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squabbles for superiority, in which the interests of the public were overlooked.' (Mem. of Fox, vol. i. p. 472.) *
It appears that Mr. Fox had announced his intention of resigning, a few days before Lord Rockingham's death, in consequence of a decision of the Cabinet with respect to the recognition of American independence.t This fact was indeed publicly stated by him in the House of Commons, in answer to General Conway, who had intimated that his resignation had been determined by merely personal considerations. I It is indeed highly probable that, even if Lord Rockingham had lived, Fox would before long have seceded from the Cabinet. Mr. Fox, however, declared in the same debate that the appointment of Lord Shelburne to the office of First Lord of the Treasury, instead of the Duke of Portland, was one of the reasons of his resignation, Mr. Pitt, like General Conway, attributed Mr. Fox's conduct to private piqne, not to public grounds, and contended that he ought to have remained in office, until he had seen Lord Shelburne abandon the principles upon which Lord Rockingham and his friends had acted.
In order to form a proper estimate of Mr. Fox's decision to refuse office with Lord Shelburne, it is necessary to consider his subsequent course, and to compare the political connexion which he abandoned with that which he proceeded to form. Before doing so, however, it is right to advert to the fact, that, when Mr. Pitt formed his administration in 1783, after the dismissal of the Coalition Ministry, he made no offer to Lord Shelburne, although he had, in the previous year, been Chancellor of the Exchequer, and leader of the House of Commons in his administration. This circumstance seems to indicate that he, like Mr. Fox, did not wish for Lord Shelburne as a colleague. Lord Shelburne resented this exclusion, and Lord
* Nicholls, ib. vol. ii. p. 140., gives it as his opinion that Mr. Fox's separation from Lord Shelburne took place on private grounds. † Memorials of Fox, vol. i. p. 386. 435. 438-9. 453.
July 9. 1782. Š Lord Grenville, writing to Lord Temple, on December 7. 1782, says :- I have said that the complexion of affairs here makes it more • unpleasant. Lord Shelburne's evident intention is to make cyphers
of his colleagues. Rayneval's arrival at his house at eight in the morning, was not known to Townshend till twelve, nor to any of • the others till after four. They cannot be much pleased, but still it
is imagined they mean to remain.' (Buckingham Papers, vol. i. p. 84.) This alludes to the arrival of M. de Rayneval, who was sent by the French Government to London, under a fictitious name, on the business of the peace. The length of time mentioned by Lord Gren
Holland says that he even hesitated about accepting the marquisate, which was offered him by Mr. Pitt and the Court, as a mark of approbation of the peace. * Although Lord Shelburne accepted this mark of honour from Mr. Pitt's Government, he continued in opposition ; taking, however, little part in politics, after his retirement from office.
We are now in full possession of the grounds upon which Mr. Fox acted on this occasion, derived from the most authentic sources, and we can pass judgment upon them without any of those personal feelings by which the minds of contemporaries are inflamed. If Mr. Fox, after a trial of three months, found that he could not act satisfactorily with Lord Shelburne, it must be admitted that he was justified in refusing to hold office in his Administration. But Lord Shelburne's Ministry was a Whig Ministry: it included even a portion of
to it; Mr. Pitt, the leader of the House of Commons, was a decided Whig, and had taken a strong part in overthrowing Lord North's Government. The leading principles of Lord Rockingham's Government, and particularly the recognition of American independence, were avowed by Lord Shelburne. If, therefore, Fox could not make up his mind to serve with Lord Shelburne, we think that, looking both to his duty as a public man, and to his policy as a leader of the larger section of the
conduct of thc Government, to support it when right, to oppose it when wrong, to observe an armed neutrality, but not, as he actually did, to form a league, offensive and defensive, with the enemy. When Lord Rockingham died, and the King made Lord Shelburne, and not the Duke of Portland, Prime Minister, there were three courses open to Fox. 1. To remain in Lord Shelburne's Government. 2. To resign with his friends, and to form a separate independent party. 3. To coalesce with Lord North and the Tories. Of these three courses the last was, in our judgment, incomparably the worst; and this was the one which Fox selected.
ville does not seem very great. After Lord Shelburne's resignation, Lord Grenville, also writing to Lord Temple, says, speaking of the Coalition :- Yet these are the men who accuse Lord Shelburne of * duplicity, without having produced one instance during a six months' · ministry. (Ibid. p. 205.) Lord Grenville was probably by this time made aware of what had passed with his brother at Paris nearly twelve months before.
* Memoirs of the Whig Party, vol. i. p. 43. Some remarks upon this peerage will be found in this Journal, vol. xxv. p. 212., in a review of Wraxall's Historical Memoirs.
As soon as Lord Shelburne's Ministry was formed, a practical solution of the problem of the three bodies had to be found. Gibbon, writing near the commencement of the ensuing Session, mentions a calculation of the comparative strength of the three parties in the House of Commons, which gave 140 votes to the Government, 120 to Lord North, 90 to Fox, the rest unknown or uncertain.* In this state of things a combination of any two would defeat the third. The views of the Government were therefore naturally turned towards a junction with some portion of the Opposition. It was, however, laid down as a principle by Lord Shelburne and Mr. Pitt that they would not admit Lord North into the Cabinet: though they were willing to negotiate with some of his followers. Hence they looked in the other direction, and on the 11th of February, 1783, Mr. Pitt sought an interview with Mr. Fox, in order to invite him to join Lord Shelburne's Government. The following is Bishop Tomline's account of what passed on this occasion:
• Neither Mr. Pitt nor Lord Shelburne saw any reason why they should not act with Mr. Fox. It was therefore agreed that an offer should be made to him to return to office ; for which purpose Mr. Pitt waited upon him by appointment. As soon as Mr. Fox heard the object of Mr. Pitt's visit, he asked, whether it was intended that Lord Shelburne should remain First Lord of the Treasury; to which Mr. Pitt answered in the affirmative. Mr. Fox immediately replied, that it was impossible for him to belong to any Administration of which Lord Shelburne was the head. Mr. Pitt observed, that if that
* Gibbon to Lord Sheffield, Oct. 14. 1782. Miscellaneous Works, vol. ii. p. 261., 8vo.
† It is stated in the Memorials of Fox, vol. ii. p. 30., that the Duke of Richmond, Lord Keppel, and Mr. Pitt were inclined to a coalition with Fox, but that Lord Shelburne leant to Lord North. Horace Walpole speaks of overtures by Lord Shelburne to Lord North. (Ib. p. 12.) Lord Grenville, however, writing to Lord Temple, February 19. 1783, mentions, among some facts, the authenticity of which he vouches, that Lord Shelburne never has made any offer whatever * to Lord North. This fact was probably stated by him on Mr. Pitt's authority. (Buckingham Papers, vol. i. p. 158.) Tomline says, that · Mr. Pitt positively objected to any application being made 'to Lord North.' (Vol. i. p. 88.) Mr. Dundas told Mr. Adam, that * Pitt was ready to negotiate with Lord North's party, on the basis
of excluding Lord North personally.' (Memorials of Fox, vol. ii. p. 21.) Lord 'Temple's private notes likewise mention a coalition with some of Lord North's supporters as practicable, but without Lord North himself. (Buckingham Papers, ib. p. 301.)
I Mr. Fox did not put forward his own claims to that office, but still insisted on the Duke of Portland. (Mem. of Fox, vol. ii. p. 12.)
In the debates which followed the dismissal of the Coalition
was his determination, it would be useless for him to enter into any farther discussion, “as he did not come to betray Lord Shelburne;" and he took his leave. This was, I believe, the last time Mr. Pitt was in a private room with Mr. Fox; and from this period may be dated that political hostility, which continued through the remainder of their lives.' *
There was nothing at this time, either in the public or personal relations of Mr. Fox and Mr. Pitt, which would have prevented them from acting together, and serving in the same Cabinet. Their political principles were similar; and Mr. Fox had spoken with high praise and admiration of Mr. Pitt's abilities and character upon his first appearance in public life. • Fox,' says Walpole,“ had fondly espoused him, and kindly,
not jealously nor fearfully, wished to have him his friend.' † It is probable that Fox would have now consented to this union, if his dislike of Lord Shelburne had not formed an obstacle.
The resolution of Lord Shelburne and Pitt not to negotiate
Ministry, Pitt publicly stated that he would not sit in the same Cabinet with Lord North ; and after the dissolution (although he had then strong motives for standing well with the King) he spoke of the one virtue of the late Parliament, that it had put an end to Lord North's administration, and to the calamitous and ruinous war which he had brought upon the country.' (Tomline, vol. i. pp. 359. 478.)
* Life of Pitt, vol. i. p. 89. ed. 3. The date of this offer is fixed by Lord Grenville's letter of Feb. 11. 1783, where he says, 'Pitt told 'me to-day that it being thought necessary to make some attempt at a junction with Fox, he had seen him to-day, when he asked one question, viz., whether there were any terms on which he would come in. The answer was “None, while Lord Shelburne re
“ mained ;” and so it ended. Upon this (Lord Grenville truly adds) 'I think one may observe that the one must be very desperate, the
other very confident, before such a question could be so put and so "answered.' (Buckingham Papers, vol. i. p. 148.) Tomline appears to refer this interview to the end of autumn,' which is clearly a mistake. We suspect, moreover, that the retort ascribed to Pitt, that • he did not come to betray Lord Shelburne,' was never really uttered; though it doubtless correctly expresses Pitt's feeling at the time. See also Adam's account, ‘Mem. of Fox,' vol. ii. p. 33., which agrees with Lord Grenville's, and does not support Tomline's. Walpole, Ibid., p. 12., says that Fox had been sounded by the Duke of Richmond and Lord Keppel before Pitt's visit.
† Mem. of Fox, vol. ii. p. 5. See also Lord Holland's account, vol. i. p. 262. • Till the unfortunate breach between the Whigs and • Lord Shelburne, when Mr. Pitt sided with the latter, Mr. Fox • never lost an opportunity of extolling the talents and praising the 'conduct of young Pitt.'
with Lord North, and the refusal of Fox to join Lord Shelburne's Government, produced an attempt of common friends to bring Fox and Lord North together. Fox wished to turn out Lord Shelburne. Lord North was resentful at being proscribed by him and Pitt; and the object was speedily effected. On the 14th of February, three days after the interview with Fox, he and Lord North met for the first time since their estrangement; and their interview is thus described :
• They agreed to lay aside all former animosity, Mr. Fox declaring that he hoped their Administration would be founded on mutual good will and confidence, which was the only thing that could make it permanent and useful. They agreed, also, that nothing more was required to be done in reducing the influence of the Crown by economical reform, and that on parliamentary reform every man should follow his own opinion. Mr. Fox having urged that the King should not be suffered to be his own Minister, Lord North replied: “If you “ mean there should not be a Government by departments, I agree “ with you; I think it a very bad system. There should be one “ man, or a Cabinet, to govern the whole, and direct every measure. « Government by departments was not brought in by me. I found “ it so, and had not vigour and resolution to put an end to it. The “ King ought to be treated with all sort of respect and attention, but " the appearance of power is all that a king of this country can “ have. Though the Government in my time was a Government by “ departments, the whole was done by the Ministers, except in a few "instances.”' (Vol. ii. p. 37.)
Since the accession of Lord Shelburne's Ministry, the negotiations for a peace, on the basis of American Independence, had been steadily pursued. The preliminaries had first been signed with America, and subsequently with France and Spain. The settlement of this all-important question was announced in the King's Speech, and the Preliminaries were subsequently presented to Parliament. It was agreed that this question was a favourable field for a trial of strength between the coalesced parties of Fox and Lord North, and the Government. A motion of censure upon the Preliminaries of Peace was accordingly made by Lord J. Cavendish, and carried by 207 to 190 votes. Upon this defeat, Lord Shelburne and his Cabinet resigned (Feb. 24. 1783).
After a long interministerium (as Walpole calls it), and an attempt on the King's part to induce Mr. Pitt to attempt the formation of a Government-an undertaking which he steadfastly declined—a new Administration was formed, of which the Duke of Portland (as originally proposed by Fox) was the head, and in which Fox himself and Lord North were the
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