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CHAP, situation of the King, and distressed state of the country, he

would cheerfully take any office in which it might be

thought he could be useful." His name and experience were likely to be of great benefit to Mr. Pitt at this moment,—particularly as Lord Temple, after holding the Seal of Secretary of State for a few days, had thrown it up. The presidency of the council, with high rank, and little work, was thought the post which would be most suitable and agreeable to Lord Gower. He was accordingly appointed to it, and held it during the stormy session which ensued, when the young minister, supported by the King and the nation, fought his gallant fight against the combined bands of Tories and Whigs who had vowed his destruction. Dec. 1783. Although the rejection of the India Bill by the Lords had put an end to the " Coalition Ministry," there was perfect tranquillity in their House for the rest of the session, while the storm was raging in the House of Commons—insomuch that Lord Camden, although prepared to support the new administration, had ^*r,ch' no occasion to come forward once in their defence. When the session was closed by a prorogation, and Parliament being dissolved, the people pronounced decidedly against the CoaMay, 1784. lition, Mr. Pitt's difficulties were over, and he was in the proudest situation ever occupied by a minister under an English sovereign. Lord Cam- Lord Gower's assistance might now have been dispensed den waives wit{, Dut nis taste of office had pleased him, and he felt no

his claim t / t r. *

to the office inclination to withdraw again into private life. Lord Camden President would not put the Government to any inconvenience by an in favour impatient desire to resume his office, and during the recess Gower! ne paid a long visit to Ireland, with the double object of of seeing his favourite daughter, and of acquiring information to enable him to assist in carrying the important measures which the minister was about to bring forward for the establishment of a free trade between the two countries.

While there he wrote the Duke of Grafton the following letter on Parliamentary Reform, giving a most interesting view of the state of public feeling among the Irish, after they had obtained "independence:" — 1784 1 3 "^ere i8 one question which seems to have taken possession of the whole kingdom, and that is the reform of par- CHAP. • CXLVI liament—about which they seem very much in earnest.

Those who wish so much for that reformation at home, Letter from cannot with much consistence refuse it to Ireland, and yet Lord Cam. their corrupt parliament must be considered the only means state of we have left to preserve the union between the two countries. Ireland, But that argument will not bear the light, and no means ought in my opinion to be adopted too scandalous to be avowed. I foresaw when we were compelled to grant independence to Ireland the mischief of the concession, and that sooner or later a civil war would be the consequence—a consequence ruinous to England but fatal to Ireland, for she must at all events be enslaved either to England or France. This people are intoxicated with their good fortune, and wish to quarrel with England to prove their independence. Big with their own importance, and proud of their ' Volunteers,' they are a match, as they imagine, for the whole world. But as Galba describes the Romans, —' Nec totam servitutem pati possunt, nec totam libcrtatem.' This misfortune would never have happened if our government had not been tyrannical and oppressive."

On Lord Camden's return to England, a negotiation was Negotiaopened for his restoration to the Cabinet. He consented on J!^TM f°ram the condition that an effort should be made that his old den's return chief, the Duke of Grafton, might join the administration. ^^f' Mr. Pitt was pleased with the proposal, for he still professed Duke of himself to be a stout Whig, and he wished to have some jom^headcounterbalance in his government to the Sidneys, the Gowers, mimstraand the Thurlows. The plan was to transfer Lord Gower to '0nthe Privy Seal, and to make Lord Carmarthen resign his office of Secretary of State. Lord Camden thus writes to the Duke of Grafton, giving him an account of the negotiation : —" Mr. P. told me he had mentioned to Lord G. Sept. 29. his wish that he would consent to exchange his office for the 1784' Privy Seal, and believed he should find no difficulty in obtaining that compliance; that he had not yet found an opportunity of sounding LJ C, as it was not easy for him to make such a proposal as might tempt him to retire from his present situation, but that it was upon his mind, and that

328

CXLVI ^0ur ^Tace 88 we^ as myself might be assured the very

moment any vacancy in the Cabinet could be procured that

your Grace would condescend to accept, it should be done. I must do Mr. Pitt the justice to say he expressed as earnest a desire as myself to a close and intimate political conjunction with your Grace, and saw clearly the great utility of the Cabinet having so clear a Whig complexion as our accession would give it."

nM13 ^n a 8u08e<luent letter, Lord Camden, after speaking of the negotiation for the resignation of Lord Carmarthen, says, "If that difficulty is removed, I should hardly allow your Grace's plea of disability, or fear to undertake so arduous an employment, to have the weight of an insurmountable objection. If that was sufficient in your Grace, who are now in the very vigour of your age and the ripeness of your understanding, to warrant a refusal, what can be said to me, who am in the last stage of life, when both mind and body are in a state of decline, and are every day tending towards total incapacity? In reality, such is my backwardness to embark in business, that nothing but the comfort of your Grace's support and cooperation could have prevailed upon me to alter my determined purpose (for so it was till I was over-ruled) for final retirement. And I am afraid, if I know my own feelings, I should perhaps be pleased at my heart, and almost thank your Grace, if you should, by withdrawing yourself, give me an honest excuse for breaking off. — I have read the Dean of St. Asaph's trial, and confess I have seen nothing libellous in the paper, and am, besides, more displeased with Judge Buller's behaviour than I was formerly with Lord Mansfield's. Something ought to be done to settle this dispute: otherwise the control of the press will be taken out of the hands of the juries in England, and surrendered up to the Judges." Lord Cam- It was found impossible to prevail on Lord Carmarthen to to"esumeS retire. This disappointment Lord Camden communicated in office with- a letter to the Duke of Grafton, in which, after stating that

out the ,, . . ' . . _ . °"

Duke of no vacancy could then be made for him in the Cabinet, he Oct^" thus proceed8: "And now, my dear Lord, what part does it 1784. become me to take9 I don't ask your advice, because I have taken my part already, and have agreed to come in \ but I will state my own difficulties, and the true reason that Chap. prevailed upon me, at last, to accept. I am more averse CXLVI. than ever to plunge again into business in the last stage of my life. I do not like the Cabinet, aa composed: the times are full of difficulty, and the C. not much inclined to persons of our description. Add to this, my own aversion to business, now almost constitutional from a habit of indolence; and, above all, the want of your Grace's support, the only circumstance that made me enter into this engagement after I had, over and over again, given a positive denial. These, you must allow, were weighty considerations; and yet, though I was fairly released by Mr. Pitt's failing to make that opening he had engaged to make, and your Grace's postponing your acceptance till the end of the session, yet, when I considered that Mr. Pitt would be cruelly disappointed, and perhaps, in some sort, disgraced upon my refusal, after he had engaged Lord Gower to exefiange his office, and that I was pressed in the strongest manner by all my friends, and more particularly by your Grace, who was pleased to think my coming forward would be useful to the public, and help to establish the administration, I took the resolution to vanquish my reluctance, and to sacrifice my own ease to the wishes of other men."

It was still some weeks before the arrangement was com- Nov. 2q. pleted, and then Lord Camden, after informing the Duke of Grafton that Lord Gower had at last actually exchanged the den's views Presidency of the Council for the Privy Seal, adds: — "I am f" r^urn" now called upon to fill up the vacancy. I go to it with a heavy office, heart, being separated from your Grace with whom I had intended to have closed my political life, — iterum mersus servilibus undis, at a time of life when I ought to have retired to a monastery; but as the die is cast, I will go to the drudgery without any more complaining, and do my best; as I have lost all ambition, and am happily not infected with avarice, and as my children arc all reasonably provided for according to their rank and station, I can have no temptation to do wrong; and therefore though, in my present situation when I do not ask the employment but am solicited to accept it, I might, after the fashion of the world, put some price upon

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myself, I am determined neither to ask nor to accept any favour or emolument whatever for this sacrifice of my own

Lord Camden again President of the Council.

June 18. 1785.

Opposition to Mr. Pitt's resolutions for allowing free trade with Ireland.

"I have employed myself of late in examining with some attention the proceedings of the Court of King's Bench in the libel cause of the Dean of St. Asaph, thinking it probable it might have been brought by writ of error into our House; but they have taken care to prevent that review by arresting the judgment, and so the great question between the Judge and the jury in this important business is to go no further, though it is now strengthened by a solemn decision of the Court, which never happened before. This determination in my poor opinion strikes directly at the liberty of the press, and yet is likely to pass sub silentio. The newspapers are modest upon the subject, because Mr. Erskine is not to be commended by one party, or Lord Mansfield run down by the other. Thus your €rrace sees that public spirit is smothered by party politics."

Lord Camden, notwithstanding some affectation of reluctance, very cheerfully resumed his office of President of the Council, and continued to fill it during a period of nine years, always co-operating most harmoniously and zealously with the "Heaven-born Minister," who, although he began to be nicknamed "Billy Pitt the Tory," and although his zeal for reform did cool considerably, cannot be accused of bringing forward any measure which a Whig might not have supported, till the aged Lord President had disappeared from the scene.

The session of 1785 was chiefly occupied with the measures to establish free trade with Ireland—which were so creditable to their author—the first English minister, who was a pupil of Adam Smith. However, they were furiously opposed by the English manufacturers, with Mr. Peel, the worthy father of our Sir Robert, at their head,—foretelling entire ruin to England if the laws against the importation of Irish manufactures were removed,—as, from the low price of labour, and the lightness of taxation in Ireland, cotton might be spun, muslin woven, and every sort of fabric finished there at an infinitely cheaper rate than in England; — so that if the pro

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