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Further account of Leicester House—The- two Princejses of Brunfwi.k in England—Observations— Mr. Fox resigns—Carte blanche offered to Mr. Pitt—Ministry changed—Mr. Pitt appointed Secretary of State—The King and Duke ivijbed to have kept Mr. Fox.
The nation was highly incensed by the losses of Minorca, of the sort of Oswego in America, and by some other defeats and miscarriages. The .appearance of the Hessians and Hanoverians in Ertglirid, served but to encrease the public indignation. A spirit of resentment, and of detestation of the ministers, pervaded every part of the kingdom.
Besides the frowning aspect of public affairs, there was another of a private, but not less alarming nature to the ministry. This was the 4 . . party at Leicester-house. The Prince's levees
house were crouded. Mr. Pitt, Lord Temple, and the party. Gienvilles, and many others, were frequently seen three. This gave the Lord Chancellor (Hard. ivickeJ and the Duke of Newcastle much concern.
Their wijh was now to get possession of the Prince. Accordingly they advised the King to send a message to his Royal Highness, offering him a suite of apartments at Sr. James's and Kensington
palaces. palaces. Had this step been taken in the year 1752, it might have been productive of the happiest emancipation. There would have been wisdom in the measure at that time: and it must have succeeded. But in 1756 it was too late: the blossom was off, and the fruit was set. Upon the receipt of this message, Leicester-house was thrown into the deepest consternation. The two Princesses of Brunswick, whom the King had last year invited to Hanover, were now in England.
We are yet ts>p near the time, to relate, with sasety, all the circumstances of this interesting affair.
There is such a delicacy prevails in England, observa. greater than in some arbitrary monarchies, con-ti°n3cerning the conduct of the Royal Family, that truth of them is usually suppressed, until it is forgotten. The justice of history is thereby perverted; and the constitution, in this important point, is literally and efficiently destroyed. The King of England is no more than the first magistrate. It is an office held in trust. And although the maxim is, that he can do no wrong, which is founded upon the presumption, that every privy counsellor, according to the Act of Settlement, signs the advice he gives; yet this law is not always observed, and if it were, all important matters are transacted in the King's name, and he assents to them. In whose name then are they to be scrutinized, examined, and canvassed? The adviser is seldom known.
Vol. I. M The
Chan The nation has unquestionably as deep an irrXIII. terestin the conduct of the Royal Family, as in "J3g/ the conduct of the Ministry. Will any body now fay, that the German measures in the reign of George the Second, were not the favourite measures of that King, or that they did not originate with him? If the free spirit of the constitution was sairly recognized, it must appear, that the conduct of the Royal Family, is, in every part of it, a proper subject for public disquisition. The people are interested in it; the welfare of the country is concerned in it. Even the female branches are called the children of the nation; and when they marry, their portions are taken out of the public purse. But lawyers say, the people can only know, and speak, by their representatives. If this legal opinion is well founded, the liberty of the press, which Englishmen sometimes esteem, but oftener betray, is a shadow, an ignis faiuus. Certain it is, that time serving judges, and timid juries, have made a deeper incision in the liberties of England, than all the arms of all the Stuarts. Some years ago it was a notion in Westminster-hall, that no person out of parliament, had a right to make observations upon the speech delivered by the King to his parliament. But after a little reflection and examination, this law notion was exploded; it was insupportable: it tended to establish a privileged vehicle of imposition upon the whole nation: than which nothing could be more unjust, nor more foreign to the British constitution. The people have a right to examine the conduct of
every cVety rflan in a public situation; and it will C&0. hastily bd cofttdnded, that they hard no interest XIV^ in that of' the Royal Family: Therefore in those '"TfteT cases, where the party i$ riot orily in the highest } elevation, but pofleslts the' greases? extent of' power, does nbtthe exercise 6( this right become" rriost essetltially their concern? To this delicacy; of something worse, is to be ascribed1, the general salsisication of all modern history. If the! reader will give himself the trouble to compare the anecdotes as this Work, with the histories1 of the times, he K'ill fee a manisest difference; and yet the writer declares, that he has not1 inserted a single word, which* in his judgment, is not1 founded in the purest veracity.
We will return to the sact before us. AU that Can with prudence, or impunity, be added at present is, the offer was not accepted *. Upon which something else Was talked of. But Lord Temple' and Mr. fitt "flood in the gap, and saved Leicester-bouses."
The Ministers having failed in their design; and being frightened at the storm of public indignation, which was ready to burst upon their heads, determined to resign. The Duke of New castle applied to Mr. Pitt. His Grace afiured him, the King was persectly agreeable to take
* A Princess of the House of Saxe Gotha was in the contemplation of the Princess of Wales. But the intention was' disapproved by a higher person.
f 1 hese are the concluding words of one of Lord T '»
letters, in which the particulars of this affair are stated; and* which, may, in a future day be published^ to shew the' grat'f' tude of certain peoplt.
M z him'
Chap. him into his service. Mr. Pitt answered him ***** somewhat abrubtly, that he would accept of no 1756. situation under his Grace. This was on the 20th of October, 1756. The King then desired the Duke of Devoijbire to go to Mr. Pitt, who was Cane at Hayes, in Kent, and offer him a carte-blanehe,
SfrPkt*>excePt as t0 Mr- F"** wnom 'he King wished to keep in his service. Mr. Pitt gave a positive resusal as to Mr. Fox. Ministry When Mr. Fox heard this, he immediately reresign. signeci: His resignation threw the Ministry into confusion; and distressed the King extremely. The Duke of Newcastle and the rest of his Majesty's servants resigned also. New Mi- At the earnest request of the King, the Duke nistry. Gf Devonshire took the Duke of Newcastle's place at the treasury; and again waited on Mr. Pitt at Hayes, with a message from his Majesty, requesting to know the terms upon which he would come into office. Mr. Pitt gave his arrangement. Himself to'be secretary of state. Lord Temple first lord of the admiralty. Mr. Legge Chancellor of the exchequer. The great seal to be in commission. G. Grenville, treasurer of the navy. J. Grenville a Lord of the Treasury, &c. &c.— The whole were accepted.
While this change of Ministers was in agitation, the King gave orders for the return of the Hanoverians to Germany. It was the King's resolution, to assemble an army for the desence of Hanover, early in the spring, and to give the command to the Duke of Cumberland. It was with this view, that the treaty with Hesse had