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been taken at his word. Thus piteously complained the CHAP.
• •'a CXXXVH
ousted place-man to his confidant. "He answered me dryly
that if I resigned, the peace might be retarded, but he never requested me to continue in office, nor said a civil thing to me afterwards while we remained together." * Newcastle felt so wretched out of place, that a few weeks after he opened a negotiation for his return, upon the basis that he should freely renounce the Treasury, and be contented with the Privy Seal — an office without patronage — so that, at the same time, his friend the Earl of Hardwicke might be made President of the Council. Such was his borough interest that Lord Bute listened to the proposal, till upon consulting with the Secretary to the Treasury, and examining the probable votes in both Houses, it was thought the approaching treaty of peace was sure to be approved of by large majorities. Being finally thrown aside, the Duke went headlong into opposition, took part with Mr. Pitt, caballed in the city, anticipated nothing but disgrace from the pending negotiation with France, and resolved to storm the Treasury. Lord Hardwicke, as far as was consistent with the decorum of his own character, vigorously assisted him in this enterprise.
Parliament meeting on the 25 th of November, the pre- Preliminaliminarv articles of peace, concluded at Fontainebleau on the ries of
3d of the same month, were laid before both Houses, and on the 9th of December were debated in the House of Lords. f After rhetorical orations from the mover and seconder of an
* Duke of Newcastle to Lord Hardwicke, May, 1762. Adolph. i. 69. The ostensible dispute was about continuing the subsidy to the King of Prussia.
f It may be amusing to present to the reader a specimen of the parliamentary reporting of that day. This debate in the Lords being one of the most important and interesting which ever took place in that house, the following is the fullest account of it published in any journal or periodical work : — " The preliminary articles being read, Lord Wycombe moved an address of thanks to his Majesty. Many objections were made, and some severe reflections thrown out against the Earl of Bute, with appearances of heat and animosity. That nobleman defended his own conduct, with temper and decorum, in a well-connected speech, delivered with great propriety to the surprise of many, who did not think him so well qualified in the art of elocution. He gave a detail of the negotiation, and not only avowed himself a warm promoter of the peace, but even expressed a desire that his having contributed to the cessation of hostilities should be engraved on his tomb. He was seconded by the Earl of Halifax, and supported by a great majority. — 15 Pari. Hist. 1252. Fortunately we have a sketch of the debate in the handwriting of Lord Hardwicke, which I have made use of.
r CHAP, address of thanks to his Majesty, Lord Bute spoke with
much more than his usual ability, entering at length into the
whole course of the negotiations for peace, dwelling upon the terms that had been offered by Mr. Pitt, and contending that those actually concluded were, under all the circumstances, as favourable, and ought to be considered satisfactory by the country. He was answered by Lord Hardwicke in a speech which, considering the difficulties of his situation, displays great talent and dexterity. The criticisms on the several articles have ceased to be interesting, the public, without minute inquiry, having acquiesced in the conclusion, that the peace was not a bad one, although, if hostilities had been commenced at the proper time against Spain, the house of Bourbon might have been more effectually humbled, and might have been disabled from taking part against us in our impending disputes with our colonies. I shall, therefore, give only a few extracts from his speech which touch on more general topics: "I was in hopes that, after so successful a war, and particularly the great advantages gained over the enemy during the present year, a plan of peace would have been produced which would have been satisfactory to all lovers of their country; but rashness and precipitation have marked the negotiation on our part; we have proclaimed that we would have peace at any price or sacrifice; our opponents were made aware that this object was necessary to the party now in power, and the result can only give pleasure to those who regret our victories and envy our greatness. There is one part of the address in which I can most heartily concur — the dutiful professions and assurances given to his Majesty. Convinced, from the bottom of my heart, that no prince ever ascended the throne with more virtuous and public-spirited disposition, with greater love for his people and zeal for their happiness, with greater purity of mind and uprightness of heart, untainted even with a wish for any hurtful power, nay, filled with a detestation of it." He was most successful in his complaint of the preliminary articles being laid before Parliament, that an opinion might be asked upon them; whereas, he contended, that, according to precedent and constitutional propriety, the Crown oucrht to act upon the responsibility of its ministers CHAP.
till a definitive treaty of peace is concluded. "Is the Par-
liament," he said, "to judge of these preliminaries, article by Lord Hardarticle, and to propose variations and additions? God forbid! 'Tis the prerogative of the Crown to make war and peace. against the The ministers of the Crown are to act in such matters at pcace" their peril. But in this instance the Crown has not yet executed that prerogative. No definitive treaty is made,—consequently no peace is made. We have only the heads, minutes, or notes, of a proposed arrangement between the two nations, by which neither party is bound. In this state of things Parliament ought not to be called upon to interpose. It may be said, that the strong approbation and applause which ministers ask by this address will strengthen their hands in making the definitive treaty. But I assert the direct contrary. I do not say so affectedly, and to maintain the proposition of a day; but I am really and seriously of opinion, that by this course of proceeding you disable them from doing that right to the King and to the nation for wlnch, I make no doubt, they are solicitous. All Courts know that an English ministry treats with them under the inspection and animadversion of Parliament. This is a shield of defence to our negotiators against many demands, —a weapon in their hands to enforce others. If they are able to say, 'We cannot do this or that; the Parliament will not support us? a power that wants a peace from you, which is now the case of France, will give submissive attention to that argument. Many material stipulations require to be ascertained, explained, extended, added, or altered, before these preliminaries assume the form of a national compact. But if Parliament sanctions all in the gross, can you expect to succeed in any point which you have to make? It will be well known on the other side of the Channel, that Parliament cannot retract its approbation without stultifying itself, and without upsetting the administration. The noble and skilful person at present his Majesty's ambassador at Paris *, when any difference now arises, will talk to the winds. The French minister will laugh in your face, and tell you that 'you are not in earnest, for Parliament has approved of these articles; • The Duke of Bedford.
vxxxv'i nmst rest contented with them as they now stand, and
1 with our interpretation of them.'"
Lord Granville, who had chiefly directed the negotiation, and was expected to take the lead in defending the preliminaries, was recently dead, and there was no one to answer these arguments; but whether they influenced any noble Lord's opinion, it was quite certain that they would influence no vote, and Lord Hardwicke found himself so weak in numbers that he did not venture to divide the House, or Feb. 10. even to enter upon the Journals a protest against the address.* No material inconvenience arose in this case from the parliamentary discussion of the preliminaries; the definitive treaty of Paris having been satisfactorily concluded on the footing of them, and, notwithstanding Lord Hardwicke's objections, the same course of proceeding has since been adopted on similar occasions. Indeed, he was guilty of a fallacy in representing a preliminary treaty of peace as a mere projet from which either side may draw back, for it terminates hostilities, and by the law of nations, as far as it goes, it is binding on the parties, although there be certain points between them which remain to be adjusted.
I discover no trace of any debate in the House of Lords on the Definitive Treaty, and the only other speech which we know of Lord Hardwicke having delivered there, was on the 28th day of March, 1763, against the very obnoxious bill for levying a duty on cider in the hands of the Lord Hard, maker. We have here again a proof of his indefatigable speech industry on all occasions which (be it ever remembered) was against the tne great cause of his extraordinary success in life. There
Cid^r Bill. D . . . , * •
are extant in his own handwriting, notes tor a very elaborate philipic against this tax. I shall give a few extracts, which I think are more interesting than a finished oration: —
"Shall go upon two great lines of this bill:
1. I look upon it as an extension and application of the excise laws to improper objects.
2. 1 look upon it as an additional land-iax upon the cider counties.
All former laws; the plan of the Excise — confined to some particular
• In the other house, after Mr. Pitt's famous tilting speech of three hours and a half, although he was obliged to go away from illness, the opponents of the peace were more adventurous; but they could only muster 65 against ,11!>.
or occupations Do not extend to any sub|ect who may happen to do a par- CHAP.
ticular act in the course of his family affairs. CXXXVH.
Such persons give their names ; — voluntarily subject themselves to such laws
as arc or shall be, &c.
Such dealers have shops, warehouses, outhouses, &c. distinct.
In this case every person who makes any quantity of cider above, &c. is subjected.
This arises from laying the tax upon the maker, and not on the first buyer or retailer; and in this the present bill departs from tile principle on which excises were admitted &c." *
He still goes on with his first point at considerably greater length, and then takes up the second of " the land tax on the cider counties," with equal minuteness, bringing forward statistical facts, and trying to show on principle, that such taxes fall upon the producer— not upon the consumer. Wc can only judge of the actual speech by the effect it produced, for it was attacked by the heavy artillery of Lord Bute. He rose to reply, and his delivery on this occasion was so particularly slow and solemn that Charles Townsend, standing on the steps of the throne, called out in an audible whisper, "minute guns!"^ These might be considered as announcing the funeral of Lord Bute's ministry. The cider bill passed, but it added so much to the unpopularity accumulated upon him, and upon his countrymen, by the dismissal of Mr. Pitt, by the inglorious peace, by the royal favouritism on which his administration rested, by Churchill's "Prophecy of Famine," by Wilkes's "Dedication to the new edition of the Fall of Mortimer," and by the same unscrupulous writer's "North Briton," which had now reached the fortieth number, that the premier suddenly resigned, and was succeeded by George Grenville. The nation believed that he long continued secretly to direct all the measures of the Court. This
* Lord Hardwicke seems to have furnished one of the topics for the cele- April 23. brated No. 45. of the North Briton, published soon after, — which, commenting 1763. on the King's speech recommending a " spirit of concord," thus inveighs against the cider tax: "Is the spirit of concord to go hand in hand with the peace and excise through this nation? Is it to be expected between an insolent exciseman and a peer, gentleman, freeholder, or farmer, whose private houses arc now made liable to be entered and searched at pleasure? Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, and in general all the cider counties, are not surely the several counties which are alluded to in the speech. The spirit of concord has not gone forth among them, but the spirit of liberty has, and a noble opposition has been given to the wicked instruments of oppression."
f Charles was very impartial between him and the Duke of Newcastle, who were both his near relations, saying, " Silly fellow, silly fellow! I think it is as well to be governed by my uncle with the blue riband, or my cousin with a preen one." ^