years of the
last reign!

On the 15th of the following month, came advice of Tortuga, or Turks’
Island, being seized by Count d’Estain. This man had been twice taken
prisoner by us in the last war, and both times had forfeited his
parole of honour; yet with a laudable clemency had been spared.[10]
France had rewarded him with the Order of the Holy Ghost; and he now
commanded a squadron in the West Indies, with which he committed
this new hostility and infraction of the peace. I saw the importance
of the moment, and endeavoured to spirit up addresses against the
peace-makers; but languor prevailed, and none of our great Lords
could be brought to send directions to their agents for transfusing
indignation through their counties. In the meantime the Ministers
made representations at Versailles, which, however, despairing of
redress, they did not dare to announce in the Gazette till an answer
came disavowing D’Estain, and promising to restore the island and pay
damages; yet with no mark of displeasure towards their own commander,
who, it was not doubted, had acted by direction, both to keep down our
stocks, and in revenge for some vessels, which one of our captains had
burned at Newfoundland, where they had encroached. The man justified
himself by his general orders; nor did the Ministers, though they
privately reprimanded him for his zeal, dare to break him; but fearing
farther hostilities, four men-of-war were ordered to Newfoundland.

Mr. Legge, after languishing some months, died August 23rd. A blow
considerable to our party, as he was the only man in it proper, on a
change, to have been placed at the head of the House of Commons. His
abilities were known and respected; his timidity and time-serving had
not been much remarked, but by the few he had been most conversant
with; for, being supple and cheerful and never offensive, he had always
seemed to loiter behind his party, rather than to desert it. He met
death with more manliness and unconcern than could have been expected,
as he was not old, was happy, rich, and above the affectation of
heroism or philosophy. An old friend visiting him the day before he
died, Legge said to him, “Brother sportsman, I used to laugh at your
being too heavy for a chase, but now you are come in at the death.”
It was not equally sensible and unaffected, that he sent to Mr. Pitt,
to acquaint him with his own approaching dissolution, and to exhort
him to do his utmost to remove the present Ministers. Legge ought to
have known how little Pitt would regard the death-bed admonition of
a man for whom living he had little veneration. Legge left behind
him, with orders for publication, a relation of his quarrel with Lord
Bute, relating to an election for Hampshire. This piece neither hurt
the Favourite, nor reflected honour on the deceased. That the former
should have meddled in an election, even before his master’s accession
to the Crown, could not surprise nor seriously shock any man: nor,
though the narrative was not to appear till after his death, had Legge
worked it up with a spirit to do himself honour. His obsequiousness
pierced through the veil of hostility, and everybody saw that, without
other views, he would not have encountered a rising Minister; nor by
Legge’s own account, had the Favourite mitigated the scorn with which
he treated him. I have said that Lord Bath loved money so much, that
he thought a paltry sum, though given after his death, considerable
bounty: it was much the same with Legge, he was so naturally compliant
and inoffensive, that his daring to order the publication of a tame and
posthumous satire seemed to him an effort of prodigious vengeance.[11]

If the Ministers exerted little spirit against our neighbours, it
was feared, on the other hand, that there were hostile views in the
disposal of military commands at home. In fact, the Scotch obtained
commissions every day: if by Lord Bute’s influence, I rather think
it was meant for a defensive guard for himself and the Court, than
with views offensive to the Constitution. Depending on favour and
promotion, the Scotch themselves might have crowded into the army.
Still it spread jealousy and alarm; and Mr. Pitt himself expressed
dissatisfaction. These murmurs were largely increased by the elevation
of one Colonel Fletcher to an old regiment over thirty-seven officers
his seniors, among whom was Colonel Howe,[12] brother of the Lord of
that name, and himself lately returned with glory from the Havannah.
As Fletcher was devoted to the Favourite, and known to owe this
promotion to him, the partiality was the more grievously resented. To
compensate for this step, the next regiment that fell was bestowed on
Sir William Boothby,[13] but not without the secondary view of gaining
this officer, who was a servant of the Duke of York.[14] That Prince
returning from Italy passed to Paris; on which the King stopped his
remittances, and obliged him to come home without delay. Grenville,
who had taken umbrage at Lord Bute’s interfering in the disposal of
military preferments, procured Sir William Boothby’s former regiment
for Colonel Pearson.

To give the finishing blow to the hopes and credit of the Opposition,
the Duke of Devonshire,[15] who had gone to Spa at the end of August
for a paralytic disorder, died there in the vigour of his age. He
was by no means an able or enterprising man, but enjoyed a character
uncommonly respected; and was universally regretted by all the Whigs
as head of their party. No man would have disputed that pre-eminence
with him; and we wanted even a nominal head. We had in the space of
a few months lost three material men,--Lord Hardwicke, Mr. Legge and
the Duke of Devonshire. It was almost as unfortunate that we had kept
Charles Yorke, Charles Townshend, and the Duke of Newcastle. The health
of the Duke of Cumberland made his life as little to be depended on. At
this very time he had two slight fits at Newmarket, and was reported
dead; but was saved by the breaking out of St. Antony’s fire. The Duke
of Devonshire bequeathed 5000_l._ to Mr. Conway; a legacy honourable
to him, and conducive to his popularity. The nominal post of High
Treasurer of Ireland being vacated by the death of that Duke, Lord
Sandwich begged it for Lord Corke,[16] (who had married his niece, and
from whose family it had passed to the Cavendishes by the marriage of
the late Duke with the heiress of Boyle,[17]) but on supposition only
that the new Duke would not ask it. “How shall we know,” said the King,
“if his uncles will ask it for him?” Lord Sandwich said he could find
out by his old fellow-traveller Lord Besborough,[18] who had married
the late Duke’s sister. Lord Besborough, on the question being put to
him by Sandwich as from himself, said laughing, “My Lord, is this to be
a retainer?” “Why, to be sure,” replied Sandwich; “it will be expected
that the family should not act as they have done.” The young Duke was
but sixteen, was awkward, and full of the bashfulness of his race.
He was entirely in the hands of his three uncles, the Lords George,
Frederick, and John, all warm Whigs, enthusiasts to the memory of
their father and brother, of characters eminently unstained, and not
a little persuaded that their family was, and ought to be, the most
distinguished in the kingdom. Their property was enormous, their credit
great, and reputation truly honourable: but the talents of the race
had never borne any proportion to their other advantages. The first
Duke, besides being the finest gentleman of the age, had succeeded to
the merits of his friend Lord Russel’s martyrdom. Since that period
the family had affected to drop all polish, and to wear the manners of
plain English gentlemen, under an outside that covered considerable
pride. Sir Robert Walpole had made advantage of their popularity, and
having strongly attached the second and third Dukes to himself, he had
placed them before himself as the leaders of the Whig party, and cried
up their unembellished good sense, though the second Duke had no sense
at all,[19] and the third a very dubious portion.[20] William, the
fourth and late Duke, with something more of the manners of a Court,
had less abilities than his father. His brother Lord George[21] had
none at all. Lord Frederick was lively, and having lived in Courts
and Camps, a favourite of the Duke of Cumberland, was by far the most
agreeable, and possessed the most useful sense of the whole family.[22]
Lord John, the youngest, was hitherto little known. I shall have
occasion to mention him frequently hereafter. He had read a good deal,
and his eyes saw not faster than his memory retained. He was accurate
in repeating words, sentences, nay volumes, if he pleased; nor was he
defective in quickness or reasoning. Under the appearance of virgin
modesty, he had a confidence in himself that nothing could equal, and
a thirst of dominion that was still more extraordinary. It consisted
solely in governing those with whom he was connected, without views
either of interest or power. To be first, in however small a circle,
was his wish; but in that circle he must be absolute: and he was as
ready to sacrifice the interests and fortunes of those his friends and
slaves, as he was his own. His plan seemed to be the tyranny of a moral
philosopher. He was a kind of Heresiarch, that sought to be adored by
his enthusiastic disciples, without a view of extending his sect beyond
that circle.[23] His fair little person, and the quaintness with which
he untreasured, as by rote, the stores of his memory, occasioned George
Selwyn to call him _the learned Canary-bird_.[24]

These three Lords determined their nephew should ask no favour of the
Court; nor would they suffer him to carry their late brother’s riband
to the King, lest his Majesty should draw any promise or professions
from so raw a lad; or lest the boy himself should be wanting in proper
respect, or be too blunt, if the King should mention his father. Lord
Frederick, as of the Bedchamber to the Duke of Cumberland, was the
only one of the family that since their brother’s disgrace had gone to
Court: he therefore was thought most proper to restore the badge of the
Order. At the same time, lest they should be taxed with rudeness, they
desired Lord Besborough to thank Sandwich, but beg he would not neglect
the interests of his friend. On this Sandwich ordered the patent to
be drawn for Lord Corke; but Lord Mansfield, fearing the loss of that
feather might root the Cavendishes in Opposition, prevailed to have it
retarded. When Lord Frederick carried the Garter, the King used many
expressions of concern for the death of the late Duke. Lord Frederick
replied, his Majesty had not had a better subject, and that the family
had never imputed their brother’s disgrace to his Majesty’s own

Having foreseen the death of the Duke of Devonshire, and apprehending
that it would break up and dissolve our party, I determined to know
if we had anything farther to trust to. During the summer I had had
frequent conversations with Lord Lyttelton, who was on good terms
again with Mr. Pitt and Lord Temple, and who really admired Conway.
Lord Lyttelton’s object was to reconcile George Grenville and his
brothers, and to make a coalition between that whole family and the
Opposition, with or without the Bedfords, but totally to the exclusion
of Lord Bute. No man so addicted to wisdom was less wise than Lord
Lyttelton; no man so propense to art was less artful; no man staked his
honesty to less purpose, for he was so awkward that honesty was the
only quality that seemed natural to him. His cunning was so often in
default, that he was a kind of beacon that warned men not to approach
the shallows on which he founded his attachments, always at a wrong
season.[25] Mr. Pitt had neither tasted his views nor reasons; and Lord
Temple, who was growing less disinclined to his brother George, neither
trusted Lord Lyttelton with that secret, nor with the growing coolness
between him and Mr. Pitt. On this miscarriage I resolved to feel my
way myself, and went to Stowe. My doubts, if any remained, were there
fully cleared away. I discovered that Lord Temple had no influence,
scarce any intercourse with Mr. Pitt; and, though he endeavoured to
slide over that coolness, I was determined to fathom it; and did. I
said I had prayed Lord Lyttelton to bring about an interview between
Mr. Conway and Mr. Pitt; that the latter wanted a second in the
House of Commons, and could have no man so confidential, trusty, or
creditable, as the former; that I was sorry to find no disposition to
union in his Lordship’s friends; and that though I would try my utmost
till Christmas to cement our party, I should give over a foolish and
hopeless opposition, if I met encouragement nowhere.

Lord Temple endeavoured to explain away this coolness, and said Lord
Lyttelton was so newly reconciled to them that Mr. Pitt had not talked
openly to him; but, continued he, if Conway had not been turned out, we
should now have no Opposition--intimating, that my zeal was founded on
resentment, not on any attachment to him and Mr. Pitt; and though with
regard to himself this was most true, it was most unadvised arrogance
in him to drop these words to me (as he did),--“Conway did not resign
for us.” At the same time he was profuse of incendiary volubility,
and of compliments to myself, particularly on my not only having
overlooked Wilkes’s attacks,[26] but in voting for him. We agreed in
our sentiments, that there should be a select junto of the ablest men
in the House of Commons to conduct the party. “Still, my Lord,” said I,
“we should have difficulties even there: the Duke of Cumberland would
object to the admission of Lord George Sackville to our councils.” Lord
Temple answered abruptly, “We must not have a Prince of the blood for
first Minister; that would entirely alienate the King.” This sentence
explained the Duke of Cumberland’s complaints of Mr. Pitt’s coldness
to all his overtures. I replied, I wished no more than his Lordship to
see the Duke Minister; but he was of great credit to our party, and
his life too precarious to make him formidable: “but,” said I, “I was
speaking of Lord George”--“Oh!” interrupted he, “there are very, very
great difficulties about Lord George: he must make his own way before
we can do anything for him.”

I was so offended at this royal style of _we_ and _us_, and saw so
plainly that Lord Temple, though he would be glad of our bearing him
on our shoulders to St. James’s, could not even disguise his little
inclination to us, that I determined to disappoint him, and forbear
all connexion both with Mr. Pitt and him. I acquainted Mr. Conway with
the ill-success of this visit; and here too, as usual, had a pill of
mortification to swallow. Provoked at Lord Temple’s discourse, he
wished, he said, I had not gone so far: Mr. Pitt should come to him;
he would not go to Mr. Pitt; nor liked to be thought to court anybody.
I replied that it was with his consent I had proposed that interview
to Lord Lyttelton; that I should never wish my friend to court men in
power: overtures of union to men out of power were different; nor was
there any sense in opposing without union. I told him we must either
form as strong a party as we could, or give up the game. We could
do better without Pitt than he without us; for he would never dare
alone and unfollowed to trust himself with Lord Bute. Our business
was to serve our country and preserve our characters. I had staked
everything, and valued not my fortune; but I did value my character,
my understanding, and my ease; nor would expose my sense by a tame,
middling, now-and-then opposition. That I would make no peace with the
Ministers, but would go abroad, if I could not find more activity and
more sense, than I had met with hitherto. Conway replied (unfeelingly
enough as to me), that for himself he was independent: he could wait;
and supposed, if not soon, something would turn up at last. That he
would oppose occasionally, but did not think it reasonable to say, It
shall do now, or I will not try. This was a true picture of us both. I
had embarked him and myself on principle, and without consideration;
had gone on with redoubled zeal when I saw him injured; and now was
impatient to repair the effects of my own rashness. He had been drawn
in without knowing it, and had continued to act by system; could not
bear to own, even to me, how deeply he felt the wound he had received;
but was as much too much undisguised, on the other hand, in letting me
perceive how little he felt the force of the sacrifice I had made to
him. In this, and all his conversations, he dwelt on his obligations
to the Dukes of Devonshire and Grafton. I said I respected their
characters, but could not content myself with so narrow a bottom. He
said, he thought himself bound in honour to acquaint Charles Townshend
with what had passed. I said, it would immediately make him leave us;
but I should not object to it, if he thought this strange delicacy
honourable or necessary. He said he should not talk farther of it,
nor appear cool to Mr. Pitt, lest it should be said that he had paid
court to him, and was angry at the disappointment. He would have no
opportunity, I told him, of showing either anger or civility to Mr.
Pitt; but if he acquainted Townshend, all the world would know what had
passed. He did write to Townshend the whole account.

I was now reduced to as disagreeable a situation as can well be
conceived. I had, from a point of honour, and from ancient friendship,
gone all lengths for a man who I perceived had much more system than
warmth of affection. My secrets were communicated to a babbler; and it
would be known that I had tried every quiver to wound the Ministers,
without finding a single arrow to my purpose. The only thing that
remained to do, I did--I kept my temper; and neither let Conway nor any
man else suspect the mortifications I underwent. It had been double
pleasure to my enemies to know I was not content with _him_; and to
have let _him_ know it, had disappointed the purposes to which I might
still apply him both for his sake and my own. I wished to repair the
hurt I had done him; nor till that was effected, could I accomplish
my own object of withdrawing myself entirely from politics. The only
notice I therefore took of what had passed, was at times to declare to
Conway and others of the party, that I was so little satisfied with
the conduct of the Opposition, that though I would never desert them
while they remained oppressed, yet was I determined to take my leave
of them as a party the moment, if ever that moment should arrive, in
which they should be successful. This declaration I afterwards found
as satisfactory to myself as it had been honest to those with whom I
acted; and how much I was in earnest in making this resolution, my
adherence to it will demonstrate.

There was perhaps a greater difficulty attending us than all I have
mentioned, though not very likely to befall us. It was, what answer
we should make to a question Lord John Cavendish very sensibly put to
me in one of our conversations. “If we do get the better,” said he,
“whom can we make Ministers?” It had been to no purpose to answer, “I
do not care whom.” Unless we could form an Administration, we must
remain in Opposition. The event did happen; we were offered, and could
not furnish out a Ministry; and yet it once more fell into our hands by
a concourse of ridiculous circumstances, that if they do not ennoble
History, yet render it perhaps more entertaining than revolutions of
more serious complexion.

There happened at this time, in another country, an event of which
I shall take some notice, though it had no relation to our affairs.
The deposed Czar, John of Muscovy, had been confined from his youth,
and, as it was said, had had drugs administered to him destructive of
his intellects. He had been spared, however, during the long reign
of his rival Elizabeth; and had even been visited by her short-lived
successor, Peter the Third. This visit might perhaps have awakened some
sentiments in favour of Ivan in Russian breasts; at least jealousy in
that of the foreign murderess, who now reigned in the room of both.[27]
On a sudden it was given out, that one Mirowitz had forced himself into
the castle where Ivan was imprisoned, intending to deliver and proclaim
him Emperor, but that so great was the fidelity and circumspection
of the governor, that he had instantly cut the poor young Prince to
pieces. This tale, almost as improbable as horrid, was believed by the
greater number, and supported by a parade of forms and manifestos.
Mirowitz was tried by the senate, and beheaded, after reading a
confession consonant to the story divulged. His accomplice, for _one_
they did allow him to have had, was said to have made his escape,
and to have been drowned in his flight crossing a river. As Mirowitz
suffered death unaccompanied with the torments used in that country,
it is no forced construction to suppose he was threatened with torture
if he did not authenticate what was required of him; or deceived with
hopes of pardon, and prevented by sudden execution before he could
recal a false confession.[28] Whatever was the truth, the Empress
had given such earnest of her bold and remorseless nature in the
assassination of her husband, that no wonder she was suspected of being
as deeply concerned in the death of Ivan. I was assured by the Duchess
of Choiseul, wife of the first Minister of France, that a French
physician who had been at Petersburg at the time, and employed at that
Court, had told her that they who knew most believed that the death of
the Empress Elizabeth had been hastened too by the arts of Catherine:
yet this fell character did Voltaire and the Literati of France select
as the patroness of philosophy and toleration! She had artfully been
generous to a few of them; and a poet and an author will go as far in
whitewashing a munificent tyrant, as a Cossack or Calmuck in fighting
for those who pay him. From Augustus to Catherine the Second, no
liberal usurper has ever wanted an ode or a panegyrist. The Duchess of
Choiseul, who had an excellent heart and solid understanding, being
provoked at the scandalous encomiums poured forth by Voltaire on so
black a character, wrote an answer to him with equal sense, spirit, and
reason; a work, in her situation, improper to be seen: I was one of a
very few that had the satisfaction of reading it.

On the 1st of November the sentence of outlawry was pronounced against
Wilkes; and on the 4th died that bacchanalian bard, his friend
Churchill. He was on a visit to his friend Wilkes at Boulogne, where
his excesses threw him into a fever, and where he died in a few days
with epicurean indifference--a meteor that had shone but four years,
and never so brightly as he might have done. He had wished, he said,
for an opportunity of satirizing Mr. Pitt and Charles Townshend, who
had not yet entirely listed themselves with the Court, the moment for
which Churchill waited impatiently; yet, writing as he did at random,
it was a chance whether he would have touched or not the true blemishes
and characteristic marks of men so compounded of defects and exquisite
ingredients. Churchill could hew out a block that would brave time, and
last to posterity, but stood not near enough to seize the lineaments
and shades that distinguish a portrait, and exhibit a resemblance to
the eyes of cotemporaries.

Among Churchill’s papers was found a collection of letters from Lord
Holland to Francis,[29] who had furnished them to the Satirist against
his late patron. In one of those epistles Francis complained of Lord
Holland for not making him an Irish Bishop, and threatened to publish
something that would prove Lord Holland a still greater villain than
the world believed him. To silence that wretch, Lord Holland sent him
500_l._, and gave him a place in Chelsea College.

The death of the Master of the Rolls happening at this time, Norton
was appointed to succeed him, with an additional pension of 1200_l._ a
year; and Mr. Charles Yorke again consented to accept his former post
of Attorney-General: on which the Duke of Cumberland said shrewdly,
“We have lost a man of character, but they have not gained one.”
This arrangement, however, did not take place. The Chancellor[30]
objected to Norton for Master of the Rolls; and Charles Yorke was
frightened[31] with the offence taken at his deserting the Duke
of Newcastle and his friends. Norton remained Attorney; Sewell
was appointed Master of the Rolls; and Yorke accepted a patent of
precedence over the Solicitor-General;[32] which only showed that he
had made his peace without mending his fortune.

About the same time was published a pamphlet, perhaps the ablest ever
written, called an “Inquiry into the Doctrine concerning Libels.” It
severely took to pieces the arbitrary maxims of Lord Mansfield and
Norton, who were roughly handled, as well as the late Lord Hardwicke.
Dunning, a rising lawyer, was supposed the principal author, assisted
by the Lord Chief Justice Pratt, and one or two others.

On the 19th died Stone, the famous Primate of Ireland, aged 57, having
ruined his constitution by indulgence to the style of luxury and
drinking established in Ireland, and by conforming to which he had
found the means of surmounting the most grievous prejudices and of
gaining popularity, ascendant, power: an instance of abilities seldom
to be matched. He was aided, too, by several virtues: he was generous
and charitable, and of a soul above revenge. When Lord Chesterfield[33]
held the government of Ireland, he told the Primate, “My Lord, you must
govern this kingdom, for you have the best parts in it; but you want
one thing, you must take orders:” alluding to the irregularity of his
life. But Stone had greater parts than Lord Chesterfield imagined, for
he _did_ govern that kingdom without conforming to the decencies of his

Stone was survived but a few days by his ancient competitor the Earl of
Shannon[35]--a more common character, he having sold his patriotism
for a peerage; and maintaining by hypocrisy an influence that Stone
had supported with the boldness of a statesman, and with scorn of the
little knavery that he might have borrowed from his rank of Archbishop.

The noise which our succession of Patriots had made in Europe, and
the disgrace their prostitution had brought on the character, gave
occasion to the following anecdote. Monsieur Elie de Beaumont, renowned
for his defence of the family of Calas, was in England, and went to
Bath. Conversing there with Lord Chief Justice Pratt and Lord Strange,
Monsieur de Beaumont said he wanted to see a Patriot. Lord Strange
replied, there was no such thing. “You surprise me, my Lord, said the
Chief Justice; till now I thought your Lordship one!”

At the conclusion of the year the Cider counties instructed their
members to join the Minority; and Sir George Yonge[36] carried a letter
from some of the chiefs to the Duke of Newcastle, proposing union. The
Duke sent the letter to Mr. Pitt, as an inducement to him to declare
himself. Pitt thanked the Duke for the communication, but observed, the
letter had not been intended for him (Pitt). He desired to be consulted
no more, for he was, and would be, a single man. The Minority, he said,
had heard the late glorious war abused the last session, and had sat
silent. Therefore would he join nobody, but would act on every single
occasion as he should think right.[37] Thus, without chiefs, numbers,
or union, were we left to meet the opening of Parliament in the ensuing


  Church Preferments.--Meeting of Parliament.--Conway’s Speech.--Lord
    Chatham’s Legacy from Sir William Pynsent.--Speeches on Dismissal of
    Officers.--Duel between Mr. Chaworth and Lord Byron.--Renewal of
    the Question of General Warrants.

The primacy of Ireland being vacant, Mr. Grenville was desirous
of procuring that dignity for Dr. Newton, Bishop of Bristol; but
he declining it, Lord Granby solicited Grenville’s interest for
Dr. Ewer,[38] who had been his tutor, and Grenville intended to
bestow that mitre on him. In the meantime it was known that Lord
Northumberland espoused Robinson, Bishop of Kildare, and sought to
make him Archbishop. This was immediately considered as a contest
for power between the Favourite and the nominal Minister,--for that
Grenville was only _nominal_ Minister, appeared by Robinson’s obtaining
the Archbishoprick; though when Grenville found he could not obtain
it for Ewer, he had maliciously and artfully instigated the Duke of
Bedford to solicit for Bishop Carmichael,[39] who being a Scot, his
promotion would have struck mankind as the act of Lord Bute, more than
the appointment of Robinson, whom he really supported. The intrigues
of the late Primate had been so noxious and troublesome to the English
Government, that it was determined no future Archbishops of Armagh
should be Lords Justices, or have any power in the Administration. The
new Primate, a proud but superficial man, had not talents to recover
the credit enjoyed by his predecessors.[40]

January 10th,--the Parliament met. The King notified to the two Houses
the intended marriage of his youngest sister, the Princess Caroline
Matilda, with the Prince Royal of Denmark, her first cousin. Princess
Louisa, her eldest sister, was so remarkably small of her age, that,
though she lived three years after this, she never appeared but as an
unhealthy child of thirteen or fourteen years of age. Lord Townshend
and Lord Bottetort moved the address of the Lords; Lord Warkworth and
T. Pitt, of the Commons. An accidental debate happening in the latter
House, General Conway, to the surprise of everybody, and particularly
of me, who had with astonishment beheld his tranquillity, broke out
on his own dismission, and attacked George Grenville with a fire,
eloquence, and rapidity of passion and bitterness, that showed both
how much he had resented and how much he had concealed. Very warm
words passed between them; great applause was given to Conway by the
Opposition; and the Ministers felt that the vengeance they had exerted
began to lose something of its sweetness. They had infused a spirit
into Conway with which all his friends would in vain have endeavoured
to inspire him.

On the 15th, the King sent another message to both Houses, referring
to their consideration an offer made by France to pay 670,000_l._,
in three years, for our maintenance of their prisoners, instead of
1,100,000_l._, which had been settled, but with no specification of
time, by the late peace. This offer was accepted on a subsequent day.

About the same time happened the following extraordinary event. Sir
William Pynsent, a baronet of Somersetshire, died and left his whole
fortune to Mr. Pitt, no ways related, nor personally known to him.
Nor, as it appeared, was this great legacy so much the reward of
his illustrious services as of his opposition to General Warrants.
Sir William Pynsent, at his death, was aged 86, had formerly served
in Parliament, and had voted against the Treaty of Utrecht; his
principles being zealously and unalterably Whig. He was said to have
had parts and humour.[41] * * * * * * Lord North had married his next
relation[42]--had courted him, and stood fair to be his heir;[43]
till, having voted for the tax on cyder, Sir William, who had long
lived retired upon his estate, had not only quarrelled with his cousin
North, but had encouraged the mob to burn him in effigy. He then became
enamoured of Mr. Pitt; is said to have cast some inconstant glances
towards Wilkes, and, immediately before his death, had indubitably
given orders to his lawyer, to draw a new will entirely in favour of
General Conway; but it was not prepared in time. Mr. Pitt, therefore,
found himself in possession of real and personal estates worth above
forty thousand pounds, without the regret of losing a friend; without
the imputation of having flattered his benefactor, for he had never
seen him; without injuring a family, for Sir William had no very near
relation,[44] and not one that expected his fortune; and with the
satisfaction of owing such a public mark of esteem to his own virtue or

On the 18th a meeting of the Opposition was held at Sir George
Saville’s, to consult whether they should bring on, or defer for
some time longer, a renewal of the question on General Warrants. The
doubt was raised by the ill health of Mr. Pitt. James Grenville and a
nephew of Lord Chief Justice Pratt, who attended the meeting, would
not say that Mr. Pitt desired the motion should be deferred. The
company squabbled till two in the morning, and then agreed to adjourn
the measure. Sir William Meredith wrote to acquaint George Grenville
with this procrastination--a ridiculous piece of candour, and received
properly by Grenville, who made no answer. These assemblies I seldom or
never attended; they were childish imitations of Parliaments, rarely
produced any good, and only taught a party to quarrel and split into
_less_ factions. Many who cannot utter in the House of Commons can
prattle in a private room. Business can never be reduced to too few
heads. There should, in party as well as in Government, be one man who
should consult others separately, and act as he finds best from the
result of that advice, and of his own judgment: but he should let the
rest know as little as possible that they are almost all probably of
different opinions.

On the 21st, Dowdeswell proposed to reduce the sixteen thousand seamen
to eleven thousand, but without effect. On the contrary, Charles
Townshend spoke for the larger number in warm terms, and declared
he had always approved the peace. This desertion did not surprise
me: nor was it owing solely to his fickleness. He was now influenced
by Lord George Sackville, who, dissatisfied with Lord Bute for not
supporting him, had joined the Opposition: Oppositions are always great
whitewashers. But the declining state of the Opposition, by deaths and
other causes which I have mentioned, had alarmed Lord George, and he
began to look towards Grenville, who would want all manner of strength
to support himself against the Favourite.

On Jan. 23rd, the day of voting the army for the year, there happened
a very spirited debate.[45] Beckford began it, by declaring that if
any man would second him, he would oppose so large a number as 16,000
men, because we were in no danger of being attacked by surprise;
and because he apprehended there was an intention of modelling the
army, which he concluded from the dismission of General Conway. He
mentioned, too, an expression dropped by Charles Townshend, which he
said had made his ears tingle; it was that the _Colonies were not to be
emancipated_. The Colonies, said Beckford, are more free than Ireland,
for America had not been conquered: on the contrary, it was inhabited
by the conquerors. Townshend ridiculed Beckford’s alarm, affirming he
had only meant that the Colonies were not to be emancipated from their
dependence on the supremacy of this country. Beckford told him he had
expressed a single idea by a multitude of circumlocutions, and was
troubled with a _diarrhœa of words_--an expression with which Townshend
was much hurt.

Nicholson Calvert and George Onslow opened on the dismission of Conway
in very strong terms. The former said, Grenville[46] had avowed it was
for parliamentary conduct when he owned he had thought himself turned
out for a similar cause. Onslow called the Ministers profligate and
abandoned; and Lord Strange attempting to defend them, was so roughly
handled on his own tergiversations by Onslow, Sir George Saville, and
Thomas Townshend, that he who was wont to be all spirit, quickness, and
fire, was quite abashed, and showed at least the sensibility of virtue.
Thomas Townshend went farther, mentioned a list of sixteen officers,
carried into the closet for dismission by Lord Sandwich: and seeing
the latter sitting under the gallery, he turned towards him, and said
he would tell that Minister to his face in any private company, that he
was a profligate Minister. Onslow added, that they had been so cowardly
as to wait for the end of the session, and skulk behind the recess.

Rigby said the Opponents had quoted all the reigns to the last, but
had stopped short there, and had not mentioned Sir Robert Walpole, who
had said it must be a pitiful Minister that would not dare to turn out
a man that voted against him. For himself, he said he did not believe
the question of Mr. Conway’s dismission would be brought on; which Lord
John Cavendish assured him it would be.

Lord Harry Poulet[47] told Grenville that he would be ashamed to
show his face, if he could be ashamed of anything, if his uncle Lord
Cobham[48] could rise from the dead--Grenville stopped him, and said
if his Lordship had a mind to use such language, he knew where to find
him.--Others interposing to reconcile them, Grenville acknowledged he
had thrown out a challenge; but at last explained it away, and the
matter ended. Ellis indiscreetly affirmed that the army was necessary
to support the civil magistrate. Beckford replied, that at the late
riot on burning the North Briton, the magistrates of the City had
secured one of the rioters without military force.

Grenville entered into a long discussion of the Crown’s prerogative
of dismission; and confounded civil and military officers, without
making the necessary distinction, that the latter lose a profession.
He himself, he said, had not inquired formerly why he was turned out.
Should he be turned out _to-morrow_, he would not inquire, _though
if he did his duty and was approved by his country, he should think
it extraordinary_. This sentence, seemingly incoherent with, nay,
contradictory to, the rest of his speech, was, no doubt, levelled at
Lord Bute, and dictated by the uneasiness of Grenville’s situation,
then not generally known. He proceeded to say on the dismissed officers
that some might think one meritorious, some another; others might see
cause of blame. This invidious hint called up General Conway, who with
exceeding warmth and spirit made one of his most admired speeches. He
had asked, he said, for a court-martial, that, if anything had been
thought defective in his conduct, he might be questioned on it. The
refusal had proved that his dismission had flowed from no military
offence. Even in the days of Charles II. the Lords Clarendon and
Southampton had, though requested by the King to forbear, spoken
against his measures, and yet had not been dismissed.[49] The
situation of officers was grievous; called on by conscience and by
honour, they were chastised if not obedient. Another profession was
more fortunate; Bishops were made for life; and, indeed, were piously
obsequious; they might be preferred for their behaviour in Parliament,
but could not be dismissed for it. He himself had received intimations
to take care what he did--Grenville started!--yet he should not say
from what quarter; he would not reveal what was not proper; but he
had been bid to take care what he did. He had despised those menaces,
had done his duty, and had been punished. He knew the threats had not
come from the King, who had restored Sir Henry Erskine. He had made,
he said, a declaration that he was attached to no party, yet that
allegiance, it seemed, had not been thought sufficient. He concluded
with strongly exhorting his brother officers not to be made slaves--he
might as well have called on the Bishops.

This debate was doubly mortifying to the Ministers, who were at once
so rudely tasked by the Opposition, and unsupported by every man of
the Favourite’s faction--a tacit method of disavowing them; and an
encouragement to those who might be tempted to oppose them.

On the 26th Mr. Chaworth, a private gentleman of fair character, was
killed at a tavern by Lord Byron in a duel, to which the latter had
been driven by the undisguised contempt with which the former had
treated his want of honour and spirit at a club where they had just
dined together. Lord Byron was formally tried by his Peers,[50] and
escaped punishment, in consideration of the provocation he had received.

On the 29th the question of General Warrants was again renewed in the
House of Commons by Sir William Meredith,[51] more agreeably, indeed,
to principle than to prudence. I had endeavoured to divert the attempt
and had the concurrence of the Lord Chief Justice Pratt’s opinion, we
both apprehending, from the great diminution of our party since the
preceding winter, that, as we should make a much more inconsiderable
figure on a division in Parliament than we had done before on the same
question, the merits of the cause would suffer more from that defeat
than we should gain by reviving the memory of it. Though the event in
the House proved what we had foreseen, we found, however, strength
enough to support a battle till between four and five in the morning.
Sir W. Meredith, with great force and severity, exposed the conduct
of Lord Halifax, who shamefully to that hour (and indeed for some
years afterwards) defeated all prosecutions against him at Wilkes’s
suit, by standing on the privilege of his peerage. If they, said Sir
William, who issued the warrants, had put themselves on the justice
of their country, it would have alleviated their guilt; but _while
the privilege of the House of Commons was given up, the privilege of
the other House had interfered to stop justice_. He then moved that
_General Warrants were not consonant to law or to the liberty of
the subject_; and in a second question, _if against a Member_. Lord
Strafford himself, he said, had issued but one, had pleaded that it was
according to practice, and yet had recalled it. Charles II. had applied
to Parliament for leave to do it by the Licensing Act. Application
had been made in King William’s reign to renew that act, but it was
refused. Some said the illegality was decided by the law; others that
it was not. Some would say that the House of Commons was not to declare
what was law. Who could bring it to an issue? Dryden Leach and other
printers were ruined, and could not carry on the suit! Wilkes expelled,
outlawed, banished, had no longer any interest in the question: the
Secretaries of State did not desire to brine it to any issue; the
House of Commons alone could do it. Sir Edward Coke declared, that,
when courts of law would not decide on a clear question, the House of
Commons ought. Sir Alexander Gilmour added, that not one lawyer, last
year, had defended the legality of General Warrants, but had given
assurances that they would be decided in the Courts below; and yet
that decision had been postponed till Wilkes had been outlawed.

Dr. Hay replied with much and able subtlety; owned that when he was
for putting off the question last year he had meant to reject it; his
party had said that it was not proper for that House to declare on
law; he himself had said those warrants were illegal, unless great
urgency in their favour.[52] He agreed that, by the common law of
the land, those warrants were illegal: nay, he thought the question
ought to be settled by Parliament, not by a resolution of one House
only. Sir William had omitted the words _seditious_ and _treasonable_,
though adopted last year. The House might do what it pleased, but
ought it to do so? Why not make the case general to all cases? Then
this resolution, he heard, was to be followed by another on breach of
privilege; but was every injury to a member a breach of privilege? Was
the House to be an universal judicatory for offences? But the House had
already declared that it has no privilege in the case of seditious and
treasonable libels--a question of law is safe in courts of law; but
Houses of Commons, not being permanent, may vary their resolutions.
One House--both Houses cannot declare laws, though they, with the
King, may enact laws. The question had either been adjudged, or was
pending: both were true. The Court of Common Pleas had decided and
given damages; then he named the Chief Justice Pratt, taking notice
of the strong expression of _an iron rod_, used by that magistrate
on the occasion. All juries say General Warrants are illegal; but at
present the question had been hung up by the bill of exceptions, which
bills are in the nature of appeals--an argument why the House should
not, at that time, make a declaration. If there had been delay, why
was not the offender called on? He had heard that the delay arose
from the prosecutors. If anything was done wrong in the Courts below,
the House alone could redress it. He then, as a correction to the
proposed question, moved the following strange and scarce intelligible
sentence (to load the motion ridiculously, and with intention to
reject afterwards the question so amended), “That in the particular
case of libels, it is proper and necessary to fix, by a vote of this
House only, what ought to be deemed the law in respect of General
Warrants; and for that purpose, at the time when the determination of
the legality of such warrants, in the instance of a most seditious and
treasonable libel, is actually depending before the courts of law;
for this House do declare that a General Warrant for apprehending
the authors, printers, or publishers of a libel, together with their
papers, is not warranted by law, and is a high violation of the liberty
of the subject.”

It was requisite for me to state the words of this proposition and
account for them; for standing as they do on the printed votes without
a comment, what could posterity, or persons ignorant of parliamentary
craft and proceedings, think of them? Would they believe such a
proposition was seriously debated?--yet, as the votes never joke,
could they avoid believing so? The fact, as I have said, was, that the
Ministry, to load Sir William Meredith’s question with absurdity, made
use of their power, as the majority, thus to amend the question, and
forced the opponents to debate it thus hampered, or withdraw it; and
even the latter could not be done without leave of the House, that is
of the majority, who probably would not have granted that permission,
that they might give a negative to the question thus loaded, instead
of rejecting Sir W. Meredith’s plain question, which it would have
been more unpopular to do. By the strict rules of the House they could
even have obliged the debate to be pursued on the question only as
amended; but, content with the certainty of rejecting it in their
own way, they suffered the Opposition to argue on the simple state
of the case, and the debate accordingly proceeded so. Lord Middleton
asked if the Petition of Rights had not come in by declaration? and,
with regard to the charge of delay, he said the plaintiffs could not
afford to go on with the bill of exceptions, and then were accused of
protracting; and, to justify the renewal of the question, he observed
that Lord Coke says, “Many a good proposition had succeeded at last by
being pursued year after year.” Sir W. Meredith said, he had omitted
the word _seditious_, that the question might carry no reference to
Wilkes, being calculated for the general and indefinite good of all.
No epithets ought to be mixed with prosecutions, nor should a man be
liable to be prosecuted as a traitor for having written a libel. No
privilege held against treason; but the House ought not to be deprived
of its members on a false charge of treason. Conway asked if Hay had
been serious in his motion? did he mean his amendment should go out
into the world on so important a question? It would be a mockery
of Parliament. Grenville called him to order; but Conway persisted
and said it would be a shameful proceeding. Wedderburn and the
Solicitor-General again interrupted him; but he was supported by Sir
George Saville and Onslow; and the Speaker declared there was nothing
disorderly in Conway’s words. Dowdeswell said, Dr. Hay had argued on
the whole question, therefore he would; but Lord Frederick Campbell
endeavouring to fix the debate on the question as amended, Charles
Townshend tried to compose the heat that had arisen by recurring to
the subject, and said he hoped no lawyer would assert that juries were
not judges of law as well as of fact. De Grey, Solicitor-General,
said the juries had given the prosecutors exemplary and vindictive
damages, and had been animated by faction. The defendants had pressed
the prosecutors not to delay. Charles Yorke spoke for three-quarters of
an hour on the side of the Opposition; said he would retract if he had
altered his opinion; but found reasons against the warrants growing
all over the kingdom. The warrant had been so _emphatically illegal_,
that it never could be debated in a court of law. It was expedient for
Parliament and for the honour of the Crown, that Parliament should
take the lead in questions of law. The House of Commons had often
carried up resolutions to the other House. This question was connected
with the privileges of the House. Precedents made in good times were
felt in bad. The words of the warrant had been copied from an old
blundering warrant of office, and could never be taken up again. The
Crown should extinguish any jealousy of such a proceeding in future, by
not making difficulties on plain questions. Beckford said, this country
was obliged to Wilkes for the stand he had made. It had been the more
necessary when a Whig Ministry acted on Tory principles, and he quoted
the instance of Minutius, who pleaded that he had written nothing
against the Emperor and _his mother_.

Dyson said, if the House of Commons had a right of declaring law, it
had no occasion to make laws: they might declare to be law whatever
they wished should be so. Lord George Sackville asked if the seizure
of papers would come in question in the Courts below? and said, that,
had they had a mind to impeach the Secretaries of State, they must
previously have come to this declaration.

Norton entered into the defence of Lord Halifax, whose delays, he
said, had not impeded the decision of the great cause. Lord Halifax
had been guilty of a slip; and therefore, against such a prosecutor
as Wilkes, was justifiable. Lord Halifax had availed himself of his
privilege, till Wilkes was outlawed, (and so he did for years after);
the journeymen printers had applied to be bought off. Dryden Leach’s
attorney had come to him (Norton), and said he had heard it was wished
to compromise Leach’s cause; but he (Norton) had refused, but had
offered to bring it to an issue in a week; since then had never heard
of him. Till that very day they had not been able to get the bill of
exceptions sealed. Charles Yorke had said that question had never been
argued; but he (Yorke) had argued it himself. (This Yorke denied.) It
would be a quære whether Lord Halifax, as Secretary of State, was a
Justice of Peace. Had not the most respectable characters, living and
dead, been abused? That sort of libel deserved no quarter.

Colonel Barré said the Inquisition itself did not seize papers for
evidence. Opposition keeps Ministers in order, though many oppose
from faction. About twenty officers had opposed the Court last year
on the question of General Warrants! It was now said, all but one
had repented--if they had, were such officers fit to be employed? He
commended Lord Nuneham[53] and Lord Charles Spencer, who had resisted
the connections and importunities of their families: and then said
ironically, “When the two present honest Secretaries of State[54]
die, the Court may choose one of the most profligate abandoned dogs
in the kingdom to replace him.”--This was levelled at Lord Sandwich,
who was sitting under the gallery. Barré then advised the Ministers
to adopt the question without amending it--why would they do things
too well? Such a man as Sandwich would write a panegyric on Nero. If
this question was suffered to pass, it would make the King beloved and
the Ministers less hated. General Howard,[55] in answer to the attack
above, said, he remained of the same opinion as last year, and had
never paid court nor asked pardon.

Lord North defended his uncle Halifax, on whom he thought Barré had
bestowed the epithet of _little-minded_. Barré said he had applied it
to the Administration in general. He was glad to see Mr. Grenville with
all his friends about him. It had been said in a foregoing debate that
he had carried the whole Administration home in his chariot. He liked
Lord North’s panegyric on one of the Secretaries--if anybody had a mind
to make a panegyric on the other, he was welcome.

Conway again declared his surprise that they would load such a question
with so many words. Why not pass it simply, or put a negative? Was
there ever an instance of such a preface with new matter? On the Star
Chamber and other grievances each resolution stood single. Lord Halifax
might be in the right, but had caused delay. All that we have valuable
stands on resolutions.

Grenville then spoke his usual hour; and immediately after him Sir
George Saville rose to take notice of most obnoxious words that had
fallen from Dr. Hay in the beginning of the debate. I hear, said
Saville, that _the Law of Government is superior to the Law of the
Land_: such words are impeachable. Dr. Hay replied that _the Law of
Government_ meant _the Law of Necessity_. This produced great warmth
and calling to order, till at last Sir George Saville said he was glad
the gentleman did not avow those words. Hay taxing Conway with want of
temper, the latter replied, he believed those who had meant to hurt
him, had hurt themselves more. Onslow offered to produce pamphlet for
pamphlet written by the Administration: and then Hussey very ably and
for fifty minutes discoursed against the arbitrary tenets set up by
the Court and its lawyers; yet still with the candour and decency
peculiar to him. The circumstances inserted in the amendment, he said,
were not true. He doubted if ever the question could be determined in
Westminster Hall. This was the first time that ever a _probable_ cause
was pleaded in behalf of General Warrants. _New doctrines sprung up
every day in Westminster Hall._ A number of points must be determined
before that cause could be decided; as whether a Secretary of State
is a Justice of Peace; whether his messenger is a constable; whether
the reason assigned for the commitment was a probable cause, &c. Great
difficulties, too, there were in contending with the Crown, and against
its influence and its money, &c. He did not believe that the warrants
would come before the Courts below. The predecessors of these Ministers
had always compounded such prosecutions. The Justices in Ireland having
imposed illegal oaths, the House had declared them illegal, but went no
farther; excusing the Justices on the circumstances of the times: it
was in King William’s reign. Lord Palmerston,[56] a young man of sense,
and who spoke then for the first time, declared himself convinced
by Hussey’s arguments. Rigby pronounced Lord Halifax’s intrenching
himself within privilege, justifiable; for who knew what damages might
be given against him?--and so far was true; juries could impose
fines to the vastest amount; and as such fine became the property of
the prosecutor, the Crown itself could not remit it. But what latent
defects, therefore, were discovered by agitating these questions? A
Secretary of State could commit a grievous injustice, and yet could
avoid punishment, if sheltered by the privilege of his peerage. On
the other hand, for a slight imprisonment, a jury, naturally partial
to their equals, especially when oppressed, and as naturally averse
to their superiors, can give damages to the amount of the defendant’s
whole estate, without his being able to obtain redress from any quarter.

At half an hour after four in the morning the Question, as amended,
was rejected by 224 against 185, the Opposition being forced to divide
_for_ the question that had been imposed on them, or they could have
obtained a division on none at all.

A remarkable circumstance in the foregoing debate, but which would
have interrupted the thread of the narration, was that Norton told
the younger Onslow that he should be diverted, for he would treat
Yorke worse than ever he had been treated--and he kept his word, being
willing to lower Yorke, who might be his competitor for the Seals.
Yorke bore this insult with too little spirit, and thence and by his
fluctuating behaviour, and by discovering far less parts than he was
supposed to possess, daily sunk in the estimation of the House.


  Distinction between late Motions on General Warrants shown in the
    Votes.--Dismissal of Officers.--Proceedings against Almon
    deferred.--Mr. Grenville’s Resolutions.--Dr. Browne’s Pamphlet.

The next day Sir William Meredith, uneasy that Dr. Hay’s ridiculous
preface should, by being united to his question, pass for his, proposed
his difficulty to the House, the Speaker having been so impartial
as to delay the impression of the votes. Grenville confessed it was
hard, and yielded that a distinction should be made. Conway caught
artfully at this concession, acknowledged Grenville’s candour, owned
he had been too warm himself, but desired Ministers to observe what
difficulties were brought on gentlemen by such unparliamentary arts.
Grenville repented his concession, and Dyson, the Jesuit of the House,
endeavoured to explain it away; but Conway pinned them down to what had
been yielded, and the votes were so cooked as to ascribe the amendment
to the House, and distinguish it from Meredith’s original motion.

Not content with this atonement, the elder Onslow, two days afterwards,
on a motion for paving the streets, parodied Dr. Hay’s question,
but desired it might not be printed in the votes, as none of his
constituents would understand it.

We of the Opposition had another business on the anvil, as knotty
and full of difficulties as the question on General Warrants, and
on which it was as arduous to decide whether we should bring it
into Parliament or not. This was the complaint on the dismission of
officers for their parliamentary conduct. Lord John Cavendish had
pledged himself to move it; and it would not only revive the odium
against the Ministers on a topic of such popular sound, but the cruelty
exercised on General A’Court, deprived of his bread for a silent vote,
and the rigour shown to Conway, though so decent and conscientious,
had been particularly crying. Still there were both solid and private
objections. The all-puissance of the Court was sure of putting a
negative on the question; and thence officers would become still more
dependent when the Crown should be thus authorized to cashier them at
pleasure, by the approbation of Parliament. Charles Yorke and Charles
Townshend were afraid of a debate that would reduce them to quit their
allies before they had made their peace, or to oppose the Crown on so
favourite a branch of prerogative as that of holding a scourge over
its dependents. The Duke of Richmond, though he had promised, if the
question should be stirred, to take part for Conway, could not wish
for the occasion of differing with an Administration with whom, on
every other point, he was united; and the officers in general, though
they would have rejoiced to be emancipated from their dependence,
were as little desirous of seeing a topic agitated, which would have
obliged them to approve the practice, or exposed them to the resentment
of the Crown, with the certainty, at the same time, that a censure
of the practice could not be obtained by so weak an Opposition. Nor,
hurt as I was at the treatment of my friend, could I myself wish to
have the matter discussed in Parliament, where, by voting against the
measure of dismissing officers for their conduct in the House, I must
in fact have condemned my father, who had used the same severity,
though on far higher provocation, and against determined opponents.
Even Conway himself, aware that he should be deserted by his brethren,
the officers, was by no means eager for bringing on the question. In
this dilemma, Lord Temple advised Lord John to go to Hayes, and learn
of Mr. Pitt whether, if they should defer the motion, he should be for
it, when he should be able to come forth. This very advice indicated
that Lord Temple at that time knew not Mr. Pitt’s mind, and wished to
learn it for his own private reasons. Mr. Pitt’s answer then, and his
change on the same occasion afterwards, marked that at that hour he had
received no overtures from the Court, and that afterwards he probably
had, as will be seen. Lord John went to Hayes, and found Mr. Pitt in
bed with the gout. Pitt said he knew not when he should be able to
come to the House: if he could he should be warmly with the Opposition;
yet he feared too many negatives on that question would authorize the
Court to dismiss officers. He condemned the practice strongly; and said
whatever party or division of party might prevail hereafter, he hoped,
though he grew an infirm old man, and that all was over with him, that
they would do justice, not only to the persons dismissed, but to the
principle. He was sorry the question of the Warrants had been stirred
this year: had Opposition waited till a decision against them had been
pronounced in Westminster Hall, not an argument in their behalf would
have remained.--When Lord John returned with this answer, I begged him
to wait, and to give out that it was in compliment to Mr. Pitt, which
would do credit to our cause--and by delaying, I hoped to avoid the

Almon,[57] an active and officious printer for the Opposition,
and attached to Lord Temple and Wilkes, having been prosecuted for
publishing the excellent letter on libels, appeared on February 6th, in
the King’s Bench, to show cause why an attachment against him should
not be issued. As Lord Mansfield would not openly appear in this
cause (he himself being severely treated in that pamphlet), as Judge
Denison[58] had resigned, and the new judge had not taken his seat,
Wilmot,[59] the remaining judge in that court, said, “It would be too
much for him to take upon himself.” The Attorney-General moved to have
Almon bound over to the next term. His counsel desired he might be
heard, or dismissed; but he was bound over. This suit was afterwards
dropped when Mr. Grenville found it convenient to have libels written
_against_ the Administration.

The same day Onslow moved for a call of the House for that day
fortnight, that the House might be full on the great questions of
Dismission of Officers, of Canada Bills, the Money due on the Manilla
Ransom, the Cider Tax, &c.; and it was agreed to.

Grenville then proposed his thirty-five resolutions[60] towards a
bill for laying duties on America, by _his memorable Stamp Act_. This
famous bill, little understood here at that time, was less attended
to. It removed the burthen of a tax to distant shoulders; and the most
momentous acts are seldom much discussed, when no immediate interest
occurs to oppose them. The colonies, in truth, were highly alarmed,
and had sent over representations so strong against being taxed here,
that it was not thought decent or safe to present their memorial to
Parliament. The chief colonies had long been increasing in power and
opulence; and wise men had not been wanting to foresee how difficult
it would become for so small an empire as Britain to contain them
within the necessary limits of dependence. Nor would that subjection
probably be maintained, but by garrisons and regular forces; the
charge of which, if borne by the colonies themselves, would leave to
England but a precarious power over them; or would be too weighty an
expense on the mother-country; and would even place a greater military
force in the hands of the Crown than would be consistent with the
freedom of this constitution; for of necessity the troops stationed in
America must be often changed, and brought back to Britain; or might
grow too intimately connected with the colonists; or might lose sight
of all obedience but to their own officers. Long had the colonies
been neglected, or overlooked. Sir Robert Walpole, whose maxim was,
_Quieta non movere_, had been content with seeing no troubles arise in
America. He had left that province to its proper minister, the Duke
of Newcastle, Secretary of State, who had a closet full of despatches
from that quarter unopened for a large number of years.[61] The Board
of Trade, whose department it was, had sunk into a perfect sinecure
for Members of Parliament; insomuch that Martin Bladen,[62] one of the
commissioners, applying himself to the duties of his office, it was
said with humour, that Bladen was _Trade_, and the other commissioners
the _Board_. Two events concurred to rouse both the Americans and the
English Government from this lethargy. The first was the conquest
of Canada, which, delivering the colonies from apprehensions of the
French, had thus early taught them to feel their own weight and
importance. The second was the power of the Crown being in the hands
of Grenville. It had been proposed to Sir Robert Walpole, to raise the
revenue by imposing taxes on America; but that Minister, who could
foresee beyond the benefit of the actual moment, declared it must be a
bolder man than himself who should venture on such an expedient. That
man was found in Grenville, who, great in daring, and little in views,
was charmed to have an untrodden field before him, of calculation and
experiment. The opposition of the Americans touched a third string
predominant in his nature,--an obstinacy of supporting his will and
his power. In the light of easing and improving an overburthened
country and revenue, he was not blameable in wishing it could be
accomplished. Nor, considering how great a debt had been incurred by
supporting the colonies in the last war, was it unreasonable to desire
that they should assist their mother in contributing to lighten a
burthen become almost too grievous to be supported. But to this single
object were all Grenville’s views and knowledge confined. His policy
by no means embraced impediments or consequences. To say that his plan
would be confined to the present assistance as then chalked out, was
what neither himself pretended, nor was it by any means adequate to
the mischiefs the attempt might produce. He himself termed it but an
experiment towards farther aid, and as such the Americans immediately
understood it. Little did he weigh the danger of a contest between the
mother-country and such distant, extensive, and now powerful subjects.
Less did he attend to the opportunity he threw into the hands of Spain
and France, of exciting a mutinous spirit in our colonies, and when
occasion should serve, of throwing assistance into them against their
parent. Least of all did he foresee the damage he would inflict on
trade, and how far the expected aid would be from compensating the
loss the British merchant would suffer by a quarrel with our outlying
brethren; but it was the fate of the times I am now describing,--I
mean during the administrations of Lord Bute and Grenville,--to stir
questions which, for the happiness of the whole, had better have slept
in oblivion. The Americans soon learned to enter upon and discuss
those problems of government, the benefits of which happy nations had
better enjoy than agitate; which, from the perversity of man, are never
universally assented to, and consequently cannot be moved without
mischief; and which wisdom will never recal from speculation into
dispute, but when the afflictive hand of power makes opposition to them
the only remedy left against tyranny and arbitrary will.

From this moment nothing was heard from America but questions on the
right of taxation, and whether the colonists had not carried with
them all the birthrights of English freemen: whether their assemblies
were not Parliaments, and whether any man could be taxed who was not
represented. Parallels were drawn between the Americans, Scotland, and
Ireland; and while all obedience was acknowledged[63] to the Crown,
the jurisdiction of the British Parliament came to be undervalued,
and set at nought. Every assumption of liberty that had been pleaded
here against our kings, was now set up against the jurisdiction of
England. The overflow of political writings in these islands had long
been transmitted for vent to America, and were now the basis of a new
paper war. Nor were there wanting in the chief provinces men of subtle
and liberal minds, who knew how to set their pretensions in the fairest
light. Still less was there a dearth of aspiring demagogues, who felt
how much consideration must attend real or affected patriotism. On both
sides of the ocean, there happily were found some men of that moderate
frame of mind, who, though commonly the last to attain credit in the
loud cry of faction, were successful in tempering the evil, though
censured at home, and but ill rewarded with the attention they merited
from America.

I have thus touched upon the outlines of this ill-omened dispute.
More must be said on it hereafter; yet shall I sparingly treat a
subject on which so many volumes have been written, and which at the
moment I write[64] seems calmed--I fear, not composed. New pretensions
erected, and the honour of old claims to be asserted, seldom moulder
away _pulveris exigui jactu_. These disputes, like all others on
government, date from the foresight always wanting in new institutions.
Men talk of patriarchal systems, and original compacts. Necessity
and accident formed all systems, and men were governed long before
they reasoned. Where ambition was in the govern_ed_, and wisdom and
humanity in the governors, the system proved gentle and moderate.
Where the contrary happened, power was earlier felt. When once formed,
succeeding men were ambitious to usurp government, not to correct it.
When it grew intolerable, it was patriotism to force it back to its
principles. At last, patriotism itself was found to be the shortest,
as it was the most plausible step to power: and the patriot becoming
the attorney for his countrymen, proved the only winner by the gain
of the cause. When the New World was discovered, it was parcelled out
as the property of the princes whose subjects made discoveries. The
expense of settling it, after driving out or butchering the natives,
would have been enormous: the hazard from such long voyages and new
climates, most unpromising. To tempt their old subjects to make the
experiment, it was necessary for the European sovereigns to offer
both great and specious encouragement. From Britain especially, where
the monarch was not absolute, he could not despatch large involuntary
embarkations. Grants of vast tracts of land were a shining bait; and,
as the fashion gained ground, lasting privileges were superadded.
Charters, clothed with the most flattering conditions, were liberally
bestowed; and as the Crown was the sole dispenser of those graces,
the King’s Ministers were little likely to insert any other dependence
as terms on which the boon was granted. Assemblies were instituted,
rather in imitation of Parliaments, than as subservient to that of the
maternal empire. Little in those faint outsets of new government was
it natural to foresee that one day or other it might come to be wished
that the line had been drawn with more precision. Thus (as I have said,
it has happened to governments in general) conclusions have been drawn
from premises which never existed. The Americans founded themselves
on charters greedily asked and carelessly granted; and though I would
be far from weakening written, or any established principles, it is
easy to see that, whatever the letter of such charters may be, or the
spirit on which they were bestowed, the Legislature could not intend
they should exempt the colonies from the jurisdiction of Parliament.
I have indeed no doubt but Elizabeth, James, and Charles would not
have been averse to establish their own authority over new provinces,
independently of Parliament: but the question on either hand was
certainly never in contemplation. Both policy and humanity, in this
great contest between Britain and her colonies, should rather use their
efforts to reconcile their interests, than to pronounce between them.
Parliament ought to have no ampler jurisdiction over the colonies, than
it has over the inhabitants of Britain; nor would that be sufficient
guarantee for the liberties of America, if Parliaments, vindicating
their authority by force, should be inclined to feel partiality against
those that had resisted its domination. Equal claim to indulgence and
lenity of treatment with other British subjects should be ascertained
to the colonies, if under the same jurisdiction. An unequal yoke,
from whatever cause imposed, whether under a King or a Parliament,
must be felt most by those most subjected to it. The colonists have
affected to be willing to contribute to the aid of the whole, provided
they may tax themselves,--a pretension liable to great difficulties:
for, though to avoid dependence on British Parliaments, they may at
present choose this flattering alternative, what security can there
be that their assemblies, thus erected into Parliaments, will remain
harmoniously ready at all times to share the burthen? Some have
demanded for the Americans a right of sending representatives to the
English Parliament,--a question, even if acceptable to them (which it
is thought it would not be), perhaps still more replete with danger. We
know tolerably well what a British Parliament can and cannot do: how
far it can be corrupted, how mischievous that corruption may be, and
how far the weight of the House of Commons can operate against the two
other parts of the Legislature: but who can tell what change in the
constitution might be effectuated by touching, by enlarging the actual
existence of that assembly? Add a great number of members; it may grow
cheap, or too preponderant in the scale. A large number of Americans
may clog, and clash with, every British operation. A small number may
be too potent, from the very extensive dependencies they must enjoy
in that part of the world. A member of each province would become its
viceroy: and when we see how prodigious is the influence of any popular
orator here, though under the eye of the Sovereign, what would be his
authority if a Pitt, or a Wilkes, were to return to America, clothed
with the mantle of disgust and patriotism?

These, therefore, are questions to be skinned over, if possible, by
moderate councils. On some disputes, to pronounce is to declare battle.
While undecided, men will weary themselves and others with literary
altercation. Determine the point, and the adversaries have recourse
to the _means_ of recovering the ground they have lost. It is the
kindest way of ruling men to govern them as they will be governed, not
as they ought to be governed. The peace and happiness and security of
society is the intention of laws, and ought to be of law-givers: and
to _reconcile_ is perhaps a more amiable virtue in a patriot than to
_reform_. It has not the same glaring appendages; but carries a more
internal comfort to the man that exerts it, as it is purchased with
fewer and lighter hardships to those in whose service it is employed.

When Grenville moved the resolutions, Colonel Barré was the first,
and almost the single man to oppose them, treating severely Charles
Townshend, who supported the motion.[65] Barré, Alderman Baker, and
a few more proposed to adjourn the consideration, but were defeated
by a majority of 245 against 49, after a debate that lasted till
nine o’clock. On the 15th, when the bill was brought in, Rose Fuller
presented a petition from Jamaica, desiring to be heard against it
by counsel. This Grenville, with heat and haughtiness, opposed, as
it was a petition against a money-bill. Conway pleaded for receiving
the petition, showing the distinction between this and taxes laid at
home, where the persons to be taxed have representatives with whom
they can entrust their interests, and who can object to any designed
burthens that may be too oppressive. Charles Yorke made a long speech
against receiving the petition; but it was in truth a set speech in
favour of the bill, and occasionally applied to the petition. The House
ill-relishing opposition to a tax which was not to fall on themselves,
the petition was rejected, and the bill easily passed. About the same
time a petition from the Cyder counties met with the same fate on a
division of 150 to 82.

So triumphant was the Administration that the very creatures of
Mr. Pitt were forward to chant their praises and stigmatize their
opponents. Besides a sermon against libels, preached on the 30th
of January by Dr. Lyttelton, Bishop of Carlisle, there was at this
time a servile tract against Faction, published by Dr. Browne, who,
a few years before, had written a thing, called _An Estimate_,
which, notwithstanding its pert and silly positions, had met with
unaccountable success. In that piece Mr. Pitt had been his hero. This
Browne, the ape of Pope, and who had written some poems, not without
merit, had afterwards produced two very indifferent tragedies;[66] and,
lastly, an absurd treatise on Music, which he pretended to apply to
the formation of a visionary Government. He ended his life deplorably
by his own hand in a fit of illness and madness, having been invited
to Russia to assist the Czarina in some of her ostentatious projects
on legislation, and being oppressed, either with imaginary glory, or
despondence of supporting his reputation.[67]

These panegyrics, or vindications, answered no better to the Ministers
than their severity. Williams, the re-printer of the North Briton,
being sentenced to the pillory, he went thither in a coach marked 45,
the number of the famous paper for which Wilkes suffered, and which
became his hieroglyphic with the mob, who near the pillory erected a
gallows, on which they hanged a boot with a Scotch bonnet. At the same
time 200_l._ was collected for Williams.


  Isle of Man Act.--King’s Illness.--Motion respecting _Ex-officio_
    Informations.--Warburton.--Dismissal of Officers.--Newfoundland
    and Virginia Petitions.

Among Grenville’s economic projects, one was to purchase from the Duke
of Athol the sovereignty of the Isle of Man, which was the harbour
and _entrepot_ of the smugglers between Great Britain and Ireland,
and who were secured by the jurisdiction of that Peer. As the Duke
was unwilling to part with his property, Grenville, well-founded in
his scheme, determined to force it from him by Act of Parliament, or
to oblige him to compound under that terror. A bill was accordingly
brought in for that purpose, and the Duke and Duchess[68] were heard
by their counsel. Mr. Grey Cooper,[69] who pleaded their cause, made
a most admired speech at the bar of the House, and the Scotch members
and the Opposition supported the Duke’s rights. At last the matter was
adjusted by purchase of the title of the Duke and Duchess, for which
the former received 70,000_l._, and her Grace 2000_l._ a year for life.

On the 20th the House was called over, as appointed; but, Mr. Pitt
not appearing, the magnificent threats of motions which our party had
thrown out, were again laid aside, and at last dropped, from various
reasons as will be mentioned, but particularly by the great event to
which the King suddenly falling ill gave birth.

Some time before his marriage the King’s face was full of pimples.
These had so entirely disappeared, that it was apprehended he had made
use of external remedies to repel them. It is certain that from that
time he frequently laboured with disorders on his breast, particularly
during the Queen’s first pregnancy. He was now again seized with a
cough and fever, for which he was repeatedly blooded four times, and
was apprehended to be in much danger.[70] So critical a situation
made men take notice that, to secrete him from all intercourse with
his Court, Lord Bute had placed the King at Buckingham House, a damp
unwholesome spot, and rendered more perilous by the neighbourhood
of two infectious hospitals. The vigour of his age and his sanguine
constitution seemed to require more exercise and air than he enjoyed in
that sauntering and domestic life. It was even said that Dr. Duncan[71]
advising his Majesty to have one of his palaces in the country fitted
up, and to live there for some time, Lord Bute harshly reprimanded
the physician, and asked him what he had to do to advise beyond his
line?--a question which reason could easily have answered, though awe
might not. After stating some intervening matters, I shall return to
this subject.

The Chevalier d’Eon having accused the Comte de Guerchy of a design
to have him assassinated, the grand jury found the bill against the
Ambassador. This new insult was not more perplexing to the Ambassador
than it was to the Ministers. The latter determined to remove the
verdict by a writ of _certiorari_ into the King’s Bench, and then to
issue another of _noli prosequi_. The affront, in the meantime, met
with no support, and was soon forgotten in the subsequent national

On the 4th of March, Nicholson Calvert, seconded by Serjeant Hewet,
moved the House to take from the Attorney-General the power of
informations _ex-officio_--a blow intended to stigmatize Norton, as
well as to serve liberty. Mr. Conway having observed that those popular
questions only terminated in confirming the power that was abused,
had vainly laboured to prevent the motion. Grenville and the lawyers
opposed it; and denying that the power had been abused, urged that
there was no reason for taking it away. Charles Yorke spoke on the side
of the Court, and, after a short debate, the motion was rejected by 204
to 78.[72]

Bishop Warburton,[73] who thought the persecution he had suffered from
Wilkes and Churchill, his devotion to the Ministry, and his great
pre-eminence in learning over his brethren on the Bench, had entitled
him to one of the most considerable mitres, resented so much the
promotion of Terrick to the see of London, that, during the King’s
illness, in the King’s own chapel, he preached on neglected merit,
and, with the same modesty that shines through his writings, drew
pictures of himself and his rival under the distinctions of merit and

The City of London petitioning the House of Commons for more money for
the new bridge at Blackfriars, Lord Strange, Elliot, and Rigby opposed,
the latter saying rudely, that he did not know what obligations the
King had to the City. Grenville, with more prudence, countenanced the
petition and procured a gift of 7000_l._

Lord John Cavendish, impatient to fulfil his engagement, prevailed on
Lord Rockingham to go to Hayes, and know if Mr. Pitt would come to
town, or desired to have the motion on dismission of officers delayed
any longer. Mr. Pitt’s language was now exceedingly altered, though
he still highly condemned the dismission of Conway. The question, he
said, touched near upon prerogative. It ought to have been brought on
early in the session; was sorry to hear it had been reported that the
question had been postponed on his account: himself had never advised
to agitate it. Lord Rockingham even doubted, from his inexplicit
conversation, whether, if he should appear in the House, he might not
make the same declaration there--a new reason for alarming us that
were averse to the motion. Lord Temple inquired after the result of
the visit. Lord Rockingham declared himself less satisfied than ever
with Mr. Pitt. Lord Temple assured him they were as well disposed as
ever to the Opposition; but then dropped, that if the former designed
arrangement had taken place, he did not believe it would have held six
months. “Why?” said Lord Rockingham. “Because,” replied Lord Temple
remarkably, “I believe the Duke of Devonshire, and others of you, never
liked that the Treasury should be put into _my_ hands.”

The Budget was opened by Grenville on the 29th of March, an occasion
that generally produces applause to the Head of the Treasury, who must
possess more lights on that subject than other men; and those lights
strike the more forcibly, as the audience are little masters of such
intricate details; and as the monied men, who alone feel the force
or deficiency of the Minister’s arguments, are rarely endowed with
eloquence, or even elocution. Yet Grenville, who valued himself on
his knowledge of finance, and who, of all qualifications, wanted not
redundancy of words, spoke but languidly and unsatisfactorily, chiefly
pointing his very long speech against a pamphlet published by Hartley,
on the State of the Nation. Himself, he said, would never punish any
invectives _against himself_; yet he betrayed every symptom of soreness
and malice. In very few years afterwards he used the same means with
Hartley against the Administration; and, previous to a session of
Parliament,[75] published, or countenanced, an invidious State of the
Nation; but met with a far more severe and able return than he himself
had made to Hartley.

On the 1st of April, the King withdrew to Richmond for a week, but
returned unexpectedly on the 3rd and 4th to his levee and drawing-room.
This sudden appearance was at that time supposed calculated to prevent
any notion of his being ill; and consequently to avoid any proposal
for a Bill of Regency, in case he should fail. The Favourite, in
the meantime, began to give more open marks of his disgust to the
Ministers. A bill for regulating the poor, drawn by one Gilbert,[76] a
member, and steward to Lord Gower, had passed the Commons with slight
animadversion, and had been sent to the Lords. The Earl of Egmont
opposed it strenuously on the first and second reading, and with much
applause; yet it was then carried. When it came into the committee,
Lord Bute’s friends exerted themselves to throw it out; though, to
disguise his opposition, Lord Bute absented himself, and the Earl of
Northumberland voted for it; but as the Favourite’s creatures, the
Earls of Denbigh and Pomfret, as well as Lord Egmont, conducted the
party against the bill, the Bedford party were not the dupes of such
flimsy arts. Lord Mansfield faintly supported the bill; the Dukes of
York and Gloucester voted for it, yet the commitment was rejected by 58
to 44, Newcastle, Lord Temple, and the Opposition uniting against the
Bedfords. Lord Pomfret then moved to put off any farther consideration
of the bill for two months; but that measure seeming too violent after
it had passed one House, and had been twice approved in the other, it
was carried by 50 to 49, to resume it after the holidays; when the
Bedfords consented to drop it.[77]

April the 3rd,--Sturt[78] and John Pitt[79] presented to the Commons
a petition from several merchants complaining of encroachments by the
French at Newfoundland--another grievance that reflected on the late
peace. The Ministers had the assurance to oppose the reception of the
petition, but managed as awkwardly as indecently; and, at last, moved
to examine Commodore Palliser,[80] who commanded on the station in
question. Palliser was a vigorous officer and a sensible man, and had
been so much esteemed by Lord Anson, that Admiral Saunders, desiring to
have the assistance of Palliser, had offered to relinquish the use of
a 74-gun ship, if the Admiralty would send Palliser with him. General
Conway, Colonel Barré, and Lord George Sackville made severe remarks on
the conduct of the Ministers. Palliser was called for, but declaring he
was not prepared, the House allowed him time till the next day.

When he appeared again, he produced a letter he had sent to the French
Commodore, at St. Pierre, with remonstrances on their behaviour; and
proved that he had by no means connived at their innovations. They had
denied the justice of most of his complaints; but to some had returned
no answer. Admiral Saunders, who spoke then for the first time, and
with extreme unreadiness, justified one of our captains who had burned
some French boats, and said he would have done the same. Late at night
a sudden dispute arising whether Palliser should be asked his opinion
on an Act of Parliament relating to the fisheries, the Ministers, who
sought to evade farther examination, opposed the question being put to
him. Some warm men in the Opposition supporting that motion (though
the wisest did not concur with them), divided the House, to the great
joy of the Ministers, who rejected the question by 161 to 44: and
thence, at once, determined to stifle any farther inquiry, Rose Fuller
moving to adjourn the consideration for three months; and Nugent to
thank Palliser for his account of his own conduct, though there were
witnesses waiting to show it had not been irreproachable. So eager were
the pacific Ministers to justify France, and wink at her encroachments.

Mr. Garth, the same day, presented a petition from the agent for
Virginia against the New American Mutiny Bill, which ordered the
billeting of soldiers on private houses, as there were no inns in that
country; but this petition, too, the Ministers refused to hear. In
the debate, Grenville quoting the Scotch law, young Thomas Townshend
spoke well and warmly against making the Scotch law our precedent;
and the younger Onslow said, that three Scots were preferred for one
Englishman. Elliot spoke finely in answer; said he thought English and
Scots were the same; and that if himself had merit enough, he should
pretend to any English place. That partialities were always common; had
been shown to Sussex,[81] and ought to be to Buckinghamshire; and if
the men of the latter county[82] were the most worthy, he would support
them. The House then adjourned for the holidays, when Grenville,
finding the American merchants vehemently averse to his new bill for
billeting soldiers in that country, promised to drop it.


  State of Parties.--King’s Illness.--Regency Bill.

When the Houses met again after the recess, a very new scene opened to
the public, though unfolded by degrees, and of which all the springs
were not at first discovered. Accident, the rashness of Opposition,
and the intemperance of Ministers concurred and wrought up the ensuing
confusions; but the source lay in the mutual jealousy of the Favourite
and Grenville, on which I have already touched, and which terminated
in lasting mortification to the two rivals, and gave birth to the
various and fluctuating exhibition of politics that took place and
succeeded each other from this period. In truth this was the era of
faction, though it did not immediately predominate. Hitherto it might
be said that the two parties of Whig and Tory still subsisted; though
Jacobitism, the concealed mother of the latter, was extinct. The Court
had indeed admitted few Tories into place, from their total want of
abilities. But though Grenville and the Duke of Bedford had always
called themselves Whigs, and the _Chancellor Northington really was
one_, yet Lord Bute had left the standard of prerogative in the Court,
and his successors had relaxed none of those high-flown doctrines.
Nothing could be more despotic than Grenville’s nature. Bedford was
drawn by the Duchess and Rigby to adopt any principles, however
contrary to his opinion, that favoured her love of power, or Rigby’s
rapacity: and Lord Mansfield retained great weight in a cabinet so
framed to embrace boldly any arbitrary measures that he was always
ready to suggest and always afraid to execute himself. On the other
hand, the Opposition, though headed by Newcastle, who had sailed with
every current, and though composed of great and proud families, dated
from the stand they had made, or by resentment had been forced to make,
to the Favourite’s plan of extending the prerogative. Lord Temple stood
on no ground but popularity; and the cast of Mr. Pitt’s life, contrary
to his temper, had thrown him too on the affections of the people. The
crisis I am going to describe broke these ill-consolidated connections
into several factions; and though one of those factions adhered more
steadily to their professions than the rest, the subsequent contests
were rather a struggle for power, than the settled animosity of two
parties, though the body of Opposition still called itself Whig, an
appellation rather dropped than disclaimed by the Court; and though
the real Tories still adhered to their old distinctions, while they
secretly favoured, sometimes opposed, the Court, and fluctuated
according as they esteemed particular chiefs not of their connection,
or had the more agreeable opportunity of distressing those who
supported the cause of freedom. As their whole conduct was comprised in
silent votes, and never was considerable enough to turn a single scale
in the political changes,[83] I shall seldom mention them any more.

The King’s illness had occasioned a general alarm; but, though he
escaped the danger, his health was so precarious, and he had such
frequent disorders on his breast on taking the least cold, that all
sober men wished to see a Regency settled by Parliament in case of his
death. Yet most of those who possessed or hoped for power, dreaded such
a bill: and even they, who wished best to their country, could not be
without apprehension from it, as it would probably be framed on the
model of the last, which contained the odious and arbitrary clause of
præmunire,[84] and as it would undoubtedly be calculated to continue
the domination of the Princess and the Favourite, or of the Ministers
then in place, an alternative equally threatening to liberty. The
Princess could by no means desire to hear a Regent nominated, as she
could not flatter herself she should be the person in preference to
the mother of the future King. Should even a minority not happen, the
designation of the Queen for Regent would teach mankind whither to
address their homage, and draw from the Princess that court which till
now had been paid to her as all-powerful over the mind of her son. Lord
Bute had brought himself into as disagreeable a predicament. By having
quitted his place in the Cabinet, what pretensions could he have to one
in the Regency? Should he even obtain one by the King’s recommendation
or nomination, could he hope for any influence under the Queen, to
whom the Council would bow? Could he promise himself that the present
Ministers would impart that power to him under a Queen not likely to
be his friend, from which they endeavoured to exclude him now, though
possessing the favour of the King? The Ministers were still more
jealous of any such bill. As, according to the plan of the last, the
great officers in place at the time of the King’s death were to remain
of the Council of Regency, Grenville and his adherents concluded that,
to prevent such a contingency in their favour, they should immediately
be removed. Accordingly those good men who preferred any eventual
confusion to the loss of their places, set themselves roundly to work
to prevent, or if they could not prevent the proposal, to stir up
opposition from every quarter against such a regulation, be it what it

Notwithstanding these various obstacles, the necessity of some
provision surmounted all impediments; and the very opposition made by
the Ministers did but serve to fix the irresolution of the Favourite.
I saw that this was the favourable moment for bringing out the
half-concealed, and, by consequence, for producing a total, rupture
between Lord Bute and the Ministers. I early went to Lord Holland, and
asked him why they did not think of a Regency-bill? He said he had
pressed it on Lord Bute and Lord Mansfield, but the latter was too
timid to propose it. That he himself had written twice to Lord Bute
on that subject, and had given him leave to show his letters to the
King, which he believed he had _not_ done: himself, however, should
not desist from pressing it, as he owned he believed the King in a
consumption, and not likely to live a year. We then talked over all
the considerable persons, and how their affections would probably lie
on such a question. Among others I named Lord Granby, and said, he was
wholly Grenville’s. “Yes,” replied Lord Holland, “and should the King
die, might, if he had sense enough, be king himself; and now,” said he,
“you see the wisdom of not letting any of the princes of the blood be
at the head of the Army.” I was not so dull as not to see deeper into
this hint. It informed me why Mr. Conway had been removed out of the
Army with so much alacrity. It was a context to what Grenville himself
had dropped to me on that head, “_that the King could not trust his
Army in such hands_:”--that is, the Court was determined to insure
the Army for whatever purposes they might have occasion to employ it
in. Another of Lord Bute’s creatures told me about the same time that
Grenville was grown too powerful in the House of Commons. I own I did
not think the Constitution quite ruined, when the House of Commons
could make a Minister formidable to the Crown. These and such like
accidental passages discover how deep the views of the Court had gone.
How happy for the nation that they who had laid such plans were so
unequal to the execution!

A few days afterwards, Lord Holland desired to speak with me. He did
not seem to have anything particular to say, but rather to want to
sound me on the disposition of my friends in the Opposition; and to
learn if, in case of a rupture between Lord Bute and Grenville, they
would soften to the former. As I thought any encouragement from the
Opposition would inspirit Lord Bute, and hasten his breach with the
Ministers, I instilled that assurance as strongly as I could into Lord
Holland, who said Lord Bute complained that the Duke of Cumberland and
the Opposition were as acrimonious as ever. This was true but in part,
for the Duke had already been gained to a certain degree by the King:
and as Lord Holland was very inquisitive to know from me on what cause
the Duke had been sent for to the King, and had been shut up with him
for two hours on the foregoing Sunday, it was a proof that Lord Bute
had not that confidence in Lord Holland which the world suspected.
I did not then know of that private interview of the King with the
Duke. Lord Holland said he guessed it was on the Regency-bill: that
he believed the Ministers had not proposed such a bill to the King,
but that his Majesty had to them,[85] and had ordered them to prepare
one. Lord Holland rejoiced at it,--for he feared for the stocks. He
repeated over and over that he believed things would remain as they
were; but he dropped enough to convince me that that was by no means
the intention of Lord Bute. “Things,” he said, “were not ripe yet;
many things were wanting: he lamented the death of the late Duke of
Devonshire, whose temper was not bitter, and who could have done much:
that Opposition resorted to Mr. Pitt, who would have nothing to do
with them: that Grenville would be glad to be well with Mr. Pitt, but
that he, poor man, was ill in bed.” This tenderness to one he hated so
much, was a clear indication that any assistance against the Ministers
would be welcome. I soon learned how much farther these wishes had gone
than I was then apprized of. I told him he knew enough of the Duke
of Newcastle to be sure that the Court might have him whenever they
pleased; and as Newcastle governed the Opposition, Lord Bute needed not
doubt their concurrence. Still Lord Holland had the weakness to repeat
that Lord Bute would be nothing, and meant no change. To facilitate
my measures, I had it conveyed to the Bedfords, that the Favourite
lost ground; and that Lord Holland was his instigator in promoting the
bill,--an idea which I soon found they eagerly adopted, and as eagerly
showed their resentment of on the first opportunity.

I imparted to Lord John Cavendish the probability of Mr. Pitt coming
into place. He said, “If that should be so, we could no longer oppose:
his family would take nothing, but the young Duke would go to Court.”
This I reported to Lord Holland: he replied, To be sure, if there was
any change, the Duke of Devonshire must be at Court; nor would the King
scruple to say he had been in the wrong in refusing to see the late

At length it was declared that a bill of Regency was intended; but to
the great dissatisfaction of mankind, it was declared, too, that the
nomination of the Regent would be reserved by the bill in the King’s
breast. The crowd instantly conceived that this was a mode of bestowing
that important trust on the Favourite; a chimera too wild and much too
dangerous to enter into so dastardly a nature as Lord Bute’s. I have
no doubt but there was an uniform intention of appointing the Queen
Regent; though to save the dignity of the Princess, and to keep up a
dubious attention towards her, she might have obtained this palliative,
with the contingency too, however improbable, of her outliving, and
then occupying the place of the Queen. The Ministers rejoiced at these
murmurs; and to pay their court to the Queen, and to mortify the
Princess and her favourite, spared no pains to heighten this disgust,
which they even pretended to adopt; proceeding so far as to make
representations to the King against his keeping the nomination secret.
His Majesty was obdurate. At last they obtained that the Regent should
be one of the Royal Family: a clear indication of their affecting to
suspect that he had had thoughts of Lord Bute for that high office.
When this was conceded, and yet the Queen was not named, it seemed
to intimate that she was not the person designed. Grenville and the
Bedfords were not men to offend by halves, or to halt when they had
gained ground. Pursuing their blow, they told his Majesty, that the
Queen not being one of the Royal Family, if his Majesty had her in
contemplation, it would be requisite to specify her by name. Even this
point they carried at last. Yet thus had every step of the former
Regency-bill furnished precedents for the most dangerous attempts. A
power had been granted to the late King, of adding by his will four
persons to the Regent’s Council. As prerogative seldom adheres to
the strict letter of a precedent, but builds new pretensions on the
slightest foundation, the Crown now, from four secret nominations, had
jumped at once to demand a secret nomination of the Regent. Newcastle,
one of the three authors[86] of the former bill, was still alive to
behold its copy, as was also Fox, the opposer of it; but Newcastle now
dreaded, and Fox recommended the example!

The four secret nominations in the last bill of Regency had arisen
from the resentment of the Dukes of Grafton[87] and Dorset,[88] Lord
Chamberlain, and Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, that their posts
were not thought of importance enough to be admitted into the Council
of Regency. Yet Dorset would not have profited of the new expedient. It
was thought that the four persons on whom the late King had fixed, were
the Duke of Grafton, the then Duke of Devonshire, who had retired from
business, the Earl of Waldegrave, and Dr. Butler, Bishop of Durham.[89]
On the majority of the successor, it was supposed that the late
King had burned that designation; but his present Majesty told Lord
Mansfield that he had found the paper, though he would not disclose who
had been the persons specified.

This measure of secret nominations was now revived--no doubt with the
view to the admission of Lord Bute to the Council, which the opposition
of the Ministers and the temper of the times would not openly allow
at that moment. The jealousy occasioned by this step was augmented by
no mention being made, in the first concoction of the bill, of his
Majesty’s brothers[90] and uncle.[91] A plan which reserved so much
at the disposal of the secret Junto, and which plan was not concerted
_with_, but dictated by the King _to_ his Ministers, could not leave
the latter a moment’s doubt of their having lost their influence;
nor could fail to point out to them that that influence was restored
in its full force to the Favourite. From that moment the Ministers
assumed almost the style, entirely the conduct, of Opposition; Rigby
scrupled not to say, that, if no opposition was made to the bill, Lord
Bute would grow intolerably insolent: and the new Lord Waldegrave[92]
said artfully to an anti-courtier, “We cannot oppose this bill; but
why do not you?” This conduct of the Ministers taught me my lesson.
The more they laboured to instigate our party to attack the bill, the
more pains I took to dissuade my friends from being warm against it.
For six months I had tried to raise effectual war against Lord Bute
and the Ministers. The strength of their party when united, and the
weakness of ours, had baffled all my endeavours. The happy moment was
now come, when discord had declared itself amongst them: and I was
sure, whichever division of them should remain in possession of the
closet, must court our assistance. I knew my friends too well to think
they were numerous or able enough to form an Administration alone.
Should the King be reduced to admit them to a participation of power,
they had such good principles and such fair characters that they
would be a balance to the rest, and might prevent many of the evil
designs in agitation. In my opinion I inclined most to Lord Bute; for,
though the mischief had sprung originally from him, he had betrayed
a pusillanimity that made him far from formidable. Grenville and the
Bedfords had as bad principles, better heads, and far more courage.
I knew, too, that though my friends, when joined to Lord Bute, might
temporize, might be corrupted, or might not be able to obstruct Lord
Bute’s views, Grenville and the Bedfords, if once fixed in Opposition,
would not be tame and impotent, as we had been. No truth is more
certain to me than this; _though an Administration ought to be composed
of virtuous men, it is by no means desirable that an Opposition should
be so_. It is so seldom that there are good measures to obstruct, that
the mischief done by opposition is small in proportion. It must be
remembered, too, that opposition obstructs rather than prevents; and
the difficulty on opponents is the greater, if the measures are good;
salutary councils making their own way at last, after fascination has
vented its poison. But the bad measures of powerful men can only be
combated with efficacy by a determined party, equally able to expose
their evil tendency, and prompt to venture on any arts to defeat
them. Good men weep over their country when they should defend it.
Cassius killed the tyrant; Cato, himself. If Lord Bute was again to be
Minister, I wished to see Grenville and Sandwich patriots.

The Ministers having struggled in vain, and being reduced at last
to support what they could so ill digest, the King, on the 24th of
April, went to the House of Lords, and sending for the Commons,
recommended to both Houses to provide a bill of Regency[93] on the
plan of the last, but with this singular and material difference, that
his Majesty demanded to be invested with the power of appointing,
from time to time, by instruments in writing under his sign manual,
either the Queen, or any other person of his Royal Family residing
in Great Britain, to be the guardian of his successor, and Regent of
these kingdoms, until such successor should attain the age of eighteen
years. Thus had the Junto flattered themselves that the transient and
loose mention of the Queen’s name would stifle all murmurs, on the
supposition that even so vague a designation would make men presume
that no other person could be preferred to her Majesty, after a
specification that marked her as proper for the trust.

Flattery, more nimble in venting itself than jealousy, poured forth
panegyrics on the magnanimity of so young but provident a monarch. His
grandfather had dared to eye his own tomb; but could an aged Prince,
in conscience, leave his kingdoms and family unprovided of a rule of
government? How far more heroic his present Majesty’s firmness, who,
in the vigour of youth, reflected on his own mortality, and whose
foresight provided against dangers which his most loyal Peers and
Commons prayed to Heaven might never be _heaped on that bitterest
distraction of grief_, the loss of his Royal Person![94] In the Upper
House the Address was moved by Lord Halifax. In the other, Grenville
was _not_ so wrapt in admiration and encomium, but he recollected
himself enough to open more of the contents of the bill than were
necessary to excite only loyal Hosannahs: and he took care to declare
that the measure had flowed from his Majesty, not from the suggestion
of his Ministers. The path thus early chalked out to cavil, Nicholson
Calvert started some objections, though he would not oppose the
Address. Beckford went farther, and said he would not vote for it, as
it mentioned the expedience of the bill, to which he did not agree;
and then talked much nonsense, of Parliament being the guardians of a
minor king. Calvert, who was mad, was convinced by Beckford’s nonsense,
and their two were the only dissenting voices; George Onslow having
checked the debate by observing that the bill was not yet before them.
He, however, and T. Townshend dropped some severe sentences. Grenville
and Lord North, who seconded him, were profuse on the moderation of
the King in accepting so bounded a civil list, and in establishing
the judges for life--proof of dearth of topics for panegyric! I have
mentioned how trifling were the advantages which the King had foregone
in his revenue. By the patents of the judges, not he, but his successor
would be limited. The same measure had been proposed to the late King:
he replied, he was content to have no power of displacing the judges
himself, but he would not bind his heir.

The scope of the bill being now disclosed, it was incumbent on our
party to fix on the measures they would pursue with regard to it. We
had accordingly a meeting of the chiefs, at the Duke of Newcastle’s,
on the 25th. I found the young men warm against the bill, and full of
the idea that it was solely calculated to re-establish the empire of
the Princess and the Favourite. They neither knew, nor would listen,
to the state of factions in the Court. I told them they were doing
the business of the Ministers, who wished for nothing so much as a
vigorous opposition to the bill. The only answer I could obtain was,
they should lose their characters if they did not oppose. If they did
oppose the bill, I thought nothing more likely than that the Ministers
should recover the ground they had lost in the closet, by supporting
the very bill that they were instigating us to oppose. Nay, in the
warmth of debate, the passions of the Ministers themselves might grow
heated; and, as men are always most angry with those from whom they
have received the latest offence, the Ministers, if roughly attacked as
the agents of Lord Bute, might again become so; and he would certainly
resent less from those who should carry through his bill, than from
those whose enmity was inveterate and unalterable. At best, Grenville
and his faction would have leisure to carry on the war against the
Favourite, while they saw him and the Opposition grow daily more
inveterate. My arguments were all in vain. The _listlessness_ of the
party was now converted into blind zeal: and a direct opportunity of
reviling the Princess and Lord Bute seemed already to those warm young
men a triumph over them. As we parted, I told Lord John Cavendish that
I thought it much more for the interest of our country to break the
Ministry, than to oppose a single bill; “but,” said I, “there is not
a trap the Ministers set for you, but what you fall into”--words that
soon proved to be prophetic.

On the 29th the King sent a message to the Lords, desiring, instead
of the four secret nominations, to have his four brothers and his
uncle[95] specified in the bill; reserving only to himself the power
of filling up their places if they died. This step seemed to exclude
Lord Bute; but if ever he had been designed to be admitted, this
measure was only a plausible evasion. Frederick, the youngest prince,
was in a deep consumption. The Duke of Cumberland’s life was not less
precarious; and without any such contingency, a place in the Cabinet
Council would entitle the Favourite to one in the Regency. The bill
was then read for the first time. It was followed by another bill sent
from the other House, and brought in there by Lord John Cavendish,
to oblige Peers and members of Parliament to appear to suits, and to
allow suits to proceed, if such privileged persons refused to appear
and make answer. This was occasioned by the indecent refusal of Lord
Halifax to appear to Wilkes’s complaint. The Ministers had suffered
the bill to pass the Commons, intending to have it rejected by the
Lords. The Peers had read it twice, and were now going to commit it,
when Lord Suffolk[96] moved to have it put off for three weeks--Lord
Weymouth for two months, a method seldom used before the Committee
has attempted to correct a bill. Lord Temple proposed to adjourn the
consideration for a week, that their minds might not be diverted from
the important consideration of the Regency-bill; but Lord Suffolk’s
motion was carried by 61 to 52, though Lord Mansfield and Lord Bute
voted _for_ the bill. This was a more explicit declaration of
hostilities than the Favourite had yet attempted; at least it was
paying court to the Opposition, and canvassing for their support to
the Regency-bill. Still so great was the confidence of the Ministers
in their own strength, or their want of judgment so capital, that
they lost the moment of ruining the Favourite, and of establishing
themselves at his expense. Had they peremptorily refused to carry the
Regency-bill through, or had they resigned their places, pleading their
disapprobation of it, the whole odium had fallen on Lord Bute; and as
they would have been joined by the Opposition in that clamour, the
Court must have yielded to any terms they had thought fit to impose.
Instead of such strenuous conduct, they heaped nothing but disgrace and
mortification on their own heads. The Court obtained its bill, however
modified, but was equally offended at the Ministers. The nation beheld
them with contempt, while they promoted obstruction to a bill, which
they confessed they disapproved, and yet submitted to support. They
flattered without humouring, impeded without preventing, and offended
without hurting. This timid and double conduct they changed into open
treachery and provoking insolence, when the moment was come in which
they ought to have studied nothing but reconciliation.

On the 30th, the bill was read for the second time. Lord Lyttelton made
a fine speech against giving unconstitutional powers, such as that of
appointing an unknown person Regent. It was asking them, he said, to
put out their own eyes. He hinted a wish of having the Queen named, and
was going to make a proposal tending that way, but was stopped by Lord
Halifax, for no better reason than that her Majesty might not always
be a proper Regent, though she was so then. The Duke of Newcastle
having been so deep in the fabrication of the former bill, dared not
object to anything similar in the present, and therefore said he had
no objection but to the reserve of specifying the Regent, a power
that ought not to be entrusted to any King. The Chancellor,[97] in
his rough style, treated the Duke and the former bill with contempt
and acrimony. The last bill, though drawn by all-wise, all-patriotic
Ministers, had been, he said, most imperfect. This would correct
it. Lord Lyttelton had ascribed the last bill to the late Earl of
Hardwicke,[98] whom the Chancellor ridiculed, and said it had been
calculated for his own power, and that of Newcastle and Pelham: and he
asked bluntly why they had not substituted in that bill the Duke of
Cumberland in case the Princess had died? That they were guilty, if
the faults of the bill had been owing to craft. The Princess had been
at that time so long resident in England, that it was reasonable to
appoint her Regent. The youth of the Queen and her little acquaintance
with the country rendered her less proper. Would their Lordships wish
to place her Majesty in so invidious a situation, and wrest her out
of her subjection to the King? Who would wish to have his own wife so
independent? Would they determine that the same person should be Regent
for seventeen years,[99] to whom they would entrust such power for
three years? The Duke of Newcastle replied, that the age of the present
King had been so far advanced as had made no substitution of Regents
necessary. He had never known till within a few days, that in the eye
of the law the Queen is not of the Royal Family. Lord Shelburne said
the Constitution was secure in itself, and knew no minority. Parliament
supplied all deficiencies. His objection was not to parts, but to the
whole bill. Lord Sandwich said he was informed that our laws made no
provision for a minority, but that whoever got possession of the infant
King’s person, was King. In that case military force would be most
likely to govern. The next thing he should dread would be a democracy:
a popular orator,[100] backed by turbulent magistrates, might seize
the government. Lord Temple said he appealed from Cæsar ill-advised to
Cæsar well-advised; _was himself of no party, nor connected with any
party_; was, and had been, against all Regency-bills. Lord Mansfield
answered, that the King had heard so much of regencies formerly, that
of this bill he had thought himself. If their Lordships did not think
a bill of Regency necessary, his Majesty was under a mistake: but he
feared they were sowing the dragon’s teeth. By the ancient Constitution
the Parliament was dissolved at the King’s death. The Queen or great
men secured a majority, and then called a Parliament to confirm their
power. Bills of indemnity, restitution, and regency flowed properly
from the Crown itself. Regency was a trust, not power. What would be
good for his Majesty’s children, would be good for his people. At least
there would be a foundation for Government to set out upon: unless
it was thought that deliberation would be wiser, when men should be
heated by the crisis, than now, when they could coolly provide against
a distant period. The Parliament had not acted so negligently in Queen
Anne’s reign, but settled a regency, and got stability before the
event happened. Last time it had been considered whether it were not
wise to make a perpetual act; but it was answered that the bill, then
passed, would be a precedent, and change of circumstances might not
make exactly the same provisions always proper. Lord Temple shrewdly,
and bitterly, with allusion to Lord Mansfield’s friends, family, and
supposed principles, asked him, Supposing the Parliament had left to
Queen Anne the secret nomination of her successor, whom his Lordship
thought she would have appointed?

Between six and seven the House divided, 120 for the bill, and only
9 against it, Newcastle and his whole party retiring, either from
shame of contradicting their former conduct, or not being determined
to give openly the offence which they had sounded so high in private;
or that Newcastle was biassed by the Duke of Cumberland, whom the
King had consulted secretly, both on the bill and on the subsequent
measures which he wished to pursue. Thus Lord Temple, with his small
faction, and one or two of Mr. Pitt’s friends, was deserted, after
the most sanguine expectations of a vigorous opposition. He resented
this desertion with his usual _intemperance_; yet what claim had he
on the concurrence of those with whom he had sedulously declined all
connexion? His resentment on this occasion was, I do not doubt, a
leading step to a new alliance into which he soon after hurried. His
companions in the vote I have mentioned were the Dukes of Grafton and
Bolton, the Earls of Shelburne, Thanet, Ferrers, and Cornwallis, the
Viscount Torrington, and Lord Fortescue. The Duke of Grafton’s[101]
vote thus early pointed out that he looked more towards Lord Chatham
than to Newcastle. Lord Lyttelton, more temperate than his cousin
Temple, had withdrawn with Newcastle and the others to avoid voting,
the Chancellor having forced a division by declaring the _non-contents
had it_. Lord Lyttelton then read his motion to address the King,
to name the person or persons whom his Majesty would successively
recommend for Regents, as there was no precedent of _devising_ regal
power. The Duke of Bedford moved to adjourn the motion till the next
day, for which he was grossly abused by the Chancellor, who was averse
to all admission of the motion.

On the morrow Lord Lyttelton made his motion accordingly, urging that
the Crown cannot devolve its power on unknown persons. Was it prudent
to give the King absolute power, on the presumption that he would do
nothing but for the good of his successor? Lord Mansfield replied, that
giving such power was not _contrary_ to precedent, though _not founded_
on precedent. The usage and precedent of Parliament formerly had been
to make no precedent at all. If all the persons substituted should
fail, it would be necessary to frame a new bill. It was wise not to let
the person designed for Regent be acquainted with that designation.
The longer time the King should have to determine on the choice of the
person, the better that election would be. The Duke of Richmond,[102]
though declaring he disapproved of Lord Lyttelton’s motion, said he
wished to know _who the Royal Family were_? He wished to have it
defined, or to learn from the judges. Was the Princess Dowager of the
Royal Family? Were the Princess Amalie, and the Princess of Hesse[103]
and her children? Were the hereditary Prince[104] and the King of
Prussia?[105] The hereditary Prince had been naturalized: might he, if
resident in England, be Regent? How long time constitutes residence?
He should not like the Prince for Regent, though it was indifferent
to him who was so, for he hoped the laws were sufficient. By the Act
of Settlement her Majesty could not be Regent: nor could she, though
naturalized; for an act of naturalization must have a disqualifying
clause, or is invalid. Had her Majesty been naturalized? His Grace
declared himself of no opposition; that he hated and had always opposed
opposition. Lord Denbigh pronounced that all who are prayed for by
the Common Prayer-book are of the Royal Family. Would it be prudent,
he asked, to put a question to the judges before the bill was framed?
By her marriage, he thought the Queen was naturalized of course. Lord
Pomfret with great violence opposed the motion, but was called to
order by Lord Lyttelton for having quoted the speeches and vote of the
preceding day, the latter declaring that he acted from conscience, not
by concert. The Duke of Grafton professed great gratitude to the King
for the bill; though, when framed, it must be considered as the act
of the Ministers; and that, unless it was perfect, it were better to
have no bill. It could not please the people, for everything was left
in doubt. It took from the King the joy of seeing the whole nation
pleased with the nomination of her Majesty. Would not this be casting
a slur on her? Though built on the last bill, the present, with regard
to her, widely differed. On the sixteenth of the month the Queen would
be twenty-one. The delay of a single fortnight would have seen her of
age. The bill was precipitated now after it had been declared that
all business was over. Lord Mansfield said, mysteriously, that he had
his private opinion on who are of the Royal Family; but he should
not declare it. (He and the Chancellor had both told the King that
neither the Queen nor the Princess Dowager were of the Royal Family.)
Lord Talbot, who had opposed the bill of the last reign, said he had
liked on the preceding day to see certain Lords (Newcastle, &c.) in
the majority, when they did not direct the majority. He hoped this
motion would not be mentioned out of the House, lest it should get into
seditious papers. He thought the present bill left too little power to
the Regent: it must be the Queen. He understood the Royal Family to
be the Queen, the Princess Dowager, the royal dukes, and the Princess
Amalie. Lord Shelburne spoke well for decision and precision. It is
urged, said he, that the King can have no views: what views could
Parliament have, but the security of liberty and property? The Duke
of Bedford said it was great condescension in the King to limit the
Council of Regency to a certain number: but the Act ought not to be
irrevocable for sixteen years together. He looked _on the Royal Family
to be those who are in the order of succession one after another_,
and usually resident here in England. (This definition was evidently
laid down to exclude the Princess Dowager.) The Administration had no
merit or demerit by this act; it was purely the deed of his Majesty.
Lord Egmont[106] said it must be more agreeable to the Queen to be
named Regent by the King than by Parliament (a poor argument, as
the recommendation of the King must have been more agreeable to her
than silence out of respect to his mother). The Opposition supposed
possible infirmities in his Majesty: could there be none in the Queen?
More respect had been shown to her than to him. Lord Dartmouth summed
up very ably all the arguments of the courtiers; and concluded with
observing in answer, that some few would certainly know whom the King
destined for Regent, and might form their intrigues accordingly. The
motion had indeed taken its rise from the Crown, but he supposed his
Majesty had taken advice on the mode.

The House then divided, and Lord Lyttelton’s motion was rejected by
89 to 31; Newcastle and his friends, and the Bishops attached to him,
chiefly forming the minority: Lord Temple sullenly staid away.

But while the debate had been going on, an event happened which gave
birth to all that followed. The Duke of Richmond had drawn up a
question which he intended to put to the judges, to ascertain who were
persons of the Royal Family. He had stated the Princes and Princesses
in their order of succession. I happened to be standing on the steps
of the throne: the Duke showed me the sketch of his motion. I observed
that he had omitted the Princess Dowager; and instantly reflecting,
from the behaviour of the Ministers, and from what has just dropped
from the Duke of Bedford, that they wished to exclude her from the
possibility of being Regent; and concluding, too, that if she was
stated as one of the Royal Family, they would be rash enough to oppose
it, I said, “My Lord, your Grace is not in Opposition, and do not
mean any offence by this motion: why then do not you insert the name
of the Princess? By omitting her she will think you purposely intend
to affront her.” The Duke was struck with my advice and inserted the
Princess’s name. The Ministers, more violent and insolent than even I
had expected them to be, plunged headlong into the snare I had laid for
them; and as will soon be seen, wantonly, cruelly, and treacherously,
gave such provocation, both to the King and Princess, as scarce the
most intemperate Opposition could have been guilty of.

The Duke of Richmond then read to the House his intended motion,[107]
and proposed that the judges should be ordered to attend on the morrow.
Lord Mansfield said it would be better to correct the words of the
bill: the judges could not be consulted till some words were settled.
He would not point out any words, lest he should pledge his opinion
for the passing them. The Duke of Richmond replied, the words had been
proposed by the King--and was going to proceed; but Lord Sandwich,
already alarmed at the name of the Princess, suddenly moved the House
to adjourn.

On the 2nd of May the Duke made his motion. The Chancellor said, he had
been too much fatigued to answer his Grace the day before. The question
was now, whether the Queen could be naturalized? Himself would be for
rejecting the bill if her Majesty could not be Regent. He thought she
was naturalized by her marriage, and incorporated one of the Royal
Family, the Christian religion having been adopted into the common
law. By a law of Edward III. all the King’s children are naturalized
whereever born. That her Majesty was not disabled by the acts of
William III., or George I. If she was not effectually naturalized,
she had got a bad settlement for her jointure. The clause in the Act
of Settlement was futile, for one Parliament cannot bind a succeeding
one. However, if any doubt remained, he hoped his opinion would not be
conclusive, but that the judges would be consulted. He could not tell
who were of the Royal Family; but he knew who were not--the Pretender
and his sons. He desired to have the Princess understood to be of the
Royal Family. The other branches, while they have an establishment
abroad, were not within the present Act. If the hereditary Prince
should die, and his Princess come over, she would be within the Act.
The Duke of Richmond replied, that if there was nothing positive in
the common law to show the Queen was _ipso facto_ naturalized, there
was in the statute law to prove the contrary: and therefore asked,
if part of the clause in the Act of George I. must not be repealed?
That clause declaring, that no person naturalized could hold land or
office, and enjoining that they should not be naturalized without such
a clause. Many doubts, he said, had already been expressed in the
House, whether the Princess was of the Royal Family: without doors
there were still more doubts. He had been stopped the day before by a
trick of adjournment. Lord Mansfield had owned he had an opinion, but
would not declare it: it was therefore the more necessary to have that
uncertainty cleared away, for which end he had a motion ready drawn in
his hand.

The House then resolving itself into a committee, the Duke proposed to
state his amendment, unless their Lordships would consult the judges.
The Chancellor said, it would be improper to ask the judges who are
of the Royal Family, but not whether the Queen was naturalized. The
judges could only interpret laws passed. Lord Halifax pretending to
plead against delay, laboured to prevent the Duke from stating any
question that might declare the Princess of the Royal Family; but
Richmond, with inimitable firmness and address, maintained his ground,
and moved to insert the words _Her Royal Highness the Princess Dowager
and others descended from the late King, now resident in England_;
though Lord Halifax had tried to substitute a distinction between a
Royal Family of _consanguinity_, and a Royal Family of affinity. After
a long squabble the Duke’s motion was rejected, and the ministerial
party having allowed that the judges might be consulted on the Queen’s
naturalization, Lord Folkestone moved to put the question to them
on the morrow. Lord Mansfield, from fear of being pressed to give
the answer he had given to the King, or to change it, or from some
apprehension equally unworthy of his situation, absented himself. The
Chancellor appeared there, as has been seen, and contradicted himself.

On the 3rd the Judges, by the mouth of the Lord Chief Justice Pratt,
declared that the Queen was naturalized by her marriage, and capable
of being Regent; but how great was the astonishment of mankind at what
followed! Lord Halifax, hastening impetuously into the House, went up
to the Duke of Richmond, and asked if his Grace was satisfied? The Duke
replied, “By no means: you have rejected my motion and left my doubt in
full force.” “Then, my Lord,” said Lord Halifax, “if you will move it
again, I will satisfy you”--and standing up in his place, he delivered
an intimation (not a message) that it would be agreeable to his Majesty
to have the bill recommitted; which being complied with, Lord Halifax,
on the same mysterious authority, proposed to insert the motion of
the Duke of Richmond, rejected the day before, specifying the several
persons of the Royal Family, _only omitting the Princess Dowager_.[108]
This wonderful proposal took place instantaneously; and, it being early
in the day, several Lords and others, whose curiosity was carrying them
to see the conclusion of so interesting a scene, met the Ministers
returning from the House with exultation at their success; and could
scarce believe, and less comprehend, the meaning of so daring and
improbable an enterprize.

Daring in truth it was, and perhaps not to be paralleled. The fact
happened thus:--Lord Halifax[109] and Lord Sandwich (the latter of whom
had probably machinated so treacherous a step) had posted to Buckingham
House a little hour before the Lords assembled, and surprising the
King alone, had most falsely, and contrary to all likelihood, assured
him, that the House of Commons would certainly strike the name of
the Princess Dowager out of the bill; and therefore that the most
decent and prudent method to save the honour of his Majesty and her
Royal Highness would be, for his Majesty to permit it to be hinted
to the Lords, that he himself desired their Lordships would omit his
mother’s name, before they transmitted the bill to the Commons. The
young inexperienced monarch, taken by surprise, alarmed at the insult
announced, and not having time, or not having presence of mind to
demand time for consulting his mother and his Favourite, answered with
good-nature, _that he would consent if it would satisfy his people_.
The traitors seized that assent, and, hurrying away with double
rapidity to the House of Lords, procured in the very name of their
master that indelible stigma on his own mother!

Intoxicated as they were with presumption, or blind with the thirst
of revenge, still it is hard to conceive how the Ministers dared to
venture on so provoking and desperate an insult. Could the King pardon
such an insult on his understanding, or the Princess submit to such
an affront to her dignity and character? Could the Crown retain a
shadow of power without discarding such servants? Could the wildness
of Opposition have imagined such an act of aspersion, or have found a
sufficient number so destitute of hopes and of flattery, as to fix a
stain on the whole royal blood? That Sandwich should have conceived a
plot so base, especially when surprise and stratagem were to be the
ingredients, was not marvellous: that Grenville should have embraced
it, and lost all sight of ambition in the glut of his revenge, proved
what dominion every bad passion had over him in its turn; that the Duke
of Bedford should have closed with it, was but another instance of the
empire his associates had over a mind naturally good--that none of the
connexion, composed of men devoted to fortune, should have started
at a proposition so big with ruin to their hopes of favour, evinced
that when they had lost sight of honesty and decorum, they flattered
themselves that no position could be so desperate, from which they
might not recover by as bad arts as those which brought them into the
dilemma. Their subsequent conduct showed that they were determined to
storm the Cabinet they could not retain by address.

It is not less worthy of remark that this bill, so carefully planned
to save the honour or humour of the Princess, became the instrument
of loading her with disgrace; while the Duke of Cumberland and the
King’s brothers, who had been sedulously passed over in silence, saw
themselves reinstated in the very bill from which the Princess was
alone excluded: the Queen, who had been sacrificed to the jealousy of
her mother-in-law, was the sole person that reaped both honour and
a certain view of power from an act in which she had been so little
respected. The Duke of Bedford and Lord Sandwich were overturned by
this, as they had been by the last bill of Regency in the preceding


  Debates in the House of Commons on the Regency Bill.

The bill thus wonderfully modified was sent to the House of Commons,
where it was read the first time without a word of animadversion or
notice. In fact, the extraordinary step taken by the Ministers had
occasioned such consternation, that no man was ready to decide what
part he would take. As my views had been so fully answered by the
hostilities into which I had drawn the Ministers against the Court, I
wished my friends to lie by, and wait the event of that quarrel. The
Duke of Cumberland, who had been secretly applied to by the King for
his protection against the Ministers, and who was content with seeing
the Princess thus publicly branded, and consequently divested of all
hope of being Regent, was desirous, too, that the Opposition should
give no farther impediment to the bill. By his direction Lord Albemarle
prevailed on his brother, Admiral Keppel, on Admiral Saunders, General
Honeywood, and others of the military, to declare they were satisfied
and would go no farther. But there was a head so incomparably wrong
and obstinate, that no discretion, no address, no salutary counsel,
could regulate or restrain its determinations. This was Lord John
Cavendish, the most conceited and self-willed young man I ever knew,
and whose love of rule would listen to no advice that crossed his
own ideas. He insisted on making Lord Lyttelton’s motion for naming
the Queen Regent, and intended to move it at the first reading of
the bill. Mr. Conway no sooner came into the House, than Lord John
took him aside to persuade him to concur in that measure. I observed
this, and followed them. Fitzroy[111] and Honeywood joined us, and
declared against it. Mr. Conway was staggered, and advised deferring
the motion till the day of the commitment. We agreed to meet at night
at Sir George Saville’s; but I would not go, being determined not to
act with them in such ill-timed hostilities, and knowing I should
have more weight with Conway in a private conversation, than in a
tumultuous debate; but I prepared Fitzroy, and sent him warm to the
meeting: having hinted to him that I could see no reason why the Duke
of Devonshire’s youngest brother should govern the Duke of Grafton’s
brother. Fitzroy went and repeated the opinion of the officers against
the motion. Lord John said, rudely, it was to save their commissions.
Mr. Conway yielded, and the motion was resolved on. Yet, Lord John’s
brothers, George and Frederick, and Admiral Keppel, all repeated their
opinion to me, and complained of Lord John’s warmth. Lord Rockingham,
though much swayed by Lord John, I shook; then went to Mr. Conway,
where I found the last. He was more obstinate than ever, and said he
wished the Opposition was reduced to six or seven, who could depend on
one another. I smiled and said, “I was too old to wait on his Lordship
to Utica.”

May 7th. The bill was read a second time, and Lord John made his
motion to address the King, to name the Regent;[112] but it was so
thinly and feebly supported, that they could not divide for it. De
Grey, the Solicitor-General, was so good a courtier, that on _this
emanation of the King’s mind_, as he called it, he declared he would
be against the bill, if the Regent was named. T. Townshend observed
that the nomination was to be testamentary, and yet no witnesses to it.
That though a living king might be complimented with the attributes
of divinity, everybody knew how little respect was paid to a dead
king; and then, laughing at De Grey, he said, “If in these times of
_no Cabal, no ambition_, (the Solicitor’s words,) we could settle no
provision, would it be more possible in future? or would the House
imitate the Parliaments of Henry VIII., which gave him power both
over religion and the succession? George Grenville expressed respect
to Lord John, but asked how any man who was against the whole bill,
could approve of that motion? was this an unlimited power? The King
could name a very small number as the bill now stood. This bill had
been framed after those drawn by Lord Somers and Lord Hardwicke. The
testamentary instruments were to be sealed by three great officers,
and much form to be used in recalling them. Would you address the
King to name all the future substitutions that he might make? There
was no precedent, it was said, of such a bill--was there any of such
an address? The motion went to an unrestrained nomination. Should the
King name, would the House not confirm it?--and then what a precedent
would there be! Lord John Cavendish replied, that he was not against
the whole bill, though he disapproved many of the clauses. Yet they
who disliked the whole would be consistent, as they might desire to
make it as perfect as might be, though they could not obtain all they
wished. At present, the King might revoke his nomination, and yet
omit to substitute another person. For himself, he still disliked any
secret nomination. T. Townshend, too, said, that if the address was
carried, the House would not be tied down to approve any improper
person. Onslow went farther, and said, that in a vacancy the throne
was elective. Charles Yorke, that if the King was out of the kingdom,
his power was defective. A general bill for all times could not be
framed. The judges thought that the grandchildren of the Crown were not
the children of the Crown. Yet all the King’s family should look up to
the King, and ought not to be made independent of him. Colonel Onslow
said, he would appoint the people father of the child, till the child
could be the father of them. Mawbey offered to second any man who would
expressly name the Queen; but that proposal and the motion for the
address were almost unanimously rejected. James Grenville then objected
to the commitment of the whole bill, though he was not against all
Regencies, but had heard none such as he should like described. Colonel
Barré was for a Regency, but saw no precision in the proposed bill.
Should there be no bill, what power could punish a bold man that should
engross the government? The house would punish _him_ who was as bold
and daring as any man. (This seemed meant at Lord Bute, though much
more true of Grenville.) He was against the King’s power, of naming the
Regent. It was a bad measure, having so many capital figures in it.
He was an enemy to adulation, but must ask, if men, who would give up
their rights under a good prince, were likely to reclaim them under a
bad one? If the Queen was intended for Regent, let the House meet the
wishes of their Sovereign and name her. If her Majesty was ambitious,
she might have availed herself of this bill. Yet he believed she had
both art and ambition, but had used them for no end but to make her
consort adored. Was that a reason for excluding her? This bill had
no stamp of royalty in it. All the King’s acts had tended to decrease
his prerogative. This was a ministerial bill. Nor Somers nor Hardwicke
had proposed a secret nomination. Cardinal Beaton had read a paper
to his dying master, and passed it off for the King’s act: such an
artifice might be repeated. In the Council of Regency the Princes might
outvote the Queen. Should the Queen die in three or four years, was
the King’s nomination to take place of the wisdom of Parliament then
sitting? He declared that in his military capacity he would serve with
fidelity, but in the House would oppose what he held was not for the
King’s good. Norton, the Attorney-General, declared that the Parliament
appointed to sit for six months after the King’s death might sit, or
not, at the option of the Crown. Wedderburn, boasting that he dated
his principles from the Revolution, said he approved the bill, because
copied from those times. They had delegated power to unknown persons
by establishing a Regency of such as should be in possession of the
great offices at the death of Queen Anne. General Conway approved of
sending the bill to the committee out of respect, and in order to try
to amend it; but thought the power to be granted worse than the want
of provision. It was not unconstitutional to make provision against
accidents, but it was so to make bad provision. The King would now be
empowered to name for the whole sixteen years that his son might be a
minor. For the House of Lords, he said, they had deliberated without
concluding, and then concluded without deliberating. Grenville said,
that not going into the committee would be putting an end to all bills
of Regency. If the difference of opinion was so great already, what
would it be on the King’s death, if no provision were made? It was
unconstitutional to say that King, Lords, and Commons could not repeal
any act. Had not they repealed two-thirds of Magna Charta, particularly
in the case of wards and liveries? For himself, he dreaded some great
military man (the Duke of Cumberland), and thought he already heard the
lion roar. Onslow replied, that a Secretary of State, ready with head
and hand to execute General Warrants, was more formidable than a King,
who was popular by deserving to be so. The bill was committed, and the
House rose at nine o’clock without a division.

I went the next day to the Duke of Newcastle; he saluted me with saying
how much he was against my opinion of absenting ourselves from the
House (which I had proposed the day before, when I found I could not
restrain our party otherwise). It would ruin our characters, he said,
to keep away;--(I could scarce refrain from laughing at hearing _him_
talk of _character_)--and that if we did not oppose in the House of
Commons, the Duke of Bedford would not in the House of Lords--(this was
founded on the report of Morton intending to move for reinstating the
name of the Princess). “And do you think, my Lord,” replied I, “that
the Duke of Bedford will oppose if we do? I know he will not; and I
will tell your grace what will happen; the very reverse of what you
expect. Instead of being against the Princess, you will be included in
a vote for her. No mortal will speak against her: if nobody does, there
will be no division, and thus you will vote for her.” He was struck,
and said he was sorry, but the young men would have it so. I said, “My
Lord, why do not you govern your young people, and not let them govern
you?” He replied: “They all say they will be governed by me sooner than
by anybody, except where their conscience directs;” however, he would
go and talk it over with Lord Rockingham. I then went to Mr. Conway
and told him what had passed. I said “I saw we were all to be governed
by a raw obstinate vain boy; that I found I had no weight; and though
I would vote with them once more, if we were drawn into a division on
the Princess, that they might not say I deserted them from interested
views, yet it should be the last time; and I would go to the House
no more. That he gave up his opinion to Lord John, though he would
not to me; and that if Lord John did but whistle the words _honour_
and _virtue_, he could turn him (Conway) which way he pleased.” Mr.
Conway complained of my warmth, and said Lord John had given up the
question on the army at our desire, (which was true,) that for his part
he desired no place, and liked very well to act with a few. “And how
long,” said I, “do you think they will let a few only act? What are we
doing? or why? is it not for our country? If we can serve it better by
silence than by speaking, is not it preferable?” He said he preferred
his character and the Cavendishes to his country. “Then,” said I, “I
would never have embarked with any of you, had I known you only acted
for the applause of the mob.” However, I made no impression on him
but by one argument; and by that not enough. I said, “If you force a
division against the Princess, you will have very few with you. Those
few will hate you for it. Most of your friends will leave you, as they
did last night, by which you discovered to the Ministers your weakness,
and the divisions in your party. If you force most of your friends to
abandon you, as most men will, by so ungentleman-like, outrageous,
provoking, and unjustifiable an act, as stigmatizing the King’s mother,
for which you cannot give a plausible, and dare not give the true
reason,--(for will any of you venture to allege what none of you can
prove, her intrigue with Lord Bute?)--you demolish the party at once.
Those of you who shall vote against the Princess will abuse those who
vote for her, as influenced by mercenary views; and thus, when you have
once made them desperate, and shall have forced them to have merit with
her, they will of course adhere to her whom they have been courting.
I have divided the Ministry by suggesting to the Duke of Richmond to
name the Princess: you are going to give the Ministers an opportunity
of recovering the ground they have lost, by defending her against
you.” “Why,” said Mr. Conway, “if the Ministers should break, to which
division would you go?” “Certainly,” said I, “to Lord Bute and Mr.
Pitt, rather than to the Bedfords.” He declared he should prefer the
latter. In short, we did not agree at all; though he said all he could
to soften me, and expressed the greatest concern at differing with me:
but it was so material not to suffer Lord John’s inexperience and folly
to govern the party, that I determined to make my stand there; for I
saw that young man’s rashness was capable of over-turning in an instant
all I had been planning for six months. I first had tried to form a
party to overthrow the Administration, Bute, Grenville, Bedfords, and
all. When I found the Opposition too weak and too foolish to compass
that, I turned to the next best thing, dividing Bute and the Ministers.
In that I succeeded; and then saw all my schemes and labours on the
point of being blasted by a silly boy, who, when all I had foreseen
happened, had not a word to say for himself. Thus did I perceive _how
vexatious it was to live with many fools and not with enough_! I did
not forget the lesson: it took deep root, and was the first inducement
to me to form a resolution of quitting politics. Other events
contributed; and I was wise enough not to throw away those fruits of
my experience. Yet, before I quitted the scene, I had the pleasure of
accomplishing all the views that first set me in motion, of demolishing
a dangerous Administration, of humbling Grenville and the Bedfords,
and of convincing Lord John Cavendish, that it had been more prudent
not to provoke me by attempting to interfere with my influence with
Mr. Conway. With regard to the Duke of Newcastle, whom I had always
despised, and with whom a common cause had obliged me to act, I did
find how well-grounded my contempt of him had been, and to how little
purpose it was to act with him. He was always eager, but never ready:
delighted in talking over measures, but knew not how to begin or pursue
them; and was as happy in seeming to lead an ineffectual party, as he
had been in governing the nation. He thought he possessed secrets if he
did but whisper, or was whispered to. Attendance on him was his supreme
joy; and if two of the party came to him on the same business, he made
one of them wait, to wear an air of mystery to both. There never was a
man who loved power so much, and who could enjoy the shadow with the
same content, when the substance was gone. Nor is it less remarkable,
that, though favour at Court was the object of his life, he began it
with insulting the Prince of Wales (George II.), and concluded it with
affronting the Princess Dowager.


  Debates on the Regency-bill.--The Princess Dowager’s name reinserted
    in the Bill.--Bill for altering the Duties on Italian Silks.--
    Riots of the Weavers on its introduction.--Projected change in the

On May the 9th, the House went into committee on the bill. Rose Fuller
said he would not opiniate the point, but declared he was against the
precedent of appointing an unknown person Regent; not against any of
the persons that had been named as qualified: yet surely none of them
were so proper as the Queen. Should a younger brother be appointed by
his Majesty’s will, it would offend the elder. So had the Parliament
thought in the minority of Henry VI., with regard to the Dukes of
Bedford and Gloucester. It was the more necessary to name the Queen, as
he had heard of another motion going to be made. Everybody, therefore,
would understand the reason of his motion. He moved, accordingly, to
insert the name of the Queen, instead of the words _such persons_; and
was seconded by Mr. Onslow, and by Sir W. Meredith, who declared he had
intended to make the same motion. It was objected to by Burrell,[113]
who said, the Duke of Cumberland’s name had not stood in the original
bill; had been inserted on after-thought; would the House omit him now?
Lord George Sackville said, he had been against even the respectful
manner in which Lord John Cavendish had proposed to address the King
to name the person he should wish for Regent: he was much more against
the present motion. In history there was no precedent worth following.
His Majesty was tied by parental affection to name the Queen, and was
best qualified to know his own family, and who would be most proper
for the office. If his youngest brother was best qualified, let him
be named. Let the whole family be taught to pay their court to and
imitate the King. Conway replied, that the power now to be given was
a compliment to all future kings. Would Parliament be able to say, We
trusted this power to George III. for his virtues, and refuse it to any
other king, though vicious. The young Princes of the blood might prove
ambitious. The bill itself would be of no force if the King should
leave the nomination not filled up. No provision was made against
such a contingency. When the late King went abroad, he always left a
private letter empowering the Lords of the Regency to fill up places.
In that reign though the Duke of Cumberland was so proper for Regent,
yet his present Majesty’s mother had been preferred--let the House
therefore imitate that sole precedent. Dempster opposed the motion,
yet with passing general censures. He did not approve, he said, all
the Ministers had done, particularly the dismission of General Conway.
He did not approve the oriental adulation heaped on the birth of this
bill; he saw nothing so heroic in it. He did not approve the power
entrusted to the Regency of continuing the Parliament for three years.
Lord North urged that the motion was unnecessary, because everybody
knew there would be no person named against whom the House could have
any objection. Sir George Saville said, he was astonished to hear that
uncertainty was the parent of security, and certainty of uproar and
confusion. He was afraid of delegating new powers; he rejected all
arguments founded on personal considerations. He felt them as strongly
as anybody, but they were false, unlogical, and unfair. All the persons
declared capable, were proper; but while there was one more proper, the
rest were improper. Lord Frederick Campbell said, the motion tended
to appoint a person with greater power than the King’s. Dowdeswell
replied, that the powers given by the bill were not new powers to
supply the defects of a minority, but new powers granted to the King.
Should he appoint an improper person, who could stand up to object to
such great persons? He wished he could see any general bill of Regency;
but when such difficulties were started on these bills, he feared
future kings and ministers would recommend no more bills, therefore he
wished to see a general one. He did not know which he feared most, the
union or the disunion of the Royal Family. George Grenville said, he
had the highest authority for declaring that the powers to be granted
to his Majesty would be executed immediately, and the public would
know they were. “Would it be only sealing the instrument,” Colonel
Barré asked, “or would the person named for Regent be known?” “I said,”
replied Grenville, “the powers would be executed, and that it would be
known they were; not the person.” “The Crown knows,” said Colonel Barré
again, “that we are no Parliament of Paris, but proposes matters to us,
and we ought to show what we think of them. Queen Mary asked the same
power as had been granted to her father, and was refused. It shows,
therefore, how ready the Crown is to take advantage of precedents. The
princes of the blood might grow to court the Ministers; it was a bill
to encourage faction. Whither could the power be carried, where it
would be less likely to do mischief than to the Queen! By not naming
her, the House must suppose the Queen might not be Regent, and so her
children would be torn from her by the will of her consort. Perhaps
the King wished to induce the Parliament to name the Queen, that the
Parliament might then be bound to support her. Mr. Dowdeswell had
asked, whether, on an improper person being named, the Parliament would
object? Yes; even in the reign of Charles II. the Parliament had spoken
out. Grenville, he believed, had not drawn the bill. It came from a
quarter that made it wear all the marks of ministerial distraction.”
Whencesoever it had issued, he believed those of his profession (the
military) would reap all the harvest. Averse as he was to the Ministry,
the bill, he thought, would torture them more than they deserved. The
motion was rejected at six o’clock by 258 to 67.

As soon as the division was over, and while the House was expecting
Morton’s[114] motion, Mr. Conway came to me and said he would go away
with me, as would Sir William Meredith and others; and that they would
not vote in the question on the Princess, but on the third reading of
the bill, when their vote would not be personal to her. I immediately
went out, but found nobody followed me. I did not like to be single,
and returned, but at last carried Mr. Conway away. In the meantime,
Morton and Kynaston,[115] a noted Jacobite, moved to reinstate the
Princess’s name in the bill. Samuel Martin, a servant of the Princess,
and known from his duel with Wilkes, spoke strongly for that measure;
declared he was totally unauthorized, and believed her Royal Highness
averse to be named. The bill, he found, had been altered, by what
means he did not know; nor was it proper to tell if he did. He must
suppose the alteration came from nowhere but the other House. None of
the Royal Family but the Princess were excluded. If the Queen should
die, who would be so proper for a Regent as her Royal Highness? Why
did the other House stigmatize or put a brand on her? And then looking
at Grenville, he said, the Princess had had occasion to see the
professions made to her were not from the heart. Dr. Blackstone spoke
in the same behalf, as did the younger George Onslow, who beseeched
his friends to look on him with an eye of pity, for being forced to
differ with them from conscience. In case of the Queen’s death, the
Princess, by law, was the most proper person to replace her. The more
persons capable of the Regency, the worse; but when all the rest were
named in the bill, he could not consent to exclude her Royal Highness.
His cousin took the other side, but called God to witness that he
intended no personality. He had been for the nomination of the Queen,
and now thought the smaller the number the better. He had heard the
Secretary of State had procured the omission of the Princess. This
occasioned his being called to order. Sir John Rushout, as the ancient
oracle of the House, declared that Onslow might say what he had heard
from common fame, but might not say he had heard it himself. Onslow,
on that authority, affirmed he had been told that the Secretary of
State did not make the motion for omission of the Princess by private
authority; and on that authority he desired explanation. Had the House
of Commons received such a message, it would have quieted them. The
present motion was cruel to the Princess: the correction in the House
of Lords, he was persuaded, was not personal. Had the Duke of York been
omitted, his own objection to restoring the Duke’s name would have been
the same. Grenville[116] replied, that the words moved by Lord Halifax
were inserted to prevent doubt: himself had thought they would not be
disagreeable to her Royal Highness--hoped they were not--thought they
would be universally acceptable--thought there had been authority for
the omission, but found there was not; would concur in any compliment
to the mother of his sovereign.

This cold, half-owning, half-denying speech, completed Grenville’s ruin
with the Princess. Martin vowed to God he did not know her opinion on
the question, and was believed as much as Grenville and Onslow had
been. Morton more artfully said, that if her Highness had intended to
send a message to the House, it would not have been by so insignificant
a man as himself. Onslow said, he hoped it would not be interpreted as
if he meant to brand the Princess. Whoever used that term, branded the
House of Lords. Lord Palmerston gave a strong dissent to the motion,
though he owned the situation was disagreeable. The Princess, he said,
was excluded by a great and general line. The motion then passed
without a division, but with several No’s. Equally to the disgrace of
both sides, the Ministers servilely revoking what they had insolently
and unjustifiably done; the Opposition withstanding the reparation, yet
not daring to avow,--nay, disavowing the very motive of the obstruction
they gave.

I had thus, as I flattered myself, prevented the greater number of our
friends from personally offending the Princess. My arguments and their
own interest had kept many from the House. I did not doubt but the
Ministers would be dismissed, if the Court found that it had hopes of
mollifying the Opposition. But the next morning I perceived the vertigo
was returned with fresh force. On going to the House, Sir William
Meredith told me that Onslow was determined to put it to a division
on the report, encouraged by the many negatives on the Princess’s
question. This was judging weakly, for many would cry “No!” who would
not have voted, when they would have been personally distinguished
by a division. He added, that Forester, the Duke of Bedford’s lawyer,
had laughed at them for not dividing. I was not the dupe of that art;
the less as Rigby had been the first to acquaint Mr. Conway with
Morton’s intended motion; and to draw in our party, the Bedford faction
had given out that Forester would oppose the re-establishment of the
Princess’s name. Lord Rockingham confirmed this intelligence--agreed
with me, but said he could not prevail on the Duke of Newcastle, on
whom I found the Bedfords had contrived to make the impression they
wished. Sir William Meredith added that Onslow had said to him over
night, “I believe you, Conway, and T. Townshend acted from conscience,
but all the rest from interest.” I replied, “Sir William, Onslow may
say what he pleases, yet he will accept a place before I shall. I
had rather be taxed with self-interest, than call God to witness I
mean no personality, when I am doing the most personal thing in the
world.” Provoked at this new absurdity, I went away, depending that
Mr. Conway, who had retired with me the day before, and had promised
me not to vote against the Princess, would be firm to his promise;
yet when the question came on, he had the weakness, though he tried
to prevent a division, to vote with the Cavendishes against her. They
pretended to desire he would not, but knew how much the fear of their
silent reproaches would operate on him.[117] Newcastle’s people were
violent, and insisted on a division, driven on by John White,[118] an
old republican, who governed both Newcastle and Lord John Cavendish,
and who hoped this vote would divide the Opposition from Mr. Pitt, whom
White hated, and who he certainly knew would never personally affront
the Court. Yet after all their hopes, the result of this intemperate
measure was a contemptible minority of 37. What was more unlikely,
Rigby retired, and did not vote with the majority, though he had
declared nothing should make him vote against the Princess. Her triumph
would have been complete, if anything could have effaced the affront
she had received, and which must remain on record. What the few Whigs
in that little minority could plead in their defence, was difficult
to say. They had loudly condemned the motion for removing Sir Robert
Walpole on public fame, and now endeavoured to stigmatize the Princess
on the same ground, without daring even to assign it as a pretence.
The conduct of the Ministers was still more double; and many believed
that the Duke of Cumberland’s hatred of the Princess had drawn him
at last to concur with the Bedfords in instigating Newcastle to this
measure. Grenville scarce concealed his sentiments; and Lord Burghersh
telling him he would go away, rather than vote with the Tories, unless
he, Grenville, desired him not; the latter bade him follow his own
inclination--he stayed and voted against the Princess.

After some other clauses proposed and rejected, the Bill passed at
eleven at night. During the debate Onslow attacked Charles Townshend,
(who had spoken for the Court,) and congratulated the Treasury-bench
on their acquisition. Townshend replied in one of his best speeches,
but with his usual want of judgment, boasted of his own steadiness for
sixteen years; saying, “Surely, in these times, with a little common
sense, I might have been dependent if I had pleased.” The answer was
obvious--“With a little common sense you might.”

Rose Fuller declared that if the motion for reinstating the Princess
was rejected, he, to show his impartiality, would move to omit her
Royal Highness’s daughters and Princess Amalie. It was said with
humour, that would be like Lord Anglesey, who beating his wife,[119]
she said, “How much happier is that wench (pointing to a housemaid)
than I am!” He immediately kicked the maid down stairs, and then said,
“Well! there is at least one grievance removed.”

On the 13th, the bill, returned from the Commons, with the name of
the Princess Dowager reinserted, was read in the House of Lords,
and the Ministers were to swallow the amendment, and palliate their
past conduct as well as they could. The task was allotted to Lord
Sandwich. He owned Lord Halifax’s amendment had met with his hearty
concurrence, and he had expected it would have passed through both
Houses unanimously: had thought it would be disapproved of by no person
whatever. But whether that amendment or the correction of it should
take place, the great point would be obtained of ascertaining who
were the persons capable of the Regency. He hoped, therefore, their
Lordships would agree to the correction sent up from the other House.
Parliament could not mean to exclude the Princess, if it would be
disagreeable to her Royal Highness, or to any other person: the sole
meaning had been to remove doubts. Should he himself adhere to the
former words, he should be inconsistent, for those words had no longer
the same meaning; but he had thought the amendment would have been
universally approved. He had meant to establish any description that
would be agreeable to the King and people. It was now of consequence to
be unanimous in re-establishing the name of her Royal Highness.

By Sandwich and Grenville dwelling so much upon the expectation they
had conceived, that the omission of the Princess would be universally
approved, it was plain they had flattered themselves with acquiring
such popularity by that act, that the King would not dare to remove
them. This had driven them on the outrage they had committed. The
event proved just the contrary of what they had expected. Obnoxious
as the Princess was, the heinousness of the insult to her, and of the
treachery to the King, shocked all mankind, and seemed doubly offensive
in men from whom the King had a right to expect defence, and who had
plunged so deep into the most arbitrary and unpopular measures. It
was not by _their_ hands that the nation wished to see the Princess
and Favourite humbled. The same fate attended Sandwich now, that had
pursued the discovery of the “Essay on Woman.” The profaneness of
Wilkes, and the unpopularity of the Princess, were forgotten in the
more odious means employed to disgrace them.

The Duke of Richmond took notice that the words now inserted by the
House of Commons were precisely the same with those he had moved
himself, and was glad they were likely to be agreed to; yet when he
had proposed them, Lord Sandwich had moved to adjourn. His own wish
had tended to precision; and his view, to pass the act in the manner
most agreeable to the King. When Lord Halifax had brought other words,
he had concluded those words were agreeable to his Majesty, for he
believed _Lord Halifax_ incapable of deceiving the King or the House
(this was pointed at Lord Sandwich). He had now heard that their
Lordships must eat their words; and that what had happened was a
stigma on her Royal Highness. Surely that was not paying court to her:
such assertions had more zeal than judgment in them; and were injurious
to the House. Lord Sandwich replied, that he had moved to adjourn,
because the question had been too great to be determined suddenly: he
had not been against the Duke’s motion. He knew of nothing injurious
from the other House.

The Duke of Portland[120] disagreed with the new amendment, because
he recollected, he said, _the authority_ with which the omission of
the Princess had gone down to the other House. To reinstate her now
would be inconsistent and contradictory. Lord Talbot said there was
no inconsistency in changing, when founded on the opinions of the
other House. It was advantageous to the constitution to have the joint
wisdom of both. Lord Ravensworth said he had always been for naming
the Princess, yet disapproved the new amendment, because the former
amendment had come from the King. The Duke of Newcastle dissented from
the amendment; protested he had no views; could only serve his country
by his opinion in that House. He would not say the other House had no
right to make this amendment; but they had not shown that respect to
the Crown, or to their Lordships, that they had meant to show. It had
been usual to receive nominations or stipulations from the Crown. The
House of Commons should not have taken upon themselves to nominate. He
thought Lord Halifax incapable of bringing anything but truth from the
King: he wished, therefore, the former words had not been altered.

The present alteration was not warranted by precedent. Lord Halifax’s
motion had reduced the number of those that were capable of the
Regency, and therefore was a desirable measure. Lord Denbigh expressed
his astonishment at the former extraordinary motion, which had flowed
from as extraordinary a quarter. He had not been present, yet should
have voted for it, extraordinary as it was; should wonder if their
Lordships should not agree to correct that wonderful measure. During
the meridian of Newcastle’s power, _now dwindled_, the Princess was
named Regent. If Prince Frederick[121] should, by failure of the
rest of the Royal Family, come to be King before he was of age, the
Princess, by Newcastle’s bill, must be Regent. He believed his Grace’s
great age had made him forget one of his favourite children. Lord
Talbot said he did not believe the Duke objected to the Princess, but
would have had the Commons consider the motion as the King’s. He would
not enter into the merits of the Princess. Though he held that stick
in his hand (of Lord-Steward), he had never known a Court-secret.
Should the King die, the Princess would be too afflicted to act. He
then ridiculed the Opposition; and concluded with saying, “I was once
a patriot, my Lords, for patriotism is always in opposition.” Lord
Pomfret declared strongly in favour of the Princess; and the amendment
was agreed to without a negative. The bill passed.

But though the Ministers had been forced to make atonement, the
sacrifice was by no means accepted. The King treated them with every
mark of estrangement and aversion; and it was visible to every eye that
their fall was determined. Previous to their dismission, they tasted
of the horror in which they were held by the people. The very day on
which the Regency-bill passed, the Lords read another bill sent from
the Commons, for imposing as high duties on Italian silks as are paid
on those of France, on this foundation, that the French sent their
silks to Genoa and Leghorn, and then entered them there as Italian
merchandize. This bill had passed the Commons with little notice, all
attention having been engrossed by the plan of the Regency. When it was
read by the Lords, the Duke of Bedford alone spoke against it; nobody
said a word for it, and it was thrown out.[122] It happened that the
silk manufacture was at a low ebb, and many weavers in Spitalfields
were unemployed. The next day about three or four thousand of those
poor men went very quietly and unarmed to Richmond, to petition the
King for redress. The Queen was walking in the paddock, and was alarmed
by their numbers; but they gave no offence, and followed the King
in the same peaceable manner to Wimbledon, whither he was gone to a
review. The King told them, he would do all that lay in his power to
relieve them, and they returned pleased and orderly.

But the next day, May 15th, whether they distinguished between the
assurances given by his Majesty and the rejection of the bill by the
Lords; or whether, as is more probable, they had been instigated
under-hand, they went to the House of Lords in great bodies, behaving
in the most riotous manner, abusing the Peers, and applauding the
Commons, who had passed their bill. The Chancellor’s[123] coach they
stopped, and asked him if he had been against the bill? He stoutly
replied, Yes. They were abashed at his firmness, and said they hoped
he would do justice. He replied, “Always, and everywhere; and whoever
did, need fear nothing.” When the Duke of Bedford appeared, they hissed
and pelted him; and one of the mob taking up a large stone for the new
pavement, dashed it into the chariot: the Duke broke the force of the
blow by holding up his arm, but it cut his hand, and bruised him on
the temple; so narrowly he escaped with his life. They then followed
him to his own house, where with great temper he admitted two of the
ringleaders to a parley, and they went away seemingly appeased.[124]

The next day the House of Lords issued out orders for preservation of
the peace; but the weavers continued to parade the streets and the
park, though without committing any violence.

On the Friday, the Lords sent for Justice Fielding, who said the
weavers had done no mischief. The Chancellor, who had been trusted by
the Ministers with none of their late extraordinary measures, and who
probably foresaw their downfall, was sullen, and would take no part.
Few Lords attended, and everything announced to the Ministers their
approaching disgrace. About dinner-time, the Duke of Bedford received
intelligence that his house would be assaulted at night, on which
he sent away his jewels and papers, and demanded a party of horse;
the Duchess[125] persisting in remaining with him in the house. His
friends and dependants, and several officers, garrisoned it; and as
was foreseen, the rioters in prodigious numbers assaulted the house
in the evening, and began to pull down the wall of the court;[126]
but the great gates being thrown open, the party of horse appeared,
and sallying out, while the riot act was read, rode round Bloomsbury
Square, slashing and trampling on the mob, and dispersing them; yet
not till two or three of the guards had been wounded. In the meantime
a party of the rioters had passed to the back of the house, and were
forcing their way through the garden, when fortunately fifty more
horse arriving, in the very critical instant, the house was saved,
and perhaps the lives of all that were in it. The Duke, however, and
his company kept watch all night; and the coffee-houses were filled
with curious and idle people, who sent with great indifference every
hour to learn how the siege went on. The disappointed populace vented
their rage on the house of Carr, a fashionable mercer, who dealt in
French silks, and demolished the windows. All Saturday they remained
peaceable; and though another attack on Bedford House was threatened,
no further mischief ensued.

On Sunday evening I went to compliment the Duke and Duchess, as
most of their acquaintance did, on their escape. I found the square
crowded, but chiefly with persons led by curiosity. As my chariot
had no coronets, I was received with huzzas; but when the horses
turned to enter the court, dirt and stones were thrown at it. When
the gates opened, I was surprised with the most martial appearance.
The horse-guards were drawn up in the court, and many officers
and gentlemen were walking about as on the platform of a regular
citadel. The whole house was open, and knots of the same kind were
in every room. When I came to the Duchess, and lamented the insult
they had suffered, she replied, with warmth and acrimony, that the
mob had been set on by Lord Bute. I was not much inclined to believe
_that_, nor thought a mob a tool with which Lord Bute would choose to
amuse himself. Immediately after, came in the Earl and Countess of
Northumberland. Words cannot describe the disdainful manner in which
they were received.[127] The Duke of Bedford left the room; the Earl
was not asked to sit, nor spoken to; but was treated with such visible
marks of neglect and aversion, that Lord Waldegrave said to another of
the family, “Faith! this is too much.” In my own opinion, the mob was
blown up by Humphrey Cotes,[128] and the friends of Wilkes. Almond, the
friend and printer of the latter, owned to me, that they were directed
by four or five gentlemen in disguise, who were not suspected; and
seemed willing to disclose the secret to me. I said, “Name no names
to me, I will not hear them.” He gave me a print published by Cotes
against Lord Bute and Lord Holland; and talked of risings that would
be all over England. I said, “I should be sorry to have the mob rise:
it would occasion the army being quartered in London, and then we
should be enslaved.”

Perhaps I have dwelt too minutely on this episode; perhaps I have done
so on many other points equally unimportant. But it must be remembered
that I am painting a portrait of the times, rather than writing
history. The events, too, of this time were so linked together, that
trifles gave birth to serious eras; and unless it be detailed with
the circumstantial exactness which I shall use, and which I stood in
a situation to know more thoroughly than most men, from my intimacy
or connection with many of the actors, the history of this reign will
be very imperfectly understood; and posterity would see sudden and
extraordinary changes; without being able to account for them from the
public appearances of things. When it is known, it will be easy to
compose a more compendious account; and my narrative, that may serve
for the scaffolding, may be thrown by as no longer of use.

The King, on all other occasions so able and steady a dissembler, did
not affect now to disguise the offence he had taken at his Ministers.
He had long inwardly groaned under their insolence and disagreeable
qualities: and though for some time Lord Bute a little restrained his
Majesty’s impatience to throw them off, both the Favourite and the
mother had contributed to foment the King’s aversion. The Duchess of
Bedford had openly affronted the Princess, and avowed her hatred to
Lord Bute. To Lord Sandwich the Favourite bore private resentment, for
having courted a little too assiduously, though he was disappointed
in the pursuit, rich old Wortley Montagu, Lady Bute’s father.[129]
But Grenville was the principal rock of offence. I have mentioned his
jealousy and ill-treatment of the Favourite; his manners made him as
distasteful to the King, as his engrossing fondness for power had made
him to the Favourite. His ill-judged economy had led him to refuse
twenty thousand pounds to the King, to buy the ground behind the Green
Park, where the King had made a new garden, and where, by the loss of
that purchase, a new row of houses was erected, that overlooked the
King and Queen in their most domestic hours. And, as if non-compliance
with even his innocent pleasures was not sufficiently offensive,
that awkward man of ways and means, whom Nature had fitted for no
employment less than a courtier’s, fatigued the King with such nauseous
and endless harangues, that, lamenting being daily exposed to such a
political pedant, the King said to Lord Bute of Grenville, “When he has
wearied me for two hours, he looks at his watch to see if he may not
tire me for an hour more.”

The measure of these disgusts was filled up by the conduct of the
Ministers on the Bill of Regency; yet, though that conduct threw down
the sluice, the resolution had been taken before to discard them on
the first opportunity. When the Duke of Cumberland had waited on the
King, before setting out for Newmarket, his Majesty had vented himself
to his uncle on the uneasiness he felt from being in their hands,
and he must have felt before he chose that Prince for his confident.
At Newmarket, the Earl of Northumberland had private instructions to
continue the negotiation, and the Duke had listened with no unwilling
ear, as I have hinted before; yet he had been so over-prudent as not
to trust the secret to the chiefs of the Opposition, who, driven on
by Lord John Cavendish, had intemperately displayed their aversion to
the Princess and Favourite, while they had not the least suspicion
that the Duke was secretly paving the way for their return to Court.
Yet even that intemperate behaviour of the Cavendishes and their
friends could not deter the Court from the resolution of removing the
Ministers, whose crime appeared, as indeed it was, of a much blacker
dye. Indeed, those of the Opposition who had gone the greatest lengths,
were not of importance enough to make the Court lay aside its design.
The royal Junto depended on the support of the Duke of Cumberland, and
could not doubt but they might have Newcastle, whenever they called
for him: the rest of course must follow their leaders. But the Court
intended to avail itself of a still firmer support, and that was Mr.
Pitt’s, on whose easy compliance they depended too inconsiderately--and
with still greater inconsideration, they began to take the machine to
pieces, before they had made the common preparations for refitting it.
This rash conduct was probably inspired by the riot of the weavers,
which the Court regarded as the sense of the nation expressed against
the Administration. Had the King temporized, he might have dealt to
advantage with any faction he chose. By beginning with the dismission
of the Ministers, he exposed himself to the extravagant demands of all
who saw the dilemma to which he had reduced himself, and the necessity
he was under of submitting to some disagreeable set of men or other,
who were sure to make him purchase dearly a support that they knew he
wished not to accept at all.[130]


  The King’s differences with his Ministers.--Negotiations with Mr.
    Pitt to form a new Administration.--Contemplated appointment of a
    Captain-General.--Reconciliation of Lord Temple and Mr. Grenville.--
    Ministers recalled.--Dismissal of Mr. Mackenzie.--Parliament

On May the 18th, Grenville went to receive the King’s orders for
the speech at the close of the session, which was to end the next
week. The King said, coldly, there was no hurry; he would have the
Parliament adjourned, not prorogued. Grenville, thunderstruck,
said, “There was so much mystery in that speech, that he must beg
leave to ask if his Majesty had any thoughts of making a change
in his Administration?”--“Certainly,” replied the King; “I cannot
bear it as it is. I will have the Parliament only adjourned.” “I
hope,” replied Grenville, “your Majesty will not order me to cut
my own throat.”--“Then,” said the King, “who must adjourn the
Parliament?”--“Whoever your Majesty shall appoint my successor,” said

The Ministers, on the communication of this notice, took the only
sensible step that remained in their situation, which was, by
dissolving the Administration themselves, to involve the King in such
a labyrinth of negotiations and demands, as might end in nothing, and
reduce him to apply again to them. Accordingly, Bedford, Grenville, and
the two Secretaries of State acquainted his Majesty they should resign
on the following Tuesday, if no Administration was formed by that

Hostilities thus commenced, other secrets came out. It was known that
the design of the Court was to place the Earl of Northumberland at the
head of the Treasury. The Duke of Cumberland had come into the plan,
and Lord Albemarle had been sent very privately to Hayes, to ask Mr.
Pitt’s assistance and junction in that scheme. Pitt’s behaviour was
neither promising nor condescending. Yet, both the King and the Duke
were so bent on union with him, that Lord Albemarle had been despatched
again to Hayes with repeated offers. Pitt talked in general terms of
a total alteration of measures; of a strict alliance against France;
and of condemnation of General Warrants, though to be turned in some
shape that might save his Majesty’s honour. Still, however, he kept
great reserve, and to draw the fuller _éclat_ from the negotiation,
let Lord Albemarle perceive that he would not deign to negotiate with
a substitute, but expected a personal interview with the Duke of
Cumberland himself. Even this was granted, and (it was thought) wisely,
as, if Pitt could be awed, it must be by so able and respectable a
Prince. On the other hand, some men feared that Pitt’s haughtiness was
more likely to augment than stoop to any dignity below the throne.

On the 20th, his Royal Highness went to Hayes. With much elevation,
Pitt did not seem untractable. He made three principal demands:
Regulation of General Warrants; Restitution of Officers; Alliances
with Protestant Powers. The first article the Duke told him would be
accorded; the King himself had named the second; the third would be
most subject to difficulty. Of domestic regulations, Pitt only named
the Chief Justice Pratt for Chancellor, which the Court endeavoured to
elude by the offer of a peerage instead of the Seals. The Duke at last
said that, though not authorized, he would venture to offer him _carte
blanche_. Lord Temple should have the Treasury, Lord Northumberland
would take any other post. Mr. Pitt said, Lord Temple would not take
the Treasury, but some other place--if any: nor would he promise that
himself would take any part in the new system.

The Duke of Cumberland, before he went to Hayes, had sent for Lord
Temple to town; and it was observed, that from the time _that_ lord saw
Mr. Pitt, the difficulties and reluctance of the latter were visibly

One of my most earnest wishes was to see Mr. Pitt restored to the
head of the Administration. Nobody knew his faults better, but nobody
admired his genius more; no man had felt greater pride than I had
felt, from the glorious position in which he had placed my country.
The moment I learnt the negotiation, I laboured to my utmost to draw
my friends to support him, if he should become Minister. Nor had
I previously neglected to excuse their late behaviour, of which I
persuaded Lord Holland they repented. He wished them to notify their
sorrow in form: but though I was willing to have that signified, yet
I could not expect the Cavendishes would recant: nor was I in haste
to press it, as I waited for what I soon heard--the treaty with Pitt.
Lord Holland said he was convinced the King would never forgive Lord
Halifax and the Duke of Bedford, and would dismiss them if he could;
but Grenville, he thought, would be saved, as he had had no hand in
the transaction. “No hand!” said I, “he was as deep as any of them.”
“Against the Princess, I allow he was,” said Lord Holland; “but did
not contribute to draw the King into that cruel step.” This exception
appeared so strange to me, that I almost thought there was truth in
a saying of that time--that Grenville must remain Minister, because
there was no other man in a tye-wig fit to preside at the Board of
Treasury. I found from Lord Holland, that he had been denied access to
Lord Bute, who had sent him word he could not see him, as so great a
crisis was at hand, in which he himself had no share. The very message
proved the contrary. If the message was true, and not concerted between
them, it must have been a silly evasion prepared by Bute, that he might
assure Pitt he had not seen Lord Holland; or to disguise to the latter
the treaty with the former. It is not even improbable that Lord Bute
had tasted so much vexation from the Regency-bill, which Lord Holland
had earnestly pressed upon him, that he might not be inclined to have
recourse to the same councils again. Lord Holland, however, let me
discover how anxiously he wished to overturn the Ministers, be the
means what they would. He dropped to me these remarkable words--“What
an artful man might do with these mobs!” But I was not a man to dip my
hand in such resources.[132]

On the day that the Duke of Cumberland went to Hayes, a committee of
the House of Lords sat on the Riots. Lord Sandwich said, he hoped
their Lordships would adjourn till the Duke of Bedford could come
in safety to the House. Lord Halifax said, there were rumours of a
change of Ministers; but it was impossible the King could give up
so faithful a servant as the Duke of Bedford to the mob; and threw
out many insinuations of the mob being stirred up by Lord Bute. Lord
Pomfret took this up with great warmth; but during the altercation the
Lords were informed that the Sheriffs of London (probably by concert
with the Ministers) attended with material information. Lord Halifax
went out to them; and returning, said, there was a diabolic plot. Being
called in, the Sheriffs said they had received certain information
that the weavers were to rise in arms at five in the morning, were to
be joined by the butchers and watermen, and destroy Bedford House. The
Chancellor said the notice ought to be laid before both Houses; but the
Lords contented themselves with voting an address to the King for a
proclamation against the rioters, with giving directions to the civil
magistrates to secure the peace, and with granting an additional guard
of one hundred men for Bedford House, as the Duke had desired.

The next day Mr. Conway brought me intelligence that gave me
inexpressible concern, and struck me with more alarm than any public
measure I ever knew. It was, that Lord Halifax had written to the
King that his Ministers advised his Majesty to employ Lord Granby as
the most popular man in England, and the Duke of Richmond and Lord
Waldegrave as generals under him, to suppress the riot--advice that
breathed the desperate ambition of the ministerial faction, and showed
their intention of usurping the government by force: Lord Granby having
assured them at a council of their friends, that he would firmly adhere
to them. But this was not the part of the intelligence that most
alarmed me: it was the consequence of this letter, the King on the
receipt of it having written to his uncle that he would immediately
name his Royal Highness Captain-General. This was at once firing the
signal of civil war: the generals were named on either side. I implored
Mr. Conway to hasten to the Duke, and prevent, if possible, before
it was too late, so rash and fatal a step: it would be sufficient
for the King to refuse delegating Lord Granby. The Duke begged the
King to suspend his resolution, and told him, that if he accepted the
nomination, it should only be for the present, and he would appoint
Lord Albemarle to act under him. And he sent to Lord Granby, that he
should accept the charge but for the purpose of suppressing the riots,
and that he should not in any other point interfere with his Lordship.
This, though it showed temper, discovered but too great alacrity to
undertake the commission. To Hayes, too, his Royal Highness despatched
Lord Frederick Cavendish, to acquaint Mr. Pitt with the intended
measure. Mr. Pitt with his wonted elevation treated the matter lightly,
and said the riots were of no consequence. The dismission of the
Ministers he approved of, in consequence of their actions: if only as
enemies of Lord Bute, the case was different. He had no objection to
Lord Bute as Favourite, but as he disagreed with him on measures.

The Ministers determined to push their blow, prevailed on the Duke of
York, who they meant should balance his uncle, to go to Richmond, and
in their names to advise his Majesty to come and stay in town. Many
of the Tories, dreading the power of the Duke of Cumberland, declared
they would abandon Bute and adhere to Grenville. Fortunately the Duke
himself told the King that the riots were not of consequence enough
for him to be appointed Captain-General. The Favourite, too, had taken
alarm, and apprehending a parliamentary motion against himself, had
summoned all the Scotch to attend the House. Thus blew over a cloud
that might have been productive of such fatal events!

The negotiation in the mean time with Mr. Pitt continued, but made
no advance. The Duke of Cumberland understood that he refused to
come into place, and proposed to the King to form an Administration
without him. The Duke of Newcastle, though he would not venture to
take any responsible place himself, was eager for the same measure;
and the Cavendishes were not less ready to join such a system. It
was proposed to place Lord Lyttelton at the head of the Treasury,
with Charles Townshend as Chancellor of the Exchequer, and General
Conway Secretary at War. The latter and I saw the inefficacy of this
expedient, and protested against it. Such an Administration we agreed
could not last six months. The Opposition would be said to join Lord
Bute, and would suffer in their reputation. Finding so few facilities,
the Duke determined to make one more essay, and desired Lord Lyttelton
to go to Hayes, and know the last resolution of Mr. Pitt. What words
can paint the astonishment of Lord Lyttelton, or indeed of mankind,
when that Lord, who was to carry Lord Temple to Hayes with him, was
informed at Lord Temple’s door, that Mr. George Grenville was alone
with his brother? Lord Lyttelton waited two hours with Lady Temple.
It was by that time too late to go to Hayes till after dinner. Lord
Temple vouchsafed to make no explanation to Lord Lyttelton, but said
it was only a private reconciliation. He said the same the next day
when, with Lord Lyttelton, he waited on the Duke of Cumberland; adding,
that their reconciliation did not extend to political connection.
“But that, I suppose, my Lord,” said that sensible Prince, “will soon
follow.” Lord Lyttelton had previously waited on his Royal Highness at
his return from Hayes, and owned that he could not say Mr. Pitt and
Lord Temple were agreed, though still they were open to treat. Lord
Temple complained to the Duke that the King had been advised to take
his old Ministers again; and wondered who had advised it. “I did, my
Lord,” said the Duke firmly, “thinking Mr. Pitt’s a flat refusal, and
finding nobody else would engage without him.” Before they parted, the
Duke made Lord Temple own, that _carte blanche_ had been offered to Mr.
Pitt; yet that point Mr. Pitt and his friends never allowed.[133]

What the Duke had said, was true. He no sooner heard of the
reconciliation in the family of Grenville, than he advised the King
to submit, and take up with his old Ministers. The reconciliation
explained Mr. Pitt’s conduct, and the seeming variations in it; for
though in terms he never consented to accept, the Duke owned to Mr.
Conway, that he had talked as if actually in place. He had said,
“Pratt will be at the head of the law.”--“I said no such thing,”
said the Duke; “the King may be engaged to Mr. Yorke; I know nothing
of it.” Pitt replied, if he did come in, he could not depend on the
faith of the Court, and on influence in the Cabinet; “I do not know,
Sir,” continued he, “if I can even depend on your Royal Highness’s
influence.” “No, indeed,” replied the Duke, “for I shall have no
influence there myself. The King called me to this business, and the
moment it is over, I shall retire to Windsor.” But these irregularities
had all flowed from the conduct of Lord Temple, who had thrown every
obstruction in the way of the negotiation, and had affected even to
complain of the Duke of Newcastle, for proposing Lord Lyttelton for the
head of the Treasury, though he himself could not be persuaded by Mr.
Pitt to accept it. It may be remembered, that in my visit to Stowe,
I had discovered how little cordiality subsisted between Lord Temple
and Mr. Pitt. From that time, the former had certainly leaned towards
his brother George; and, as if the love of confusion predominated even
over his ambition, he had selected this important moment to clog Mr.
Pitt’s measures by openly rushing into connection with his brother
George. Lord Bristol,[134] and Augustus Hervey,[135] had, at Lord
Temple’s desire, negotiated the reconciliation; and besides the very
lucrative interest that Grenville had in accepting the offer, it was
doubly sweetened now by the defeat it gave to Mr. Pitt, who in honour
would not, or in prudence could not, enter upon Administration by a
breach with his brother-in-law, his benefactor, and popular associate,
Temple, and only for being reconciled to their common brother, George
Grenville.[136] The reversion of Lord Temple’s estate[137] could make
even the inflexible Grenville stoop; and if his acrimonious heart
was obliged to pardon his brother, it was indemnified by revenge on
his sister’s husband. Mr. Pitt, when Lord Temple and he parted, said

  Extinxti me teque, soror; populumque Patresque
  Sidonios, urbemque tuam!

The Ministers, who no doubt had learnt from Lord Temple the King’s
distress, went to his Majesty on the 22nd, and being acquainted that
it was his purpose to retain them in his service, insolently told him
that they must ask three things. First, Would his Majesty promise, on
his royal word, not to consult Lord Bute any more, nor suffer him to
interfere in business? Secondly, Would he dismiss Mr. Mackenzie[138]
from the direction of Scottish affairs? Thirdly, Would he immediately
declare Lord Granby Captain-General? The King said the last would
be the greatest affront imaginable to his uncle, after he had been
thought of for Captain-General. Grenville replied insolently, he did
not understand why his Royal Highness was so often at Court. “But,”
continued the King, “are these questions, or terms?” They said,
“Questions.” “But do you mean,” said the King, “to adhere to them as
_sine quâ non_?”--“We do,” replied they. The King said, he would give
them an answer at night.

In the evening, the King, instead of seeing them, sent for the
Chancellor, and ordered him to carry his answer to the Ministers.
It was: that there was no longer any question about Lord Bute: but
his Majesty would give his word not to see him. He would dismiss
Mr. Mackenzie,[139] but would by no means yield to make Lord Granby
Captain-General. But though the stand-out of prudence was made on the
last article, the indignity offered personally to the King on the
second was the most crying. Mr. Mackenzie had possessed a place of
2000_l._ a year for life. To accommodate some arrangement in Scotland,
he had given it up, and the King had given him another of 3000_l._ a
year; but it not being a patent place for life, the King had promised
him, upon his honour, that it should never be taken away during his
reign. This severe sacrifice the insolent faction now extorted; the
Court, in its present distress, not daring to venture a rupture, of
which any part of Lord Bute’s family should be the cause.

The Ministers did not hesitate long; though Rigby tried to
enforce[140] their adherence to all the three demands. They waited
on the King the next day, declaring their acceptance of the two
conditions, but annexing a third, the dismission of Lord Holland from
the Pay-office, which was granted without a murmur; though, when Lord
Holland had undertaken to carry through the Peace, the King said to
his wife, he should never forget the obligation.[141] The King ordered
Lord Sandwich to write the letter of his dismission, but Sandwich had
the decency to excuse himself, having lived even till now on friendly
terms with Lord Holland, and then actually inhabiting the Pay-office,
which Lord Holland had lent him the two last years. Charles Townshend
succeeded Lord Holland, though he had been designed Chancellor of the
Exchequer by the Opposition, and acted with them when they came into
power; and to complete the disgrace of Lord Bute’s family, and as
if wantonly to mark their disregard to all propriety, the Ministers
removed Lord Northumberland from the government of Ireland, and named
for his successor the Viscount Weymouth,[142] an inconsiderable,
debauched young man, attached to the Bedfords, but so ruined by
gaming, that the moment before his exaltation, he was setting out for
France, to avoid his creditors. The Duke of Cumberland retired to
Windsor, declaring he had done with Opposition. His whole conduct,
indeed, in this transaction, had been noble, and becoming the relation
in which he stood to the Crown. He had forgiven all the slights he had
experienced from the Court, had handsomely taken up the cause of his
nephew, and had even submitted to act as messenger to Mr. Pitt. The
Dukes of Richmond and Manchester[143] had offered his Royal Highness
their assistance against the Ministers. The former, enraged at the
disgrace of his brother-in-law Lord Holland, wished to reconcile him to
the Duke, but the Prince would lend no ear to it. Nor, unsuccessful and
baffled as our party had been, did they grow at all more reasonable.
Lord Frederick Cavendish, probably from knowing the inclinations of the
Duke of Cumberland, was desirous his brothers should soften towards
Lord Bute. I, too, saw the necessity of that step; as, added to our
own numbers, we should have the favour of the Crown, and the support
of Lord Bute, Lord Northumberland, Lord Holland, and their friends.
“It is true, we should,” said Lord Frederick, when I mentioned this;
“but then, we should have Mr. Pitt against us.” “I doubt it: Mr. Pitt
was not disposed to offend the King: he never was heartily a friend
to _us_;” and his subsequent conduct proved how much he preferred any
connection to union with George Grenville.

The privy seal of Scotland thus wrenched from Mackenzie, was offered to
Lord Lorn:[144] he declining it, it was bestowed on his brother Lord
Frederick Campbell, who, with unparalleled ingratitude and indecency,
accepted it. He was nearly related to Mackenzie, had lived in the
strictest intimacy with him, and had received from Lord Bute a place
in Scotland of above 400_l._ a year for life, by a preference that had
made two considerable chiefs in that country the mortal enemies of the
Favourite. Thurlow,[145] an able lawyer, was named secretary to Lord
Weymouth; and Lord Warkworth, the Earl of Northumberland’s son, was
set aside from being Master of the Horse to the Queen, to which he was
destined by the Court, in the room of Lord Weymouth.

To complete their vengeance even on inferior offenders, the Ministers
caused the House of Lords to inflict severe penalties on several
printers, and to reprimand Justice Fielding, the blind, but only useful
magistrate, for having been negligent during the late riots. Yet as
so much persecution and arrogance could not but excite much ill-will
and mutual hostilities, it now came out that, before the loss of
their bill, the weavers, suspecting that Lord Hilsborough was against
them, had waited on him to implore his protection. To convince them
he was not their enemy, he showed them a letter from Lord Halifax, in
which the latter had begged him not to oppose the bill, Lord Halifax
having an estate in Spitalfields, which would be greatly benefited
by the success of the bill. To this the weavers had trusted; and the
disappointment had blown up their fury. How Lord Halifax came not to
support his own interest, or how it was compensated to him, did not
appear. But with this triumph over all their foes, the Ministers put
an end to the session by proroguing the Parliament, May 25th. Ten days
more crowded with events scarce ever passed; for the Regency-bill was
finished on the 14th, and between that and the 25th had happened the
riot, the King’s declaration of his intention to dismiss the Ministers,
the several journeys to Hayes, the reconciliation of Lord Temple and
Grenville, the various attempts to form another Administration, the
recall of the Ministers, and the several instances of their revenge
and insolence. The King was left a prisoner to the Cabal, Lord Bute
punished by the very instruments of all his bad acts, and Lord Holland
disgraced by his once dear allies, the Bedfords and Rigby. The only
joy the nation could feel was in seeing such poetic justice, for if
they pitied not the sufferers, they could but abhor the executioners.
If Lord Bute had advised the Peace, the Duke of Bedford had negotiated
it. If General Warrants were employed for his service, Lord Halifax
had issued them. If he had had any hand in the dismission of officers,
Grenville had executed it. And if he had authorized the severe
proscription of opponents, Lord Holland had marked the victims. Ampler
atonement was still due; and it was not long delayed.

Defeated as the King’s attempts had been to deliver himself from
the thrall of his Ministers, he could not sit patient under so many
indignities. The insult offered to his mother, and the breach of his
own royal promise imposed on him, were injuries not to be pardoned.
His resentment broke out on every occasion, and the Parliament was no
sooner prorogued than he took all opportunities of frowning on his
tyrants and thwarting their desires. The Ministers proposed to make
Lord Waldegrave or Lord Suffolk Master of the Horse to the Queen. Her
Majesty said no Minister should interfere in _her_ family, and named
the Duke of Ancaster.[146] The first regiment that became vacant, the
King bestowed on Lord Albemarle’s brother, General Keppel. The young
Duke of Devonshire, by the King’s desire, was carried to Court by his
uncles; and the Duke of Cumberland was still ready, as the King knew,
to protect him against the Cabal. His Royal Highness said to Lord John
Cavendish, “I can oppose the Crown when Ministers do wrong, but will
now support it when it is insulted.”


  Differences between the King and his Ministers.--Further Negotiations
    with Mr. Pitt.--Attempts to form a Whig Administration.--Summary of
    the Negotiations.--New Ministry formed.--Mr. Dowdeswell.--Marquis
    of Rockingham.--Mysterious Behaviour of Mr. Pitt.--Arrival of the
    Prince and Princess of Brunswick.

Presuming on their superiority in Parliament, and hurt at the marks
of the King’s aversion, the Ministers determined once more to subdue
him totally, or reduce him to new distresses. On the 12th of June[147]
the Duke of Bedford, accompanied by Grenville, Sandwich, and Halifax,
waited on his Majesty with a remonstrance, which the Duke had drawn
up, which took an hour in reading, and which, though it had been much
softened by Grenville in their private meeting, the King had the
greatest difficulty to command himself enough to hear it read to the
end. It tended to give him a month to consider whether he would take
a new ministry or retain the old. In the latter case he was told that
he must smile on his Ministers, and frown on their adversaries, whom
he was reproached in no light terms with having countenanced contrary
to his promise. Invectives against the Princess were not spared; nor
threats of bringing Lord Bute to the block. The King made no answer,
but made a bow as a signal for them to retire. When they were gone,
he said that if he had not broken out into the most profuse sweat, he
should have been suffocated with indignation.[148]

No redress was left but to apply once more to Mr. Pitt; and should he
again decline, to form some desperate Administration of Lord Bute’s
friends, and any detached persons that would join in so unpromising a
system. To prevent the former--at least, to detach Lord Temple from Mr.
Pitt--the Dukes of Bedford and Marlborough offered to resign either of
their places in favour of the former. Temple, though expressing his
good wishes, declared he would take nothing with the Administration
as it then stood, but should like to see a new one formed out of all
parties. Yet the Court did not despair of Mr. Pitt’s concurrence. James
Grenville told Colonel Fitzroy that Mr. Pitt wished to see his brother,
the Duke of Grafton, who had particularly distinguished himself by
attachment to Pitt. The Duke, however, was so cautious that he would
not go unless Mr. Pitt would directly request it; but sent Fitzroy to
Hayes to know if Mr. Pitt desired to see him. Fitzroy stayed three
hours and a half, while Pitt, in his vague inconclusive manner, was
profuse of words, which did not tend to any definite meaning. It was
rather a complaint of the late application. He said, that in August,
two years before, he had been promised the King’s countenance; now no
such thing had been mentioned, but that bubble Lord Northumberland
had been pressed upon him, and the Duke of Cumberland had even urged
it to him for an hour and a half. That he had not wanted the Treasury
for Lord Temple, nor would have filled the _carte blanche_ if it had
been given to him. After much desultory conversation of the like sort,
Fitzroy said, “Then, Sir, the result of all is, that you are resolved
not to treat any more.” “Resolved! that is a strong word,” replied
Pitt; “but this is my answer; Mr. Pitt’s determinations are fixed: all
negotiation is at an end.”

The Duke of Grafton soon followed his brother. Mr. Pitt told him that
Mr. Grenville had been there, and had begun to talk politics, but he
had stopped him, and said, “Sir, a truce to your politics, for I never
will talk politics with you again as long as I live.” In this visit
the Duke thought he did not perceive a total unwillingness in Mr. Pitt
still to listen to accommodation. On that report, and urged by the
necessity of making one more attempt,

On the 17th the Duke of Grafton was again dispatched to Hayes to tell
Mr. Pitt that the King was convinced he could not do without him, and
to invite him to Court. Mr. Pitt replied he was ready to come, if his
Majesty would graciously condescend, in consideration of his lameness,
to see him on the ground-floor. Accordingly,

On the 19th he was three hours and a quarter with the King at the
Queen’s house, and as long on the 22nd again, professing his readiness
to undertake the direction of affairs. Everything he asked was
accorded; particularly a close alliance with Prussia if possible. He
named Lord Temple for the Treasury; the Duke of Grafton for Secretary
of State, with himself; Sir George Saville for Secretary at War; Keppel
and Saunders for Commissioners of the Admiralty, he did not care in
whose room, nor should he be violent in turning out; though, as so many
had suffered, there must be a large sweep.

During this transaction Pitt would not deign to make any communication
to the Duke of Cumberland, who, notwithstanding, behaved nobly, said he
would do all the good he could, and would take nothing ill.

Two days after these conferences, arrived Lord Temple from Stowe, and
went to Hayes. The next day he waited on the King, and refused to
accept the Treasury, saying he had a delicacy which must always remain
a secret. This was generally supposed to be levelled at Lord Bute.
Some thought of the Duke of Cumberland, and others that it regarded
his own brother, George Grenville. But surely Lord Temple was not so
overrun with delicacy that he could afford to make a secret of the only
delicacy he seemed ever to have felt, the turning out his own brother
to take his place himself!

The next day Pitt waited on the King again, and declared he was still
ready to accept, if Lord Temple would; and in the presence of the
latter, told his Majesty that for himself he was satisfied, and trusted
his royal declarations. And to the Duke of Grafton he said, that he
lamented with tears in his eyes Lord Temple’s refusal to accept. That
Duke urged Lord Temple warmly, and told him he would forfeit all
character if he remained obstinate; but when power could not influence
him, what could reproaches do? He persisted, and Mr. Pitt would not
take his part without him. Pitt had certainly made nearer advances to
Lord Bute in this negotiation than the King either asked or expected;
and Lord Temple, who never failed to take any credit to himself at the
expense of his friends, openly calumniated Mr. Pitt for leaning towards
Lord Bute, whom, he said, he himself had not ventured to trust. Pitt,
it was true, had told the King that his Majesty ought in conscience to
restore Mackenzie--and in truth both sense and honour dictated that
advice to any man who entered into his Majesty’s service. In the City,
Lord Temple’s emissaries abused Mr. Pitt for too much _Butism_, as Lord
Sandwich did for his eagerness to promote a new war on the Continent.
But what could excuse the conduct of Lord Temple, who, having an
opportunity of redressing all the breaches of the Constitution, against
which he had been so clamorous, now not only waived that duty, but
leagued with the very men whom their own guilt and his voice and pen
had pointed out as the criminals?[149]

The Duke of Cumberland now fearing that the King’s desperate position
would drive him to form an Administration, with Lord Egmont at the head
of the Favourite’s faction, which the Court had thought of, pressed
the Whigs to undertake the Administration, and proposed Lord Rockingham
for head of the Treasury. In consequence of this desire, a meeting of
the chiefs of the Opposition in town was held at Claremont June the
30th. There were present, Newcastle himself, Lord Rockingham, the Duke
of Portland and his brother, the three Cavendishes, Lord Grantham,
General Conway, Thomas Walpole, George Onslow, Lord Ashburnham, two
of the Townshends, and Lord Villiers.[150] The question of acceptance
was debated; Newcastle answered for the Duke of Grafton’s readiness.
Portland was warm on the same side, but proposed to turn out Lord
Bute’s people. The rest were very doubtful. Newcastle declared
his willingness to accept, but as he could not answer for all his
friends, he desired each would deliver his opinion separately. Charles
Townshend,[151] Lord Ashburnham,[152] T. Walpole, Onslow, and Lord
Villiers disapproved of coming in without Mr. Pitt. Onslow pressed them
to wait, as he said he hoped there would soon be a coalition of all
parties against Lord Bute. T. Walpole[153] would not even promise to
support so unpromising an Administration. Conway thought it perilous,
but would not decline the danger. The rest agreed with Newcastle.

I was ill in bed and could not be present at the meeting; but when
Conway reported the particulars to me, I thought I never heard a more
wild proposal, nor one fraught with greater improbability of success.
The nomination of Lord Rockingham for Minister at any season would have
sounded preposterous; in the present, sufficient alone to defeat the
system. Nor had I a more advantageous opinion of the rest that were to
compose it: all young and inexperienced men, unknown to the nation, and
great by nothing but their rank and fortunes. Conway agreed with me,
but professed that if the Duke of Cumberland laid his commands on him
to accept, he would not flinch from the enterprise.

The next day Newcastle reported to his Royal Highness the indifferent
success of the assembly, yet with such eagerness to come again into
power, that he answered for Lord Ashburnham, and gave hopes of
prevailing with the rest. The Duke, not apt to be daunted, encouraged
the trial; and thus, without any new consultation, his Royal Highness
acquainted the King that he was ready to form an Administration for
him. To disgust those who still adhered to Mr. Pitt, the Duke said he
would now disclose what he had not told before, that Mr. Pitt, when
he parted with the King, had told his Majesty that, though he thought
Mr. Grenville the meanest and weakest of Ministers, yet there was no
man he should advise his Majesty to employ so soon. This anecdote was
confirmed by Mr. Pitt’s conduct in the next year. Censured, however, as
Mr. Pitt was, his conduct was both prudent and honourable. Nothing had
barred his acceptance but Lord Temple’s refusal of co-operating with
him. Himself told the elder T. Townshend that, had he been younger, or
had had one friend to whom he could have entrusted the Treasury, he
would have undertaken the Administration without Lord Temple; but this
was not the sole occasion in which he found the disadvantage of having
kept all connections at a distance. Lord Temple’s defection he termed
an amputation.

The King did not hesitate a moment to receive the new arrangement
proposed by his uncle, nor clogged it with either terms or objections.
Whatever was asked was instantly granted; and if no such courtly
overtures were made, as Mr. Pitt had dropped to ingratiate himself
with the favourite star, the Duke had, however, the address to ward
off any unwelcome conditions from being imposed upon the King.
Indeed, no conditions at all were proposed. The Whigs, content with
the power of doing right, as their subsequent actions proved had
been their intention, forbore to stipulate for redress of grievances;
and though the King might expect more complaisance on certain points
than he afterwards experienced, he was too glad to be revenged on his
old Ministers, and too content with finding no unwelcome sacrifices
demanded, to boggle at a treaty which was restricted solely to the
disposition of places. Many of the new placemen were not less rejoiced
to find themselves exalted above their most sanguine expectations;
though that precipitate rise ought to have admonished them of the
weakness and instability of their party. But the rage of the fallen
Ministers exceeded, out of all proportion, the joy both of their
masters and successors. And as defeated insolence soon turns to
despondency, they were abject enough to deny that they had driven the
King a second time to take his part. It was too late now to repent, and
the new Ministers kissed hands on July the 8th.[154]

The Marquis of Rockingham was appointed First Lord of the Treasury;
the Duke of Grafton and General Conway, Secretaries of State; the
Duke of Newcastle, Lord Privy Seal; and the old Earl of Winchelsea,
likewise coupled with this juvenile troop, was made President of the
Council; and Mr. Dowdeswell,[155] Chancellor of the Exchequer. The
Duke of Portland succeeded Earl Gower as Lord Chamberlain. Thomas
Townshend[156] the younger, Lord John Cavendish, and George Onslow were
appointed Commissioners of the Treasury. Lord George Cavendish and
Sir George Saville, though firm friends to the new system, handsomely
declined accepting places. The Earl of Egmont, the only friend of
Lord Bute that was advanced, was made First Lord of the Admiralty,
with the Admirals Keppel and Saunders, Sir William Meredith, and the
Spanish Charles Townshend. Thomas Pitt, in compliment to his uncle, was
offered to remain at that board, but chose to follow Mr. Grenville.
The Earl of Ashburnham was made Keeper of the Great Wardrobe; Lord
Barrington, Secretary at War, instead of Treasurer of the Navy;
the Earl of Besborough and Lord Grantham, joint Postmasters. Lord
Powis[157] was turned out of Treasurer of the Household, to make room
for Lord Edgcumbe;[158] and the Earl of Scarborough[159] succeeded Lord
Thomond, who resigned with his brother Grenville, as Cofferer. Thomas
Pelham[160] replaced Lord Charles Spencer as Comptroller; Lord Villiers
was made Vice-Chamberlain in the room of William Finch,[161] who
retired with a pension; and Lord Gage,[162] Paymaster of the Pensions,
in the room of Mr. Neville. Inferior promotions it is not necessary to
recapitulate: let it suffice to say, that the new Ministers dismissed
but two of Lord Bute’s friends, Lord Despencer and one who will be
mentioned hereafter.[163] On the other hand, the Duke of Cumberland
had wished to detach the Duke of Bedford from Grenville, (an object
only desirable for the breach it would have made in their party,) and
sent General Fitzwilliam with _carte blanche_ to Rigby. The latter
rejected it with scorn, and with ample abuse on his Royal Highness as a

I have specified the new plan as it took place, but must take notice
now of some steps leading to it. Grenville, on his reconciliation
with his brother, had notified it to the King in a long declamation.
The King answered, He did not trouble himself with the friendships
of others, and wished nobody would with his. When the change was
determined, the Chancellor received the King’s orders to write to
Grenville and the two Secretaries of State to bring their seals the
next day. The Duke of Marlborough, Earl Gower, and Rigby resigned.

In the first draught of the new settlement it was proposed that Mr.
Conway should be Chancellor of the Exchequer; and for some time
Lord Rockingham refused to accept without that assistance. Conway’s
inclination was to be Secretary at War; his resolution not to quit the
military line. I, who knew his unacquaintance with the business of the
Treasury, the disgusting coldness of his manner, which would revolt
those he ought to court, and who foresaw (though not to the degree I
found afterwards) how little he was made to ingratiate himself with
strangers, and consequently to conduct the House of Commons, earnestly
dissuaded him from undertaking that post. My opinion concurring with
his own sentiments, though at first he had been staggered, he set
himself to refuse that employment with a vehemence much beyond his
natural temper. For Secretary of State he was excellently fitted, and
no man ever applied himself to the business of his office with such
unrelaxed industry. Unluckily, the department he refused was bestowed
on Dowdeswell, who was so suited to the drudgery of the office, as far
as it depends on arithmetic, that he was fit for nothing else. Heavy,
slow, methodical without clearness, a butt for ridicule, unversed in
every graceful art, and a stranger to men and courts, he was only
esteemed by the few to whom he was personally known.[164]

The Marquis of Rockingham was almost the reverse. More childish in his
deportment than in his age, he was totally void of all information.
Ambitious, with excessive indolence; fond of talking of business,
but dilatory in the execution; his single talent lay in attracting
dependants: yet, though proud and self-sufficient, he had almost as
many governors as dependants. To this unpromising disposition, he had
so weak a frame of person and nerves, that no exigence could surmount
his timidity of speaking in public; and having been only known to that
public by his passion for horse-races, men could not be cured of their
surprise at seeing him First Minister, as he never could give them
an opportunity of knowing whether he had any other talents. A silent
First Minister was a phenomenon unknown since Parliaments had borne so
great a share in the revolutions of government. His personal character
was blameless--unfortunately, the times required something more than
negative qualities![165]

The most sensible step taken by the new Ministers at their outset, was
endeavouring to gain the countenance of Mr. Pitt--at least, affecting
to wear the marks of enjoying it. One of the Vice-Treasurerships of
Ireland, vacant by Rigby’s resignation, was offered to James Grenville,
who expressed, and I believe sincerely, his concern at not being
able to accept it. The Cofferer’s place was also tendered to Lord
Lyttelton, who had much occasion for it, and who no less sincerely
lamented that his having been included in the family reconciliation of
the Grenvilles forbad his joining in a system founded on the disgrace
of Mr. Grenville. But a step more material, and more likely to impose
on the world, met with better success. This was an offer of the
peerage to Lord Chief Justice Pratt. Lord Rockingham, whose aunt[166]
was married to Lord Mansfield, and who hoped for the assistance of
the latter, was averse to this measure, on the evident probability
that Pratt would be a troublesome rival of Mansfield in the House of
Lords. In truth, that probability made Pratt’s peerage infinitely more
important to the nation than the court paid to Mr. Pitt by it could be;
and had the new arrangement produced no other benefit to the country,
that single step had made the change desirable. Nothing could be more
dangerous than the influence of so arbitrary a man as Lord Mansfield
over the House of Lords, where a lawyer of such eminent abilities was
sure to preponderate; for the Chancellor[167] was too profligate in
every light to carry any authority. Pratt, with great thankfulness,
took the title of Lord Camden.

Still, more weight was wanted. Charles Townshend and Charles Yorke
were applied to. Each fluctuated according to their various degrees
of timidity and irresolution. The first seemed transported with the
change--then refused to engage--and then would not lose his place. Thus
he neither pleased the fallen Ministers, nor satisfied his successors.
His brother,[168] whom he feared, went to the King, declaimed against
the change, yet at last promised to support it. Charles seemed to
support it only because he had _not_ promised. Yorke’s scruples had
deeper root. His ambition pointed immediately at the Chancellor’s
Seals; and finding no hopes of them, he dreaded offending the other
party, who might recover their power and that of making a Chancellor.
These perplexities he did not express; but at first pleaded reluctance
to come in when his friend Dr. Hay was turned out. He next had qualms
about Norton, who was not his friend, and who now, to the universal
joy of the nation, was turned out by the new Ministers, with the no
slight dissatisfaction of Lord Bute. Charles Yorke then consented to
take the place of Attorney-General in Norton’s room, and as quickly
repented of and recalled his consent. However, as he too was one who
had great sway with Lord Rockingham, and as his family inclined to the
new system, Yorke remained of their connection, and some time after
was again made Attorney-General.[169] His youngest brother[170] was
preferred to the Admiralty, and the Earl of Breadalbane, whose eldest
daughter[171] Lord Hardwicke had married, was appointed Privy Seal of
Scotland, Lord Frederick Campbell being turned out; a half oblation to
the King;--the real reparation not being made by the restoration of
Mackenzie. Lord Lorn, who had given up his brother-in-law Conway, was
as little delicate on the disgrace of his own brother Lord Frederick.
No sooner had the change taken place, than not resenting the latter,
and trusting that the former was not resented, Lord Lorn wrote to Mr.
Conway from Scotland to say, that as he was so connected with the Duke
of Bedford, he could ask nothing from the new Administration; but if
the King should offer him a regiment, he could not refuse it from his
Majesty, though he could not violate his connection with the Bedfords.
Mr. Conway could not mistake the drift of this casuistry. The regiment
was offered, and accepted.

Mr. Pitt’s behaviour was various and full of mystery. When Norton was
turned out, Pitt sent him word that it was not done by his advice,
and that were he Minister, he should be glad of the assistance of
such abilities. As nobody supposed that Mr. Pitt directed the new
Administration, however good his intentions to them might be; as
he and Norton had ever acted in an opposite line, and on opposite
principles; and as Norton had by no means been gentle in his attacks,
the message seemed uncalled for and mean-spirited: nor was it to be
accounted for, unless in scorn of Yorke, or as an innuendo to Lord
Bute, that his friends would have received better quarter, had the
treaty with Pitt succeeded or should succeed another time. The Duke
of Grafton and Admiral Saunders had been advised and pressed by Pitt
to promote the formation of the new Ministry. The latter asked if he
might mention that advice? Pitt replied, “Tell it everywhere.” Pitt
then went to Stowe for a few days, returned to town, visited Grenville,
and was with him for some time. The Duke of Grafton hearing that in
consequence of that visit Grenville had affirmed that Mr. Pitt had to
him expressed disapprobation of the new system, the Duke wrote to Mr.
Pitt, who declared he had seen Mr. Grenville but once since the new
Administration had taken place, and then not in private, and had not to
him, or to any one else, disapproved of the present arrangement.[172]

There still remained some persons to be satisfied, and more were
necessary to be acquired. Lord Shelburne was offered his old place at
the head of the Board of Trade. He declined it in a pompous letter,
in which he said he regarded measures, not men; he would wait to see
what their measures (he should have said what their _success_) would
be. The post was conferred on the Earl of Dartmouth. Stanley was
dissatisfied with not being allowed to keep the Admiralty with the
government of the Isle of Wight. Lord Howe, on the contrary, though
promoted by Grenville, accepted the Treasurership of the Navy. Lord
Digby,[173] to compensate to Lord Holland for the loss of his place,
was created an English peer; but the latter had rendered himself so
obnoxious to the new Ministers by his character, by his connection
with the Favourite, and by the persecution he had carried on against
the Whigs, that they who consulted their own characters, and indulged
their resentments beyond what prudence dictated, totally neglected
him. Nor could the Duke of Cumberland or House of Cavendish forgive
him. Lord Strange chose to preserve his employment, and pleaded having
bargained with the late Ministers that his place should not affect his
conduct in Parliament. There was another man who was early in the most
humble application to the Duke of Cumberland to be received into the
new establishment; this was Lord George Sackville. He did not ask, he
said, for anything in the military line. The Duke was disposed to give
him hopes only; but, by more judicious addresses to Lord Rockingham,
Lord George was not long before he obtained one of the lucrative
Vice-Treasurerships of Ireland.

There was much more difficulty about the Duke of Richmond. He had
entirely broken with the late Ministers, and attached himself to the
Duke of Cumberland. The arrangement, however, had been made without
any suitable provision for his Grace. At last he was offered the
place of Cofferer. He said modestly that he knew he had not the same
pretensions to the first posts as the other young noblemen of his own
rank, since he had not suffered like them, had not engaged with them
in opposition, and consequently had not the same merit with the party.
He owned, however, that he wished for an active place in business. I
persuaded him not to accept Cofferer, and assured him I would not rest
till I saw him placed in a situation suitable to his rank and talents.
I kept my word; and as the Duke of Cumberland had dropped a hint of
making Lord Hertford Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and of sending the
Duke Ambassador to Paris, I pursued that idea, though the Duke wished
rather to be employed at home; till, on Lord Hertford’s nomination to
Ireland, I pushed Mr. Conway so warmly that he obtained the embassy
for the Duke of Richmond. Mr. Conway had had more difficulty in
succeeding for Lord Hertford, whose conduct, in not taking part with
his brother and his wife’s nephew, the Duke of Grafton, had given
universal disgust to the party. Richmond was indeed the only steady
acquisition the Ministers made. Yet the intemperance of the disgraced
Cabal threw another important convert into their hands. Grenville told
Lord Granby that the new Ministers had wished to turn out his father,
the Duke of Rutland, in order to save the Duke of Marlborough. Lord
Granby was advised to ask the King if this was true. The King denied
it; and in that conversation made such impression on that light man,
that, with the addition of the first vacant regiment for his uncle,
Lord Robert Manners, Lord Granby was entirely gained over from his
late allies. This blow was sensibly felt by Grenville, who was not
endowed with the spirit of patience. His behaviour on his fall was
abject and full of lamentation; and, as disgraced Ministers are
seldom pitied, so the occasion generally calls forth even those spots
that flattery had concealed from the prying eyes of opposition. The
vaunted economy of this Minister had not been restrained to the public
service. It now came out that he had obtained the reversion of one of
the lighthouses[174] for himself under another name; and that, having
bestowed an inferior office in the Treasury on his cook, he had bid the
man expect no wages for five years. Lord Halifax had been guilty of
worse corruption: he and his mistress had sold every employment in his

But if the integrity of the new Ministers shone by the comparison with
their predecessors, in want of prudence they seemed to have taken the
example of those very predecessors for the rule of their own conduct.
Nothing could induce them to take the smallest step that might secure
favour in the closet, by even civility to the Favourite. Perhaps the
disguise used by the King deceived them into an idea of that attention
not being necessary. He told them early that he understood their
bargain, and that Lord Bute should not meddle; and that if Elliot and
Oswald would not work (support them by speaking in Parliament) he
gave them power to turn out both. The conduct of the Ministers, as
individuals, was honourable--but in not restoring Mackenzie, unjust
both to the King and the sufferer, and too great a sacrifice to
popularity. I pressed the restitution of Mackenzie to Mr. Conway, and
urged that, as public men and friends to their country, it behoved
them to bend a little in order to secure their power in exclusion to
men of worse designs. But to talk to Conway against public opinion was
preaching to the winds. Even Lord Northumberland, from his relation
to the Favourite, was neglected in the new system, though he had been
deprived of the government of Ireland by the late Cabal on the same

The Princess of Wales was the first offended on finding she could
promise herself as little influence over the new Ministers as of late
she had experienced from the last. A conversation was much talked of,
in which it was said warm words were overheard between her and her son,
who was distinctly heard (according to the report) to tell her, that
_he had ventured his crown to obey her_. The disgusts of Lord Bute’s
friends, and of the late Ministers, whose rupture had its origin in
the animosities between the Princess and the Duchess of Bedford, gave
occasion to an excellent _bon mot_ of George Selwyn, who said of the
two factions, _that, like thieves going to execution, they laid their
ruin to lewd women_.

Notwithstanding their sacrifices to popularity, and with self-created
omens that promised them little stability, the first public notice
taken of the new Ministers gave them no reason to think that there
was a general approbation of their advancement. In the Address of the
City of London on the birth of a Prince, the King was told that when
his measures should be established, that great body would be ready to
support them. The Ex-ministers took this as a compliment to themselves;
but it more probably had reference to Mr. Pitt, the idol of the

Abroad the change was no sooner known, than Prince Ferdinand wrote
to Mr. Conway to propose coming over with the Hereditary Prince, or
afterwards, and begged Mr. Conway to tell him in confidence whether
the King would like it. The King said he should like it much, but that
Prince Ferdinand had better wait till his nephew was gone back again
to Germany, because the latter, having married a Princess of England,
must be distinguished by ceremonial. Whoever remembered how little
distinction had been paid to the Prince, even on his marriage, could
not believe this to be the true reason of the King’s waiving the visit.
It was more natural to think his Majesty was not eager to be witness
of Prince Ferdinand’s popularity, when his own was at so low an ebb;
nor could he wish that his new Ministers should enjoy the triumph
and advantages of a visit that seemed paid to them rather than to
himself. Whatever hindered it, Prince Ferdinand never came. The Prince
and Princess of Brunswick did arrive by particular invitation. Some
thought Lord Bute hoped to engage Mr. Pitt by the intervention of the
Hereditary Prince; but the court paid of late, both by the Prince and
his wife, to the Princess Dowager, had entirely won her affections, and
removed her antipathy to the House of Brunswick.


  Walpole’s Separation from his Party.--His Character of Mr. Conway.--
    Commencement of the Troubles with North America.--Death of the Duke
    of Cumberland.--His Character.--Negotiations with the Courts of
    Versailles and Madrid respecting the Fortifications at Dunkirk and
    the Ransom of the Manillas.

The dissolution of our Opposition now afforded me that opportunity of
retreating from those who had composed it, for which I had so eagerly
longed; nor was I dilatory in executing my resolution. Many new reasons
concurred to make me adhere to the plan I had formed. It was against my
opinion that my friends had accepted the Administration; and though I
would not peremptorily advise Mr. Conway to decline taking part, when
he told me he thought himself obliged in honour to obey the King’s
and Duke’s commands, still I saw so much weakness both in the leaders
and the numbers, that I entertained no hopes of the permanence of
their power. Chiefs who could not conduct a party with sense, seemed
little qualified to govern a nation. I had given notice, that if ever
they attained power, I would have nothing farther to do with them.
They had attained it now, but with so little prospect of maintaining
their ground, that nothing was so probable as their being soon driven
to opposition again. In that I was determined to engage with them
no more. If I quitted them triumphant, they would have no right to
call on me should they again be defeated by their own want of skill.
I had fully satisfied my honour and my engagements, and had anybody
cause to complain, it was myself--but I chose to part with them on
good terms; nor would I, when I was really hurt, condescend to utter
a reproach. This topic truth demands that I should explain. I had
entered into opposition on the view of the violent measures, and still
more violent designs of the Court. Personal dislike to the Bedford
faction had inflamed my natural warmth, and the oppression exercised on
Mr. Conway had fixed in me an unalterable desire of overturning that
Administration. Not the smallest view of self-interest had entered into
my imagination. On the contrary I risked an easy ample fortune with
which I was thoroughly contented. When I found unjust power exerted to
wrong me, I am not ashamed to say I flattered myself that, if ever our
party was successful, I should obtain to have the payments of my place
settled on some foundation that should not expose me to the caprice or
wanton tyranny of every succeeding Minister; for court I was resolved
to make to none, whether friend or foe,--a haughtiness I maintained
throughout my life, never once condescending to go to the levee of
any first Minister. My wish of making this independence perfectly
easy I had hinted to Mr. Conway during our opposition. He received
it with silence. It was not in my nature to repeat such a hint. As
disinterestedness was my ruling passion, I did hope that on the change
some considerable employment would be offered to me, which my vanity
would have been gratified in refusing. It was mortifying enough to me,
when Mr. Conway (for I have said that during the last negotiation I was
confined in bed with the gout) reported to me the proposed arrangement
of places, to find that my name had not been so much as mentioned.
That I would take no place was well known,--I had frequently declared
it. From the Duke of Cumberland, to whom I had never paid court; from
the Duke of Newcastle, whom I had constantly ridiculed; from Lord
Rockingham and the Cavendishes, whom I had treated with a very moderate
share of regard; I had no reason to expect much attention: and though
some notice is due to all men who are respected in a party, _they_
were excusable in proposing nothing for me, when they found nothing
demanded for me by my own intimate friend and near relation. He must be
supposed to know my mind best: if he was silent, what called on them to
be more solicitous for my interest? But what could excuse this neglect
in Mr. Conway? For him I had sacrificed everything; for him I had been
injured, oppressed, calumniated. The foundation of his own fortune,
and almost every step of his fortune, he owed solely to me. How
thoroughly soever he knew my sentiments, was a compliment at least not
due to me. Whatever was due to me, much or little, he totally forgot
it; and so far from once endeavouring to secure my independence, in his
whole life after he never once mentioned it. I had too much spirit to
remind him of it, though he has since frequently vaunted to me his own
independence. Such failure of friendship, or to call it by its truer
name, such insensibility, could not but shock a heart at once so tender
and so proud as mine. His ensuing conduct completely opened my eyes.
When I saw him eager and anxious to exalt his brother Hertford to the
Vice-royalty of Ireland, and his brother-in-law Lorn to a regiment; and
when he omitted no occasion of serving them and the Duke of Argyle[175]
and Lord Frederick Campbell--all four, men who had abandoned him to
persecution without a pang, I saw clearly into his nature. He thought
it noble, he thought it would be fame, to pardon the neglect he had
met with; and that the world would applaud his generous return of
their ungenerous and interested behaviour. No glory would have accrued
from his serving me, as it would have been natural and no more than
was expected. His heart was so cold that it wanted all the beams of
popular applause to kindle it into action. I had command enough of
myself not to drop a word of reproach on a friendship so frozen; but,
without murmur, and with my wonted cheerfulness, as soon as my strength
was tolerably recruited, I declared my intention of making a visit to
Lord Hertford, at Paris, before he quitted his embassy. I acted with
the same unconcern to the whole party, for I would neither suffer them
nor my enemies to know that I had any cause to be dissatisfied with
Mr. Conway. When I scorned to open myself, even to him, it was not
likely I should be more communicative to others. As disgust with my
friends did not, as most commonly happens, reconcile me to my enemies,
I foresaw that I might still have occasion to make use of my power with
Mr. Conway to the annoyance of the latter; for though Mr. Conway had
none of the warmth of friendship, yet he had more confidence in me, and
knew he might have, than in any man living; and, notwithstanding the
indifference I have described, he frequently trusted me afterwards with
secrets that he reserved from his wife and his brother.

He no sooner discovered that my intention was to remain in France
much longer than he expected, than he broke out into complaints,
entreaties, and reproaches: and, as if he had satisfied all the duties
of friendship, and I had violated them, he tried with angry words to
divert me from my purpose; urged the occasion he should have for my
advice, and called my retreat desertion of my friends. Satisfied with
making him feel the want of me, and now hardened against the calls of
friendship, I treated the matter lightly, civilly, and desultorily. I
reminded him of the declaration I had often made of quitting the party
as soon as they should be successful, which he could not deny; and,
with a little mixture of conscious scorn, I said I knew the obligations
the party had had to me; I knew none I had to them. Vexed, and his
pride hurt, he employed Lady Ailesbury to tell me in his presence that
he looked upon my behaviour as deserting him; and himself dropped
many peevish accents. Fixed in the plan I had laid down to myself,
nothing could provoke me to be serious; I carried off all with good
humour; and, above owing to a retort of reproaches what I ought to
have owed to his sentiments, I parted with him with such inflexible,
and consequently mysterious, cheerfulness, that he knew not what
interpretation to put on my behaviour--if he did guess, he was more
blameable than I suspected. His insensibility had made me insensible;
his ingratitude would have given me stronger sensations. But it is
justice to him to say, that I think he was incapable of ingratitude:
his soul was good, virtuous, sincere; but his temper was chill, his
mind absent; and he was so accustomed to my suggesting to him whatever
I thought it was right for him to do, that he had no notion of my
concealing a thought from him; and as I had too much delicacy to
mention even my own security, I am persuaded it never came into his
conception. His temper hurt me, but I forgave his virtue, of which I
am confident, and know it was superior to my own. We have continued
to this day on an easy and confidential footing; but conscious that I
would not again devote myself for him, I have taken strict care never
to give him decisive advice, when it might lead him to a precipice.
Before I set out, and as a mark that I meant no breach with him, at the
same time to serve another friend, and to wear an air of interest with
the Administration which might disguise my dissatisfaction, I desired
Mr. Conway to raise Sir Horace Mann, the resident at Florence, to the
rank of envoy; which was immediately done. The Bedfords, however, knew
me enough to surmise that my retreat was the effect of some dislike
I had conceived to the new system; and at my return to England, near
eight months afterwards, officiously threw out civilities that might
draw me to their connection. I soon let them see that whatever my
dislikes were, nothing had happened to soften my conduct, or change my
opinion of them and their principles. Nor was it much longer before
they found that I had lost neither inclination nor power to bar their
return to Court by the weight I retained with Mr. Conway.

I left England in August, and did not return till the April following.
A very interesting scene passed in the interval, on which, as I was
not an eye-witness, I shall be more brief than ordinary; but as I
corresponded with Mr. Conway, was consulted by him, and received other
information from very good authority, I shall set down nothing but
what I know to be truth; and that will be sufficient not to leave any
material break in the thread of my narration.

The new Ministers had scarce taken possession of their places, before
they were alarmed with accounts of the mutinous behaviour of the
Colonies, on the attempt to carry into execution the new Stamp Act.
The Americans were determined not to submit to it; and great pains
had been taken in order to bring about a general union of all the
provinces, in order to oppose the admission of the tax. To all it was
disagreeable; yet some Colonies accepted it. Virginia and New England
were the most refractory, and precipitated themselves into great
violences. In some parts, the ships that brought over the stamps were
seized and the stamps burned. The officers of the new revenue were
not suffered to land, or were cruelly treated, their houses forced
and pillaged, and their persons menaced. The governors themselves
were not secure, and trembled lest their few strongholds should be
seized by the hand of rebellion. In the most mutinous towns there was
no possibility of executing the Act. But the weapon with which the
Colonies armed themselves to most advantage, was the refusal of paying
the debts they owed to our merchants at home, for goods and wares
exported to the American provinces. These debts involved the merchants
of London, Liverpool, Manchester, and other great trading towns, in
a common cause with the Americans, who forswore all traffic with us,
unless the obnoxious Stamp Act was repealed. Nothing could be more
delicate to the new Ministers than such a crisis. They themselves had
opposed the Act. Should they enforce the execution, which could only be
done by the sword, it would be tyrannizing against their consciences,
and supporting a bad or weak act of their antagonists. They would
risk lighting up a rebellion in the Colonies, would ruin the mutual
intercourse and trade between the mother-country and the outlying
provinces; would endanger those distant dominions flinging themselves
into the arms of France or Spain, at least receiving succours thence;
while they were threatened at the same time with insurrections in the
trading towns at home, who loudly demanded a repeal of the bill, on
which depended the payment of what was due to them, and the hopes of
re-establishing so beneficial a commerce.

On the other hand, to repeal a revenue-bill, because it was distasted
by those obnoxious to it, was setting a precedent of the most fatal
complexion. What country, what town, what profession, what order of
men, would submit to the most legal impositions, if Government once
showed itself afraid, and recoiled, as soon as force was used to
reject the duty? In the present case the insult was unparalleled and
accompanied with every kind of aggravating circumstance. Not only
payment of the duty was refused, but the very authority called in
question by which it was enjoined. The Parliament of Great Britain,
said the Colonists, had no right to impose internal taxes on them:
they were not represented there; they would tax themselves. This was
striking at the very vitals of the Constitution, for however the
Colonies affected to distinguish between the King and the Parliament,
the Act had been the act of the whole Legislature, and the Constitution
knows not the King in a legislative capacity distinct from the two
other branches of the Legislature. Here was disobedience to the law,
and rebellion against the principle of all our laws. Nor was this
speculative view the sole object to weigh in the decision the Ministers
were to make. Should they embrace the measure of repeal, were they sure
they could carry it? The Act had passed by a great majority in both
Houses, and with the royal assent. Was it probable that such majorities
could be induced to revoke their opinion in compliment to mutinous
associations that flew in the face of their ordinance, and denied their
authority? Was it likely that the King would approve of, or consent
to, such diminution of his Majesty, before an attempt had been made to
enforce it? When do princes bend but after a defeat? There could be no
doubt but force would easily reduce the Colonies to obedience. They
had no strongholds, were ill-armed, a disjointed body, not yet engaged
in a common cause, nor so compact a corps as easily to be put in motion
together; and from being distinct governments, habituated to different
usages, and actuated by different interests, easily to be separated
from a joint plan, and more likely to obstruct than to promote one
general system of operations. To temporize in favour of resisting
subjects would be speaking that language of Whiggism so distasteful
to the Court, so dissonant from the tone of the present reign, and so
much objected to the new Ministers during the late opposition. It would
be opening a door to the flattery of their antagonists, who, instead
of setting out by obstructing the measures of the Crown, would have
an opportunity of paying their court at the expense of the Ministers

These were deep and weighty considerations, and, with this precipice
on either hand, were young, artless, inexperienced men to date their
career. Grenville, the parent of the Bill, and even fond of it beyond
the love of a politician, was not a man to overlook so sudden a
prospect of recovering the ground he had lost. Though he would have
revelled in an opportunity of glutting his vengeance and enforcing
obedience to his law, he could not but enjoy the distress to which
the crisis reduced his adversaries. It suited his proud spirit to
call for assertion of the Crown’s and Parliament’s dignity; and his
revengeful spirit, to drive the Ministers on measures so repugnant to
their principles and opinions, and, rather than not see the Colonies
punished, he wished to have the punishment inflicted even by his
adversaries. He toiled to obtain the most circumstantial evidence of
the mutiny; he exaggerated every instance, and called aloud on the hand
of power to vindicate the honour of the Legislature.

As the accounts from America grew every day worse, the Ministers,
who at first were inclined to repeal the Act, were borne down by the
flagrancy of the provocation. But being temperate men in themselves,
fixed in their principles, forseeing not only more extensive but more
immediate evils from violence, (for the danger from the clamours of
the merchants and trading towns increased in proportion,) and possibly
indignant at the attempts made by their antagonists to drive them to
extremities, they coolly and firmly resolved to remove the grievance,
rather than involve their country and outlying brethren in a series of
calamities more destructive of the common good than the wound given
to the authority of Government. Whoever will reflect on the state of
the dangers they were to encounter, and which I have specified above,
must own that their conduct was virtuous, honest, prudent, humane, and
brave: it will be difficult, I believe, to discover that it could be

This determination of the Ministers to attempt the repeal of the Stamp
Act was putting their power to the test at once; and was the more
adventurous, as they certainly had not taken any steps to secure the
previous favour of the Crown. If on one hand they increased by this
measure the animosity of Grenville and his party, and held out to him
the means of making his cause common with that of the Legislature; on
the other, they afforded an opportunity to Lord Bute and his faction
of returning their hostilities, and of veiling his grievances under
the mantle of the King’s and Parliament’s dignity. The Colonies,
however pleased, could lend no support to their protectors, who, in
truth, could stand on no ground at home, but on the popularity they
had already acquired with the people, and should acquire with the
mercantile part of the kingdom. In this exigence they lost the only
real pillar of their Administration at Court.

Notwithstanding the services he had rendered, it is not probable that
the Duke of Cumberland had made any progress in his Majesty’s or the
Princess’s affections. He had driven out obnoxious Ministers, it is
true, and furnished the King with a new set when no others would
venture to enlist. But were not these new men more attached to his
Royal Highness than to the person of the King? and had not the Duke
promoted his own views in forming an Administration for his nephew?
Had his Royal Highness interested himself to obtain any terms for the
Favourite? Was not the latter in a manner proscribed by the friends
of his Royal Highness? Had not the most select of those friends
been as offensive to the Princess as the late Ministers themselves?
Undoubtedly; and yet the personal character of his Royal Highness was
in such estimation, his behaviour was so full of dignity, he was so
attached to the Crown, and understood the Court so much better than
the Ministers, and could dare to hazard language in the closet which
their want of authority and favour forbad them to use, that he could
have interposed in their behalf, or could have bent them to necessary
submission to the Crown, which no other man in England was capable of
doing. But of this mediator the Ministers were soon deprived.

On the 30th of October his Royal Highness was playing at picquet with
General Hodgson.[176] He grew confused, and mistook the cards. The next
day he was recovered enough to appear at Court; but after dinner was
seized with a suffocation, and ordered the window to be opened. One of
his _valets-de-chambre_, who was accustomed to bleed him, was called,
and prepared to tie up his arm; but the Duke said, “It is too late!--it
is all over!”--and expired.

I have spoken so much of his Royal Highness’s character in the
beginning and in various parts of these Memoirs,[177] that little
addition is necessary. His haughtiness and severity had made him most
obnoxious in the early parts of his life. His profound understanding
had taught him to profit of his mortifications; and though he never
condescended to make himself amiable but to very few, he became as
much respected, though deprived of power, as if his heroism had been
victorious. Whether his good sense would have resisted prosperity
with equal temper, I much doubt. He would have made a great King, but
probably too great a King for so corrupt a Country. His indifference to
death, which he had so long and so frequently had in prospect in the
last years of his life, and which he seemed to invite, was, I believe,
less owing to the solidity of his courage, which was intrepid, than
to the unhappiness of his situation. His bodily infirmities,[178]
though borne without complaint or impatience, were grievous. His mind
had been more sensibly afflicted. Born with a martial spirit and fond
of command, he had not only been unsuccessful in every battle, except
that of Culloden; but had been forced by cruel circumstances from the
favourite profession of his soul; in civil life he was kept, by the
temper of his father and the aversion of the Princess Dowager, in a
state of neglect and disgrace. Fox, who he had a right to expect should
stickle for his power, had betrayed and abandoned him; Pitt had made
it a point to bar him from all influence; and the two Pelhams, after
leaning on him for a while, had sacrificed him to the Princess and to
their own ambition or jealousy of credit. His mind had not been formed
for idleness, and could ill digest an exclusion from all military and
all civil councils; and was too lofty and too unpliant to feed on
trifling amusements. It had the great, but none of the little, powers
of philosophy; could bear misfortune, but could not compensate to
itself for the want of its object. He used books rather than liked or
valued them, and cared for none of the arts. His principles restrained
him from going any considerable lengths against the Crown; nor could
he stoop to bestow those caresses that are necessary to form extensive
connections. He dealt his smiles to those who followed him, like a King
that rewards, not like the head of a party, who has farther to go.
The dignity of his conduct and behaviour gave his Court the air of
a dethroned monarch’s, but had nothing of a Prince whom his nephew’s
Court had suspected of having views on the Crown.

The King, at his Royal Highness’s request, had promised the first
vacant garter to the Earl of Albemarle,[179] and now with great
propriety bestowed on him that of his master. The Ministers, too, were
assured by his Majesty that the Duke’s death should make no alteration
in the present system.

In London, the Duke’s death was deeply felt; and when the orders
for mourning were issued, which, according to usage, were as for an
uncle, and regulated by the late shorter ceremonial, the middling
and lower people almost universally went into the closet mourning
with weepers, and wore it for the whole time that had been customary
before the contraction enjoined in the late reign. An attempt was
made for a subscription to raise a statue to his memory, but without
success:[180] and the new area in Berkeley Square being destined for
the place, Adam,[181] a Scotch architect, defeated the project, from
the hatred which his nation bore to their conqueror, by proposing to
erect a statue[182] of his Majesty on that very spot, a compliment his
Majesty too willingly accepted, and which became ridiculous by the King
himself being at the expense. The Duchess of Bedford, then at Bath,
distinguished her animosity as absurdly, by wearing slighter mourning
for the Duke than that prescribed by the Court.

The Administration was not without difficulties with regard to
the Courts of Versailles and Madrid, who delayed to demolish the
fortifications of Dunkirk, to liquidate the payment on the Canada
Bills, and to settle the ransom of the Manillas. But though the new
Ministers were more in earnest in their attempts to obtain all these
ends than their predecessors had been, the ignominy of not obtaining
them lay heavier on the latter. They it was who had sacrificed so
much glory and advantage to the two Courts--at least all of them had
concurred with Lord Bute in that paltry Peace; and when they had
retained so small a portion of our conquests, and stipulated for such
slight indemnifications, on them it lay to have secured at least the
accomplishment of such poor terms. Indeed they had not dared to use
a vigorous tone to either Court; for could the Ministers of Louis or
Charles believe that those men would seriously undertake a war for
trifles, who had sacrificed so much to purchase a Peace that they might
have dictated? They accordingly had hoped that they should wheedle the
two Courts to save them from the reproach of having accepted fallacious
conditions, rather than attempted to call loudly for execution of the
Treaty. The new Ministers had less to fear in speaking out. They had
nothing to manage for their own sakes; and if the nation was not in
a situation or a temper to go to war for the violation of the Peace,
they were not answerable for the measures that had reduced us to such
a state of timidity. It would be glorious to them to extort what the
peacemakers had not dared to insist on; or baffled, the shame would
lie at the door of their predecessors. Our Ministers, therefore, at
Versailles and Madrid were ordered to make the demands with spirit.
The Duke of Richmond, though he had concurred in the Peace, wanted no
alacrity to enforce the terms of it. He had had little or no connection
with the late Administration, had never been favourably looked on at
Court, had no predilection for Lord Bute, and now entered with warmth
into alliance with the Ministers. Though possessed of the Dukedom of
Aubigné, he was far from having any partiality to France: and having
naturally a high and national spirit, he was ready to hold as firm a
language as the Administration could choose to authorize. In truth, his
friends apprehended that he would be more likely to embroil the Courts
than to relax in following his instructions. Yet young, inexperienced,
and high-souled as he was, no man could conduct himself with more
prudence and temper. Though he negotiated with obstinacy, he bore the
flippancy and evasions of the Duc de Choiseul with admirable patience,
neither betraying the honour of the Crown, nor exposing it to any
unwarrantable contestations. In the short period of his embassy he
performed an essential service by his resolution, quickness, industry,
and perseverance. It is almost sufficient to say, that he settled one
point of his negotiation and was unwelcome to that Court: a proof that
he neither temporized too far, nor was over-reached by men of larger
experience. On his way to Paris he passed purposely by Dunkirk. The
Duke of Cumberland had disapproved of that visit. “My Lord,” said the
Prince, “Dunkirk is not worth going to war for: if you do not visit
it, you may say it is destroyed; you cannot after seeing it with your
own eyes.” This implied that his Royal Highness was convinced France
did not mean to destroy it. As I had arrived at Paris before the Duke
of Richmond, I had learnt the desperate situation of their finances,
and was witness to the disturbances occasioned to their Government by
the active spirit of their Parliaments. I had written to Mr. Conway on
these grounds, to advise their authorizing the Duke to talk big to the
French Court, who, from the causes I have mentioned, were less in a
situation than we were to recommence war. Mr. Conway heartily approved
my views. The Duke had more doubts, but yielded to my reasons when
he came over and found the soundness of my intelligence. The measure
succeeded to my expectation. The Duc de Choiseul consented at last
to settle the affair of the Canada Bills. Our merchants at home had
blundered in their calculation, and asked less for themselves than they
were entitled to. Sir John Lambert,[183] an English banker at Paris,
pointed out the error to the Duke, who, with amazing quickness, himself
discovered a method of obtaining, within twelve thousand pounds, a
full indemnification for them. The French Court yielded to this new
demand.[184] I persuaded the Duke to conclude the negotiation without
any new transaction with our merchants at home, lest the readiness of
the French should cool; and I urged him to ratify the agreement on
the authority of three letters from Mr. Conway, who pressed to finish
the bargain, and enjoined him to threaten the French Ministers that
he (Conway) would represent it to Parliament, if they did not do us
justice. The Duke doubted whether, having put the business into a new
train, he could justify concluding it without again consulting the
merchants. I persuaded him to despatch a courier to Mr. Conway, to say
he would conclude, but not to specify in his public letter the error of
the merchants, lest the Court of France should get intelligence, and
repent of their facility.

With regard to Dunkirk, nothing was to be obtained. Choiseul told the
Duke of Richmond that the late Ministers had not been so difficult.
“But,” said the Duke, “before I came away, I saw in the Secretary’s
office a strong letter to your Court on the subject of Dunkirk.”
“True,” said Choiseul, “but it was not written till after Lord Halifax
knew he was to be turned out.” This indiscretion flowed from Choiseul’s
natural levity, not from any intention of hurting our late Ministers,
whose fall he regretted, and on whose complaisance[185] he could
better build than on men who had loudly condemned the Peace. Still was
France not alarmed while Mr. Pitt remained without power. Their dread
of him existed in all its force. To judge of it, one should have seen,
as I did, the efficacy of his name to change their countenances and
language. One day at dinner with the Duc de Praslin, when Mr. Pitt was
accidentally mentioned, the Duc, with visible marks of alarm, asked
if Mr. Pitt was coming into place again? And it is true that when any
Frenchman gave a loose to their natural presumption before me, I had
no occasion but to drop a careless hint that he was likely to be again
employed, to strike silence through a whole company.[186]

One other point obtained by the new Ministers was a mutual exchange
of envoys between England and Prussia, their first intercourse of
communication since the war. Mitchell, destined for that embassy, was
created a Knight of the Bath.[187] Count Malzahn came hither from

November the 5th, Lord Camden, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas,
decided in that court the great cause between Wilkes and the
Secretaries of State, in favour of the former.[188]

Terrick, Bishop of London, set himself to prosecute mass-houses, with
what view I know not; for though noways blameable in his morals, zeal
for religion by no means entered into the composition of the man.
Ambition, creeping upwards by little intrigues, formed his whole
character. Perhaps he thought this activity might be one step to the
primacy. He had not much chance under the new dispensation.[189] The
Duke of Newcastle, whose fears had surmounted his passion for the first
rank in power, had told the King that he would content himself with
making bishops in concert with the archbishop. Content or not, he had
waived the Treasury, and Lord Rockingham, become First Minister by
accepting it, was too fond of power not to engross all he could. It
was a proof how old Newcastle was grown, when he bore this pre-eminence
without jealousy or treachery.

Lord Rockingham had been advised, seeing the present Parliament had
been chosen by Lord Bute, and recruited by Grenville, not to trust
to it, but to dissolve, and call a new one; and that measure was for
some time in deliberation. For his own interest he would have acted
wisely, no doubt, in taking the advice; but he at last rejected the
proposal, saying, that in so factious a time it would produce unheard
of corruption. The sentiment was laudable, but neither faction nor
corruption has decreased since that time.[190]


  Meeting of Parliament.--Debates on the Stamp Act and the state of
    North America.--Death of Prince Frederick, the King’s youngest
    brother.--Walpole’s Observations upon the state of France at this
    period.--Death of the Dauphin.

On the 17th of December the Parliament met. Grenville, apprized of
the intention to repeal the Stamp Act, had laboured to form a strong
Opposition, giving out that the Ministers were going to rescind all
his acts, because his. The very first day of the session he proposed
to address the Crown, to know how the Stamp Act had been enforced; and
in amendment of the address, proposed to insert the word _rebellious_
in speaking of the Colonies.[191] He professed great readiness to
congratulate his Majesty on the birth of a young Prince. With regard
to the Duke of Cumberland’s death, he would not, he said, flatter dead
whom he had never flattered living. He was answered by Elliot, Lord
George Sackville, and Norton, who, though dismissed, showed he had not
imputed his disgrace to the Crown; and whatever the intentions of the
Crown might be, it was thought proper that a majority should first
be secured, lest the Cabinet should again be taken by storm. Charles
Townshend spoke for the Ministry,[192] with great encomiums on Conway.
Grenville finding so little countenance, withdrew his motion.

In the other House, Lord Suffolk moved for an assurance to the King
that the Lords would support his Majesty and the Parliament against the
Colonies. He was supported by the Duke of Bedford, the Lords Gower,
Halifax, Sandwich, and Temple. The last declared there was no truth in
the reports spread of differences between him and Mr. Pitt; they agreed
on every point. The first assertion was false; the latter soon proved
to be so. Lord Shelburne spoke for the Ministers, though his friend
Colonel Barré had declined their offers.[193] But the concurrence of
Shelburne and the retiring of Lord Camden spoke sufficiently, that they
knew or suspected Mr. Pitt would take part for the repeal.[194] The
Chancellor, Lord Pomfret, and the Duke of Grafton opposed the motion.
Lord Mansfield, in a timid trimming speech, besought the Ministers
to agree to the motion, and retired. The question was rejected by 80
to 24, though the new Opposition had flattered themselves that in
the House of Lords lay their greatest strength. But they were sorely
disappointed of Lord Bute’s support, which they expected on all the
questions relative to America.

Two days after the former motion, the Duke of Bedford moved for all
papers that had been sent to America relating to the Stamp Act, and
since the passing of it. The Duke of Grafton quashed that proposal, by
promising _all_ the papers should be produced. Rigby moved the same
question in the Commons, and was severely treated by Beckford, and the
motion was rejected, the Duke of Grafton forgetting to acquaint the
Ministers in that House that he had granted the demand to the Lords.
This obliged the King to send the papers to the House of Commons

Grenville, the next day, by surprise, proposed that the House should
adjourn, but to the 9th instead of the 14th as the Ministers intended,
in consideration of the urgent affairs of America--as if five days
could make any difference. But the motion was rejected by 77 to 35: so
ductile and subservient to present power was that assembly! Alderman
Baker called Grenville’s an insolent motion: being called to order, he
was silent for some minutes; and then said, he had been trying to find
another word--if the House could, he desired them to supply it. Then
treating Grenville as the author of all the troubles in America, the
latter threw the blame from himself on the Parliament.

Lord Temple, disheartened at so unpromising an outset of the session,
had the confidence and meanness to hurry to Mr. Pitt at Bath; and
now stooped to solicit the assistance of him whom he had so lately
traversed, and whose offers he had so haughtily rejected. Mr. Pitt in
his turn was inflexible.

On the 29th of December, died the King’s youngest brother, Prince
Frederick, an amiable youth, and the most promising, it was thought,
of the family. The hereditary disorder in his blood had fallen on his
lungs and turned to a consumption.

I will close the account of this remarkable year with a few
observations I made in France.

Louis the Fifteenth did not want sense, and had as much humanity as was
consistent with insensibility and indolence. The first prevented him
from suspecting evils that did not immediately fall under his eye;
and the latter from inquiring what oppressions his people suffered.
He was more shy than reserved, and all these qualities tended to
make him the slave of habit. He hated new faces rather than loved
old servants. Being free from ambition, having no appetite for glory
of any kind, and impressed with sentiments of devotion, he preferred
peace, and listened to any overtures of treaty, whether victorious or
vanquished. To the Queen he had been for many years strictly constant;
was always a civil husband, and, in her last illness, a tender one. To
his children he was most affectionate.[195] To his mistresses profuse,
but capable of harshness whenever he quitted them. Cardinal Fleury
governed him with unbounded authority. Madame de Pompadour, by art, and
at last by complaisance in procuring other women for him, engrossed
him entirely, but with no hold on his affections, for her death made
not the slightest impression on him.[196] The Duc de Choiseul having
been placed by her, succeeded to the ascendant that habit gives, and
thence excluded other favourites, rather than became one himself. The
King’s life was regulated by the most mechanic sameness. An hour or
two he could not deny to his Ministers: hunting took up the rest of
daylight. Women amused his private hours: cards and a supper, with
a select company, concluded the evening. All the flattery of that
vain and obsequious nation, who love themselves in their kings, gave
him no pleasure. It was a negative kind of nature that could neither
be totally spoiled nor amended. But the true picture of him was an
anecdote, that I learned from good authority. A sensible confident
of Cardinal Fleury reproached him with not making the King apply to
business. This was the answer of that wise Minister: “I have often
endeavoured what you recommend; and one day went so far as to tell
the King that there had been kings dethroned in France for their
_fainéantise_.” It seemed to strike him deeply. He made no reply: but
two days afterwards said to me, “I have been reflecting on what you
told me of some of my predecessors being deposed--pray resolve me: when
the nation deposed them, were they allotted large pensions?” “From that
moment,” said the Cardinal, “I saw it was in vain to labour at making
him a great King.”

The Queen was not only a pious but a good woman. Indifferent to the
gallantries of her husband, and free from ambition, she lived well with
him, his mistresses, and ministers. Fond of talking and universally
obliging, the nation thought her void of any particular attachment; yet
she showed an unalterable friendship to the Duchess de Luynes: and her
affection to her father, King Stanislas, and the loss of her son the
Dauphin undoubtedly hastened her death. Though she could not prevent
the expulsion of the Jesuits, the King’s esteem for her mitigated
their fall. It was to the honour of both that, though the daughters
of Stanislas and Augustus, the Queen and the Dauphiness lived in
uninterrupted harmony.

The Dauphin, who died while I was in France, was totally unknown till
his death. His great caution of not giving jealousy to his father,
and his respectable fear of not alarming the bigotry of his mother
and wife, had made him conceal both his good sense and the freedom of
his sentiments with such care, that the former was not suspected; and
the latter was so unknown, that the nation, now running with their
usual vehemence into any new opinion, and, consequently, growing
Freethinkers, believed and hated him as an enthusiast. Yet he had a
good understanding, had carefully, though secretly, cultivated it, and
was a modern philosopher in the largest sense of that term. During
his illness, which continued many weeks, he seemed neither to regret
his youth nor hopes; was patient, complaisant, and indulgent; and
a few days before his death gave proof of his good sense and good
nature. A man of quality that attended him had the brutal absurdity
to solicit him to ask some favour, on his behalf, of the King, “who,”
said the person, “can refuse your Royal Highness nothing in your
present condition.” The Dauphin laughed at the indelicacy, but would
not divulge the name of the man. To please his family the Prince went
through all the ceremonies of the Church, but shewed to his attendants,
after they were over, how vain and ridiculous he thought them. Many
expressions he dropped in his last hours that spoke the freedom of his
opinions; and to the Duc de Nivernois he said, he was glad to leave
behind him such a book as Mr. Hume’s Essays.[197]

The Dauphiness, with whom he lived on the best terms, he had, however,
no fondness for: his first wife had been far more dear to him. The
second was morose and ungracious; and, dying in a year after her
husband, was not at all regretted. In her last moments, having sharply
reprimanded the Duchesse de Lauragais, the latter, turning to another
lady, said, “Cette Princesse est si bonne, qu’elle veut que personne ne
la regrette.”[198]

The Duc de Choiseul, the Prime Minister, was a man of excellent parts,
but of a levity and indiscretion, which most of that nation divest
themselves of before his age, or when they enter into business. Except
the hours which he spent with the King, the rest of his life was
dissipation, pleasure, profuseness, and bons mots. Rash, daring, and
presumptuous; good-humoured, but neither good nor ill-natured; frank,
gay, and thoughtless, he seemed the Sovereign more than the Minister of
a mighty kingdom. Scorning, rather than fearing, his enemies, he seldom
undermined and seldom punished them. He dissipated the nation’s wealth
and his own; but did not repair the latter by plunder of the former.
Mr. Pitt’s superiority he could never digest nor forgive; and though
he was incapable of little mischief in his own country, great crimes
had rather a charm for him. He excited the war between the Russians and
Turks, to be revenged on the Czarina; and I saw him exult childishly in
his own house on her first defeats. At last he descended to the mean
and cruel oppression of Corsica, for the sake of gathering a diminutive
laurel, after being baffled in the large war. Gallantry without
delicacy was his constant pursuit. His wife, the most perfect character
of her sex, loved him to idolatry;[199] but, though a civil husband,
he spared her no mortification that his carelessness could inflict.
His sister, the Duchesse de Grammont, too openly connected with him by
more ties than of blood, had absolute influence over him, and exerted
it cruelly and grossly to insult the Duchesse de Choiseul, who, more
than once, was on the point of retiring into a convent, though without
the least belief of the doctrines held there. Madame de Grammont, who
had none of the accomplishments that graced the small but harmonious
figure of the Duchesse de Choiseul, had masculine sense, and almost
masculine manners. She was wonderfully agreeable when she pleased, a
vehement friend, a rude and insolent enemy. The nation revered and
neglected the wife; detested and bowed to the sister. The Minister had
crushed the Jesuits, for he loved sudden strokes of _éclat_; and, to
carry that measure, had countenanced the Parliaments till they grew
almost too ungovernable. But as he seldom acted on deep system, he
sometimes took up a tone of authority, and as quickly relaxed it--a
conduct that confounded the nation and a little the Parliaments; but
that war from thoughtlessness, or to ruin a rival, the Duc d’Aiguillon,
he chiefly left to the latter; and he could not have left it to worse
hands. Proud, ambitious, vindictive, and void of honour or principle,
the Duc d’Aiguillon, with very moderate parts, aimed at power with
the Crown, by being the Minister of its tyranny.[200] The infamous
oppression exercised on that undaunted man, M. de la Chalotais,[201]
flowed from the revenge of this Duc, who, to carry his point, lent
himself even to the exploded Jesuits: and though that connection could
be no secret to the Duc de Choiseul, he suffered rather than encouraged
a plan that clashed so much with the service he had rendered to his
country by abolishing the Order. Nor was it to his honour that shame
and the outcry of mankind rescued M. de la Chalotais, rather than the
justice of the Prime Minister.[202]

The Parliaments of France were filled with many great, able, and
steady magistrates. The philosophy and studies of the age had opened
their eyes on the rights of mankind; and they attempted with heroic
firmness to shake off the chains that galled their country. Yet a
distinction should be made between the magistrates and the men called
or calling themselves philosophers. The latter were really a set of
authors and beaux esprits, who, aping the sentiments of Montesquieu,
Rousseau, and Voltaire, especially of the latter, endeavoured to raise
themselves to an independent rank, to a kind of legislation in the
community. After attacking and throwing off Christianity, they ran
wildly into the fondest and most absurd doctrines of the old Greek
philosophers; and, with the lightness of their own nation, and prompted
by arrogance and love of pre-eminent singularity, they wrote atheism
with little reserve, and talked it without any. The chief of these vain
and loquacious witlings were D’Alembert,[203] Diderot, and that puny
writer Marmontel. I am sorry to add to the list the name of a far
more amiable and more profound man, M. Buffon, though, except in their
indecent petulance, he too much resembled the rest of his cotemporaries
in his sentiments. The women, who hurry into any new fashion, and then
lead it, talked of matter and metaphysics with as little caution and as
much ignorance as their directors. The magistrates of the Parliaments
were very different men. Sober on the religion of their country,
they meddled with it no farther than as it interfered with liberty;
and few of them were so audacious in their most private conversation
as to adopt the abominable licentiousness of the men I have been
describing. But if they were decent on religion, they had not the
same prudence in the conduct of their civil views. Heated by the term
_Parliament_, they chose to believe, at least to inculcate the belief,
that they were possessed of the rights of a British Senate. Nothing
could be more meritorious than a struggle for such a system. But the
Parliaments of France were not only nothing but courts of judicature,
but the pretension was too early and too untimely to be yet pushed.
As I had some friends in the Parliament of Paris, I remonstrated to
them on the danger they ran of over-turning an excellent cause by
their precipitation. To obtain solidly and step by step some material
concessions, was the conduct they should have pursued. Whatever little
they should so attain would be a benefit to the nation; time and
precedent might add more. A minority or national distress would have
opened a wider door; but by setting out with unbounded pretensions,
unfounded in their Constitution, they warned the Crown to be on its
guard; and, what was worse, they could depend on no support but in
their own courage and in that uncertain resource, patriotic martyrdom.
The Crown, popular in France whenever it pleases, and almost in any
country, and powerful without popularity in that country, could not
but regard their pretensions with the eye of jealousy. The nobility,
ignorant, haughty, and willing to be tyrannized over by _one_ that they
might be authorized to tyrannize over _thousands_, were, and must be,
disinclined to the extension of subordinate jurisdiction. The clergy
were the natural and now the provoked enemies of the Parliaments. The
military are seldom captivated by any franchises but their own; are
devoted to the Crown, and led by, and composed of, the nobility: nor
did the Parliaments take any pains to make a schism in the soldiery.
Even the people, who would taste most benefit from acquisitions to
liberty, were disinclined to the Parliaments. The Presidents purchase
their charges, and enjoy them with a[204] state and haughtiness that
is ill-relished by the commonalty. Able manifestos were slight arms
against such a combination of prejudices. While I staid in France I
had an opportunity of seeing with what a momentary breath the Crown
could puff away a cloud and tempest of remonstrances. Being pushed too
home, the King, suddenly and very early in the morning, appeared in
the Chamber of Parliament. The Magistrates were in bed, were summoned,
and found the King surrounded with his guards, and with all the
apparatus of majesty. He commanded four of his Ministers to take their
seats at his feet in a place where they had no right. He called for
the registers, tore out their remonstrances, enjoined silence to the
Parliament, and departed. In the street he met the Sacrament, alighted
from his coach, knelt in the dirt, and received the blessings of all
the old beggar-women. By night the consternation was universal; no man
dropped a word, unless in commendation of the King’s firmness. The
Magistrates sighed, but respectfully. The philosophers were frightened
out of their senses. In a few months the Parliaments recovered their
spirit, and the Court again temporized. Yet when their memorials had
been read, and had their vogue in common with the poems and operas of
the week, the sensation ceased, and lettres de cachet lost nothing of
their vigour.

There was scarce a man of quality in France above the rank of president
that countenanced the cause. There was one of the blood royal that
affected to be their protector; but too much despised by the Court, too
inconsiderable and too half-witted to hurt anybody but himself. This
was the Prince of Conti. Handsome and royal in his figure, gracious
at times, but arrogant and overbearing, luxurious and expensive,
he had gathered together a sort of Court of those who had no hopes
at the King’s, but without the power of giving or receiving any
support. Confused in his ideas, yet clear in his opinion of superior
intelligence, he was at once diffuse and incomprehensible. The little
tyrant of a puny circle, he gave himself for the patron of liberty. No
man would have carried his own privileges farther. The Court took no
umbrage at such a foe.[205]

It could not but be a singular satisfaction to me to find in so adverse
a nation so few men whose abilities were formidable. One or two of
the subordinate Ministers were men of domestic and civil address. The
Prince de Soubise, a sensible man of fair character, who enjoyed the
most personal favour with the King, and, it was thought, might be
Minister if he pleased, had no ambition.[206] The Maréchal d’Estrèes
was a good-humoured old nurse;[207] the Maréchal de Broglie[208] as
empty a man, except in the theory of discipline, as ever I knew. The
Comte, his brother, who had more parts, had not enough to make them
useful;[209] and both brothers were in disgrace. The Marquess de
Castries,[210] a good officer, was not on any terms with Choiseul,
and was no deep genius. The Duc de Praslin, the Minister’s cousin,
was ill-tempered and disagreeable, and far from possessing superior
abilities.[211] The clergy were at a low ebb. The Archbishop of
Toulouse, reckoned the most rising of the order, was aspiring and
artful, but absorbed in his own attention to intrigue, which gave
him an air of absence. He was only considerable by comparison.[212]
He and many of his order did not disguise their contempt for their
own religion. As the women who had most sway were Freethinkers, a
fashionable clergyman was by consequence an infidel. The ablest man I
knew, and he as indiscreet as the Duc de Choiseul, was the old Comte
de Maurepas. Lively, gay, and agreeable, he seemed to feel no regret
for his disgrace, though he ought to have blushed at the imprudence
that occasioned it. He had not only caused to be written, but himself,
at his own table at Versailles, before a large company, had sung, a
severe ballad on Madame de Pompadour. His fall and a long exile were
the consequence. To make his ruin irrecoverable, she persuaded the King
that he had poisoned a former mistress, the Duchesse de Chateauroux.
From the same animosity, Madame de Pompadour had diverted a large sum
that Maurepas had destined to re-establish their marine. Knowing his
enmity to this country, I told him, and the compliment was true, that
it was fortunate for England that he had been so long divested of


  Death of the Pretender.--Intrigues against the Ministry.--Debates on
    the Stamp Act, and the Petition from America.--First Speech of Mr.
    Edmund Burke.--Character of his Oratory.--Mr. William Burke.

On the first day of the year died at Albano that sport of fortune, the
Chevalier de St. George, better known by the appellation of the Old
Pretender. He had not only outlived his hopes, but almost all those
who had given him any hopes. His party was dwindled to scarce any
but Catholics; and though he left two sons, his line was verging to
extinction. The second son was actually a Cardinal; the elder, sunk in
drunkenness, despair, and neglect at Bouillon.[214] His father’s death
seemed a little to reanimate him: but that revival was but waking to
new mortification. The Court of France did not even put on mourning for
the father; and when Prince Charles determined to set out for Rome, the
Pope despatched a courier to prevent him. The Roman nobility were not
fond of being preceded even by a phantom of royalty; and both they
and the College of Cardinals were apprehensive of the sottishness and
rashness of the young man. The Pope dreaded the resentment of England,
and feared an order to prohibit English travellers from visiting
Rome; a mighty source of wealth to that city. And he,[215] who had so
obstinately protected the Jesuits against the threats of France and
Spain, and who at last sacrificed part of his dominions[216] to his
zeal for the Order, had the timidity to renounce the most meritorious
martyr of the Church, rather than expose himself to the very uncertain
vengeance of a heretic Court. The Young Pretender persisted in his
journey: the Pope as pertinaciously refused to acknowledge him for
King of England; yet with the additional absurdity of continuing to
style him Prince of Wales--though he could not be the latter without
becoming the former. To such complete humiliation was reduced that ever
unfortunate house of Stuart, now at last denied that empty sound of
royalty by that Church and Court for which they had sacrificed three
kingdoms! Pathetically might the Prince have exclaimed,

  “Hic pietatis honos! sic nos in sceptra reponis!”

The Cardinal of York ceded to his brother the annuity he received from
the Pope, whose only bounty, whose only grace was restricted to the
allowance of that exchange.

About the same time died Frederick the Fifth, King of Denmark, in the
forty-second year of his age:[217] a good prince and beloved, and void
of any capital fault but that northern vice drunkenness. If we may
believe the history of that kingdom, no nation has been blessed with so
many humane sovereigns. It is more remarkable that they have not grown
worse since they became absolute.

Before, and during the adjournment of the Parliament, the Ministers
perceived how little they could flatter themselves with the stability
of their situation. From being persecuted by both factions of the old
and new Administration, Lord Bute began to assume the style of holding
the balance between both. He meant at least to show the new Ministers,
that while they disdained to humble themselves before him, the success
of their measures would be precarious. The Crown itself seemed
inclined to consign its numbers to him against its own measures--a
wise equilibrium, that either way produced confusion to its interests.
Before Christmas, the Favourite had held a council of his creatures
at the Earl of Northumberland’s; the meeting consisted of eighteen
Lords and Commoners, and in the latter number was Charles Townshend.
Dinners were afterwards given to twenty-five Lords by Bute himself,
and others to the Commons by Lord Litchfield. And lest mankind should
misapprehend the part the Favourite intended to take on the Stamp Act,
Lord Denbigh, his standard-bearer, and Augustus Hervey, asked audiences
of the King, and leave to resign their places, as they purposed to
vote against the repeal. The farce was carried on by the King, and to
prevent any panic in those who might have a mind to act the same part,
his Majesty told them, that they _were at liberty to vote against him
and keep their places_. This was, in effect, ordering his servants to
oppose his Ministers. The latter, on this exigence, consulted Mr. Pitt,
desired his advice for their conduct on the Stamp Act, and invited him
to take the lead in their Administration. He replied, with his usual
haughtiness, that he would give no advice but to his Majesty or the
Parliament; that he would never sit at Council with Newcastle;[218]
and should think himself obliged to offer the Treasury to Lord Temple;
and that there must be _other_ arrangements. Those arrangements, he
intimated, were, that whether Lord Temple accepted the Treasury or
not, Lord Rockingham must not expect to continue there.

This answer being reported to the Council, who had obtained the King’s
permission to make the overture, gave great offence, particularly to
Newcastle, who found himself proscribed; and to Rockingham, who cared
not whether he were proscribed or not, if he was to be divested of the
Treasury. It was warmly decided that it would wound the King’s honour
to send any more messages to a man who had thus often rejected his
Majesty’s condescension. But though this message had been suffered, it
had by no means had the King’s approbation, who now no longer wished
that Mr. Pitt should unite with the present Ministers; and it was as
little his intention to bind himself by the rules they prescribed
to his honour. He did not despair of gaining Mr. Pitt alone and
unconnected, who, the King and the Favourite flattered themselves,
would be more complaisant than either of the factions. If indulged
in his foreign plans, he was less likely than any man to interfere
in the scheme of domestic power. Anything was to be sacrificed to
accommodate the Favourite, to save his creatures, and to preserve his
influence. Could that be maintained, the Crown would be rewarded with
new extension of the prerogative. This reciprocal view was the key to
all the secrets of the closet, was the source of all the indignities
past, of the disgraceful fluctuation that ensued, and of all the
humiliations that fell on the King himself, who unfortunately had been
taught to prefer a forced authority to that which flows, and was so
disposed to flow, from the love of his subjects.

On the 14th of January the Houses met. Lord Villiers[219] and Mr.
Thomas Townshend moved the Addresses. Seymour and Bamber Gascoyne,
Nugent and Stanley, attacked the Ministers for their want of spirit
against the Americans, and for suffering the authority of Parliament
to be called in question by the rebellious Colonies. “The tax,” said
Stanley, “was not a twentieth part of what they could afford to
pay; but that was not the point: he had rather have a peppercorn to
acknowledge our sovereignty, than millions paid into the Treasury
without it.” As he was speaking, Mr. Pitt appeared in the House, and
took the first opportunity of opening his mind, not only on the Stamp
Act, but on the general situation of affairs. Though he had on other
occasions, perhaps, exerted more powers of eloquence (though he was
much admired now even in that light), yet the novelty and boldness of
his doctrines, the offence he gave by them at home, and the delirium
which they excited in America, made his speech rank in celebrity with
his most famous orations. For these reasons, and as the repeal of the
Stamp Act was the last great question on which he figured in the House
of Commons, I shall be more particular in the detail of it, having
received authentic notes from one that was present at the delivery, and
therefore more to be depended on than the printed copy.[220]

He had come to town that morning, he said, _unconcerted_ and
unconnected, and not having arrived early enough, desired to hear the
proposed Address read, which being done, he thought it, he said, a
very proper one, though he should wish to separate from it the unhappy
measure of the Stamp Act. No day had been so important since the
time, a little above a century ago, when it had been debated whether
we should be bond or free. More than ordinary circumspection was
requisite on that nice, difficult, and hardly debateable question.
Truth did extort from him that the compliment of _early_ applied to
the present meeting of Parliament did _not_ belong to the American
part of the question. _He_ would have called the Parliament sooner.
He then pronounced that _the House of Commons did not represent North
America_. It had, as the Legislature, not as representatives, taxed
North America. For him, the question was too hard; but, popular or
unpopular, he would do as he thought right. Was there a set of men in
this country by whom he had not been sacrificed? He saw before him a
set of gentlemen whom he respected--some of them his old acquaintance;
these were part of the Administration: but were there not other parts?
One day one man was uppermost, another day, another man. Was there not
an invisible influence from more quarters than one? No matter whence
they came, if they did mischief--God knew whither this country was
going! Had we not seen one Ministry changed after another, and passing
away like shadows? All that could be done for this country was to place
it in a safe situation. When he served his Majesty, he had mentioned it
as his advice that he wished to have that part of the Act of Settlement
enforced, which directs that every Minister should sign his opinion.
Liberty formerly was not made use of as a horse to ride into employment
upon; they rode into the field upon it, and left their bones there.
As he might be deprived by ill health from attending his duty in the
House when this question should come on, he begged leave to deliver his
opinion then. He would repeal the Stamp Act immediately, and accompany
it with a bill declaratory of their own high rights and privileges over
that country, which should be done upon the most extensive plan. But he
would repeat it, _That House had no right to lay an internal tax upon
America, that country not being represented_.

General Conway said, he had the honour of agreeing with almost every
word that had fallen from Mr. Pitt; but if there was any blame to be
cast for not meeting the Parliament sooner, he must bear it in common
with the rest of his Majesty’s servants who advised it. For himself
he had been unworthily and accidentally called to the high employment
he then bore; he had not studiously thrust himself into it, and could
assure the right honourable gentleman that he should think himself
happy to resign it to him whenever he should please to take it. Himself
had not made use of liberty to ride into employment; it was indifferent
to him, and he should be equally happy to turn his horse’s head and
ride out again.

Mr. Pitt assured him that he had not glanced at him in any word he had
uttered, he had too high an opinion of him. The only piece of advice
he would give Mr. Conway was not to be ridden, and he dared to say he
never would.[221]

Mr. Grenville said, the Stamp Act had been thoroughly considered, not
hurried at the end of a session. It had passed through the different
stages in full Houses with, he thought, only one division on it.
“Look,” said he, “into Magna Charta; you will see we have a right to
tax America; and that all laws are enacted by Commune Consilium Regni:
and will the honourable gentleman then say we have not a right”--He
was interrupted by Pitt; and, after some squabbling and explanation,
Grenville continued: “Why then I understand the gentleman’s opinion
to be, that you have a right on every other occasion except to lay an
internal tax”--Being again interrupted, Mr. Pitt begged to be indulged
in a few words by way of reply, and then, as was common with him,
launched out into a new harangue: “Though the gentleman,” said he, “is
armed at all points with Acts of Parliament, yet I will venture to say
that if he was to take the three first words that he might find in a
dictionary, they would be full as much to the purpose as his Commune
Consilium Regni. Does he consider that, at the time he speaks of, the
barons had all the land--though indeed the Church, God bless it! had
then a third, when the bishops, mitred abbots, and such things, had
influence? I laugh, sir, I laugh, when it is said this country cannot
coerce America; but will you do it upon a point that is intricate, and
in a matter of right that is disputed? Will you, after the Peace you
have made, and the small pittance of the fishery that is left you, will
you sheath your sword in the bowels of your brothers, the Americans?
You may coerce and conquer, but when they fall, they will fall like
the strong man embracing the pillars of this Constitution, and bury
it in ruin with them. Gentlemen may double down Acts of Parliament
till they are dogseared, it will have no effect upon me; I am past the
time of life to be turning to books to know whether I love liberty or
not. There are two or three lines of Prior applicable to the present
question, supposing America in the situation of a wife: they are these,
where he says--

  “‘Be to her faults a little blind,
    Be to her virtues very kind,
    And clap the padlock on her mind.’

“I don’t know how it is,” continued he, “when I had something to do
in advising, there were always three hundred gentlemen ready to be
of my opinion--I don’t know how it came about--perhaps it was their
modesty--I wish they would not be quite so modest. Indeed there was
one person who is now gone to the House of Lords, and sits there by an
old barony,[222] who was honest enough to disagree with me, and called
it _my_ German war: I have loved him ever since for being so honest
to speak his mind; I see his employment is taken from him; had I been
employed, he is one of the first persons I should have endeavoured
to keep in, for no other reason but because he had differed with me.
When I was in power, I do not doubt but I had friends who would have
advised me to burn my fingers, and would have recommended such a tax
as this. Look at past Ministers, and see what they thought of it.
Lord Halifax,[223] educated in this House, Lord Oxford,[224] Lord
Orford,[225] a great revenue minister, never thought of THIS. If you
had the right, it would be a fatal policy; for will not that people, if
they share your taxes, claim the right of manufactures, of free trade,
of every other privilege of the mother-country? An honourable gentleman
talked of a barleycorn; I say this tax is but a barleycorn--fifty
thousand pounds are but a barleycorn. Will you have your Treasury look
big at the expense of two millions? My ideas and knowledge of America
have been chiefly learnt from gentlemen of the army. There is not the
captain of a company of foot that is not fit to be a Governor of North
America. How can you depend upon Spain after the treatment she has
shown to that brave and gallant officer,[226] who has suffered for
his lenity towards them at the Manillas, and now feels their perfidy?
It were to be wished that the heart of every grandee in Spain beat as
high as his! In the situation things are, nobody can trade in North
America but a lawyer. I hate distinctions; I do not consider the soil
or the cradle where a man is nursed; I look for sense and wisdom, if
he has it. I have done all in my power to show I hate distinctions.
Before this war it was a measure not to trust the sword in the hands
of the northern part of his Majesty’s subjects; but the late war
convinced everybody what just praise they deserved for their conduct.”
Here he was called to order by Mr. Grenville, who said, “This is
not the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, or sixth time that the
honourable gentleman has mistaken or misrepresented. I have also been
misrepresented upon other subjects, particularly with regard to the
Spanish trade. I call upon gentlemen now in power to prove I gave any
orders to prevent that trade, or any other, but at the request of the
merchants themselves.” Here Mr. Grenville himself was called to order
by Lord Strange, who observed, how much Pitt and Grenville had led the
House astray from the debate; which Onslow excused by saying, that the
first day of a Session, when the King’s speech is debated, is always
understood to be a day of free conversation. Still much confusion
ensued; and at last the Chancellor of the Exchequer[227] said, in
answer to Grenville, that when accounts relative to trade should be
produced, they would prove to be in a melancholy state. Mr. Conway
said, that the explanation which Mr. Pitt had been pleased to give,
had relieved his mind; he considered from how high a drop fell that
fell from him, and what an effect it had upon the rest of the world. He
assured Mr. Pitt how ready he was, he would not say, to act with him,
but under him, and declared he knew at present of no hidden influence.
The Address passed without a negative.

Mr. Conway, then, by order of his Majesty, presented at the bar the
letters and different intelligence to and from America, and moved
to have them taken into consideration on the Thursday sevennight
following.[228] Mr. Rigby proposed to have them printed. Mr. Conway
observed, that those papers mentioned particular names of men and their
transactions, and therefore objected to the printing. Mr. Nugent said,
Too much had been done now to leave any room for secrecy; and Mr.
Conway gave it up. Huske[229] told the House very properly, that, if
they printed the names, they would never have any more intelligence: on
which the Attorney-General proposed, as was done on the inquiry into
the loss of Minorca, to print the papers, but omit names. It passed,
however, for printing all. The next day Sir George Saville, who had
been absent, and the Speaker,[230] who had been uneasy at the order for
printing the names, prevailed to have the order for the names revoked,
and the Speaker was entrusted with the supervisal.

Mr. Pitt’s speech, as I have said, gave great offence, and even to the
Scotch, though he had endeavoured to distinguish them from Lord Bute.
It was a greater disappointment to the late Ministers, who had not
expected that he would prove so favourable to their successors. Lord
Sandwich, so recently a persecutor of Wilkes and the press, had now
set up a most virulent and scurrilous paper, called Anti-Sejanus,[231]
written by one Scott, an hireling parson, and chiefly levelled at Lord
Bute. Concluding that Mr. Pitt did not approve of any men who enjoyed
the power at which he himself aimed, the new daily libel set out with
profuse encomiums on him. It now took a short turn, and involved Mr.
Pitt, too, in a medley of scurrility; but what with want of talents,
what with want of decency, this paper was one of those few vehicles of
ribaldry which was forced to put itself to death before the object of
its patron was answered.

On the 27th of January, Mr. Cooke, of Middlesex, presented a petition
from some of the North American provinces assembled in Congress,
against the Stamp Act. Jenkinson and Dyson, placemen, but creatures
of Lord Bute, opposed receiving it; as did Nugent and Ellis, who
called it a dangerous federal union. Dowdeswell, the new Chancellor
of the Exchequer, agreed with them, as there was nothing, he said,
in the petition, but what had been already received in others from
the separate provinces, and therefore he wished Cooke to withdraw
what he had offered. Mr. Pitt warmly undertook the protection of the
petition, which he affirmed was innocent, dutiful, and respectful. He
did not know the time, he said, when he had been counsellor to timid
councils; but on this occasion should have thought it happy to have
made this the first act of harmony. He painted the Americans as people
who, in an ill-fated hour, had left this country to fly from the Star
Chamber and High Commission Courts. The desert smiled upon them in
comparison of this country. It was the evil genius of this country
that had riveted amongst them this union, now called _dangerous and
federal_. He did not see but honest Wildman’s[232] or Newmarket might
be talked of in the same strain. This country upon occasion has its
meetings, and nobody objects to them; but the names of six or eight
Americans are to be big with danger. He could not guess, by the turn of
the debate, whether the Administration intended lenity or not. To him
lenity was recommended by every argument. He would emphatically hear
the Colonies upon this their petition. The right of representation and
taxation always went together and should never be separated. Except
for the principles of Government, records were out of the question.
“_You have broken_,” continued he, “_the original compact, if you have
not a right of taxation_.” The repeal of the Stamp Act was an inferior
consideration to receiving this petition.

Sir Fletcher Norton rose with great heat, and said, He could hardly
keep his temper at some words that had fallen from the right honourable
gentleman. He had said, that the original compact had been broken
between us and America, if the House had not the right of taxation.
Pitt rose to explain--Norton continued; “The gentleman now says, I
mistook his words; I do not now understand them.” Pitt interrupted him
angrily, and said, “I did say the Colony compact would be broken--and
what then?” Norton replied, “The gentleman speaks out now, and I
understand him; and if the House go along with me, the gentleman
will go to another place.”[233] Pitt at this looked with the utmost
contempt, tossed up his chin, and cried, “Oh! oh!--oh! oh!” “I will
bear that from no man,” said Norton: “changing their place, did not
make Englishmen change their allegiance. I say the gentleman sounds the
trumpet to rebellion; or would he have the strangers in the gallery go
away with these his opinions? He has chilled my blood at the idea.”
“The gentleman,” rejoined Pitt, “says I have chilled his blood: I shall
be glad to meet him in any place with the same opinions, when his blood
is warmer.”

Hussey, Colonel Barré, Thurlow, and, of the Ministerial people, Lord
Howe and Onslow, only were for hearing the petition; but Conway
objected, as it came from the Congress, and said, if the separate
petitions had been heard last year, this would not have happened now.
He wished to have the petition withdrawn, as he should be sorry to have
a negative put upon it. George Grenville insisted on the House deciding
as the question had been proposed. Burke, who maintained that the very
presentation of the petition was an acknowledgment of the right of the
House, declared for receiving it; but Lord John Cavendish and Alderman
Baker declaring they thought it of little importance; and the former
moving for the orders of the day, that motion was carried without a

There appeared in this debate a new speaker, whose fame for eloquence
soon rose high above the ordinary pitch. His name was Edmund Burke,
(whom I have just mentioned,) an Irishman, of a Roman Catholic family,
and actually married to one of that persuasion.[234] He had been
known to the public for a few years by his “Essay on the Sublime and
Beautiful,” and other ingenious works; but the narrowness of his
fortune had kept him down, and his best revenue had arisen from writing
for booksellers. Lord Rockingham, on being raised to the head of the
Treasury, had taken Burke for his private Secretary, as Mr. Conway
had his cousin William. Edmund immediately proved a bitter scourge to
George Grenville, whose tedious harangues he ridiculed with infinite
wit, and answered with equal argument. Grenville himself was not more
copious; but, with unexhausted fertility, Burke had an imagination
that poured out new ideas, metaphors, and allusions, which came forth
ready dressed in the most ornamental and yet the most correct language.
In truth, he was so fond of flowers, that he snatched them, if they
presented themselves, even from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. His wit, though
prepared, seldom failed him; his judgment often. Aiming always at the
brilliant, and rarely concise, it appeared that he felt nothing really
but the lust of applause. His knowledge was infinite, but vanity had
the only key to it; and though no doubt he aspired highly, he seemed
content when he had satisfied the glory of the day, whatever proved
the event of the debate. This kind of eloquence contented himself, and
often his party; but the House grew weary at length of so many essays.
Having come too late into public life, and being too conceited to
study men whom he thought his inferiors in ability, he proved a very
indifferent politician--the case of many men I have known, who have
dealt too much in books or a profession: they apply their knowledge to
objects to which it does not belong, and think it as easy to govern
men, when they rise above them, as they found when themselves were
lower and led their superiors by flattery. It is perhaps more expedient
for a man of mean birth to be humble after his exaltation than before.
Insolence is more easily tolerated in an inferior, than in an inferior
mounted above his superiors.[235]

William Burke, the cousin of Edmund, wrote with ingenuity and
sharpness; and both of them were serviceable to the new Administration,
by party papers. But William, as an orator, had neither manner nor
talents, and yet wanted little of his cousin’s presumption.[236]
Edmund, though the idol of his party, had nothing of the pathetic
and imposing dignity of Pitt, though possessed of far more knowledge,
and more reasoning abilities. But Pitt could awe those whom he could
no longer lead, and never seemed _greater_ than when abandoned by
all. Charles Townshend, who had studied nothing accurately or with
attention, had parts that embraced all knowledge with such quickness,
that he seemed to create knowledge instead of searching for it; and,
ready as Burke’s wit was, it appeared artificial when set by that
of Charles Townshend, which was so abundant, that in him it seemed
a loss of time to think. He had but to speak, and all he said was
new, natural, and yet uncommon. If Burke replied extempore, his very
answers, that sprang from what had been said by others, were so painted
and artfully arranged, that they wore the appearance of study and
preparation: like beautiful translations, they seemed to want the soul
of the original author. Townshend’s speeches, like the Satires of
Pope, had a thousand times more sense and meaning than the majestic
blank verse of Pitt; and yet, the latter, like Milton, stalked with a
conscious dignity of pre-eminence, and fascinated his audience with
that respect which always attends the pompous but often hollow idea of
the sublime.


  Irksome Position of the Ministers.--Debate on Five Resolutions on
    American Affairs.--The Ministers triumph on the first Resolution.--
    Continuation of the Debate.--Pitt’s eccentric Conduct.--Mr.
    Grenville moves an Address to the King, to enforce the Laws.--
    Opposed strenuously by Pitt.--Violent Scene in the House.--Double
    Dealing of George III.--Warm Debate on the Production of Papers.

The situation of the Ministers became every day more irksome and
precarious. On the last day of January they carried a question by so
small a majority, that, according to Parliamentary divination, it
had all the aspect of an overthrow. Mr. Wedderburne had presented a
Scotch petition, and moved to have it heard on that day month. The
Ministers, disinclined to it, proposed to defer it for six weeks, and
prevailed but by 148 against 139;[237] the Grooms of the Bedchamber,
Lord Strange, Chancellor of the Duchy, Lord Mount Stewart,[238] Dyson,
and even Lord George Sackville,[239] so recently preferred by the
Ministers, being in the minority, and Charles Townshend declining to
vote. To shake the credit of the Ministers, at least to humble them by
promoting a vigorous Opposition to their measures, Lord Bute’s agents
affectedly sought the company of the discontented chiefs, and hung out
to them hopes of Lord Bute’s support. His greatest dread was union
against him; his constant and repeated practice, to break and divide
all parties and connections. In the crisis of which I am speaking, he
was particularly anxious to prevent the junction of Mr. Pitt and the
Ministers. The latter, notwithstanding so many unpromising appearances,
and having nothing to fear but the loss of their places if firm, of
their characters if they temporized, maintained their ground, and

On February the 3rd Mr. Secretary Conway, in consequence of the papers
that had been delivered and read in the Committee, proposed to vote
five resolutions, which, he said, the world would expect in consequence
of the notices laid before Parliament. A friend to the Americans he
professed himself; but begged not to be understood to pledge himself
for future measures, nor even for the repeal of the Stamp Act; yet
could he but feel for that country, to whose miseries nothing was
wanting but a scene of blood, and whose language was the language of
despair? He thought them to blame; but he thought them pardonable. “The
other day,” said he, “all had been peace and harmony in that country.
All order of things had been reversed since the Stamp Act. The late
Acts of Parliament had been so many repeated blows on those people.
Look at other countries; they never bear fresh taxes. There was even
then uneasinesses in the Colonies of our enemies. The richest provinces
had been thrown away by the imposition of new taxes. He would mention
the grievances of America historically, as the Sugar Act, and the
swarms of cutters to interrupt the Spanish dollar trade. This Act was
false in its principles, and dangerous in its policy. Himself should
never be for internal taxes, and would sooner cut off his hand, than
sign an order for sending out force to maintain them.” He then read the
following resolutions:--

First.--That Great Britain had, hath, and ought to have full right and
power to bind the Americans in all cases whatsoever.

Second.--That tumults have been carried on.

Third.--That the votes of the assemblies are illegal.

Fourth.--Humbly to address his Majesty to bring the authors of riots to
condign punishment.

Fifth.--To address, that the sufferers by riots be compensated.

He added, that he looked on the right of taxation as a point of law;
Parliament might take it up. If he was to be called to account for
his letters, he repeated it again, he would do anything but exert
military force. Whenever the blow should come, he would stand on his
defence, and meet it like a man, with all the firmness of justice, and
indifference of innocence.

Stanley spoke for supporting the dignity of the Constitution, and
quoted Mr. Legge for having had views of raising assistance from
America; which country, he had thought, ought to maintain its own army.
Charles Yorke said, if it was impossible to carry the Stamp Act into
execution, it was better to repeal it; the House might make free with
its own work. Yet he talked much of the omnipotence of Parliament, and
said, “Lord Coke had declared he did not know how to set bounds to its
power. Our right was entire, supported by forms of precedents, and the
language of the Constitution. The moment one part of the Legislature
was given up, no friend would trust you, no enemy would fear you.”
This trimming speech was ridiculed by Beckford. He saw, he said, no
infallibility in an Act of Parliament: the learned gentleman had quoted
nothing fairly; lawyers never did. He would prophecy, that the moment
the Stamp Act should be repealed, it would be like the quarrels of
lovers, the renewal of love. Nugent said, the subjects who went from
this country, had carried with them their privileges, but had left
their duty behind. Dr. Blackstone, an able writer, but an indifferent
speaker, declared, _Tory_ as he was, that Parliament had no right to
impose internal taxes. Hussey pleaded for the Colonies, and urged that
internal taxes had never been carried so far as by the Stamp Act. The
House ought to have said, “Pay, or we will tax you.” To this hardship
had been added that of taking away their trials by juries. He advised
to exercise legislation with justice and humanity; and concluded,
that Parliament ought to consider less the acts of the Americans,
than their own. Wedderburne was as warm for sticking to fundamentals,
as Hussey had been temperate. Burke, allowing the right of taxation,
and that their own charters were against the Americans, was yet for
temporizing, according to the variation of circumstances, the neglect
of which had brought Ministers into disgrace. Principles should be
subordinate to Government. The Stamp Act, on account of the dignity of
the mischief it had produced, required the discussion of a particular
debate. Lord Frederick Campbell objected to distinctions between theory
and practice, which, he said, had brought on the Revolution. If the
Americans carried with them their liberty, how came it that the King in
Council had a right to tax them? Colonel Barré talked of the Americans
as worse treated than French or Spanish provinces. The Chancellor of
the Exchequer said, that the Parliament’s power of taking away their
charters gave it a right of taxation; but to repeal the Act would be a
safer way.

George Grenville, who had reserved all his fire for Conway, attacked
him with the utmost animosity. The Americans had been blameable, but
were pardonable according to the Secretary of State. For his part, he
did not think rebellion pardonable. He had never advised to resist
taxes; had never advised people to stand to their tackle and resist.
Was there not an order under the gentleman’s own hand, in papers on the
table, to send a military force? and yet, forsooth, he would sooner cut
off that hand! His insinuation was void of truth; there were no cutters
sent to the West Indies; no such orders to cruize on the Spanish trade.
He had proposed, and now called on the House to fix a day for inquiring
into that affair. For shame! let it not be repeated any more. First let
the business be done, and then let it be known by whose fault affairs
had been brought to the present crisis.

Mr. Pitt made another oration on general liberty, and in favour of
the Colonies, but not various enough from the former to demand being
particularized. Sir Fletcher Norton answered him with equal warmth--and
then burst out such a confutation of the lies Mr. Grenville had been
venting, that it was wonderful how even _his_ pallid features could
quench the blush of shame. Conway acquainted the House that he had two
letters in his hand, one from Sir William Burnaby,[240] acquainting
him that the Spanish trade could not go on under the present
regulations; and he offered to read them to the House, or give them
to Mr. Grenville himself. “I may be _mistaken_,” said Conway; “but he
shall not say I _misrepresent_.” Grenville still repeated that there
were no such orders given to regulate that trade. Admiral Keppel said,
he could take upon himself to affirm that that trade had suffered;
and Huske undertook to prove to the House, that orders had been given
by the Treasury under Mr. Grenville’s Administration, relative to the
restrictions laid on the Spanish trade: and Mr. Grenville had no more
to say. At near three in the morning the question was put, and the
first resolution was carried without a division, Mr. Pitt’s, and four
or five voices only, dissenting: the rest of the propositions were
adjourned to another day.[241]

In the House of Lords the Opposition ran the Ministers nearer, and even
carried one or two questions by majorities of four and five. Lord Bute
himself, almost acting patriotism, said, Nothing should oblige him to
be for the King’s wish if he did not approve the measures of the King’s
Ministers. In the House of Commons the sittings were long, repeated,
and full of warmth; but the Ministers, supported by the popularity of
the measure, and by the ascendant of Pitt, (which never appeared more
conspicuously, though eccentric,) pursued their point, and weak as
they were from the treachery of the Court, from their own inexperience,
and from deficiency of great talents, were able to weather the various
storms that concurred, and concurred only, for their destruction.[242]

On the 5th the House went again on the resolutions. To the second
Dyson proposed to add, _whereby the execution of an Act of the last
session of Parliament has in such provinces been defeated_. This was
opposed, particularly by Mr. Pitt, though he said his support could be
of little _efficacy_ to American liberty, standing as he did almost
naked in that House, like a primæval parent, naked, because innocent;
naked, because not ashamed. Elliot declared for moderating rather than
for repealing the Act, and Grenville himself agreed that it might be
altered; on which Burke triumphed and taunted him: and Pitt, to whom
Grenville had made compliments, declaring that there he would make
his stand, the amendment was withdrawn. The third resolution passed
without contradiction. The fourth, Conway himself offered to give
up, as too severe; and Pitt, with encomiums on his constitutional
lenity, encouraging him to depart from it, it was withdrawn. The
fifth occasioned more debate. Nugent proposed to correct the words,
_recommend to governors to recompense the sufferers_, and to
substitute the word _require_; and the Master of the Rolls declaring
the whole resolution illegal, as the House could not recommend in cases
of money, that motion, too, was given up. Grenville proposed others
for compensation, protection, and indemnification to the officers of
the revenue, &c. Pitt went away, after highly praising the Ministers,
protesting how desirous he was of agreeing with them, and assuring
them that, as far as he could support them, they might depend on his
support. Grenville’s motions carried on the debate for two hours more;
when both sides, fearing to divide, and Elliot moderating, Grenville
was, with much difficulty, persuaded to suffer the amendment of his
motions. Those questions and alterations may be found in the journals;
nor do I pretend to great accuracy in words of that sort: the sense and
substance I mean to give, the forms may be collected by historians, or
corrected by critics. It is the business of the former, the existence
of the latter, to be nice in minutiæ.[243]

On the 7th of February the Opposition determined to try their strength.
Mr. Conway acquainted the Committee that though the voluminous
quantity of his correspondences prevented his being able as yet to lay
them before the House; still that they deserved the most important
consideration, as representing the deplorable state of that unfortunate
country, America, where all was anarchy and confusion--without courts,
without laws, without justice; and yet he had not heard a breath of
disloyalty,--it was the countenance of despair. They looked upon their
trade and liberty as gone; and yet he thought it his duty to acquaint
the House that one of his correspondents was of opinion that the Stamp
Act might still be carried into execution.

Mr. Grenville, untouched and unmoved by so calamitous a picture, moved
to address the King to give orders for enforcing the laws, and for
carrying all Acts of the English Parliament into execution. Charles
Townshend, making a merit of not having declared his opinion on the
repeal, approved the Address, and yet disliked the latter words, which
could be interpreted to be levelled at nothing but the Stamp Act.
This was much extended by Burke; faintly taken up by Yorke; and the
motion supported on the other side by Jenkinson and Norton. Mr. Pitt,
who arrived under extreme pain, argued against the proposed Address
with unusual strength of argument, and demonstrated the absurdity of
enforcing an Act which in a very few days was likely to be repealed.
He encouraged a division rather than the admission of such an Address.
Such a question, followed by such a majority as he foresaw would
be against the Address, would show the weakness of the wisdom, and
the weakness of the numbers of those who proposed and approved it.
Supposing orders should be sent out immediately, in consequence of such
an Address, to enforce the Act, the scene that would ensue would make
the Committee shudder; what could follow but bloodshed, and military
execution in support of a law, which perhaps might be repealed in a
week’s time, and our Governors abroad might go on enforcing it after it
was repealed? When he was Secretary of State, the fleet lay wind-bound
in the Channel for nine or eleven weeks--what would be the consequence
of such an event now? He pressed Grenville to withdraw his motion; and
then, excusing himself on his illness, went away.

Grenville, as obdurate as the winds of which Pitt had talked, and
who, having checked a glorious war, seemed to promise himself other
triumphs over his countrymen, expatiated on the haughtiness of Pitt,
and denounced curses on the Ministers that should sacrifice the
sovereignty of Britain over her Colonies. Conway retorted on the
inhumanity of Grenville, and that sort of intrepidity that menaced two
millions of people, who were not in a situation to revenge themselves;
and by apt allusion to Grenville’s remorseless despotism, told him
that Count d’Ocyras,[244] the most intrepid Minister that ever was,
had yet rescinded the duties in the Brazils. In confirmation of Mr.
Pitt’s arguments, he told the House the packet would depart in two
days; was it advisable to let it carry this precipitate, and perhaps
useless Address to America? useless, if the Stamp Act was repealed,
as he avowed he hoped it would be. Nugent argued on the danger of
giving way; on the spirit of resistance this would infuse into the
Irish; and on the contempt with which France would treat our demands,
if we knew not how to govern our own subjects. The resolutions of the
House, unenforced, would, he said, be holding a harlequin’s sword over
the heads of the Colonists. Lord Granby declared for, and Sir George
Saville against, the Address. Beckford was bitter on Grenville; and
Norton so abusive on Yorke, that Sir Alexander Gilmour told him, in
his own famous phrase, that he could have kept company with nothing
but _drunken porters_. Colonel Onslow with more good humour, said, he
looked upon the altercation between the two learned gentleman (Yorke
and Norton) as a race for the Chancellorship. Much personal heat,
however, ensued, and put an end to the debate, when the motion for
leaving the Chair, which had been proposed by Yorke, was carried (and
the Address consequently rejected) by 274 to 134; the very majority
being greater than the whole amount of the Opposition; though Lord
Bute’s friends and all the Scotch and the Tories, and Lord Granby,
and near a dozen of the King’s own servants, voted in the minority.
It was matter of ridicule, that in the lists given out by Lord
Sandwich, _their_ faction had been estimated at 130; and Lord Bute’s
tools had vaunted that he could command fourscore or ninety votes.
The astonishment and mortification of Grenville and the Bedfords were
unequalled. They had quarrelled with and defied the Favourite when they
were in power; and were now seeking and courting his support, when he
seemed to have lost his power almost as much as they had.

The Ministers, however triumphant, were with reason disgusted at the
notorious treachery of the Court; and remonstrated to the King on
the behaviour of his servants. Evasions and professions were all the
replies; but no alteration of conduct in consequence. On the contrary,
within two days after the last division in the House of Commons, a
scene broke forth that exhibited a duplicity, at once so artful, and
yet so impolitic, so narrow-minded in its views, and so dangerous in
its tendency, that the warmest partizans of royalty, of the Princess,
and of the Favourite, will never be able to efface the stain. What
crooked counsels, and how insincere the mind, which could infuse or
imbibe such lessons!

Lord Strange, one of the placemen who opposed the repeal of the Stamp
Act, having occasion to go into the King on some affair of his office,
the Duchy of Lancaster, the King said, he heard it was reported in the
world, that he (the King) was for the repeal of that Act. Lord Strange
replied, that idea did not only prevail, but that his Majesty’s
Ministers did all that lay in their power to encourage that belief,
and that their great majority had been entirely owing to their having
made use of his Majesty’s name. The King desired Lord Strange to
contradict that report, assuring him it was not founded. Lord Strange
no sooner left the closet than he made full use of the authority he had
received, and trumpeted all over the town the conversation he had had
with the King. So extraordinary a tale soon reached the ear of Lord
Rockingham, who immediately asked Lord Strange if it was true what
the King was reported to have said to him? The other confirmed it. On
that, Lord Rockingham desired the other to meet him at Court, when they
both went into the closet together. Lord Strange began, and repeated
the King’s words; and asked if he had been mistaken? The King said,
“No.” Lord Rockingham then pulled out a paper, and begged to know, if
on such a day (which was minuted down on the paper) his Majesty had
not determined for the repeal? Lord Rockingham then stopped. The King
replied, “My Lord, this is but half;” and taking out a pencil, wrote
on the bottom of Lord Rockingham’s paper words to this effect: “The
question asked me by my Ministers, was, whether I was for enforcing the
Act by the sword, or for the repeal? Of the two extremes I was for the
repeal; but most certainly preferred modification to either.”

It is not necessary to remark on this story. The King had evidently
consented to the repeal, and then disavowed his Ministers, after
suffering them to proceed half-way in their plan, unless it is an
excuse that he secretly fomented opposition to them all the time.
His middle way of modification, tallying exactly with what had been
proposed in the House of Commons by Elliot and Jenkinson, proved
that, notwithstanding all his Majesty’s and Lord Bute’s own solemn
professions, the latter was really Minister still; and that no favour
could be obtained but by paying court to him. In such circumstances is
it wonderful that the nation fell into disgrace and confusion, or that
the Crown itself suffered such humiliations? A King to humour a timid
yet overbearing Favourite, encouraging opposition to his own Ministers!
What a picture of weakness!

On the 17th happened another very warm debate, occasioned by Mr.
Dowdeswell’s moving to discharge the order for printing the American
papers, the Speaker having declared that it was impossible to omit
proper names and preserve the sense. The Opposition called this
_inconsistency_, and threw all the ridicule they could on the
Ministers, for what they termed variation and unsettled conduct.
Wedderburne, in particular, a very fluent, acute, and bitter speaker,
imputed these changes to the orders of Mr. Pitt. “The oracle has
appeared, the oracle has spoken,” said he; “those gentlemen have
prostrated themselves before it; but I tremble to think what will
become of them for their inconsistencies. How will they expiate their
crime? how atone for it? I would advise them to make pilgrimages to
Hayes. Perhaps he may require human sacrifices.” Beckford and Conway
reproached him for not having ventured to attack Mr. Pitt when he was
present. Rigby turned his artillery on Conway, who had dropped that he
had been forced into his present situation. “I have heard,” said Rigby,
“of a _médecin malgré lui_, never of a Minister _malgré lui_; nor am I
apt to think that people who do not like their situations, exert all
their abilities--they do not do their best: I dare say the honourable
gentleman does not do his best. I look upon timidity in a Minister to
be as bad as cowardice in a General.” Lord George Sackville said, “May
we ever have such a Minister _malgré lui_, who is ready to serve his
country and rescue the dignity of the Sovereign from being insulted!”

Conway, roused by the brutality of Rigby, yet too apt to bear public
abuse with phlegmatic patience, both from conscious intrepidity, and
from knowing that such public jarrings are always hindered from coming
to private decision, replied with uncommon ability and applause.
“The gentleman had talked,” he said, “of timidity in a Minister and
cowardice in a General;--as to timidity on the present measure, the
House would judge whether his conduct had been timid. Cowardice he was
sure the honourable gentleman did not mean to apply to him;” said
he, “I know him too well; he would scarcely have taken an improper
occasion to call me coward; I have a better opinion of his courage than
that comes to. The other gentleman, who had talked of the oracle, had
better have said that on the last debate--but why had he said it at
all? Was it not known that those gentlemen had courted and idolized the
idol, and had been rejected?” The debate was at length closed by Mr.
Vane,[245] who told a story of Sir Robert Walpole and Mr. Pulteney,
in the Administration of the former. Mr. Pulteney had made a motion
for papers, and Sir Robert granted them; but immediately went to Mr.
Pulteney and told him that what he had done would be the occasion of
many persons losing their lives, besides the mischief he would entail
on future Ministers. Mr. Pulteney was struck, and withdrew his motion.
In like manner the order for printing was now set aside without a


  Lord Bute humiliates the Duke of Bedford and Mr. Grenville.--General
    Conway moves the Repeal of the Stamp Act.--Obtains leave to bring
    in a Bill.--Excited State of the Country.--Recommitment moved and
    rejected.--Desultory Opposition.--Final Debate.--The Repeal passed
    by a large Majority.--Conduct of Lord Rockingham.

While the House of Commons was busied in continuing to read American
papers, and in other necessary affairs of the year, various attempts
were carrying on for cementing that union between Lord Bute and the
Opposition in reality, which seemed to exist, and in their votes did
exist between them in Parliament. I have said that the Favourite
every now and then hung out, by the intervention of his creatures,
hopes of his pardon and protection to the late Ministers--with little
sincerity, as the event showed. Partly, I believe, his conduct was
actuated by a view of aweing the new Ministers into more deference for
him; partly to prevent the diminution of the Crown’s authority, by
relaxation towards the Americans. Certain it is, that Colonel Graeme,
the Queen’s Secretary and much a confident, had indirectly and by an
oblique channel opened a kind of negotiation. George Grenville, the
most untractable of men, and the most unforgiving, recoiled at the
proposal; and, even to save his darling Act, could scarce be brought
to bow the knee again to the Favourite. It was with difficulty that
he would hear of any other terms but a dismission of the Ministers
before the fatal repeal should be passed. At length, the severe attacks
made on him in the House of Commons, and threats of impeachments
for having suppressed material notices, relative to the dangerous
situation and humour of the Colonies, even from the year 1764, which
Lord Halifax had been ordered by the King to lay before Parliament and
had stifled, wrought on his stubborn temper; to which were added the
despotic command of his imperious and intriguing elder brother, who,
however, had the address to wriggle himself out of open genuflexion to
the Favourite. By the intervention of the Duke of York, Lord Temple
prevailed to have a meeting, of himself, his brother, and the Duke of
Bedford, with the Favourite, at the house of Lord Eglinton, a Scotch
emissary, alternately devoted to the Duke of York, to the Favourite,
and to Lord Temple; at the same time Lord of the Bedchamber to the
King. Towards the middle of January this extraordinary congress was
settled and brought to bear; though, at the hour of meeting, Lord
Temple excused himself from attending it. The Favourite, however, had
the triumph of beholding the Duke of Bedford and George Grenville
prostrate before him, suing for pardon, reconciliation, and support.
After enjoying this spectacle of their humiliation for some minutes,
the lofty Earl, scarce deigning to bestow upon them above half a score
monosyllables, stiffly refused to enter into connection with them; on
which the Duke of Bedford said, hastily, “he hoped, however, that what
had passed would remain a profound secret.” “A secret!” replied the
Favourite, “I have done nothing I am ashamed of,--has your Grace?”--and
quitted the room. As if Lord Bute’s refusal of secrecy made it prudent
to expose even more than Lord Bute could tell, the Duke went home,
and at dinner, with sixteen persons, and before all the servants, he
related what had passed; and then said to the Duchess and his court, “I
was against taking this step, but you would make me.” Not nine months
had intervened between the dismission of his brother Mackenzie by that
faction, and their abject application to the Favourite for protection.
What a trade is the politician’s, when it can so debase the human mind!
Comfort yourself, ye poor, ye necessitous; what is the servility of
your lot compared to this of titles and riches?

On the 21st of February the House of Commons came at last to the great
question of the repeal of the Stamp Act. The Opposition endeavoured
to fight it off by pretending fresh accounts were that very morning
arrived of a disposition in some of the Colonies, particularly New
York, to submit to the Act; from whence was inferred the inutility of
repealing it. But this was properly treated as the lie of the day;
and had no effect. General Conway moved for leave to bring in a bill
to repeal that Act; and drew an affecting and alarming picture of the
mischiefs it had occasioned and threatened. All orders for goods from
this country were stopped: the North Americans would neither take any
more, nor pay for what they had had. Eight merchants, who had received
orders to the amount of 400,000_l._, had received counter-orders.
The debt to those merchants amounted to 950,000_l._ Antigua was near
ruined by famine. The tax fell chiefly on the poor, particularly on
the poor of Georgia. At home, the situation of our manufacturers was
most calamitous. Nottingham had dismissed a thousand hands: Leicester,
Leeds, and other towns in proportion. Three in ten of the labourers
of Manchester were discharged. The trade of England was not only
stopped, but in danger of being lost. If trade suffered, land would
suffer in its turn. Petitions would have been sent from every trading
town in England, but that they apprehended that the very hearing of
their petitions would delay the repeal. Every part of the Act breathed
oppression. It annihilated juries: and the Admiralty courts might drag
a man three hundred miles from his habitation. The fisheries were in
equal danger. The right of taxation he did not doubt would be given for
us in Westminster Hall; but the conflict would ruin both countries. We
had but five thousand men in three thousand miles of territory: the
Americans an hundred and fifty thousand fighting men. If we did not
repeal the Act, he did not doubt but France and Spain would declare
war, and protect the Americans. As the Colonies would not take our
manufactures, they would set up of their own. He had a piece of cloth,
he said, in his pocket, made at Philadelphia, as cheap as in England.
Would the House risk the whole for so trifling an object as this Act

I will not detail the rest of the debate, the essence of which had been
so much anticipated. The great, and no trifling argument on the other
side, was the danger from being beaten out of an Act of Parliament,
because disagreeable to those on whom it fell; and the high probability
that the Americans would not stop there; but, presuming on their own
strength, and the timidity of the English Government, would proceed
to extort a repeal of the Act of Navigation. Grenville particularly
exposed the futility of declaring a right which the Government would
not dare to exert: and he pushed the Ministers home with giving up the
brightest jewel of the Crown, the right of taxation. How would they
justify it to his Majesty?--how to future Administrations? Mr. Pitt,
who acknowledged his perplexity in making an option between two such
ineligible alternatives, pronounced, however, for the repeal, as due to
the liberty of unrepresented subjects, and in gratitude to their having
supported England through three wars. He begged to stand a feeble
isthmus between English partiality and American violence. He would
give the latter satisfaction in this point only. If America afterwards
should dare to resist, he would second a resolution of the most
vigorous nature to compel her with every man and every ship in this

At half an hour past one in the morning the committee divided, and the
motion was carried by 275 to 167. This majority, though the question
was but a prelude to the repeal, decided the fate of that great
political contest. And though Lord Rockingham with childish arrogance
and indiscretion vaunted in the palace itself that he had carried the
repeal against the King, Queen, Princess-dowager, Duke of York, Lord
Bute, the Tories, the Scotch, and the Opposition, (and it was true he
had,) yet in reality it was the clamour of trade, of the merchants, and
of the manufacturing towns, that had borne down all opposition.[246]
A general insurrection was apprehended as the immediate consequence
of upholding the bill; the revolt of America, and the destruction of
trade, was the prospect in future. A nod from the Ministers would have
let loose all the manufacturers of Bristol, Liverpool, Manchester, and
such populous and discontented towns, who threatened to send hosts to
Westminster to back their demand of repeal. As it was, the lobby of the
House, the Court of Requests, and the avenues were beset with American
merchants. As Mr. Conway went away they huzzaed him thrice, stopped
him to thank and compliment him, and made a lane for his passage. When
Mr. Pitt appeared, the whole crowd pulled off their hats, huzzaed,
and many followed his chair home with shouts and benedictions. The
scene changed on the sight of Grenville. The crowd pressed on him with
scorn and hisses. He, swelling with rage and mortification, seized the
nearest man to him by the collar. Providentially the fellow had more
humour than spleen--“Well, if I may not hiss,” said he, “at least I may
laugh,”--and laughed in his face. The jest caught--had the fellow been
surly and resisted, a tragedy had probably ensued.

On the following Monday, when the report was to be made from the
committee, Grenville’s friends, seeing the inutility of their
struggles, laboured to persuade him to contest the matter no farther;
but it was too much to give up his favourite bill and his favourite
occupation, talking, both at once. The last debate, too, had been
much abridged by the impatience of the committee, worn out by so many
successive discussions of the same subject. Many speakers had not been
attended to; others forced to sit down without being heard. Something
of this was imputed to the partiality of Rose Fuller, the Chairman;
and, before he could make his report, Mr. Shifner ironically proposed
to thank him for his great impartiality;[247] Onslow defended, and
moved to thank him seriously. This provoked so much, that Fuller was
accused of not doing his duty by suppressing the riots and insults
offered to several members who had voted against the repeal. The
indignities heaped on George Grenville were particularized; and he
himself said that both England and America were now governed by the
mob. Conway quieted the dispute by declaring the pains taken by the
Administration to prevent far greater tumults and extensive petitioning.

Lord Strange then proposed to postpone the Report, that, since repeal
was intended, the House might rescind its resolution on the right
of taxing, which would be inconsistent with giving it up. This the
majority would not allow; and Dyson, on the modifying plan, hinting
that internal taxes might be laid to ascertain the right, Lord
Palmerston said, that modifying would be giving up the right and
retaining the oppression. The Report being then made, Oswald moved to
recommit it. Hussey showed the badness of the Act, which all allowed,
(even Grenville having offered to correct it,) and declared the most
advisable method was a requisition to the Provinces to raise money for
the service of the Government. Norton broke out on the resistance of
the Colonies, and said, that to resist a known law was High Treason.
Huske, a wild, absurd man, very conversant with America, had still
sense enough to show that the Americans could not be independent, for
they would be obliged to lay an internal tax for the support of their
own paper-currency, and could not impose that tax without the consent
of Parliament. T. Townshend referred to a letter of Governor Bernard (a
great favourite of Grenville, and warm for the sovereignty of England)
in which he had advised to get rid of the Stamp Act. At eleven at night
the recommitment was rejected by 240 to 133; and the Bill for Repeal
was ordered to be brought in.

Dr. Blackstone then moved an instruction to the committee for bringing
in the bill, that all votes of the Assemblies should be expunged that
were repugnant to the rights of the Legislature of Great Britain.
Mr. Yorke said, that an Act declaratory of the right would be a
virtual expunging of their votes. This George Grenville treated with
much contempt, and as a mere evasion; and let loose all his acrimony
against the Ministers for reversing his Stamp Act. Conway said he
was surprised at so much fondness for a bill which the late Ministers
had so much neglected while they had power to enforce it. He had been
looking for the orders they had given, and could find but one, and that
from the Treasury, settling how much poundage should be deducted from
the profits of the Stamp-duty. This had been their only order till the
12th of July, when they had determined to send a military force. (This
was at the conclusion of their power.) Grenville replied, orders had
been given, for Stamp-officers had been appointed. At near two in the
morning Dr. Blackstone’s motion was rejected without a division.

The Bill of Repeal was but faintly opposed in its course, the
Opposition reserving their fire for the third reading. Wedderburne and
Dyson, however, moved to annex a clause declaratory of the law, and
enacting that in case any person or persons should print, or cause to
be printed, any paper calling the said law in question, or abuse it in
any manner whatsoever, should be guilty of a præmunire. The Ministers
objected; and Rose Fuller, with severe invectives on the Tories, said
such a motion would have been well-timed in the reigns of Henry VIII.
or Charles II. Wedderburne replied by showing he had taken the words of
his motion from the Act of Settlement. The motion was rejected.

March 4th was fixed for passing the declaratory Bill of Right, and
the Repeal. Mr. Pitt objected again to the first, and avowed his
opinion that the Parliament had no right of taxing North America
while unrepresented. “He had heard,” he said, “that this opinion had
been treated in his absence as nonsense, as the child of ignorance,
as the language of a foreigner who knew nothing of the Constitution.
Yet the common law was his guide; it was civil law that was the
foreigner.” To this he added severe reflections on Dr. Hay, the person
he alluded to, for having adopted arbitrary notions from the civil
law. “For himself, he was sorry to have been treated as an overheated
enthusiastic leveller, yet he had served the highest and best Prince
in Christendom, and the most valiant and brave nation, and never would
change his opinions till the day of his death. If he was one of the
weakest men in the kingdom, at least he was one of the soberest;[248]
had no animosities, no pursuits; he wished to live and die a dutiful
subject, and to see such an Administration as the King should like,
and the people approve. Wales had never been taxed till represented;
nor did he contend for more than had been given up to Ireland in the
reign of King William.” He quoted one or two authors; said he was a
solitary, unconversing man, and not a very reading man neither; but he
loved old books and old friends; and though his books and his opinions
might be nonsensical, he should still adhere to them; and declared
he never gave his dissent with more dislike to a question than he now
gave it at present.” Dr. Hay excused himself, and pleaded having been
misrepresented; and then he and Rigby argued for the repeal, if it must
pass, without the declaratory law. Mr. Pitt moved to leave out the
words _in all cases whatsoever_; and the debate turned chiefly on the
resemblance or non-resemblance of Ireland to America, in the privileges
enjoyed by the former. The amendment was rejected, and the bill

The Bill for Repeal was then read for the last time, and eagerly and
obstinately combated by Grenville and his party. Bamber Gascoyne
produced a letter written to Liverpool, by Sir William Meredith, in
which the latter had said to the Mayor, “Lord Bute’s friends, Mr.
Grenville’s party and the rank Tories, voted for this bloody question;
and considering we had been beaten twice in the House of Lords, we were
surprised to find our numbers were 275 to 167; I hope soon to send
you word of the repeal. P. S.--Mr. Pitt will soon be at the head of

Pitt rose and said, He had heard somewhere, no matter where--a bird
in the air had told him--of a meeting that had lately been held
(between Bute, Bedford, and Grenville) of which he could not learn the
particulars; but had heard that at that meeting the noble Lord (Bute)
behaved like himself and like a nobleman. It was a name which had
been much bandied about in a way it did not deserve. “I am inflexibly
bent,” continued he, “to resist his return to power; but how could
that prophet (Sir W. Meredith) imagine a thing so improbable as that I
should be at the head, when I am so extremely at the tail of affairs,
as I am now, with five friends in the other House, and four in this?
In the order and class of salutary and preventive things, I never
felt greater satisfaction than in giving my vote for this repeal. You
could not subsist and be a people with that defalcation of imports.
America is over-glutted with nothing but the Stamp Act. Nothing but
a disposition to heal and strengthen the Government can make you a
people. I have my doubts if there would have been a Minister to be
found who would have dared to have dipped the royal ermines in the
blood of the Americans. This country, like a fine horse, to use a
beautiful expression of Job, whose neck is clothed in thunder, if you
soothe and stroke it, you may do anything; but if an unskilful rider
takes it in hand, he will find that, though not vicious, yet it has
tricks. I repeat it, I never had greater satisfaction than in the
repeal of this Act.”

This speech gave great offence to Grenville, who replied, “Let his bird
have told him what it would, yet, in justice to the noble Lord (Bute),
he would declare that it was impossible to behave better than he had
done; but why was that meeting mentioned? to what end? He had heard a
bird speak, too, of a meeting, or meetings, on other occasions. But
the gentleman had doubted whether a Minister would have been found to
dip the royal ermines in blood;--no, sir, not dip the royal ermines
in blood; but I am one who declare, if the tax was to be laid again,
I would do it; and I would do it now if I had to choose; since he has
exerted all his eloquence so dangerously against it, it becomes doubly
necessary. It is necessary from the increase of the debt in the late
war; he knows I was against the enormous expense of the German war. Are
all those boasted triumphs shrunk to the meanness of supporting such a
measure as this? I envy not the popularity; let him have the bonfire; I
rejoice in the hiss. Was it to do again, I would do it.”

Pitt desired to say one word in answer. “What that bird, alluded to
two years ago, did say, I will tell gentlemen. The noble Lord (Bute)
came to my lodging on a message from the King--I suppose because I
was lame--not to converse with a hermit, but about coming into the
King’s service. The noble Lord behaved with great fairness. I had an
interview; was dismissed with the same marks of favour by the King.
Some time ago I had another meeting with a royal person (Duke of
Cumberland), who is no more. I objected to the brother of the noble
Lord being Minister for Scotland; had no objection to his having a
sinecure. I was again dismissed with the same graciousness by the King.
But I am charged with the expense of the German war. If the honourable
gentleman had such strong objections to that war, why did he not resign
his post of Treasurer of the Navy?” Grenville had nothing to reply; and
in fact it ill became him to plead disapprobation of measures in which
he had concurred, rather than resign so very lucrative an employment.

The repeal passed by 250 to 122. It made its way even through the
House of Lords by a majority of more than thirty, but was followed by
a strenuous protest drawn up by Lord Lyttelton. Lord Camden took the
same part as Mr. Pitt, and declared against the right of taxing. He
also detected Lord Mansfield, who had quoted two laws that had never
existed. As I am possessed of no notes relative to the debates in
that House, I do not pretend to extend the detail of them. The most
remarkable event was Lord Bute’s speaking: he censured the timidity of
the repeal, wished to see firm and able Ministers, and denied enjoying
any present influence, and protested against accepting any future power.

The victorious Ministers having thus secured a majority on the most
difficult point, determined to make use of it to alleviate other
aggrieved subjects, and to extend their own popularity. The tax on
Cider had given great uneasiness to the Western counties, particularly
from its being collected by the mode of excise. The City of London had
adopted those disgusts; and Lord Bute, under whose Administration the
tax had been laid, had sunk beneath the panic after he had carried the
measure. To alter that mode of collection was the next step taken by
the Ministers; and they found it no difficult task to obtain the assent
of so time-serving a Parliament, who by turns enacted and repealed
whatever was proposed to them, and who supported every successive
Minister of that period, and deserted him the moment he lost his power.
I do not know that other Parliaments have not, or would not have been
as bad; but no Parliament ever had so many opportunities of being
impudent. The Opposition not well pleased with Lord Bute’s ineffectual
support, and angry that he did no more than encourage them to oppose,
were little anxious to save the honour of his Cider Act, and the repeal
of the excise passed easily.

In all these debates, nothing was more marked than the acrimony between
Grenville and Conway. The latter appeared to be a much abler man of
business than had been expected. Mr. Dowdeswell, on the contrary, sunk
much in the estimation of mankind, and seemed but a duller edition of
Mr. Grenville, though without his malignity. Never did the intemperate
rage of talking, which possessed the latter, display itself more
copiously than on the debates relative to the Stamp Act. It occasioned
his being ridiculed with much humour.

The man who did not make long speeches, but who absented himself on
pretence of illness on most of the debates, was Charles Townshend. He
was afraid, by speaking, of losing a place which nothing had given,
nothing could preserve, but his speaking.

But though the heat of the day lay on Conway, the power was solely
engrossed by Lord Rockingham. He admitted the Duke of Grafton and Mr.
Conway to no partnership. He was even so indiscreet as to bestow on a
relation of his own the vacant place of Commissioner of the Revenue in
Ireland, which had been promised by Lord Hertford, the Lord-Lieutenant,
to an Irishman of note.[250] This occasioned ill-blood between the
Lord-Lieutenant, Conway’s brother, and the head of the Treasury. Lord
Hertford, whose great property lay in that country, and who had always
assiduously courted the Irish, was at first very successful there. But
his economic temper, malevolently exaggerated, and too great propensity
to heap emoluments on his children, though in few instances, and an
appearance of similitude in the disposition of his son, Lord Beauchamp,
soured the conclusion of that Session of Parliament, and occasioned to
the Viceroy several mortifications.


  Difficulties of the Ministry.--Further Negotiation with Mr. Pitt.--
    Meeting of Ministers.--The Seals given to the Duke of Richmond.--
    Grant to the Royal Dukes.--Portion of the Princess Caroline.--
    Treachery of Dyson.--Conduct of the Chancellor.--Virtual Fall of
    the Rockingham Administration.

The traverses which the English Ministers experienced, increased every
day. The King was not only in opposition to himself, and had connived
at Lord Bute’s seducing such of his servants as were connected with
that Favourite to vote against the measures of Government, and, in
truth, those servants were some of the ablest men in the House of
Commons, as Elliot, Dyson, Martin, and Jenkinson, besides Sir Fletcher
Norton, who, though displaced, was at the beck of the Favourite; but
his Majesty, at Lord Bute’s recommendation, actually bestowed a vacant
regiment on Colonel Walsh, Lieutenant-Colonel to Lord Townshend,
without saying a word of it to his Ministers. It was not a command high
enough to be offered to General Conway. He, with singular forbearance,
had declined asking for his regiment again when he was appointed
Secretary of State, lest he should be taxed with rapaciousness; and
yet was determined to return to and adhere to the military line.

There was another man less delicate. Lord Albemarle had been directed
by the King to act as executor to his master, the late Duke of
Cumberland. Ambitious, greedy, and a dexterous courtier, Lord Albemarle
flattered himself that the door was now opened to him, and sought and
made pretences from his trust to obtain frequent audiences of the
King. He procured a grant, I think, for three lives, of the lodge at
Bagshot, dependent on Windsor, which he had held during the pleasure
of the Duke, and under colour of resigning a pension he enjoyed on
Ireland, he obtained to have it made over to a brother and sister of
his in indigent circumstances, with whom he would otherwise have been
burthened. But here ended that gleam of favour. Lord Bute grew jealous,
and the door of the closet was shut for ever against Lord Albemarle.

Yet this and every other evidence could not open the eyes of Lord
Rockingham. He weakly flattered himself that he was grown a personal
favourite with the King, and had undermined Lord Bute. Nor were the
complaints he was forced to make received in a manner to nourish his
delusion. When it was first proposed to call in Mr. Pitt, the King
was said to reply, “Go on as long as you can; but if there is to be
a change, I will choose my next Ministers myself.” When the royal
assent for treating with Pitt had been extorted, the latter had replied
(as I have mentioned)[251] in a manner not to inflame Lord Rockingham
with eagerness to renew the proposal. Yet the Duke of Grafton was
earnest for that junction; and disliking business, and probably not
charmed to see all power arrogated by an associate, who was reduced
to sit silent in the House of Lords, whilst he himself was almost the
sole champion there of their joint-administration, daily threatened
to resign unless Mr. Pitt was called to the head of affairs. Conway,
under like circumstances, looked the same way, but with more temper.
Some of the friends of the Administration, sensible of their tottering
position, and wishing to burst the connection between Grenville and
the Bedfords, the latter of whom were the only real supporters of the
former, endeavoured to detach the Bedfords and unite them with the
Ministers; but Rigby, devoted to Grenville, though not blind to his
defects, which he often made the subject of his ridicule, detested
Conway, and despised Lord Rockingham and the Cavendishes, and was too
clear-sighted and too interested to attach himself to the desperate
fortune of a set of men disliked by the King. Chance at the same
time opened to the Duke of Bedford and his friends a prospect of an
ally, able himself, and suited to their desire of reconciliation
with Lord Bute. Lord Holland’s eldest son[252] fell in love with
Lady Mary Fitzpatrick,[253] niece of the Duchess of Bedford, and
educated by her. The marriage was proposed, and joyfully accepted by
the Duke of Bedford, who lost not a moment to send overtures of peace
to Lord Holland. But though the latter had consented to gratify the
inclinations of his son, as he was a most indulgent father, he acted
with the spirit of resentment that became him; and besides rejecting
the Duke of Bedford’s offered visit, wrote him a most severe answer,
and plainly told him how egregiously he was duped and governed by a
set of worthless people. This letter Lord Holland showed to all that
resorted to him, nor would at any time listen to various advances that
were made to him by that family.

At this juncture I returned to England, April 22nd, and found
everything in the utmost confusion. The Duke of Grafton, as I have
said, determined to resign; Mr. Conway very ill, and sick of the
fatigue of his office, which he executed with inconceivable and
scrupulous attention; Lord Bute’s faction giving no support; and the
Court discouraging all men from joining the Administration. A greater
embarrassment had fallen on the Ministers: Mr. Pitt was grown impatient
for power; and, after having discouraged Lord Rockingham from seeking
his aid or protection, began to wonder that he was not courted to
domineer; and he betrayed his ambition so far as to complain that the
Administration had had his support, and now neglected him. Yet, on
Grafton’s threats of quitting the Seals, Pitt intreated that nobody
might quit for him: things were not ripe for him; it would let in
Grenville and the Bedfords, the worst event of all, he said, for this
country. Yet, if the Ministers made any direct advances to him, he was
coy and wayward, and would treat only with his Majesty. Lord Mansfield
and Mr. Yorke, who had great weight with Lord Rockingham, and were
both jealous of Lord Camden; and the Duke of Richmond, now returned
to England, and incited by Lord Holland to oppose Pitt; kept alive
Lord Rockingham’s resentment, and prevented any direct negotiation.
Thus circumstanced, Pitt’s temper broke forth. George Onslow had
proposed, in order to save fifteen or twenty thousand pounds a year
on the militia, to reduce one serjeant in each company, and the pay
of the militia-clerks from fifty to twenty-five pounds a year. This
reformation Lord Strange opposed; and the Ministry, not thinking it
worth a division, gave it up. The opportunity, however, was seized by
Pitt, to whom the plan had not been communicated. He went to the House,
and made a vociferous declamation against the Ministry, who, he said,
aimed at destroying the militia; he would go to the farthest corner of
the island to overturn any Ministers that were enemies to the militia.
This was all grimace: he did not care a jot about the militia.

In a few days after this, Rose Fuller moved to refer to the committee
the petitions of the merchants on the severe clogs laid on the American
trade. Grenville, as madly in earnest as Pitt was affectedly so,
vehemently opposed that motion, and called it a _sweeping resolution_.
They would next attack, he supposed, the _sacred_ Act of Navigation.
Burke bitterly, and Beckford and Dowdeswell, ridiculed him on the
idea of any Act being sacred if it wanted correction. Lord Strange
went farther; said, he would speak out; should be for a free port
in America, and for altering that part of the Act of Navigation
that prohibited the importation of cotton not the growth of our
own islands.[254] Charles Townshend said he was sorry to find that
convenience was to give way to dignity. For his part he would call
for a review of the Act of Navigation. This drew on warm altercation
between him and Grenville, in which it was no wonder that Townshend’s
wit and indifference baffled Grenville’s tediousness and passion.

The idea of a free port in America had been taken up by the Ministers,
and that intention was now declared to the hearty satisfaction of the
merchants. But this plan too, to humour Beckford’s local interests
and his own spleen to the Ministers, was harshly and inconsiderately
censured by Pitt, but with ill-success to his popularity, the scheme
being grateful to the City. He was not more fortunate in his next
step. The Ministers thinking themselves bound to give the last blow
to General Warrants, which had now been decided in Westminster Hall
to be illegal, moved a resolution of their being illegal and a breach
of privilege. Grenville, hoping to squeeze out a little popularity
from the same measure, moved to bring in a bill for taking them
entirely away. This happening while Mr. Pitt was in his hostile
mood, he seconded Grenville’s motion; but his lending himself thus
to the champion of those warrants, highly offended the Ministerial
Whigs, and drew on him much severity from Sir George Saville and Lord
John Cavendish. Norton told Mr. Pitt privately that he had got from
Carteret Webbe Mr. Pitt’s three warrants, and offered them to him;
but Pitt refused to accept them, and said he had always declared he
would justify his own warrants. At the same time he dropped to him
that he wondered he (Mr. Pitt) had not understood Lord Bute’s speech
on the Stamp Act. The Opposition, to purge Lord Temple from being the
instigator of Wilkes in his attacks on the Scotch and the Tories, now
produced a letter from the former to the latter, dissuading him from
such national and general acrimony. This letter had been seized among
Wilkes’s papers. But if it palliated the disposition to mischief in the
one brother, it laid open the malice of the other; and Grenville was
severely tasked for having connived at Webbe’s suppressing this letter
in enmity to his brother. Mr. Pitt avowed to the House that he thought
Carteret Webbe gently dealt with in not being expelled.

The night I arrived, the Duke of Richmond came to me to intreat
Mr. Conway to go on without Mr. Pitt, who had offended both the
Administration and the City: and he told me there were thoughts of
softening towards Lord Bute, and of suffering his brother Mackenzie to
have a place. The plan of diverting the enmity of Lord Bute was not
at all repugnant to my opinion. From the moment the Administration
had come into place, I had seen the necessity of it. Justice demanded
the restitution of Mackenzie. The Ministers could neither destroy
the King’s confidence in his Favourite, nor get rid of him by force.
He was in no employment, nor had they any proofs in their hands that
would authorize impeachment. Ungrounded impeachment would have purged
him--perhaps have made him popular. Two options only remained: to quit
their places, if they thought it for their honour not to temporize
with Bute; or to temporize with him. Why I preferred the latter, these
were the reasons: if those Ministers surrendered their power, where
was there another set of honest men to replace them? They could
mitigate, perhaps ward off, the evil designs of the Court, while the
executive part of government remained in their hands. If they resigned
it, it must fall into the hands of Mr. Pitt, who must either take his
obnoxious brothers Temple and Grenville, or lean entirely on Lord Bute;
and with all my admiration of Mr. Pitt, I doubted whether he would
not make too complacent a Minister to prerogative; or Grenville and
the Bedfords (the worst of all) must resume their power, and they had
smarted too severely for their attacks on the Favourite, not to have
profited of that experience. The Nation had once escaped from that
coalition. Any system was preferable to the return of it.

I told the Duke of Richmond, that though I was glad to find Lord
Rockingham and his friends were grown more reasonable, yet I thought
the moment not suited to the experiment. There was another plan which
ought first to be tried, and that was to endeavour once more, at any
price, to acquire the accession of Mr. Pitt. Should he be omitted, it
would throw him into the hands of his brothers and the Bedfords, or of
Lord Bute--perhaps of all together. At least, should he refuse to join
with the Administration, it would put him in the wrong, and damage his
popularity, his sole strength. Lord Rockingham came to me still more
eager for what the Duke had proposed. I adhered to my point, though I
agreed they might try to go on, if Mr. Pitt should prove unreasonable,
and Mr. Conway (who was ill in the country) should not think himself
obliged to resign with the Duke of Grafton, who had brought him into
Parliament. Grafton had promised Lord Camden (which indicated that he
acted in concert with, or by direction of Pitt) to come to town in two
days, and resign; yet his Grace himself had been offended at Mr. Pitt’s
conduct, and had said, if he was haughty ought of place, what would he
be when in? He should pity those who were to act under him.

April 25. Mr. Conway came to town, and agreed with me on the necessity
of trying Mr. Pitt once more, though he did not think the King could
be induced to see him. On the 27th the Duke of Grafton came to me, and
Mr. Conway and I persuaded him to defer his resignation a few days;
though he said he could not trust the King, who had promised that Lord
Bute’s faction should support the Administration after the repeal of
the Stamp Act was passed, which during the whole time of its discussion
they had pretended they could not come into, as they had all concurred
in the Act; yet when the repeal was over, their conduct continued the
same. This consideration staggered Conway; and he told me, that if he
should now resign for Mr. Pitt, the latter would certainly restore him,
and entrust the House of Commons to him, as he had declared he would.
This reflection showed Conway was more reconciled to power than he
pretended to be,--and yet it was but transient ambition. It returned
at times, but never was permanent; and even when he had quitted or
declined supreme power, he did not give himself less to the fatigue
of business, which yet was his standing objection. He could not enjoy
so insignificant an office as the Board of Ordnance without making it
slavery, and yet could not bear to be Secretary of State!

The Duke of Grafton, however, gave notice to the King that he would
resign. The King begged him to defer it for a few days. Thus pressed, I
prevailed with the Duke and Mr. Conway to go to Mr. Pitt, and intreat
him to give some facility to his own accession. He complained that
Lord George Sackville had been restored to employment to affront him
personally: said he himself had been twice admitted to treat personally
with his Majesty, and therefore hoped he might have that honour again.
Several times he threw out Grenville’s name (to intimidate), and said
he did not know what Lord Temple would do; he had had no intercourse
with him for several months. To _part_ of the Administration he
professed great civility. Mr. Conway told him he was sure the King
would not send for him. He answered, that he looked on that as a
design not to let him come in. The fact was, the King, not desirous
of the junction of Pitt and the actual Ministers, and choosing that
Pitt should solely to him owe his admission, pleaded that he had sent
so often for Mr. Pitt in vain, that he would condescend no more--a
resolution his Majesty was at that very time in the intention not to

On the 1st of May the Ministers had a meeting at the Chancellor’s,
to determine what their plan should be on Grafton’s resignation and
Pitt’s refusal; Mr. Conway having been induced to retain the Seals at
the earnest request of the other Ministers, rather than break up their
whole Administration. The King had ordered them to give him their
proposals in writing, expecting, at least hoping, that they would at
last propose connection with Lord Bute. They proposed that the King
should promise to support them, and turn out those who should not
act with them; this, however, they forbore to deliver to the King in
writing. The Chancellor said, if they determined to go on, he would
support them, but he did not think this a business proper for the
Council. Conway replied, they were met as Ministers, and at the King’s
desire. Some were for offering a place to Mackenzie; but Newcastle
said their friends would dislike it; he had seen several who were
against it. Lord Egmont told them fairly not to flatter themselves
(and no doubt he spoke by authority); even a place for Mackenzie would
not satisfy. Lord Bute’s friends were powerful, and would expect
confidence. They broke up in disorder. Conway reported to the King what
had passed. He replied coldly, “I thought you would not settle anything
at one meeting.” Three days afterwards he bade them try for support,
and inquire if Lord Bute’s friends would not support them, which was
bidding them unite with the latter.

In the room of the Duke of Grafton I resolved to try to make the Duke
of Richmond Secretary of State. Not that I could flatter myself with
the duration of the system; but as I knew the Duke had better talents
than most of the Ministers, and would be more moderate, I thought he
would be likely to bring them to such a temper as might prevent their
dissolution then, and would be of use to them if they remained in
power. My friendship for him made me desirous, too, to obtain that rank
for him, that, although he might enjoy it but a very short time, he
might have pretensions to the same place, if ever they recovered their
situation. He was apt to be indolent if not employed: the Secretary’s
Seals might inspire him with more taste for business. I first mentioned
the thought to himself, and found him pleased with it; and then engaged
him to ask Mr. Conway’s interest, with whom I myself made it a point.
Conway liked the motion, but said he was so nearly[255] connected with
the Duke of Richmond, that he did not care to ask it; always preferring
his own character to the service of his friends. I acted, however, so
warmly in it, and Lord Rockingham took it up with so much kindness
to the Duke, that we surmounted Conway’s delicacy, and the Cabinet
Council proposed it to the King. His Majesty, who had never forgiven
the Duke of Richmond, objected strongly to that choice; said the Duke
was too young (though as old as Grafton), and desired it might be first
tried if Lord Hardwicke would not accept the Seals. Lord Hardwicke, a
bookish man, conversant only with parsons, ignorant of the world, and
void of all breeding, was as poor a choice as could have been made; and
being sensible himself that he was so, declined the offer; yet to avoid
taking Richmond, and to keep within the circle of Lord Rockingham’s
friends, his Majesty next proposed to make the Attorney-General, Yorke,
Secretary of State. If the elder brother was ill-qualified for that
office, the younger was still more so, being ignorant of languages and
of Europe, and read in nothing but the learning of his profession.
Lord Rockingham, as civil as the King, yielded to make this trial
too; but at the same time told the King that he and his friends,
finding the precariousness of their situation, wished to resign their
employments. The King begged they would not, said he should be greatly
distressed, and had nobody to replace them. Yorke declining the Seals,
they were at last bestowed on the Duke of Richmond, who in answer to
the notification he received from Lord Rockingham, marked his being
sensible how little he had been his Majesty’s choice. He entered,
however, on his office with all the ardour and industry that I had
expected, and had every qualification to make him shine in it. He had
such unblemished integrity, and so high a sense of his duty and honour,
that in the preceding winter Lord Powis[256] having been exposed in
the House of Lords for sordid meanness and injustice to Lady Mary
Herbert,[257] the sister of the last Marquis, from whose bounty Lord
Powis had received his estate, and yet withheld from her a scanty
annuity, the Duke of Richmond consulted the Chancellor to know if there
was no precedent of expelling a Peer, so little was his Grace possessed
by what is called _l’esprit de corps_.

But though the Seals were given to the Duke of Richmond, several other
places of importance and rank remained vacant; nor could any man be
found that would accept them, being discouraged by the discountenance
with which the King treated his Ministers. Nor did it stop there; Lord
Howe[258] resigned his post, declaring he could not co-operate unless
Mr. Pitt was Minister, an extraordinary strain of delicacy in a man who
had accepted a commission at the Board of Admiralty from Mr. Grenville
on the fall of Mr. Pitt, and his new post from the present Ministers
on the fall of Mr. Grenville. Yet when the Ministers represented to
the King the disgrace it brought upon his Government to have so many
employments lie unfilled, and even offered to make Mr. Mackenzie
Vice-treasurer of Ireland, his Majesty declined that place for him, but
advised them to get all the strength they could. Lord Bute’s friends
owned that it was expected the Ministers should employ their faction,
in particular the Earl of Northumberland and Sir Fletcher Norton. The
last none of them would hear of; and even I, who for the reasons I have
given, wished them not to proscribe a party without whom they could not
be Ministers, advised them to resign rather than stoop to adopt so bad
a man, so lately, to their credit, cashiered by themselves. In truth,
there was nothing but obstinacy in some, and irresolution in others.
The nearer their fall, the more Lord Rockingham grew inclined to
preserve his power by humouring the King; while Lord John Cavendish was
inflexible to Bute, and Mr. Conway totally irresolute what part to take.

Not so the Court faction. Dyson opposed the tax on windows, and yet the
Opposition was beaten by four to one. When the bill passed the Lords,
the Duke of Grafton expressed great regard for some of the Ministers;
but the nation, he said, called for the greatest abilities, and for all
abilities; and though himself had borne a general’s staff, he would
with pleasure take up a mattock and spade to be of what use he could.
The Duke of Bedford forced Lord Rockingham to rise and say a few words.

It was now the 29th of May. From the instant of my arrival I had
pressed the Ministers to put an end to the session, and had foretold
that they would let it draggle on till it overturned them. All my
views tended to prevent their resigning before the Parliament rose,
and to keep them in place till the eve of the next session; that if
no circumstances should arise in their favour during that interval,
they might surprise and distress the King by a sudden resignation, or
force him to give them better terms. Should they quit in the present
conjuncture, whatever grievances they might allege would be forgotten
before six months were elapsed. My prophecy, though founded, was as
little regarded as my advice. Late as it was, a new parliamentary
business, waited on by new scruples of Mr. Conway, broke forth.

On the death of the late Duke of Cumberland it had been projected to
divide his 25,000_l._ a year between the King’s three brothers, and
make up the revenue of each 20,000_l._ a year. The Ministers, during
Mr. Conway’s illness in the country, had consented to carry this
through, without acquainting him. When he came to town he vehemently
objected to it, as the session was so near its period. The Cavendishes
caught the scruple, and infused it into Lord Rockingham, though he had
passed his word for it to the King. The Chancellor and Lord Egmont
were as eager on the other hand to have the promise performed, and
the former had warm words with Conway. The King was much discomposed,
and said, unless his brothers would give it up he could not. The Duke
of Gloucester, all decency and temper, behaved handsomely; but the
Duke of York, instigated by the Bedfords, insisted on what had been
promised to him. Lord Rockingham told the King he would keep his word,
but would then resign--that was, would keep a promise he had neglected
till it was almost too late, but then would resign for having kept it.
Mr. Conway said he could not vote for it, but would absent himself
from the House. Lord Rockingham repented the instant he had made his
declaration, but did not know how to get off. Mr. Conway consulted me
on this dilemma, and objected that Mr. Grenville was out of town,
thinking the business of the session at an end. “What!” said I,
“because you suffered Mr. Grenville to protract the session till he had
wearied even himself, is that a reason for the Ministers not performing
what they have engaged for? You have just had a signal victory [on
the tax], and now will give up all for an idle qualm. For God’s sake
satisfy the King and the Princes on this point; but you are so unfit
to be Ministers, that I advise you to find some plausible and popular
excuse afterwards to resign;” and to that indeed now did my utmost
wishes tend. I saw they must fall, and desired only that the pretence
might do them credit. At night, however, I hit off an expedient to
which I got the concurrence of the Ministers. It was to propose to
the King that they should move for a call of the House. _That_ would
take up at least a fortnight, and near as much time to go through the
bill. He was to be told how unpopular the service was. If he still
accepted the call, the question would either be carried in a full
House, which would justify the Ministers; or would be lost in a full
House, which, besides defeating the measure, would punish the Duke of
York, without affording room of censure against the Ministers, as the
Opposition would support the Duke; and the question, if lost, would be
lost by the defection of the Court’s own majority, to whom the measure
was very unpalatable, from the largeness of the designed appanages,
and the independence of the Crown which the Princes would acquire.
If, on the other hand, the King should refuse to accept the call,
the Ministers would be in some degree disculpated from keeping their
promise, or would have more grace in resigning. The Ministers went with
this proposal to the King, but he had now prevailed on his brother of
York to give up the point till the next session, on promise that the
half-year’s income, which he would lose by the delay, should be made up
to him.

On the 3rd of June Rigby moved that the Parliament should not be
prorogued, but kept sitting by short adjournments to wait for news
from America. This was easily overruled; and then a message from the
Crown was delivered, asking a portion for the Princess Caroline against
her marriage with the King of Denmark. Dyson, in opposition to the
Ministers (and for a treacherous reason that will presently appear),
offered a precedent against taking the message into consideration but
in the committee or the next day--a strange disrespect, unless it had
been concerted with the King. This occasioned a long debate, and Conway
greatly distinguished himself by his spirit and abilities; and Dyson’s
motion was rejected by 118 to 35. Next came a message for a settlement
on the Princess. Augustus Hervey[259] proposed to amend the address,
and to promise to take it into immediate consideration. This, too,
was outvoted; and Charles Townshend spoke finely on the occasion, with
great encomiums on the Duke of Grafton and Conway.

The next day the Ministers pressed the King to turn out Dyson and Lord
Eglinton, who had voted against the tax. His Majesty hesitated, but
desired Lord Rockingham to talk to them. Lord Rockingham saw Dyson
for an hour, who pretended to be in no opposition, but to dislike
measures; and going through them showed he disliked every one of their
measures. On this Lord Rockingham again proposed his being turned out,
but the King took time to consider.[260] Mr. Conway spoke to me on
this. I said, it was plain Lord Bute meant to force them to join him,
which made it impossible for them to join him; yet I begged they would
not opiniatre those dismissions, as it would not be proper for them
to resign on Court intrigues. To resign because men were not turned
out would be still less proper in them, who had complained so much
of dismissions, though the case was widely different between being
persecuted for conscience sake, and dismissing men who would force
them to unite with the very arbitrary Ministers they had condemned.
They must wait till they were obstructed in some constitutional
measure, and then retire.

Lord Hertford[261] was now returned from Ireland, and prevailed on
his brother to consent that Mackenzie should be restored to his
ancient place, as soon as any settlement could be made to open it for
him; and to let Lord Northumberland go ambassador to Paris, if Lord
Rochford could be otherwise accommodated. The Duke of Richmond and Lord
Rockingham came into this, and it was broken to the King in general
terms. “Was there anybody he wished to prefer?” He was on his guard,
and replied, “No;” that they might not accuse him of parting with them
on their rejection of any of Lord Bute’s creatures. They then again
mentioned Dyson and their own weakness; and showed him an intercepted
letter of the Russian Minister to his Court, in which he wished his
mistress not to conclude too hastily with the present Ministers, who
could not maintain their ground: and he pointed out the damage the King
brought on his own affairs by having a Ministry who did not enjoy his
confidence. This the King denied, and said they had his confidence. For
Dyson, he had opposed Princess Caroline’s portion, and his Majesty did
not care to remove anybody on his own account (a salvo, as I have said,
concerted). Dyson, they replied, opposed and obstructed all measures
at the Board of Trade. Still the King would not give him up, but
promised he would the next winter, if Dyson did not alter his conduct;
but his Majesty had determined to remove the Ministers, not Dyson. Lord
Eglinton was next accused of having opposed the tax. “Oh!” said the
King, “that is abominable; but Eglinton is angry with me too: he says
I have not done enough for him.” They civilly put his Majesty in mind
that he had promised, in the middle of the winter, to dismiss opponents
on their next default; but the plea was taken, and nothing could be
obtained by the Ministers for their satisfaction.

The Chancellor, Lord Northington, disgusted with the dilatoriness and
irresolution of the Ministers; and seeing they would neither embrace
the Favourite, nor could do without him; and perceiving, too, that the
King was determined to suffer them on no other terms than compliance,
was alarmed for his own interest; and apprehending that if Mr. Pitt,
as was probable he would, became the Minister, Lord Camden would
expect the Seals, made a pretence of quarrelling with the Ministers,
complaining most untruly that he was not consulted nor summoned
on cases,[262] which had not only been submitted to him, but had
waited for him and suffered by his delay. All this, however, being
but negative, the Chancellor wished to have more positive merit, and
accordingly told the King (and possibly had his Majesty’s own orders
for telling him so) that this Ministry could not go on, and that his
Majesty must send for Mr. Pitt. Whether this meanness was officious,
or whether instilled into him, was not certainly known. The motion
was at least so acceptable that the Chancellor certainly opened a new
negotiation with Mr. Pitt. Lord Bute’s friends asserted solemnly that
this treaty, which was kept very secret, was known only to his Majesty,
and concluded without the least privity of the Favourite--a tale too
improbable to meet with the least credit.

As a signal of what was to ensue, on the 7th of July the Chancellor
went in to the King, and declared he would resign; a notification he
had not deigned to make to the Ministers, but which he took care they
should know, by declaring openly what he had done. When the Ministers
saw the King, he said coolly, “Then I must see what I can do.”[263]

The next day the Duke and Mr. Conway came to me in the country to ask
my opinion on the present crisis. I said, I believed it was the signal
of a change, but as it was yet uncertain whether the Chancellor had
acted from self-interested fear, or by concert with the King, the
wisest step for the Ministers would be to seize the opportunity, and
on Wednesday, the next Court-day, (it being now Monday,) resign their
places very civilly on want of the King’s confidence, and recommend to
his Majesty to send for Mr. Pitt. This, if the King was not prepared
with a Ministry, would greatly distress him; and whether Pitt, or
Grenville, or the Bedfords were sent for, they would give harder terms
to Lord Bute when at their mercy. That _their_ recommending Pitt might
prevent the King’s sending for him; and then nothing would be so odious
and unpopular as the Bedford faction united with Bute, while Pitt and
the present Ministers should be out of place. That if Pitt did become
Minister, he would be hampered by _their_ recommendation; it would hurt
his popularity if he did not take them in, and must be an obstacle to
his preferring the Bedfords. I added that this recommendation would
be entirely consistent with Mr. Conway’s past declarations, which had
always been in favour of Mr. Pitt, and would bind the Duke of Grafton
more firmly to Conway. This advice was extremely tasted by Mr. Conway,
not at all by the Duke, who had no partiality for Mr. Pitt.

The next day the Duke wrote to argue the point with me, and said,
Lord Rockingham was still for making Yorke Chancellor, for insisting
on the dismission of Dyson, Eglinton, Augustus Hervey, and others,
and then for offering the King to make Mr. Mackenzie Vice-treasurer
of Ireland. This last (which had already been in effect rejected) the
Duke allowed was a very silly plan, but thought Mr. Pitt had treated
the Ministers with too much contempt to make it honourable for them to
propose him; the Duke even supposed that their not leaving the King
in distress would oblige him. Mr. Conway, he said, was determined to
follow my advice. I, who had no opinion of his Majesty’s sensibility or
gratitude, stuck to what I had said; and warned the Duke to take care
that they were not turned out in the cause of Yorke, instead of their
own. I advised his Grace to make use of the good news from America,
where all was quiet, and to declare that having pacified America, they
could now resign without reproach; but the Seals had glimmered in
Yorke’s eyes, and I knew he would advise any meanness rather than lose
the moment of being Chancellor.

I went to town on Wednesday the 7th, in the afternoon, concluding that
Rockingham and Newcastle would have prevailed on Mr. Conway to defer
resigning for a day or two. So it had happened, though the Duke of
Richmond had been convinced by me that they must resign. But in the
morning, when the Ministers had gone in to the King, his Majesty, with
the most frank indifference, and without even thanking them for their
services, and for having undertaken the Administration at his own
earnest solicitation, acquainted them severally that he had sent for
Mr. Pitt; and lest this declaration should want a comment, to Newcastle
he said, “I have not two faces.” Newcastle replied, “Does your Majesty
know if Mr. Pitt will come?” “Yes,” said the King, “I have reason to
think he is disposed to come;” and then added, “I wish you all well,
particularly Lord Rockingham.” Nothing could be harsher to Newcastle,
in whose presence this was uttered. To the Duke of Richmond the King
was not tolerably civil; and, in truth, I believe the Seals which I
had obtained for his Grace were a mighty ingredient towards the fall
of that Administration. To Conway alone his Majesty was gracious, and
told him he hoped never to have an Administration of which he should
not be one. This looked as if the plan was settled, and that the King
knew Mr. Pitt intended to retain Conway, for his Majesty loved him no
better than the rest; and at Lord Rochford’s return from Spain had
ridiculed Conway’s despatches, and said, he fancied Lord Rochford
had had difficulty to know how to act, as they were sometimes warm,
sometimes cold. This remark had been furnished by the Chancellor, when
the offer made by the King of Spain of taking the King of Prussia for
arbitrator on the money due for the ransom of the Manillas, had neither
been accepted nor rejected. When the King told Conway he had sent for
Pitt, he replied, “Sir, I am glad of it; I always thought it the best
thing your Majesty could do. I wish it may answer: Mr. Pitt is a great
man; but as nobody is without faults, he is not unexceptionable.”


  Mr. Pitt proposes to Conway to remain in the Ministry.--Quarrel with
    Lord Temple.--Townshend Chancellor of the Exchequer.--Rockingham
    displaced to make way for Grafton.--Resignation of Lord John
    Cavendish.--Lord Rockingham affronts Pitt.--Unpopularity of the
    new Lord Chatham.--Changes and Preferments.--Foreign Policy.--
    Disturbed State of the Country.--Chatham’s Interview with Walpole.

On the 11th Mr. Pitt arrived; and on the 13th Mr. Conway came to me,
and told me Mr. Pitt had been with him, had shown much frankness, and
had offered him the Seals again, and the lead in the House of Commons,
for he himself could not attend there. The King, Mr. Pitt said, had
sent for Lord Temple; and he himself must offer him the Treasury, but
protested it was without knowing whether he would accept it. Of Mr.
Grenville it was delicate for him to speak; but if Mr. Conway would
not conduct the House of Commons, Mr. Grenville must, though that
would be subject to great difficulties. He intended something for Mr.
Mackenzie when occasion should offer; thought Lord Bute had been too
much proscribed, but would ever resist his having power. Changes he
wished could be made without changes. The foundation of the present
Ministry he hoped would remain; but he must take care of Lord Camden,
Lord Shelburne, Lord Bristol, and Colonel Barré. Of Lord Rockingham
he thought meanly, but was sorry to displace him. Sorry, too, for the
Duke of Richmond; would he take an embassy? Mr. Conway said, No. Pitt
replied, he did not desire an immediate answer; he knew Mr. Conway
would have difficulties. Conway avowed he had the greatest, though two
months before he should have laughed at any man that had supposed he
could have any. He should now prefer returning to the military; but
would consult his friends.

The same moment that told me Mr. Conway’s acceptance would be an
exclusion of George Grenville, decided my opinion; and the Duke of
Richmond coming in at that instant, we related what had passed, and
I frankly told the Duke, that I could not hesitate on pressing Mr.
Conway to accept, when I knew it would be shutting the door against
George Grenville. The Duke heard my opinion with concern; and with
great decency to Conway, rather started objections than urged him to
decline. It would break the party; Mr. Pitt, as well as Lord Bute,
had always aimed at dividing all parties. Could Mr. Conway quit the
Cavendishes? I told his Grace, that if Mr. Pitt did not remain in the
House of Commons, which he seemed disposed to quit, Mr. Conway would
be the Minister. The latter I was sure would not go into opposition.
His excluding Grenville would exclude Lord Temple. Lord Hertford
arrived: and desiring for his own sake, that Mr. Conway should go on
as much as I desired it, from enmity to Grenville, and Conway himself
inclining to go on, he easily acceded to our opinion. But in honour
of the Duke of Richmond, I must add, that he was so satisfied with my
plain dealing, however vexed at the event, that he neither then, _nor
ever after_,[264] changed his countenance towards me or confidence;
and was the only man I ever knew, whose friendship difference in party
had no power to shake. As he was the sole person of that party for
whom I had any friendship myself, I pressed Mr. Conway to ask for the
Duke a promise of the Garter and of the Blue Guards; but that measure
was defeated by the warmth of the heads of the party, provoked by the
neglect Pitt showed them; though in truth, they were forward enough in
inviting his resentment, by pressing all their friends to resign, even
if Lord Temple should come in without Grenville.

On the 14th arrived Lord Temple, who, at Mr. Pitt’s earnest desire, had
been sent for by the King. Mr. Pitt, who always acted like a Minister
retired or retiring from power, rather than as an all-puissant, or new
Minister, had begun to refine on his former conduct: and had already
commenced that extraordinary scene of seclusion of himself, which
he afterwards carried to an excess that passed, and no wonder, for a
long access of phrenzy. It was given out that he had a fever, and he
retired to Hampstead, whither Lord Temple went and saw him the day of
his arrival. The next day Lord Temple had an audience of the King. On
the 16th he was with Mr. Pitt till seven in the evening, dined, and
took the air with him, when such high words passed, that the coachman
overheard their warmth, and Mr. Pitt was so much agitated that his
fever increased, and he would see nobody, not even the Duke of Grafton,
whom he had sent for to town, but whom he had informed by message that
he would take no step without acquainting his Grace.[265]

On the 17th Lord Temple again saw the King, made extravagant demands,
which were peremptorily refused, and immediately went out of town.

The detail was, that Mr. Pitt had pressed the King to send for him; but
said that was all he asked. When he and Lord Temple met, the latter
insisted on bringing in his brother George; Mr. Pitt would not hear of
it. Lord Temple then demanded that Lord Lyttelton should be President
of the Council: nor that would Mr. Pitt grant: nor, in truth, did Lord
Temple propose any conditions in earnest after the negative put upon
his brother. Then, indeed, as provision for loading Mr. Pitt, Lord
Temple asked him what he intended to do about Mr. Mackenzie and Lord
Northumberland. He replied, Considerably. This was of a piece with
what Lord Temple had lately done. In a pamphlet published by Almon,
to abuse the Ministry, and called “The History of the late Minority,”
it was declared that Lord Temple’s refusal of coming in with Mr. Pitt
in the preceding year, had been grounded on the terms Mr. Pitt had
been willing to grant to Lord Northumberland. As that refusal fully
justified Mr. Pitt from not calling Lord Temple again, it was strange
refinement or delicacy to invite a new quarrel by a new summons,
especially as it was evident that he did not mean to grant any one
facility that could tempt Lord Temple to accept.[266]

Fortunate it was, that Lord Temple did not overreach him by accepting.
It was not less fortunate that he remained out of place, a check on
Lord Bute, and a sure source of clamour against arbitrary measures,
while discontented himself.[267] Yet Lord Temple did not act without
art. Though the King saw, from the first five minutes of their
conversation, that he did not mean to accept the Treasury, yet he and
his brother had persuaded the Bedfords that he intended it, and that
he would bring them in; and extremely were they disappointed when they
heard the negotiation was at an end; but it had answered the purpose of
his laying them under obligation to his intentions, especially as he
endeavoured to make them believe that he had broken with Mr. Pitt for
refusing to make him[268] Secretary of State; but the Bedfords, who
could get over real obligations, were not men to be much enchained by
fictitious intentions.[269]

Mr. Conway laboured to make some accommodation between Mr. Pitt and
the fallen Ministers; and to engage the former to try at softening
the ill-humour of the latter, who were great and respectable men, and
whose assistance he would want. Pitt was cold and mysterious; said it
would be impertinent in him to inform any of them that they were to be
dismissed; it must come from his Majesty in the ordinary way of office.
He should go to the King on the morrow; nothing was yet settled; he
should begin with the great outlines. The Army and Law, he thought,
should be left to the King. Lord Granby was very high; but if his
Majesty preferred Lord Albemarle, he should not oppose it. Charles
Yorke he should leave Attorney-General, unless the King disliked him.

The same day Mr. Pitt wrote to Charles Townshend in this haughty and
laconic style:--“Sir, you are of too great a magnitude not to be in
a responsible place: I intend to propose you to the King to-morrow
for Chancellor of the Exchequer, and must desire to have your answer
to-night by nine o’clock.” Unprecedented as this method was of imposing
an office of such confidence in so ungracious a manner (for it was
ordering Townshend to accept 2700_l._ a year in lieu of 7000_l._,
and intimated that, accepting or refusing, he must quit the post of
Paymaster), yet it was singularly well adapted to the man. It was
telling him that no other man in England was so fit for that difficult
employment; and it was telling him at the same time that though his
great abilities rendered him an useful servant, the lightness of his
character made those talents not formidable in an enemy.

Pitt had judged rightly. Townshend did not dare to fling both offices
in his face: but, without being incensed or flattered, fell into the
most ridiculous distress imaginable. All he felt was the menace, and
the loss of the Paymaster’s place; and instead of concealing the
affront or his own anxiety, he sat at home in his night-gown, received
all that came, showed Pitt’s mandate to them, and commented on it,
despatched messengers for his brother and the Duke of Grafton, who
were out of town; and as the time lapsed, ran to the window on every
coach that passed, to see if they were arrived. At last he determined
on suing for leave to remain Paymaster, to which Pitt listened. Then
with his usual fluctuation, Townshend repented of not accepting the
Chancellorship of the Exchequer, so leading a situation in the House
of Commons, and begged he might have it. Pitt replied, The place was
full, being then inclined to retain Mr. Dowdeswell. Townshend renewed
his supplication with tears; but for some time Pitt was firm. At length
he yielded to the Duke of Grafton’s intercession; and that very day
Townshend told the King that Mr. Pitt had again pressed and persuaded
him to be Chancellor of the Exchequer--with such silly duplicity did
he attain a rank which he might have carried from all competitors, had
his mind borne any proportion to the vastness of his capacity. Pitt
diverted himself with these inconsistencies, and suffered him to be his

But now Pitt’s own mind, as unballasted by judgment as Townshend’s,
though expressing itself in loftier irregularities, disclosed to
Grafton and Conway his plan of Administration. He told them he meant
to make the present Administration the groundwork of his own, and
meditated few changes; that Lord Camden[271] was to be Chancellor,
and Lord Northington President: that he had asked the King what his
Majesty desired for Mackenzie. The King had answered, Restoration,
but without power in Scotland; to which he had consented. Something
for Lord Northumberland--but he might wait. Lord Bristol was to be
Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, when Lord Hertford should be weary of it.
The Duke of Grafton was to be placed at the head of the Treasury, with
Dowdeswell (on Townshend’s refusal) for Chancellor of the Exchequer:
Lord Shelburne and Mr. Conway, Secretaries of State; Colonel Barré and
James Grenville, Vice-Treasurers of Ireland; Lord George Sackville to
be turned out. At last he acquainted them that himself was to be Privy
Seal and a peer.

Two words are sufficient comments on so ill-conceived and ill-digested
a plan. It was founded on a set of men whose chiefs he disgusted and
displaced, without having obtained, without having even asked the
consent or sounded the acquiescence of those who were to remain, and
whose passions he had left to be worked upon by their several leaders:
and, as if forgetting that the sole foundation of his own authority
lay in his ascendant in the House of Commons, and in his popularity,
he abandoned the one and risked the other; vainly presuming that he
could dictate from the House of Peers, where he had no interest, and
which required far different oratory from that in which his strength
lay. Some argument, much decency, and great art are requisite to lull
and lead Lords. The House of Commons, too, was so accustomed to see the
Minister himself at their head, as not to be easily conducted by his
substitutes. It was quitting the field to Grenville and every rising
genius. Even his own Chancellor of the Exchequer, when not under his
own lash, was almost sure to run riot. Two such capital errors in the
outset, could not but embarrass his measures: they did; and yet smaller
errors had greater consequences.

The outlines of the plan were no sooner public than they gave the
highest offence to those whom it most imported Mr. Pitt to keep in
humour. The King owned to Mr. Conway that he much disliked Lord
Shelburne. The Ministerial Whigs, or party of the late Ministers, were
enraged. Rockingham was indignant at being displaced for Grafton, and
Richmond for Shelburne; and was the more hurt that Mr. Conway suffered
this preference. He complained to me of Conway with much anger. I said,
“I could not allow Mr. Conway to be blamed, in order to disculpate
myself. I did profess I had advised him, as his Grace knew, to accept
Mr. Pitt’s offers. He had accepted them before any mention had been
made of Shelburne; and grievous as it was to him, could he break on
it with Mr. Pitt, after being the cause that the latter had broken
with both his brothers, Temple and Grenville? Mr. Conway had wished to
resign with his friend the Duke of Grafton; yet had stayed in at the
request of the whole party, as they could not go on without him. Could
they blame him for staying in now, when the Duke of Grafton returned to
Administration?” The Duke replied, “The Duke of Grafton had treated Mr.
Conway ill; and that his obligations were to the House of Cavendish.” I
said, “My Lord, was the 5000_l._ bequeathed to him by the late Duke of
Devonshire to be a retaining fee to make him a servant to that family?”
The Duke asked, why Mr. Pitt did not turn out any of Lord Bute’s
friends? Why only friends of the late Ministers? I said, “Not one had
been or would be turned out for Lord Bute’s friends: that no man of
half the importance of Mr. Pitt had ever brought so few dependents;
he had proposed but four of any consequence, the Duke of Grafton,
Lord Camden, Lord Shelburne, and Lord Bristol; and even the last he
waived for a time. That himself declared he acceded to the present
Administration, not they to him; and that he brought not a single man
along with him, that had not voted with them all the last winter. That
Mr. Conway was influenced by measures, not by men; yet these were both
Whig men and Whig measures. Oppose the first arbitrary measure, my
Lord, you and your friends, and you will be in the right; but hitherto
of what can you complain? Three weeks ago you declared you could not
meet the opening of the next Session. The Administration has now got
the most creditable accession and strength, and will not accept it:”
at last I said, “Desire Mr. Conway, my Lord, not to accept, and I will
answer he will not.” “No,” said the Duke, with his usual goodness of
heart, “I will not do that.” “Then,” said I, “my Lord, your Grace and
your friends will reduce Mr. Conway to this; he will be disgusted with
your ill-treatment, he will ask for his regiment again, and retire,
and never enter the House of Commons more; and then what becomes of
your party?” The Duke was infinitely struck with this; and though
for a few days he could not conceal his dissatisfaction from Conway
on the latter’s yielding to let him be removed for Shelburne, his
friendly heart surmounted his chagrin, and he wrote a letter to Conway
acknowledging that he had been in the wrong, and renewing their amity.

In truth, I suffered as much as the Duke in being forced to argue
against him, when my heart was on his side. But nothing could
have justified Conway in flying off after Pitt had sacrificed
Grenville to him, and all other views of support. Every public
consideration concurred to excite my endeavours, that Pitt and the
late Administration should not separate. _They_ were honest, and
_he_ inflamed with the love of national glory. All _they_ wanted
was activity and authority; _he_ was proper to confer both. If he
lost _them_, he must hang on Bute, or revert to his brothers and the
Bedfords. He and the late Ministers were popular; all other sets were
odious from past experience of their actions.

In vain did I labour to preserve so salutary an union. My evil genius,
Lord John Cavendish, came across me; and though I had the private
satisfaction of letting him see whose influence with Mr. Conway was the
greater; it did not compensate for the mischief he did by inflaming the
party against Pitt. To engage by his example to set Pitt at defiance,
Lord John resigned his seat at the Treasury; and lest he should be
too much in the right by resenting the ill-treatment of his friends,
he sent his resignation to the Duke of Grafton in a letter, in which
he told the Duke that he supposed his Grace did not desire to see a
Cavendish at that board. Nothing could be more unfounded or unjust
than this insinuation. Grafton had ever lived in the utmost harmony
with that family, and Lord John was his particular friend. There was
no intention of removing one of their relations; and the Duke had,
above all, reckoned on Lord John for his associate in the Treasury.
Yet the latter affected to beg nobody to resign--after firing the
signal. He carried this dissimulation so far as to beg me, who felt the
blow he had let fall on Conway, to do my utmost that Lord Dartmouth
and Mr. Dowdeswell might be pacified, or they would both resign: and
he concluded his exhortation with great professions to the Duke of
Grafton, who, he said, had always distinguished him from the time he
was at school. I said, “I was sorry, but did not see what I could
do: that they would drive Mr. Pitt to Lord Bute, or to his brothers
and the Bedfords.” “No,” he replied, “it might drive Mr. Pitt himself
away, which would make confusion, and confusion did no harm in times
of peace.” “That confusion,” said I, “would unite Lord Bute and the
Bedfords.” “Oh!” said he, “then we should have impeachments.”

Slight as our hopes were now of working any good on the party,
Mr. Conway was urgent with Pitt to show them some civilities, and
represented how much they were exasperated by his obstinate silence and
coldness. Pitt said, he heard so, but could not believe it: all would
come right again. Conway implored him to speak to them, or to empower
him to soothe them. He was inflexible: said, the King did all. When
done, he would go to Lord Rockingham; but would promise no further.
Conway spoke of the Duke of Portland,[272] who, as nearly related to
the Cavendishes, must be disposed to quit, and therefore required
the more attention; and, as the last argument, stated the cruelty
of his own situation. Nothing could move him. He replied coldly, If
Portland should resign, he would be replaced by a man taken from no
exceptionable quarter. This looked like no unwillingness to disgust;
and though this absurdity of trampling on the greatest subjects, and
even on those men on whose support he must lean, or leave himself
at the mercy of the Court, was not abhorrent from Pitt’s character
notwithstanding the inconveniencies it had often drawn on him; yet I
have suspected that at the time in question, he might have studied
or received intimations of the King’s inclination to get rid of some
particular men. The Cavendishes had long been particularly obnoxious,
had personally affronted the Princess on the Bill of Regency, and had
been the chief obstructors of any approach to Lord Bute. The Duke of
Portland, though his mother[273] was the intimate friend of Lady Bute,
had wantonly piqued himself on enmity to the Favourite; and by local
and county[274] circumstances was the declared rival in the North of
Sir James Lowther,[275] the Favourite’s son-in-law. To these motives
was added in Pitt a desire of making room for Lord Bristol; and an
incidental offer to himself of support from another quarter contributed
to augment his indifference to the consequences of the party’s anger.

It happened that the Bedford squadron did not give credit to the fair
report Lord Temple had made of his zeal for their service. Their hopes
had been raised, and seeing a door open, they were not willing to be
excluded by an equivocal obligation. Lord Tavistock[276] acquainted
the Duke of Grafton, that his father disclaimed the Grenvilles, and
would be ready to assist his Grace on no other conditions than places
for Lord Gower, Rigby, and Vernon,[277] the Duchess’s brother-in-law.
This was making so capital a breach in that connection on such moderate
terms, that averse as I was to the Bedfords, I wished to see it closed
with before they should be apprized of the ill-blood between Pitt and
the late Ministers. But if the offer swelled Pitt’s haughtiness, it did
not operate much on the prudence of his measures. He at once slighted
the overture, and continued his obstinacy of making no overtures to
the discontented. It seemed a contest between them which should be
most in the wrong. Lord Rockingham and his friends professed that they
would yet be contented with civilities. Lord Frederick and Lord John
Cavendish both sounded this high; and the latter, at my house, pressed
Mr. Conway so much to obtain some notice of them from Mr. Pitt, that
he went that very evening to the latter, and did at last prevail with
him to visit Lord Rockingham. Mr. Pitt went the next morning, and was
admitted into the house, but was met by a servant, who said, his Lord
desired to be excused from seeing him. Thus had they forced Mr. Conway
to draw in Mr. Pitt to receive an affront; and from that day the wound
was incurable.

On the 30th of the month Mr. Pitt kissed hands for the Privy Seal,
and the Earldom of Chatham; Grafton, Camden, Northington, and Charles
Townshend for the places I have mentioned. Lord Howe was restored to
his post of Treasurer of the Navy; Barré and James Grenville were made
Vice-Treasurers of Ireland; and Lord George Sackville was dismissed.

The same day Lord Dartmouth resigned the Board of Trade, and Charles
Yorke his post of Attorney-General. Dowdeswell was asked what he should
like: he replied, the King had placed him above what he had pretensions
to, but having been there he could take nothing lower. Though in
straitened circumstances and burthened with a numerous offspring,
he adhered to his party, and refused to be First Lord of Trade, or
Half-Paymaster. His character was exceedingly fair; but among many
examples of that time, he had been raised above his abilities, and was
more respected for his fall than for his exaltation.[278]

A pension of 4000_l._ a year was offered to, and rejected by, the Duke
of Newcastle, who with all his faults and weaknesses was never stained
with avarice and rapaciousness. The deepest tinge of that dirty vice
blotted the late Chancellor Northington, who sold the Seals for the
President’s place, augmented by 5000_l._ a year, with the contingency
of 2000_l._ a year if he should quit the place of President, and for
the reversion of the Hanaper for two lives.[279] Grants so exorbitant,
and so void of any colour of merit in the fool on whom they were
showered, that if they cast a shade on the dawn of Mr. Pitt’s new
Administration, or recalled the memory of his former waste, they
reflected lustre on the fallen Ministry, who had been beyond example
sparing of such shameless profusion. It was not lessened by another
contingent pension to Lord Camden in case he should lose the Seals: yet
as he quitted the place of Chief Justice of the Common Pleas for life,
the boon was far more justifiable; especially in an age when men were
paid alike for merit and demerit, for accepting or losing employments.

The services of the discarded Ministers were set forth in a small,
well written tract, called “A Short History of a late Short
Administration.” It did justice to their integrity, and it could not do
too much.[280] The nation felt and allowed their merit. Some counties
and corporations complimented them in addresses. The Parliament
followed the Court, and supported whoever was the actual Minister;
uniform in its way of voting, though its votes of every year were
inconsistent with those of the preceding.

The glory with which the late Ministers retired was half of it plucked
from the laurels of the new Earl of Chatham. That fatal title blasted
all the affection which his country had borne to him, and which he
had deserved so well. Had he been as sordid as Lord Northington, he
could not have sunk lower in the public esteem. The people, though he
had done no act to occasion reproach, thought he had sold them for a
title, and, as words fascinate or enrage them, their idol Mr. Pitt was
forgotten in their detestation of the Lord Chatham. He was paralleled
with Lord Bath, and became the object at which were shot all the arrows
of calumny. He had borne his head above the obloquy that attended his
former pension--not a mouth was opened now in defence of his title;
as innocent as his pension, since neither betrayed him into any deed
of servility to prerogative and despotism. Both were injudicious;
the last irrecoverably so. The blow was more ruinous to his country
than to himself. While he held the love of the people, nothing was so
formidable in Europe as his name. The talons of the lion were drawn,
when he was no longer awful in his own forests.

The City of London had intended to celebrate Mr. Pitt’s return to
employment, and lamps for an illumination had been placed round the
Monument. But no sooner did they hear of his new dignity, than the
festival was counter-ordered. The great engine of this dissatisfaction
was Lord Temple, who was so shameless as to publish the history of
their breach, in which he betrayed every private passage that Mr. Pitt
had dropped in their negotiation and quarrel, which could tend to
inflame the public or private persons against him.[281] This malignant
man worked in the mines of successive factions for near thirty years
together. To relate them is writing his life.

The next month was spent in changes and preferments, which I shall
recapitulate as briefly as I can. Sir Charles Saunders, instigated
by Lord Albemarle, resigned his seat at the Admiralty, on pretence
of disliking Lord Egmont, the first Commissioner. Lord Albemarle had
been refused the Rangership of the Parks at Windsor. John Yorke[282]
retired from the same board. Within a few days Lord Egmont himself
resigned, telling the King he disapproved of Lord Chatham’s foreign
system, and should be afraid of embarrassing his Majesty’s affairs. If
they were to be debated in Council, he could submit to the majority;
but as he found one man was to have more weight than six,[283] he
begged to be unemployed.

Lord Chatham was hurt at losing Saunders, one of his favourite and most
successful admirals in the last war. Keppel,[284] too, intimated a like
design of retiring. To prevent the one and recover the other, Lord
Chatham, though sorely unwilling to raise Sir Charles Saunders above
Sir Edward Hawke and Sir George Pocock, at last put the Admiralty into
the hands of Saunders. Lord Granby was appointed Commander-in-chief,
and Lord Ligonier quieted with an earldom--at near ninety, and with
a reversion to his nephew of fifteen hundred pounds a year of his
pension. Even the promotion of Lord Granby was a portion of another
bargain, the price of his father, the Duke of Rutland’s, quitting
Master of the Horse, which was given to Lord Hertford, that he might
cede the government of Ireland to Lord Bristol. Nor was the post of
Master of the Horse sufficient: the King promised Lord Hertford should
have the Chamberlain’s staff on the next vacancy, which his Majesty
added, he wished was then--a confirmation of his dislike of the Duke
of Portland. Lord Hertford was too good a courtier not to acquiesce,
or to be satisfied. He prevailed to have the borough of Orford, then
dependant on the Crown, where Lord Hertford had an estate, ceded to
him,--a boon unprecedented, and that made much noise. The ill-conduct
of the Court had reduced the Crown to little more than to be able to
make changes; for it could scarce make an Administration, though both
Houses were ready to support any that was made.

I ought to have mentioned, that, in consequence of the Duke of
Bedford’s offers, the Admiralty, on Lord Egmont’s demission, was
offered to Lord Gower; Lord Chatham still deluding himself with the
thought that he could detach any separate man from any connection.
But if men were grown more venal, they were grown, too, to understand
their own interests better than to loosen their strength by separating
themselves from powerful bodies; a single and temporary emolument could
not compensate for the support of their friends. Lord Gower answered
that he could not stand _alone_ in so responsible a place, and was
connected with none of the present Ministry.

Lord Frederick Campbell was removed, and Mr. Mackenzie restored to his
ancient place.

However alert and peremptory Lord Chatham was in offending or
promoting, domestic power by no means occupied his thoughts. The stocks
had fallen on his accession, from the apprehension entertained that he
would hurry into war. Had his views succeeded, one cannot tell how soon
it might have been his measure. I know certainly that he despatched
emissaries to visit the frontier towns in France. His immediate and
avowed purpose was to cement an union between England, Russia, and

Baron de la Perriere,[285] the Sardinian Envoy, had given notice
that the new Emperor[286] was much disinclined to the French system,
and even disposed to break with that Court, beholding with an eye
of discontent their possession of his hereditary dominion, Lorrain.
It was expected that Count Kaunitz, his mother’s Prime Minister,
devoted to France, would retire.[287] I had sent notice of this
favourable opening, and had repeated it at my return from Paris. A
short time before the change in the Ministry, an event corroborated
this intelligence. Count Seilern, the Austrian Ambassador, had opened
himself freely to Mr. Conway, and said, if the latter would assure
him that we neither had leagued, nor would league with Prussia, his
court would enter into a defensive league with us against France. Mr.
Conway replied we could not advance so far at once, but assured him we
were not, nor were likely to be, in league with Prussia. Seilern was
to report this answer, and no reply was arrived when Mr. Pitt became
Minister. The King had been so indiscreet as to tell Count Seilern in
the drawing-room that Count Malzahn, the new envoy from Berlin, had had
his audience, and was the first foreign Minister that ever came to him
without saying anything personally civil.

Mr. Pitt, full of a grand northern alliance, without attending to the
conjuncture, or above informing himself of the situation, immediately
names Mr. Stanley[288] Ambassador to Russia instead of Sir George
Maccartney,[289] a personal favourite of the Czarina, and who had just
concluded a treaty of commerce with her; and orders Stanley, in his
way to St. Petersburg, to learn if the King of Prussia was disposed
to enter into strict alliance with us. The King had acquiesced in
this new arrangement, for he submitted even to treat with the King of
Prussia, whom he hated, rather than not accommodate Lord Bute with
a more favourable Administration. Conway was thunderstruck. He saw
we should miss the opportunity of recovering the Court of Vienna,
and expected nothing from Prussia. To add to the mortification, the
nomination was made in his own office, and he not acquainted with it
till it was done; nor had he been summoned to the Council in which
it was declared. So little confidence to the confidential Minister
looked ill, and prognosticated how entirely the new Earl intended to
engross the sole direction. Conway wrote to Lord Chatham to beg Mr.
Stanley’s journey might not be precipitated, but debated in Council:
if the King’s servants should approve it, he should acquiesce. The
Earl returned a very civil answer, and promised they should consult on
it. The event was, the King of Prussia refused to receive Stanley’s
visit, and the Czarina did not like to admit an Ambassador. After a
long delay, Stanley’s embassy was laid aside[290]--the union with
Austria was lost. These foreign disappointments, I believe, were the
chief ingredients in the strange conduct of Lord Chatham that ensued.
Peace was not his element; nor did his talent lie in those details that
restore a nation by slow and wholesome progress. Of the finances he
was utterly ignorant. If struck with some great idea, he neither knew
how nor had patience to conduct it. He expected implicit assent--and
he expected more, that other men should methodise and superintend, and
bear the fatigue of carrying his measures into execution; and, what was
worse, encounter the odium and danger of them, while he reposed and was
to enjoy the honour, if successful. The history of the ensuing winter
will justify every word here asserted. His conduct in the late war had
been the same. He drew the plans, but left it to the Treasury to find
the means; nor would listen to their difficulties, nor hold any rein
over their ill-management.

While the attention of the great world was fixed on the political
revolution, the people laboured under the dearness of corn and the
apprehension of famine. The two last seasons had been particularly
unfavourable; and though there was not absolute want, the farmers kept
back their corn, and would not bring it to market, in order to enhance
the price. Great disturbances ensued in several counties: the mob rose,
seized provisions by force, or obliged the venders to distribute them
at the price fixed by the people. In some places they burnt the barns
of those who concealed their corn, and committed other violences. The
worst tumults were at Norwich and in the western counties, where the
peace could only be preserved by quartering regiments in the most
riotous districts. In this emergency, the Council advised the King, as
Parliament was not sitting, to lay an embargo, by his own authority,
on the exportation of corn; an extension of prerogative not used for a
large number of years but in a war, or on the imminent approach of one.
The Duke of Newcastle attended the Council, and, to his honour, spoke
heartily for a measure which checked the evil. Who would believe that
so essential a remedy was converted into matter of blame? That it was,
reflected honour on the Administration. Such crimes can only be found
in a dearth of accusation.

The Earl of Northumberland, offended at the promotions of Lord Bristol
and Lord Hertford, and that even the Chamberlain’s staff was engaged
to the latter, broke out in complaints to Lord Chatham, who, with a
facility that seemed to imply a secret understanding, consented that he
should be created a Duke. The King did not hesitate a moment; the same
day heard the grievance and the indemnification. Lord Cardigan,[291]
on an old promise, obtained by Lord Bute, that he should be a Duke
whenever one was made, was raised to the same rank; but Lord Chatham
coupling it with a condition to both, that the one should take no
employment, and the other resign the government of Windsor Castle,
Lord Cardigan refused the increase of title, and would not part with
his office, saying, he thought titles were honours and rewards,
not punishments. Lord Northumberland acquiesced, and obtained the
precedence. The other being firm, carried his point, kept his place,
and got the dukedom. Had Lord Chatham intended to bar solicitation
for titles by so unpleasant a restriction, he had acted wisely; but,
relinquishing it in Lord Cardigan’s case, it is probable that his
sole view was to disculpate himself from the imputation of too open
propensity to the Favourite’s family. He offered an earldom to Lord
Monson in lieu of his place, which the Earl designed for Mr. Popham;
but Lord Monson would neither accept the title nor resign the office.
Lord Grantham[292] was removed from the Post-office in favour of Mr.
Prowse, who would not accept it, but the former was partly indemnified
by his son Robinson being made a Lord of Trade.

In October Lord Chatham went to Bath, where I happened to be. He came
to me, and we had a conversation of two hours. Nothing could be more
frank and unreserved than his behaviour. He asked me earnestly if I
did not think that France intended to keep peace with us? I replied,
I was sure in the present distress of their circumstances they must
keep it: and that I was as sure from the terror I had seen they felt
at _his_ name, that they would be still more disposed to keep it now
he was Minister. He lamented that we could get no allies; that he saw
no day-light. The session he thought he should carry through easily.
To flatter me he commended Mr. Conway highly, particularly for his
Whiggism--“and am not I,” said he, “Lord Camden, and Lord Shelburne,
Whigs?” Yet he wished to take some of all parties. The Duke of Bedford,
indeed, had made himself nobody. Lord Gower was considerable, and ought
to be high. If the Duke and Duchess desired it, Rigby might be taken
care of; but when Cabinet places were so scarce, they wanted one for
Lord Weymouth--a very pretty man, Lord Weymouth!--but that could not
be. He had been offered the embassy to Spain, but would not accept it;
nor Postmaster, though it had been held by Lord Grantham, who had been
Secretary of State. The King, he said, was very gracious to him, and
he believed in earnest--and then dropped these remarkable words: “If
I was in possession of the citadel of Lisle, and was told there was a
mine under my feet, I would say, I do not believe it.” His opinion of
his Majesty’s sincerity was therefore exactly the same as mine. I took
great pains to cultivate harmony between him and Mr. Conway, because I
feared it was little likely to last.

The negotiation with the Duke of Bedford had been renewed at Bath
by Lord Northington and Mr. Nugent. The Duke himself came thither
and they had an interview, in which Lord Chatham desired artfully to
open himself to his Grace, and declared against Continental measures,
subsidies, &c. (the very objects in which he had been disappointed, but
against which the Duke’s humour then lay.) They could not agree on Lord
Weymouth, which made the Duke profess his unwillingness to abandon his
friends, though ready to abandon them if that point had been accorded.
However Lord Chatham had made so much impression that, on the Duke’s
return to London, and being instantly beset by Grenville, the Duke
said he was unpopular enough already, and would not be torn to pieces
for condemning the embargo on corn. He would vote for the Address, and
insisted that Rigby should. The latter begged to go out of town, and
said to his friends that Lord Chatham had duped the Duke of Bedford,
and the King Lord Gower, who had been particularly distinguished at
Court; that they were undone if they voted with Administration before
their bargain was made.

Lord Temple and Lord Lyttelton went to the Lord Mayor’s feast, but were
totally neglected by the citizens.


  Debates on the Embargo laid on Corn.--Party Tactics.--Walpole exerts
    himself to prevent Conway from resigning.--View of Lord Chatham’s

On the 11th of November the Parliament met. Lord Suffolk opposed the
Address of the Lords, and the debate turned on the illegality of the
late Act of Council that had directed the embargo; the Opposition
censuring the Ministers for not having called the Parliament to that
end. To urge that the necessity had been pressing, that the delay
necessarily attendant on issuing writs, on assembling the members, on
passing the Bill, would have wasted the time, while the merchants who
had contracted to send corn abroad would have taken advantage of such
protraction and sent away their corn--and thus the evil would not have
been prevented by paying too scrupulous regard to forms--these reasons
did not satisfy men who would have found greater fault if the evil had
not been prevented. The Duke of Bedford was more moderate, but wished
the Parliament had been assembled. Lord Chatham, for the first time of
his appearing in that House, spoke with coolness, dignity, and art,
declaring that if any man was personal to him, or revived stories
past, he should take no notice of them. This seemed to check Lord
Temple’s heat, who, though severe in arraigning, forbore invectives
against Lord Chatham; but proposed (as Mr. Grenville did in the other
House) to issue 200,000_l._ from the Treasury for the relief of the
poor--a vain attempt at popularity, and deservedly ridiculed. Lord
Northington, with great boldness and defiance, said, he disclaimed
accepting any pardon for the part he had acted in advising the embargo,
and held law-books cheap when weighed against such a crisis. For
himself he had acted on a larger scale. He concluded with haranguing
against disunion. Lord Temple reminded him that two years before, he
had declared unanimity was destructive. Lord Mansfield, from aversion
to Lord Chatham and his Chancellor Camden, was now the advocate of the
Constitution. The Act of Council he maintained was illegal, though he
said he would give no opinion as the case might come before him in
judgment, many suits being commenced, he heard, against officers of the
customs for detaining corn from exportation on the authority of the
Council’s order. Prerogative! there was no such thing: the King could
do nothing but by law; was only free from arrest for debt,--truths that
were scandalous in the mouth of a man whose soul was sold to Despotism.
Lord Camden answered with firmness, and with sharp irony, on the new
Whiggism of the Chief Justice. Himself, he said, had always been Whig,
and should continue so. If it was not yet in our laws, it ought to
be so, that _Salus populi suprema lex_. If this Act was a stretch of
prerogative, _it was but a tyranny of forty days_. This sentence drew
much censure--ridiculously so. In every Government there is--must be--a
supreme power to exert itself when evils are too mighty for the common
channel of law to divert. That power must have relieved the people, or
they would have relieved themselves, for men will not starve, if you
tell them there is no law that can help them. The very phrase, too,
_of forty days_ implied that liberty preceded and succeeded to that
transient tyranny. It is when unlimited that tyranny is dreadful. The
sentence, however, proved the text on which the following libels were
preached for some months. Lord Mansfield was daunted, and retracted,
and the House rose without a division.[293]

In the other House Mr. Grenville held forth on the illegality, and
abused Mr. Conway, not for intention, but for ignorance and blunders.
Burke spoke finely on the same side; but they could not attempt a
division, the Duke of Bedford’s people having absented themselves. The
Tories, however, exclaimed against Lord Camden’s dispensing power;
a clamour that manifested their own principles. The Whigs dread the
prerogative being used _against_ the people; the Tories, it should
seem, _for_ the people.

The schism raised in the Opposition by the Duke of Bedford’s defection,
and the general inclination attached to the late Ministers to close
with Lord Chatham, had discouraged almost all thoughts of opposition.
Grenville and his dozen of followers in vain attempted to rekindle
it, and though Lord Rockingham wished to figure as leader of a party
even out of place, and Burke, an adventurer, was to push his way by
distinguishing himself as a formidable antagonist; yet the decency
of that set of men was such, even of Lord John Cavendish, that they
did not care to fly out. They retained much deference for Mr. Conway;
and too many of their friends remained still in place, whom they
might displease and lose, and without whom their numbers would be
inconsiderable. They had acted, too, with such recent animosity to
George Grenville, that it was a bitter resource to join his standard:
nor were he and Lord Rockingham compatible, the Treasury being the
object which neither would cede to the other. So forlorn a prospect
deadened all factious spirit: Lord Temple went out of town. The Dukes
of Bedford and Richmond were to go on the 19th; and though some scanty
forces might rally after Christmas, all who waited to judge from the
size of the majority whether duration might be expected to the present
Ministry, would probably by that time have enlisted themselves in the
troops of the Court. This moment, fortunate beyond all calculation, did
Lord Chatham pitch upon to do the wildest of acts for the silliest of
reasons. Without waiting to let so prosperous a conjuncture ripen into
a system, he seemed to take a fortuitous concurrence of circumstances
for established power; and though the predominant influence of the
Court preserved him from falling, he involved himself in such a
labyrinth of difficulties, that he found no other way of extricating
himself than by a conduct more preposterous than the series of
imprudence which had drawn him into his perplexed situation. I must now
relate what he lost and for whom.

There was a nephew of the Duke of Newcastle who, when the Whigs had
broken with the Court and sought to place Lord Chatham at their
head, had attached himself particularly to that chieftain. Lord
Lincoln,[294] the other nephew of the Duke, had quarrelled, as I have
said, indecently and ungratefully with his uncle. Mr. Shelley,[295] the
hero of the present episode, had copied that ingratitude, and for no
worthier reason than because a peerage, to which he had no pretensions,
had not been added to the boons his lavish uncle had already heaped on
him, had joined himself to his cousin. But Mr. Pitt was his standard;
and, furnishing himself with scraps of that orator’s new-coined
diction, he retailed them on the most ordinary occurrences; so that as
Mr. Pitt was called _the Great Commoner_, the nickname of _the Little
Commoner_ was bestowed on Shelley in ridicule.[296] This insignificant
person did Lord Chatham, to gratify Lord Lincoln, design for Treasurer
of the Household. Mr. Conway had remonstrated against the dismission of
Lord Edgcumbe,[297] who held that staff, insisting that an equivalent,
at least, should be given to Lord Edgcumbe, and with his consent. This
had passed about a month before the meeting of the Parliament, and Lord
Chatham said no more at that time. But six days after the opening of
the session, Lord Shelburne, being with Mr. Conway, said, “I wish you
would tell me how to write a civil letter to Lord Edgcumbe.” Conway
started, and asked on what occasion? “To notify his dismission,”
replied the other. Lord Chatham, it seems, had offered a Lordship of
the Bedchamber to Lord Edgcumbe, a man of forty-five, very high in the
Navy, who had served with reputation in Lord Chatham’s favourite war,
and who, into a place only fit for a boy, must have entered below
thirteen other boys! Lord Edgcumbe very properly declining such a post,
Lord Chatham affected to resent it as an affront to the King, and wrote
a verbose notification of the refusal to Mr. Conway, with frequent
repetitions of his Majesty’s name and intentions. Conway, wounded at
the treatment both of himself and Lord Edgcumbe, wrote a firm answer,
justifying the latter.[298] Lord Rockingham, getting wind of this
transaction, hurried to Mr. Conway, artfully reminding him that the
late Duke of Devonshire, at his death, had recommended Lord Edgcumbe
to the Duke of Cumberland; and that Lord Edgcumbe himself had lately,
at Mr. Conway’s request, chosen his nephew, Lord Beauchamp,[299] into
Parliament.[300] But Lord Chatham’s own conduct exasperated Conway
more than any incendiary could. He wrote again to Conway, imputing all
to the King’s intentions and to the necessity of accommodation. He
could not have assigned a weaker reason. Shelley would not even have
a seat in Parliament, for the Duke of Newcastle refused to re-elect
him. Lord Edgcumbe commanded four boroughs, and it was within a year of
the general election. Instead of replying by letter, Conway went and
expostulated with Lord Chatham on the ill-usage of his friend, and of
the silence to himself, desiring to retire; did not mean to oppose, but
thought that the Government could do without him now Charles Townshend
was in their service. Lord Chatham talked of his desire of pleasing all
parties by taking some of all: some Bedfords--Burke, to please Lord
Rockingham--(but Burke had said he would take nothing but on proviso of
resigning, if Lord Rockingham went into opposition--though, as the Duke
of Grafton told me, Burke would not have been obdurate if his demands
had not been too extravagant)--Norton--Conway remonstrated--Lord
Chatham rejoined, “only in case of a vacancy, perhaps Master of the
Rolls, if the present should die.”

While this matter was in suspense, Mr. Conway moved the House of
Commons for leave to bring in a bill in favour of _all_ who had acted
under the Order of Council for restraining exportation of grain.
Grenville said the motion was not adequate to the case: the indemnity
ought to extend to the Privy Council, as had been customary in the
reign of Charles II. and at the Revolution. Yet he would not then
propose the amendment; would wait to see the bill. If he should not
find the extension there, that great question would and should be
discussed. Burke, more moderate, said, it would be sufficient if
the preamble specified _all those who had counselled or advised_.
Beckford, to disculpate the Chancellor, said, _in times of danger the
Crown might dispense with law_. Grenville started up, and demanded that
the clerk should take down those words. Beckford said, he was glad to
see that gentleman so zealous for liberty _at present_, but that he had
interrupted him before he had finished his sentence; that he was going
to add, _by the advice of his Council, for the salus populi_. Grenville
demanded that those words should be taken down too. Several interposed,
and desired that Beckford might have leave to explain himself.
Grenville said, he aimed at the doctrine, not the person. Beckford
pleaded ignorance, and that he was not one of the docti. Nugent
replied, that the House had often been witness to his ignorance. “But,
sir,” said he, “I exaggerate his ignorance to excuse him.” Hussey,
a very honest man, and who had refused any preferment, though an
intimate friend of the Chancellor, stated an explanation of Beckford’s
meaning, which, indeed, was totally the reverse, and a full definition
of liberty against a dispensing power, which the House accepted. I
went home with Mr. Conway, and though I entirely approved what the
Council had done, yet as precedents of power cannot be too strongly
guarded against, I begged him, as Hussey had advised, to obtain a firm
declaration against a dispensing power in the preamble to the bill. He
was zealously of that opinion, and said he would. I told him, if Lord
Chatham objected, _that_ would be a much more laudable and wise subject
for breaking with him, than on the private case of Lord Edgcumbe, which
the world would consider but as a squabble about places and power. The
Duke of Richmond and Burke tried to persuade me that Mr. Conway ought
to break on Lord Edgcumbe, as their friends would desert the party, if
the party did not resent the ill-treatment of individuals. I replied, I
would neither flatter his Grace, nor Lord Rockingham; that, next to my
country, I consulted Mr. Conway’s honour, and desired they should know
it. That Mr. Conway could not break for Lord Edgcumbe, when he had not
quarrelled with Lord Chatham on the Duke of Richmond’s account. That
if he quarrelled on some constitutional point, he would bring double
strength to the party. To break on persons might be called faction;
and I thought too well of his friends to believe they would leave
him. Hitherto they had not been very considerable; but their conduct
in Administration, and their quiet behaviour since out of place,
would give them new importance. That they said, Lord Chatham wanted
to ruin their party: he might, but was recruiting them. That he would
reduce himself to be dependent on Lord Bute, and would become of no
consequence.--I did not persuade them, nor they me.

Lord Edgcumbe conducted himself with singular temper, being, in truth,
desirous of an indemnification, which he told Mr. Conway he would
still accept. The latter tried to obtain an earldom for him. Lord
Chatham refused it with much verbiage, and pleaded the honour of the
King engaged, and that himself had always determined to break all
parties; and a wise method[301] he took, no doubt, by declaring that
intention! It was not much wiser when he condescended to intimate that
he would offer something to Lord Edgcumbe, but not for some days,
lest he should seem to be forced. Lord John Cavendish said to me, he
supposed Lord Chatham would not yield. I replied, Certainly not; but
if he would, we should have a great triumph. This was to reconcile
them to it in case the offer came. He told me the Duke of Portland and
Lord Besborough would resign, unless Mr. Conway should desire them
not. I understood this; it was an artifice to lay him under stronger
obligations to them. Lord Besborough, extremely unwilling to resign,
offered to give up the Post Office to Lord Edgcumbe, and, though a
place he should dislike, (for he was still an older man,) to take
the Bedchamber himself. Mr. Conway, charmed, as thinking this would
accommodate everything, immediately sent word of it to the Duke of
Grafton; but in a little hour received from Lord Chatham a haughty and
despotic answer, _that he would not suffer connections to force the
King_. Mr. Conway, losing all patience, wrote to the Duke of Grafton,
_that such language had never been held west of Constantinople_.
Still, however, to prevent the rupture, I persuaded him to soften the
expression to, _in this country_; and insinuated to him, that Lord
Besborough’s offer was a snare laid by Lord John, and conceived from my
having told him that Lord Chatham would certainly not bend.

On the 22nd the Duke of Grafton told Mr. Conway that Lord Chatham had
no objection to his proposing anything to the King in favour of Lord
Edgcumbe, but would not himself: and the Duke added, “If the King
would still grant it.” This made me fear another repulse. Mr. Conway,
however, who scorned to bend to Lord Chatham’s haughtiness, desired his
brother to ask an audience of the King, in order to make the proposals.
Yet I obtained a delay till I should try to prevail on Lord Edgcumbe
to accept the Bedchamber. In the mean time I met Lord Rockingham, who,
taking me aside, laughed at the idea of Lord Besborough’s proposal;
said it was a joke, and that Lord Chatham would only have laughed at
them for it. I said, very seriously, “What, my Lord, have you sent
Mr. Conway on a fool’s errand, and now disavow him?” He replied, the
party knew nothing of it. Lord Besborough had done it from himself to
prevent a rupture. I said Mr. Conway had received the proposal from
the Duke of Portland. He said, he was sure not: yet so it proved. He
pressed me earnestly to encourage Mr. Conway to resign. I said I could
not take upon me to advise him to give up all he had. He laughed and
said, it could not be for long; everything came round in this country.
I replied, “Your Lordship, with twenty thousand pounds a year, talks
very much at your ease; but Mr. Conway would have nothing in the world,
and would not go into opposition to recover his fortune. He has told
both Lord Chatham and the Duke of Grafton that he will not oppose.”
This conversation was so ill taken, which was indifferent to me, that
it broke off all correspondence between me and Lord Rockingham. I went
to Mr. Conway and represented to him that they were trying to dupe him:
that they now disavowed him, as they had done on Lord Chatham’s visit
to the Marquis; and I added, that though Lord Rockingham affected to
resent so warmly for him the treatment of Lord Chatham, his Lordship
had treated him in the same manner the last spring on the establishment
for the Princes. I wished to stop Mr. Conway from resigning till Lord
Chatham should have gained the Bedfords from George Grenville; I wished
to give Grenville time to involve himself in further declarations for
liberty; I wished Mr. Conway to have a regiment again, which I had been
the cause of his losing; and I was not unwilling to convince Lord
Rockingham and Lord John Cavendish that Mr. Conway was not to receive
orders from them. Of these four points, of which the second in truth
would have availed little[302] but to disgrace Grenville if he returned
to power, I accomplished all but one; and it will be soon seen that
that, like many other prudential views, was defeated solely by the
mismanagement of Lord Chatham. Wearisome contests it cost me for six
months to prevent Mr. Conway’s resignation; and though I succeeded, and
afterwards shut the door both on Grenville and Lord Rockingham, the
person[303] who profited of my fatigues, and of the credit I had with
Mr. Conway, proved so unworthy; and so sick did I grow both of that
person and of the fatigues I underwent, that I totally withdrew myself
from the scene of politics, and tasted far more satisfaction in my
retreat than I had done in the warmest moments of success and triumph.
The joys of a private station present themselves--are bought by no
anxiety. I never found pleasures answer that were purchased by trouble.
It is like many moral aphorisms, a theme for poets, untrue in practice.

All proposals of accommodations proving fruitless,[304] Lord
Edgcumbe was dismissed, and his staff placed in Shelley’s hands. The
wound rankled so deeply in Mr. Conway’s bosom, that he dropped all
intercourse with Lord Chatham; and though he continued to conduct the
King’s business in the House of Commons, he would neither receive nor
pay any deference to the Minister’s orders, acting for or against,
as he approved or disliked his measures;--a scorn that became his
character, and which he supported with very different dignity from that
of Lord Chatham, whose tone being fictitious and assumed, could not
bear him out in the implicit obedience he expected. Like oracles and
groves, whose sanctity depended on the fears of the devout, and whose
mysterious and holy gloom vanished as soon as men dared to think and
walk through them, Lord Chatham’s authority ceased with his popularity;
and his godhead, when he had affronted his priests.

In all his actions was discernible an imitation of his model, Ximenes;
a model ill-suited to a free government, and worse to a man whose
situation and necessities were totally different. Was the poor monk
thwarted or disgraced, the asylum of his convent was open; and a
cardinal, who was clothed in a hair-cloth at Court, missed no fine
linen, no luxury, in his cloister. Lord Chatham was as abstemious
in his diet; but mixed Persian grandeur with herbs and roots. His
equipages and train were too expensive for his highest zenith of
wealth, and he maintained them when out of place and overwhelmed with
debts: a wife and children were strange impediments to a Ximenes.
Grandeur, show, and a pension could not wrestle with an opulent and
independent nobility, nor could he buy them, though he had sold
himself. His services to his country were far above those of Ximenes,
who trampled on Castilian pride but to sacrifice it to the monarch
of Castile. Lord Chatham had recalled the spirit of a brave nation,
had given it victory and glory, and victory secured its liberty.
As Ximenes had no such objects, the inflexibility of Ximenes was
below the imitation of Camillus. It was mean ambition to stoop from
humbling the crowned heads of France and Spain, to contend with proud
individuals and the arrogance of factions--at least, would a real
great man have doated on a coronet, who prided himself in lowering the
peerage? Lord Chatham had been the arbiter of Europe; he affected to
be the master of the English nobility: he failed, and remained with
a train of domestics whom he could not pay. More like Nicholas Rienzi
than Ximenes, the lord of Rome became ridiculous by apeing the tawdry
pageant of a triumph. Yet, as what is here said is the voice of truth,
not the hiss of satire, British posterity will ever remember that, as
Lord Chatham’s first Administration obtained and secured the most real
and substantial benefits to his country, the puerilities of his second
could not efface their lustre. The man was lessened, not his merits.
Even the shameful peace of Paris, concluded in defiance of him, could
not rob the nation of all he had acquired; nor could George the Third
resign so much as Pitt had gained for George the Second. Half the
empire of Indostan, conquered under his Administration by the spirit
he had infused, still pours its treasures into the Thames. Canada was
subdued by his councils, and Spain and France--that yet dread his
name, attest the reality of his services. The memory of his eloquence,
which effected all these wonders, will remain when the neglect of
his cotemporaries, and my criticisms, will be forgotten. Yet it was
the duty of an annalist, and of a painter of nature, to exhibit the
varying features of his portrait. The lights and shades of a great
character are a moral lesson. Philosophy loves to study the man more
than the hero or the statesman; and whether his qualities were real
or fictitious, his actions were so illustrious, that few names in the
registers of Time will excite more curiosity than that of William Pitt.

When Mr. Conway presented the Bill of Indemnity to the House, he
ushered it in with strong declarations against the Chancellor’s
doctrine of necessity justifying a dispensing power. He was much
applauded by Grenville for extending the Indemnity to the Council, the
latter inveighing against Lord Camden, and ascribing his tenets to
folly, ignorance, weakness, and wickedness, such as cost Charles I.
his life, and James II. his crown. Conway, who felt that himself had
gone too far, took that opportunity of apologizing for the Chancellor,
who, he said, he believed was no friend to a dispensing power in an
odious light: the dispensing power claimed by Charles and James had not
been founded on necessity. The Bill was ordered to be printed. After
the debate I asked Lord John Cavendish if it was not more desirable
to have the dispensing power condemned by a Minister than by a man in


  Lord Chatham proposes to examine the East India Company’s Affairs.--
    His unaccountable conduct.--More signs of weakness in the Cabinet.--
    Negotiation with the Duke of Bedford.--Bill of Indemnity.--Debates
    on the East India Question.--Attack on Lord Chatham in the House of
    Lords by the Duke of Richmond.

These petty politics were soon absorbed in the consideration of a
more momentous and more arduous affair. Restrained as Lord Chatham’s
genius was by the tranquillity of Europe, and impeded as his plan
had been by his own want of conduct, his soul was still expanding
itself towards greater objects. With indignation, he beheld three
Indian provinces, an empire themselves, in the hands of a company of
merchants, who, authorized by their charter to traffic on the coast,
had usurped so mighty a portion of his dominions from the Prince who
permitted their commerce with his subjects. By what horrid treachery,
fraud, violence, and blood the Company’s servants had stridden to
such aggrandizement, was not a question a Minister was likely to ask.
It is the cool humane man, who had no power to punish and redress
such crimes, who alone reasons _on the manner how_, and _the right_
by which such acquisitions are obtained. The stupendous fortunes
created by individuals struck more forcibly on the political eye of
Lord Chatham. Above any view of sharing the plunder himself, he saw
a prey that tempted him to make it more his country’s. By threats to
intimidate the Company, and incline them to offer largely towards the
necessities of Government, was the least part of his idea. Such a
tribute would stand in the place of new taxes, or relieve the debts on
the Civil List: could he induce the Parliament to think the Company
had exceeded the powers of their charter, the whole property of their
territorial acquisitions might be deemed forfeited to the Crown; this
would be a bribe with which few Ministers could purchase the smiles
of their master. Nor could common sense find a flaw in the reasoning.
Could it be intended, what country ever meant by granting a charter
for trading and building forts to secure their magazines, say, even
by allowing them to defend themselves against open hostilities; could
it be understood, I ask, that such a charter gave up the dominion of
whole provinces to a set of private merchants--of three provinces more
ample than the extent of the country which bestowed the charter? The
event could not be foreseen--it could not be foretold by prophecy’s
wildest imagination; but if common sense could not answer the question,
self-interest could. What! invade property!--those two words,
_Invasion of property_, branched into every subtlety that law could
furnish. And as it has been well said,[305] _that in England all
abuses are freeholds_, most of those that had property in the East
India Company, most of those who had any other property, and all who
enjoyed any property by abuses, took the alarm; and they who desired to
obstruct any measures of Government, were sedulous not to let the panic

But if the plan was great and bold, the execution was mean and unworthy
of the conception. The man who traced the design, shrank from it
himself; and having tossed it into the world, left it to be carried
through by other hands. He grew mysterious; he would not declare what
he wished--Parliament must decide--but his anger awaited those who
should even decline guessing at his purpose. I feel while I write
that I shall scarce be credited: yet both words and matter cannot be
more strictly true. Lord Chatham would not utter his will or wish;
yet neither obstacles nor remonstrance could extort a syllable of
relaxation from him; but I must take the matter a little higher, and
relate it more historically.

So early as the 28th of August the Cabinet Council had sent for the
Governors of the East India Company, and advised them to be prepared,
for Parliament would certainly inquire into the state of their
acquisitions in Bengal. The Governors asked if the Administration
intended to carry the affair thither? They were told that the Ministers
had not determined to proceed so far, but did not mean to preclude
themselves from doing so. Thus the affair had been left. The Company
were to be alarmed; the nation to be tempted to look into the matter.
The Company, no doubt, were alarmed accordingly; but the nation with
folded arms awaited the event, not apt of late to forerun Ministers in
what they declare they meditate themselves.

In this uncommunicated state the dictator had left the business, and
the Parliament had met without his assigning their departments in the
action to any of the Ministers--not to the Duke of Grafton himself,
the head of the Treasury, and who, though as a peer not qualified to
conduct the plan through the House of Commons, yet was the person
who must superintend and transact an affair which, whether in a
greater or less proportion, was ultimately to centre in the revenue,
had he disclosed how far he meant or wished to go. In the mean time
had intervened the episode of Lord Edgcumbe; and Conway, the acting
Minister in the House of Commons, had been disgusted. Never officious
to thrust himself into business, and now indisposed to the great
projector, he neither was ambitious to receive orders, nor forward
to apply for them at the fountain-head; yet being well disposed to
the plan, and, at least, too much versed in business, not to know
the propriety of digesting so very daring a scheme before it was
thrown into the House of Commons, where, had there been no men of ill
intention, still a rude design must create confusion and impediment,
he had pressed earnestly to have it well considered in Council, before
it was introduced into Parliament. His prayers and remonstrances were
vain; and though Lord Chatham depended on him for the conduct of the
Ministerial part, he would not deign to impart a ray of instruction.
There was another man still more necessary perhaps to the progress
of a scheme of a monied nature; and that was the Chancellor of the
Exchequer, Charles Townshend. But him Lord Chatham neither trusted nor
considered but as the mere slave of his orders. Be it so: yet could
it be imagined that instead of employing either Secretary of State or
Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Minister should have consigned his
darling scheme to a private man--and that man the most absurd, and of
as little weight as any member in the House of Commons? So the fact
was, and so must I recount it. But ere the project was opened, it was
known that the versatile genius of the Chancellor of the Exchequer
was playing tricks and endeavouring to obstruct the measure yet in
embryo. Conway, zealous for extracting some national advantage from
the prosperous state of the Company’s affairs, laboured to surmount
Townshend’s objections, and assembled a council at his own house
to debate the point with him. Lord Chatham flamed at the notice
of Townshend’s adverse conduct, and vowed himself would resign, or
Townshend should be turned out; and he resented Conway’s interfering
to serve him without his direction. Yet, ere the business came to
any conclusion, Townshend exhibited many doubts; though for once his
inconsistencies and treachery were not solely dictated by unsteadiness.
It became known that his frequent fluctuations in the course of the
affair were so many wiles to raise or lower the stock in which he was
dealing, and which the Chancellor of the Exchequer could supremely
agitate and depress as he pleased.

On the 25th the plan was first intimated to the House by Lord Chatham’s
confident, Alderman Beckford, who moved to take into consideration
the state of the East India Company’s affairs. Men were amazed to
see a machine of such magnitude entrusted to so wild a charioteer.
Wedderburne and Charles Yorke opposed the motion. The Whigs deserted
Mr. Conway who supported it, by the mouth of their spokesman, Lord John
Cavendish, though he paid profuse compliments to the latter. Burke and
Grenville appeared as opponents, too, and the violation of property
was sounded high. Yet the motion was carried by 129 to 76, Charles
Townshend speaking for it, and the Duke of Bedford’s friends staying
away.[306] The wind, however, of this transaction, and the dissensions
that had sprung up from the dismission of Lord Edgcumbe, brought Lord
Temple back to town. Grenville painted the East Indian business to
Rigby as a mine in which Lord Chatham must blow himself up; and that
idea was impressed more deeply by Lord Northington, who said to Lord
Gower, “There are four parties, Bute’s, Bedford’s, Rockingham’s, and
Chatham’s, and we (the last) are the weakest of the four.”

On the 27th of November the Duke of Portland, Lord Scarborough,
Lord Besborough, and Lord Monson resigned their employments. The
King immediately appointed Lord Hertford Lord Chamberlain; but told
him that, knowing his brother’s delicacy on the preferment of his
relations, he had hidden the stick and key, while Mr. Conway, who had
just been with him, was in the closet.

This defection of the Rockingham party, of whom scarce a dozen[307]
remained in connection with the Court, reduced Lord Chatham, who
had defeated his own purpose of dividing them, to look out for new
strength. There remained Lord Bute’s and the Duke of Bedford’s
factions. He approached towards both; but so coldly, and with such
limited steps, that he acquired neither, and fixed the last in more
open opposition. By preferring a few of the Favourite’s creatures,
he drew odium on himself, without doing enough to engage their real
attachment, the very rock on which his predecessors had split, though
their more reluctant offers having arrived too late, they had escaped
the imputation of stooping to servile conditions. Lord Chatham’s
conduct towards the Bedfords was as void of dexterity as his treatment
of the Rockingham party.

The very evening of the resignations he sent for Lord Gower, and
offered to make him Master of the Horse, and to connect with the Duke
of Bedford; but telling him that if they declined his offers, he
could stand without them. With regard to Mr. Rigby, he had talked so
hostilely on the East Indian affair, that he must explain his conduct
before anything could be done for him. Lord Gower, impatient to return
to Court, jealous of Rigby’s influence over his sister, the Duchess,
and satisfied with such fair terms for himself, gladly accepted the
commission, and set out next morning for Woburn to open it to the Duke
of Bedford and obtain his acquiescence.

Rigby, in the mean time, whether apprehending that the wildness of Lord
Chatham would overturn him, or overpersuaded by Grenville, or rather
hoping no great emolument for himself, from Lord Chatham’s neglect
of him and application through another, had preceded Lord Gower, and
got to Woburn overnight. He found the Duchess as eager as her brother
to return to Court, and the Duke prepared by her not to listen to
his objections. The next day he had the mortification of seeing Lord
Gower arrive, and of hearing the suspension imposed on himself till he
should correct his behaviour. Deaf to his arguments and interest, the
whole family accepted with thankfulness Lord Chatham’s overtures, and
Lord Gower was remanded to town to notify their consent and the Duke’s
intention to follow and ratify the treaty. Rigby remained a day behind,
but could not recall the Duke from the alacrity with which he hurried
to London.

But even before Lord Gower could arrive there, Lord Chatham, who rarely
deigned to impart his measures to the rest of the Ministers, had now,
with still less prudence, notified to the Council his offers to the
Bedfords, in the style of one sure of their being accepted. At the same
time, speaking of the resigners, he said, they were only the remnant of
the late Duke of Cumberland’s party. Conway fired at the expression,
and said he would hear no such language, nor ever bear disrespectful
mention of the Duke of Cumberland’s name. Lord Chatham retracted; if he
had not, Mr. Conway protested to me he would have left the Council and
returned to it no more.

Lord Gower had gone on the Friday, and returned the next day with the
Duke of Bedford’s assent; and the Duke himself arrived on the Monday.
Yet, in that little interval, considerable events had happened, and a
far more considerable imprudence of Lord Chatham. Admiral Saunders,
a most gallant, but weak man, governed by Admiral Keppel and Lord
Albemarle, had been persuaded by them to throw up his post of First
Lord of the Admiralty, and join his old friends the Rockinghams.[308]
The blow was heavy on Lord Chatham, but facilitated his treaty with
the Bedfords, as he had thereby a Cabinet-Councillor’s place to offer
them. Instead of profiting of the opportunity, and as if the Bedford
faction were men easily satisfied, and with trifles, he would not wait
for the Duke, but filled up the Admiralty with Sir Edward Hawke, Sir
Piercy Brett, and Jenkinson--the two last in the room of Sir William
Meredith and Keppel, resigners; at the same time causing Keppel to be
struck out of the King’s Bedchamber. Sir Edward Hawke had as much merit
in his profession and to his country as man could have, but no moment
of rewarding him could have been more imprudently taken. Though the
place might have been destined for him, still the faith of negotiation
ought to have been observed till Lord Chatham could have satisfied the
Bedfords and agreed with them on that disposition. And where was the
policy of warning them that he meant to admit them into no office of

Rigby, too alert and too artful to let slip an incident so favourable
to his inclination, and who saw from this step how little would
be allotted to his party, and aware, from the treatment of the
Rockinghams, that Lord Chatham meant little more than to break the
Bedford connection too, inflamed the Duke of Bedford and all their
friends with the indignity offered to them in the very hour of treaty.
The Duchess had been left at Woburn, trusting to the impression she
had made on her husband, whom she was now as solicitous to recover
from Rigby’s influence, as in their younger intimacy she had been to
place him there. Her security betrayed her; the Duke caught fire;
and he who had thought the most bounded terms satisfactory, was now
persuaded to carry to Lord Chatham a list of demands that comprehended
half the employments in the Court-calendar, besides peerages for
some of his friends.[309] Such enormous terms Rigby knew would not
be granted; but the demand would palliate to their friends the total
sacrifice that would have been made of them if he and one or two more
had found their account in the first proposals. Lord Chatham received
his Grace’s extravagant list, but told him he did not believe the King
would comply with his demands. The next day he waited on the Duke
and informed him that his Majesty was willing to make his son, Lord
Tavistock, a peer: to appoint Lord Gower Master of the Horse, and Mr.
Rigby Cofferer; but as for entering on other particulars of places
and peerages, his Majesty would not hear of them. The Duke begged his
Majesty might be thanked for his goodness to his son, but said his
friends could not think of accepting on such terms.[310] Thus an end
was put at once to the negotiation. In the list had been asked posts
of Cabinet Councillor for Lord Gower, Lord Sandwich, Lord Weymouth,
and the Duke of Marlborough, or the first vacant garter for the latter
(the Duke’s son-in-law) after the King’s brother, Henry, the new Duke
of Cumberland, and peerages for Lord Lorne and Mr. Brand,[311] though
the Duke of Bedford, at the commencement of the treaty, had positively
refused the former to solicit for him.[312]

The treaty evaporated, the vacant employments were filled with some of
Lord Bute’s creatures, and any stragglers without connexion that could
be picked up. Thus the Duke of Ancaster was made Master of the Horse
to the King, and was succeeded in the same rank to the Queen by Earl
Delawar, already her servant. Lord Hilsborough and Lord Despenser were
appointed joint Postmasters; Nugent,[313] First Lord of Trade; and
Stanley, Cofferer.

Conway’s disgusts were doubled by seeing himself reduced to act with
scarce any but Lord Bute’s friends; and had Lord Chatham continued
the effective Minister, would, I am persuaded, have resigned like the
rest, for however gentle when he met with respect, he was minutely
jealous of the smallest neglect, and incompatible with the haughty
temper of Lord Chatham. Charles Townshend, restless in any situation,
fond of mischief, and not without envy of the lead allotted to Conway,
was incessant in inciting him to retire, by painting to him the pride
and folly of Lord Chatham, the improbability of his maintaining such
shattered power, and alarming him with threats of resigning and leaving
him alone in the House of Commons.

To this mad situation had Lord Chatham reduced himself; first, by
quitting the House of Commons and thereby parting with his popularity;
secondly, by disgusting the Whigs, his best and firmest support;
thirdly, by never communicating a syllable to Mr. Conway, nor trusting
him, though his only friend in the House of Commons; fourthly, by
turning out Lord Edgcumbe, when all opposition was damped and in a
manner annihilated; and, lastly, by not gaining the Bedfords from
Grenville, when it was in his power. He had nothing left to try, but
whether by the mere influence of the Crown, without leaders, and almost
without speakers in the House of Commons, he could govern against
all the other parties,[314] who, though hating each other, would all
probably unite against him.

Conway, however out of temper, supported honourably the duty of his
station; and, in the course of the Bill of Indemnity, distinguished
both his zeal and capacity. In the Committee, Grenville and Rigby moved
to have stated the losses of those who had suffered by acting under
the order of Council. Burke and Dowdeswell spoke on the same side; but
Conway, by an artful speech, gained over Dowdeswell, and Grenville did
not dare to divide the House. He next tried to avoid the preamble of
the bill, and moved to adjourn. Charles Townshend and he had a sharp
altercation, in which Townshend both ridiculed and flattered him. Lord
Granby declared warmly for Lord Chatham; Conway spoke handsomely of him
too, though intending to add censure to praise, but was interrupted
by Rigby; and thus the praise remained alone. The Cavendishes having
been consulted on the bill, would therefore not divide against it, and
went away. Rigby, impatient to mark his resentment to Lord Chatham, and
fondly thinking their numbers would appear formidable, even without
the Cavendishes, advised to push a division; and Wedderburne actually
divided the House when the Ministerial party amounted to 166, and the
Opposition but to 48: a signal victory in Lord Chatham’s circumstances!
But Lord Bute’s friends had signalized themselves in his support.
Elliot and Dyson spoke for him; and Sir Fletcher Norton retired rather
than vote against him. It was even suspected that Wedderburne, who,
though of the same corps, commonly opposed like Norton, to force
himself into place, had treacherously drawn on the division to expose
the weakness of an Opposition without harmony; nor was there anything
in Wedderburne’s character to counteract the suspicion. Some there were
who believed that Lord Bute, apprehending the junction of Lord Chatham
and the Bedfords, had, during the treaty, made overtures to the
former, which had encouraged him to act so imprudently and cavalierly
in that negotiation. But, if duped then, it never appeared afterwards
that Lord Chatham had given himself up to a real connection with the

If the Opposition were startled at their defeat, and Rigby did repent
his precipitancy, Mr. Conway was not a little startled too. He saw Lord
Chatham would stand, whether he quitted or not. He had declared against
going into opposition; nor was it his inclination. Should he quit in
those circumstances, he would become a cypher, and remain divested of
his profession. I saw his difficulties and felt them. I told him that
he had lately asked me whether I would advise him to stay and be turned
out with disgrace with a falling Administration? I reminded him that in
those circumstances I had acquiesced, and had allowed that he could not
stay, nor support alone a system that hung on Lord Bute. But the case
was altered now: it was plain the Opposition was too weak to demolish
Lord Chatham; and therefore, as Lord Chatham was likely to continue
in power, I wished him to stay in place likewise. At the same time I
sent Lord Hertford to beg his Majesty would press Mr. Conway not to
quit. The King said he had just written to Mr. Conway, and told him
his Government depended on _his_ conducting the business of the House
of Commons. Lord Hertford replied, he believed his brother was more
inclined to stay than he had been. The King said, eagerly, “How have
you brought it about? I am sure you and Mr. Walpole have done it.”

On the 9th, Beckford proceeded on the East Indian plan, and moved
for inspection of their charters, treaties, revenue in Bengal, and
an account of what they had expended. He expatiated justly on the
devastation the Company’s servants had committed, and urged that new
adventurers, not old proprietors of India Stock, were the men who
profited of this accession of wealth, and who were practising all
arts to convert into a selfish job a source of riches that ought to
be conducted to national advantage. The Opposition treated the plan
as chimerical. Could Bengal, they asked, be stated as a permanent
possession? Cust, the Speaker’s brother, concerned in the Company,
admitted that the Government was entitled to expect a return from the
Company, as their settlements had been preserved by the navy, and
depended on the protection of the public. But though his confession
was candid, he was faithful too to the interests of the Company, and
started many difficulties. No proposal, he said, could be made but to
the General Court of Proprietors. Many proprietors would object, not
intending to continue so. The revenue was not so large as pretended.
Lord Clive computed it at one million seven hundred thousand pounds:
Sumner’s account settled it at one million four hundred thousand;
himself did not believe it exceeded twelve hundred thousand. The
Company, on their forts, armaments, &c., had expended five millions.
Senegal and Goree, while in private hands, were maintained for eight
thousand pounds a year; since the public had taken them under their own
direction, they had cost twenty-six thousand pounds a year. Burke, in
one of his finest speeches, declaimed against the measure: it was the
first instance of dragging to the bar men with whom the public meant
to treat. They were accused, that their property might be confiscated.
A dangerous attempt was making for little advantage. On Lord Chatham
his figures were severe, painting him as a great Invisible Power,
that left no Minister in the House of Commons. The greatest Integrity
(Conway) had no power there. The rest approached him veiling their
faces with their wings. Let us supplicate this divinity, said he, that
he would spare public credit. Augustus Hervey called him to order. “I
have often suffered,” added Burke, “under persecution of order, but
did not expect its lash while at my prayers. I venerate the great man,
and speak of him accordingly.”[315] Many other speeches were made for
and against the motion, particularly by the lawyers; on which Colonel
Barré said, the artillery of the law he saw was brought down on both
sides; but, like artillery, had not done much hurt. He was for trying
this question by common sense. He then read the opinions which Lord
Camden and Charles Yorke had given when the charter was granted, in
which, though favourable to the Company, they had said, “for what might
follow, policy must take time to consider.” This implied that they did
not understand conquests as granted away by the charter; yet Yorke
had now defended the Company as entitled from their charter to their
present acquisitions. Bolton, one of the Company, who, though he voted
for the motion, said much against it, owned that the Company could not
govern their servants, nor could Clive go on without the interposition
of Government. Charles Townshend, having been chidden by the Duke of
Grafton for his variations, took advantage of what Bolton had said, and
spoke finely for the motion. Grenville, in answer to Barré, said he did
not desire to be decided by military common sense; and dwelt with much
emphasis on the sacredness of charters, property, and public credit;
affirming that the affairs of no company had ever been decided in that
House. Conway showed in a masterly manner that Grenville’s assertions
were all false; that the affairs of the Hudson’s Bay and other
companies had been inquired into by Parliament. In answer to Burke, he
said, he disclaimed slavery; _was only a passenger_ in Administration,
but always remonstrated against whatever was contrary to his opinion.
Dempster, as a proprietor, declared against the motion; but though
Grenville had announced the dissatisfaction the measure would occasion,
it created less heat than he expected: nor did either directors or
proprietors petition against it, those who had been most alarmed soon
discovering that whatever should be gained from the Company, would
stand in lieu of burthens that otherwise might be laid on themselves.
The Opposition dividing for adjournment were beaten by 140 to 56; not
above twenty of Lord Rockingham’s party having yet joined Grenville.

The next day the Bill of Indemnity, which had passed the Commons,
was read in the House of Lords. The Duke of Richmond called on the
Chancellor and President to explain their doctrine of necessity
justifying a dispensing power. Lord Northington adhered to his opinion,
and said, on a jury he should have found for the affirmative. Lord
Camden said, he should not, but would have given trifling or no damages
to the sufferers. Lord Mansfield went through a laborious history of
the Constitution, and vindicated himself from the reproach of being a
prerogative lawyer: had always been a friend to the Constitution; on
that ground had supported former Administrations, did support this, and
would support succeeding Administrations. Lord Camden told him, he was
glad he was returned to that doctrine. Lord Chatham said, that when the
people should condemn him, he should tremble; but would set his face
against the proudest connection in this country. The Duke of Richmond
took this up with great heat and severity, and said, he hoped the
nobility would not be brow-beaten by an insolent Minister. The House
calling him to order, he said with great quickness, he was sensible
truth was not to be spoken at all times, and in all places. Lord
Chatham challenged the Duke to give an instance in which he had treated
any man with insolence; if the instance was not produced, the charge of
insolence would lie on his Grace. The Duke said, he could not name the
instance without betraying private conversation; and he congratulated
Lord Chatham on his new connection, the Duke looking, as he spoke,
at Lord Bute. The Duke of Bedford did not speak, though he had been
brought to town on purpose: but the Duchess, displeased with Rigby for
breaking off the negotiation, had accompanied her husband, and even
tried to renew the treaty, but was forced to desist, the places being
filled up. On the Bill of Indemnity there was no division; and on the
15th the Parliament was adjourned for the holidays.

Notwithstanding his success, Lord Chatham was stunned by so rough an
attack from the Duke of Richmond, a young man not to be intimidated by
supercilious nods, or humbled by invective, which his Grace had shown
himself more prone to give than receive. The silence of the place,
and the decency of debate there, were not suited to that inflammatory
eloquence by which Lord Chatham had been accustomed to raise huzzas
from a more numerous auditory. Argument, at least decorum, would be
expected, not philippics. Whether these reflections contributed or not
to augment the distaste which the ill-success of his foreign, and the
errors he had committed in domestic politics, had impressed on his
mind, certain it is that the Duke of Richmond had the honour of having
the world believe that by one blow he had revenged himself and his
party, and driven his proud enemy from the public stage; for from that
day Lord Chatham, during the whole remainder of his Administration,
appeared no more in the House of Lords, really becoming that invisible
and inaccessible divinity which Burke has described, and in three
months as inactive a divinity as the gods of Epicurus.[316] His last
act was bestowing an English barony on Lord Lorne, who, having failed
through the Duke of Bedford, applied himself directly to the Minister.
Lord Lorne had acquainted Mr. Conway with his wish, who was greatly
distressed, as a favour from Lord Chatham (whom Mr. Conway intended
to quit) might again destroy the harmony which was now re-established
between him and his wife’s brothers. Still, however, as the Duke of
Argyle was old and declining, and as Lord Lorne would lose the English
peerage[317] for ever, if he did not obtain it during his father’s
life, Mr. Conway would not oppose the request; though, circumstanced
as he was, he would not ask it. It was immediately granted; and Lord
Chatham, by bending seasonably, took from the Duke of Bedford’s scale
the great Scottish interest of the Campbells.

Towards the East India Company he was less tractable. At a meeting of
the proprietors many warm speeches were made against him, particularly
by Wedderburne. They broke up in heat, and adjourned for a fortnight,
determined to make no advances to Government, unless their right was
established, which Lord Chatham peremptorily refused to allow. However,
on the last day of the year, they met again in smoother temper, and
agreed unanimously to empower the Directors of the Company to treat
immediately with the Administration.


  Desultory Discussions on American and East Indian Affairs.--Debates on
    the Land Tax.--Defeat of the Ministers.--Conduct of Lord Chatham.--
    Offer made by the East India Company.--Motion for Papers.

When the Parliament met again on the 16th of January, nothing was ready
to be presented for their discussion on the East India Company. Lord
Chatham, on his journey from Bath, was, or pretended to be, seized with
the gout, and returned thither. Whether ill or not, it was plain he had
determined to give no directions, for he sent none. He corresponded
with none of the Ministers; and they were not eager to anticipate his
intentions. The Duke of Grafton was charmed to be idle, Conway was
disgusted, Townshend delighted in the prospect of confusion; however,
on the 21st Beckford laid before the House of Commons the papers he
intended to employ against the Company. Townshend moved to have the
consideration put off for some time, to which Beckford acquiesced.

On the 26th, the disposition of the troops in America being laid
before the House, Grenville proposed that the Colonies should pay the
regiments employed there. Beckford told him he was mad on the Stamp
Act, and could think of nothing else: Charles Townshend ridiculed and
exposed him infinitely on the same topic. Lord George Sackville blaming
the disposition of the troops in that part of the world, Lord Granby
told him the plan had been drawn by his own friend, General Amherst:
the Court had a majority of 106 to 35. The next day, on the report,
Grenville, dividing the House, had the mortification of being followed
but by sixteen members, the Rockingham squadron declining union with
him, and the Bedfords being kept back by the Duchess, still restless to
return to Court.

On the 3rd of February the House of Lords decided a great cause in
favour of the Dissenters against the City of London, who asserted
a right of fining them for refusing to act as Sheriffs;[318] Lord
Mansfield made another Whig oration.

It happened at this period that Mr. Conway, who talked of nothing but
resigning, became in want of a secretary, William Burke quitting his
service to follow his cousin Edmund into opposition. My surprise was
very great when Mr. Conway declared his resolution of making David
Hume, the historian, who had served his brother, Lord Hertford, in the
same capacity at Paris, his secretary. This by no means wore the air of
an intention to quit himself; Lord Hertford, I believe, had started the
thought, and on tracing the scent, I found there had been some indirect
negotiation between the King and Lord Hertford to engage Mr. Conway to
be Prime Minister himself. Lord Hertford thought his brother not averse
to the idea, though extremely weary of the Seals of Secretary. Himself
told me that the King had asked him if Lord Chatham was not very
tedious in Council, and had complained of the long speeches he made to
him, as Mr. Grenville had been used to do. Conway, no doubt, at three
or four different periods, might have been Minister; but though nobody
was inwardly more hurt at superiors, he never had a settled ambition
of being first, nor whenever we talked to him with that view, could he
determine to yield to the temptation. I was pleased, however, with
the designation of Hume, as it would give jealousy to the Rockinghams,
who had not acted wisely in letting Burke detach himself from Mr.
Conway; and I prevailed on Lady Hertford to write a second letter,
more pressing than her Lord’s, to Mr. Hume to accept. The philosopher
did not want much entreaty; but it was in vain that I laboured to
preserve any harmony between Lord Chatham and Conway; the _wildness_
of the former baffled all policy. On the 6th of February Beckford was
again forced to put off the consideration of Indian affairs, and not
a word was said against it; his warmest opponents waiting maliciously
to see where this strange interlude would end. Lord Chatham at last
announced, though he would not deign to send any answer to the letters
or solicitations of the Ministry, that he would be in town on the 12th;
Beckford, however, gave out that he had received a letter from him,
which said the terms offered by the Company were inadmissible;--they
were left to guess in what particulars. To Lord Bristol this mysterious
Dictator was more condescending, and wrote to him that he would come,
dead or alive--a notification the more ridiculous, as having at last
quitted Bath, he was again seized with the gout, as he said, and
confined himself to the inn at Marlborough, still inaccessible and
invisible, though surrounded by a train of domestics that occupied the
whole inn, and wore the appearance of a little Court. This was the
more remarked, as on his setting out from Bath he had at first left
most of his servants behind, and they declared that they expected him

The Opposition diverted themselves with the novelty of this scene,
and levelled their chief attacks at Beckford, the substitute _out of
place_, of a Minister who _would_ do no business. Burke indirectly shot
some of his arrows at Conway; and even out of the House some satires
on the Administration, in which Conway was not spared, were strongly
suspected to come from the same quarter, and were much resented by the

On the 18th, on the North American extraordinaries, Beckford was very
abusive on George Grenville. Rigby reproached Colonel Barré with his
_former_ attacks on Lord Chatham, and with not defending him now; and
he taxed Charles Townshend with his subjection to Lord Chatham, which
drew a fine oration from Townshend on his own situation and on that of
America. Grenville proposed two addresses to the Crown, to call the
garrisons nearer to the capitals of each colony, and to employ any
money that should be obtained from the East India Company in America.
These motions were rejected by 131 to 67.

On the 20th, Townshend again moved to put off the East Indian affair,
as the Company were on the morrow to give an explanation of their
former proposals. Rigby asked, with a sneer, if the next appointed
hearing was to be definitive, and abused Beckford in gross terms.

In the Lords the Duke of Bedford moved, on the 25th, for all
correspondence with our Governors in America. The Duke of Grafton
promised they should have all they could want; but the Chancellor,
sensible that the Duke had gone too far, endeavoured to qualify the
promise, and added, that since the right of taxation (which himself had
denied) had been voted by Parliament, the Government was obliged to
support it.

The great majorities of the Court, notwithstanding the inactivity
of the Ministers, did not dishearten the Opposition so much as that
supineness encouraged them to attempt a capital stroke. It was
conducted with the greatest secrecy, crowned with incredible success,
confounded the Administration, produced not the smallest benefit to the
successful contrivers, but occasioned the expedient of another measure,
that gave a deep and lasting wound to the country: not to mention that
the perpetrators themselves were sensible of the mischief they should
do in the first instance.

The land-tax is the surest fund of revenue to the Government. It had
usually been but two shillings in the pound. The war and the increase
of the National Debt had mounted it to four shillings. Grenville,
during his Administration, in confidence of his economic plans, and
to lull the country gentlemen with fair promises, had dropped that
the land-tax, he believed, might be reduced in the year 1767 to
three shillings. If the country gentlemen expected that alleviation,
nobody else did; nor could Grenville, had he remained Minister, have
realized the hopes he had thrown out. But what he could not have
effected himself, he was now glad of distressing the Ministers by
proposing.[319] He and Rigby had artfully prepared a call of the House
against the day of voting the land-tax, in order to bring to town the
country Members, who would not only be favourable to the diminution,
but must vote for it to please their electors, as the Parliament was
near its dissolution. The Tories, too, though inclined to the Court,
were become enemies to Lord Chatham, who, having lost them as soon as
he lost his power, had treated them with much contempt in his speeches
on the Stamp Act. He had now trusted to his majorities, or that the
other Ministers would take care to secure them. But besides that the
land-tax had usually passed as a matter of course, no care was taken to
watch the House of Commons. Conway, in the last Administration, could
not be induced to traffic with Members, though offended that none of
them paid court to him; much less was he inclined now to support Lord
Chatham’s measures by any indirect proceedings. The Duke of Grafton was
cold and ungracious; and having offered to repair to Marlborough, and
earnestly solicited permission to settle the East Indian business with
Lord Chatham, had been peremptorily refused access.[320]

Under such a concurrence of untoward circumstances, Charles Townshend
proposed the usual tax of four shillings on land, saying, that with
other savings and with what might be obtained from the East India
Company, Government would be enabled to pay off the four per cents;
and pledging himself, that if he should remain Chancellor of the
Exchequer another year, he would be for taking off one shilling
from land. The Opposition was opened by Dowdeswell, who moved for
only three shillings--a man who, having been so lately the active
Minister of the finances, knew but too well how ill Government
could afford to make the abatement.[321] That very consideration
weighed with Lord Rockingham’s faction to join even their aversion,
Grenville. Edmund Burke alone had the honesty to stay away rather than
support so pernicious a measure. Sir Edmund Isham[322] and Sir Roger
Newdigate,[323] half-converted Jacobites, declared, as representatives
of the Tories, for the lesser sum, and the latter, to blacken Lord
Chatham, made a panegyric on Sir Robert Walpole. They were answered
extremely well by Lord North, who began to be talked of for Chancellor
of the Exchequer. De Grey, Member for Norfolk, and brother of the
Attorney-General, in a strange motley speech, in which he commended
Grenville, abused the Administration, blamed and commended Lord
Chatham, declared for the three shillings, and vented much invective
on eastern and western governors, commissaries, and placemen, who, he
and Sir Roger Newdigate said, thrust all the ancient families out of
their estates. Beckford, though one of the Members for the City of
London, on which the tax fell heaviest, yet said he would concur in
what was necessary for the State. Lord Clare showed that all taxes
fall ultimately on land, and that the measure of three shillings would
be popular only with gentlemen of estates, would not ease labourers,
farmers, artificers, and merchants. He spoke with encomium of Lord
Chatham, who had first been represented as become insignificant by
his peerage, now was reviled as sole Minister. Dr. Hay artfully took
notice that Townshend had said he would propose some tax this year on
America. Townshend explained, that it was to be done by degrees and
on mature consideration; but the loss of the question of one shilling
more on land hurried Townshend into new taxes on America, which not
only were not well considered by himself or the House, but furnished
those repeated occasions of disgust to America, or new pretences for
disgust, which opened again the wounds that the repeal of the Stamp Act
had closed, and reduced the mother-country to more humiliations, and
even to employ the army in curbing their mutinous brethren--happy if
either experiment be tried no farther than they have yet been at the
end of 1769! Grenville made a great figure on this unhappy question,
and, throwing off all reserve about Lord Chatham, remembered that the
first year after the Peace, he had asked why one shilling in the pound
was not taken off land?[324] He also detailed all the savings himself
had made, and said, he would not answer Mr. Townshend, who had asked
where any new tax could be laid, with the end of an old song, “Tell me,
gentle shepherd, where?”[325] That quotation had been much applauded;
himself should be hissed if he made such an answer; but it had always,
he said, been Lord Chatham’s style: he would spend money, but left
others to raise it. A fool could ruin an estate, a fool and a knave
could ruin a nation. He was not gentle on Lord North, who had deserted
him for the Court. Conway answered Grenville but indifferently; and
Lord John Cavendish closed the debate with an affected point of
honour, advising to lessen the tax now, lest, if delayed till the next
session, the House should seem to court popularity at the eve of a
general election. At past nine at night the House divided, and to the
extreme surprise of both sides, (for the Opposition had not dared to
flatter themselves with an idea of victory,) the four shillings in the
pound were lost by 188 to 206.[326] The confidence of the Court had
contributed to their defeat, several of their friends, not doubting
of success, having voted against their inclination, to please their
constituents. Lord Granby and Sir William Maynard[327] were almost
the only members for counties, who had dared to risk their popularity
by voting for the larger tax. Cooke, one of the representatives for
Middlesex, though devoted to Lord Chatham, had thought he might venture
to go against the Court. Thomas Pelham, with the white stick in his
hand, was forced by the Duke of Newcastle, as Member for Sussex, to
take the same part. Some of the Duke of Grafton’s young friends, not
suspecting a contest, had gone out of town that very day: but the
most offensive blow to the Crown was given by the Duke of York, who,
though his establishment was on the point of being settled, allowed
some of his own servants to fail the Court, Colonel St. John,[328] one
of the grooms of his bedchamber, voting against it; and Cadogan,[329]
his treasurer, attached to Grenville, and whose place of surveyor
of Kensington Garden had newly been increased to 1000_l._ a year,
absenting himself. Two years afterwards, this same man had the modesty
to accept a still more lucrative employment.[330] Morton too, a Tory,
in whose favour Lord Chatham had lately quashed an opposition at
Abingdon, repaid the service with similar gratitude.

This was the first important question lost by the Crown since the
fall of Sir Robert Walpole. Mr. Pelham had been defeated in an
inconsiderable tax on sugar by the treachery of Lord Granville. It was
not less remarkable that the Crown, which had been able to muster 224
votes in favour of that crying grievance, General Warrants, found but
188 ready to support a tax so essential to Government, that it had
been proved that unless means could be found to lessen the debt, the
nation would be unable to engage in a new, however necessary, war.
The Bank was ready to advance 500,000_l._ on the land-tax; but the
weightier these arguments, the more obdurate the Opposition. Still they
had no other satisfaction than in the perpetration of the mischief.
No popularity ensued: the City, where the national interest was best
understood, condemned such public disservice, and spread the cry of
disapprobation. Many who had lent their voices to the Opposition,
repented; and, what the latter alone felt with shame, the Court
recovered its ascendant--a proof that surprise was the only weapon
their antagonists could use to effect, and against which the Ministers
were now put upon their guard. By Ministers I mean the substitutes and
the alarmed friends of Lord Bute. Prone as he was to change and betray,
he did not choose to be compelled to change, nor to be taken prisoner
by Grenville and the Bedfords.

It was not impossible to have recovered the question by recommitting it
on the report, but the Ministers did not think it prudent to venture.
Charles Townshend spoke on it only to protest against the consequences
of so destructive a resolution. Between Lord North and Rigby some wit
passed that had no good humour for its foundation.

On the 2nd of March Lord Chatham arrived from Marlborough. Any man
in his senses would have concluded, that, having felt the disastrous
effects of his inactivity, he had hurried to town to endeavour to
retrieve his influence in the House of Commons, and to apply himself
to more vigorous measures. On the contrary, as if there was dignity
in folly, and magic in perverseness, as if the way to govern mankind
was to insult their understandings, his conduct was the very reverse
of common sense, and made up of so much undissembled scorn of all the
world, that his friends could not palliate it, nor his enemies be
blamed for resolving it into madness. He was scarce lame, and even
paraded through the town in a morning to take the air. Yet he neither
went to the King, nor suffered the Ministers to come to him.[331]
After much importunity he saw the Duke of Grafton once or twice, but
would not permit the other Councillors to wait even in his antichamber.
A Cabinet Council being summoned on the East Indian affair, nobody
could prevail on Lord Chatham to let it be held at his house. His few
intimates ascribed this ill-humour to his dissatisfaction with Conway
and Townshend, who had declared they thought the Company had a right to
their conquests. Lord Chatham vowed he would risk his situation on that
question, and would defend it himself in the House of Lords. Townshend
went so far as to be unwilling to dispute their right. Conway was
inclined to let them apprehend its being questioned, that they might
offer more largely to the necessities of Government. Lord Chatham,
who, when obstinacy failed, knew not how to make himself obeyed,
privately waived the point of right, but insisted on its not being told
that he had relaxed. His menaces, however, had so much effect, that
the directors offered to give up half their revenues and half their
trade, _with the right annexed_. These last words were differently
interpreted: some of the Cabinet thinking the directors meant to waive,
others to save their right; and in that dilemma the Cabinet broke up in
confusion, though it was easy to have asked the directors the meaning
of their own words. Conway declared he would not undertake the conduct
of that business, but would cede his province to any man that would;
and the King telling Lord Hertford that he (his Majesty) must support
Lord Chatham, Conway and Townshend declined going to the meetings that
were held at the Duke of Grafton’s on that subject. They were private
meetings of some of the leading men in the House of Commons, the
stiffness of Lord Chatham having reduced him to seek for any men in the
subordinate class who would carry on the business--a disgrace which,
at the moment of having lost a capital question, seemed sufficient to
blast his whole Administration. Conway had in vain pressed for these
meetings for four months together. Now, when the question was within
two days of appearing in the House, no determination was taken, and
there was no Minister to carry it through. These difficulties were
increased by a rage for stock-jobbing that had seized all ranks of
men. It was more shameful, that above sixty members who were to sit
in judgment on the Company, were known to be engaged in that dirty
practice. The Chancellor of the Exchequer himself was vehemently
suspected of having caught the contagion.[332]

The day of expectation arrived at last, March the 6th--but ended in
smoke. As Lord Chatham’s plan was to be content with nothing the
Company could offer, that he might at last get the whole into his
hands, or reduce them by force to cede a much larger portion of their
revenues than he could expect they would offer till driven to that
necessity, he had eagerly rejected the plan presented by them to the
Treasury; and Beckford now, to obtain from the House disapprobation of
those offers, moved to have all papers, that had passed between the
Government and the Company for the last six months, laid before the
House. This motion, which had the sanction of the Ministry, for it
was seconded by Colonel Fitzroy, was not only disapproved of by the
Opposition, (who treated it as a measure of delay in Beckford, during
the ill-humour of his friend Lord Chatham, and as a matter nugatory,
since the paper being only an offer from the Treasurer of the Company
to the Treasury, it was not an act of the General Court, and could
consequently be disavowed by the proprietors,) but was objected to by
Charles Townshend too, as the measure was incomplete; questions, he
said, being asked on the proposals, and answers still more obscure
returned. And to show his dissatisfaction, he desired the House to
consider him as a private Member of Parliament. Conway, with more
decency, let it be perceived that he was not much better content;
however, to disculpate his friend the Duke of Grafton, he said,
the Duke had warned the directors that the paper would come before
Parliament, nor would accept it till they allowed of that condition.
His own opinion, he said, he would not declare. He understood the
proposal as yet was neither rejected nor accepted. He wished not to see
the paper in the House, till either rejected or accepted; lamented the
step taken, but could not obstruct it. Charles Yorke vindicated the
Company. Grenville, Burke, and Wedderburne treated Chatham and Beckford
with scorn, and laboured to raise a spirit against the idea of force to
be put on the Company, and to baffle any benefit being received by the
Government. In the midst of the debate, the military and naval chiefs,
by their posts members of the Cabinet, but with all their merits very
incompetent judges of state affairs, and still worse qualified to
engage in the subtleties of a Parliamentary discussion,--both, I say,
Lord Granby and Sir Edward Hawke blabbed out the secret which the
Ministers were veiling, and which even the treachery and loquacity of
Townshend had not dared openly to disclose. Lord Granby told the House
that the offers had been found inadmissible; and Sir Edward, to engage
the House to send for the paper, declared that the majority of the
Council had rejected it. These blunders defeated Lord Chatham’s view,
which was to steal the disapprobation of the House, or at worst, should
the House admit the proposal, he would stand disculpated to the public
for having made no better a bargain. This unlucky truth divulged,
drew much ridicule on the managers; and now the secret was out, the
Opposition suffered the motion to pass without a negative.

The adversaries, however, had not so soon forgotten to what they had
owed their late success; and having acquiesced in the printing of the
papers, they flattered themselves the Ministers would the less expect
an attack in that quarter. Accordingly, on the 9th, Jones,[333] an East
Indian director, a tool of Lord Sandwich, presented a petition from the
Company, by surprise, against printing their papers, pleading that it
would disclose their secrets to their enemies. Townshend was absent,
and the whole weight of the day fell on Conway, who extricated himself
from so delicate a situation with the utmost ability. Allowing greatly,
as was his nature, to candour, he called on the directors to point out
particular papers that might be prejudicial to them, and which, he
said, he should certainly be against printing. He disclaimed violence;
but observed, as did others, that their papers told nothing more than
was published every day in two occasional papers called _The India
Observer_ and _The Examiner_. Jones denying that the directors allowed
the Duke of Grafton to lay their proposals before the House, and
Grenville pleading that had he known _that_ the other day, he would not
have voted for the printing, Conway and Lord Granby both affirmed that
the Duke had refused on any other condition to receive their proposal;
and Jones, being pressed to answer why he had not contradicted their
assertion on the last debate, had nothing to say but that they had
never expressed in words allowance of exposing their paper, and that he
had not ventured the other day to take on himself to make objections,
but had stayed till he could consult his brethren. Grenville quoted the
precedent of reversing the order for printing the American papers, and
others; the danger of informing France and the Mogul of the state of
the Company’s transactions: but it was showed how much more they must
know, the first, by the publications of Scrafton[334] and others of
the Company, the latter by his situation. Rigby attacked the Ministers
on their disunion, which was finely turned by Conway against him, the
complaints of the Opposition having run till now on a sole dictator.
Elliot distinguished himself on the same subject; and, after a debate
till nine at night, the Ministers disappointed the intended surprisal,
and maintained their order for printing the papers by a majority of 180
to 147.

When thus triumphant, in spite of his own absurdities, and of the
variations of Charles Townshend, who now spoke of himself as turned
out, and who only spoke so because he thought himself secure of not
being turned out, it was evident what Lord Chatham might have done,
had he known how to make the most of his situation. He might have
given firmness and almost tranquillity to his country; might have gone
farther towards recruiting our finances than any reasonable man could
have expected; and, in indulgence of his own lofty visions, might
have placed himself in--at least have restored Great Britain to, a
situation of reassuming that credit which he and chance had given her
some years before. But, alas! his talents were inadequate to the task.
The multiplication-table did not admit of being treated in epic, and
Lord Chatham had but that one style. Whether really out of his senses,
or conscious how much the mountebank had concurred to form the great
man, he plunged deeper and deeper into retreat, and left the nation a
prey to faction, and to the insufficient persons that he had chosen
for his coadjutors. Once, and but once, he saw the King after having
refused a visit from Conway, though commissioned by his Majesty to talk
with him on Russian negotiations. On the state of America he would
hear him as little, and would give no answer but the same he had on
East Indian affairs, _that it would find its way through the House_.
Conway protested he would not conduct it there, unless some plan was
previously settled, and he knew what he was to support. With Townshend
Conway had little less difficulty; the former sometimes pressing him to
resign, sometimes threatening to resign and leave him alone; and at
others reproaching him for not undertaking his defence when he thought
himself the most obliquely hinted at: for Townshend, though as prone to
draw reflections on himself as Conway was sedulous not to deserve them,
was equally tender and jealous of criticism.

Though the chief business of the session turned on the great affair of
what was to be gotten from the Company, yet as what was gotten, was at
least peaceably obtained without violence or any Parliamentary decision
on their rights; and as I avow myself extremely unversed in those and
all other transactions of money and revenue, I shall, as much as I can,
avoid details on that subject, both in favour of my own ignorance,
and to avoid misleading the reader; the spirit of the times, and the
characters of the men who gave colour to events, being almost my sole
objects in these Memoirs. The reader has seen, and will see, through
what a labyrinth of faction, self-interest, and misconduct we were led
into such a chaos of difficulties, as God knows whether I shall live
to see surmounted;[335] or whether I must not leave these pages a sad
memorial of those errors whose consequences posterity may trace back
to their several sources. If I pause a moment to make this reflection,
it is because I think at this period Lord Chatham, by a wise and
vigorous exertion of himself, might still have established some
permanent system, with the support of the Crown and the Favourite,
without too disgraceful dependence on the latter. I think so, because
even the remnant of this system, when Lord Chatham was withdrawn,
still maintained its superiority. That Lord Chatham might have done
much more service nine months earlier, before his wanton defiance
of the Rockingham party, and his other wild actions of passion and
scorn, is past a doubt with me. It will appear at a period not much
later, that had his successor and pupil not been endued with almost as
great impracticability, and scarce less haughtiness, the distractions
that followed had never happened. They indeed dated from a subsequent
Parliament; but the seeds were sown in that complaisant and prostitute
one of which I am speaking, and which yet, if well conducted, might
have remedied many of the evils it had countenanced; but managed as it
was, it left nothing but the dis-esteem it had raised to be copied by,
and stigmatised in, the Parliament that succeeded.

On the 11th Dudley and Rouse, the chairman and deputy-chairman of the
Company, appeared before the House, and declaring they thought that
the printing of any of their papers, except the Charters and Firmans,
might be prejudicial to their affairs, Conway candidly desired the
House would retract the order for printing them, and it was agreed to:
he having wished for a sight of all charters, Norton eagerly seized
the proposal, Lord Mansfield--ever hostile to Lord Chatham--having
discovered in one of the oldest charters that a power had been granted
to the Company of making war, and the old Company had transferred
all their rights to the new. Dempster, and the younger Burke, who
had engaged deeply in India Stock, were the persons that gave the
greatest opposition to the pursuits of the Ministers. Edmund Burke,
too, assisted by the friendship of Lord Verney, trafficked in the same
funds, and made a considerable fortune, most part of which he lost
again afterwards by a new fluctuation in the same transactions,[336]
and which probably produced, as will be seen, another revolution in
the factions of these times. Sullivan, a leading personage in Indian
affairs, sought by various proposals to get the negotiation into his
own hands, but those subordinate intrigues are foreign to my purpose.


  Provision for the King’s Brothers.--Debate.--Death of the Marquis
    of Tavistock.--Of the Dauphiness.--The Indian Papers.--Intrigues
    of Grenville.--Regulation of America.--Temper in which the
    Americans received the Repeal.--New Project of using Force towards
    the Colonies.--Discussion in the House of Lords on the American
    Papers.--The East Indian Question.--Real or Affected Insanity of
    Lord Chatham.--Interview of the Author with the Lord Chancellor.--
    The Latter lets out a Secret which is turned to Advantage by
    Walpole.--Debate on an Act of the Assembly of Massachusets.--
    Attempted Reconciliation between Conway and Rockingham.

During these altercations, and while the time necessary for calling
and holding courts of directors or proprietors delayed the prosecution
of this matter, the King sent a message to both Houses, desiring them
to make a provision for his brothers. The message was taken into
consideration on the 19th, and in each House Lord Temple and Mr.
Grenville objected to the establishment being entailed on the issue
of the Princes. On the 24th, when it was to be voted, Mr. Grenville,
without directly opposing, made a very able speech and observations
on the settlement. It would be an additional expense, he said, of
24,000_l._ a year on the Civil List, and might have been saved from
other articles. The charge of ambassadors might be reduced, who
each cost the Crown 13,000_l._ the first year. He ridiculed Lord
Chatham’s magnificent plans of naming ambassadors to various Courts,
and despatching none of them. He had threatened to dissolve the
Family-compact; yet Sir James Grey was not yet set out for Spain, nor
Mr. Lyttelton[337] for Portugal. Turn north, there were the same great
plans, yet Mr. Stanley was not gone. Mr. George Pitt was alike absent
from Turin; to those gentlemen he professed meaning nothing personal:
the Chancellor of the Exchequer must pay them, and they were in the
departments of the Secretaries of State, who, though in responsible
places, he was sure were not to blame. The pensions on Ireland amounted
to 88,000_l._ a year; the revenue of that country ought to be laid out
to support the Royal Family, and Ireland would like it. Stanley, a
very warm man, took this invective to himself, and showed how much he
resented it. He complained that Grenville had given him no notice of
the intended attack, and observed how delicate his own situation was in
speaking, or not speaking, between private honour and the duty he owed
to the King of secrecy. He did not care, he said, whether the attack
was pointed at him, or to wound another through him; the employment he
had not sought: in France he had served to his loss, and was ready
to have his conduct inquired into. Had Lord Egremont (Grenville’s
brother-in-law) gone, when he was named to the congress at Augsbourg?
Foreign Ministers had no means of raising a fortune. Had he himself a
son he would say to him, “Get into Parliament, make tiresome speeches;
you will have great offers; do not accept them at first,--then do; then
make great provision for yourself and family, and then call yourself an
independent country gentleman.” For himself, he was ready to answer Mr.
Grenville there or anywhere else. Severe as the picture was, Grenville
had drawn it on himself, resenting Stanley’s having left him for Lord
Chatham. Nor could Stanley be blamed for taking offence; he had been
represented in a disgraceful light, while he had acted with singular
honour, and yet was not at liberty to disculpate himself. The fact
stood thus: Lord Chatham, as I have said, full of a grand northern
alliance, had named Stanley Minister to both the Russian and Prussian
Courts. The latter would not receive him: the Czarina did not like the
proposed alliance, nor the expense of sending an ambassador in return:
yet had she named Prince Czernicheff. Sir George Maccartney had desired
leave to come home; and thus Stanley stood on the list as ambassador,
in compliment to the nomination of an ambassador from St. Petersburg;
yet, perceiving he was not to go, he had honourably refused to take
the appointments; a state secret he could not disclose, as it would be
telling the Russian Court that there was no longer an intention of
sending him. Dowdeswell spoke in favour of the Princes, as he was to
have made the same motion the foregoing spring. Sir Roger Newdigate, in
a dull metaphorical speech, abused the Administration, and complimented
Grenville. Charles Townshend turned him into the highest ridicule,
analysing his metaphors, and reducing them and the whole speech, as
it deserved, to nonsense. Newdigate replied, and with the obstinacy
of dulness professed he had never admired any Administration but
Grenville’s. Townshend enforced what he had said with new ridicule: the
settlement was granted, and the King saved 9000_l._ a year.

A melancholy event relaxed a little the assiduity of the Opposition.
The Marquis of Tavistock,[338] only son of the Duke of Bedford, was
thrown from his horse as he was hunting, and received a kick that
fractured his skull. He languished about a fortnight, and died at the
age of twenty-seven. If there was a perfectly amiable and unblemished
character in an age so full of censure, and so much deserving it, the
universal esteem in which the virtues of that young Lord were held,
seemed to allow that he was the person. His gentleness, generosity, and
strict integrity made all the world love or admire him. Full of spirit
and martial ardour, which he suppressed in deference to a father to
whom his life was so important, he had the genuine bashfulness of
youth, and the humility of the lowest fortune. His large fortune he
shared with his cotemporary friends, assisting them in purchasing
commissions. Yet he had taste for those arts whose excellence and
splendour became the House of so great an heir, and indulged himself in
them when they did not interfere with his more favourite liberality.
His parts were neither shining nor contemptible; and his virtue
assisted his understanding in preserving both from being biassed or
seduced. To observers, it was clear that he much disapproved the want
of principle in the relations and dependants[339] of his parents;
yet so respectful was his duty to his father, and so attentive his
tenderness to his mother, and so artfully had she impressed it, that
Lord Tavistock’s repugnance to their connections and politics was only
observable by his shunning Parliament, and by withdrawing himself from
their society to hunting and country sports. He was not less exemplary
as a husband than as a son, and his widow, who doated on so excellent
a young man, survived him but two years.[340] The indecent indifference
with which such a catastrophe was felt by the faction of the family,
spoke but too plainly that Lord Tavistock had lived a reproach and
terror to them. The Duke, his father, for a few days almost lost his
senses--and recovered them too soon. The Duchess was less blameable,
and retained the impression longer; but while all mankind who ever
heard the name of Lord Tavistock were profuse in lamenting such
a national calamity, it gave universal scandal when, in a little
fortnight after his death, they beheld his father, the Duke, carried
by his creatures to the India House to vote on a factious question.
This unexampled insensibility was bitterly pressed home on the Duke
two years afterwards in a public libel. Yet surely, it was savage
wantonness to taunt a parent with such a misfortune; and of flint
must the heart have been that could think such a domestic stroke a
proper subject for insult, however inadequate to the world the anguish
appeared: how steeled the nature that could wish to recall the feelings
of a father on such a misfortune. In Borgia’s age they stabbed with
daggers; in ours with the pen![341]

About the same time died the widow Dauphiness, a pious but unamiable
Princess, and only remarkable for the various fortune that attended
her. Daughter of Augustus of Poland, she was married into the same
Court, where the daughter of her father’s rival, Stanislaus, was Queen.
Received and treated with affection by that Princess, and possessing
all the tenderness of her husband, her fruitfulness seemed to ensure
her felicity; when, though seated on the step of the most formidable
throne in Europe, she beheld her father again driven into exile, and
her mother dying in the midst of that calamity. Her family were scarce
restored when the Dauphin perished before her eyes of a lingering
illness; and she outlived him too short a time to be secure that the
youth of her children would not expose them to the dangers that attend
a minority.

The disputes in the East India Company, which grew out of their great
cause before the Parliament, produced an attack on Lord Clive, his
enemies attempting to seize the Jaghire that had been granted to him
by the Mogul; and it was but by a majority of about 30 voices that he
saved that immense revenue on a ballot, 361 voting for the continuation
of it for ten years, and 330 against it.

Towards the end of March the House began reading the East Indian papers
that had been laid before them; each day of which produced much general
debate, especially as witnesses were examined. The Attorney-General
De Grey and Dyson shone on these occasions, and showed how much the
question was a matter of state, and that the King’s Bench could have no
judicature over the East Indies. Governor Vansittart[342] was examined
for four hours, and gave much satisfaction: his evidence tended to
strengthen the right of the Crown, and brought over many persons to
that side. Colonel Monroe spoke strongly in his deposition to the same

In the mean time the faction of Grenville and the Bedfords, humbled
by the death of Lord Tavistock, and by the ground gained against
them on the India question, began to cast about for real union with
the Rockinghams. The latter, on the first overtures, and without any
positive assurance of that union, sought to draw Mr. Conway into the
league, affirming that Grenville, as they had lightly been made to
believe, would be content with some inferior post, and would waive
his hopes of being Minister. Conway, however, discontented with Lord
Chatham, and fearful of offending his old friends, did not listen to
a plan so improbable in its construction, and so dishonourable in its
tendency. Grenville could only mean to get to Court with the view of
undermining his associates when he should be there: and such a treaty
would be unpardonable in Conway, while acting in the King’s service.
He would not allow himself to think of the Treasury, which he knew
Lord Rockingham would never cede to him; and yet on talking over the
proposed arrangement with him, he said sensibly, and not unambitiously,
“If I should join them, I would insist on Grenville going into the
House of Lords.” He was not without fears of Grenville and Rockingham
uniting and leaving him with Lord Chatham and Lord Bute. I was not so
easily alarmed, though the Duke of Richmond endeavoured to persuade me
that the junction would certainly take place, and that Conway would
not even recover his regiment. I saw no danger comparable to that of
his resigning, and consequently of dissolving the Administration; and
very little to apprehend from the union of two men whom so many reasons
divided, and whom the predominant one of both aiming at the first place
must for ever keep asunder. So it happened then. Neither would yield
a post which neither saw a prospect of attaining by his own strength.
Grenville at last proposed that both should desist, and should agree in
the nomination of a third person. This, no doubt, he intended should be
his own brother, Temple, who might afterwards resign to him. But the
least proper was the most obstinate, and the treaty came to nothing. I
put the Duke of Richmond in mind of what Lord Gower had said the last
year, and asked him if he thought it likely that the Bedfords would
enlist under a man who was so much their contempt? Lord Sandwich having
abused Lord Rockingham in the House of Lords, Lord Gower said to him,
“Sandwich, how could you worry the poor dumb creature so!”

A question of more importance than the Indian one was now to come on
the carpet--the Regulation of America. The repeal of the Stamp Act,
however necessary and salutary, had, as Grenville and his adherents
foretold, instead of pacifying that continent, inspired the turbulent
with presumption. With whatever joy the repeal had been received,
it was not followed by that general gratitude to the Ministers who
obtained it, which they deserved. Great Britain having yielded, the
tribunes of America flattered themselves that new concessions might
be extorted: so certain is the march of successful patriotism towards
acquisition. Still the disturbances were not alarming nor universal:
and if, instead of tampering with a wound not closed, emollients,
restoratives, at least oblivion, and no farther essays at taxes had
succeeded, harmony perhaps had again taken place. A Ministry composed
of heterogeneous particles, some inclination to show authority after
mildness, an eagerness to replace the loss on the land-tax, and, above
all, the inconsiderate vanity of Charles Townshend, and not a small
propensity in him to pay court to Grenville, all concurred to prompt
rash and indigested measures; while a Parliament, so obsequious as that
of the moment, was ready to enact every successive contradiction that
was proposed to it by the Court, and eased Ministers of the trouble
of weighing the plans they intended to pursue. Nay, the circumstances
of the time recommended violence as the least obnoxious measure;
Grenville being sure to give less obstruction to any intemperance
which resembled his own, and secretly enjoying any indiscretion that
would involve his successors in the same difficulties as those he had
occasioned himself.

The first plan on which the Ministers fixed was that of force and
punishment. They proposed to oblige the Provinces to furnish beer and
vinegar to the soldiers; and if they refused, the governor of New York
was to be prohibited from giving the royal assent for holding their
assemblies. This step would, in effect, have been a dissolution of
their government, and not less violent than the seizure of charters by
Charles II. When the scheme was laid before the Cabinet, Conway, who
adhered to the conciliating measures of the last year, and to his own
mild maxims, alone opposed so arbitrary a project. When,

On the 30th of the month, the American papers which had been laid
before the Houses, were taken into consideration by the Lords. The
Chancellor opened the nature of them, and hinting at the disobedience
of the Colonies, said, if his own sentiments should not be so lenient
as formerly, it was because he had formed them anew on the Act passed
in the last session. Lord Weymouth observed to him, sensibly, that last
year’s had not been an Act but a Declaration. Lord Temple was more
acrimonious, his language gross, telling the Chancellor that his former
opinion of Parliament having _no right_ to tax the Colonies, had been
treasonable. The Duke of Grafton defended the Chancellor with great
propriety, and asked why Lord Temple had not called him, if guilty
of treason, to the bar? He reproached Temple, too, with blackening a
most respectable character (Lord Chatham’s), from revenge. The present
question, he said, was too serious for faction; but if places were
the objects of opposition, and if his would reconcile Lord Temple, it
was at his service. These bickerings were all that passed then. Lord
Denbigh called on the Opposition to propose some plan for restoring the
tranquillity and submission of America; but neither party were eager
to stir in it: the Ministers were afraid, the Opposition apprehended
disunion amongst themselves,--so different were the sentiments of
Grenville and Rockingham on that subject.

When the settlement on the Princes passed the House of Lords, Lord
Temple behaved with his usual violence. Great and deserved reflections
were thrown on Lord Northington for his scandalous extortion of
emoluments on the late change. Lord Temple then caused the House to be
summoned without acquainting them to what purpose.

The same day, his brother and the Opposition debated in the Commons
against delay on the East Indian affair till eight in the evening, and
then divided the House for calling in witnesses. Many of the courtiers
had gone away, and the motion was rejected but by 96 to 82! Sir W.
Meredith then declared, that if Beckford did not by that day sevennight
ascertain the House when he would bring on his questions, he would move
to dissolve the Committee. Such inconsistent conduct in the Opposition
was occasioned by its having appeared on the examination, that the
Crown would be justifiable in seizing the acquisitions of the Company,
so crying were the abuses, and so little was the Company itself
master of its own servants. Easter, too, was now approaching, and
the Opposition feared not being able to rally their forces after the
holidays. Grenville, apprehending from so many concurrent circumstances
favourable to Lord Chatham, that he would be able to acquire a large
revenue to the Crown, laboured to instil fears of such intended force;
saying, the East Indian business had begun in folly, and would end in

Lord Chatham himself either was not, or would not be, in a condition
to strike any great stroke. Though he still continued to take the air
publicly, his spirits and nerves were said to be in the lowest and
most shattered condition. Added to the phrenzy of his conduct, a new
circumstance raised general suspicion of there being more of madness
in his case, than mere caprice and impracticable haughtiness: he had
put himself into the hands of Dr. Addington--a regular physician, it is
true, but originally a mad doctor, innovating enough in his practice
to be justly deemed a quack. The physician, it was supposed, was
selected as proper to the disease; whereas, if all was not a farce, I
should think that the physician rather caused the disease, Addington
having kept off the gout, and possibly dispersed it through his nerves,
or even driven it up to his head. So long did Lord Chatham remain
without a fit of the gout, and so childish and agitated was his whole
frame, if a word of business was mentioned to him, tears and trembling
immediately succeeded to cheerful, indifferent conversation. Some
passages, too, which I shall specify hereafter, indicated a fond kind
of dotage; yet do I very much doubt whether the whole scene was not
imposition, and the dictates of disappointment, inability, and pride,
rather than the fruits of a brain extraordinarily distempered. A slave
to his passions, a master dissembler, and no profound statesman, his
conduct was more likely to be extravagant by design than from the
loss of his senses. As he reappeared in the world, and yet governed
his domestic affairs with the same wild wantonness and prodigality,
it is probable that there was not more folly in his secession from
business, than could be accounted for in so eccentric a composition. If
it was nothing but singularity and passion, Lord Chatham was certainly
the first man who ever retired from business into the post of Prime

As I suspected that much of this ill-humour was founded on his
disappointment in Mr. Conway, who would not receive orders from
behind the veil of the _sanctum sanctorum_, and as I had heard that
the Chancellor complained much of the latter, I desired to wait on
Lord Camden, in order if possible to restore some harmony in the
Administration. Having appointed me an hour, I offered all that
depended on me towards reconciling my friend and Lord Chatham. The
Chancellor by no means aided my good disposition. He complained much
of Mr. Conway’s niceties, difficulties, and impracticability. In truth
Mr. Conway allowed too much to his scruples, and the Chancellor on the
other hand was a little too alert in relaxing his former principles;
the one leaning towards power, the other to popularity: yet I think
even the Chancellor was too much addicted to the latter, to have risked
it by any signal servility.[343] He was generally firm, when pushed
by the roughness of the times. A moderate degree of attention to his
fortune stole into his conduct, when it did not too much clash with
his professions or connections. He told me that Lord Chatham was very
willing to replace Mr. Conway in the army; and being but a novice in
politics, he let drop indiscreetly, that if the Ministers could weather
the session, there must be a totally new Administration; adding, that
Mr. Conway’s behaviour on the East Indian affair had been a stab to
Lord Chatham, and had reduced him to lean on Lord Bute.

Though I did not know whether this imprudent declaration implied an
intention of co-operating entirely with Bute, or might not look
towards Grenville, yet I saw plainly that there was an intention of
getting rid of Mr. Conway. I took no notice either to the Chancellor
or to Mr. Conway of what I had discovered, lest the latter should
resign immediately; but I instantly determined to keep Conway steady
to his last year’s point of moderation towards America. It would
preserve his connection with his old friends, who would be necessary
to him, if Lord Chatham broke with him; and it was essential to him to
maintain his character. Accordingly I softened extremely towards the
Rockingham party, and talked to them of the necessity of Mr. Conway
and their agreeing, as they had done when in Administration together,
to oppose any violence against the Americans. This plan succeeded
extraordinarily, and blasted all thoughts of union between Grenville
and Rockingham, the former of whom had endeavoured to persuade the
latter to content himself with a dukedom and the lieutenancy of
Ireland. Nor was this all the success that attended the secret the
Chancellor had blabbed to me. It occasioned such a breach in and
discomfiture of the Opposition, as carried the Administration through
the session with triumph. So often did chance throw occasions in my
way, which no policy of mine could have super-induced, and which, if I
preferred vanity to truth, I might represent as the effects of profound
craft and foresight.

On the 10th of April, in consequence of Lord Temple’s summons, the
Duke of Bedford moved to address the King to order the Privy Council
to take into their consideration a recent Act of the Assembly of the
Massachusets, in which they had taken on themselves to pardon the late
insurrections, and to couple with that Act an ordinance for raising
of money. Lord Northington affirmed, that the consideration of those
Acts was still before the Board of Trade; on which the Duke of Grafton
moved the previous question. In reply to a reproach made by the Duke
of Bedford on the delays and inactivity of Administration, Grafton
decently hinted, and it was fresh in everybody’s memory, how handsomely
he had put off the American question on Lord Tavistock’s accident.
Lord Halifax rudely and inconsiderately censured Conway for not having
transmitted the orders of their Lordships to the Colonies. In fact,
the orders had not been sent to Conway; and Halifax, the accuser, had,
when Secretary of State himself, neglected orders committed to him
by the King in Council. The Duke of Richmond warmly took up Conway’s
defence, and led the way to a separation from the other part of the
Opposition. Lord Talbot gave up all the Ministers but the Duke of
Grafton. Lord Mansfield spoke finely for the motion; the Chancellor
well, for acting with spirit against the Colonies; but said it would
require great prudence to conduct that spirit. Lord Suffolk and Lord
Lyttelton supported the motion. Lord Shelburne and Lord Botetort
were against it, and Lord Townshend for it. It was rejected by the
previous question, on a majority of 63 to 36. The Duke of Richmond,
Lord Rockingham, Lord Dartmouth, Lord Monson, Lord Radnor, and Lord
Edgcumbe voting with the Court; the Duke of Newcastle, who leaned to
the Bedfords, Lord Albemarle, and others of the party, retiring. Lord
Hardwicke voted with the minority.[344]

On this schism, I again pressed Conway to join the Rockinghams on the
American question, and hinted my suspicion, not my knowledge, that
Lord Chatham might think of dismissing him at the end of the session.
Conway was enough disposed to that union; said he could not negotiate
himself, but consented that I should sound the Duke of Richmond, and
wished their faction would not insist on that unattainable point,
the total dismission of Lord Bute’s friends. I found the Duke much
incensed against Lord Temple for not having communicated to them the
late motion, and provoked that Rigby, who had negotiated with them
on Grenville’s part, and at first had waived the Treasury for him,
had at last insisted on it. I pressed his Grace to try by his cousin
Albemarle’s means to gain the Bedfords separately from Grenville.
Conway wished that junction and separation. I did not at all think
it practicable; but I hoped that the proposal, coming from the
Rockinghams, would exasperate Grenville and widen the breach between
them. The Duke approved and was eager for that alliance, but demanded
that Conway should resign first, as many of their friends were averse
to him while he acted with Lord Chatham. I advised him to try it
himself with Conway, though I told him I would not answer for the
success: but I would not undertake what I intended to impede; expecting
that Lord Chatham would not be able to continue in power, and that then
it must devolve on Conway: and choosing that the Rockinghams should
accede to him, not he go over to them. Neither happened. I did not
accomplish the junction; but I both kept Conway from resigning, and the
Rockinghams from uniting with Grenville and the Bedfords.


  Printed by S. & J. BENTLEY, WILSON, and FLEY,
  Bangor House, Shoe Lane.


[1] This tract is printed in the second volume of Walpole’s works. It
is written with temper, and in an agreeable style, though with less
spirit than might have been expected from the warmth of the author’s
feelings on the occasion.--E.

[2] “Dr. Lloyd was a man of very polite manners, extraordinary
composure of mind, and resignation to the Divine will. He died in 1790,
aged 64.” Nichols’s Illustrations of Literary History.--E.

[3] The title is, “The Budget; inscribed to the man who thinks himself

  Emendare tuos quamvis Faustine libellos
  Non multæ poterunt, mea litura prodest.”

It is a quarto of only twenty-two pages, slovenly written, and with
little vivacity of expression.--E.

[4] Mr. Hartley was a frequent writer of pamphlets on the side of
the Opposition, chiefly on the Revenue. He was attached both to Lord
Rockingham and Mr. Pitt, and was the son of a physician, [who was also
the most eminent metaphysician of his day. Mr. Hartley had the honour
of negotiating and signing the preliminaries of Peace with America
in 1783, and of moving the first resolution in the House of Commons
against the Slave Trade. He was much respected by all parties, but his
speeches seldom found a willing audience. Tickell has parodied him with
most ludicrous effect in the “Anticipation;” and he is thus described
by another cotemporary--

 “Peace to the rest, for Faction now,
  To shield her sons with poppied brow,
      Bids Hartley stand before me.
  Goddess, the potent charm I own;
  My breath is lost, my voice has flown,
      And Dulness creeps all o’er me.”

            _New Foundling Hospital for Wit._

He was a Fellow of Merton College, Oxford, until his death in 1813,
at a very advanced age. Flattering obituaries appear of him in the
Annual Register and the Gentleman’s Magazine of that year. A clergyman
of his College, now deceased, described him to a friend of the Editor
“as an honest, high-principled man, but a dull talker, and a prosy

[5] Mr. Grenville was concerned afterwards in several abusive pamphlets
against Lord Rockingham and his friends. Some were drawn up by Whately,
his secretary; others he penned himself, or gave the materials.

[6] This tract (an octavo of thirty-eight pages) is agreeably and
temperately written, and unquestionably deserves to rank among the
popular pamphlets of the day. The reply, though preferred by Walpole,
is now a far less readable performance.--E.

[7] He was in the Duke of Cumberland’s family, and much attached to him.

[8] In his eighty-third year. His old age was lonely and unattractive,
being passed in the society of a few obsequious bishops and
blue-stocking ladies, with whom he kept up a sickly commerce of
flattery. His zenith had been bright: his decline was not mild.
Avarice tormented even his last hours, and it is painful to witness,
in his correspondence, how entirely he was subjected to that baleful
passion. It degraded his nature, and almost disturbed his reason, for
on no other ground can some of his acts be explained. His character
as a politician was too severely censured by his cotemporaries, but
in private life he was mean, selfish, and sordid, to an extent almost
commensurate with his great abilities and attainments.--E.

[9] When the first part of these Memoirs was written there had not
transpired the smallest idea of D’Eon being a woman, nor when that
secret was first broached did it gain credit. Some years also elapsed
before the fact was allowed, and it was some time before the dubious
person assumed the female habit, and then only by command of the Court
of France. I have not chosen to correct my narrative, not only because
the change of sex did not happen till the personage had ceased to
figure in an historic light, but because, having no notion of that
doubtful gender at the time of her eccentric behaviour, my account will
remain more natural, and does paint the general sensation produced by
her exploits. The Government here acted as I have written, totally
in the dark as to a false assumption of sex. [In 1777 an action was
brought by a surgeon named Hayes against Jacques, a baker, who had
received fifteen guineas to return one hundred guineas if it should
be proved that the Chevalier was a woman; and the evidence of that
fact was so strong that the jury decided in favour of Hayes. There
were other actions on the same point, but they were disposed of by
the Court, very properly, declaring these wagers to be illegal. Da
Costa _v._ Jones, Cowper’s Reports, 729.--The Annual Register, p. 167,
evidently copying some newspaper, says, “by this decision no less a sum
than 75,000_l._ will remain in this country, which would otherwise have
been transmitted to Paris.” The same authority says, “Aug. 16th, the
Chevalier left England, declaring that she had no interest whatever in
the policies opened on her sex.” From that time till the death of the
Chevalier he was always believed to be a woman, and dressed as such.
The post mortem examination, which is stated in the Gent. Mag. vol.
lxxx. p. 588, proved him to be a perfect male. He was never employed
after his disgrace; but having been long a spy of Louis the Fifteenth,
it was not deemed prudent to drive him to despair, and a handsome
pension was granted to him, which he enjoyed till the Revolution.
He then took refuge in England, and was afterwards reduced to great
poverty. He died in London, at a very advanced age, in 1810. There is
an interesting note on Chev. d’Eon by Mr. Croker in Walpole’s collected
Correspondence, vol. iv. p. 323. See also the article, a very partial
one, in the Biographie Universelle.--E.]

[10] The Count d’Estaign had broken his parole in India, and,
having been again taken prisoner, was kept in close confinement at
Portsmouth--a treatment of which he very unreasonably complained as
harsh and unjustifiable. His name often occurs in the history of
the American war, in which he commanded the French fleet with some
reputation. He claimed a victory over Admiral Byron. During the French
Revolution he acted a very vacillating, if not dishonest, part; and,
having given offence both to Royalists and Republicans, he was brought
to the scaffold in 1794, aged 65.--E.

[11] Mr. Legge did not write the narrative mentioned in the text. It
is the composition of the Bishop of Hereford, his intimate friend,
to whom he committed on his death-bed “the publication of the papers
that explained his case;” or, in other words, his correspondence
with Lord Bute respecting the Hampshire election. (Some account of
the Life of the Right Hon. Bilson Legge.) His object being, not, as
Walpole supposes, to fix on Lord Bute the charge of meddling with
elections, but to clear his own character from various insinuations,
by showing, from the correspondence, that his refusal to yield to
Lord Bute’s dictation in the Hampshire election, was the real cause
of his disgrace, and that he might have remained in office if he had
chosen to disgrace himself by taking the opposite course. The Bishop’s
observations explanatory of the transaction are in the spirit that
might be expected from a prelate not indisposed to translation, when
treating of the conduct of those who dispense ecclesiastical patronage.
To make up, however, for his courtesy towards his patron’s adversaries,
he heaps unmeasured eulogy upon his patron’s memory. It is now, indeed,
pretty well understood that Mr. Legge had no title to a tithe of the
merits ascribed to him by his right reverend biographer. He was a very
useful statesman. (See supra, p. 39.) His head, as Sir Robert Walpole
said of him, had very little rubbish in it. He was good-natured, and
easy in social intercourse. To exalted patriotism he never raised any
pretensions; and whatever may be the Bishop’s opinion, the friend
and boon companion of Wilkes could be no pattern of religion or

[12] William Howe, brother of Richard Lord Viscount Howe, an Admiral,
and one of the Lords of the Admiralty. [Afterwards a Lieutenant-general
and K.B. He served in the American war, and was generally unfortunate.
On the death of the Admiral he became Viscount Howe. The title expired
on his death without issue, in 1814.--E.]

[13] Sir William Boothby, Bart., a Major-general and Colonel of the 6th
Regiment of Foot, died, unmarried, in 1797.--E.

[14] Prince Edward, next brother to the King.

[15] The Duke died on the 2nd of October, at the early age of
forty-four. The scanty praise awarded him in the text is far below
his due. He had been Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1755, and First
Lord of the Treasury in the following year. “In the ordinary business
of his office,” says Lord Waldegrave, “he shewed great punctuality
and diligence, and no want of capacity.”--Memoirs, p. 141. A strong
sense of responsibility, and a natural diffidence in his own talents,
accompanied by a dislike for business, and an indifference to
ministerial employments, gave him, at times, an air of indecision
rather ungraceful; but he could be firm on great occasions, and his
public no less than his private life was distinguished by unsullied
uprightness and honour.--E.

[16] Edmund Boyle, Earl of Corke and Orrery, married ---- Courteney,
daughter of Lady Frances Courteney, only sister of John Earl of
Sandwich. [The marriage being afterwards dissolved, he married the Hon.
Mary Monckton, who long survived him. He died in 1798.--E.]

[17] William Duke of Devonshire married Lady Charlotte Boyle, second
daughter and co-heiress of Richard Boyle, last Earl of Burlington, Lord
Treasurer of Ireland.

[18] William Ponsonby, Earl of Besborough, married Lady Caroline
Cavendish, eldest daughter of William third Duke of Devonshire. Lord
Besborough had been at Constantinople with Lord Sandwich. [He died in
1793, and was the grandfather of the present Earl.--E.]

[19] What authority Walpole had for this assertion does not appear. The
Duke was without ambition, and content to live as an English nobleman
on his splendid domain. He died in 1729.--E.

[20] Dr. Johnson, a violent political opponent, observed of him, “that
he was not a man of superior abilities, but he was a man strictly
faithful to his word. If, for instance, he had promised you an acorn,
and none had grown that year in his woods, he would not have contented
himself with that excuse. He would have sent to Denmark for it. So
unconditional was he in keeping his word--so high as to the point of
honour.”--Boswell’s Life of Johnson, vol. iii. p. 167. The same lofty
feelings characterised his public life, and caused him to be implicitly
trusted by the great party of which, without his own seeking, he was
the undisputed head. Lord Waldegrave seems to have entertained no mean
opinion of his talents.--Memoirs, p. 86. He was Lord Lieutenant of
Ireland in 1737, and afterwards remained for a time in the Cabinet; but
he accepted office with reluctance, and quitted it with disgust, for he
loved his ease and scorned all the arts of intrigue. He died in 1755,
aged fifty-seven.--E.

[21] Lord George Cavendish filled the place of Comptroller of the
Household in 1762, and for some years represented Derbyshire. He had
sufficient sense to speak respectably in Parliament. He died unmarried
in 1794.--E.

[22] Lord Frederick Cavendish had frequently distinguished himself
during the Seven years’ war as an excellent cavalry officer. In one of
the last affairs of the campaign of 1762, he gained great credit by his
spirited behaviour on the 6th of July, when, under the command of Lord
Granby, he defeated a considerable body of the French stationed at Horn
in order to preserve the communication of the main body with Frankfort,
the result of which defeat was the evacuation of Gottingen. He attained
the rank of Field-Marshal, and died unmarried at an advanced age in

[23] The sarcastic tone of these remarks on the Cavendish family may
be ascribed to a family quarrel, in which the Duke of Devonshire had
sided with Horace Walpole the uncle, against Horace Walpole the nephew,
the author of these Memoirs.--Mem. i. 170, note by Lord Holland. Lord
John Cavendish had also displeased Walpole by often thwarting his plans
for the management of the Opposition, and particularly by prevailing
on General Conway to act contrary to his advice. On these occasions,
however, Lord John was actuated by the purest motives, and no statesman
of that day shewed a nicer sense of honour, or more strict notions of
public duty. His influence with the Liberal party was considerable,
and raised him afterwards to a higher post than his talents could
alone justly claim. At the time to which the text refers he was about
thirty-two years old.--E.

[24] There was shown about that time, and by that title, a Canary-bird
that performed several tricks, by pointing to cards and numbers at

[25] The accomplishments of Lord Lyttelton were undeniable.
Unfortunately they were overshadowed by an infirmity of judgment, that
materially lessened the dignity of his character. He seems to have
been the easy dupe of Archibald Bower. There was often much misplaced
sentiment in his conversation. His letters teem with foolish conceits,
and the extravagant notions he entertained of parental authority made
him so severe and injudicious a father as to afford some excuse for the
gross misconduct of his son, a young nobleman whose brilliant abilities
he was almost the only person unwilling or unable to appreciate. Lord
Lyttelton died in 1773, at the age of sixty four. His public and
private life had been irreproachable.--E.

[26] Wilkes had attacked me in the North Briton, for a panegyric on
the sense of the Scots, in my catalogue of Royal and Noble Authors: a
censure I regarded so little, that when Lord Holland was engaged in his
bitter persecution of the Whigs under Lord Bute, I sent an anonymous
letter to Wilkes, pointing out a very advantageous character of Lord
Holland that I had formerly written in the paper called The World, and
inciting the North Briton to take notice both of the author and the
subject of the character. Wilkes caught at the notice, said but little
of me, and fell severely on Lord Holland, as I had foreseen he would.

[27] A similar story is related in Tacitus, of the visit paid by
Augustus to his unfortunate grandson Agrippa, in the island of
Planasia, having excited suspicions in the mind of Tiberius that caused
him to hasten the Emperor’s death.--1 _Annal._ v.--E.

[28] The account given in the Princess Dashkau’s Memoirs of this
transaction, presents strong internal evidence of the guilt of
Mirowitz. The Princess otherwise would not have taken such pains to
exculpate herself from the charge of having been his accomplice. He
appears to have been virtually insane.--E.

[29] Translator of Horace and Demosthenes.

[30] Robert Henley, Earl of Northington.

[31] There was another reason given, and probably a more efficacious
one. This was the number of suits commenced against the General
Warrants, with which he did not care to meddle.

[32] The patent of precedence could not be _over_ the
Solicitor-General, whose official rank necessarily placed him next to
the Attorney, and above all other members of the bar. The elevation of
Mr. Yorke was of greater advantage to the senior barristers than to
himself, for otherwise they could not have held briefs with him; though
the Government cared, in those days, too little for the bar to have
attached much weight to that consideration, unless they had desired to
please Mr. Yorke.--E.

[33] Philip Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield, the famous man of wit.

[34] Mr. Cumberland says elegantly of the Primate, “No man faced
difficulties with greater courage, none overcame them with more
address: he was formed to hold command over turbulent spirits in
tempestuous seasons, for if he could not absolutely rule the passions
of men, he could artfully rule men by the medium of their passions.
He had great suavity of manners when points were to be carried by
insinuation and finesse; but if authority was necessary to be enforced,
none could hold it with a higher hand: he was an elegant scholar, a
consummate politician, a very fine gentleman, and in every character
seen to more advantage than in that, which, according to his sacred
function, should have been his chief and only object to sustain.”
Cumberland’s Mem. vol. i. p. 229.--E.

[35] Henry Boyle, a grandson of Roger, first Earl of Orrery. His
hypocrisy could not be very deep, if the saying ascribed to him be
true--“that he would not accept an honour whilst there was a shilling
in the Treasury.” He has been described as “a warm, sincere friend,
and undisguised enemy.” His peculiar sphere was the House of Commons,
not as an orator, but as manager; and few country gentlemen, we are
told, would continue a canvass in their respective counties without a
certainty of Mr. Boyle’s support, if petitioned against.--Hardy’s Life
of Lord Charlemont, vol. i. p. 88. He would have made an admirable
Secretary of the Treasury in corrupt or turbulent times.--E.

[36] Sir George Yonge, Bart., was the only surviving son of Sir William
Yonge, the eloquent and well-known supporter of Sir Robert Walpole. He
was appointed Secretary at War in Lord Shelburne’s Administration, and
subsequently became Master of the Mint. His last office was that of
Governor of the Cape of Good Hope. He had many of his father’s parts
as well as failings, being kind, persuasive, industrious, reckless,
scheming, and dissipated. His last years were embittered by the failure
of a speculation into which he had entered in the neighbourhood of
Honiton, which borough he had long represented in Parliament. He died
at an advanced age at the beginning of the present century, and, having
no children, the baronetcy became extinct.--E.

[37] The Duke of Newcastle’s letter and Mr. Pitt’s reply are printed in
the Chatham Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 293–8.--E.

[38] Dr. John Ewer, of King’s College, Cambridge, Canon of Windsor, and
successively Bishop of Llandaff and Bangor. He published some single
sermons on public occasions, and died in October, 1774. His library was
sold by auction in 1776.--E.

[39] Dr. Carmichael was brother to the Earl of Hyndford. He had not
long to wait for preferment, nor did he long enjoy it, for he was
appointed Archbishop of Dublin in June, and died in the November

[40] Primate Robinson, without being eminent either as a divine or a
politician, filled his high office creditably. He had sound sense, and
a turn for business, was not ignorant of the world, and his deportment
admirably suited a great ecclesiastic. In these respects he bore a
strong resemblance to Archbishop Sutton. He exerted himself laudably
in building churches and parsonage-houses, and in maintaining the
character of the clergy. Like many of the Irish Archbishops of former
days, he brought nobility into his family, by obtaining the barony of
Rokeby, with remainder to a distant cousin; for although one of many
brothers, he had no nearer descendants. He died unmarried in 1794,
having survived his brother, Sir Thomas Robinson, whose baronetcy
eventually devolved upon him.--E.

[41] “The original contains an imputation against Sir W. Pynsent,
which, if true, would induce us to suspect him of a disordered
mind.”--Mr. Croker’s note in vol. iv. of Walpole’s Letters, p. 484, to
a letter to Lord Hertford, giving more particulars of this bequest.

[42] Frederick Lord North, son of the Earl of Guildford, married Miss
Speke, an heiress.

[43] This is very improbable, for Lord North was notoriously
indifferent to money, and careless of his personal interests.--E.

[44] Yet a clergyman of the name of Pynsent went to law afterwards with
Mr. Pitt for the inheritance, but lost his cause.

[45] An interesting account of this debate is given by Walpole, in a
letter to Lord Hertford, of the 27th January, vol. iv. p. 488, of his

[46] Mr. Calvert’s speech is reported in the xviTH vol. of
Parliamentary Debates, p. 44, and is the only portion of the debate
that has been preserved. It is erroneously stated to have been made on
a motion respecting the dismissal of these officers. See also the note
giving an extract from the History of the Minority, p. 291.--E.

[47] Second son of Harry, and brother of Charles, Duke of Bolton, the
latter of whom he afterwards succeeded in the title. He was in the
sea-service, [and is said to be the “Captain Whiffle” of Smollet’s
“Roderick Random.” He attained the rank of Admiral of the White, and
died in 1794. He was twice married, but left no male issue, and the
dukedom expired with him.--E.]

[48] He had had his regiment taken from him by Sir Robert Walpole.

[49] As on the Bill “for Liberty of Conscience.”--Clarendon’s Life,
continuation, p. 248. The noble historian, however, observes, that
from that time he never had the same credit with His Majesty he had

[50] The trial is reported in vol. xix. of the State Trials, p. 1178:
of 123 peers present, 119 voted him guilty of manslaughter; the
remaining four voted him not guilty generally.--E.

[51] An abstract of the arguments in this debate is given in the
Parliamentary History, vol. xvi. p. 8.--E.

[52] So in the original MS.

[53] George Simon Viscount Nuneham, eldest son of the Earl of Harcourt,
was a sincere republican, and retired from Parliament because he could
not continue to vote according to his principles without offending
his father. [He became _wiser_ afterwards, and accepted the post of
Master of the Horse to the Queen, and his wife that of Lady of the
Bedchamber. Wraxall describes him as a nobleman of high breeding, well
informed, and of a most correct deportment, though of manners somewhat
constrained and formal. He died without issue in 1809, aged 63, and
was succeeded by his brother, the late Field-Marshal Lord Harcourt, on
whose death the title became extinct.--E.]

[54] Lord Sandwich and Lord Halifax.

[55] He was a favourite of the King, who made him Commander-in-chief
in Lord Shelburne’s Administration, and he was afterwards a

[56] Henry, second Viscount Palmerston, the grandson of the first
Viscount. He was a very accomplished nobleman. At this time he was only
26 years old.--E.

[57] Almon was a bookseller and political writer, as well as a printer,
in all which capacities he received frequent employment from the
extreme section of the Liberal party. He was a bustling, self-important
personage, whose zeal and fidelity brought him into a certain degree of
intimacy with several of the leading men of his day, and he was thus
enabled to collect the information which occasionally presents itself
in his works. His life of Lord Chatham, though not to be generally
depended upon as an authentic narration, contains some curious
anecdotes illustrative of the political disputes of that period, and
is in every respect superior to his life and letters of Wilkes--an
insipid, tedious, and disgusting book, particularly discreditable
to its author, as he was in possession of materials that might have
yielded both interest and instruction. Almon, in his latter days, was
unfortunate in business, and died very poor at an advanced age in

[58] Sir Thomas Denison died in the autumn of this year. His memory was
honoured by an epitaph from the pen of his friend Lord Mansfield, very
long and very dull. It is said of him “that besides being conversant
with the different branches of the profession, he was in an eminent
degree master of the learning of a special pleader.” Memoirs of Lord
Chief Justice Wilmot, p. 13.--E.

[59] This enlightened judge and most amiable man was the second son
of Robert Wilmot, of Osmaston, Derbyshire, and brother of Sir Robert
Wilmot, for some years the Chief Secretary in Ireland. He subsequently
became Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, but with great
reluctance, for he says in one of his letters, “The acting junior in
the commission is a spectre I started at; but the sustaining the office
alone, I must refuse at all events. I will not give up the peace of my
mind to any earthly consideration whatever. Bread and water are nectar
and ambrosia, compared with the supremacy of a court of justice.” He
retired from the Bench in 1771, and died in 1792, aged 82, leaving one
of the most spotless characters to be found on the roll of British
judges. A selection of his judgments and opinions was published by
his son. They are remarkable for elegance and perspicuity, and their
learning and acuteness cause them to be still highly prized. The memoir
of him already cited is a pleasing tribute to the memory of a good
father by a good son.--E.

[60] The resolutions were not 35 in number, but 55.--E.

[61] The late Lord Essex informed the Editor that one of the
Under-secretaries of that day had often said to him, “Mr. Grenville
lost America because he read the American despatches, which none of
his predecessors ever did.” There is no doubt that the business of
the colonies was despatched in a very slovenly manner--or, to use Mr.
Burke’s words, it was treated “with a salutary neglect;” and the many
volumes of Minutes of Colonial Affairs still preserved at the Board of
Trade, relate generally to such insignificant transactions as to be
almost ludicrous.

[62] Colonel Martin Bladen, M. P. He had in earlier life shown his
industry by a translation of Cæsar, which he dedicated to the Duke
of Marlborough, under whom he served in the German wars. He was made
Sub-comptroller of the Mint in 1714, and one of the Board of Trade
in 1717, and might have risen higher if he had chosen. He died at
an advanced age in 1746. See more of him in Warton’s notes to the

[63] I say _acknowledged_, because they thought it prudent, in their
quarrel with the Parliament, to shelter themselves under the banner
of the Crown, and because they founded themselves on their charters,
which were grants from the Crown. At the same time there were some men
amongst them of a more democratic spirit. It was much talked of at this
era, that a wealthy merchant in one of the provinces had said, “They
say King George is a very honest fellow; I should like to smoke a pipe
with him,” so little conception had they in that part of the world, of
the majesty of an European monarch! The Crown could not take advantage
of the Americans throwing themselves into the arms of prerogative,
because the Americans did it to shun paying taxes, which the Parliament
was inclined to grant.

[64] In January, 1769.

[65] Colonel Barré’s eloquent invective is the only portion of the
debate that has been preserved. It is directed chiefly against an
observation of Mr. Grenville, that the Americans were “children planted
by our care and nourished by our indulgence.” It has been often
reprinted. Parliamentary History, vol. xvi. p. 38. Mr. Adolphus, in
a note to vol. i. p. 171, throws doubts on the authenticity of the
report, and there is nothing in Colonel Barré’s character to make it
improbable that he may have been his own reporter, and not a very
faithful one.--E.

[66] Barbarossa and Athelstan.

[67] This tract of Dr. Browne’s, entitled “Thoughts on Civil Liberty,
Licentiousness, and Faction,” hardly deserves notice except from the
success of the author’s other works, of which it has all the faults
and none of the merits. Its failure was complete. The author committed
suicide in the following year, being then only in his 51st year. His
fame rests entirely on his tragedies, which are still favourites with
the public; but his treatises display an ingenuity and extent of
information, and occasionally a power of expression, at least equally
commendable; and it is to be regretted that those qualities were so
wasted on ephemeral publications, and directed by a mind always verging
on insanity. A long and very dull life of Dr. Browne is to be found in
the Biographia Britannica.--E.

[68] The Duchess had inherited the island from the Earls of Derby, from
whom she was descended. [Her ancestor John, the first Marquis of Athol,
having married Lady Amelia Stanley, daughter of James seventh Earl of
Derby and his celebrated Countess. The Duchess was daughter and heiress
of James, second Duke of Athol, and had married her cousin John, the
third Duke, by whom she left a large family.--E.]

[69] Afterwards Sir Grey Cooper, Baronet, Secretary of the Treasury,
and a Privy Councillor. He was generally a dull speaker, but had
considerable abilities, and was much esteemed in his department. He
died in 1801. His speech is reported in the Parliamentary History, vol.
xvi. p. 21.--E.

[70] Mr. Adolphus, in the new edition of his History, says, “The malady
with which his Majesty was afflicted, exhibited symptoms similar to
those which, in 1788, and during the last years of his life, gave so
much unhappiness to the nation. I did not mention the fact in former
editions of this work, because I knew that the King and all who loved
him were desirous that it should not be brought into notice. So
anxious were they on this point, that Smollet having intimated it in
his complete History of England, the text was revised in the general
impression--a very few copies in the original form were disposed of,
and they are now rare.” Adolphus, vol. i. p. 175.--E.

[71] Afterwards Sir William Duncan, Bart., a Scot; he married Lady Mary
Tufton, sister of the Earl of Thanet.

[72] Mr. Nicholson Calvert’s speech is given in the Parliamentary
History, vol. xvi. p. 42, where it is said that he was very
inefficiently supported by Serjeant Hewet.--E.

[73] Bishop of Gloucester. Voltaire always calls him by mistake Bishop
of Worcester.

[74] This sermon is noticed by Gray in a letter written at the
time.--Works, vol. iv. p. 49. Warburton did not carry his imprudence
so far as to print it. He had been a candidate for the see of London
in 1761, and was not a little disappointed by the preference given
to Bishop Hayter, to which he thus _modestly_ alludes in a letter
to Hurd. “You and your poet say true, ‘I will bet at any time on a
fool or a knave against the field.’ Though the master of the course
be changed, yet the field is the same, where _the race is not to the
swift_.” (Letters from a Late Eminent Prelate, &c., p. 328.) His
hopes must have been rekindled by the early death of Bishop Hayter,
only to be again dashed by the appointment of Bishop Osbaldiston; and
his ambition received a deathblow by the elevation of Terrick. His
contempt of his successful competitors appears to have been expressed
in every way calculated to be most offensive to them: even at a dinner
at Archbishop Secker’s, about this period, he taunted the Bench with
leaving the defence of the Church against its various assailants to
their chaplains, and not performing the task themselves, as Ridley and
Jewel had done of old; and quoted, at the same time, the saying of
Jewel: “Why are we distinguished from the rest of our brethren with
superior titles and riches, but that we may out-do them in the service
of the public, so that when men see our great achievements, they may
say these men deserve their superior titles and riches who perform them
thus nobly.” The prelates wisely indulged him in this freedom. He never
rose beyond the see of Gloucester, which it may be remarked he owed not
to his learning and theological reputation, but to Mr. Pitt’s regard
for Allen. Perhaps Mr. Pitt was the only statesman who would have had
the courage to place him on the Bench. Notwithstanding his friendship
with Mr. Yorke, he was neglected by Lord Hardwicke, who, he says,
“amidst all his acquaintance, chose the most barren and sapless, on
which dry plants to shower down his most _refreshing rain_.”--Letters,
p. 433. The violence of his temper, his overbearing disposition, and
the vagueness of his political creed, gave Ministers some excuse, yet
it shows an imperfection in the system of ecclesiastical patronage,
that a man of his genius and attainments should have been so often set
aside for the obscure and now long forgotten individuals whom Court
or Ministerial favour continually placed in the higher offices of the
Church. He resented this treatment to the last. It embittered a lot
which ought to have been happy, for he had wealth, rank, reputation,
and domestic prosperity; but his letters breathe an air of discontent
unworthy of a great man. He died at an advanced age in 1776.--E.

[75] At the end of 1768. It was triumphantly answered by Burke.--E.

[76] Thomas Gilbert, Esq., M. P. for Newcastle-under-Line, and
Controller of the King’s Wardrobe. See Walpole’s Letters, vol. v. p.

[77] The bill proposed to divide every county into large districts,
comprising a whole hundred, or at least a great number of parishes, in
order to remedy the evils caused by the distresses of the poor, and
the misapplication of the money raised for their relief. It has the
merit of being one of the earliest efforts made in Parliament for the
amendment of the Poor-laws. In 1782 Mr. Gilbert succeeded in carrying
a bill containing the main features by his plan for the incorporation
of parishes, so well known as the Gilbert Act. An account of these and
other bills, prepared by Mr. Gilbert, of the same tendency, is given in
Eden’s History of the Poor, vol. i. p. 362.--E.

[78] Humphry Sturt, Esq., M. P. for the county of Dorset, where
the family has long enjoyed considerable wealth and parliamentary

[79] Query whether instead of John Pitt, it ought not to be George
Pitt, Mr. Sturt’s colleague, and afterwards Lord Rivers, and Minister
at Turin. He died in 1801.--E.

[80] This man became much more known about a dozen years after
this period. [His character has not yet ceased to be a subject of
controversy; and those who wish to know all that can be said for and
against him, may consult Mr. Hunt’s recent biographical work, and Mr.
Keppel’s Life of Lord Keppel. His generous and constant patronage of
Captain Cook has given more interest to his memory than belongs to his
political squabbles. The King’s favour, Lord Sandwich’s friendship,
and lastly his own merit, raised him among other distinctions to the
honourable post of Governor of Greenwich Hospital. He was made a
Baronet in 1773, and died unmarried in 1796.--E.]

[81] By the Duke of Newcastle and Mr. Pelham.

[82] Grenville was of Buckinghamshire.

[83] This must be confined to the following period of fluctuations in
the Administration. When it became resettled under Lord North, _who was
a Tory_, the Court’s system of prerogative predominated entirely.

[84] The præmunire clauses of the Regency Act (24 George II. c. 24)
are in the 4th and 22nd sections. By the 4th section these penalties
attach on any person having the custody of the King’s appointment of
the Council of Regency, that ventures to open the same without his
Majesty’s order, or to neglect or refuse to deliver up the same after
his Majesty’s death. The 22nd section is more important, and as it
contains the clause to which the text applies, and was the subject
of much discussion in the House of Commons, where it met with warm
opposition, even from the Speaker, Mr. Onslow, the following transcript
of it may not be without interest: “All commissions, letters patent,
orders, matters, and things to be made, passed, had, or done by the
said Regent, either with or without the consent of the said Council of
Regency, _in order_ unlawfully to set aside, change, or vary the order
and method of Government, and administration of Government settled
by this Act during such minorities as aforesaid, shall be absolutely
null and void; and every person _advising, concurring, promoting,
or assisting therein_ shall incur the penalties of a præmunire.” An
animated report of the debates on this clause is given by Walpole, Mem.
Geo. II. vol. i. p. 191.--E.

[85] This is no doubt the truth.--E.

[86] With his brother Henry Pelham, and Lord Chancellor Hardwicke.

[87] Charles Fitzroy, second Duke of Grafton, Lord Chamberlain, and
K.G., grandson to Charles the Second, whom he appears to have resembled
in some of the better parts of that monarch’s character.--See the
account of him in Walpole’s Geo. II. vol. i. p. 157. He died May 6,
1757, aged 78.--E.

[88] Lionel Sackville, first Duke of Dorset, K.G., son of the
celebrated Earl. He had gone through most of the great posts, having
been successively Lord Steward, Lord President, and Lord Lieutenant of
Ireland, besides being employed on several foreign missions. Walpole
describes him (Mem. Geo. II. vol. i. p. 244) as a man of dignity,
caution, and plausibility, who, when left to himself, as in his first
Lord-Lieutenantcy, had ruled Ireland to the universal satisfaction of
that people. He was less successful when his son Lord George Germaine
and Primate Stone were his advisers. He died on the 10th of October,
1763, aged 75. See more of him in Wraxall’s Hist. Mem. vol. ii. p. 415,
and in Collins’s Peerage.--E.

[89] Such a post would certainly not have suited the modest,
scrupulous, and pious author of the “Analogy,” and as his character was
well known, it is very unlikely to have been destined for him,--though
he was highly esteemed at Court. Had his friend Dr. Clarke filled the
Archbishopric of Canterbury, which Queen Caroline is said to have so
much desired, he would probably have been preferred, and with his
parts and decision of character, might have become a very considerable

[90] The King had then four brothers living: Edward Duke of York, and
the Princes William, Henry, and Frederick.

[91] William Duke of Cumberland.

[92] John third Earl of Waldegrave, brother-in-law of the Duchess of

[93] Parliamentary History, vol. xvi. p. 52.--E.

[94] The Address of both Houses.

[95] Edward Duke of York, the Princes William, Henry, and Frederick,
and William Duke of Cumberland, son of George the Second.

[96] Henry Howard, Earl of Suffolk and Berkshire, a young lord attached
to Mr. Grenville, [afterwards Secretary of State. (See more of him

[97] Lord Northington.

[98] Sir Philip Yorke, then Lord Chancellor. His son, Lord Hardwicke,
kept away from this bill; Charles Yorke, the second brother, voted for

[99] He might have been asked why it was more proper to establish the
Council for seventeen years, than the same Regent.

[100] Alluding to Lord Chatham and Alderman Beckford.

[101] Augustus Henry Fitzroy, third Duke of Grafton.

[102] Charles Lennox, third Duke of Richmond.

[103] Mary, fourth daughter of King George II.

[104] Charles Prince of Brunswick, husband of Princess Augusta, the
King’s eldest sister.

[105] Frederick King of Prussia, son and grandson of the daughter and
sister of King George the First.

[106] Attached to the Princess Dowager.

[107] Lord Bute told him he was in the right, and that a matter of such
importance ought to be left under no _dubiety_.

[108] See Letter from Walpole to Lord Hertford, of 5th May, 1765, in
Correspondence, vol. v. p. 23.--E.

[109] I must observe that Lord Holland has since maintained to me, that
Lord Halifax alone had gone to the King, which I could never hear but
from him: the contrary was the universal belief at the time, and what
I learned in the House of Lords, where I arrived within five minutes
after the scene I am describing had passed. It is at least evident by
the ready concurrence of the Ministers, and by Grenville’s subsequent
conduct in the House of Commons, that the measure had been concerted
with him and Sandwich; and they both in their speeches afterwards gave
indications that it had been so.

[110] Memoirs of George II., vol. i. p. 166.

[111] Charles Fitzroy, afterwards Lord Southampton, younger son of Lord
Augustus Fitzroy, and only brother of Augustus Henry Duke of Grafton.

[112] See Walpole’s Letter to Lord Hertford, of May 12, 1765, in
Correspondence, vol. v. p. 28.--E.

[113] Mr. Burrell, M. P. for Haslemere, made a Commissioner of Excise
in 1774; became a Baronet on the death of his father-in-law, Sir
Charles Raymond, and died in 1796. He was the father of Sir Charles
Burrell, M. P.--E.

[114] Mr. Morton, Chief Justice of Chester, had been long in the
intimate confidence of the Princess. He was in extensive practice, as
may be seen in Burrow, and the other reports of the day--the leader on
the Oxford Circuit, and Deputy High Steward of the University. He had
considerable reputation as an advocate notwithstanding the sneer of a
cotemporary satire, that says--

 “Bewildered Morton spits and stares,
  All petulance and froth.”

In the House of Commons, Mr. Morton seldom spoke except on questions
connected with his profession. The following account of a singular
scene in which he appears as the rash and unequal assailant of Pitt,
has been preserved by Mr. Butler, the great Catholic counsellor, in his
interesting and not uninstructive Reminiscences of George the Third.

On one occasion, Mr. Morton happened to say King, Lords, and Commons,
or (directing his eye towards Mr. Pitt) as that right honourable
Member would call them, Commons, Lords, and King.--The only fault of
this sentence is its nonsense. Mr. Pitt arose, as he ever did, with
great deliberation, and called to order. “I have,” he said “heard
frequently in this House, doctrines which have surprised me, but now
my blood runs cold. I desire the words of the honourable Member may
be taken down.” The Clerks of the House took down the words. “Bring
them to me,” said Mr. Pitt, with a voice of thunder. By this time Mr.
Morton was frightened out of his senses. “Sir,” he said, addressing
himself to the Speaker, “I am sorry to have given any offence to the
right honourable Member, or to the House. I meant nothing--Kings,
Lords, and Commons,--Lords, Commons, and King,--Commons, Lords, and
King--_tria juncta in uno_. I meant nothing--indeed I meant nothing.”
“I don’t wish to push the matter further,” said Mr. Pitt, in a voice
a little above a whisper, then in a higher tone, “the moment a man
acknowledges his error he ceases to be guilty. I have a great regard
for the honourable Member, and as an instance of that regard, I give
him this advice.” A pause of some moments ensued; then assuming a
look of unspeakable decision, he said in a kind of colloquial tone,
“Whenever that Member means nothing, I recommend him to say nothing.”
(Butler’s Reminiscences, vol. i. p. 156.) Mr. Morton’s last speech of
any importance was on the Indemnity Bill for sending foreign troops to
Minorca, in 1775. He never rose higher than the Chief Justiceship of
Chester, though he was very near succeeding Mr. Justice Wilmot, in the
King’s Bench; and the memoirs of the latter contain a very pleasing
and well-written letter from him on the occasion. He had a house at
Tackley, near Oxford, in the church of which place he is buried. He
died on the 25th of July, 1780.--E.

[115] Lord Temple, in a letter to Lady Chatham, of the 10th of May,
(Chatham Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 308,) notices these speeches very
slightingly, and says the whole debate was of the most superlative
dulness. Edward Kynaston, of Hardwicke, in the county of Salop, the
eldest surviving son of John Kynaston, of the same place, the claimant
of the ancient Barony of Powys, was member for Montgomeryshire; he died
without issue in 1772.--E.

[116] He said to Onslow, in private, “Whatever you say to me, is fair;
but there is one man, Martin, whose words I will never forget or

[117] This was so entirely the motive of his conduct, that he wrote to
his brother, Lord Hertford, at Paris, that he had voted against the
Princess from the fear of being taxed with selfish views.

[118] Mr. White, M. P. for East Retford, an old member, highly
respected by the Whig party in the House of Commons.--E.

[119] She was divorced from him by act of Parliament, for his cruel
usage, and then married John Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham. She was
natural daughter of King James the Second.

[120] William Henry Cavendish, third Duke. He had succeeded to the
title on the death of his father in 1762, and was at this time only
twenty-seven years of age.--E.

[121] The King’s youngest brother.

[122] The object of the promoters of the bill was to obtain a total
prohibition of the importation of foreign silks. This was not the only
instance of the Duke of Bedford’s knowledge of political economy.
Horace Walpole says elsewhere, that “he spoke readily, and upon _trade_

[123] Robert Henley, Earl of Northington.

[124] Annual Register for 1765, p. 42.--E.

[125] Gertrude Leveson, daughter of John Lord Gower, and second wife of
John Russell, Duke of Bedford.

[126] Bedford House stands on the north side of Bloomsbury Square. It
has low walls in front, and a garden backwards, with a fossé to the
fields. [It was built from a design by Inigo Jones, and has shared the
fate of other great mansions in the same quarter of London.--E.]

[127] Their son was married to one of Lord Bute’s daughters.

[128] A broken wine merchant, brother of Admiral Cotes.

[129] Lord Sandwich was the head of Mr. Wortley Montagu’s family.--E.

[130] Yet the same indiscreet step did the King take again in 1783,
when he dismissed the Duke of Portland and Lord North, and what
was called _the Coalition_, before he had made sure of another
Administration; and he was for a few days in danger of being obliged to
recal those he had just removed; Lord Temple, son of George Grenville,
not daring to undertake the Administration after he had consented; and
Mr. Pitt, son of Lord Chatham, being almost as timid, and fluctuating
backwards and forwards for three or four days, before he at last
determined to accept.

[131] In a letter to the Duke of Marlborough, of the 19th of May,
the Duke of Bedford states, that he plainly charged the King on this
occasion with having “very unfaithfully kept” the conditions on which
he (the Duke) had accepted office, and urged on him the necessity of
forming an efficient Administration. The only result was, that “I left
him,” says the Duke, “as did all the rest, without being able to get an
explicit answer.”--(Mem. of the House of Russell, vol. ii. p. 560.)--E.

[132] In setting no bounds to his hostilities, Lord Holland’s
fear operated as much as his resentment. He said to me with great
earnestness, “If Mr. Pitt should not be content with taking away my
place, but should say, I will have a mark set on him!”

[133] This negotiation is not noticed in Lord Chatham’s published

[134] George William Hervey, second Earl of Bristol.

[135] Admiral Augustus John Hervey, brother of the Earl of Bristol,
on whose death he succeeded to the title. He was a gallant and able
officer, and had distinguished himself at the Havannah; but he was not
without some of the peculiarities of disposition that seemed to belong
to his family, and his memory subsequently suffered from the trial of
his widow, the Duchess of Kingston (the soi-disant Miss Chudleigh.) He
died without issue in 1779.--E.

[136] George Grenville was brother of Lady Hester, Mr. Pitt’s wife,
lately created Baroness.

[137] It has been said, that Lord Temple’s estate, by a flaw, was in
his own power.

[138] James Stuart Mackenzie, only brother of Lord Bute.

[139] Mr. Mackenzie resigned immediately upon learning that his
exclusion was an object with the Government and would accommodate
the King. He was a very amiable man, and no objection was ever
raised to him beyond his relationship to Lord Bute. Letter of Mr.
Mackenzie, Mitchell MSS., note to vol. ii. p. 312, of Lord Chatham’s

[140] Rigby swore a great oath that the King should not have power to
appoint one of his own footmen.

[141] Yet Lord Holland could never obtain any indemnification, nor
attain an earldom, though he often solicited it in the most earnest
manner, and by every interest he could employ.

[142] Thomas Thynne, third Viscount Weymouth. His mother had been one
of the daughters and co-heiresses of the famous John Earl Granville.
He had married a sister of the Duke of Portland, and was at this time
about thirty-one years old. He was a man of talents, and of very lively
conversation; though it is said that to profit by the latter it was
necessary to follow him to White’s, to drink deep of claret, and remain
at table to a very late hour of the night, or rather of the morning.
His dissipated habits, indeed, were notorious. Junius has alluded to
them with bitterness, and indulged in a profane jest at his expense.
(Letter xxiii.) His straitened circumstances made his nomination very
unpopular in Ireland, and he never went over, (Mr. Croker’s note in
Walpole’s Letters, vol. v. p. 42,) which, however, did not prevent,
if we are to believe Junius, his obtaining an outfit of £3000. His
subsequent career was very prosperous. See Wraxall’s Historical

[143] George Montague, Duke of Manchester.

[144] John Campbell, Marquis of Lorn, eldest son of John Duke of Argyle.

[145] Mr. Thurlow’s nomination to this post has been denied. He had
been only seven years at the bar, and was already rising rapidly
in the estimation of the profession; within five years he became

[146] He was Lord-Lieutenant of Lincolnshire, where he had a great
estate. He died in 1778.--E.

[147] The original MS. states the interview to have been on the
20th of June, obviously by a clerical error, for that date would
make the narrative unintelligible. In a letter to Sir Horace Mann,
of the 26th (Letters, i. p. 237), the day is correctly stated to
be the 12th, which is confirmed by a letter of the Duke of Bedford
to the Duke of Marlborough, of the 13th, giving the details of the
interview.--(Wiffen’s Memoirs of the House of Russell, p. 70.)--I have
ventured to correct the text accordingly.--E.

[148] If this narrative be true, Junius is not the libeller that the
world has supposed, and the King was unquestionably treated by his
Ministers in a manner to which a parallel is only to be found in the
reign of Charles the First. George the Third, however, was not, as
Lord Brougham justly observes, (Historical Sketches, &c., vol. iii. p.
144,) the monarch to submit to such treatment,--neither was Sandwich or
Halifax likely to have sanctioned it. Indeed Walpole must be mistaken
in making them parties to the transaction. In a letter written at the
time, he intimates that the Duke of Bedford alone waited upon the
King (i. 238); he takes no notice of any written paper, nor is there
any trace of such a document among the archives at Woburn. The only
authentic account of the interview is given in the letter of the Duke
to his nephew the Duke of Marlborough, cited in the preceding note, the
general tenor of which proves beyond dispute the writer to have been
innocent of any design to insult the King, as well as ignorant that he
had done so. His Grace says that he reminded the King of the terms on
which the Ministers had consented to resume their functions, and asked
whether the promise made to them on that occasion had been kept. He
complained of the favour shown to the opponents of the Administration,
and the very different treatment received by their friends, dwelling
especially on the influence of Lord Bute; and, finally, he besought
his Majesty “to permit his authority and his favour to go together,
and if the last could not be given to his present Ministers to
transfer to others that authority which must be useless in their
hands unless so strengthened.” Strong words these, no doubt, and an
offensive interpretation may have been put upon them by a youthful
sovereign with the notions of prerogative inculcated by Lord Bute--a
political opponent (like Burke) might not unfairly insinuate them to be
“indecent.” They furnish also a colourable foundation for the statement
in the text, which is not unlikely to have been derived partially from
the King himself. On the other hand, a dispassionate observer must
take into consideration the general truth of the Duke’s charges; the
feelings of the Ministers at their dismissal on grounds which appeared
to them utterly inadequate; and, above all, their sense of the public
danger resulting from the unsatisfactory relations of the King with his
government. The limits prescribed by the constitution to a remonstrance
of this nature are very indistinct, and the Duke will be held to
have outstepped them only by the opponent of the political opinions
with which the House of Russell have been so long and so honourably

[149] The most plausible explanation of Lord Temple’s conduct on this
occasion is, that he acted on grounds purely personal. It appears
from Lady Hervey’s Letters--an excellent authority--that as far back
as March his connection with Mr. Pitt had in a great measure ceased.
His pride may have been gratified by the advances made to him by the
leading members of the Government, as unquestionably it was deeply
wounded by the proofs he had lately received of his diminished
influence over the Opposition. The gratification of his vengeance
cost him dear, for the Liberal party never forgave him, and the event
showed how entirely his importance with the country had arisen from
his relation to Mr. Pitt. The engagements into which he immediately
after entered with Mr. Grenville, only served to obstruct his return to
power, and, as will be seen hereafter, to involve him in embarrassments
still more prejudicial to his reputation.--E.

[150] Lord Villiers was the intimate friend of the Duke of Grafton,
whose attachment was to Mr. Pitt.

[151] Charles (not the famous one, but his first-cousin) was the only
son of Colonel W. Townshend, third son of Charles Viscount Townshend,
Secretary of State. This Charles Townshend was, for distinction, called
_the Spanish Charles_, from having been secretary to Sir Benjamin
Keene, Ambassador at Madrid, and was afterwards a Commissioner of the

[152] John Earl of Ashburnham, the chief favourite of the Duke of
Newcastle, whom he afterwards abandoned, being a very prudent and
interested man.

[153] T. Walpole was attached to Mr. Pitt.

[154] It certainly was time that they should enter upon the business
of their respective offices, for the country had now been more than
seven weeks virtually without a government. The following chronological
summary of the negotiations that passed daily at this period will bring
them more distinctly before the reader.

18th May. The King announced to Mr. Grenville his intention of changing
his Ministers.

19th. The Ministers acquaint the King that they would resign on the
following Tuesday.

20th. The Duke of Cumberland applies to Mr. Pitt, at Hayes.

20th. The King, having failed to form a new government, recalls his

12th June. The Duke of Bedford remonstrates with the King.

17th. The Duke of Cumberland conveys to Mr. Pitt, at Hayes, fresh
overtures from the King.

19th. Mr. Pitt has an audience with the King.

21st. Lord Temple refuses to join Mr. Pitt.

22nd. Mr. Pitt waits on the King and declines office.

23rd. Mr. Pitt has another audience, with the same result.

30th. Meeting of the Opposition at Claremont, under the auspices of the
Duke of Cumberland.

1st July. The Duke of Newcastle notifies to the Duke of Cumberland the
result of the meeting.

8th. New Ministers sworn in.--E.

[155] William Dowdeswell, formerly a Tory.

[156] Thomas, eldest son of Thomas Townshend, Teller of the Exchequer,
and member for the University of Cambridge, and second son of Charles
Viscount Townshend, Secretary of State.

[157] Henry Arthur Herbert, Earl of Powis. He died in 1772.

[158] George third Lord Edgcumbe, an admiral.

[159] Richard Lumley Saunderson, Earl of Scarborough; he had married
the sister of Sir George Saville.

[160] Thomas, afterwards Lord Pelham.

[161] Next brother to Daniel Earl of Winchelsea, father of the
succeeding earl.

[162] Thomas Viscount Gage, attached to the Duke of Newcastle, whom he
afterwards abandoned as Lord Ashburnham did, to keep their places.

[163] Sir Fletcher Norton.

[164] Little is now known of Mr. Dowdeswell, beyond the high estimation
in which he was held by the Whig party. His epitaph is by no means the
happiest of Burke’s compositions; but amidst the cloud of panegyric
the rays of truth exhibit a character of genuine English mould which
it is very agreeable to contemplate. In a private letter, Burke says,
“There never was a soul so remote as his from fraud, duplicity, or
fear, so perfectly free from any of that rapacious unevenness of temper
which embitters friendship and perplexes business. Of all the men I
ever knew, he was the best to act with in public and to live with in
private, from the manly decision and firmness of his judgment, and
the extreme mildness and pleasantness of his temper.” His speeches,
imperfectly as they are reported, prove him to have been a man of
plain, sound, vigorous understanding, and not without respectable
powers of debate. Burke exalts his knowledge of the revenue. He
certainly was one of the leading members of the House, previous to
his appointment, and the distinction conferred upon him was generally
approved, Charles Townshend being forward to claim the merit of having
suggested it. See the interesting Memoirs of Mr. Dowdeswell, in
Cavendish’s Parliamentary Debates, i. 575.--E.

[165] The opinion entertained of Lord Rockingham by many of the most
eminent men of his time, is alone sufficient to prove him not to have
been the feeble-minded and insignificant character described in the
text. He had the disadvantage of coming early into the possession of
a princely fortune. His youth was wasted in the pursuits too common
with his rank, and the only official employment he had as yet filled
was that of a Lord of the Bedchamber. From the time, however, that
he applied himself seriously to politics, he gradually obtained an
ascendancy over his associates such as was possessed by no cotemporary
statesman,--even the opinions of Lord Chatham having less weight with
the more reflecting and intelligent members of the Liberal party than
those of Lord Rockingham. A singular instance of this ascendancy used
to be related by the late Lord Spencer, who happened to witness it. At
a meeting of the Whigs, in 1782, preparatory to Lord Rockingham’s last
Administration, his Lordship read a list of the appointments which he
proposed to submit to the King. As soon as he uttered the name of Mr.
Sheridan as Under-Secretary of State, the latter, then a young man,
justly conscious of great abilities, and expecting a much higher post,
exclaimed, in an indignant tone, “I will not accept!” Lord Rockingham
fixing his eye on him, calmly but emphatically exclaimed, “You shall.”
Sheridan seemed perfectly daunted, bowed his head, and made no
further remonstrance. It was very rare, said Lord Spencer, that Lord
Rockingham’s decisions did not meet the immediate acquiescence of the
party. Nor was this purchased by the arts that exhausted the revenues
and lowered the character of the Duke of Newcastle. Lord Rockingham
stood clear of any charge of parliamentary corruption. His mode of
living, though noble as suited his rank, was simple and unostentatious,
and the disinterestedness of his political supporters may be inferred
from the honourable boast of one of the most needy of them, that they
had derived no permanent provision from his acceptance of office.[A]
The same friendly pen has recorded, in the noble monumental inscription
at Wentworth, “that his virtues were his arts,” and no doubt he was a
virtuous, high-minded, amiable man; but he owed his success mainly to
“a clear, sound, unadulterated sense,” which showed itself in great
discretion, sagacity, and tact. His views were generally correct, and
his firmness and perseverance never yielded in the most adverse and
discouraging crisis, as was strongly evinced in the great American
contest; and thus without eloquence, or any large share of the
qualifications which usually confer eminence on popular leaders, he
retained his political supremacy to the close of his life.--E.

[A] “A Short History of a Late Short Administration.”

[166] Lady Elizabeth Finch, youngest sister of Daniel Earl of
Winchelsea, and of the Marchioness-dowager of Rockingham.

[167] Lord Northington.

[168] George Lord Townshend.

[169] “The vacillation of this eminent person was so decided as
materially to lessen his influence and general consideration.” (See
Charles Townshend’s singular Letter to Mr. Dowdeswell. Cavendish’s
Debates, i. p. 576.) It eventually drew him to that fatal step which
ruined his peace of mind and hurried him to the grave.--E.

[170] John Yorke. He died in 1769.--E.

[171] The Marchioness of Grey, wife of Philip Yorke, second Earl of
Hardwicke, was the eldest daughter of the Earl of Breadalbane by his
first wife, eldest daughter and co-heiress of the last Duke of Kent.

[172] Mr. Pitt’s reply, however, was cold and ungracious, and the
Ministers must have been men of a very sanguine temperament to derive
any comfort from it. His repudiation of the charge is clogged by such a
distinct avowal of want of confidence in the Government, as must have
defeated the object for which the letter was most wanted. It could
hardly have been shown, except to friends.--Chatham Correspondence, ii.
319. It does more credit to the Duke than to Mr. Pitt.--E.

[173] Henry Lord Digby, an Irish baron, nephew of Lord Holland.

[174] The fact was this: Grenville, afraid of publishing his
rapaciousness before he was sure of success, had forborne to mention
the business to his brethren, the Commissioners of the Treasury, and
even to inquire if the reversion was not already granted; but, going
directly to the King, asked for the reversion. The King was very loth
to bestow it on him; and, on being much pressed, said, “Mr. Grenville,
I thought you were a severe enemy to all reversions!” Instead of being
abashed, he had the confidence to reply: “Sir, if your Majesty will
grant me this, I will take care you shall never give away another.”
The King yielded. When Grenville notified the boon at the Treasury, he
learned, to his inexpressible mortification, that the reversion was
already engaged. Yet in the year 1770 he had the front, in Parliament,
to censure a lucrative grant for life to Dyson!

[175] John Duke of Argyle, father of the Marquis, of Lord Lorn, of
Lord Frederick Campbell, and of the Countess of Ailesbury, wife of Mr.

[176] Groom of the Bedchamber to the Duke, and conqueror of Belleisle.
[He had been aide-de-camp to the second Earl of Albemarle at Dettingen
and Fontenoy, and all the principal actions in Flanders. He was
subsequently transferred to the family of the Duke, whom he attended at
Culloden.--(Life of Lord Keppel, i. 298.) Several of his letters during
the expedition to Belleisle are published in Mr. Keppel’s work. They
are very well written, and their frankness, vivacity, and good feeling,
make it a subject of regret that more is not known of the writer. He
died a field marshal.--E.]

[177] A severe character of the Duke is given in the Memoirs of George
the Second, vol. i. p. 85; nor has his memory found more favour
from posterity. A love of truth, a dutiful consideration for his
parents, and a decided preference of active employment, either civil
or military, to the intrigues or frivolities of a Court, honourably
distinguished him from his elder brother. In other respects he was not
much to be esteemed.--E.

[178] He was enormously fat, had lost one eye and saw but ill with the
other, was asthmatic, and had had a stroke of the palsy, besides the
wound in his leg, that had not healed.

[179] George Keppel, third Earl of Albemarle, Lord of the Bedchamber
to the Duke, and his favourite. The promise was not only renewed, but
fulfilled at the end of the year, when the vacant garters were given
to the Prince of Wales, the Hereditary Prince, and Lord Albemarle.
[The latter was also entrusted by the King with the examination of the
Duke’s papers and the administration of his property.--(Keppel’s Life,
vol. iv. p. 384.)--E.]

[180] A statue of the Duke was erected afterwards in Cavendish Square
by General Strode, at his own expense.

[181] Robert Adam, projector of the Adelphi Buildings and other known
works. [An interesting life of him is given in the Biographical
Dictionary of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge.--E.]

[182] This statue was not finished and set up till 1772. A bitter
inscription was affixed to it in the night, supposed to be written by

[183] Sir John Lambert was of a Huguenot family. He was born in 1728;
he died in 1799.--E.

[184] The concession was made too late to be of much benefit to the
original holders of the bills. It had been confidentially intimated
to the friends of the late Government, before the latter left office,
that the point would not be pressed on the French Court, and the bills,
in consequence, were sold at a very great depreciation. Sir George
Colebrooke, who was one of the sufferers, mentions the circumstance in
his MS. memoirs.--E.

[185] When the Duc de Nivernois came to England to conclude the Peace,
he would never take his remittances in bank bills, lest they should be
traced. My cousin, Thomas Walpole, told me that he had paid to that
Duke four thousand guineas in specie at a time. I do not charge the
Ministers with the guilt of this corruption. They were paid by Lord
Bute in places, honours, and power; but that French money had a share
in that infamous transaction I do not doubt. The Duc de Nivernois, a
man of economy, spent above thirty thousand pounds here in half a year.
He kept a table for the tradesmen of London, that they might harangue
for the Peace.

[186] What the French thought of our glorious successes and of our
shameful Peace, appeared from what the famous Madame Geoffrin said to
me one day at Paris,--“Vous avez eu un beau moment, mais il est bien

[187] His long and able services deserved a less tardy reward. He had
been minister at Berlin from 1753, and was a constant companion of
Frederick the Great during the Seven years’ war. Few understood that
monarch better, and few, it is supposed, were loved by him so well.
He died at an advanced age in 1771. His correspondence during his
embassy, extending to 68 folio volumes, is preserved in the British
Museum, and furnishes many valuable illustrations of cotemporary
history--especially the letters addressed to him by his correspondents
in England. It proves, also, his sagacity in perceiving that the
minister of a representative Government requires an intimate knowledge
of the state of affairs at home, in order to discharge his duties
abroad most to the advantage of his country.--E.

[188] Reported under the name of Entick v. Carrington and others, 2
Wilson, 275. The outlawry against Wilkes being unreversed, he could not

[189] An account of Terrick has been given in a former page.--E.

[190] A better reason for dissolving the Parliament was furnished by
the great measures in the contemplation of the new Government. No
doubt the character of the House fell in the public estimation by the
readiness with which the same individuals concurred in the repeal
of Acts passed after due deliberation only in the preceding year.
It is true that circumstances had altered in the interval, but the
only alteration which the country regarded as influential upon the
Parliament, was that which had taken place in the Government. Some
politicians of later date have however pronounced it a blunder in any
Minister to dissolve Parliament until it has rejected a Government

[191] The following are the words of his amendment:--

“To express our just resentment and indignation at the outrageous
tumults and insurrections which have been excited and carried on in
North America, and at the resistance given by open and rebellious
force to the execution of the laws in that part of his Majesty’s

[192] “He asserted with vehemence his approbation of the Stamp Act, and
was for enforcing it: he leant much to Mr. George Grenville’s opinion,
soothed him, and sat down determined to vote against his amendment! Mr.
Elliot the same; thereby insuring a double protection.”--Mr. Cooke to
Mr. Pitt. Chatham Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 351.--E.

[193] Lord Shelburne appears to have spoken rather against the
amendment than for the Ministers. He regarded the language applied
to the Americans by the Opposition both in their speeches and the
amendment as dangerous, and perhaps imprudent and unjust, and he
deprecated a motion which seemed to preclude a repeal before it was
considered thoroughly how far it might be necessary. His speech met
with Mr. Pitt’s entire approbation.--(Lord Shelburne’s Letter to Mr.
Pitt, and the reply in the Chatham Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 353.)--E.

[194] Lord Shelburne had attached himself to Mr. Pitt, and would not
enter the Government without him.--(Chatham Correspondence, vol. ii. p.

[195] He was affectionate to his daughters, but surely not to the
Dauphin, whose life he made unhappy by excluding him from active
employment, and whose death he bore with feelings of very slight

[196] He even stood at a window to see her coffin carried out of the

[197] If the French were thus ignorant of the real character of the
Dauphin, the ignorance has been of long continuance. All the French
historians regard him as a fanatic. According to Sismondi (Histoire des
Français, vol. xxix. p. 328) the Archbishop of Paris and the Molinist
clergy formed around him a cabal which at first inspired alarm, next
disdain, and at last pity. The story of his scepticism came, probably,
to Walpole from the Duc de Choiseul, who had always been on the
worst terms with him; nor is the Duc de Nivernois, the partizan of
Choiseul, a courtier of pursuits and feelings utterly dissimilar to
those of the prince, a much better authority. The only vice which the
irreproachable conduct of the Dauphin admitted of being imputed to him,
was hypocrisy. Whether he had sufficient energy of character to have
averted the destruction which afterwards overwhelmed his unfortunate
son, is more doubtful. He was personally brave, and is said to have
shown spirit and readiness at Fontenoy, and it was with difficulty
that the jealousy of the Duc de Choiseul could prevent his serving in
the seven years’ war; but the qualities requisite for the successor of
Louis the Fifteenth, were hardly compatible with his gentle, yielding,
and amiable disposition. He died on the 20th of December, 1765, in his
thirty-seventh year.--E.

[198] The Dauphin certainly preserved a tender attachment for the
memory of his first wife, the Infanta Maria Therese. She died
in child-bed in July, 1746. This did not, however, prevent his
appreciating the merit of the second Dauphiness. Observing him in tears
just before their marriage, she bade him indulge his grief, for it
assured her of what she too might expect from his regard if she had the
happiness to deserve it. She was by no means popular in the coteries
frequented by Walpole, but by the nation at large she was held in high
estimation. Her death was ascribed to a disorder she had contracted in
nursing her husband. The Duchesse de Lauragais might have treated the
expressions of a person in the agonies of death with more indulgence.
Judging from this speech, she must have been as heartless as her lover
the Maréchal de Richelieu, than whom, allowing for the difference of
sex, she was not much more respectable.--E.

[199] The Duchesse was a niece of the financier Croisat, and brought
to the Duc the great fortune of four millions of livres. After her
husband’s death she retired into a convent, and submitted to severe
privations in order to obtain the means of paying not only his
debts, but even his legacies, for he had the assurance to make large
testamentary bequests, though he must have known himself to be worse
than insolvent. She was the Duc’s second wife. His first, also a
considerable heiress, died within a year of their marriage, and he
generously restored her fortune to her relations, though he was at that
time poor.--E.

[200] His mal-administration of Brittany was an appropriate prelude to
his career as President of the Council. In both offices he incurred
almost universal hatred and contempt. It was at the Court alone that
he shone. There his brilliant success was undeniable; and indeed it is
not to be wondered at, for he was eminently adroit and specious; and,
with a noble deportment, he possessed the art of expressing himself
nobly. The English officers taken at St. Cas returned home fascinated
by his urbanity and generous sayings. Though an undisguised profligate,
he was the acknowledged leader of the religious party to which the
Dauphin belonged, and the confidant of that exemplary Prince; and this
did not prevent his subsequently becoming the minister of Louis the
Fifteenth. The Duc was the great-nephew of Cardinal de Richelieu, and
had inherited Aiguillon from the Cardinal’s favourite niece, Madame de
Combalet. He died in 1783, leaving an only son.--E.

[201] The persecution to which M. de Chalotais was subjected has been
detailed in a work extending to three volumes quarto, entitled “Procès
Extraordinaire contre MM. Caradeuc de la Chalotais,” &c., with this
singular motto: “Ad perpetuam sceleris memoriam.” He appears to have
narrowly escaped with his life. The most important witness against
him was a young Maître de Requêtes, M. de Calonne, twenty years later
unhappily celebrated as the minister of Louis the Sixteenth. The trial
gives a frightful picture of the state of criminal justice in France in
those days. M. de Chalotais had pure motives, and was an able man; but
his indiscretion, the irascibility of his temper, and the bitterness
with which he treated all who differed from him in opinion, no doubt
greatly aggravated his difficulties. His first work, “Compte rendu des
Constitutions des Jesuites,” appeared in 1762, he being then sixty-one
years of age: from that time until his death, in 1785, he maintained a
hot and incessant warfare against the Court and religious parties, who
regarded him as the representative of principles fraught with ruin to
them both. This struggle no doubt materially hastened the Revolution.
An interesting account of the proceedings against Chalotais is given
in Anquetil (Hist. de France, vol. viii. p. 106–116), one of the best
parts of a book of slender merit, and also in Sismondi (Hist. des
Français, vol. xxix. p. 321), and in the able article on Chalotais in
the Biographie Universelle.--E.

[202] It would be difficult to find, in the various histories of the
period, a more ably drawn character of the Duc de Choiseul than this.
The Duc was born in 1719. His administration lasted from 1757 to 1770,
and he died in 1785.--E.

[203] It should be recollected that D’Alembert’s intimacy with
Mademoiselle Espinasse had caused him to quarrel with Walpole’s old
friend, Madame du Deffand. He wrote much that has long ceased to be
read; but his Introduction to the Encyclopédie is a very able work, and
as a mathematician he was one of the most eminent of his day. He died
in 1783, aged sixty-six.--E.

[204] Nor could they be respected as judges are in England, as
solicitation is practised in France in all causes. Where there is
solicitation, there must be partiality. Where partiality is, there must
be injustice; and injustice will never be popular.

[205] In his youth he had served with some distinction in Italy, where,
in conjunction with the Infant Don Philip, he commanded the allied army
of France and Spain. He possessed the personal courage, the cleverness,
the turn for political intrigue, and the wrong-headedness which seemed
hereditary in his family. The part he took in the affairs of the
Parliament gained him the sobriquet, from the King, of “Mon Cousin
l’Avocat.” He died in 1776, aged fifty-nine.--E.

[206] A dissolute courtier of illustrious family, who had the poor
merit of being sincerely attached to an unworthy master. Unhappily for
his country he was trusted with high commands, even after the battle
of Rosbach, where he had shared all the dishonour of that signal
defeat. The assistance of Marshal d’Estrèes enabled him for once to be
successful at Johannisburgh. He died in 1787, aged seventy-two. The
ex-Jesuit, Georgel, who was attached to the family, has painted him in
flattering colours. See Mémoires de Georgel, vol. i. p. 278.--E.

[207] The Maréchal d’Estrèes, Louis César le Tellier, grandson of
the celebrated Louvois. He was at this time seventy years old, and
probably exhausted by long service. He had greatly distinguished
himself at Fontenoy; but his chief exploit was the victory he gained at
Hastenbeck, over the Duke of Cumberland. This did not prevent his being
harshly treated by the Court, and through the intrigues of the Maréchal
de Richelieu he was for a time deprived of his rank and employment, and
imprisoned in the Castle of Doulens on an unfounded charge of having
left his victory incomplete. He was afterwards recalled and employed,
but his last campaign against Prince Ferdinand was not a successful
one. He died in 1771, aged seventy-six.--E.

[208] See vol. i. p. 138, supra.

[209] See vol. i. p. 139, supra.

[210] He had defeated Prince Ferdinand at Clostercamp, in the battle
which made the name of the Chevalier d’Assas so illustrious in
the French annals. In the reign of Louis the Sixteenth he became
Minister of Marine and was much respected. He died in 1801, aged

[211] The Duc had none of the brilliancy of his cousin. His manners
were cold and reserved, which his enemies ascribed to pride, and his
friends to modesty. He never was popular. As Minister of Marine he
appears to have discharged his duties efficiently, and the French
fleet under his administration recovered the losses it had suffered in
the war. His splendid seat near Melun, still in the possession of his
descendants, and formerly the delight of the Intendant Fouquet, shows
that his public services were not unrewarded. He died in 1795, aged

[212] Madame de Staël paints him to the life: “C’étoit un homme
d’esprit dans l’acceptation commune de ce mot.... Sa dignité de Prêtre,
jointe au désir constant d’arriver au Ministère, lui avoit donné
l’extérieur réfléchi d’un homme d’état, et il en avoit la réputation
avant d’avoir été mis à portée de la dementir.... Il n’étoit ni assez
éclairé pour être philosophe, ni assez ferme pour être despote; il
admiroit tour à tour la conduite du Cardinal de Richelieu, et les
principes des encyclopédistes.”--Considérations sur la Révolution
Française.--His brief administrations made the Revolution inevitable,
and he was among its early victims. The manner of his death is
uncertain; the Abbé Morellet, his friend and dependant, insinuating
that he poisoned himself. According to an article in the Biographie
Universelle, which is very carefully written, he died in consequence of
the brutal treatment he received from some soldiers at Sens. The Abbé
makes a feeble effort to defend his memory.--(Mémoires de Morellet,
vol. i. p. 17; vol. ii. p. 16–467.)--E.

[213] He also became at a great age Chief Minister, in the next reign,
and died so. Walpole must have written this eulogy on Maurepas before
the latter was restored to office. Agreeable as he might be in society,
he proved a most inefficient minister, and altogether unequal to the
times. He died in 1781, eighty years old, regretted only by the King
and the courtiers, who enjoyed his wit and profited by his patronage.
One of his last acts was the disgrace of Necker, a minister who perhaps
could then have saved the monarchy, though he afterwards hastened its

[214] He was related to the Duc de Bouillon by his mother, the Princess
Clementina Sobieski.--[Lord Mahon’s Hist. of England, vol. iii. p.

[215] Clement XIII. His name was Charles Rezzonico, a Venetian.

[216] Avignon.

[217] After a reign of twenty years. He had governed his small kingdom
with prudence and ability; and had shown spirit and firmness in the
manner in which he met the preparations made by Peter III. for invading
Denmark, in 1762. He has the honour of having employed the celebrated
Niebuhr, on that scientific expedition to the East, of which the latter
has left so interesting a description.--E.

[218] The Duke of Newcastle, besides having joined Lord Bute against
Mr. Pitt at the beginning of the reign, had personally offended
the latter, by contriving to have his American pension paid at the
Treasury, which subjected it to great deductions.

[219] George Bussy Villiers, only son of William Earl of Jersey.

[220] An interesting account of the debate, and especially of Mr.
Pitt’s speech, is given in a note to a letter of Mr. Pitt to Lady
Chatham.--Chatham Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 363. It agrees generally
with the text; indeed, many of the expressions are identical.--E.

[221] Mr. Pitt, however, with less kindness, said, in reply to Conway’s
defence (on the ground of defective information) against the charge
of having given such tardy notice to the House of the disturbances in
America, that “The excuse to be a valid one, must be a just one. This
must appear from the papers now before the House.”--(Parliamentary
History, vol. xvi. p. 101.)--E.

[222] Sir Francis Dashwood, Lord Despencer.

[223] Charles Montagu, Earl of Halifax, First Commissioner of the
Treasury under George I.

[224] Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford, Lord Treasurer to Queen Anne.

[225] Robert Walpole, Earl of Orford, Prime Minister to George I. and
George II.

[226] Sir William Draper, created Knight of the Bath for the conquest
of the Manillas.--[The credit he had gained by his conduct there, and
at the capture of Fort St. George, he lost by various weaknesses, and
especially by his gross flattery of Mr. Pitt and Lord Granby. In 1779
he was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Minorca, and held that office
at the time of its capture in 1782, when he exhibited twenty-nine
charges against General Murray, his superior in command; the only
result of which was, a reprimand to himself. He died at Bath, in 1787.
Sir William Draper had been a fellow of King’s College, Cambridge,
in whose noble chapel the standards taken at the Manillas are still
preserved. See more of him in Wraxall’s Posthumous Memoirs, vol. ii.
pp. 186–7. Chatham Correspondence, vol. iii. p. 326. Walpole’s Letters
to Mann, vol. iii. p. 386.--E.]

[227] Dowdeswell.

[228] These papers are printed in the Parliamentary History, vol. xvi.
p. 112.--E.

[229] Mr. Huske was M. P. for Malden. He died in 1773.--E.

[230] Sir John Cust.

[231] It was not strictly a new paper, but a series of occasional
letters in the daily papers. Lord Sandwich will again be found a
persecutor of the press in 1773; for printers were alternately, as they
served his purposes, his tools or his prey.--[Mr. Scott afterwards
received from Lord Sandwich the lucrative appointment of chaplain
to Greenwich Hospital. He was more respectable in his profession
than might have been expected from his having such a patron, and an
accomplished scholar. See an anecdote to his honour, in Twiss’s Life of
Lord Eldon.--E.]

[232] The club in Albemarle Street, erected by the late Opposition, now

[233] To the bar of the House, whither members are ordered when they
violate the rules or privileges of Parliament.

[234] Mrs. Burke was a Presbyterian; the belief, however, of her being
a Papist was very general.--E.

[235] A lively description of Burke, as a speaker in the House of
Commons, is given in Wraxall’s Hist. Mem. v. ii. p. 35.--E.

[236] William Burke was M. P. for Bedwin, in Wiltshire. He shared all
his cousin’s fortunes, and lived with him on terms of the most intimate
friendship. When the prospects of the Whigs seemed to be hopeless, he
went to India; and through the support of Mr. Francis, obtained some
lucrative offices. He was a person of considerable accomplishments. He
survived Mr. Burke, and died in 1798.--E.

[237] This division was the result of a junction of the friends of the
late ministers with the friends of Lord Bute.--(Chatham Correspondence,
vol. ii. p. 380.)--E.

[238] Eldest son of Lord Bute.

[239] Lord George Sackville was intimate with Wedderburne, who had been
counsel for him on his trial.

[240] Sir William Burnaby had been Admiral and Commander-in-Chief on
the West India station. He was knighted in 1754, and made a baronet in

[241] I have not been able to find another report of this important

[242] The fall of the Ministers was so much expected, that it was said,
“They were dead, and only lying in state; and that Charles Townshend
[who never spoke for them] was one of their mutes.”

[243] Walpole takes no notice of the debate in the House of Lords
on the American Resolutions. It took place on the 10th of February,
and will be found in the Parliamentary History, vol. xvi. p. 168.
The speeches of Lord Camden and Lord Northington are eloquent and

[244] Prime Minister of Portugal.

[245] Mr. Frederick Vane, M. P. for Durham.--E.

[246] Whatever might be Lord Rockingham’s exultation at having carried
a measure on which he considered the safety of the empire to depend,
he was so far from being blind to his own precarious position, that a
few days after, on the 26th, he made overtures to Mr. Pitt expressing
an earnest desire to transfer the Government to him. The letters that
passed on this occasion are given in Lord Chatham’s Correspondence,
vol. ii. p. 397.--E.

[247] Mr. Fuller, no doubt, was a hearty well-wisher of the repeal. He
was a sensible man, and his opinion carried additional weight from the
decided and independent tone in which he delivered it; and Almon says,
that after his death it was discovered that he had been for many years
in the receipt of a pension from the Government of 500_l._ a year, a
fact that explains the sudden decline of his zeal mentioned by Burke,
Correspondence, ii. 8.--E.

[248] Dr. Hay was a man given up to his pleasures.

[249] Some political writers, opposed to the Rockingham Ministry,
have condemned and ridiculed this bill as inconsistent with the
principle, and calculated to defeat the object of the repeal of the
Stamp Act. Indeed, they have gone so far as to say that it raised an
insurmountable barrier to the settlement of these unhappy differences.
However unjust the charge may be, the bill proved a fertile experiment
to maintain the dignity of the country, and the best defence of the
measure is to be found in the state of political parties, which
rendered it apparently impossible to obtain the repeal without this
concession to the feelings of the King, and to public opinion. The
Colonies, also, gave themselves, at that time, little concern about
abstract resolutions of right, so long as the same were not carried
into practice. The joy with which the Repeal Act was received in
America seems to have been unqualified, and some years elapsed before
any serious objections were taken against the Declaratory Act. Even in
1775, Burke writing to his Committee at Bristol, observes, that it had
not yet become a grievance with the Colonists.--E.

[250] Lord Rockingham gave the place to Mr. Milbank, and was justified
in so doing, for the patronage did not belong to the Lord-Lieutenant,
who was very indiscreet to have a difference with Lord Rockingham on
such a subject.--E.

[251] See pp. 184–187, 202, 203, supra.--E.

[252] Stephen Fox.

[253] Mary, eldest daughter of the Earl of Ossory, by Lady Evelyn
Leveson, youngest daughter of John first Earl Gower.

[254] There is no such prohibition in the Navigation Act, but the Act
of 6 Geo. III. c. 62, seems to imply the possession of a monopoly of
the cotton trade by our West India Islands. No cotton was at that time
cultivated in North America. In 1843 our importation of cotton from the
United States exceeded 574,000,000 lbs., whilst from our West India
Islands it actually did not reach 2,000,000 lbs.--E.

[255] The Duke of Richmond had married Lady Mary Bruce, daughter by her
first husband of Lady Ailesbury, Conway’s wife.

[256] Henry Arthur Herbert had married Barbara, niece of the last
Marquis of Powis, and had been created Earl of Powis on the accession
of the fortune to him and her.

[257] This was the lady celebrated by Pope, who first ambitioned the
Crown of Poland, then sought a fortune in the mines of the Asturias,
where she met the Comte de Gages. She then was reduced to such extreme
poverty, that the young Pretender arriving in Spain, and visiting her,
she received him in bed, not having clothes to put on, and he gave her
his coat to rise in. She retired to Paris, and was at last harboured
in the Temple by the Prince of Conti, where she died not long after
the transaction and lawsuit I have mentioned in the text. The Comte de
Gages had likewise retired to Paris, and died there a little before
Lady Mary Herbert, who lived to August, 1775.

[258] Richard Viscount Howe, an Admiral, Treasurer of the Navy, and a
man of most intrepid bravery, as all his brothers were, but not very
bright, though shrewd enough when his interest was concerned. [He was
personally attached to Pitt, and probably accepted office with his
consent. If he paid an undue attention to his own interest it was to
very little purpose, for although he was frugal in his habits, and had
many opportunities of enriching himself, he died poor.--E.]

[259] He was much connected with the Duke of York, being of the same

[260] Lord Rockingham had reason to complain of Dyson’s conduct, as the
King had in some degree answered for the latter when the Government was
formed, and in consequence he had been allowed to remain in office.
There were others of the Government whose votes reflected blame only
on Lord Rockingham himself; for what can be said of his suffering Lord
Barrington to become Secretary at War, with the express understanding
that he might continue his opposition to the course pursued by the
Government on such questions as the American Stamp Act and General
Warrants?--(Political Life of Lord Barrington, p. 119.)--E.

[261] Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland.

[262] One was the establishment of a civil government in Canada, a plan
for which had lain before the Chancellor for some months, and in which
he did nothing [except declaring his entire disapprobation of the plan,
and urging that no proposition should be sanctioned by the Cabinet
until they had obtained a complete code of the laws of Canada.--1
Adolphus, 226.] It remained unsettled till the year 1774, when the
famous bill, called the Quebec Bill, in favour of Popery, was passed,
and, agreeably to the supposed author Lord Mansfield’s arbitrary
principles, took away decisions by juries.

[263] It appears that Lord Northington’s notification to the King was
on the 5th of July.--(Lord Henley’s Life of Northington.) We learn from
the same writer that the bad state of Lord Northington’s health, and
his frequent disagreements with his colleagues, had for some months
made him desirous of an honourable and quiet retreat. There is no
doubt, both from his own letters, and the traditions still extant at
the bar, that his habits of hard labour and extreme conviviality had
by this time undermined his constitution much to the deterioration of
his temper, and he perhaps suspected slights that were never intended.
Moreover, the scrupulous sense of public duty, the natural reserve and
strict propriety of deportment which characterized Lord Rockingham and
Mr. Conway were by no means to his taste. He must have felt even less
easy with such associates, than his successor Lord Thurlow did in a
later day with Mr. Pitt; and, like him, his usual course in the Cabinet
was to originate nothing, and to oppose everything. The commercial
treaty with Russia, a measure of unquestionable benefit, nearly fell
to the ground, owing to his unreasonable and obstinate opposition. He
would rarely listen to remonstrances from his colleagues, and was on
such cold terms with them as probably justified him in his own mind
in breaking up the Cabinet so unceremoniously. He was too fearless
to stoop to intrigue, and there was no necessity for it on this
occasion. His communications with Mr. Pitt, on the formation of the
new Government, are given in the Chatham Correspondence, vol. ii. p.

[264] These words ceased to be true in the year 1783.

[265] That Mr. Pitt’s indisposition was no pretence, is proved by his
letters to Lady Chatham. He says on the 15th of July, evidently to calm
her anxiety,--“In a word, three hot nights in town rendered a retreat
hither [Hampstead] necessary, where I brought yesterday a feverish
heat and much bile, and have almost lost it already.” Throughout their
correspondence his health is a constant topic, and the extreme delicacy
of his nervous system certainly rendered his acceptance of office a
most imprudent act.--E.

[266] In a letter of explanation to Lady Chatham, written a fortnight
after his interview with Mr. Pitt at Hampstead, Lord Temple admits
that his separation from Mr. George Grenville was conditional upon “a
public and general union of parties taking place.” This union had long
been one of the great objects of Mr. Pitt’s ambition, but was at this
time wholly impracticable, as Lord Temple well knew; and taken together
with the proposal of Lord Lyttelton for President of the Council, the
admission goes far to support Walpole’s statement, that Lord Temple
had determined not to take office without his brother. Indeed the
connections which Lord Temple had lately formed, and not less than
the opinions he had expressed in Parliament, must have rendered his
acceptance of Mr. Pitt’s overtures out of the question, unless, to use
his own words, he had chosen “to be stuck into the Ministry as a great
cypher at the head of the Treasury.”--(Chatham Correspondence, vol. ii.
p. 468.)--E.

[267] Nevertheless, had their former connection remained unbroken,
Lord Temple might have again proved a valuable colleague to Mr. Pitt.
The restless spirit and defective temper, that hurried him when in
opposition into excesses so prejudicial to his character, had not
prevented his identifying himself completely with Mr. Pitt while in
office in all great questions of public policy, and though he had no
claim to superior merit as a speaker, his knowledge of the world,
fixedness of purpose, and close attention to the details of business,
had often compensated for the absence of those qualities in Mr. Pitt.
Above all, he was really loved and trusted by him, and through Lady
Chatham’s intervention, had access to him when it was denied to every
one else. Neither of them prospered after their separation, and Lord
Temple had the mortification of finding himself alternately neglected,
distrusted, and opposed by the associates of his earlier days during
the remainder of his life.--E.

[268] I had written _Pitt_ by mistake, and forget now whom Lord Temple
pretended to have recommended. Most probably it was the Duke of Bedford.

[269] A pamphlet in defence, or rather in praise, of the part taken
by Lord Temple in those negotiations was soon afterwards published,
under the title of “An Inquiry into the Conduct of a late Right
Honourable Commoner.” It is justly described by Lord Chesterfield as
“scurrilous and scandalous, and betraying private conversation.” It is
believed to have been written by Mr. Humphry Cotes, but Lord Temple was
suspected to have furnished the materials; and it probably is to this
discreditable piece of revenge, more than to the other libels in which
Lord Temple was concerned, that Lord Rockingham alluded when he noticed
some years afterwards the objection of the Whigs to act under his

[270] Two letters, from Mr. Townshend to Mr. Pitt, on the offer
of the Chancellorship of the Exchequer, are given in the Chatham
Correspondence, vol. ii. pp. 456, 464.--E.

[271] Sir Charles Pratt, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas.

[272] He was Lord Chamberlain, and had married the only daughter of the
late Duke of Devonshire, niece of Lord John Cavendish.

[273] Lady Henrietta Harley, sole daughter of Edward second Earl of
Oxford, and widow of William third Duke of Portland.

[274] They contested the Parliamentary interest of the counties of
Cumberland and Westmoreland, where their estates lay. More of this
rivalship will appear hereafter.

[275] Sir James Lowther had married Lady Mary Stuart, eldest daughter
of the Earl of Bute.

[276] Francis Russell, Marquis of Tavistock, only son of John Duke of

[277] Richard Vernon, Esq., had married the Countess-dowager of Ossory,
youngest daughter of John first Earl Gower.

[278] He continued the leader of the Rockingham party in the House of
Commons until his death, which took place at Nice in 1775. He left a
family of eleven children, of whom one of his younger sons, the Rev.
Dr. Dowdeswell, Canon of Christ Church, and Rector of Stansford Rivers,
is the present possessor of his estates, having succeeded General
Dowdeswell, an elder brother.--E.

[279] Neither had he neglected his interests whilst he held the Great
Seal. He had actually given a great sinecure to a trustee for his three

[280] Mr. Burke’s well-known tract,--a masterpiece of its kind.--E.

[281] The pamphlet has been noticed in p. 345. An attack on Lord Temple
also appeared, most bitter and personal, which was ascribed to Mr.
Pitt. A curious extract from it is given in Belsham’s History, vol. i.
p. 210.--E.

[282] Brother of the Earl of Hardwicke and Charles Yorke.

[283] The Cabinet Council is composed of the First Lord of the
Treasury, the First Lord of the Admiralty, the two Secretaries of
State, the Lord President, and the Commander-in-Chief; others are now
and then added. Lord Chatham, as first Minister, was now necessarily

[284] Admiral Augustus Keppel, brother of Lord Albemarle.

[285] Son of the Comte de Virri, the late Envoy from Turin. Baron de la
Perriere, who succeeded to his father’s title, married Miss Speed, an
Englishwoman, mentioned in Mr. Gray’s long story, and was afterwards
ambassador at Madrid and Paris.

[286] Joseph, second son of the Empress Queen Maria Theresa, and of
Francis Duke of Lorrain, and Emperor.

[287] Count Kaunitz did not retire; he preserved his influence with
occasional fluctuations during the life of Joseph, and he continued
nominal Prime Minister until his own death in 1794.--E.

[288] Hans Stanley, employed to negotiate the late peace.

[289] Sir George Maccartney had travelled with Lord Holland’s eldest
son. The Czarina obtained a Polish blue riband for him, which he
afterwards laid aside on being made Knight of the Bath, while Secretary
in Ireland to Lord Townshend, to whom he was recommended by Lord Bute,
whose second daughter, Lady Jane Stuart, he married. [He subsequently
filled many other employments, having been in succession Governor of
Grenada, Governor of Madras, Ambassador to China, and Governor of
the Cape of Good Hope. In 1794–5 he was created Earl Maccartney, and
in 1796 an English Peer. He died in 1806. He had the merit of being
amiable, disinterested, and well informed. His life has been written by
his secretary, Mr. John Barrow, in 2 vols. 4to.--E.]

[290] The letters that passed between Lord Chatham and his colleagues
on the proposed Northern Alliance may be seen in the second volume
of his Correspondence. The scheme was a noble one, and had probably
been contemplated by Mr. Pitt during his former Administration,
as it certainly would have been an appropriate termination of his
brilliant prosecution of the war. Unhappily, Lord Bute’s diplomacy had
altered the feeling of foreign powers towards this country, and the
King of Prussia, especially, was thoroughly alienated from British
connections--partly from personal resentment, partly from distrust
of the strength of the Government. His Majesty received the proposal
most ungraciously; and it certainly reflects no credit on Lord
Chatham’s discretion, to have engaged in this difficult negotiation
so precipitately. He had not even consulted Sir Andrew Mitchell, the
minister at Berlin--his personal friend, and the person, above others,
best qualified to furnish correct information as to the views of the
King of Prussia.--E.

[291] George Brudenel, Earl of Cardigan, had married the second
daughter and co-heiress of the last Duke of Montagu, and had taken the
name of Montagu.

[292] Sir T. Robinson, Lord Grantham, formerly Secretary of State.

[293] Vide Parl. Hist. p. 251, for an eloquent summary of the arguments
against the suspending and dispensing prerogative.--E.

[294] Henry Clinton, Earl of Lincoln, Knight of the Garter, and
afterwards Duke of Newcastle.

[295] John, only son of Sir John Shelley, (whom he succeeded in the
baronetage,) by Margaret Pelham, his second wife, sister of Thomas Duke
of Newcastle.

[296] Sir John Shelley had also a personal claim on Lord Chatham, for,
although on confidential terms with Lord Temple, he had not followed
that nobleman into opposition. He died in 1783.--E.

[297] George third Lord Edgcumbe, [and first Earl Edgcumbe,
distinguished himself on some occasions in the navy, and rose to the
rank of Rear-Admiral of the Blue in 1762. Before entering the House
of Lords, which he did in 1761, he sat in the Commons for Fowey.
At his death, which happened in 1795, he was Admiral of the Blue,
Lord-Lieutenant of the County of Cornwall, &c. &c.--E.]

[298] This letter, a very creditable one to Mr. Conway’s feelings and
good sense, is printed in the Chatham Correspondence, vol. iii. p.

[299] Francis Seymour Conway, son of Francis Earl of Hertford.

[300] Lord Edgcumbe had great weight in Devonshire and Cornwall.

[301] It was a wise intention in no light. Parties are the preservative
of a free Government. The King and Lord Mansfield succeeded, though
Lord Chatham did not, in breaking all parties; and what was the
consequence? that everybody ran to Court, and voted for whatever the
Court desired. Lord Chatham, who forfeited his popularity, and set all
parties at defiance, sank into an individual of no importance.

[302] It did avail so much, that Grenville fabricated, during his
opposition, the famous bill for trying elections by select Committees,
likely to give a sore wound to the influence of the Crown, but which,
hoping to return to power, he limited in its duration; but it has since
been made permanent.

[303] The Duke of Grafton.

[304] Lord Chatham did not long preserve his power, and Lord Edgcumbe
soon came into place again, having first revenged himself on the Earl
in this humorous epigram:

  Says Gouty[B] to Gawkee,[C] pray what do you mean?
  Says Gawkee to Gouty, to mob King and Queen.
  Says Gawkee to Gouty, pray what’s your intention?
  Says Gouty to Gawkee, to double my pension.

        [B] Lord Chatham.

        [C] Lord Temple.

[305] By Mr. Richard Bentley, son of Dr. Bentley.

[306] According to Mr. Flood, there was little concert, and not much
ability shown by the Government in this debate, except in the speech of
Townshend, which was “very artful, conciliatory, able, and eloquent.
He stated the matter quite anew, disclaiming the officious expressions
used by Beckford.”--(Chatham Correspondence, vol. iii. p. 144,

[307] Of these were the two Onslows, the Townshends, and T. Pelham,
all connected with and related to the Duke of Newcastle, who, though
sedulous in promoting the resignations, could not prevail on his own
family to quit, some of them having during their opposition attached
themselves particularly to Lord Chatham. A few more were friends of
the Duke of Grafton. Yet with these losses, Lord Rockingham’s party
remained a very respectable body for numbers and property. The weakness
and incorrigible ambition of their chief, the obstinacy of Lord
John Cavendish, the want of judgment in Burke, their own too great
delicacy, and the abandoned venality of the age, reduced them to be of
no consequence, as will appear: but the Duke of Newcastle’s impotent
lust of power, Lord Holland’s daring and well-timed profligacy, Lord
Chatham’s haughty folly, and Lord Temple’s unprincipled and selfish
thirst of greatness, had baffled all opposition, had counterworked Lord
Bute’s incapacity and cowardice; and altogether so smoothed the way,
that Lord Mansfield’s superior cowardice and superior abilities at last
ventured to act and effect almost all the mischief he burnt to execute
against the noblest and happiest Constitution in the world.--Sept.
16th, 1774.

[308] A spirited character of Saunders is given in Walpole’s Memoirs,
vol. ii. p. 394. His services at Quebec had endeared him to Lord
Chatham, and their political connection was renewed upon his Lordship’s
retirement from office. A pleasing letter from him is printed in the
Chatham Correspondence, vol. iv. p. 231, on his presenting his portrait
for the ball-room at Burton Pynsent in 1772. He died three years after,
deservedly lamented both in his profession and by the country.--E.

[309] The Duke of Bedford left an interesting account of this
negotiation in his private journal. See Cavendish’s debates, vol. i.
pp. 591, 596, giving more full details than this book could admit. It
confirms the essential parts of Walpole’s narrative, though the reader
must draw his own inferences as to the motives of the parties in the

[310] The King, too, ascribed the Duke’s refusal entirely to the
interference of the persons around him.--E.

[311] Thomas Brand, of the Hoo in Hertfordshire, had married Lady
Caroline Pierpoint, half aunt of the Duchess of Bedford. Mr. Brand was
an old Whig, but had deserted that party in hopes of getting a peerage
by the Duke of Bedford’s interest. When the Duke joined the Court after
this, he did obtain a promise that Brand should be a Baron on the first
creation, but the latter died before that event arrived.

[312] See Walpole’s Letters to Sir Horace Mann, vol. i. p. 320.--E.

[313] Nugent was immediately after created an Irish Peer, by the
title of Viscount Clare. [His coarse, clever sayings are frequently
recorded in Walpole’s Correspondence. He was the friend and patron of
Goldsmith, who dedicated to him the amusing _jeu d’esprit_ the “Haunch
of Venison,” and he aspired to be a poet himself, with indifferent
success. The Ode to Pulteney, however, contains some spirited lines,
and it was therefore pronounced by Gray not to be his. His daughter
married in 1775 the first Marquis of Buckingham, to whose interest with
Mr. Pitt he owed his elevation to an earldom in 1776. He died in 1788,
having survived his son, Colonel Nugent. The present Lord Nugent is his
grandson, and has succeeded to his Irish Barony.--E.]

[314] I include Lord Bute’s faction in the standing force of the
Crown, and the Scotch in both: but the facility with which the Duke
of Bedford had been ready to abandon Grenville, created a new party,
or sub-division, that of Grenville and Lord Temple, and their few
friends; for though on the failure of the treaty the outside of
union was preserved, they evidently remained two distinct factions,
as appeared more than once: nor did Lord Temple ever forgive the
intended separation, regarding himself and his brother as one, though
the Bedfords had frequently told Grenville that they did not look on
themselves as connected with Lord Temple, who had opposed them when
they were in power.

[315] See an account of this speech in a note to Lord Chatham’s
Correspondence, vol. iii. p. 145.--E.

[316] If this supposition be true, it is an extraordinary coincidence
that the Duke of Richmond should, eleven years later, have made the
speech which unquestionably hastened Lord Chatham’s death.--E.

[317] A Scotch Peer cannot be made an English one by the act of Union;
this is evaded sometimes, as in Lord Lorne’s case, by the heir-apparent
being created an English Peer. Lord Lorne seemed not to care whom he
courted or quitted, so he did but obtain his end. [This disability,
which the decision of the House of Lords in 1711 attached to the
Scotch Peerage, was removed in 1782, when the point was referred to
the Judges, and they delivered an unanimous opinion that the Peers of
Scotland are not disabled from receiving, subsequently to the Union, a
patent of Peerage of Great Britain.] (Journals of the Lords, 6 June,
1782; Burnet’s Own Times, 586; 1 Peere Williams, 582; Somerville’s
Queen Anne, 459.)--E.

[318] The disgraceful practice of nominating Dissenters as Sheriffs,
solely with the object of extorting the fines payable on their refusal
to act, continued until the spirited resistance of Mr. Evans. The
Corporation obtained a judgment against him in the Lord Mayor’s
Court, which they expected to be as effectual in his case as it had
proved with other contumacious Dissenters; but he appealed to the
higher City Courts, and having failed there, carried his plea before
the Judge Delegates, who, after a deliberate hearing, decided in his
favour. The Corporation then, in turn, appealed to the House of Lords,
and the Judges being consulted, Mr. Baron Perrot, the Judge who had
distinguished himself by his panegyric on Lord Bute, was the only
authority on the Bench that supported the views of the Corporation. The
House of Lords accordingly confirmed the sentence of the Delegates.
Lord Mansfield’s speech on the occasion, a composition of great ability
and eloquence, is reported in the Parliamentary History, vol. xvi. p.

[319] The fact, as I have since learnt from Rigby’s own account, who
bragged of it long afterwards, stood thus. He and Wedderburne went
to Grenville at Wootton, before the Parliament met, and proposed to
him to try to take off two shillings in the pound. Grenville, who not
only knew the impossibility of sparing so much, and the mischief the
country would suffer, but flattered himself he should soon be Minister
again, vehemently opposed the plan; however, as they persisted, he
compromised the matter, by making them promise they would confine the
reduction to one shilling, for which he not only voted but spoke ably,
though so much against his opinion. Perhaps he would have done less
hurt, if he had joined in the attempt to reduce it two shillings in
the pound, which would have appeared so capital a mischief, that it
might possibly have miscarried; and, indeed, supposing a possibility of
so much conscientiousness in that or the next Parliament, is paying a
compliment to them that may be thought to be overstrained.

[320] Lord Chatham’s letter to the Duke of Grafton of the 23rd of
February, in Chatham Correspondence, vol. iii. p. 218.--E.

[321] Mr. Dowdeswell shared the prejudice entertained by most country
gentlemen against the land-tax, probably as much as the resentment felt
by the Rockingham party against Lord Chatham.--E.

[322] Sir Edmund Isham, Bart., M. P. for Northamptonshire. He died in

[323] Sir Roger Newdigate, Bart., M. P. for the University of Oxford,
and the founder of the prize which bears his name. He died in 1806,
aged 87.--E.

[324] What was the context, but that Lord Chatham and Grenville were
honester men when Ministers than when patriots?

[325] Quotation of Pitt on Grenville in a debate mentioned before.

[326] See Letters to Sir Horace Mann, vol. i. p. 326.--E.

[327] Sir William Maynard, M. P. for Essex, died in 1772.--E.

[328] Colonel Henry St. John, brother of Frederick Viscount
Bolingbroke. [Many of his letters are given in the Selwyn
Correspondence. They are smart and lively. He lived among the wits of
his day, and was liked by them. He died in 1818.--E.]

[329] Charles Sloane Cadogan, only son of Charles Lord Cadogan. I have
said he was attached to Grenville; it was because he thought Grenville
likely to come into power again; but when deserted by the Bedfords,
Cadogan paid his court to Lord Gower. When Lord North became Minister,
he became so servile to him, that being out shooting in Norfolk during
the Newmarket season, it was a joke with the persons who returned
thence to examine the game going to London, and at every inn was a
parcel directed by Cadogan to Lord North. [He married a daughter of
Walpole’s favourite sister, Lady Maria Churchill, from whom he was
afterwards divorced--a circumstance that ought to be weighed against
the severity of this note.--E.]

[330] He was made Master of the Mint; and in 1774, when the light
guineas were called in and recoined, he was computed to get 30,000_l._
by his profits on the recoinage.

[331] Several letters between Lord Chatham and his colleagues at this
time in confirmation of the statement in the text are given in the
third volume of the Chatham Correspondence.--E.

[332] See vol. iii. of these Memoirs.--E.

[333] Robert Jones, Esq., M. P. for Huntingdon, died in 1774.--E.

[334] Luke Scrafton, for some years Governor of Bengal. He was the
author of “Reflections on the Government of Hindostan, with a short
sketch of the History of Bengal, from the year 1739 to 1756; with an
Account of the English Affairs to 1758,” 8vo., London, 1762. A second
edition was printed in 1770. See an account of his controversy with
Mr. Vansittart, in Nichols’s “Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth
Century,” vol. ix. p. 573, and in the Gentleman’s Magazine, vol. xxxiv.
p. 55.--E.

[335] This was written in October, 1769.

[336] I am assured by my friend Lieutenant-General Sir Richard
Bourke, the editor of Mr. Burke’s Correspondence, that this charge is
unfounded, and utterly at variance with the statements of Mr. Burke’s
private affairs, to be found in his papers.--E.

[337] Henry Lyttelton, formerly Governor of Carolina, and youngest
brother of George Lord Lyttelton.

[338] Francis Russell, only son by Gertrude Leveson, the Duke’s second

[339] They were called, in the satires of the time, _the Bloomsbury
Gang_, Bedford House standing in Bloomsbury Square: of these the chief
were Earl Gower, Lord Sandwich, and Rigby. Sandwich gloried in his
artifices; Rigby was not ashamed of his, but veiled them for better
use; Lord Gower had neither feeling, shame, nor remorse. All three were
men of parts, and agreeable. Lord Weymouth became an accession, and
inferior to none of them in their worse faults; he brought pride into
the account, and a less proportion of parts.

[340] Lady Tavistock died in 1768 at Lisbon, where she had been sent
for the recovery of her health. Hers was really a case of broken
heart. From the hour that her husband’s death was made known to her,
she drooped until she sank into what she truly designated “the welcome

[341] Walpole’s hatred of the Duke and Duchess of Bedford must have
been intense, or his sagacity could have scarcely overlooked, that in
censuring Junius he condemns himself. Perhaps he is the more blameable
of the two. Junius may have believed the Duke to have been a bad
man. Walpole has elsewhere described him as having a good heart. He
knew the facts urged by Junius in support of the charge of the Duke
being an unnatural parent to be untrue; and yet he not only leaves
them uncontradicted, but frames his narration so as to facilitate
their belief. The Duke’s memory has been repeatedly vindicated from
this cruel aspersion, and never with more generous and indignant
eloquence than lately by Lord Brougham.--(Political Sketches, vol.
iii.) It has always been understood in the quarters likely to be the
best informed, that he felt his son’s loss deeply to the last hour of
his life. Instead, however, of yielding to his grief, he endeavoured
to employ his thoughts on public business, and the natural fervour
of his disposition insensibly engaged him in the scenes before him
perhaps more deeply than he was aware of. The meeting he attended at
the India House must, as appears from the Company’s books, have been
that of the 8th of April, which determined the course to be taken by
the Company on the Government propositions: a great question, in which
he took the liveliest interest. The force of mind he thus displayed
is noticed with commendation in a letter written at the time by David
Hume, who, from his connection with Conway, is assuredly an impartial
witness.--(Hume to M. de Barbantine, Cav. Debates, vol. i. p. 601.) The
absurd charge brought by Junius against the Duchess, of making money
by Lord Tavistock’s wardrobe, originated in its having been sold for
the benefit of his valet and Lady Tavistock’s maid, according to the
general practice of that day.--E.

[342] He was brother of the Member for Berkshire, and of Miss
Vansittart, favourite of the Princess of Wales, and was lost not long
after in a voyage to India, along with Mr. Scrafton, author of an
excellent tract on Indian affairs.

[343] He not only risked, but lost it in 1783.

[344] Three Lords of the Bedchamber, the Earls of Coventry, Eglinton,
and Buckinghamshire, were also in the minority. (See Chatham
Correspondence, vol. iii.) The Duke of Bedford notices the Debate
in his Journal as if he had not felt much interest in the matter.
(Cavendish’s Debates, vol. i. p. 601.)--E.

Transcriber’s Notes

Punctuation and spelling were made consistent when a predominant
preference was found in this book; otherwise they were not changed.

Simple typographical errors were corrected; occasional unbalanced
quotation marks retained.

Ambiguous hyphens at the ends of lines were retained; occurrences of
inconsistent hyphenation have not been changed.

Text always spelled “Massachusets” that way.

Text refers to “Count d’Estain” and “Count d’Estaign”; to “Lord
Despenser” and “Lord Despencer”; all variations retained here.

Page x (Contents): Chapter XVIII begins on page 389, not page 394.

Page 129: Opening quotation mark has no matching closing mark.

Page 132: “because copied from” was printed that way.

Page 186: Two paragraphs end with commas. This appears to be
deliberate, as they lead naturally into the paragraphs that follow
them. Paragraphs on other pages occasionally end without periods when
leading into what follows.

Page 320: “haughty ought of place” was printed that way.

Page 304: Closing quotation mark has no matching opening mark.

Page 370: “and the King Lord Gower” was printed that way; the entire
sentence seems to be improperly formed.

Page 427: “antichamber” was printed that way.

Page 250: “Being pushed too home” was printed that way.

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search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.