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upon which he insisted. Shelburne, with whom North opened a communication on the subject through Mr. Eden, declared that · Lord Chatham must be the dictator;' that Chatham would consider any change insufficient which did not comprehend and annihilate every party in the kingdom, and that the whole Administration must be reconstructed. In this wide divergence, no basis of negotiation could be found.

After the death of Chatham in 1777, the small band of statesmen,' says Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice, which in his declining days still recognised him as their chief and now followed him to the grave, chose Shelburne as his successor at this peri• lous juncture.' But it is no disparagement to Shelburne to say that he had no pretension to the power and authority which was peculiar to Chatham. The dissensions in the Opposition, which Chatham could have silenced, were beyond the control of Shelburne, or any other Whig leader. Thus North was left without a rival; à result which perhaps no man deplored more sincerely than himself. With the Court, the Parliament, and the people all of one mind, and an Opposition neutralised by its divisions, the Minister was hurried along upon a course which his judgment disapproved. We need not dwell on the shameful events which followed in rapid succession—the military triumph of the insurgent Colonies ; British waters swarming with privateers, and her shores insulted with impunity by the foreign enemy; Ireland obtaining redress of grievances with arms in her hands; the metropolis itself threatened with destruction by an incendiary mob. All these things happened within three years after Chatham's death. At length the country was aroused. Public meetings were held—rare expressions of public opinion in those dayspetitions for reform of Parliament—the shape which public discontent now began to assume-poured into Parliament. The House of Commons became alarmed; and this assembly, which had for twenty years been the obsequious tool of the Court, hastily agreed to a motion that the influence of the • Crown has increased, is increasing, and ought to be dimin‘ished.' The want of common purpose and of united action among the members of the Opposition were the only obstacles to their return to power; but these obstacles seemed insurmountable. The Ministry were therefore left to complete the work of ruin in which they had been so long engaged ; and it was only when the great Colonial empire in America was irreparably lost that they were forced to retire.

In the spring of 1782, the Marquis of Rockingham became Prime Minister, with Shelburne, Camden, Cavendish, and


Charles Fox as his principal colleagues, upon the express understanding that the King would consent to acknowledge the independence of the revolted Colonies. The temporary pacification of Ireland by the recognition of her legislative independence-a measure which the experience of a few years proved to be impracticable-was, under the advice of Shelburne, the first act of the new Administration. At the same time an informal communication had been opened with Dr. Franklin, who was a member of the American Commission at Paris, through the medium of Mr. Oswald, a London merchant and the owner of extensive estates in America. Franklin, however, refused to move except in concert with the French Minister Vergennes, and Vergennes said he could not treat without the concurrence of the Northern Powers. This reception was not encouraging, but Oswald met the difficulty with a bluntness which no diplomatic skill could equal. He told Franklin that if England were driven to extremities by unreasonable demands, the whole nation would unite in continuing the war with the utmost vigour. Oswald returned to England to report the result of his mission, and brought with him a paper, or rather a memorandum, by Franklin, suggesting that the cession of Canada to the United States should be considered in framing proposals for a treaty. This paper, to which Shelburne attached so little importance that he did not think it worth while to show it to his colleagues, and which he docketed • as mere conversa• tion matter between Mr. O. and Mr. F.,' afterwards led to a serious misunderstanding. Upon Oswald's report the Cabinet determined that Oswald should return to Paris, and arrange with Franklin the terms of a treaty on the basis of a recognition by Great Britain of American independence; and that Mr. Fox as Secretary of State should submit for the King's approval the name of a proper person to make a similar communication to M. de Vergennes. In accordance with the last part of the Cabinet minute, Mr. Thomas Grenville was named to treat with the French Minister. The principle of this arrangement, which was to separate the connexion between France and America by proposing to each distinctly such terms as seemed most applicable to their respective interests, was not unpolitic. An alliance between an insurgent dependency and an ancient rival of the mother country could be founded only on purely selfish and temporary considerations on both sides, nor could such a bond of union be depended on one moment after either party had obtained his object. The Americans had no desire to continue the war for the purpose of forwarding the European views of French



ambition; nor was the old French monarchy animated by the love of freedom in supporting the American revolt. Shelburne's idea of detaching the Americans from their new friends by a separate and confidential negotiation, while the treaty with France was left to the ordinary forms of diplomatic agency, was wise and appropriate. But it had nearly been frustrated by an outbreak of that personal jealousy which was the bane of the Whig connexion.

A detailed account of the negotiations at Paris is to be found in the pages of Mr. Bancroft.* The American historian describes in vivid language the jealousies and differences which were apparent between the agent of Lord Shelburne and the accredited envoy of the British Government who represented the views of Mr. Fox, the Secretary of State. With the object of directing the negotiations exclusively from his department, Fox insisted that the recognition of the American States as an independent Power should be the preliminary to the treaty ; Shelburne, on the other hand, contended that the independence of the States should be only the basis of the treaty. The Cabinet adopted this view, and Fox, with loud complaints of the duplicity of his colleague, threatened to resign. While this indecent quarrel was at its height, Lord Rockingham died; and on the following day Lord Shelburne received the King's commands to assume the head of the Government. When this decision was communicated by Shelburne to his colleagues, the friends of the deceased Minister objected on the ground that any new arrangement ought to have originated with the recommendation of the King's principal advisers. In other words, the Rockingham party claimed the right of nominating the Ministers of the Crown. It is hardly necessary to point out the monstrous character of this pretension. It is an elementary principle of the Constitution that the nomination of the Executive Government appertains exclusively to the Crown; and though under the modern system of parliamentary government, the exercise of this power is indirectly under the control of the House of Commons, the insolent assumption of

* We have consulted the excellent French translation of M. le Comte de Circourt, who has been enabled to publish the despatches of M. de Vergennes and other foreign statesmen in their original language. On Mr. Bancroft's own impartiality we place no reliance, but he succeeded whilst he was in Europe in collecting a large amount of valuable diplomatic correspondence relating to the American War. This M. de Circourt has republished, and he has prefixed to it an introduction, or rather summary of the whole case, remarkable for its accuracy and insight into the history of the period.

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an irresponsible cabal to dictate to the Crown is a very different matter._Shelburne having accepted the post of First Lord of the Treasury, Fox immediately resigned, and was followed by the principal members of the Rockingham party, The adherents of Lord Chatham remained, as did Richmond and Keppel. Mr. Pitt, who already ranked among the foremost leaders in Parliament, became Chancellor of the Exchequer in the place of Lord John Cavendish, and the rising talents of Mr. William Grenville were recognised by his appointment as secretary to his relative Lord Temple, who became Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. The retiring Ministry went into violent opposition. Fox denounced Shelburne and his colleagues as 'men whom neither promises could bind, nor principles of honour could secure; who would abandon fifty principles for the sake of power, and forget fifty promises when they were no longer necessary to their ends.' Burke, as Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice acutely observes, “surpassed • himself in that bad taste which nearly invariably disfigured • his speeches, when persons and not principles were in question.'

' His speech, which was listened to with the utmost impatience, concluded by his asking Conway, whether, if he had lived in the time of Cicero, he would have taken Catiline upon trial for his colleague in the consulship, after he had heard his guilt clearly demonstrated by the great orator?

“Would he be copartner with Borgia in his schemes, after he had read of his accursed principles in Machiavel ? He could answer for him he knew he would not. Why then did he adhere to the present man? He meant no offence, but he would speak his honest mind. If Lord Shelburne was not a Catiline or a Borgia in morals, it must not be ascribed to anything but his understanding." ? (Vol. iii. p. 235.)

The dissolution of the Rockingham Administration removed the principal difficulties which impeded the progress of the negotiations at Paris. Mr. Thomas Grenville, the adviser of Mr. Fox, was succeeded by Mr. Fitzherbert, who had previously been the English Minister at Brussels, and Oswald was formally invested with plenary powers to conclude a peace with the American Colonies on certain terms, the principal of which was the absolute concession of independence. The policy of the French Minister, however, was still to delay the treaty between England and America, until the particular interests of France and Spain were secured; the common object of both being that England should be forced to give up Gibraltar. Shelburne, determined to put an end to these delays and dangers, instructed Oswald to give up all minor points, and, if absolutely necessary, to consent to a formal

acknowledgment of the independence without reference to the treaty. This straightforward and vigorous policy had the desired effect. Jay, the American commissioner at the Court of Madrid, who at one time had been the earnest advocate of a triple alliance between America, France, and Spain, was now altogether as eager for a separate treaty with England; this change of mind having been brought about by the opportune discovery that the French and Spanish Courts were agreed in denying the claim of the United States to the valley of the Mississippi. Jay went to Paris, and, without consulting Franklin, induced his colleague, Benjamin Vaughan, to go to England, for the purpose of forwarding a separate treaty with the United States. At the same time Rayneval was sent over by Vergennes to counteract the American envoy. In the difficult position in which he was thus placed-prepared to concede substantially all the demands of America, and proposing to conclude a general peace without making any real coucession to the great patrons of the young republic-Shelburne displayed the qualities of a master of the art of negotiation. Having insensibly drawn away the Americans from the concert with their allies, on which they had insisted as the indispensable condition of treating, Shelburne now sought in like manner to detach France from Spain and the Northern Powers. With a frankness which seldom fails to baffle professional diplomacy, Shelburne at once told the French Minister that he perfectly understood that the concession of American independence alone would not satisfy France; and he stated in plain language what he was prepared to give up, and what he meant to retain :--a couple of West India islands; an adjustment of the claims of the French on the coast of Africa and on the banks of Newfoundland; the abrogation of the clauses in former treaties relating to Dunkirk; and the settlement of the commercial relations between the two countries on a literal basis, were the principal concessions. A demand made by Rayneval for the restitution of the British conquests in India was peremptorily refused. A claim put forward by the French Minister on behalf of Spain for the cession of Gibraltar, and urged with much pertinacity, was likewise firmly resisted. Shelburne declared he would continue the war without hesitation rather than yield this point. •I have told the King * and the Cabinet,' said he, that as an English Minister I • have only three courses before me—to make war à outrance,

to conclude a peace, or to resign.' He went on to flatter the Frenchman by adding, that there were only three people whose agreement was necessary to secure peace-himself, Rayneval,

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