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friendship the most confidential return, and therefore I can- CHAP, not be wholly without suspicion that his Lordship means to take a line, and pursue a system, not likely to meet with your Grace's approbation; and if he does, I am not surprised at hia reserve: for where there is a fundamental difference of opinion there can be no confidence. However, I will not suffer my suspicions to operate with me till I have demonstration by facts. Lord S. continues to make professions of adhering to those principles we all avowed upon the first change, and he has pledged himself publicly to support them — in which respect it is but reasonable to wait some time for the performance of his promises. At the same time I do readily admit your Grace's dignity, rank, and former situation require something more, and you ought not, as Duke of Grafton, to submit to so under a part with the Earl of Shelburne as to be Privy Seal without confidence. But considering the perilous condition of the public at this conjuncture, I should be much concerned if your Grace was to take a hasty resolution of retiring just now, because your retreat would certainly be followed by other resignations, and would totally unwhig the administration, if I may use the expression *; and this second breach following so quick upon the first, would throw the nation into a ferment. It will not be possible when the parliament meets for Lord S. to conceal or disguise his real sentiments; and if it should then appear that the government in his hands is to be rebuilt upon the old bottom of influence, your Grace will soon have an opportunity of making your retreat on better grounds than private disgust.
"I am not more fortunate than your Grace in sharing his Lordship's confidence. Yet, though 'I am bound only for three months,' and have the fair excuse of age to plead, I would not willingly risk the chance of any disturbance at this time by an abrupt resignation, but would rather wish if such a measure should hereafter become necessary to take it
* The only other occasion I recollect of this word being used was when Mr. Fox, on the King's illness, having contended that the heir apparent was entitled as of right to be Regent, Mr. Pitt said," For this doctrine I will'unu hiq' him for the rest of his days."
VOL. V. Y
in conjunction with others upon public grounds. I am, besides, but too apprehensive that more than one of us will be ripe for it, perhaps before the Session. Lord K, I know from certainty, will quit after the campaign. The D. of K.'s discontent is marked in his countenance; and if the Whigs should desert, neither G. C, nor Mr. Pitt, nor even Mr. T., would have the courage to remain behind. I do not, my dear Lord, conceive it possible that a cabinet composed as ours is can be of long duration; especially if Lord S. confines his confidence to one or two of those possibly obnoxious to the others. I have had a long friendship for the Earl, and cannot easily be brought over to act a hostile part against him, and for that, as well as other reasons, cannot help expressing my own wishes that your Grace may wait a while; at least till you have received most evident conviction of his indifference to your opinions and assistance." *
The Duke of Grafton says: "Lord Camden's advice prevailed, and I readily acquiesced in his opinion on this occasion, as I was always inclined to do on most others." * Thus harmony was restored, and Lord Shelburne's government went on with some vigour till the preliminaries of peace were signed.
Mr. Fox and Lord North, by their ill-starred union, having then obtained in the House of Commons a large majority, and passed a vote of censure on the terms agreed to, parties were thrown into a state of unexampled confusion. Lord Shelburne was still unwilling to retire, and hoping to create a difference between the chiefs associated for his overthrow, meditated to form a coalition himself either with the one or the other of them. Meanwhile his colleagues strongly pressed him to resign. The Duke of Grafton demanded an audience of the King, and acting singly, though with the approbation of Lord Camden, surrendered the Privy Seal into the King's hands, on account of his disagreement with the head of the Cabinet. His Grace, after relating his conversation with George III., gives a very lively sketch of the state of the ministry at this time: "Previously to my going to
Journal, Aug. 1782.
St . James's, Lord Camden called on me, and imparted all CHAP.
that he found himself at liberty to say of a very serious
conversation he had that morning with the Earl of Shel- state of burne, who had sent for Lord Camden, as he now and j^6sJ,TM" then did when he found himself in difficulties, and on this before the occasion to consult Lord Camden on the part it became formation of
r . the"Coali
the Earl to take. The substance of Lord Camden's advice tion was decisive, and nearly this: that Lord Shelburne should mirastryretire, as unfortunately it plainly appeared that the personal dislike was too strong for him to attempt to stem with any hope of credit to himself, advantage to the King, or benefit to the country; that he had it in his power to retire now with credit and the approbation of the world, for whatever the acts and powers of united parties had expressed by votes in parliament, &c, still the nation felt themselves obliged to him for having put an end to such a war by a peace which exceeded the expectations of all moderate, fair-judging men. Lord Camden further said to his Lordship, that he might add lustre to his retreat by prevailing on the King to call on the body of the Whigs to form an administration as comprehensive as could be. Lord Camden went further by saying, that if Lord Shelburne could not be prevailed on to take either of the steps which would give him most credit with the world, and that he was still from engagement or inclination instigated to stand as minister, he had nothing better to advise than that his Lordship should, with manly courage, avow a close Lord Sheljunction with Lord North's party, if he could so manage d°taTMsa"e it. This, indeed, might enable his Lordship to carry an coalition administration which a middle way and a partial junction NorthL°r<1 never would effect. Lord Camden added, that he thought the last scheme to be that which ought, if possible, to be avoided. I observed to Lord Camden that I was clear, notwithstanding the advice, that Lord Shelburne preferred it to all the others, and that such would be his decision. The object of sending for Lord Camden, I believe, was with the hopes to draw him into his opinion if he was able, and by no means to take his advice unless it could be made to coincide with the part he was decided to take, though he
CHAP, did not perceive that it was now too late for his plan to
'succeed. Lord Camden freely acquainted Lord Shelburne
that he could not remain at any rate, that the whole was new modelled, and that he must claim his right of retiring at three months, and which had been stipulated at Lord Rockingham's death. Lord Camden urged to him strongly the propriety of his coming to his decision before two days were expired: the other inclined to see the event of as many months. — On the 21st, Lord Camden called on me in the morning, and after much lamentation on the alarming state of public matters, he told me that he was fully determined to quit his office, but that he should take every precaution to make it particularly clear that his resignation should not be interwoven with Lord Shelburne's retreat: he was anxious that his Lordship's conduct on the present occasion should neither guide his in reality, nor in appearance. Lord Camden's decision pleased me much, as I told him, for his character entitled him to take his own part whenever he thought the ground good and honourable, without being actuated by the decision of any person whatever." Short tri- Lord Camden accordingly resigned in a few days after, and
umph of Mr. Fox and Lord North remaining steady to their engageMr. Fox . . .
and Lord ments, notwithstanding all the attempts which were made to '^CoaH disunite them, Lord Shelburne was obliged to retire, — the tion." cabinet was stormed, —and, for a brief space, the "Coalition
Ministry" was triumphant. Lord Cam- Lord Camden now went into violent opposition, and listed positionP D'mself under the banner of the younger Pitt, delighted to recognise in him the brilliant talents and the lofty aspirations of the friend of his youth, his political patron, and the associate of his old age — with whom he had long fought the battles of the constitution.* Dec. 9. When Mr. Fox's India Bill, after its most stormy passage through the Commons, at last reached the House of Lords, it was violently assailed by the Ex-chancellor, who de
* It might truly have been said of Lord Chatham and Lord Camden, that in many "a glorious and well foughten field they kept together in their chivalry."
nounced its principle as being an arbitrary infringement of
the property and the rights of the greatest company in the [
world. "This bill," he said, "was tantamount to a com- Lord: Cammission of bankruptcy, or a commission of lunacy against den's speech them: it pronounced them to be unable to proceed in their Fox's India trade, either from want of property, or from want of mental BUIcapacity. The only argument for this violent measure was that of necessity — which had been used by the worst kings and the worst ministers for the most atrocious acts recorded in history. The only necessity for the bill was that ministers might preserve their power, and increase their patronage. The author of the bill was himself to appoint to every office in India. The influence of the Crown had been, to a certain degree, curtailed by late reforms, but now it would be infinitely greater than when one section of the present government had beaten the other on the resolution that 'the influence of the Crown had increased, was increasing, and ought to be diminished.' He lamented the death of the Marquis of Rockingham, who, had he survived, would have adhered steadily to the doctrines of Whiggism, and he lamented still more deeply that some of those who called themselves his friends, should now favour a measure so inconsistent with the principles which it had been the labour of that great man's life to establish." *
The bill being rejected in the House of Lords by a Coalition majority of 95 to 76, the "Coalition Ministry" being dis- 3"TM^°"'' missed, and William Pitt, at the age of twenty-four, being Pitt prime made prime minister, it was expected that Lord Camden mmi8terwould immediately have resumed his office of President of Dec. 19. the Council,—and this would have happened had he not Cam waived his claim, that he might facilitate the new arrange- den for ments. Earl Gower, afterwards Marquis of Stafford, some *TMe
3 1 m supports
although he had never had the slightest intercourse with him with
Mr. Pitt, entertained a great admiration of his talents and out 0 cehis character, and sent him a message by a confidential friend, that "desiring to enjoy retirement for the rest of his life, he had no wish for any office, but that in the present
* 24 Pari. Hist. 190.