The Political History of England - Vol. X.
by William Hunt
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_Seventy-five years have passed since Lingard completed his_ HISTORY OF ENGLAND, _which ends with the Revolution of 1688. During that period historical study has made a great advance. Year after year the mass of materials for a new History of England has increased; new lights have been thrown on events and characters, and old errors have been corrected. Many notable works have been written on various periods of our history; some of them at such length as to appeal almost exclusively to professed historical students. It is believed that the time has come when the advance which has been made in the knowledge of English history as a whole should be laid before the public in a single work of fairly adequate size. Such a book should be founded on independent thought and research, but should at the same time be written with a full knowledge of the works of the best modern historians and with a desire to take advantage of their teaching wherever it appears sound.

The vast number of authorities, printed and in manuscript, on which a History of England should be based, if it is to represent the existing state of knowledge, renders co-operation almost necessary and certainly advisable. The History, of which this volume is an instalment, is an attempt to set forth in a readable form the results at present attained by research. It will consist of twelve volumes by twelve different writers, each of them chosen as being specially capable of dealing with the period which he undertakes, and the editors, while leaving to each author as free a hand as possible, hope to insure a general similarity in method of treatment, so that the twelve volumes may in their contents, as well as in their outward appearance, form one History.

As its title imports, this History will primarily deal with politics, with the History of England and, after the date of the union with Scotland, Great Britain, as a state or body politic; but as the life of a nation is complex, and its condition at any given time cannot be understood without taking into account the various forces acting upon it, notices of religious matters and of intellectual, social, and economic progress will also find place in these volumes. The footnotes will, so far as is possible, be confined to references to authorities, and references will not be appended to statements which appear to be matters of common knowledge and do not call for support. Each volume will have an Appendix giving some account of the chief authorities, original and secondary, which the author has used. This account will be compiled with a view of helping students rather than of making long lists of books without any notes as to their contents or value. That the History will have faults both of its own and such as will always in some measure attend co-operative work, must be expected, but no pains have been spared to make it, so far as may be, not wholly unworthy of the greatness of its subject.

Each volume, while forming part of a complete History, will also in itself be a separate and complete book, will be sold separately, and will have its own index, and two or more maps._

Vol. I. to 1066. By Thomas Hodgkin, D.C.L., Litt.D., Fellow of University College, London; Fellow of the British Academy.

Vol. II. 1066 to 1216. By George Burton Adams, M.A., Professor of History in Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.

Vol. III. 1216 to 1377. By T. F. Tout, M.A., Professor of Medieval and Modern History in the Victoria University of Manchester; formerly Fellow of Pembroke College, Oxford.

Vol. IV. 1377 to 1485. By C. Oman, M.A., Fellow of All Souls' College, and Deputy Professor of Modern History in the University of Oxford.

Vol. V. 1485 to 1547. By H. A. L. Fisher, M.A., Fellow and Tutor of New College, Oxford.

Vol. VI. 1547 to 1603. By A. F. Pollard, M.A., Professor of Constitutional History in University College, London.

Vol. VII. 1603 to 1660. By F. C. Montague, M.A., Professor of History in University College, London; formerly Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford.

Vol. VIII. 1660 to 1702. By Richard Lodge, M.A., Professor of History in the University of Edinburgh; formerly Fellow of Brasenose College, Oxford.

Vol. IX. 1702 to 1760. By I. S. Leadam, M.A., formerly Fellow of Brasenose College, Oxford.

Vol. X. 1760 to 1801. By the Rev. William Hunt, M.A., D.Litt., Trinity College, Oxford.

Vol. XI. 1801 to 1837. By the Hon. George C. Brodrick, D.C.L., late Warden of Merton College, Oxford, and J. K. Fotheringham, M.A., Magdalen College, Oxford, Lecturer in Classics at King's College, London.

Vol. XII. 1837 to 1901. By Sidney J. Low, M.A., Balliol College, Oxford, formerly Lecturer on History at King's College, London.

The Political History of England










The production of this book, which was ready in April, has unavoidably been postponed by the Publishers





25 Oct., 1760. Accession of George III. 1 National feeling 1 The king's education and character 3 His plan of government 6 His first cabinet 8 Influence of the Earl of Bute 11 The civil list 13 1761. The war in Germany 13 7 June. Capture of Belle Ile 15 The king's covert attack on the whig ascendency 15 Opposing views with respect to the war 17 The general election of 1761 19 25 Mar. Bute secretary of state 20 8 Sept. The king's marriage 21 Bute's unpopularity 22



1761. Negotiations for a peace 23 France and Spain act together in negotiation 25 Pitt maintains British honour and interests 26 Pitt and his colleagues 28 5 Oct. Pitt resigns office 31 2 Jan., 1762. The family compact. War declared against Spain 32 Frederick of Prussia offended 33 25 April. Newcastle's resignation. Bute succeeds to the treasury 34 The war in Germany 35 British conquests: Martinique, Havana, Manila 37 Negotiations with France 38 A majority in the commons secured 39 The terms of peace 40 10 Feb., 1763. Definitive treaty signed at Paris 42 Mar. The cider tax 43 11 April. Bute retires from office 44



1763. The new ministers 45 April. The North Briton, No. 45, and the general warrant 46 Aug. The king's attempts to strengthen the administration 48 Sept. Changes in the administration 49 Nov. Proceedings in parliament against Wilkes 50 19 Jan., 1764. The commons expel Wilkes 51 Violation of the privileges of parliament 52 Grenville's economy 53 Great Britain's colonial policy 54 1763. Defence of the American colonies 58 10 Mar., 1764. The stamp bill proposed 59 22 Mar., 1765. The bill enacted 60 American resistance 60 The right of taxation 62 Unstatesmanlike policy 63



1765. The king and Grenville 64 April-May. The regency bill 65 The weavers' riot 66 16 July. A whig administration formed under Rockingham 67 Its weakness and difficulties 68 Jan., 1766. Pitt on American taxation 69 Burke, his character and political principles 70 Mar. Repeal of the stamp act. The declaratory act 71 July. Pitt forms an administration, and is created Earl of Chatham 73 His foreign policy 74 Sept.-Nov. "A forty days' tyranny" 76 Feb., 1767. Chatham incapacitated by disease 76 June, 1763. Revolt of Mir Kasim 77 23 Oct., 1764. Battle of Baxar 78 June, 1767. Parliamentary interference with the E. India Company 79 1767-69. Haidar Ali's invasions of the Karnatic 80



1767. C. Townshend and the new American duties 82 The ministry in Chatham's absence 85 Jan., 1768. Junction with the Bedford party 87 Feb. The Nullum Tempus bill 87 Massachusetts heads resistance to the revenue acts 88 1 May, 1769. Partial repeal of the new duties decided on 90 1761. Condition of Ireland. Rise of Whiteboyism 91 The government of Ireland 93 1768-69. Octennial act and augmentation of Irish army 94 1768. The general election of 1768 94 Wilkes returned for Middlesex 95 10 May. Riot in St. George's Fields 96 1769. Wilkes and the Middlesex electors 97 French annexation of Corsica. Faltering policy of ministers 98 Arrears of the civil list 99 The Letters of Junius 99 Chatham in opposition 100 28 Jan., 1770. Grafton resigns. North forms an administration 102 Triumph of the king's policy 103 Discontent with the constitutional machinery 103 Chatham and Burke differ on character of needful reforms 105



1770. Two parties in the opposition 106 The struggle in parliament 107 April. The Grenville controverted elections act 108 5 Mar. The "Boston massacre" 109 Chatham and his city friends demand a dissolution 110 They are foiled by the king 111 Dispute with Spain concerning the Falkland islands 112 England's foreign policy 114 1770-71. Changes in the ministry 115 The law of libel 116 The house of commons and the printers 117 1772. Religious toleration 118 The royal marriage act and C. J. Fox 119 June, 1773. Affairs of E. India Company. North's regulating act 121 May. Clive's acquittal 122 The king's political predominance 123



1772-73. Resistance to law in America 124 16 Dec., 1773. The Boston tea-riot 126 29 Jan., 1774. Franklin before the privy council 126 The penal acts 128 The Quebec act 129 5 Sept. First meeting of a continental congress 132 The American loyalists 134 The general election of 1774 135 Opinion in England on the American crisis 136 Feb.-Mar., 1775. Bills and resolutions for conciliation 138 The Americans prepare for war 139 19 April. Fighting at Lexington and Concord 140



April, 1775. The American army at Cambridge 143 May. Americans seize Ticonderoga and Crown Point 144 English opinion on the outbreak of war 144 15 June. Washington appointed American commander-in-chief 146 17. The battle of Bunker hill 147 The invasion of Canada 151 31 Dec. Defeat of the Americans at Quebec 152 The king hires German troops 153 17. The evacuation of Boston 155 May-June, 1776. The Americans chased out of Canada 155 Spread of the idea of separation 156 28 June. Unsuccessful attempt on Charleston 157 4 July. Declaration of American independence 158 1775. The war generally popular in Great Britain 158 The opposition in parliament 159 The state of the navy 161 Nov. North's prohibitory bill 162



27 Aug., 1776. The battle of Long Island 164 15 Sept. British take New York 165 11, 13 Oct. Carleton's victory on Lake Champlain 166 8 Dec. Washington retreats across the Delaware 167 26. The surprise of Trenton 168 Partial secession of whigs from parliament 169 Impressment for the navy 170 1777. Arrears of the civil list 171 Plan for co-operation between Howe and Burgoyne 172 June-Nov. Howe's campaign. Battle of the Brandywine, Sept. 11 173 American camp at Valley Forge 175 6 July. Burgoyne captures Ticonderoga 176 His difficulties, distress, and failure 177 17 Oct. The convention of Saratoga 179 Responsibility for the disaster 179 6 Jan., 1778. Alliance between France and the Americans 181 Why England had not yet subdued the Americans 183



1777-78. The opposition and the war 186 Mar., 1778. The king's refusal to allow Chatham to form a ministry 187 11 May. Chatham's death 190 Constitutional importance of the issue of the war 191 Abuses in naval administration 191 27 July. Naval action off Ushant 193 Progress of the war in America 193 Lord Howe and Count d'Estaing 194 Mistaken naval policy of Great Britain 195 Aug., 1779. Combined French and Spanish fleets in the Channel 196 The war in various parts of the world 196 12 May, 1780. The surrender of Charleston 198 Jan.-Feb. Rodney's relief of Gibraltar 198 17 April. His indecisive action off Dominica 199 Ireland's grievances 200 1779. The volunteers 202 Removal of restrictions on Irish trade 202 1779-80. Activity of the opposition in England 202 2-7 June. The Lord George Gordon riots 205



Mar., 1780. The armed neutrality 208 20 Dec. Dispute with the Dutch: war declared 209 Defence of Gibraltar 210 5 Aug., 1781. Battle of the Dogger Bank 212 1780. General election and the new parliament 212 2 Oct. The fate of Major Andre 215 3 Feb., 1781. Rodney takes St. Eustatius 216 July, 1780. French squadron at Rhode island 218 16 Aug. Cornwallis's campaign in the south: battle of Camden 219 17 Jan., 1781. Battle of the Cowpens 221 15 Mar. Battle of Guilford 222 May. Cornwallis in Virginia 223 How England lost command in the American waters 224 19 Oct. The capitulation at Yorktown 225 Causes of the disaster 225 Reception of the news in England 226 Events in the war with France and Spain 227 Mar., 1782. The second Rockingham ministry; the king's defeat 229



1782. Attack on the corrupt influence of the crown 231 May. Legislative independence conceded to Ireland 232 12 April. The "battle of the Saints" 234 Last scenes of the siege of Gibraltar 236 1780-84. War in India and in the Indian waters 236 Quarrel between Fox and Shelburne 238 July, 1782. Shelburne forms a ministry 240 30 Nov. Preliminaries of peace between Great Britain and America 241 The American loyalists 242 3 Sept., 1783. Definitive treaty of Versailles 242 State of parties in parliament 243 The coalition between Fox and North 244 April. The Coalition ministry 245 May. Pitt's motion for parliamentary reform 246 Warren Hastings in India 247 Nov.-Dec. Fox's India bills 249 Dec. The Coalition ministry dismissed; Pitt prime minister 251 Struggle on the question of a dissolution 251 25 Mar., 1784. Parliament dissolved 254 General election: "Fox's martyrs" 254



General character of the period 255 Amusements, gambling, racing, the drama, etc. 256 Travelling and the state of the roads 258 Literature: poetry, fiction, and serious prose works 259 The arts, architecture, painting, etc. 262 Natural science 263 Voyages of discovery 263 Religion 264 The criminal law 265 The prisons and transportation 266 The police system 267 Increase of trade and manufactures 268 The mercantile system and laissez-faire 269 Steam and water power: iron manufacture 270 Canals 271 Manufacture of textile fabrics 271 Failure of domestic industries 272 Wages of agricultural labourers 273 Regulation of corn trade 273 Improvements in agriculture 274 Enclosures 275 Combinations of workmen to raise wages 277 The poor law 277 Sufferings of the poor and specially of factory children 278



1784. Significance of Pitt's victory 280 Change in office of prime minister and in house of lords 281 Pitt's character and management of parliament 282 The Westminster election 283 1784-85. Pitt's finance 284 Aug., 1784. His bill for the government of India 286 18 April, 1785. His bill for parliamentary reform 287 May. His resolutions on Irish trade 288 1786. Establishment of the sinking fund 291 26 Sept. Commercial treaty with France 293 1787. Consolidation of customs and excise 294 Bill for relief of dissenters 295 1788. The slave trade question 295 Foreign policy 296 1785. Austrian aggression 297 1786-87. French influence in the United Provinces 298 Oct., 1787. Restoration of the stadholder 300 April, 1788. Triple alliance—Great Britain, Prussia, and the United Provinces 301



1785. Return of Hastings to England 302 1786. Pitt and the charges against Hastings 303 13 Feb., 1788. Trial of Hastings begun 304 1788-93. Cornwallis as governor-general of India 305 Feb., 1788. Pitt's (India) declaratory bill 305 May, 1787. The Prince of Wales's debts paid 307 5 Nov., 1788. The king's insanity 309 10 Dec. Fox asserts the prince's right to the regency 311 Pitt's resolutions 312 10 Mar., 1789. The king's recovery announced 314 The Irish parliament and the regency 314 The French revolution begins 315 English opinions on events in France 317 1790. Dispute with Spain relating to Nootka Sound 319 28 Oct. Convention with Spain 321



1790. General election 322 1795. Acquittal of Hastings 323 1791-92. Struggle for the abolition of the slave trade 323 1792. Fox's libel bill 324 Pitt's foreign policy 324 1791. The Russian armament 326 Nov., 1790. Burke's Reflections on the French Revolution 328 May, 1791. Rupture between Burke and Fox 329 27 Aug. The Declaration of Pilnitz 331 Revolutionary propaganda 331 1792. Dismissal of Thurlow 332 A whig scheme of coalition 333 French proposals 333 21 May. Proclamation against seditious writings 335 Aug. British ambassador recalled from Paris 336 French conquest of Flanders 337 The provocations received by England 338 Dec. Disruption of the whig party 340 21 Jan., 1793. Execution of Louis XVI. 342 1 Feb. France declares war on England 342 War necessary for the safety of Great Britain 342 Conduct of C. J. Fox 343



1793. Change in Pitt's domestic policy 345 Pitt as a war minister 346 Loans raised by Pitt 348 Formation of the coalition 349 April. The conference at Antwerp 349 Success of the allies 350 Their discordant aims 351 Aug. The surrender of Toulon 352 8 Sept. York before Dunkirk: the battle of Hondschoote 353 Dec. Attempted co-operation with the Vendeans 354 Siege and evacuation of Toulon 355 Mar. Traitorous correspondence bill 357 1793-94. Repressive proceedings 357 1794. The opposition in parliament 359 Selfish conduct of Prussia and Austria 360 The British retreat through Holland 362 The coalition in a shattered state 363 Aug. British conquest of Corsica 363 28 May-1 June. Naval victory: the glorious First of June 364 Portland whigs coalesce with government 366 1791. Ireland. Society of United Irishmen founded 367 1793. Catholic relief act 368 1794. Catholic emancipation question 368 Feb., 1795. The recall of Fitzwilliam 370



1795. A desire for negotiation 372 8 April. Marriage of the Prince of Wales 373 Difference between Pitt and Grenville 373 5 April. Treaty of Basle 374 Treaties with Austria and Russia 374 Feeble conduct of war in the Mediterranean 375 June. The expedition to Quiberon 376 War in the West Indies 377 Scarcity, riots, and democratic agitation 378 Nov. Repressive legislation 379 1796. Bonaparte's campaign in Italy 380 British fleet evacuates the Mediterranean 381 Overtures and unsuccessful negotiations for peace 382 Financial difficulties: the Loyalty loan 384 Ireland—United Irishmen adopt a military organisation 386 Dec. French attempt an invasion of Ireland 386 27 Feb., 1797. Suspension of cash payments 387 14. Battle of Cape St. Vincent 388 18 April. Preliminaries of peace between France and Austria signed at Leoben 390 The mutinies in the navy 391 Negotiations at Lille 396 17 Oct. Treaty of Campo Formio 397 11. Battle of Camperdown 398 A partial secession of whigs from parliament 399 Nov. The triple assessment 400



1798. Threatened invasion of England 401 The Irish peasantry look to France for help 404 1797-98. Rebellion in Ulster averted by severities 405 12 Mar., 1798. Arrest of rebel leaders in Dublin 407 Cruel measures adopted in midland and southern counties 407 23 May. Outbreak of rebellion in Kildare 408 Rebellion in Wexford 409 21 June. Rebels routed on Vinegar hill 411 20 Aug. French under Humbert land in Killala bay 413 27. "The race of Castlebar" 413 Other attempts at invasion 414 1 Aug. The Battle of the Nile 416 Mar.-May, 1799. The defence of Acre 418 4 May. Storming of Seringapatam and death of Tipu 420 1798. Paul of Russia proposes a coalition 421 Dec., 1798.} The second coalition formed 423 Jan., 1799.} 1798. British troops withdrawn from San Domingo 424



1799. Campaign of Suvorov 425 A French fleet in the Mediterranean 426 June. Nelson and the Neapolitan jacobins 427 Aug.-Oct. The expedition to the Helder 429 Paul of Russia deserts the coalition 431 9 Oct. Bonaparte returns to France 432 Jan., 1800. The convention of El Arish 432 25 Dec, 1799. Bonaparte's letter to the king 433 April. Payment of the income tax 434 Scarcity of wheat 435 April, 1800. Investment of Genoa 436 14 June. The battle of Marengo 437 Bonaparte proposes a naval armistice 438 Unprofitable expeditions 439 9 Feb., 1801. The Treaty of Luneville: isolation of England 440 Paul's anger against England 440 Dec., 1800. The armed neutrality 441 Great Britain's maritime supremacy 443 Scarcity and desire for peace 443 Irish independence a source of weakness 445 Oct., 1798. Pitt contemplates union on a protestant basis 446 1799. Hopes of the catholics excited 447 How the government secured a majority 448 1 Aug., 1800. The union enacted 450 Sept. Pitt proposes catholic emancipation 451 Feb., 1801. The king refuses his assent: Pitt will resign 452 20. The king's insanity 453 Mar. Pitt's promise to the king 454 14. Pitt resigns office 455

APPENDIX I. On Authorities 459 II. Administrations of Great Britain, 1760-1801 470 III. The Grenvilles 476



1. Great Britain, showing the parliamentary representation.

2. The United States of America (northern section) {illustrating the War 3. " " " (southern section) {of Rebellion and the {Treaty of Sept. 3, {1783.


[Transcribers' Note: These corrections to errata have been applied to the e-book]

Page 4, line 25, for "George" read "William".

" 10, note, for "From about 1760" read "From the Revolution".

" 49, line 23, for "of state in Egremont's place" read "and took the northern department".

" 55 " 4, for "1657" read "1660".

" " " 9, for "cotton" read "grain".

" 71, lines 8, 9, omit comma after "matters," and for "including taxation. The court party" read "whatsoever. Some of the king's household".

" 115, line 23, for "northern" read "southern".

" " " 24, for "southern" read "northern".

" 121 " 3, for "cousin" read "aunt".

" 130, lines 11, 12, for "French laws and customs were swept away" read "The administration of the law was confused".

" 135, line 7, for "astride on iron rails" read "to ride upon a rail".

" 144 " 29, for "up" read "down".

" 220 " 29, for "stony" read "strong".

" 245 " 36, for "1788" read "1778".

" 259 " 33, for "1774" read "1770".

" 263 " 5, for "steel" read "copper".

" 282 " 12, for "than" read "to".

" 351 " 31, for "1,500 (Austrians)," read "11,000".

" 394 " 27, for "Commander" read "captain".

" 467 " 40, for "Karl von Martens" read "F. de Martens".

" 468 " 41, for "Clerque" read "Clergue".

" 470. Newcastle's administration, secs. of state, E. of Egremont, for "succ. March, 1761," read "succ. Oct., 1761"; for E. of Bute, "succ. Oct., 1761," read "succ. March, 1761". Ld. privy seal, after "E. Temple" read "D. of Bedford succ. Nov., 1761".

" 471. Grenville's administration, secs. of state, s. dept. for "E. of Sandwich" read "E. of Halifax, succ. Sept., 1763"; n. dept. for "E. of Halifax" read "E. of Sandwich, succ. Sept., 1763".

Rockingham's administration, secs. of state, s. dept. after Conway read "D. of Richmond, succ. May, 1766"; n. dept. for "D. of Richmond" read "H. S. Conway, succ. May, 1766".

" 473. North's administration, secs. of state, s. dept. for "E. of Sandwich, E. of Halifax, E. of Suffolk, Visct. Stormont" read "E. of Rochford, succ. Dec, 1770, Viscount Weymouth, succ. Nov., 1775, E. of Hillsborough, succ. Nov., 1779"; n. dept. for "Viscount Weymouth, E. of Hillsborough," read "E. of Sandwich, succ. Dec, 1770, E. of Halifax succ. Jan., 1771, E. of Suffolk succ. June, 1771, Viscount Stormont succ. Oct., 1779".

" 475. Pitt's administration, admiralty, for "Hood" read "Howe".

" 478, col. 1, line 32, for "afterwards" read "previously".

" " " 2 " 50, Bridgewater, for "Earl of" read "Duke of".

" 481 " 1 " 27, Cumberland, for "George" read "William".

" 482 " 1 " 26, Emmet, for "Robert" read "Thomas".

" 487 " 1 " 51, Lincoln, for "Earl of (Clinton), 195, 197, 198" read "American general, 195, 198".

" 491 " 2 " 25, Queensberry, for "Earl of" read "Duke of".



George III. was in his twenty-third year when he succeeded his grandfather, George II., on October 25, 1760. His accession caused general satisfaction. The jacobite schism had come to an end; no one imagined that a restoration of the exiled house was possible, or seriously wished that it might take place. The remembrance of the rising of '45 strengthened the general feeling of loyalty to the reigning house; the Old Pretender had lost all interest in public affairs, and his son, Charles Edward, was a confirmed drunkard, and had alienated his friends by his disreputable life. Englishmen were determined not to have another Roman catholic king, and they were too proud of their country willingly to accept as their king a prince who was virtually a foreigner as well as a papist, and whose cause had in past years been maintained by the enemies of England. It is true that their last two kings had been foreigners, but this was so no longer; their new king had been born and brought up among them and was an Englishman to the backbone. He succeeded an old king of coarse manners and conversation and of openly immoral life, and his youth and the respectability of his morals added to the pleasure with which his people greeted him as a sovereign of their own nation.

National feeling was growing in strength; it had been kindled by Pitt, and fanned into a flame by a series of victories which were largely due to the inspiration of his lofty spirit. He had raised Great Britain from a low estate to a height such as it had never reached before. The French power had been overthrown in North America and the dominion of Canada had been added to the British territories. In India the victories of Clive and his generals were soon to be crowned by the fall of Pondicherry, and French and Dutch alike had already lost all chance of successfully opposing the advance of British rule by force of arms. Great Britain had become mistress of the sea. Her naval power secured her the possession of Canada, for her ships cut off the garrison of Montreal from help by sea; it sealed the fate of the French operations in India, for D'Ache was forced to withdraw his ships from the Coromandel coast and leave Lally without support. In the West Indies Guadeloupe had fallen, and in Africa Goree. In every quarter the power of France was destroyed, her colonies were conquered, her ships captured or driven from the sea.

The naval supremacy of England is attested, strange as it seems at first sight, by her losses in merchant shipping, which were far heavier than those of France, more than 300 in 1760, more than 800 in 1761, for many English merchantmen were at sea while the French dared not send out their merchant ships for fear of capture. Nor was this all, for the ruin of the commerce of France led the shipowners of St. Malo to fit out many of their ships as privateers and corsairs, and the ruin of her navy sent many a fine seaman aboard them. Skippers of English traders who straggled from their convoy, or sailed ahead of it in order to be first in the market, were often punished for their obstinacy or greediness by these fast-sailing privateers.[1] In spite of these losses, England's supremacy at sea caused a rapid increase in her wealth and commerce, and she took full advantage of her power, seizing French merchandise carried in neutral vessels. The wealth acquired through her naval supremacy enabled her to uphold the cause of her allies on the continent. England's purse alone afforded Frederick of Prussia the means of keeping the field, and the continuance of the war depended on her subsidies. The continental war, in which our troops played a secondary part, was by no means so popular as the naval war, yet under Pitt's administration it had helped to rouse the spirit of the nation. A new militia had been created and the old jealousy of a standing army was weakened. It was, then, at a time when national feeling was strong that Englishmen were called upon to welcome a king of their own nationality, and they answered to the call with enthusiasm.

[Sidenote: THE YOUNG KING.]

George was in many respects worthy of their welcome. Moral in his conduct and domestic in his tastes, he set an example of sobriety and general decency of behaviour. He was kind-hearted and had the gift of pleasing. On public occasions his demeanour and words were dignified. In private he talked in a homely way, his words following one another too quickly and sometimes showing a confusion of thought and excitability of brain. To the poor he would speak with familiar kindness, chatting with them like a good-natured squire. Yet simple as he was in his habits and private talk, he always spoke and acted as a gentleman; the coarseness of the old court was a thing of the past. He was deeply and unaffectedly pious, and was strongly attached to the Church of England; his religion was of a sober kind and was carried into his daily life. He was constantly guided by the dictates of his conscience. His will was strong; and as his conscience was by no means always so well-informed as he believed it to be, his firmness often deserved the name of obstinacy. Nor, in common with the best of men, did he always clearly distinguish between his personal feelings and conscientious convictions. He had great self-control, and was both morally and physically courageous. Though as a youth he had been idle, he was never addicted to pleasure; his accession brought him work which was congenial to him, he overcame his natural tendency to sloth and, so long as his health allowed, discharged his kingly duties with diligence. His intellectual powers were small and uncultivated, but he had plenty of shrewdness and common sense; he showed a decided ability for kingcraft, not of the highest kind, and gained many successes over powerful opponents. The welfare of his people was dear to him; he was jealous for the honour of England, rejoiced in her prosperity, and strove with all his strength to save her from humiliation. In religion, tastes, and prejudices he was in sympathy with the great mass of his people; and in matters in which his policy and conduct seem most open to censure, he had the majority of the nation with him.

He had, however, some serious failings which brought trouble both on his people and himself. They were largely the results of his training. His father, Frederick, Prince of Wales, a fool, a fribble and worse, died when George was twelve years old. His mother, the Princess Augusta, was a woman of strong will, ambitious of power, unamiable in temper, thoroughly insincere, narrow-minded, and full of petty feelings. She was strict in all religious matters, had a high sense of duty, and was a careful mother. When her son became king, she acted as though she had a right to direct him in his political work. Her interference was mischievous: she was unpopular and incapable of understanding the politics of a great country; for she had the prejudices of a little German court, and regarded politics merely in a personal light. George grew up completely under her influence. Jealous of her authority and influence over her sons, she was quick to suspect their governors and preceptors of trying to act independently of her, and thwarted them continually. They had no chance of gaining George's confidence or of giving him the benefits which a lad may derive from the society of men experienced in the ways of the world. Do what they would, the princess was always too strong for them, and Lord Waldegrave, one of the prince's governors, records as his own experience that "the mother and the nursery always prevailed". Nor had George the opportunity of learning anything from companions of his own age; his mother was afraid that his morals would be corrupted by association with young people, and kept him in the strictest seclusion. He had no friend except his brother Edward. Her jealousy extended to her children's nearest relations. They had little intercourse with the court, and William, Duke of Cumberland, whose upright character and soldierly qualities might well have endeared him to his nephews, complained that as children they were taught to regard him with the most unworthy suspicion.

Brought up among bed-chamber women and pages, in an unwholesome atmosphere of petty intrigue, and carefully kept from contact with the world, George had the failings which such a system might be expected to produce. His mother certainly succeeded in implanting in his heart religious principles which he preserved through life, and she turned him out a pure-minded and well-bred young man; but the faults in his character were confirmed. He was uncharitable in his judgments of others and harsh in his condemnation of conduct which he did not approve. His prejudices were strengthened; he put too high a value on his own opinions and was extremely stubborn. In dealing with men, he thought too much of what was due to himself and too little of what was due to others. As a lad he lacked frankness, and in later life was disingenuous and intriguing. When he was displeased his temper was sullen and resentful. He was always overcareful about money, and in old age this tendency developed into parsimony. His education was deficient; it had not been carried on steadily, and he had been allowed to indulge a constitutional inertness. Though he overcame this habit, the time which he had lost could not be made up for, and ideas which might have been corrected or enlarged by a more thorough education, remained firmly fixed in his mind.

[Sidenote: THE EARL OF BUTE.]

Among these ideas were an exaggerated conception of the royal prerogative and the belief that it was his duty as king to govern as well as to reign. His mother's constant exhortation to him, "George, be a king," fell upon willing ears, and appears to have been enforced by his tutors. A more powerful influence on the mind of the young prince than that of any of his tutors was exercised by John Stuart, Earl of Bute, his mother's chief friend and adviser. He was a fine showy man, vain of his handsome person, theatrical in his manners, pompous, slow and sententious in his speech. His private life was respectable; he had literary and scientific tastes, and a good deal of superficial knowledge. His abilities were small; he would, George's father used to say, "make an excellent ambassador in any court where there was nothing to do".[2] He lacked the steadfast self-reliance necessary to the part which he undertook to play, and had none of the dogged resolution of his royal pupil. His enemies freely accused him of falsehood; he was certainly addicted to intrigue, but he was probably too proud a man to utter direct lies. The friendship between him and the princess was close and lasting. It was generally believed that he was her paramour, but for this there is no real evidence. It would have been contrary to the character of the princess, and the assertion seems to have been a malicious scandal. George liked him, and when he was provided with a household of his own in 1756, he persuaded the king to put the earl at the head of it as his groom of the stole. Though utterly incompetent for the task, Bute instructed the prince in the duties of kingship; he encouraged him in the idea that a king should exercise a direct control over public affairs, and is said to have borrowed for him a portion of Blackstone's then unpublished Commentaries on the Laws of England in which the royal authority is magnified.

George's political system was, it is evident, largely based on Bolingbroke's essay On the Idea of a Patriot King. In this essay Bolingbroke lays down that a king who desires the welfare of his people should "begin to govern as soon as he begins to reign," that he must choose as his ministers men who "will serve on the same principles on which he intends to govern," and that he must avoid governing by a party. Such a king will unite his people, and put himself at their head, "in order to govern, or more properly subdue, all parties". This doctrine seemed specially appropriate to the state of affairs at George's accession. During the last two reigns the power of the crown had dwindled. Neither George I. nor George II. had cared for, or indeed understood, domestic politics, and the government had fallen into the hands of the whig party which became dominant at the Revolution. The whigs posed as defenders of the Hanoverian house and of the principles of 1688. Those principles limited the exercise of the prerogative, but they did not involve depriving the crown of all participation in the government. The whig party exaggerated them, and while the fortunes of Hanover and continental affairs absorbed the attention of the king, they completely usurped the government of the country. They were strong in the house of lords, and secured their position in the commons by employing the patronage of the crown, the money of the nation, and their own wealth and influence to control the borough elections. For nearly fifty years a small number of whig lords shared the government of the country among themselves. During Walpole's administration the whigs became split into sections. Several of the more powerful lords of the party had each his own following or "connexion" in parliament, composed of men bound to him by family ties, interest, or the gift of a seat. These sections, while they agreed in keeping the crown out of all part in the government, and the tories out of all share in the good things which the crown had to bestow, struggled with one another for office.


Meanwhile the tories were left out in the cold. So long as jacobitism was a danger to the state, this was not a fair cause of complaint, for many tories had corresponded with the exiled princes. By 1760, however, tories had become as loyal as whigs. George was fully determined to put an end to this state of things: he would be master in his own kingdom; he and not the whigs should govern England. He naturally rejoiced to see the tories, a large and important body of his subjects, reconciled to the throne; and as he had been brought up in tory principles, he welcomed with peculiar pleasure the support of the party of prerogative. The tories were no longer to be neglected by the crown; the whig monopoly was to be brought to an end. He did not contemplate taking political power from one party in order to vest it in another. He designed to rule independently of party; no political section was necessarily to be excluded from office, but no body of men, whether united by common principles or common interest, was henceforth to dictate to the crown. To be willing and able to carry on the government in accordance with his will was to be the sole qualification for a share in the administration. Ministers might or might not be agreed on matters of the first importance; all the agreement between them which was necessary was that each in his own sphere should act as an agent of the king's policy.

The system was not so impossible as it would be at present. The idea of the cabinet as a homogeneous body, collectively responsible to parliament, was not yet established. Government was largely carried on by ministers working more or less independently of one another. In 1760 the cabinet, an informal committee of the privy council, was an institution of a different character from that of to-day. During the last two reigns it had included, along with the ministers holding the chief political offices, whether of business or dignity, certain great court officials, and some other personages of conspicuous position whose assistance might be useful to the government. Nominally the "lords of the cabinet" were fairly numerous. They did not all take an equal share in government. The king's "most serious affairs" were directed by not more than five or six of them, who formed a kind of inner cabinet, the first lord of the treasury, the two secretaries of state, one or more of the principal supporters of the administration, and generally the lord chancellor. They discussed matters privately, sometimes settling what should be laid before a cabinet meeting, and sometimes communicating their decisions to the king as the advice of his ministers, without submitting them to the cabinet at large.[3] Outside this small inner circle the lords of the cabinet held a position rather of dignity than of power, and some of them rarely attended a cabinet meeting.[4] This arrangement was mainly due to the long predominance of Sir Robert Walpole and to the overwhelming political influence of a few great whig houses. The strife among the whigs which followed Walpole's retirement and the critical character of foreign affairs tended to increase the number of councillors who commonly took part in cabinet business.

[Sidenote: THE CABINET.]

The first cabinet of George III. as settled with reference to a meeting held on November 17, consisted of the keeper of the great seal (Lord Henley), the president of the council (Lord Granville), the two secretaries of state (Pitt and Holdernesse), the Duke of Newcastle (first lord of the treasury), Lord Hardwicke (ex-chancellor), Lord Anson (first lord of the admiralty), Lord Ligonier (master-general of the ordnance), Lord Mansfield (lord chief-justice), the Duke of Bedford (lord-lieutenant of Ireland) and the Duke of Devonshire (lord chamberlain). If Lord Halifax (president of the board of trade) pleased, he might attend to give information on American affairs; and Newcastle suggested that Legge (the chancellor of the exchequer, whose office, as finance was then largely managed by the first lord of the treasury, was of less importance than it soon became) and the "solicitor" (Charles Yorke, solicitor-general) should also be summoned.[5] Soon afterwards Bute was appointed groom of the stole to the king and entered the cabinet.[6] After 1760 the cabinet began to assume its later form; questions of the highest importance were debated and decided on in meetings of eleven or twelve councillors, and in 1761 Hardwicke complained that the king's "most serious affairs" were discussed by as many as would in earlier days have formed a whole cabinet.[7] From 1765 the existence of an inner circle becomes less distinct, though at all times a prime minister naturally takes counsel privately with the most prominent or most trusted members of his government. Non-efficient members of a cabinet appear more rarely until, in 1783, they disappear altogether. The old inner cabinet becomes expanded into a council consisting generally of high political officers, and the members, ten or twelve in number, discuss and settle the weightiest affairs of state. With the critical negotiations with France in 1796 came a new development; the prime minister, the younger Pitt, and Lord Grenville, the foreign secretary, arranged that the British ambassador should write private despatches for their information, and others of a less confidential character which might be read by the cabinet at large.[8] Here a new inner cabinet is foreshadowed. It differed from the old one: that arose from the small number who were entrusted with an actual share in the government; this, from the fact that the number of the king's confidential servants was so large that it was advisable that certain matters of special secrecy should only be made known to and discussed by two or three. The subsequent increase of the council promoted the development of an inner cabinet, and such a body is understood to have existed for many years during which cabinets have been of a size undreamt of by ministers of George III.

The solidarity of the cabinet is now secured by the peculiar functions and powers of a prime minister.[9] It was not so at the accession of George III. That there should be an avowed prime minister possessing the chief weight in the council and the principal place in the confidence of the king is a doctrine which was not established until the first administration of the younger Pitt; and though the title of prime minister had come into use by 1760, it was still regarded as invidious by constitutional purists. According to George's system he was himself to be the only element of coherence in a ministry; it was to be formed by the prime minister in accordance with his instructions, and each member of it was to be guided by his will. The factious spirit of the whigs, the extent to which they monopolised power, and the humiliating position to which they had reduced the crown, afford a measure of defence for his scheme of government. Yet it was in itself unconstitutional, for it would have made the ministers who were responsible to parliament mere agents of the king who was not personally responsible for his public acts. And it was not, nor indeed could it be, carried out except by adopting means which were unconstitutional and disastrous. It necessarily made the king the head of a party. He needed votes in parliament, and he obtained them, as the whig leaders had done, by discreditable means. If his ministers did not please him he sought support from the members of his party, "the king's friends," as they were called; and so there arose an influence behind the throne distinct from and often opposed to that of his responsible advisers.

[Sidenote: THE KING'S SCHEME.]

Since 1757 the strife of the whig factions had been stilled by coalition. At the king's accession the administration was strong. It owed its strength to the co-operation of the Duke of Newcastle, the first lord of the treasury, and Pitt, secretary of state.[10] Newcastle, the most prominent figure among the great whig nobles, derived his power from influence; he had an unrivalled experience in party management and as a dispenser of patronage, and though personally above accepting a bribe of any kind, he was an adept at corrupt practices. He would have been incapable of conducting the war, for he was ignorant, timid, and vacillating, but he knew how to gain the support of parliament and how to find the supplies which the war demanded. Pitt was strong in the popular favour which he had gained by his management of the war; he was supremely fitted to guide the country in time of war, but he was too haughty and imperious to be successful in the management of a party. He did not care to concern himself about applications for bishoprics, excisorships, titles, and pensions, or the purchase of seats in parliament. All such work was done by Newcastle. For his attack on the whig party George needed a scheme and a man—some one to act for him in matters in which as king he could not appear personally to interfere. The man was ready to his hand, his friend and teacher, Bute. His scheme of attack was to create a division between Newcastle and Pitt, to make peace with France, and force Pitt to leave the ministry, Pitt's resignation would weaken the whigs, and the king would be in a position to give office to Bute and any other ministers he might choose. Newcastle and Pitt were not really in accord, for not only was Newcastle jealous of Pitt, but he was anxious to bring the war to an end while Pitt wished to continue it. George therefore started on his work of sowing dissension between them with something in his favour. He disliked Pitt's war policy. He and Bute desired peace, no doubt for its own sake, as well as because it would forward their plan, for when the war ended the great war minister would no longer be necessary to the whigs.

On the day of his accession George privately offered to make Bute a secretary of state.[11] He refused the offer, for to have stepped into the place of Holdernesse while the whig party was still united would have been premature. The council was immediately summoned to Carlton house, a residence of the princess-dowager. George at once showed that he would take a line of his own. After a few gracious words to Newcastle in private audience, he closed the interview by saying, "My lord Bute is your very good friend and will tell you my thoughts at large". The duke, Pitt, and Holdernesse were called into the closet to hear the declaration he was about to make to the privy council; it is said to have been written by the king himself with the help of Bute. When it had been read George merely asked if anything was "wrong in point of form". Pitt could scarcely believe his ears; the war was described as "bloody and expensive". He had an interview with Bute in the evening and insisted on a change in the sentence. He carried his point, and the words in the council-book with reference to the war are: "As I mount the throne in the midst of an expensive, but just and necessary war, I shall endeavour to prosecute it in a manner most likely to bring about an honourable and lasting peace in concert with my allies". The last five words were dictated by Pitt.[12] Bute having been sworn of the privy council, and having entered the cabinet as groom of the stole, assumed "a magisterial air of authority," and was universally recognised as the king's confidant and mouthpiece.

The king opened parliament on November 19, wearing his crown. His speech was settled by his ministers, and was sent to Bute for his perusal, Newcastle intending himself to lay it before the king, as it was his right to do.[13] Bute, however, took it to the king, and Newcastle to his amazement received it back from the earl with an additional clause written by the king's hand, and a message that the king would have it inserted in the speech which was to be laid before him next day in cabinet council.[14] The clause began: "Born and educated in this country, I glory in the name of Britain" [sic], and went on to express the king's confidence in the loyalty of his people and his desire to promote their welfare.[15] The words were unexceptionable, but the absolute command to insert them in the speech for which the ministers, not the king, were responsible, was unwise. The use of the word Britain was attributed to the Scotsman Bute. In later life the king declared that he had written the clause without suggestion from any one.[16] His command was obeyed, and the manner in which his words were received illustrates the adulation then customarily rendered to the sovereign. Hardwicke, who was in the habit of composing addresses for his colleagues, seems to have taken "Britain" for "Briton," as indeed it usually appears in print, and inserted a clause in the lords' address ending with—"What a lustre does it cast on the name of Briton when you, Sir, are pleased to esteem it among your glories!" When whig lords could adopt such words as these, a young king might well be encouraged to think over-highly of the royal prerogative. The incident has a special interest. The cabinet council of the 17th, in which the speech was read in its final form, was held by the king in person. By the end of the last reign it had become unusual that the king should preside at cabinet meetings. With one doubtful exception, George III. never again presided at a meeting, and so the absence of the sovereign from the deliberations of the cabinet became an established constitutional usage. Thus at the time when the king was preparing to assume a preponderance in the government, the crown finally abandoned one of the few remaining customs which indicated a right to govern as well as to reign.

[Sidenote: THE CIVIL LIST.]

A like contrast is afforded by the arrangement of the civil list. George was the first sovereign who entirely surrendered his interest in the hereditary revenues of the crown in England, and placed them at the disposal of parliament. In return parliament voted him a civil list, or fixed revenue, "for the support of his household and the dignity of the crown". The sum voted was L800,000 a year, which was at first charged with some pensions to members of the royal family. By this arrangement the control of parliament over the king's expenditure was asserted at a time when the king was relying on his prerogative to enable him to become independent of ministerial control. Besides this income George had the hereditary revenues from Scotland, a civil list in Ireland, the duchies of Cornwall and Lancaster, and certain admiralty and other dues, the whole amounting to "certainly not much short of a million annually".[17] If the value of money at the time is considered, it may be allowed that the crown was amply provided for, and that so thrifty a king as George would always have found his revenues sufficient for his needs, if he had not spent large sums in supplying pensions and places of profit for his political adherents, and in other methods of corruption. The good impression made by the young king was heightened by a speech from the throne on March 3, 1761, recommending that in order to complete the independence of judges, their commission should not for the future be terminated by the demise of the crown, and that sufficient salaries should be assigned to them. An act to that effect was accordingly passed. On the 19th the king closed the session, and parliament was dissolved shortly afterwards.

The war was going on gloriously under Pitt's direction. Our ally, Frederick of Prussia, was, indeed, in distress in spite of his hard-earned victory at Torgau, for his resources were exhausted, and half his dominions were occupied by his enemies. During 1761 Prince Henry made no progress in Saxony. Frederick himself lost Schweidnitz, and, with it, half Silesia, while the fall of Colberg left the Russians free either to besiege Stettin in the following spring, or to seize on Brandenburg. In Western Germany, however, where a British army was serving under Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick in the defence of Hanover against the French, a signal success was gained. Early in the year the allies entered Hesse, and forced the French to retreat almost to the Main. Nevertheless they failed to take Cassel, the chief object of the campaign, and were obliged to retire from Hesse. In June two French armies, under Marshal de Broglie and Prince Soubise, effected a junction at Paderborn, advanced to Soest, and threatened Lippstadt. Ferdinand took up a position between the Lippe and the Ahse at Vellinghausen. On July 15 he was attacked by the French. The enemy engaged his left wing, formed by the British troops under their commander, the gallant Marquis of Granby. The attack was splendidly met and finally repulsed. The battle was renewed the next morning at daybreak, and the allies gained a complete victory. The British troops, who formed about a fourth part of the allied army, highly distinguished themselves; Maxwell's grenadiers alone captured four French battalions. This victory, won against heavy odds, foiled the most serious attempt of the French against Hanover; it saved Lippstadt, which would have been exceedingly useful to them as a depot; and, more than that, it caused a quarrel between Broglie and Soubise, which ended in the recall of Broglie, by far the abler of the two generals. Meanwhile they parted company; Soubise did much mischief in Westphalia, and Broglie campaigned to the east of the Weser. The French kept their hold on Gottingen and Cassel, and were therefore in a position to renew their attacks on Hanover the following year.


News came from India of the fall of Pondicherry on January 15, 1761, and this was the end of the French power in that land. Few were the French ships which put out to sea during the year, and they were all taken. In the West Indies Dominica, one of the so-called neutral islands, of which the French had taken possession, was reduced by Lord Rollo, then holding a command in New York. About the same time the French received a more galling blow. On March 29 a fleet under the command of Keppel, carrying a land force of about 9,000 men under General Hodgson, sailed for Belle Ile, a small and barren island with a population of 5,000, mostly fisher-folk. It was fortified and well garrisoned. A first attempt to land was repulsed with nearly 500 casualties. Tidings of the repulse were brought to Pitt; he sent reinforcements and ordered the commander to persevere. A second attempt, carried out with remarkable daring, was successful, and siege was laid to Palais, the strong place of the island. It was gallantly defended by the governor, who in a night attack surprised the British in their trenches and inflicted a heavy loss upon them. The lines which covered the town were taken by storm and the place was abandoned, but the fortress still held out. As, however, the British ships cut off all supplies, the garrison was at last, on June 7, forced to capitulate. They marched out with the honours of war and were conveyed to the mainland. By the capture of Belle Ile England gained far more than the barren island; it was French soil, and France would be prepared to surrender possessions of greater value in exchange for it. For Pitt the success of the expedition was a special triumph, for he had insisted upon it in spite of the opposition of Newcastle and the adverse opinion of the admirals Hawke and Boscawen.

While Pitt was laying down and carrying out plans of victory, the king and Bute were exciting discord between him and Newcastle. For a few days after the accession Newcastle seemed more in favour than Pitt, who was justly displeased because Lord George Sackville, one of Bute's friends, was received at court in spite of his recent disgrace. Before long, however, Newcastle found himself slighted and became violently jealous of Pitt. If Bute were to ally himself with Pitt and adopt his policy, the old minister knew that his own day would soon be over. He received a hint that a change was contemplated. At the end of six months, Bute said, the king "will declare whom he will call to his cabinet council".[18] The alliance between Pitt and Bute seemed complete. In January, 1761, the Spanish ambassador wrote: "there is no better voice in council than his [Pitt's], which joined to that of my Lord Bute seems to decide matters".[19] Pitt could work well with the rising star so long as Bute did not oppose the continuance of the war, for he heartily approved of breaking down party distinctions, and, like the king, hated government by connexion. While, however, the king desired to destroy factions in order to establish personal government, Pitt desired that they should give place to a system of government by the best men, supported by the king and the nation. Tories were graciously received at court, and among them many of Bute's fellow-countrymen. In November, 1760, six tory lords and grooms of the bed-chamber were appointed without any intimation having been given to Newcastle.[20] The whigs were amazed, and the duke's mortification was keen.

The king's determination to break down the system which had so long secured the whig power was set forth and commended in a remarkable pamphlet written by Douglas, afterwards Bishop of Salisbury, and probably inspired by his patron, Lord Bath.[21] It urged the king to be on his guard against "the pretensions of a confederacy of ministers," and to exercise the full extent of power allowed him by the constitution. He must not let his patronage go by the advice of ministers. Let him rely on his people; let him be master. Proscription, the writer says, is ended, and he expresses his belief that if the king will pursue the line marked out in his pamphlet, corruption also will disappear; for so long as a minister disposes of places, he has the means of corrupting parliament, whereas if the crown dispenses its own patronage it will gain strength, and the independence of parliament will be restored. For Newcastle, the veteran dispenser of the royal patronage, such a system meant political extinction. Its meaning was already brought home to him by an intimation that he was not to have "the choice of parliament," the management of the coming general election in boroughs under government influence, nor to purchase seats with the treasury money. Anson was reproved by Bute for having, according to custom, provided members for the admiralty boroughs. Newcastle believed, with good reason, that Pitt and Bute were agreed on this matter. He was deeply distressed, and told his friend Hardwicke that he thought he must resign office.[22] That, however, was the last thing he was likely to do.


While Pitt may have welcomed the co-operation of his new ally from a belief that they had a common policy as regards government by connexion, and as a means of checking the opposition with which his plans were often received by Newcastle and his friends, it is certain from later events that the king and Bute were not sincere in their dealings with him. They designed to raise dissension between him and his fellow-ministers, and so prepare a way for Bute's assumption of office and for the termination of the war. As early as January 18, 1761, when Newcastle was sufficiently frightened and humbled, the Sardinian minister, Count de Viri, one of Bute's tools, had a secret interview with him, and proposed that the earl should be made a secretary of state. Newcastle, who was mortally afraid of Pitt, said that the appointment must be made with his concurrence, for otherwise Pitt might blame him, and might perhaps resign office and leave him and Bute saddled with the conduct of the war.[23]

Bute intended when in office to make a peace which would immortalise his name. He saw that this would soonest be obtained if England withdrew from the war on the continent and confined her operations to the sea. France would then be induced by the loss of her colonies to make a separate peace. Pitt was determined not to assent to any peace which was not made in concert with our allies and did not insure England a full return for her victories. Bute would have had the country stand apart from continental politics; Pitt desired that it should have continental allies and make itself felt in the politics of Europe. The two opposing views are characteristic of the two men. Pitt maintained that the continental war was profitable because it had hindered France from putting forth her full strength in defence of her colonies. Statesmanlike as his position was, there was much to be said on the side of the tories and others, who held that England should confine herself to a naval war. We have, they argued, no interest in a war for Silesia. Why should we pay Frederick L670,000 a year, the amount of the subsidy again granted to him soon after the accession, for fighting in his own quarrel? What profit do we derive from the L340,000 paid to the Landgrave of Hesse for the hire of troops? The naval war has brought a rich return; on the continent we have nothing to gain by victory. As for the argument that the German war is one of diversion, why should we divert a war from the sea, where we are supreme, to land, where we must necessarily be inferior to France? To fight in Germany for Hanover is to surrender the advantages of an insular position. Better let France overrun Hanover, for, as we shall possess her colonies, we can force her to surrender it again.

These arguments are ably stated in a pamphlet entitled Considerations on the German War, written by one Israel Mauduit, and published at the end of 1760. It had a strong effect on public opinion, and was followed by other pamphlets more or less on the same lines, and probably written at the instigation of Bute, for he employed and largely rewarded the services of pamphleteers. Their arguments were enforced by the growing expenses of the war and the difficulty of obtaining men for the army. The supplies granted for the year 1760 were L15,503,563; for 1761 they amounted to L19,616,119, the interest on which was to be paid by the continuance of the old taxes and a new tax of three shillings per barrel on beer and ale. The national debt of Great Britain and Ireland, which in 1755 was L72,505,572, entailing a charge for interest and expenses of a little over L2,500,000, amounted in 1760 to L102,000,000, with a charge of L3,500,000.[24] In 1761 the British troops serving abroad were thirty-nine regiments of foot and thirty-one of horse and dragoons; in all, 110,000 men, besides 60,000 German auxiliaries in British pay. In Germany we had about 25,000 men. At the same time sea-pay was drawn for 288 ships of various kinds and 80,675 men, the navy then consisting of 378 vessels, of which 285 were first to sixth rates.[25] Of these, 121 ships of the line with about 70,000 men were in active service. The call for men was very heavy in proportion to the population, and high bounties were offered for enlistment. Balloting for the new militia caused some riots in the north, specially at Hexham, where the miners fiercely attacked the militia, and forty-two men were killed and forty-eight wounded.


Before the king and Bute opened their campaign they insured support in parliament. Early in 1761 preparations were made for the general election. The court spread the idea that it was for purity of election; it was known that Newcastle's hands were tied, and it was expected that no money would be issued from the treasury. Nothing was less true. Corruption was rampant and the treasury issued large sums. George personally named candidates for boroughs belonging to the crown, to which the ministry had hitherto appointed, and otherwise took an active share in the arrangements. For the most part he worked through Bute, to whom Newcastle was forced to submit his lists of candidates that he might compare them with his own and decide who should be brought in. This was galling to the old minister, but he had already done much to forward the whig interest in the coming election, and flattered himself that "they [the court] had left matters too late for them to do any mischief".[26] In former elections the whigs used the resources of the crown to secure power for themselves; in this election the crown itself used its own means of corrupt influence. Private men followed its example. A new class of candidates appeared, men without party connexion or local interest, who had lately become rich, West India merchants, "nabobs" gorged with the spoils of the East, shareholders of the East India Company, admirals and others who had reaped a splendid harvest from the destruction of the commerce and shipping of France. The competition for seats was extraordinary; at Andover there were nine candidates. Constituencies which had long obeyed the orders of great landlords were no longer to be reckoned upon. No political question was exciting public interest, and the borough elections were decided rather by money than by measures. Bribery was carried to a preposterous height, and the new-rich bought seats as openly as they bought their horses. The borough of Sudbury went so far as to advertise itself for sale. Those who without political aims or connexions forced themselves into parliament by their wealth were peculiarly open to court influence. Newcastle's belief that the elections would secure his position was ill-founded; many members on whom he relied were ready to desert him at the bidding of the court. By the beginning of March, before the elections were over, the king and Bute were sure of the support they desired.

Bute was in a position which enabled him to take office and to begin to carry out the designs cherished by his master and himself, to bring the war to an end and to encourage the jealousy of Pitt's colleagues to such an extent that they would force him to leave them. He could be dispensed with as soon as peace was made, and without him the whig ranks could easily be broken up, for Newcastle could be crushed at any time. With Bute as an ally Pitt dominated over his fellow-ministers, who bore his yoke with rebellious feelings. If Bute came over to their side they could make a stand against him. Viri's secret negotiations on Bute's behalf gave them a chance not to be neglected. Newcastle, Hardwicke, and the Duke of Devonshire took counsel together, and Newcastle went to the king with a proposal that Bute should accept office. To this George, of course, readily assented. Pitt knew nothing of all this until the matter was settled.[27] On March 12 Holdernesse was dismissed. It was not a creditable business; four months before he had signified his readiness to make room for Bute,[28] and he received a present pension of L4,000 a year and the reversion of the wardenship of the Cinque Ports, which was at least equally valuable, as a reward for his complaisance. He was succeeded by Bute as secretary of state on the 25th.

At the same time Legge, the chancellor of the exchequer, who had refused to accede to Bute's wishes with regard to two elections, and was much disliked by the king,[29] was dismissed, and was succeeded by Lord Barrington, an honest man, with no strong political convictions, who was always ready to carry out the king's plans. Barrington was succeeded as secretary-at-war by Charles Townshend, a brilliant wit and orator, "the delight and ornament" of the house of commons,[30] a reckless and unstable politician, who was destined to bring evil on his country. A month earlier, one of Bute's adherents, George Grenville, the treasurer of the navy, a brother of Earl Temple, lord privy seal, and a brother-in-law of Pitt, was rewarded by a seat in the cabinet. He had considerable ability, great aptitude for business, and a thorough knowledge of parliamentary affairs, was a statesman of unsullied purity, public-spirited, hard-working and ambitious;[31] he was deficient in tact, had no generosity of mind, and was harsh, formal, and impatient of opposition. Newcastle's perfidy increased the ill-feeling between him and Pitt, against whom the new alliance was avowedly directed,[32] for at the time that Newcastle sold himself to Bute in order to gain his support, Pitt was becoming aware that the king was probably about to oppose his policy with respect to the war. Newcastle was delighted with the success of his trick, but he soon found that Bute slighted him, and that his power was going from him, for he was no longer allowed to control the patronage of the crown.[33] By treating him in this way the king and Bute kept him subservient. Bute aggravated the division between the ministers, and used Pitt's colleagues against him in the conflict which was impending on the question of peace and war. The history of that conflict is for convenience' sake deferred to the next chapter.


The satisfaction caused by the young king's gracious manners and respectable life was increased by his marriage. In 1755 his grandfather had proposed that he should marry a princess of the house of Brunswick, but abandoned the project in consequence of the opposition of George's mother. About a year before his accession George fell in love with Lady Sarah Lennox, a daughter of the late Duke of Richmond and sister-in-law of Henry Fox, a young lady of remarkable beauty. His attentions to her were continued after his accession. Fox and his wife, Lady Caroline, took care that he should have every opportunity of seeing her; and George, as he rode through Kensington, was charmed to find her in a fancy dress playing at hay-making in front of Fox's residence, Holland House. He went so far as to signify plainly to her that he meant to make her a formal offer of marriage.[34] Most inopportunely Lady Sarah broke her leg, and while she was laid up, the princess-dowager and Bute persuaded George to change his mind. They at once arranged a marriage for him with the Princess Charlotte, a daughter of the Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, and the marriage took place on September 8. The queen did not meddle in affairs of state; she bore fifteen children, and had many domestic virtues. On the 22nd the king and queen were crowned.

George's popularity was impaired by the influence exercised over him by his mother and Bute, which excited the ridicule of the higher class of society and the bitter feelings of the London populace. Bystanders sneered when they saw him on his way to visit his mother, and it is said that on one occasion he was insulted with a coarse jest. In Bute's case the idea that he was the royal favourite would alone have sufficed to make him hated. The term was generally applied to him. Yet he was not a favourite in the more odious sense of the word, for though the king showed him signal favour, their relations were rather political than personal. His nationality strengthened the dislike with which he was regarded. The jacobite troubles had increased the prejudices of the English against the Scots; they looked down upon them as a half-barbarous people, poor, and greedy to enrich themselves with the wealth of England. Scorn and indignation were aroused by the grants of honours and employments made to Bute's Scottish followers who came in great numbers to the court under his patronage. Bills were posted in London with the words: "No petticoat government! No Scotch minister! No Lord George Sackville!" Any unpopular measure was set down to Bute's advice. The beer-tax was believed to have been suggested by him, and provoked a disturbance in the theatre in the king's presence, which caused Bute much annoyance. He was yet to rise higher in the state, and to arouse more violent feelings of hatred and contempt.


[1] Mahan, The Influence of Sea Power upon History, pp. 318-19.

[2] Earl Waldegrave's Memoirs, p. 36.

[3] See, for example, "Memorandum of what past at Sir R. Walpole's house," Sept. 9, 1725, Add. MS. 32,687 (Duke of Newcastle's Papers), f. 155.

[4] Engl. Historical Rev., xvii. (1902), 678 sqq., an interesting article by Mr. Winstanley to which I am indebted.

[5] Add. MS. 32,914, ff. 171, 189; the order in the text is that of the manuscript, the names and offices within parentheses are supplied.

[6] His appointment about Nov. 16, Add. MS., u.s., f. 369; he appears as a "lord of the cabinet," Jan. 8, 1761, Add. MS. 32,917, f. 180.

[7] Add. MS. 32,929, f. 143; see also Engl. Hist. Rev., u.s.

[8] Dropmore Papers, iii., 337-38, 341-43 (Hist. MSS. Comm.); Earl of Malmesbury, Diaries, etc., iii., 465.

[9] J. Morley, Walpole, p. 157.

[10] From the Revolution the two principal secretaries of state took one the southern, the other the northern department. Both were responsible for home affairs. Foreign affairs were divided between them, the southern department including France, Spain, etc., the northern, Germany, the Low Countries, Denmark, Sweden, and Russia. A third secretaryship was established for the colonies in 1768, and abolished in 1782, when the distinction between northern and southern was discontinued and the secretaryships were divided into home and foreign.

[11] Newcastle to Hardwicke, March 6, 1764, Add. MS. 32,919, f. 481.

[12] Newcastle to Hardwicke, Oct. 26, 1760, quoted in Harris's Life of Hardwicke, iii., 215-16.

[13] Memoranda, Nov. 13, 1760, Add. MS. 32,914, f. 277.

[14] Bute to Newcastle, Nov. 16, ibid., f. 345.

[15] Add. MSS. 32,684 (Royal family), f. 121, and 32,914, f. 359.

[16] G. Rose, Diaries and Correspondence, ii., 189.

[17] Burke, "Present Discontents," Works, iii., 143, ed. 1852; May, Constitutional History, i., 236.

[18] Newcastle to Hardwicke, Nov. 7, 1760, Add. MS. 32,914, ff. 171-72.

[19] Chatham Correspondence, ii., 90.

[20] Newcastle to Duke of Manchester, Dec. 14, 1760, Add. MS. 32,916, f. 173; see also f. 322.

[21] Seasonable Hints from an Honest Man, 1761.

[22] Newcastle to Hardwicke, Dec. 7, 1760, Add. MS. 32,915, f. 332.

[23] Secret Memorandum, C. V. [Count de Viri], Add. MS. 32,917, f. 461.

[24] Parliamentary Paper, xxxiii. (July, 1858), 165, National Debt.

[25] MS. Admiralty Miscell., 567, The Progress of the Navy, R.O.

[26] Albemarle, Memoirs of the Marquis of Rockingham, i., 61-64.

[27] Secret Memoranda, C. V., Add. MS. 32,919, f. 285; see also ff. 314, 400, 402 sq., 477 sq., and 32,920, f. 66.

[28] Dodington's Diary, p. 416.

[29] Newcastle to Hardwicke, Feb. 10, 1761, Add. MS. 32,919, f. 43.

[30] Burke, "On American Taxation," Works, iii., 214.

[31] Burke, "On American Taxation," Works, iii., 197.

[32] Memoranda, Add. MS. 32,920, f. 65.

[33] Newcastle to Devonshire, July 11, 1761, Add. MS. 32,925, f. 10; see also ff. 155-56, 185, 235, Add. MS. 32,926, ff. 189-93, 284, 352.

[34] Life and Letters of Lady Sarah Lennox, i., 13, ed. Lady Ilchester.



By the beginning of 1761 France was anxious for peace, and in concert with her allies, Austria, Russia, Sweden, and Poland, invited Great Britain and Prussia to negotiate, and suggested that a congress should meet at Augsburg. England and Prussia assented, and plenipotentiaries were appointed. In England the prospect of a peace was hailed with satisfaction, and the funds rose 4 per cent. The congress never met, but the plan was not abandoned for some months; and Choiseul, the minister of Louis XV., sent a memorial to England proposing that, as difficulties would arise at the congress if the questions in dispute between England and France were debated along with the affairs of their respective allies, the two courts should enter on a separate negotiation. He offered to treat on the basis of uti possidetis, that is, that the possessions of both countries should be acknowledged as regards the conquests made by the one from the other, and that certain dates in the current year should be fixed upon as those on which the conquests should be ascertained. The offer was large; for at that time England had conquered from France Cape Breton, Canada, Guadeloupe, Mariegalante, Goree, and Senegal, and had also gained great advantages in India, though the fall of Pondicherry was not yet known; while France had only conquered Minorca from England. She had also, it will be remembered, gained insecure possession of Hesse, Hanau, and Gottingen. England agreed to a separate negotiation on the basis of uti possidetis, but Pitt would not commit himself as to the dates, for he was preparing the expedition against Belle Ile, and intended that England should not lose the advantage which would accrue from its success. He also declared that his court would not desert the King of Prussia. Choiseul replied that neither would France desert her allies, and that the negotiation only concerned the interests of the two powers. On this understanding the two courts sent representatives the one to the other; the English representative chosen by Pitt was Hans Stanley, and M. de Bussy was sent to London by Choiseul.

Soon after they arrived at their destinations Belle Ile was conquered. Pitt knew how deeply the national spirit of France would be wounded by this blow; he promised to restore the island if adequate compensation were made, and Choiseul professed himself willing to make important concessions. On July 15, however, he made proposals of a less favourable kind than might have been expected. They were, briefly, that France should cede Canada on certain conditions, one of which was that she should have liberty to fish in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and dry cod on the Newfoundland shore, and should have Cape Breton in sovereignty for a shelter for her ships, though she should not erect fortifications. She would restore Minorca, and should receive back Guadeloupe and Mariegalante; two of the neutral islands, Dominica and St. Vincent, should be under her protection, and of the other two she should keep St. Lucia and England should have Tobago. The rival claims in India were to be settled on the basis of a treaty of 1755, before the late English victories. England should restore either Senegal or Goree, for unless France had one of them, her West India possessions would be useless, as she would have no port for the shipment of negroes. Belle Ile was to be restored, and France would evacuate Hesse and Hanau. After preliminaries were signed England was not to help Prussia, nor France Austria, but France would not surrender the territories conquered from the King of Prussia, for they were conquered and held in the name of the Empress-queen. This stipulation was made in favour of Austria which had assented to the separate negotiation on condition that her interests were guarded. The proposals were of a kind to suggest doubts as to Choiseul's sincerity. As a matter of fact he was secretly arranging a strict alliance with Spain as a means of forcing England to make favourable terms.


Spain had three grievances against Great Britain. She complained that her ships had wrongfully been made prizes, that she was shut out from the Newfoundland fishery, and that British settlements had been made on the bay of Honduras. Charles III, of Spain had a strong leaning towards a French alliance; he was much influenced by the family tie between himself and the other Bourbon powers, and he considered that the destruction of the French navy by Great Britain deprived Spain of a guarantee for the safety of her possessions in the western hemisphere. He believed that by identifying the interests of Spain with those of France, he would gain a satisfactory settlement of his own claims and also better terms for France than she could otherwise obtain. As early as September, 1760, the Count de Fuentes, the Spanish minister in London, presented to Pitt a memorial on the Newfoundland fishery, in which it was stated that a copy had been communicated to the court of France. Indignant at the implied threat, Pitt replied that he was at a loss to understand the meaning of such a communication, and that France had nothing to do with the question.[35] A month later Dutens, secretary to the British embassy at Turin, sent him information which proved that the King of Spain would not long remain a passive spectator of the war.[36] Pitt was thus fully aware of the necessity for watchfulness as to the relations between France and Spain; the correspondence between Fuentes and the Marquis Grimaldi, the Spanish minister at Paris, was regularly intercepted and its contents communicated by Pitt to his colleagues. The two ambassadors were endeavouring to bring about an alliance between their king and Louis, and, on March 10, 1761, Fuentes wrote that "if this is done, at the end of the year we shall have a peace to our liking and France's," and that England would be compelled by "force and fear" to do justice to Spain. Pitt soon showed him and Choiseul how unsafe it was to reckon on English fear.

Along with the French proposals of July 15, Bussy presented Pitt with a memorial on the grievances of Spain, proposing that England should terminate her differences with that court, and declaring that the French king "cannot disguise the danger he apprehends, and of which he must necessarily partake if these objects which seem nearly to concern his Catholic majesty shall be the occasion of a war". Pitt was furious at this insult to his country and at once addressed Bussy in terms different from the ordinary language of diplomacy. He declared in plain words that the king would not allow the dispute with Spain to be blended in any manner whatever in the negotiation, and that any further attempt to blend them would be considered an affront. He returned the memorial as "wholly inadmissible".[37] In answer to the French articles he replied that Canada must be ceded unconditionally, and refused to surrender Cape Breton or to allow France any part in the fisheries. Both Pitt and Choiseul held the fisheries question to be of prime importance. If France were shut out from them, she would, Pitt believed, permanently be crippled as a maritime power, for apart from the value of the fish both for victualling ships and in commerce the fisheries were a nursery for a race of hardy seamen, and Pitt wished to prevent France from ever restoring either her merchant marine or her naval strength. The second crucial question in the negotiation concerned our allies. Pitt insisted that Frederick should receive back the territories conquered from him by France, and that both England and France should be free to help their allies. Determined to give France no commercial advantage, he refused to cede either Senegal or Goree. England must have Minorca, but would agree to an equal partition of the neutral islands, and would restore Belle Ile, Guadeloupe, and Mariegalante. He further rejected the date proposed as a basis for a peace in India.


Pitt kept the negotiation with Bussy in his own hands, and met opposition in the cabinet with haughty determination. Newcastle and his party were eager for peace, and, equally with Bussy, complained that the tone of his despatches was too peremptory. Bute resented what he described as Pitt's insolence.[38] Nevertheless the king and he considered the French proposals unsatisfactory and were annoyed by the memorial concerning the Spanish grievances, but Bute believed that patient negotiation would induce France to yield all that was in dispute. Accordingly, to Newcastle's consternation, he supported Pitt's demands. Pitt's strongest opponent was the Duke of Bedford, who was urgently summoned to the council by Bute and Newcastle when they wanted a champion against him. Upright and fairly able, Bedford owed his political prominence mainly to his rank and vast wealth; he was much addicted to sport and other pleasures, and allowed himself to be guided by a gang of greedy adherents of whom Rigby, a coarse and shameless place-hunter, was the chief. Pitt laid his ultimatum to France before the council on August 15. He had so far yielded to pressure as to offer France a limited right of fishing, and the island of St. Pierre as a shelter and port, provided it was kept unfortified. On the other crucial question his demand was unchanged; the Westphalian lands were to be restored to Frederick, and both parties were to remain free to help their allies. His despatch was considered needlessly irritating, but he would not allow a word to be altered. Bute would give no help against him. Bedford, who had a violent temper, was so angry at being overborne, that he declared that he would attend no more councils, and Newcastle was reduced to whining despair. By the 18th, however, Bute came to an agreement with the Newcastle faction and promised to help them against Pitt.[39]

Lord Bristol, our ambassador at Madrid, was instructed to remonstrate energetically with General Wall, the Spanish minister, on the subject of Bussy's memorial. He was to say that as regards the prizes there were courts whose business it was to decide such matters, that England would not allow Spain any share in the fishery, but was willing to receive representations as to the Honduras settlements, provided they were not sent through France, and that any union of counsels with France would hinder an amicable arrangement. He was, further, to demand an explanation of the naval preparations which Spain was making. He could obtain no satisfaction, and on August 31 sent Pitt a paper in which Wall declared that his master concurred in Bussy's memorial, and, while he protested that no offence was intended, maintained that Spain and France had a right to mix in the affairs each of the other "for mutual assistance". A declaration of war from Spain was, Bristol thought, not far off.[40] On September 2 Stanley sent Pitt a copy of what he believed to be an article of a secret treaty between France and Spain, and wrote that he was assured in Paris that Spain would immediately declare war, and that a treaty between the two powers only needed signature.[41] Intercepted letters between Fuentes and Grimaldi proved that a treaty had been signed between them on August 15. This was the famous family compact, the purport of which was not yet known in England. A fresh set of proposals was made by Choiseul, and Stanley was led to believe one day that peace was unlikely, and another that France would agree to terms and that "the affair of Spain would be dropped".[42] It became evident that Choiseul was trifling with England, and on September 15 the cabinet decided to recall Stanley forthwith.

Choiseul was anxious to avoid an immediate breach between England and Spain, both because Spain was expecting the arrival of her treasure-ships from America,[43] and also because her naval preparations were incomplete. Pitt, who was convinced that Spain was intending to declare war, was anxious to strike while so grand an opportunity lasted. A cabinet council was held on the 19th. He was not present, but sent in a paper signed by himself and Temple, urging that, in view of Wall's avowal of "a total union of counsels and interests" between the two Bourbon monarchies, Bristol should be ordered to return to England without taking leave, in fact, that war with Spain should at once be declared.[44] Unfortunately we had no casus belli against Spain, and could not found one on secret information. The council made a point of this, and voted that a declaration of war would neither be just nor expedient, but that Bristol should demand further and distinct assurances of the intentions of Spain. They knew that their decision would probably lead to Pitt's resignation, and held anxious discussion, for they were in great perplexity. Bute had hoped that peace would be made, and then Pitt might be got rid of. Things were turning out awkwardly. "If," he said, "we had any view of peace, he should be less solicitous what part Mr. Pitt took, but that, as the continuance of the war seemed unavoidable, he thought that we should do what we could to hinder Mr. Pitt from going out, and thereby leaving the impracticability of his own war upon us."[45] He and the rest of the council knew that Pitt could conduct the war, and that they could not. They agreed that peace with France might still be hoped for.


That belief was strongly held by the king, and he was delighted by a letter from Stanley holding out hope of peace.[46] George believed Choiseul's assurances, and was angry with Pitt for treating them as mere amusements. At a council on the 21st, Pitt, in an eloquent speech, pointed out "the almost certainty" of success against the united forces of the Bourbon monarchies, but, said he, "there is not an hour to lose". He regretted the concessions which he had been persuaded to make to France, and "was determined now to abide by his own opinion". The council adhered to its decision of the 19th. It was plain that Pitt and Temple would retire, and their colleagues discussed who should succeed Pitt.[47] George's spirits were dashed by another letter from Stanley expressing his belief that Spain was contemplating an attack on our ally the King of Portugal.[48] He could not conceal his ill-temper, and let it be known that he wished to get rid of Pitt "in all events".[49] He was soon gratified. Another cabinet meeting was held on October 2 to decide what orders should be sent to Bristol. Pitt took the same ground as before, and declared that his opinion had been strengthened by one of Grimaldi's intercepted letters. Granville, the president of the council, said that he was convinced that a declaration of war with Spain would neither be just nor expedient. Newcastle, Devonshire, and Hardwicke concurred. Bute said that such a war would be dangerous, and in any case should be put off as long as possible. Anson thought that our ships were not in a condition for it.[50] Mansfield feared that if England declared war against Spain the other maritime powers would think that she was set on destroying them all. Ligonier believed that Spain could put 70,000 men in the field; she had made "a great figure" in Queen Anne's reign, and might do so again, and she would be joined by Naples with an army of 20,000. Temple spoke on Pitt's side, and then appears to have left the council-room in anger.

Pitt spoke again. He had, he said, "been called by the sovereign, and in some degree by the voice of the people, to assist the state when others had abdicated". He had succeeded in spite of opposition, for hardly an expedition he had proposed, "though most probable and attended with the greatest success, had not beforehand been treated as chimerical and ridiculous". He knew the little interest he had either in council or parliament, but, said he, "the papers which I have in my bag" (meaning a letter from Bristol, and the paper which he sent from Wall) "fix an eternal stain on the crown of England, if proper measures are not taken upon them"; and he would not acquiesce in sending no answer to Spain. He was responsible, and he "would not continue without having the direction". No one could be surprised at his going on no longer, for he would be responsible for nothing but what he directed. Granville spoke some words of compliment to him, but protested against his claim to direct; when the king referred a matter to the council "the opinion of the majority must decide". The council rejected Pitt's proposal.[51]

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