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1765. ATTACK ON BET)FORD HOUSE. 107
“I found,” says he, “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 ap“pearance. 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.” # Other persons no less clear-sighted and impartial were quite sure that the real instigators were the friends of Wilkes. Others again — some men grown grey in faction and cabals — could not repress a sigh that so promising an instrument of mischief was not wielded by themselves. Thus did Lord Holland whisper to a friend:“What an artful man might do with these mobs!” Finally, however, the resentment of the suffering weavers was appeased without further disturbance by a seasonable subscription for their present relief, and an association amongst the principal silk mercers to revoke all the orders they had given for foreign manufactures.** Such was the state of public affairs which the King had to lay before the Duke of Cumberland. The Duke in his retired position and with his ruined health had nothing either to gain or to lose by any change of Government. But he had a high and strong sense of duty to the Crown, and when thus earnestly called on by his Royal nephew would not shrink from the task, however troublesome and thankless, of mediating to form a new administration. He sent an express to summon Lord Temple from Stowe, and himself repaired to visit the Great Commoner at Hayes. Meanwhile the King, without awaiting the result of his uncle's endeavours, intimated to Grenville with sufficient clearness, and with reference to the end of the Session, which was now close at hand, that he intended some change in the future conduct of his affairs. These tidings rapidly spread, and public expectation was wound up to the highest pitch. We may gather what were the feelings at the time from the private letter of a man still young and little known, but destined to become the first philosophical statesman of his own, or perhaps of any age. On the 18th of May Edmund Burke wrote as follows to Mr. Flood: “Nothing but an intractable spirit in your friend Pitt “can prevent a most admirable and lasting system (of ad“ministration) from being put together, and this crisis will “show whether pride or patriotism be predominant in his “character. For you may be assured, he has it now in his “power to come into the service of his country upon any “plan of politics he chooses to dictate, with great and “honourable terms to himself and every friend he has in the “world, and with such a strength of power as will be equal “to anything but absolute despotism over King and king“dom. A few days will show whether he will take this part, or “continue on his back at Hayes talking fustian.” “ This letter proves how large was the reliance which the nation at that time placed on Pitt, and how vast the consequent power that he wielded. It likewise denotes that the pompous and inflated style which may still be traced throughout his correspondence, and which no doubt also appeared in his less familiar conversation, did not even then escape the criticism of at least the discerning few. It was found, however, that Pitt did not “talk fustian” when the chief Prince of the Blood Royal attended his leisure and entered his sick-room at Hayes. His tone might be lofty, but it was not intractable, and his statements as to measures were clear and plain. He made three principal demands: Condemnation of General Warrants for the future; Restoration of officers dismissed on political grounds; * Printed in Prior's Life of Burke, p. 81.
* Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 158. We learn from Mr. Grenville that the Duke of Bedford had with great passion said the same thing to His Majesty. (Diary, May 19. 1765.) ** Annual Register, 1765, part i. p. 42.
1765. OVERRTURES TO PITT. 109
Alliance with Protestant Powers to balance the new Family Compact between France and Spain. The first article, said the Duke, would be accorded; the King himself had named the second; the third would be most subject to difficulty. As to appointments, Pitt was resolved that if he took office the statesman who was at this time the highest in his confidence — Chief Justice Pratt — should become Lord Chancellor; a scheme by no means welcome to the Court. On the other hand, the Court desired, as before, that the Earl of Northumberland might be placed at the head of the Treasury; and to that proposal Pitt, as before, demurred. It seems probable that these difficulties might have been overcome, since sooner than fail the Duke was willing to offer Pitt almost CARTE BLANCHE. But it was observed that from the moment Lord Temple arrived, and had an opportunity of conversing with Pitt, the embarrassment and reserve of the latter visibly increased. Pitt's intention had been to nominate Temple as First Lord of the Treasury; but not only did Temple reject the brilliant prize, he used every exertion to dissuade Pitt also from engaging. To explain this strange phenomenon in a man so ambitious as the Lord of Stowe, it must be mentioned that as it chanced he was then on the point of concluding a reconciliation with his brother George. It was now, it would seem, his wish that the family union might be perfected, and that “the three brothers,” as Temple, Grenville, and the husband of their sister were commonly called, might form a ministry of their own, neither leaning upon Lord Bute and the Tories, nor yet upon the great Whig Dukes. It is probable that Pitt was not at all convinced by Temple's reasoning. He must have felt that in rejecting the overtures of the Duke of Cumberland he was foregoing a noble opportunity of good to the public and of glory to himself. But, on the other part, he could not be unmindful of the ancient obligations, personal and even pecuniary *, which he owed to Temple. Could he in honour begin his * See vol. iv. of this History, p. 60., and its Appendix, p. 380.
new administration by a breach with the only colleague who had adhered to him at the close of the former, — a breach, too, founded solely on the reconciliation of that colleague with their common brother, George Grenville? To feelings such as these we may presume Pitt yielded, but yielded with regret. When he took leave of Temple after the decision he mournfully repeated to him some lines from Virgil to imply: “Brother, you have ruined us all!” ” It is remarkable that at nearly the same juncture Grenville in a long discourse announced to the King that politics apart, and so far as private friendship was concerned, he had become reconciled with Lord Temple. The King answered drily, and with a well-timed allusion to Lord Bute: “I do not “trouble myself about the friendships of others, and wish “nobody would about mine!” The Duke of Cumberland, though disheartened at Pitt's refusal to treat, did not on that account immediately relinquish his commission. Other expedients were tried, or at least were talked of. It was suggested that Lord Lyttleton might be placed at the head of the Treasury, but Lyttleton himself with much good sense declined to engage in so unpromising a scheme.** The able were not willing, and the willing were not able, to serve, and thus in spite of Newcastle's tears and wailings no new Government could be formed. With bitter mortification the King found himself compelled to announce to his old Ministers that he intended to retain them in his service. Grenville and Bedford, however, thinking that they had gained the vantage-ground, met the King's announcement by four fresh demands. The original minute of these is still preserved among the papers of the former.” First, would + “Extinxti me, teque, soror, populumque, patresque “Sidonios, urbemone tuam . " AEneid, lib. iv. ver. 682. Lord Orford's Memoirs of George III. (vol. ii. p. 174.) are fully confirmed by a passage in Wilkes's Letters to Humphrey Cotes (Corresp., vol. ii. p. 218.). ** Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Lyttleton, vol. ii. p. 678. ed.
1845. *** Minute, at a Meeting at Mr. Grenville's in Downing Street, May 22. 1765. DEMANDS OF GRENVILLE AND BEDFORD, 111
His Majesty promise to allow no further share or participation in his councils to Lord Bute? Secondly, would he dismiss Lord Bute's brother, Mr. James Stuart Mackenzie, from the office of Privy Seal of Scotland, and from the management of Scottish affairs? Thirdly, would he dismiss Lord Holland from the office of Paymaster? Fourthly, would he appoint Lord Granby Commander-in-Chief? This last demand might have for its pretext and justification the disturbed state of the country, but at the same time it had for its tendency, and no doubt also for its object, to disparage and insult the Duke of Cumberland. To Mr. Mackenzie the King had formerly pledged his word that he might retain his place for life. The King felt, however, that he ought not for the sake of one private gentleman to run the risk of plunging the whole realm into confusion; and he knew that under such urgent circumstances Mr. Mackenzie himself would be willing to forego his pretensions. * These terms — for terms they were, though Grenville called them only points or questions, – received from the King no immediate answer. On the same evening, however, he sent again for Grenville, and bade him carry to his brother Ministers the Royal reply. He declared himself ready to yield on all other points, but struggled hard against the dismissal of Mr. Mackenzie and the appointment of Lord Granby. Nevertheless, on another consultation, the Ministers resolved to stand firm on both; accordingly they carried through the former point, and they relinquished the latter only at Lord Granby's own desire and request. The King, as he surrendered, said at last, referring to Mr.
1765. There were present only the Lord Chancellor, the Duke of Bedford, Lord Halifax, Lord Sandwich, and Mr. Grenville himself. They agreed also to a fifth demand, but this was rather prospective, pointing to the future selection of a Lord Lieutenant. * See a private letter from Mr. Mackenzie to Sir A. Mitchell, printed in the notes to the Chatham Papers, vol. ii. p. 312. Sir Denis Le Marchant observes that “he was a very amiable man, and no objection was ever “raised to him beyond his relationship to Lord Bute.”