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Interview between Mr. Pitt and Lord Bute—Confe"* rences between the King and Mr. Pitt—Treaty of Connivance—Mr. Pitt at Court—His remark—' Lord Hardwickes conduft.
E ARLY in the month of August 1763, a circumstance happened, which threw the ministry into some disorder and perplexity. This was the sudden death of the Earl of Egremont. The ministers had rendered themselves odious to the nation by supporting the measures of the late administration, and the measures of the court, in the persecution of Mr. fVilkes. Notwithstanding Lord Bute had recommended them to their situations, as the bargain of his own escape ; yet he grew impatient under the proscription he bad imposed on himself; and apprehending that their removal would be received with satissaction by the public, he seized this opportunity, which the death of the secretary of state afforded, and the vacancy of the president's chair, which "had not been silled since the death of Lord Grenville, to form a new administration; not so much with a view of manisesting his influence, as of effecting his own emancipation. He fixed his attention upon Mr. Pitt. His wish was to form an administration under the auspices of that gentleman: For this purpose, he sent Harry Erjkine to^ Mr. Alderman Beckford, soliciting the Alderman's interest with Mr, Pitt, to procure an interview ^"^'^ for Lord Bute. The proposal was accepted, and 3ute, Lord Bute waited on Mr. Pitt, at his house in Jermyn-street, on 1 hursday the 25th of August, 1763. Lord Hardwicke, in a letter which he wrote to his son, Lord Royfton, gives the following account of this interview, and of Mr. Pitt's two conserences with the King; which took place >n consequence of it.
"Wimpok, Sept. 4*, 1763,
** I HAVE heard the whole from the Duke of New• castle, and on Friday morning de source from Mr. Pitt. It is as strange as it is long, for I believe it is the most extraordinary transaction that ever happened in any court in Europe, even in times as extraordinary as the present.
"It began as to the substance, by a message from my Lord B—1—e, to Mr, Pitt at Hayes, through my Lord Mayor, to give him the meeting privately at some third place. This his Lordship (Lord B.) afterwards altered by a note from himself, saying, that as he loved to da things openly, he would come to Mr. Pitt's house in Jermyn-street, in broad day-light. They met accordingly, and Lord B e, after the first compliments,
frankly acknowledged, that his Ministry could not go on,
and that the was convinced of it, and therefore he
(Lord B.) defired that Mr. Pitt would open himself frankly and at large, and tell him his ideas of things and persons with the utmost freedom. After much excuse and hanging back, Mr. Pitt did so with the utmost freedom indeed, though with civility. Lord B e, heard
with great attention and patience; entered into no defence ; but at last said, u If these are your opinions, why
* Sunday. ,
should you not tell them to the" himself, who wHl
*" not be unwilling to hear you ?"—How can I, my Lord,
'presume to go to the ———, who am not of his Council, nor in
his service, and have no pretence to ajk an audience? T&e
. presumption would be too great. «• But suppose his M y
*( should order you to attend him, 1 presume, Sir, you "would not refuse it."—The ——If command would stake it my duty, and I should certainly obey it.
"This was on last Thursday se'nnight*. On the next
Confe- jay (jTfjjay) Mr. Pitt received from the an open note
"•"l^l unsealed, requiring him to attend his M y on Satur
j,. day noon, at the Queen's Palace in the Park. In obe
'""'" dience hereto, Mr. Pitt went on Saturday at noon day
through the Mall in his gouty chair, the boot of which
(as he said himself) makes it as much known as if his
name was writ upon it, to the Q3 's Palace. He was
immediately carried into the closet, received very graciously, and his M y began in like manner as his guon
dam sayourjte had done, by ordering him to tell him his opinion of things and persons at large, and with the utmost freedom; and, I think, did in substance make the like consession, that he thought his present ministers could not go on. The audience lasted three hours, and Mr. Pitt went through the whole upon both heads more sully than he had done to Lord B—e, but with great
complaisance and douceur to the :and his M y
gave him a very gracious accueil, and heard with great patience and attention. And Mr. Pitt affirms, that in general, and upon the most materjal points, he appeared by his manner, and many of his expressions, to be convinced. Mr. Pitt went through the insirmities of the peace •, the things necessary and hitherto neglected to improve and preserve it; the present state of the nation, both foreign and domestic; the great Whig samilies and persons which had been driven from his Majesty's council and service, which it would be for his interest to restore. In doing this he repeated many names, upon
which his M y told him there was pen, ink, and
paper, aud he wished he would write them down. Mr. Pitt humbly excused himself, saying, that would be too
* August 25. :,
much for him to take upon him, and he might upon his Chap. memory omit some material persons, which might be XXV.
subject to imputation. The still said, he liked to v^^-y—^
hear him, and bid him go on, but said now and then 1763. that his honour must be consulted; to which Mr. Pitt answered in a very courtly manner. His M y ordered him to come again on Monday, which he did, to the same place, and in the same public manner.
"Here comes in a parenthesis, that on Sunday Mr. Pitt went to Claremont, and acquainted the D. of Neiv
casile with the whole, sully persuaded from the 's
manner and behaviour, that the thing would do; and that on Monday the outlines of the new arrangement would be settled* This produced the messages to \ho(e Lords who were sent for. Mr. Pitt undertook to write to the Duke of Devon/hire and the Marquis of Rockingham, and the Duke os Neiucaslle to myself.
"But behold the catastrophe of Monday*. The
received him equally graciously; and that audience lasted near two hours. The began, that, he had considered of what had been said, and talked -still more
strongly of his honour. His M y then mentioned
Lord Northumberland % for the Treasury, still proceeding upon the supposition of a change. To this Mr. Pitt hesitated an objection—that certainly Lord Northumberland might be considered, but that he mould not have thought
of him for the Treasury. His M then mentioned Lord 1
Halifax for the Treasury. Mr. Pitt said, suppose your
place. The replied,—" But, Mr. Pitt, I had de
<l signed that for poor G. Grenville. He is your near "relation, and you once loved him." To this the only answer made was a low bow. And now here comes the bait. "Why," says his M , " mould not Lord
* August 29.
X This was an idea at that time so strange, that it could not be explained until about six or seven months afterwards, when an alliance took place between Lord Northumberland's eldest son and Lord Bute's daughter, which in effect, made Lord Northumberland a part of Lord Bute's samily, and yhich seems tp have been at this time in contemplation.
Chap. "Temple have the Treasury? You could go on then
XXV. "verv well."—Sir, the person whom yen Jball think Jit to
**-~C-^S honour with the chief conduil of your affairs, cannot possibly
1763. go on >without a treasury conneBed with him. But that ttlone
will do nothing. It cannot be carried on without the great
families who have supported the Revolution Government, and
ether great persons, of whose abilities and integrity the public
has had experience, and who have weight and credit in the
nation. I should otily deceive your M , if I should leave
you in an opinion that I could go on, and your M. make a
solid administration on any other foot. "Well, Mr. Pitt, "I see (of I sear) this won't do. My honour is con"cerned, andl must support it."—Et sic finita eft fabula. Vos valete, but I cannot with a sase conscience add, plaudite. I have made my skeleton larger than I intended at sirst, and I hope you will understand it. Mr. Pitt prosesies himself sirmly persuaded, that my Lord B—
was sincere at sirst, and that the was in earnest the
first day ; but that on the intermediate day, ^Sunday) some strong effort was made, which produced the alteration. U Mr. Pitt likewise afsirms, that if he was examined upon oath, he could not tell upon what this negociation broke off, whether upon any particular point, or upon the general complexion of the whole,.
"It will certainly be given out, that the reason was the unreasonable extent of Mr. Pitt's plan—a general rout; and the minority, aster having complained so much or proscriptions, have endeavoured to proscribe the majority. I asked Mr. Pitt the direct question, and he assured me, that although he thought himself obliged to name a great many persons for his own exculpation, yet he did not name above sive or six for particular places. I must tell you that one of these was your humble servant for the President's place. This was entirely without my
authority or privity. But the 's answer was, "Why,
"Mr. Pitt, it is vacant and ready for him, and he knows "he may have it to-morrow, if he thinks sit."
"I conjectured that this was said with regard to what had passed with poor Lord Egremont, which made me think it necessary to tell Mr. Pitt in general what had passed with that Lord (not owning that his Lordship had '... ,— offered