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1783, the finest speech of his memorable passage—“I feel at life. Even as we read it, this this instant how much I had survey of England's decline, this been animated in my childenforced confession of England's hood by a recital of England's weakness, this bold assurance victories. I was taught, sir, that only in a wise peace could by one whose memory I shall England's salvation be found, ever revere, that at the close quickens our pulse and arouses of a war far different from this our enthusiasm. In a single she had dictated the terms of sentence he brushes aside the peace to submissive nations. disingenuous arguments of This, in which I place someangry partisans. He places thing more than a common the sober and durable triumphs interest, was the memorable of reason above the ak and era of England's glory. But profligate inconsistencies of the era is past; she is under party violence. “I will never the awful and mortifying neengage in political enmities," cessity of employing a language says he, with an eye upon Fox, which corresponds with her “without & public cause; I true condition: the visions of will never forego such enmi- her power and pre-eminence ties without the public appro- are passed away.
But none bation, nor will I be questioned knew better than Pitt that and cast off in the face of this the evil was not irreparable. House by one virtuous and If the era of glory was past dissatisfied friend." And so, for the moment, it would come having dismissed the personal again. Peace and repose might question, he proceeded to paint bring back — and did bring in dismal colours the state back the greatness which of the Empire.
He discov- once was England's. And if ered the fabric of our naval we could not dictate the terms supremacy to be “visionary of peace, we might at least and 'baseless." He declared accept such terms that the army was in yet dignified and honourable. If worse case; that no new levies there was cause for regret, could be torn from the depopu- there was no need for despair. lated country; that “3000 “Let us feel our calamities,"
were the utmost force said Pitt; “let us bear them, that could have been safely too, like men.” sent from this country on any With the loyalty which he offensive duty." Nor was this ever showed to his colleagues, all. He pointed sorrowfully Pitt passed to a panegyric of to an unfunded debt of thirty Lord Shelburne-a panegyric millions, exclusive of the annual all the more effective because services; and asked how the it was sincerely moderate and Ministers, “thus surrounded honestly tempered to the occawith
of ruin, could sion; and then in a famous passaffect to dictate terms of age he denounced the threat
There was nothing ened coalition. "If the baneful to console him but a retro- alliance is not already formed," spect. “I feel,” said he, in a said he, “if this ill - omened
marriage is not already solem- would have none of Shelburne. nised, I know a just and lawful Though he might have joined impediment, and, in the name the Government without out. of the public safety, I forbid raging his opinions, for he, too, the banns." For himself he was a champion of peace, he
at the disposal of the had refused the overtures which House, with whose decision he had been made him. Pitt, in was ready to comply. “You fact, had done his best to may take from me, sir,” said bring Fox into the Cabinet. he, in his immortal peroration, “It is impossible for me,” Fox “the privileges and emoluments had replied, “to belong to any of place, but you cannot and administration of which Lord shall not take from me those Shelburne is head."
" Then we habitual and warm regards for need discuss the matter no the prosperity of Great Britain further,” retorted Pitt; “I which constitute the honour, did not come here to betray the happiness, the pride of my my leader."
And that was life, and which, I trust, death the last time that the two alone can extinguish. And, rivals ever exchanged words in with this consolation, the loss private. of power and the loss of fortune,
of Shelburne's though I affect not to despise failure is to be sought in them, I hope I shall soon be his lack of sympathy. Of able to forget.
his ability there is no
doubt than of his zeal in the “Laudo manentem ; si celeres quatit public service. He held office Pennas, resigno quæ dedit,
in order to make a peace, of probamque Pauperiem sine dote quæro.'”
whose wisdom the whole House
was convinced, with the excepWhy," asked a young poli- tion of North and a few of his tician of Bishop Tomline, "did friends. But Fox and Burke he omit 'et mea Virtute me were prepared to enter into involvo'"? And the bishop an alliance with their ancient had no difficulty in ascrib- enemy rather than keep Sheling the omission to Mr Pitt's burne in power. Their nefari. modesty and good-sense. ous compact was not at once suc
Though Pitt made many a cessful. At Shelburne's resigspeech in later days, which nation there was a general effort carried heavier weight and to break the coalition and to echoed with louder applause, exclude Fox. Temple thought he never showed a better states- that the King's friends might manship or expressed it in finer combine under Thurlow and diction than on this day in leave Lord North to his new February 1783. But it availed allies, though his own inclinahim and his friends nothing. tions “ went warmly to support The forces of dissension were and to join with Pitt.” Shelas strong in the lobby as they burne and the King were of were deaf in argument. Fox the same opinion as Temple, had no principles to enforce, while Dundas was first in the no policy to support, but he field as the champion of his
friend. He lost no time in was thus formed, and the hissuggesting Pitt's
to tory of English politics cannot Shelburne, who on February 24 show
discreditable laid it before George III. The episode.
The episode. Nor did the alliance King received it eagerly, and turn out to the profit of the instantly offered Pitt the newly-cemented friendship. In Premiership. The youth of politics, as in other professions, twenty-three was not carried dishonesty is generally fitted away by the splendour of the with the punishment it deproposal. With the practical serves, and the conduct of Fox judgment which always dis- and North was too flagrant for tinguished him, he deferred his palliation. North made the decision. On February 25 best of a bad job, and confessed Dundas told his brother that that while Fox had proved a he had been with Pitt all last formidable enemy he had an night and all the morning, implicit trust in his loyalty. In and was hopeful that on the defence of Fox there is nothing morrow Pitt would announce to say. He had for years athimself Minister. But two tacked his new colleague with days later Pitt's mind was all his brilliant talent for vitupmade up in the other sense. eration. He had prayed that Though he hesitated to de- the Ministers should hear of cline the call of his friends, the calamities of the American he could not rely upon the War at the tribunal of justice aid or forbearance of Lord and expiate them on the public North. The aid, if given, scaffold. A brief year before would be precarious; but above he entered into an unholy all, said he, “in point of honour alliance with North, he had to my own feelings, I cannot form declared that if he made terms an administration trusting to with any of the Ministers he the hope that it will be sup- would rest satisfied to be called ported, or even will not be the most infamous of opposed, by Lord North." And “He would not for an instant, thus, to the bitter disappoint- said he with rotund voice and ment of the King and his ample gesture, “think of a friends, Pitt refused the highest coalition with men who, in office in the State before he every public and private transhad reached his twenty-fourth action as Ministers, had showed birthday.
themselves void of any prinAfter Pitt's refusal there ciple of honour and honesty. was nothing left for the King In the hands of such men he but to accept the advice of would not trust his honour for the Coalition. The Duke of a minute." A year had passed, Portland, appointed Prime and he had played the confiMinister, was a mere tool in dence trick. He had trusted the hands of Lord North and his honour to Lord North and Fox, the two Secretaries of taken Lord North's in exState. The alliance, of which change; and, as far as honour Pitt had forbidden the banns, went, neither had gained or VOL. CLXXVIII. - NO. MLXXXI.
lost by the bargain. But the Secretary of State. The the alliance was the political objection to the bill was tworuin of both. From this mo- fold. In the first place, it dement Fox's marvellous popu- molished the charters, which larity began to decline. The had been granted to the compeople could not believe in pany, without apology or comthe patriotism of one who pensation, for the whole House turned an enemy into a friend, did not answer the Attorneynot for the salvation of the General's famous question as country but for the mere sake he would have it answered. of capricious ambition. “What is a charter?” he asked, Henceforth it was idle for him and replied himself, “Only a to prate of liberty or to vaunt skin of parchment with a seal the economy which he did not of wax dangling at one end of practise. He had lost the con- it." In the second place, it fidence of the people, and he secured to Mr Fox and his never regained it. Pitt summed friends an amount of patronup his offence in four lines. age which was a serious danger “Because," said he, “Mr Fox to the State. No wonder Pitt, is prevented from prosecuting in writing to the Duke of the noble lord in the blue rib- Rutland, described it as the bon to the satisfaction of public boldest and most unconstitujustice, he will heartily embrace tional measure ever attempted. him as his friend."
No wonder Lord Thurlow deThe Coalition, confident in its clared that if the bill was strength if not in its union, at passed it would no longer be once determined upon a bold worthy of a man of honour to measure. It risked its life upon wear the crown. “The King," the hazard of a bill, which was said he, with pardonable exto settle once and for always aggeration, "will, in fact, take the affairs of India. Drafted the diadem from his own head by Burke, introduced with mas- and place it on the head of Mr terly eloquence by Fox, it pos- Fox.” sessed all the qualities promised The issue was clear from the by its parentage. It was bold, first. Fox, on the one side, it was original, it was far- was fighting for patronage, reaching. It proposed, in de- Pitt, on the other, for the fiance of all existing charters, constitution, and the energy to place the control of India in and bitterness of the previous the hands of an irresponsible session were repeated. Fox, commission, which was to hold exultant in his majorities, office for four years and was spoke more eloquently even to be independent of changing than he had spoken in opposiMinisters or parliamentary dis- tion. Pitt, in defending the solutions. At the first intro- rights and liberties of mankind, duction of the bill the commis- in deploring an accession of sioners were not named, but influence which could not fail from the outset there was no to render the Ministers who doubt that they would be one wielded it a danger to the and all the sworn supporters of State, had an easier task than any he had hitherto attempted. Government are placed in Burke and Fox, moderate at other hands. But the Ministhe outset, grew in violence as ter who can bear to act such the debate proceeded, and the a dishonourable part, and the cold assurance wherewith Pitt country which suffers it, will assailed them did not mitigate be natural plagues and curses their
anger. For once, also, to each other." The invective the caricatures fought upon the was excellent, but it overshot right side, and Sayer's famous the mark. Pitt had already picture of “Carlo Khan's tri- given ample proof that he was umphal entry into Leadenhall not the slave of ambition, and Street” was not without its he was too sternly opposed to effect. But wit and logic the influence of the crown to battled in vain against the be honestly charged with solid majorities of the Coalition. complicity in Lord Temple's The bill was passed, despite the design. Meanwhile the Lords efforts of Pitt, and was sent were obdurate, and Fox vowed up in confidence to the House that he never would resign. of Lords. The Peers, heedless For a week the deadlock conof patronage and bitterly tinued, until-on December the hostile to the unnatural alliance 18th — North and Fox were of Fox and North, threw out peremptorily bidden to deliver the bill, and Lord Temple, to their seals of office to the King, make the certainty of defeat who at once invited Pitt to still surer, obtained his form
government. Thus Majesty's authority to
authority to say at the age of twenty-four “that whoever voted for the William Pitt abundantly justiIndia bill was not only not his fied his father's training. The friend, but would be considered Minister born had also been by him as an enemy.” This made, and his rapid success is unconstitutional of the the more wonderful, because it King's influence aroused was achieved in a profession storm of indignation in the in which senators of sixty are House of Commons. Resolu- still accounted young. To be tions were moved and passed entrusted with the government condemning “a breach of the of a country at an age when fundamental privileges of most men are just beginning Parliament.' Fox found com- the education of practical life fort in a bitter attack upon is a triumph indeed. But Pitt his rival, and infamously achieved a greater triumph charged him with the basest still when some months before intrigue. “Boys without judg. he had deliberately refused the ment,” said he, “without ex- offered prize. It is the natural perience suggested by a know- impulse of sanguine youth to ledge of the world, or the grasp the forelock of opporamiable decencies of a sound tunity. And only he who has mind, may follow the head- a heroic confidence in himself long course of ambition thus and in the future dares to stay precipitately, and vault into his hand at the dictate of the seat while the reins of prudence.