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arrangement destiné à durer perpétuellement sur tous les points qui avaient été mis en question.'
We will add another just and graceful tribute to Shelburne from the same writer :
• Le mérite d'avoir mis un terme à une lutte meurtrière entre des hommes d'une même parenté et d'un même langage, de l'avoir fait en se mettant au-dessus des préjugés, d'y avoir employé la modération, d'avoir agi par un désir sincère de la réconciliation, d'avoir cédé franchement à l'Amérique la jouissance de ses avantages naturels; enfin d'avoir poursuivi avec habileté un plan bien conçu à l'effet de gagner, par la liberté des transactions commerciales, une magnifique compensation pour la perte du monopole et l'abandon de la souveraineté ; ce mérite appartient à Lord Shelburne au-dessus des autres hommes d'Etat que la Grande-Bretagne possédait alors.' (Vol. ii. p. 208.)
Besides the pacification of Europe and America, Shelburne engaged in another enterprise which no Minister who consulted his own ease and safety would have attempted, and which in fact contributed materially to his fall
. He had drawn up an extensive scheme for the reform of the public service which, in consequence of the system of parliamentary management, had become a sink of jobbery and corruption. He thus raised up a host of enemies, which no Minister in those days could withstand. Even in the last hour of his Administration, Shelburne made an effort to carry through Parliament a bill to open the commercial intercourse between this country and the United States of America, in accordance with terms which had been settled by the British envoys at Paris and the American Commissioners. One of the first acts of the Coalition was to stop this excellent measure ; and the opportunity thus lost of establishing commercial relations with the United States upon the basis of free trade has never to this moment been repaired.
With the exception of one speech, in which he made a forcible attack upon the financial measures of Lord John Cavendish, Shelburne took no part in public affairs during the remainder of the session. Meanwhile a cloud of obloquy was gathering round the Coalition; and the first great measure which they brought forward was manifestly designed to secure themselves in power for a certain number of years, independent of the Crown and the country. By the principal provision of the East India Bill, the whole government and patronage of India was to be vested in seven commissioners, who were to remain in office for a fixed period of four years, and to be
• Bancroft's History, translated by M. de Circourt, vol. ii. p. 247.
appointed by Parliament. The effect of this provision was to enable the Minister who could command a majority of the House of Commons to maintain himself in power for four years at least without fear of disturbance. The bill, nevertheless, passed the Commons by a majority of more than two to one, and its passage through the Upper House was looked upon as a matter of course. The King, however, was determined to fight his Ministers with their own weapon. As they had made an attempt to encroach on the constitutional rights of the Crown, 80 did the King, in order to defeat that attempt, resort to an unconstitutional interference with the freedom of Parliament. He caused it to be intimated through Lord Temple to such peers as were willing to listen to such a communication, that he
should deem those who should vote for the bill not only not his « friends but his enemies.' The consequence was the rejection of the bill in the House of Lords by a decisive majority. The King, who never lacked courage and decision, was resolved to carry through the bold policy on which he had entered. Finding that the Ministers showed no intention of resigning on the day after the vote on the Indian Bill, the King sent at midnight a peremptory order to North and Fox to deliver up the seals, and to send them by the Under Secretaries, as the personal attendance of the Ministers themselves would not be agreeable to him. The seals were provisionally given to Lord Temple, who was also employed to write letters of dismissal to the other members of the Cabinet; but if that lord expected his Majesty's commands to form a new Administration, he was mistaken, for Mr. Pitt was immediately appointed First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer. His coileagues, with the exceptions of Lords Gower, Thurlow, and Sydney (Thomas Townshend), were men of no political mark or experience, and comprised not a single member of the Lower House. Though many were found to applaud the spirited insult offered to an overbearing cabal, there were few who seriously thought the new Ministry could last.
young man of five-and-twenty without any party following, even though he was backed by the whole power and influence of the Court, seemed to have little chance against the most powerful combination that had ever been arrayed in Parliament. The seals of office which had been taken from North and Fox, after many refusals, were accepted by Lord Sydney and Lord Carmarthen.
While Pitt found the greatest difficulty in persuading any man of note to join his Administration, it is a notable fact that he made no overture of any kind to Shelburne. If there was one man more than another to whom the young Minister might have looked for aid and counsel in the difficult enterprise which he had undertaken, it was his father's friend and his late chief; but it is certain that Shelburne was neither consulted nor invited to take part in the new arrangements. Historians of the reign of George III. have been unable to account for a slight apparently so wanton and ungrateful. The explanation, like that of many other mysteries, lies near the surface, and has been supplied by the research of Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice among the papers at Lansdowne House. There were several causes for the exclusion of Shelburne, neither of them separately insuperable but collectively of great weight. In the first place, the King was against him. It was his Majesty's habit to accuse every Minister of deserting him who could not carry through the policy of the Court; and he was especially incensed against Shelburne for abandoning him to the Coalition. Shelburne's offence had been aggravated by his absence from the division on the India Bill, after Temple had been instructed to signify his Majesty's pleasure.
The King's repugnance to a particular Minister, however, might have been got over, as it had been on former occasions, if the head of the Government had insisted on the appointment. But the real reason which decided Pitt not to offer office to Shelburne is to be found in the correspondence of their common friend Mr. Orde. According to Dundas, the excuse which Pitt made was that he felt a delicacy in offering office to a man under whom he had so recently held office himself. The truth was that he did not venture to weight himself with the load of unpopularity which, however unjustly, had attached to Shelburne. This was plainly expressed by Lord Sydney in a conversation with Orde:
He declared,' the latter wrote to Shelburne, in the strongest terms his own regard to your Lordship, and his sense of the obligations he lay under to you, which he was proud to acknowledge everywhere, and also his conviction that there never was a Minister who might be more depended on for spirit, ability, and steadiness, and for sacred adherence to all engagements in business. He lamented, however, the effect and absolute influence of prejudice, which at this moment prevented the applications which might otherwise have been made to you. He said that it was in vain to combat it. The prevalence of it would by degrees diminish and die away, but that at present it would not be much more alarming to many to bring Lord Bute forward. He touched also
Secretary of the Treasury, atterwards Secretary for Ireland, created Lord Bolton after his marriage with the natural daughter and heiress of the last Duke of Bolton.
upon another ground of apprehension, which affected some people, that your Lordship's known principle was to be absolute; that you was to absorb all power; and others were to act only as your puppets. He solemnly declared however, that he spoke not this, as conveying any feeling of his own, for he had found your Lordship everything he could have wished, in the conduct of the Administration. Without making any answer to this, I contented myself with expressing surprise, that no compliment should have been paid to you by any communication whatever of any plan or particulars of what was to be done. He could only, he said, desire me to consider the extreme difficulty and delicacy of doing it, when the conduct of the whole was not to be entrusted to you. My reply was of course much the same as I had made upon a like occasion to Mr. Pitt.' (Orde to Shelburne, Dec. 18, 1783.)
Shelburne, whose faults were of the grand order, free from any sense of petty personal resentments, wrote at once to Sydney assuring him that the Government should have his support. After the general election had resulted in the total rout of the Opposition, the main obstacle to Shelburne's return to office had been removed; but instead of office he was offered a step in the peerage; and the acceptance of this offer seems to have been considered by Pitt as an acquittance of Shelburne's claims upon the Government.
Shelburne, when he became Marquis of Lansdowne, though in the vigour of his years and the maturity of his experience, ceased to play a prominent part in public life. He never again held office; but his principles, as his biographer justly remarks, were adopted by Pitt, and the measures founded on those principles have raised the fame of Pitt far above the average level of successful parliamentary statesmen. Lord Lansdowne continued his support to the Ministry for the next three years, though he seldom attended Parliament. But in 1786, acting consistently on his principle of measures, not men,' Lord Lansdowne went down to the House of Lords, and opposed the India Bill with so much power that extraordinary efforts were made to assure its safety. A still more important difference took place a few years later. Pitt, departing from the policy of his father, considered the balance of power to be seriously endangered by the avowed intention of Russia to seize upon Constantinople, and resolved to resist it. Fox made one of his finest and most finished speeches against the Russian armament, as it was called, and Lord Lansdowne took the leading part in the Upper House in opposition to the scheme. For the first time since Pitt came into power Parliament hesitated in its implicit obedience to his will. The majorities fell off, a change of Ministry was even talked about, and Pitt was forced to abandon the enterprise which he had so rashly undertaken.
Warned by this failure, the Minister, whose strength lay in domestic administration, flattered himself that he might withdraw from the thorny paths of foreign politics and close the map of Europe. Yet at this very time, the French Revolution had begun, and England was on the eve of a war, the longest and the most hazardous of any war in which she had ever been engaged. The Crown and the Government seemed to require a firmer support than Mr. Pitt, aided only by a Cabinet of nominees, could afford. A negotiation set on foot by Lord Loughborough to bring back Fox and his friends came to nothing. The King on his own part made an overture to Lord Lansdowne, who replied by a long and confused paper on men and measures, from which a clearer intellect than that of George III. might have failed to extract the meaning. This attempt was, therefore, likewise a failure; and Mr. Pitt remained, strengthened by the abortive efforts to discredit and displace him. From this time his policy assumed a more decided tone. He offered an uncompromising opposition to the democratic doctrines imported from France, and sought to put them down by force of law. This policy produced an immediate effect upon the Opposition. Fox had vehemently committed himself to the extreme doctrines of the French Revolution. Burke had denounced them with all the resources of his rich and copious eloquence. One section of the Whigs, following the lead of Burke, formally gave in their adhesion to the Government; some of them taking office, and being thenceforth absorbed into the Tory party, which then resumed its distinctive form and organisation. The Wbig Opposition, which amidst the terrors and distractions of the times, still firmly adhered to their ancient principles, was almost annihilated. They could barely muster twenty votes in the Commons, and half a dozen in the Lords. Fox in the one House, and Lord Lansdowne in the other, were the leaders of this forlorn hope of freedom. Political adversity thus brought together the two public men who had hitherto been most consistent in their mutual hostility. The reconciliation of Lansdowne and Fox, if not personally cordial, was frank and lasting. When the King's illness, in 1801, seemed likely to end in a regency, Lord Moira was instructed by the Prince of Wales to consult Lord Lansdowne on the arrangements to be made in that event, and a Cabinet, including Lord Lansdowne and Mr. Fox as Secretaries of State, was agreed upon. But the King recovered, the Peace of Amiens was broken, and Mr. Pitt, who had temporarily withdrawn, resumed his post at the head of affairs. Fox admitted that the Opposition was now hopeless. Lord