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deliberations of Parliament are decided, not by according to Lord Holland, "felt great relegal and usual, but by the illegal and extraor- sentment against Mr. Pitt for leaving him dinary, assertions of prerogative." "I did not out in the formation of his ministry." Lord come in by the fiat of majesty, though by this Holland (never in the Earl's confidence) errs fiat I am not unwilling to go out. I ever stood, in this conclusion. Pitt would have justified and wish to stand now, on public ground every charge of presumption brought against him had he invited to a post inferior to his Language of this kind was certainly mis-own the brilliant and haughty chief under placed in a man who was still a King's min- whom he had served but the year before.* ister, and left triumphant Pitt's assertion On better authority than Lord Holland's that a minister thus complaining that he had we presume to contradict a prevalent idea not the confidence of his sovereign should that Shelburne bore a grudge against Pitt have resigned. In the very same night Ers- for not urging a request that a man of the kine was put forward to move a resolution Earl's temper would have treated as an of which the direct object was to prevent an affront. But not less is it certain, that if appeal to the people, and which declared Shelburne felt no resentment against Mr. that the House of Commons would consider Pitt, deep was his resentment against George as an enemy any person who should presume III. The anger was mutual. The King never to advise his Majesty to interrupt the con- pardoned Lord Shelburne's resignation sideration of a suitable remedy for the abuses Shelburne never pardoned the King for misin the government of India in other words, apprehending his situation then, and not apto dissolve Parliament; and thus, while con- pealing to his counsels afterwards; and, demning the King for an extraordinary as- from circumstances insufficiently known to sertion of prerogative, his own Government us, the Earl always considered that the King sought to fetter him in the simplest exercise had not only wronged but deceived him. of its own recognized powers. Henceforth this remarkable man appears no Lord Temple held the seals for three days more as a candidate for power. He accepted, as Secretary of State; but the part that no- not without reluctance, the Marquisate of bleman had taken utterly disqualified him Lansdowne, as Temple, equally haughty, acfor a leading share in the Government he cepted the Marquisate of Buckingham; but had contributed to overthrow. The Treasury he was peculiarly careful that the world was a third time pressed upon Pitt, and this should not suppose that his political indetime he accepted; but it was not without a pendence was compromised by the honors full perception of the difficulties that beset that attested his former services. The year him. after the assumption of his new title he sud"When I went," says Bishop Tomline, "in-denly reappeared in the Lords, and with. to Mr. Pitt's bedroom the next morning, he told me he had not had a moment's sleep; he expressed great uneasiness at the state of public affairs, at the same time declaring his fixed resolution not to abandon the situation he had undertaken, but to make the best stand in his power, though very doubtful of the result."
Many public men, indeed, who had approved his opposition to the late ministry, declined the responsibility of assisting in the formation of a new one. No one believed his government could last a month. In the ministry he formed he was compelled entirely to rely upon the Peers; not one commoner of sufficient mark for the Cabinet could he find. And yet so strongly was it felt that the struggle waged by the minister was against the Great Houses, that a peer of high rank said shortly afterwards, "Mr. Pitt single-handed has beat the aristocracy." It was not the aristocracy he beat, but rather by the help of the aristocracy he beat the oligarchy which had ruled in its name.
Å name greater than Temple's was absent from the new Government. But its greatness necessitated its exclusion, except at the head of the list. The Earl of Shelburne, VOL. XI. 47
that eccentricity of self-willed genius which had obtained for him the epithet of insincere,. he relieved the vote that he gave to the Government from all suspicion of servile complaisance by a speech barbed with an irony that delighted the Opposition. But such demonstrations of his carlier spirit were, forsome years, too rare to prove to the public that Lord Shelburne still lived in the Marquis of Lansdowne. On the Regency question, indeed, he displayed, in a speech which,.
* Indeed, from motives of obvious delicacy so carefully
aid Pitt refrain from soliciting to the aid of an experiment, the hazard of which was ascribed to his personal arrogance and vanity, men of station more established than his own, that not even the decided part which Lord Gower had taken. against the India Bill induced him to press that nobleman to give to the Cabinet the advantage of his name; and it in the distressed situation of the sovereign and the counwas Lord Gower who sent to inform the young minister that try he would take any office in which he could be useful." Lord Gower gave a noble example in the patriotism which distinguished him on this occasion. Twice previously re-. fusing the Treasury, and sincerely preferring the repose of private life - he not only risked the prestige of his position in accepting office under a Government that seemed doomed at its birth, but afterwards gave up the office most suited
to his personal dignity, the Presidentship of the Council, and condescended to accept the Privy Seal in order to secure to the Cabinet the illustrious Camden, who, having been Lord Chancellor, could not well take any office but that of Lord President.
in masculine diction and vigorous thought, men the influence of Lord Shelburne's pecu-
genuine Conservatism should concede to any
On forming the Coalition Government, Fox had said, "success only could justify it." Success only could justify the course the King took to overthrow it. But no sooner was that Government dismissed than Yet it is not thus that we would part with the people, before comparatively supine from This eminent man. We love rather to regard a belief in its necessity, hastened to manifest him sauntering on the lawns of Bowood, the detestation they had suppressed. Adlistening with the sceptical smile of his pro- dresses of congratulation to the King poured found and embittered experience to the in from all quarters. The constituencies young visions of Bentham; or in the salons were evidently not with the majority in the of Paris, startling Mirabeau with his easy Commons. There the motion for a new writ force, and comparing with the ill-starred for the borough of Appleby was received Malesherbes the stores of a reading almost with loud and derisive laughter. equally diffuse, and the results of a far more The War of the Giants now commenced, extensive commerce with mankind. Nor is Never in Parliament was a contest to decide there less interest in the contemplation of the fate of parties for long years to come this once fiery soldier, this passionate yet fought with such fiery valor on the one side scheming statesman, musing alone amidst with such consummate judgment on the the vast collection of political documents other. By a fatal error of policy Fox con which his industry amassed, as if in those tinued to fix the contest upon ground untenrecords of abortive stratagem and foiled am-able in itself and unpopular by the argubition he found a melancholy consolation for ments used to defend it, viz., that Parliathe close of his own career. We must apol- ment should not be dissolved. The insistence ogize for the length of this episodical digres-on this point could only be construed into sion-not indeed disproportioned to the an acknowledgment of weakness, a fear of dignity of the man, to whom, more than any other, is to be ascribed that great revolution in our national councils which freed the monarchy from the dominion of the Great Houses, to whom Pitt owed his introduction into the national councils, and from whom, of all contemporaneous statesmen, that Minister acknowledged that he had learned the most. Upon large classes of our country
* See. Lord Grenville's reply to Lord Lansdowne's motion for peace with France. Parl. Debates, Feb. 17, 1794.
the very tribunal whose decision, according
Pitt, indeed, was urged by many of his
saw that such a step would be premature. trigue- there is not the slightest evidence What were called the great parliamentary that Pitt advised or shared in them; the interests the close boroughs were against utmost even that Lord Holland can say on him. His chance of success lay with the that head is, that they were" probably known popular and independent constituencies. To to Pitt." The probability is all the other command these, prolonged discussion was way. Pitt, we are told by one who was essential. He could not leave unanswered thoroughly in his confidence at that particuin the mouths of his opponents on the hust-lar period (his former tutor, Bishop Tomings the cry that he came in "by secret in-line), though seriously embarrassed at the flences;" or that, in opposing the India Bill, loss of Lord Temple's assistance in forming he would maintain Indian misgovernment. his government, was "convinced of the proHe resolved to confront the tempestuous ma- priety of Temple's resignation, under the jority against him, and let the people com- present impression of the public mind." pare himself with his assailants before he Temple himself stood aloof from that gov asked for their verdict. The House ad- ernment, gave it no advice, and evidentlyjourned from the 26th of December to the by a letter to Pitt, dated a week after his 12th of January. During the recess Pitt own resignation of the seals, beginning was fortunately enabled to give a signal "Dear Sir ". was exceedingly chilled toproof of that superiority to self-interest wards his near relation. Had Pitt in any which the English people are ever disposed way authorized the clandestine transactions to associate with a paramount zeal for the public service. The Clerkship of the Pells, in his own gift, became vacant; its emoluments were above £3000 a year. Lord Thurlow and many others pressed him to take that office to himself. He was poor, his present station exceedingly precarious. Pecuniary independence was confessedly dear to the man who, in order to secure it, had even thought of resigning the position he had so rapidly won in Parliament for the tedious profession of the bar. Pitt not only "I came up no back-stairs; when sent for by declined himself to take the office, but, in my sovereign to know whether I would accept the appointment he made, he covered a blot office, I necessarily went to the Royal Closet in the Rockingham administration. Colonel Little did I think to be ever charged in this Barré had been rewarded by that Govern-House with being the tool and abettor of secret ment with a pension of £3000 a year. No influence. I will never condes end to be the inmember of Parliament more deserved some strument of any secret advisers whatever; nor distinction from a Government espousing in one instance, while I have the honor to act as popular opinions, but the public did not minister of the Crown, will I be responsible for like to see that distinction in the jobbing heart and judgment do not entirely acquiesce. measures not my own, or at least in which my form of a pension. Pitt gave the Clerk- I have taken upon me the government of the ship of the Pells to Colonel Barré on condi-country upon one single, plain, intelligible printion that the pension was resigned. "It is ciple, by which I desire to stand or fall, viz., to the act of a man," said that stern colonel, save the country from the India Bill, which whose first growl in Parliament had daunted threatened destruction to its liberties. My conChatham, though Chatham had lived to duct is uniform and intelligible, and the nation tame him, "who feels that he stands upon and the world will understand and applaud it.” a high eminence in the eyes of that country which he is destined to govern."
Pitt hastened to meet the attacks made on
him in his absence. But one flaw could be
found in his title-he was said to have come in through intrigue; through secret influence: that accusation Lord John Russell has repeated. "Mr. Pitt," he says, "committed a great fault in accepting office as the price of an unworthy intrigue,' This allegation is wholly inaccurate. Grant that the communications between the King and Lord Temple, and the circulation of the King's views as to the India Bill among the Peers, could be fairly called an unworthy in
between Temple and the King, he could not have been convinced of the propriety of Lord Temple's abstinence from the government; and for the same reason he would have felt himself disqualified for office. His participation in such intrigue must have been known to its promoters, and he could not have stood up in parliament and pronounced these solemn and stately words on the first day he met that parliament as minister of the Crown:
The nation did understand it then, and decisions in the public judgment which understands it now. By one of those quick tions the most delicate, the people discrimimake distinctions the most marked on quesnated between Lord Temple and Pitt. They would not have accepted the first as minister. In accrediting the last they acquitted him. Pitt was not the questionable cause that destroyed the Coalition, but his government was the necessary consequence of that destruction. And he would have deserted the principles he professed, condemned the coun
"Courts and Cabinets of George III.," Vol. 1. p. 201.
try to a bill that he regarded fatal to its eloquence, the manly courage, with which liberties, and delivered people and King he conducted this extraordinary campaign. bound hand and foot to the Coalition Minis- In fact he appears to us never more signally try, if he had said, "I cannot aid in defend- to have shown how possible it is in the ing the right, because somebody else has English parliament to unite the grandest given me the power to do so by having done powers of debate with the most egregious something wrong." And truly observes his mistakes in Council. But the Constitution biographer, "that such was the confidence meanwhile was shaking beneath this contest felt in Mr. Pitt, even at this early period of of its elementary powers; the country gentlehis life, that his character was not in the men on both sides feared for the land in slightest degree affected by the clamor which which their stake was so large. Amongst compelled Lord Temple to resign." Two them party was suspended - patriotism days after, the young minister brought for- prevailed; supporters of Government and ward his own India Bill, and gave the coun- friends of the Opposition united in the open try an occasion to contrast his constructive endeavor to reconcile Pitt and Fox, King genius with that of Mr. Fox. The Bill was and Commons. Against such a combination rejected by the House after a second reading all Pitt's more ambitious interests must have on the motion for committal. But in that been arrayed, yet apparently he did not hostile assembly the majority against it was suffer such considerations to weigh with him only eight; and the sense of the country unduly. He felt the tremendous difficulties was soon pronounced in its favor. Still Fox of his position. He stood the sole Cabinet continued to fight against a dissolution, and Minister in the House of Commons (charged, upon arguments equally hostile to constitu- therefore, with the defence and conduct of tional monarchy and representative govern- all the departments in the state), against a ment. He had the incredible audacity to combination unparalleled for the splendor assert that the Crown did not possess the of the powers which it brought to bear upon power of dissolving parliament in the middle debate. On many prospective questions Pitt, of a session, an attempt," says Lord John still professedly a Reformer, might concur truly, "that had neither law nor precedent with Fox, provided Fox were his colleague; against Fox it might be impossible to carry even measures that Fox in his conscience might approve; he assented therefore to the well-meant entreaties of the mediators to give to the Crown a strong Government, so far as to state that he was ready to meet the Duke of Portland to consider the formation of a new Ministry on equal terms. Again the pride of the oligarchy destroyed the best hopes of the party they led. Mr. Pitt must descend from his office! the Duke of Portlaand must receive a direct message from the "For what purpose," then, said
in its favor."
Pitt with justice,
To give the supreme power of the nation, not to the people who elected the House of Commons, but to a House of Commons actually sitting-and without appeal to the people, whatever the measures it might adopt would obviously be to constitute a standing army against both the Crown and the Constituencies. And never was there an instance in which a demand of this nature could be more unhappily made; for the majority against the King's Government were composed, as Lord John remarks, "in the King. part of the men who had led the country to loss and disgrace during the American war, and in part of the men who had promised to bring them to punishment for that misconduct. It would be said," adds Lord John (and it was said), "that the object for which these two hostile parties had combined was to erect a power, neither elected by the people nor removable by the Crown, in whose store all the treasures of India were to be thrown for the purpose of maintaining the sway of an oligarchy unknown to the Constitution and hateful to the nation. Such were the perils rashly incurred by Mr. Fox; such were the perils by which he was overwhelmed," But granting that both as a party leader and a constitutional statesman, Mr. Fox thus proved his grievous defects, cheerfully do we add with Lord John," that it is impossible not to admire the wonderful resource, the untiring energy, the various
"should the present Ministry give way? The answer is obvious: to make room for the introduction of a set of persons who were lately dismissed for conduct which lost them the confidence of their sovereign as well as that of the people. In adverting to a wish very generally and very warmly expressed, of forming an union which might give stability to Government and reconcile all parties-to such a measure I am by no means an enemy, provided it could be eswould meet the wishes of that respectable and independent body of men by whose support and countenance I have been invariably honored. But in accomplishing this object all personal prejudices and private views must be laid aside, and a stable Government and a solid union be alone sought for."
tablished on such a broad and liberal basis as
"But," said he on another occasion,
"the only fortress I desire to defend is the for- duced to it. Every blunder in Fox was a tress of the Constitution; for that I will resist stepping-stone to Pitt. But great is the every attack, every attempt to seduce me out of general who knows how to profit by the misit. With regard to personal honor or public takes of his adversary. That in the rapidprinciple, can it be expected that I should con-ity with which his reputation spread, and sent to march out with a halter round my neck, in the contented acquiescence of the rank and meanly beg to be re-admitted and considered and file to his sudden promotion over the as a volunteer in the army of the enemy?" heads of veterans, Pitt was greatly indebted The Opposition proceeded, pari passu, to the accident of his birth, must be frankly with hostile divisions and abortive negotia-conceded. To be the son of a great man is tions. At each attack it grew fiercer in to be born in the purple. But his birth only language, weaker in result; majorities recommends him to election; it does not dwindled rapidly down as the constituencies qualify him for inheritance. He is measbegan to operate more and and more upon ured by his father's standard before he is full their Members, until at length, on moving grown, and must be acknowledged as a giant another address to the Crown to remove in order to be received as a prince. His staMinisters, that mighty phalanx, which three tion has a kind of poetry, and his merits are weeks ago seemed to Fox sufficient to crush submitted to the test imposed upon poets, every Government but his own, gained its which mediocrity cannot pass. Nay, more point by a majority of one. From that rare than even the fame of a great poet In achievmoment the battle was virtually over; Fox is the fame of a great man's son. did not dare to divide again, the Mutiny ing his father's position, circumstance faBill was passed, the supplies voted to the vored Pitt more than it had aided Chatham. extent demanded, and sixteen days after- No Newcastle interferred between himself wards the King prorogued Parliament, de- and the Treasury. He had no enemy in his claring it to be a duty he owed to the king; he had as yet no infirmities of body Constitution and the country to recur as to sour his temper and irritate his passions. speedily as possible to the sense of his people. But it must also be owned that when cirThe result was the triumphant acquittal of cumstance was in his favor, he seized it with the King, the paramount power of his Min- more facility; or, when adverse, turned it ister. The counties and commercial towns aside with calmer judgment, or mastered it rose everywhere against the Great Houses. with more consistent firmness, than characFor the first time since his reign the King terized the fitful energy of his father's less was popular; and that popularity he never regulated genius. It had been the boast of afterwards lost. In concert with Lord Temple Chatham to rule in defiance of all parties, he had endangered his crown; in concert though his school in reality was a bold eclecwith Pitt he confirmed it on his head. The ticism of conflicting doctrines. And among strongholds of Democracy revolted from the the prominent causes of his son's ascendancy Whigs. Mr. Coke was ejected from Norfolk, in public opinion was, as we have before inErskine from Portsmouth, General Conway dicated, the care with which he maintained from Bury; even Lord John Cavendish, his position detached from the errors of every though universally pitied, was ignominiously faction, familiarizing the people to the autodefeated; and, to crown all, against the heir cracy of a single intellect. The character of of Sir George Saville- that highest proto- his intellect contributed even more than its type of the Whig country gentleman, against degree to the rapid and facile acquisition of the Great Houses of Fitzwilliam and Howard, power. It had something of the serenity Wilberforce carried the county of York. Not which gave to Pericles the title of Olympian. less than 160 Members who had supported the Coalition lost their seats, and were honored by the witty appellation of "Fox's Martyrs.' Thus by a rapid succession of And though his spirit was high and his reerrors in judgment Fox destroyed the as-buke could be crushing, yet it is remarkable cendancy of that famous party which he that he never spoke of any man so as to found so powerful and made so feeble; and make a conjunction with that man personthus, in three years after his entrance into ally discreditable to either, if sanctioned by Parliament, Pitt, seeking only in public political principle. opinion the elements of party, confirmed in the appointment of the Crown by the support of the people, commenced his long career as Minister of England.
On looking back to the causes of a rise so unparalleled, the eye rests first on the man whose genius resisted and whose errors con
Tranquillum vultus et majestate serenâ
Another characteristic of Pitt, growing out of the self-reliance which at the commencement of his career kept him aloof from party, was the firmness with which he adhered to his own judgment against the advice, however friendly and plausible, of inHe could not be persuaded to ferior men.