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intoxicated by victory, and roused from its long lethargy by the genius of its great statesman, displayed an energy and a daring which made it a wonder to its neighbours and to itself. No sacrifice seemed too great to demand, yet in spite of every sacrifice, commerce was flourishing and national prosperity advancing. The sudden growth of the colonial empire of England, and the destruction of her most formidable rival on the sea, had an immediate effect, and it was computed tkat in 1761 English commerce was a fifth greater than in the last year of the preceding peace.
A ministry which had achieved such triumphs, and which was supported by such a tide of popular favour, would have been able, had it been cordially united, to defy any attempt to subvert it. But it was divided by deep fissures, distracted by bitter jealousies and animosities. Its war policy had hitherto been directed absolutely by Pitt, who almost monopolised the popular enthusiasm, and who could count in the Cabinet upon the firm alliance of his brother-in-law Lord Temple, the head of the Grenvilles. The great wealth and position of Temple had given him some political weight, and he was usually entrusted with the defence of the policy of Pitt in the Lords ; but his character, at once grasping, arrogant, and intriguing, seldom failed to alienate those with whom he co-operated. With this exception, Pitt had scarcely a cordial friend in the Cabinet. Personal jealousies and rivalry, real differences of opinion, but above all the unbounded arrogance with which Pitt treated his colleagues, had raised against him a weight of animosity which it needed all his genius, popularity, and success to repress. In the council the other ministers cowered like timid schoolboys before him. More than once, when doubts were expressed whether the Treasury would be able to furnish with sufficient celerity or in sufficient quantity the necessary supplies for the expeditions that were prepared, Pitt cut short the debate by declaring that in case of the smallest failure he would at once impeach the Commissioners of Treasury, or Newcastle himself, before Parliament. He compelled no less a man than Anson to sign orders as First Lord of the Admiralty which he was not allowed even to read, and he constantly gave
· Burke, Observations on the State of the Nation.
orders relating to the war, in different departments without even informing the responsible heads of those departments of his intentions. Newcastle lived in a continual state of mingled terror and resentment. Fox could not forget that he had been once deemed the equal of Pitt, and that his lucrative post of Paymaster of the Forces was in truth purely subordinate. Lord Granville, the old President of the Council, who had stood in the foremost rank of English politics before Pitt had even entered the House of Commons, could hardly brook the imperious tone of his younger colleague, and a powerful section of the ministry looked with great alarm upon the rapidly increasing debt, and desired at all hazards to bring the war to a speedy conclusion. The Duke of Bedford, who had a large number of personal adherents, strongly maintained this opinion, and predicted nothing but calamities, and his view was warmly supported by the Duke of Devonshire, by Lord Hardwicke, and above all by George Grenville, who, though he had not yet obtained a seat in the Cabinet, was already looked upon as the best man of business in the Government.
The change which had taken place in the spirit of the Court appeared from the very beginning. Bute at once obtained the dignity of Privy Councillor, to which, however, as an old servant of the new sovereign, he had an undoubted right; 2 and the first royal speech to the Council was composed by the King and Bute without any communication with the responsible ministers of the Crown. The sentences in which it spoke of 'a bloody and expensive war,' and of obtaining an honourable and lasting peace,' were justly interpreted as a covert censure upon the great minister who was conducting the war; and it was only after an altercation which lasted for two or three hours that Pitt induced Bute to consent that in the printed copy the former sentence should be changed into an expensive, but just and necessary war,' and that the words in concert with our allies' should be inserted after the latter. It was speedily spread abroad from lip to lip that, although the King for the present retained his old ministers, he would not be governed by them as his grandfather was. Bute became the medium of most private communications between the King and the more prominent statesmen, and he was generally understood to be the real centre of power. The necessity of drawing together the divided elements of the ministry was very manifest, and it is said that Pitt invited Newcastle to join with him in a closer union ;' but the old statesman, who, though he sometimes spoke of resigning office, was in truth as wedded to it as ever, had already turned towards the rising star. Both the King and Bute skilfully flattered Newcastle and aggravated the jealousy with which he regarded Pitt, and Newcastle, though one of the oldest and most experienced statesmen in England, actually offered to serve under Bute.?
· See the curious account of Sir G. Colebrooke. Walpole's Memoirs of George III. i. 80–82.
· Walpole says Bute was admitted into the Cabinet (i. p. 8), but it is, I think, evident that he only means the Privy Council. The same distinction
was given at the same time to the
It was noticed in the first days of the new reign that the great Jacobite families who had long been absent from Court now crowded the antechamber. Horace Walpole, who was present at the first levee, was favourably struck with the affable behaviour of the King, and its contrast to the half-shy, half-sullen manners of his predecessor. Much scandal, however, was caused by the warm reception given to Lord G Sackville, who was an intimate friend of Bute, but whose conduct at Minden had deeply tarnished his reputation; 4 and much criticism was provoked by a sentence which the King himself inserted in his first speech to Parliament. Queen Anne was believed to have reflected on her predecessor when she described herself, on a similar occasion, as entirely English'at heart, and George III. indicated a somewhat similar spirit in the sentence, 'Born and educated in this country, I glory in the name of Briton.' What a lustre,' replied the House of Lords, in a strain of almost Oriental servility, 'does it cast upon the name of Briton, when you, Sir, are pleased to esteem it among your glories !'1 In a different spirit, but with almost equal absurdity, the King was afterwards accused of insulting his English subjects by “melting down the English name 'into that of Briton.
Walpole's George III. i. 10, 12. ? According to Lord Hardwicke, Bute "availed himself with much art and finesse of the dissensions between the Duke of Newcastle and Mr. Pitt, and played off one against the other occasionally till he had got rid of the popular minister.'-Rockingham's Memoirs, i. 6, 7. See too pp. 8-10, and Dodington's Diary, Dec. 27, 1760.
3 For the King himself, he seems all goodnature and wishing to satisfy everybody ; all his speeches are obliging; I was surprised to find the levee room had lost so entirely the air of the lion's den. This sovereign
don't stand in one spot with his eyes fixed royally on the ground and dropping bits of German news; he walks about and speaks to everybody. I saw him afterwards on the throne, where he is graceful and genteel, sits with dignity and reads his answers to addresses well.'—Walpole to Montagu, Nov. 13, 1760. See too the Letters of the first Earl of Malmesbury, i. 82.
• Pitt seems to have especially resented it, and it is said to have been the first cause of his enmity to Bute. -Fitzmaurice's Life of Shelburne, i. 232.
The chief business of the first short session of Parliament was to regulate the civil list and the supplies. The first was fixed at 800,0001., and the second at a little less than twenty millions, and in order to supply what was defective a new duty of 3d, a barrel was imposed on beer and ale. One act, however, was accomplished in this session at the recommendation of the King, by which, at the cost of a very small diminution of the prerogative of his successors, he acquired great popularity for himself. The Act of William III. making the judges irremovable, except by the intervention of Parliament, during the lifetime of the King, had effectually checked the gross sycophancy and subserviency that had long disgraced the judicial bench, but it still left it in the power of a new sovereign to remove the judges who had been appointed by his predecessor. Such a power could hardly be defended by any valid argument; it was inconsistent with the spirit of the Act; its legality had been disputed on the death of William by Sir J. Jekyll, and it had been very sparingly exercised. On the accession of George I., Lord Trevor, who was a notorious Jacobite, was removed from the chief justiceship of the King's Bench, and a few minor changes had been recommended by the Chancellor. A judge named Aland was removed by George Il., but no change was made by his successor, and the young King recommended the Parliament to provide that the commissions of the judges should no longer expire on the demise of the sovereign. The measure was a wise and liberal, though not a very important one, and, although the concession was made entirely at the expense of his successors, it was accepted in the then state of men's minds as if it were an act of heroic selfsacrifice.
| Parl. Hist. xv. 982–986.
3 Stephen's Life of Horne Tooke, i. 61. Junius talks of the King having * affectedly renounced the name of Englishman.'— Lotter to the King.
: See Townsend's Hist. of the House of Commons, ii. 51.
• Campbell's Lives of the Chancellors, v. 295, 296.
A general election was necessary, by Act of Parliament, within six months of the accession, but before that time several changes were effected. George Grenville, who was known to be conspicuously opposed to the prosecution of the war, obtained a place in the Cabinet. Lord Henley, afterwards Earl of Northington, exchanged the position of Lord Keeper for the fuller dignity of Chancellor. He was a coarse, drunken, and unprincipled lawyer, of no very extraordinary abilities, who had early attached himself to the Leicester House faction, and who, partly through a desire to conciliate that faction, and partly through jealousy of Lord Hardwicke, had been appointed Lord Keeper in the Coalition ministry of Pitt and Newcastle; but George II. refused to raise him to the House of Lords until the trial of Lord Ferrers, when there was a difficulty in finding a lawyer who would preside as Lord Steward. In the new reign he became one of the most docile and useful agents of the policy of the King. The enterprise of giving Bute high political office was found somewhat difficult, but a characteristic method was adopted. Lord Holdernesse, who, though a man of very insignificant abilities, was a Secretary of State, agreed with Bute, as early as November 1760, to quarrel with his colleagues, and throw up his office in seeming anger. The resignation was for a time deferred; but it was accomplished in March 1761. Lord Holdernesse obtained a pension of 4,0001. a year for life, and a reversion of the Cinque Ports, and his place was filled by the favourite. Nearly at the same time, Legge, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who had some time before quarrelled with. Bute about a Hampshire election, was dismissed with circumstances of great discourtesy, and his place was filled by Lord Barrington-an honest man, but one who adopted and avowed the principle that it was his duty always, except in case
· He was accused of taking money cating the opposite. See Walpole's in private causes from both sides, and George III. i. 240. Junius's Letters, availing himself of the information
39. communicated on one side in advo- Dodington's Diary, Nov. 1760.