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to the large majority of the county votes ; and nothing but the wisdom and moderation with which the Whig party used their ascendency could have repressed serious discontent in the country. Bolingbroke, in works which seem to have suggested the policy of George III., had strongly urged the necessity of disregarding the old party distinctions, and building up the royal authority on their decay. Carteret, after the fall of Walpole, had designed a mixed ministry, in which Tories as well as Whigs could be admitted largely to power. Pitt had long chafed bitterly against the system of government by connection, and it was noticed that although the higher offices in the Government were still occupied exclusively by Whigs, the country party, who had remained sullenly indifferent to preceding Governments, rallied warmly around him, and that in his militia appointments he entirely overlooked the distinction of Whig and Tory.'
The object of Pitt was to check the corruption that prevailed and to extend the area of patriotic feeling. The object of George III. and of the little group of politicians who surrounded and counselled him was very different, but their means were in some respects the same. In order to estimate their policy it is necessary in the first place to form a clear conception of their aims and methods. It is probable that Burke, in the famous pamphlet in which he described the condition of English politics in the first years of George III., considerably exaggerated the systematic and elaborate character of the plan that was adopted, but its leading features are sufficiently plain. Prerogative,' as Horace Walpole said, had once more become a fashionable word,” the Divine right of kings was once again continually preached from the pulpit, and the Court party never concealed their conviction that the monarchy in the preceding reign had fallen into an essentially false position, and that it should be the first object of the new sovereign to restore it to vigour. They had, however, no wish to restrict or override the authority of Parliament, or to adopt any means which were not legal and parliamentary. Their favourite cries were abolition of government by party or connection, abolition of corruption at elections, emancipation of the sovereign from ministerial tyranny. No class of politicians were to be henceforth absolutely excluded, but at the same time no class or connection were to be allowed to dictate their policy to the King. The aristocracy, it was said, had obtained an exaggerated place in the Constitution. A few great families, who had been the leading supporters of the Revolution, who were closely connected by family relationships, by friendship, by long and systematic political co-operation, had come to form a single coherent body possessing so large an amount of borough patronage and such vast and various ramifications of influence, that they were practically the rulers of the country. This phalanx was beyond all things to be broken up. If a great nobleman consented to detach himself from it and to enter into new combinations; if on a change of ministry subordinate officials were content to abandon their leaders and to retain their places, such conduct was to be warmly encouraged. The system of divided administrations which had existed under William and Anne was to be revived. The ministers were to be as much as possible confined to their several departments; they were to be drawn from many different connections and schools of policy, and they were not to be suffered to form a coherent and homogeneous whole. The relations of the Crown to the ministry were to be changed. For a considerable time the Treasury, the Ecclesiastical patronage, the Cornish boroughs, and all the other sources of influence which belonged nominally to the Crown had been, with few exceptions, at the disposal of the minister, and were employed to strengthen his administration. They were now to be in a great degree withdrawn from his influence, and to be employed in maintaining in Parliament a body of men whose political attachment centred in the King alone, who looked to him alone for promotion, who, though often holding places in the Government, were expected rather to control than to support it, and, if it diverged from the policy which was personally acceptable to the King, to conspire against it and overthrow it. A Crown influence was thus to be established in Parliament as well as a ministerial influence, and it was hoped that it would turn the balance of parties and accelerate the downfall of any administration which was not favoured by the King.
1 After his resignation Pitt said : deserted their hounds and their horses, • He lay under great obligations to preferring for once their parliamenmany gentlemen who had been of the tary duty . . . and displayed their denomination of Tories, but who dur. banner for Pitt.'-Glover's Memoirs, ing his share of the administration had p. 97; see too p. 115. Walpole speaks supported Government upon the prin- of Pitt's known design of uniting. ciples of Whiggism and of the Revo- that was breaking, all parties.'-Mo. lution.'- Albemarle's Life of Rocking- moirs of George III. i. 15. ham, i. 150. "The country gentlemen 2 Ibid. 16.
! During the last two reigns a set of undertakers have farmed the power of the Crown at a price certain ; and under colour of making themselves responsible for the whole have taken the sole direction of the royal interest
and influence into their own hands and applied it to their own creatures without consulting the Crown or leaving any room for the royal nomination or direction,' - Lord Melcombe to Bute. Adolphus, i. 24.
There were many sources from which the King's friends,' as this interest was very invidiously called,' might be recruited. Crown and Court patronage was extravagantly redundant, and it was certain in the corrupt condition of Parliament that many politicians would prefer to attach themselves to the permanent source of power rather than to transitory administrations. The popularity of the King strengthened the party. The Tories, who resented their long exclusion from power, and who recognised in the young sovereign a Tory king, supported it in a body; the divisions and jealousies among the Whig nobles made it tolerably certain that some would be soon detached from their old connections and would gather round the new standard, and the personal influence of the sovereign over the leading politicians was sufficient to secure in most ministries at least one member who was content to draw his inspiration from him alone.
It must be remembered, too, that the conception of the Cabinet as a body of statesmen who were in thorough politica agreement, and were jointly responsible for all the measures they proposed, was still in its early stage, and was by no means fully or universally recognised. A great step had been taken towards its attainment on the accession of George I., when the principle was adopted of admitting only the members of a single party into the Government. The administration of Walpole, in unity, discipline, and power, was surpassed by few of the present century. After the downfall of that administration the Whigs defeated the attempt of the King's favourite statesman to mix the Government with Tories, and a joint resignation of the Government in 1746 obliged the King to break finally with Bath and Granville, and admit Pitt to his councils. But on the other hand, the lax policy of Pelham and the personal weakness of Newcastle had led to great latitude and violent divergences of policy in the Cabinet which they formed. Fox and Hardwicke, in the debates on the Marriage Act, inveighed against one another with the utmost bitterness, though the one was Secretary of State and the other Chancellor in the same Government. Fox and Pitt made their colleagues, Murray, Newcastle, and Robinson, the objects of their constant attacks, and these examples rendered it more easy for the King to carry out his favourite policy of a divided Cabinet.
The term 'King's friends,' as a distinction for a particular class of politicians, if not invented, was at
least adopted by Bute. See a letter from him (March 25, 1763).-Gren. ville Papers, ii. 32, 53,
A very remarkable pamphlet, called “Seasonable Hints from an Honest Man on the new Reign and the new Parliament, appeared in 1761, defending the new system of government, and it soon attracted much attention from the fact that it was understood to be the composition of no less a person than Lord Bath, the old rival of Walpole and the old colleague of Carteret.' The question, the writer said, for the sovereign to determine was,
• Whether he is to content himself with the shadow of royalty while a set of undertakers for his business intercept his immediate communication with his people, and make use of the legal prerogatives of their master to establish the illegal claims of factitious oligarchy. He complains that terial combinations to engross power and invade the closet,' were nothing less than a 'scheme of putting the sovereign in leading-strings,' and that their result had been the monstrous corruption of Parliament and the strange spectacle of a King of England unable to confer the smallest employment unless on the recommendation and with the consent of his ministers.' He trusts that the new King will put an end to this system by showing his resolution to break all factious connections and confederacies.' Already he has placed in the most honourable stations near his own person, some who have not surely owed their place to ministerial importunity, because they have always opposed ministerial influence,' and by steadily pursuing this course, the true ideal of the Constitution will be attained, ' in which the ministers will depend on the Crown, not the Crown on the ministers.' But to attain this end it was necessary that the basis of the Government should be widened, the proscription of the Tories abolished, and the sovereign enabled to select his servants from all sections of politicians. “Does any candid and intelligent man seriously believe that at this time there subsists any party distinction amongst us that is not merely nominal ? Are not the Tories friends of the royal family? Have they not long ago laid aside their aversion to the Dissenters? Do they not think the Toleration and Establishment both necessary parts of the Constitution ? and can a Whig distinguish these from his own principles?' One glorious result of the new system of government the writer confidently predicts. With the destruction of oligarchical power the reign of corruption would terminate, and undue influence in Parliament was never likely to be revived.
a cabal of ministers had been allowed to erect themselves into a fourth estate, to check, to control, to influence, nay, to enslave the others;' that it had become usual “to urge the necessity of the King submitting to give up the management of his affairs and the exclusive disposal of all his employments to some ministers, or set of ministers, who, by uniting together, and backed by their numerous dependents, may be able to carry on the measures of Government;' that minis
1 Walpole's George III. i. 54. Wilkes in private conversations said that the distinction which has been supposed to exist between the friends of the King and the friends of the minister originated in the councils of
Lord Bath.' -Butler's Reminiscences, i. p. 74. This project,' said Burke, • I have heard was first conceived by some persons in the Court of Frederick Prince of Wales.'-- Thoughts on the Present Discontents.
The young King came to the throne when rather more than three years of almost uninterrupted victory had raised England to an ascendency which she had scarcely attained since the great days of Henry V. The French flag had nearly disappeared from the sea. Except Louisiana, all the French possessions in North America, except St. Domingo, all the French islands in the West Indies, had been taken, and the last French settlements in Hindostan were just tottering to their fall. The wave of invasion which threatened to submerge Hanover had been triumphantly rolled back, and the nation,