Charles James Fox.

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with his wishes. Followers of property he had none, or those
so inconsiderable that they gave him no weight. The Duke of
Grafton was the only peer of consequence with whom he was con-
nected, yet a man who had been Prime Minister was not likely
to prove a zealous second, nor was Grafton's temper pliable, or to
be relied on. Lord Camden's eloquence, character, and integ-
rity made him by far the most considerable of Lord Shelburne's

1782.] . CHARLES JAMES FOX. 245

friends. Mr. Dunning was a most able lawyer, and Colonel Barr6
as able a tool ; but all these could not form an Administration, or
be called a party. I should add, that Lord Shelburne had made
most considerable enemies, which Lord Rockingham had not. He
had never omitted an occasion of insulting Lord Mansfield, who
by marriage had always kept on the fairest terms with Lord
Rockingham ', and to Lord North, Lord Shelburne's contempt
had been so marked, that it exasperated him more than the in-
vectives of Charles Fox.''

^' Lord Grower, not without a wish of being Premier, was too
indolent, or too timid to accept the post ; and though he was in a
manner, from the nonage of the Duke of Bedford, the head of
that connection, it had been so much weakened and split since
the death of the late Duke, that Lord Gower was far from sure of
commanding it.''

" When Lord North was removed, who alone could, from the
pleasantry of his humor, the attachment of the Tories, and the
fairness of his private character, have kept the Administration so
long together. Lord Rockingham was the next who could bring
the largest accession of landed property, nobility, and popularity
of character to the support of Government. Indeed, in point of
character, there were very few politicians in England who pos-
sessed any character of integrity or disinterestedness at all, but
the chiefs of that connection, as the Cavendishes, Sir G-. Savile,
Frederick Montague, and others. The Duke of Richmond, though
so eminently virtuous, was not popular, and General Conway, im-
maculate as the whitest of them, would never enlist in any fac-
tion, nor allow any to call him theirs."

^' This summary is so true, that Lord Shelburne himself was
aware of it, and, reporting the King's ofler to him to Lord Rock-
ingham, said, 'My lord, you could stand without me, but I could
not without you.' This was, perhaps, the justest reflection Shel-
burne ever made in his life, and had he not forgotten it, he might
have mollified the indisposition of Lord Rockingham's friends
towards him, and succeeded to Lord Rockingham's power — I



mean succeeded with stability. But forgetting his own reflection,
he converted his allies into bitter enemies/'

"The King, defeated as he was, could not bear to submit, nor
did the rest yield with the facility of Lord North. It was given
out, to encourage steadiness in others, that the Duke of Montague
had offered to resign his place of Master of the Horse, if it would
accommodate his Majesty in acquiring a friend. It was thought
that the King saw Lord Bute^ on that occasion ; for Mackenzie he
certainly sent ; and the last, and Wedderburne, had very private
interviews with the Chancellor, though great hostility had passed
between the latter and Wedderburne. When they could meet, it
was evident how very distasteful it would be to the Court to admit
a Whig Administration." — H. w.

" When the King could form no corps strong enough to exclude
the Opposition, he again sent for Lord Shelburne [and had another
private communication with him]. Shelburne sent word to Lord
Rockingham that he had been with the King, but would not
disclose what passed, as it would only exasperate Lord Rocking-
ham more — as if that softened it V " Shelburne, in the mean
time, made a most bitter invective in the House of Lords against
the Lords North and Stormont — an absurd impolicy to exaspe-
rate more part of the Court, into which he was going to fling

" In short, not to dwell on days and hours, the King consented
to take Lord Rockingham and his lordship's arrangements, but —
is that credible ? — would not see him. All was transacted by the
medium of Lord Shelburne. He carried the messages backwards
and forwards. Lord Rockingham was indignant, but his friends
persuaded him to bear it, and when all the changes were settled,
on the 27th, Lord Rockingham was admitted to an audience of
the King, and accepted the Administration."

1 "Whatever -was thouglit, I believe, nay, I think I know, that he did not,
either on that or any other occasion, after the formation of the Rockingham
Administration in 1765, except once, and then it was by the contrivance
of the Princess Dowager at Kew, without the King's previous knowledge
and with his subsequent displeasure. — Y. H.



"The new Cabinet consisted of Marquis of Rockingham as
First Lord of the Treasury ; Lord J. Cavendish, Chancellor of the
Exchequer [most reluctantly as he professed] ; Lord Shelburne
and Charles Fox, Secretaries of State ; Lord Camden, President
of the Council ; Duke of Grafton, Privy Seal ) General Conway,
Commander-in-Chief; Admiral Keppel, First Lord of Admiralty;
Duke of Richmond, Ordnance;* and Dunning, made a peer,
Chancellor of the Duchy. With this entirely new Cabinet,
joined the old Chancellor, Thurlow, whose abilities the new Min-
isters thought too considerable to drive into Opposition."

" If Lord Shelburne had waved the first post, he proved that
he at least shared the power. Besides two great posts for Lord
Camden and Duke of Grafton, he got a peerage for Dunning,
created Lord Ashburton, with the Duchy of Lancaster, and a pen-
sion of 4000Z. per annum. Colonel Barre was made Treasurer
of the Navy, a post destined for the Lord Advocate Dundas; nor
was that all he did for Colonel Barre, as will soon appear ; nor
was his share of the Cabinet inconsiderable, by his own vote and
those of the Duke of Grafton, Lords Camden and Ashburton, not
to mention that having more of the King's favor than Lord Rock-
ingham, the Chancellor, it was likely, would incline the same
way." — H. w.

Walpole relates the grant of three garters to Dukes of Rich-
mond, and Devonshire, and Lord Shelburne — to the disappoint-

* The Duke of Richmond refused to accept unless the King would say
he had no objection to him, to which the King had assented, though the
Duke and Charles Fox were the tAvo he had most wished to exclude. As
the Duke's friend, I earnestly wished him to support and act vigorously
with the new Administration, but to take nothing. It would have placed
him in a high light, and silenced much clamor, nor do I think I could
have condescended to accept a post under a prince whom I had taxed with
breaking his word with me. I am persuaded he did not accept the Ord-
nance for the emoluments, but from activity and love of business, and
from thinking he could correct abuses, which he did very soon with inde-
fatigable industry ; I was as little pleased with his taking the Garter. It
is so easy for a Duke of PJchmond to have it, that I thought he would be
moi'e distinguished by neglecting it. — H. Vv.


ment of Lord Dartmouth and Lord Ashburnham, to whom the
King had promised them. Lord Dartmouth acquiesced, Lord
Ashburnham was indignant, though the latter's place was pre-
served for him, while Lord Hertford, Lord Beauchamp, and many
other courtiers lost theirs — "by which," says Walpole, "what the
King lost the country gained ; for courtiers perceived that royal
amity was no insurance of their places, and returned to the old
style of connecting themselves with Ministers.'^

He then mentions the two peerages, one to Keppel, and the
other to Howe, censures the favors bestowed on the Howes, to
whom " no party owed gratitude ;" and adds —

" Many to whom distinctions were due. Lord Rockingham had
not the power of serving. Mr. Burke's reforming bill, which had
saved but a trifle to the public, distressed his party by cutting off
many small places. Thus the new Administration was very nar-
row, though in general more popular than could be expected, con-
sidering how much the nation had been set against them on the
false accusation of their supporting the Americans, though the
truth was, the Americans, so far from thinking themselves sup-
ported by them, looked on themselves as abandoned."

" There was one of the former Administration who might have
been saved, if he had pleased — Lord Carlisle. Charles Fox and
he had been intimate from school, and in the height of Fox's ex-
travagance and distress from gaming debts, Lord Carlisle had been
bound for him. Fox, mindful of his obligations, had obtained to
have Lord Carlisle left Lord-Lieutenant of L-eland; but the latter,
warm and haughty as any Howard could be, and prompted by his
secretary, Eden, who had devoted himself to Lord North, no
sooner heard of the revolution than he sent over his resignation,
and demanded to be recalled. This vacancy accommodated Lord
Bockingham, who immediately dispatchad the Duke of Portland
to take the government of L-eland."

Lord Weymouth was made Grroom of the Stole at Lord Shel-
burne's recommendation, and with Lord Bockingham's acquiescence.
\¥alpole adds: "The late Court were so secure of Shelburne's dis-
position to them, that the Lord Advocate [Dundas] said to Lord


Northj '■ You should not let your friends abuse Slielburne, for he
is ours;^ but North was not at all disposed to cement that union."

" One promising young man in the Opposition the public ex-
pected to see advanced — William Pitt ; but he refused all prefer-
ment. What was offered to him I do not know, nor whether any
post was specified.'^

" I have said that the new Ministers either would not or could
not pass so much as a censure on their very criminal predecessors.
They were more passive still, for they endured rewards to be heaped
on two of the most guilty. Lord North retired with a pension of
4000?. per annum; and Robinson, Secretary of the Treasury, and,
from Lord North's indolence, a principal agent in all business, had
another pension of 1000/. Charles Fox, it is true, inveighed bit-
terly in the House of Commons against the former, and Sawbridge
moved for a question on both. Robinson pleaded poverty, and
affected it by letting his house and selling his coach-horses, though,
till questioned, he had displayed great opulence, and had just
given his daughter, with a large fortune,. to Lord Abergavenny's
eldest son; but the motion was defeated by the previous question.'^

April 4. " There was a meeting of the Associators at York.
They agreed to trust the new Ministers, at least for the present,
and adjourned for a year to give them a fair trial. A principal
inducement to this temper was that the Duke of Richmond, who
had given in to the wildest visions of the right of every man to
vote for representatives, had extorted an unwilling engagement
from his fellows, the other Ministers, that a committee of the
House of Commons should be appointed to examine, and, if they
could agree on any system (which was most unlikely, in such a
chaos of opinions and interests, which last are opinions), to settle
a new and juster mode of representation; an engagement diverted
by the subsequent schisms, and forgotten in the flat rejection of
the demands of the Associations."

April 8. " The new Ministers being rechosen, the House of
Commons met again, when, instead of any crimination produced
by them against any of their predecessors, an attempt was made
to embarrass the Ministers by a deed that, though aimed at them,


might have produced the most mischievous consequences and con-
fusions to the nation. Eden, Lord Carlisle's secretary, had posted
over with the Earl's resignation. So exasperated was he that, not
only keeping himself private, he had secret intercourse with and
private incitement from, Lord Loughborough, but he positively
refused to communicate a syllable of the state of Ireland to Lord
Shelburne, the Secretary of State. On the contrary. Colonel Lut-
terell, an ominous name, instigated probably by Loughborough
and Eden, rose as soon as the House met, and called on the Minis-
ters to declare what measures they meant to pursue for pacifying
the disquiets and alarms of Ireland, not yet satisfied that what had
been done for her was either substantial or irrevocable. On this
hostile ground mounted Eden, and in a passionate speech, ill
covered over with pretended zeal, called for a repeal of the act of
George L, which was the most grievous link of their chain of sub-
jection. Unfortunately for this incendiary, a spear, like that of
Milton's angel, that touching Satan made him start up in his pro-
per shape, was in the hand of Charles Fox. His vehement elo-
quence, that had so often borne down Lord North, Sandwich, and
the late Junto, was now displayed in detecting and exposing the
mischievous conduct of Eden, while with the utmost address and
discretion he steered clear of any offence to Ireland. He over-
whelmed Eden with shame — not with remorse — for though uni-
versal indignation burst on the head of Eden, his obstinate pride
would not recant, nor would he withdraw his motion until General
Conway, as powerful in indignant virtue as Fox in the thunder of
abilities, threatened him with a vote of censure, which was
re-echoed by an hundred voices, when, more terrified than abashed,
he submitted to waive his purpose."

" Soon after the return of Lord Carlisle died Earl Talbot, the
Lord Steward, who had been left in his post from the nearness of
his approaching dissolution. The new Ministers had been able
to find but few places for many peers who had long supported
them in Opposition. The King had saved some beyond the two
that he had been indulged to protect, as the Duke of Dorset and
Lord Oxford. Yet was not one of the new Minister's friends


thought on for the Steward's wand. Lord Shelburne, who was
seeking to fortify himself against the Rockingham division by
potent friends, offered the stick to the Duke of Marlborough, and,
though the Duke declined it, gained him. Charles Fox, not
thinking his debt of gratitude yet paid, solicited for Lord Carlisle,
and procured him to be appointed Lord Steward.^'

We must now haye recourse to other sources for letters and
papers illustrative of the internal state of the Ministry.

[On the 12th of April, Mr. Fox writes to Fitzpatrick :] " We
had a Cabinet this morning, in which, in my opinion, there were
more symptoms of what we had always apprehended, than had
ever hitherto appeared. The subject was Burke's bill, or rather
the message introductory to it. Nothing was concluded, but in
Lord Chancellor there was so marked an opposition, and in your
brother-in-law^ so much inclination to help the Chancellor, that we
got into something very like a warm debate. I told them I was
determined to bring the matter to a crisis, as I am, and I think a
few days will convince them that they must yield entirely. If
they do not, we must go to war again, that is all; I am sure I am
ready. Lord Camden is entirely with us, but seems to have a
horrible apprehension of debates or divisions amongst ourselves.
Conway, I am afraid, is likely to be caught with the idea of the
King's doing part of the business without an Act of Parliament,
which is not so very objectionable in itself, but as it makes a con-
siderable delay before the thing appears in public, and delay will
possibly be interpreted lukewarmness in us by any persons who
are at all suspicious. Therefore, this idea I think very insidious,
and we must guard against it. The King appears more and more
good-humored every day, and I believe is really pleased with the
full levees and drawing-rooms, which he sees every day, and which
he thinks flattering to him; perhaps I am deceived in this, but I
really think so. He either is, or pretends to be, very angry with
your predecessor,^ but seemed very anxious that Carlisle should
feel as he ought on that subject, I only mention this to show the
ton he takes with us.''

' Lord Shelbiu-ne. ■ ^ ]\ir. Eden.


[On the 15tli, he writes again :] " We have had another very
teasing and wrangling Cabinet ; but I rather think everything is
or will be settled right. I am to carry a message to-day to the
House of Commons, which looks and points to Burke's bill. The
King is, in the first instance, to abolish of his own accord the
offices; but that abolition is, in every instance, to have the sanc-
tion of an Act of Parliament for the appropriation of the money,
the preventing their revival, &c. Lord Chancellor, as you may
imagine, dislikes it. Lord S.^ seems more bothered about it than
anything else, does not understand it, but, in conjunction with
Lord Ashburton, rather throws difficulties in its way. General
Conway quite with us in the general view, but unfortunately
doubts in almost every particular instance. Lord Camden, evi-
dently with us in his mind, yet is so terribly afraid of dissensions
that he does not do us all the good he might. The Duke of
Grafton rather hostile, though professing ri(/ht princi2:)Ies in the
strongest terms, but full of little projects of his own, and trouble-
some in the extreme ; the remaining five^ just as you would ex-
pect and wish. This is a tolerably accurate sketch of our councils,
but I have no doubt but things will jumble themselves into some-
thing more to our mind, or come to a crisis the other way. In-
deed, if they do not, it will be very uneasy to me, and to every-
body. We met yesterday at eleven, and did not get to the
drawing-room till four, when it was over. All this time the King
seems in perfect good-humor, and does not seem to make any of
those difficulties which others make for him."

[On the 28th, he says] : " With respect to affairs here, they
are really in such a state as is very difficult to describe; I feel
them to be worse than they were, and yet I do not know what
particular circumstance to state as the cause of this feeling.
Shelburne shows himself more and more every day, is ridicu-
lously jealous of my encroaching on his department, and wishes

' Lord Shelburne.

2 The "remainmg five" were Lord Rockingham, the Duke of Rich-
mond, Lord John Cavendish, Admiral Keppel, and Mr. Fox himself.


very mucli to encroach upon mine. He hardly liked my having
a letter from Grattan, or my having written one to Lord Charlc-
mont. He affects the Minister more and more every day, and is,
I believe, perfectly confident that the King intends to make him
so. Provided we can stay in long enough to have given a good
stout blow to the influence of the Crown, I do not think it much
signifies how soon we go out after, and leave him and the Chan-
cellor to make such a Government as they can, and this I think
we shall be able to do."

[On the 1st May, he gives an account of the debate in the
Lords on the Contractors' Bill :] " We have to-night carried the
Contractors' Bill in the House of Lords, by a majority of 67 to
39. The Chancellor began the opposition, and was not satisfied
with speaking his opinion, but called on the Lords, who had
formerly been against it, to stand by their former votes, and in
short, spoke as violently and hostilely as it is possible to conceive.
The Duke of Richmond answered him, and there was a good deal
of sparring between them, in which the Duke of Richmond had
notoriously the advantage. Lord Camden spoke extraordinarily
well, and declared the fate of the Ministry depended upon that of
the Bill. Lord Gower spoke against us, but declared himself
shaken in some degree by Lord Camden's argument, for that all
the hopes of the country were in the abilities, &c., of the present
Ministers, to whom he paid many compliments. Only four
bishops were with us, viz., Peterborough, St. Asaph, Carlisle,
and Lichfield (Lord Cornwallis's brother). Three Scotch peers,
viz., Lothian, Aberdeen, and Roseberry. Lord Carlisle did not
stay, but will, I believe, be with us, and be Lord Steward to-
morrow. I wait for a messenger to tell you all that has passed
upon this subject; but he is in good-humor, and likely, perhaps,
to be more with 21s than you can conceive. I am sure we are, as
things now stand, absolutely bound to support him, with regard
to the Steward's place; and if we are not able, we ought to be no
longer Ministers. Shelburne paid compliments to the Chan-
cellor, which very much scandalized all good men."

We now return to Walpole.
VOL. I. — 22


April 15. On King's Message on economy, " Burke in the
Commons, and Lord Shelburne in the Lords, were ridiculously
extravagant in panegyrics on his Majesty for this magnanimity,
which certainly was no measure of his, but an artifice of their
own, and but a shallow one, to persuade the people that they
meant to adhere to their former principles, while their flattery
was rather a symptom that they would not."

" I have said that the new Ministers were distressed for want
of places, to satisfy their friends ; yet to the honor of their party
it should be told, that neither at this period, nor that of the ensu-
ing year, did they lose many from want of power to serve them.
The party not only saw that it was not their fault, but that the
King did all he could to add to their embarrassments, by with-
holding whatever he could. In these difficulties, Lord Rocking-
ham behaved with more zeal and decency than Lord Shelburne.
An instance of the latter' s impolitic insensibility appeared in the
case of Lord Cholmondeley — and in fact, artful as Lord Shelburne
affected to be, it is certain that his art was so clumsy, so gross, so
ill-timed, and so contradictory to itself, that he could not have
fallen as soon as he did, if he had had no art at all. Lord Chol-
mondeley had peculiarly attached himself to him. Not being able
to provide for him, instead of excusing himself, he congratulated
Lord Cholmondeley on remaining independent, which was felt as
an insult.^ I have mentioned his flattery to the King. He went

' Lord Cholmondeley had mucli impaired his fortune by dice and dis-
sipation, and though an associate of Mr. Fox and his friends, had thought
it a better game to attach himself in politics to Lord Shelburne. From
some motive, possibly from no unreasonable apprehension that, in case of
a rupture with his colleagues, Cholmondeley's habits and friendships might
outweigh his political professions and attachments, Lord Shelburne pre-
ferred providing for Lord Tankerville to securing Lord Cholmondeley ;
and he took a method of reconciling the latter to his lot, which showed
that he had no great knowledge of his character, or addi-ess in adapting
his topics to it. He attempted to talk him over by recommending the
"grand independent line," to live "like a respectable nobleman," to
" marry a little," and many other phrases, which Cholmondeley, who had
no taste for greatness, independence, respectability, marriage, or the like,


farther, and told the Chancellor that he was amazed at the genius
he found in the King ! The Chancellor laughed in his face, and
instead of reporting it to the King, as Shelburne expected, told it
to everybody else with contempt/'

May 3. "The Middlesex election was at last rescinded.
Charles Fox, who had always opposed that correction, made a
most manly and fair defence of himself on that occasion.'^ — H. w.

Walpole, on the 5th of May, writes in a letter to Sir Horace
Mann : " Mr. Fox already shines as greatly in place as he did in
Opposition, though infinitely more difficult a task. He is now as
indefatigable as he was idle. He has perfect temper, and not only
good-humor, but good-nature ; and, which is the first quality in a
Prime Minister of a free country, has more common sense than
any man, with amazing parts that are neither ostentatious nor
aifected. Lord North had wit and good-humor, but neither
temper, nor feeling, nor activity, nor good breeding. Lord Chat-
ham was a blazing meteor, that scattered war with success, but
sunk to nothing in peace. Perhaps I am partial to Charles Fox,
because he resembles my father in good sense ; I wish he had his
excellent constitution, too. Yet his application to business may
preserve his life, which his former dissipation constantly endan-
gered.''— H. w.

Walpole lost his notes of what passed in the rest of Lord Rock-

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