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berately continued, with certain amendments, in the last Session of Parliament.
While the great struggle between Pitt and Fox after the dismissal of the Coalition Ministry was going on, the King's anxiety was great; and in his private letters to Mr. Pitt he recurred to his former intention of seeking a refuge in Hanover from the intolerable pressure of bis Parliamentary foes. On receiving the account of the first defeats which awaited Mr. Pitt upon his re-election, the King wrote to him as follows:• I am ready to take any step that may be proposed to oppose this
faction, and to struggle to the last period of my life; but I can
never submit to throw myself into its power. If they, in the .end, succeed, my line is a clear one, and to which I have forti
tude enough to submit.'* About the same time he addressed Mr. Pitt in a similar strain upon an impending motion in the House of Lords:- Should not the Lords stand boldly forth, • this Constitution must soon be changed; for if the two only
privileges of the Crown be infringed, - that of negativing Bills ' which have passed both Houses of Parliament, and that of
naming the Ministers to be employed, I cannot but feel, as far • as regards my person, that I can be no longer of utility to this
country, nor can with honour continue in this island. • From • this extract,' says Tomline, coupled with the conclusion of • his former letter, as well as from other authorities, it is evident • that the King had at this time serious intentions of retiring to • Hanover, in case Mr. Fox and his party should prevail.'t
No such painful necessity, however, awaited the King. The fatal error of his great adversary, the dexterity of his secret counsellors, and the consummate parliamentary ability of his young Minister, gave him a signal triumph. Fox had emerged a victor out of the long struggle of the American war: he had passed the King under the yoke, and made him submit to a Ministry which he hated. But he could not convert a victory into a conquest: he had the force which enabled him to defeat, he had not the longsighted and patient prudence which could alone enable him to subjugate. By the unhappy Coalition he
* Tomline's Life of Pitt, vol. i. p. 271. In a letter to Mr. Pitt, of Feb. 15, 1784, the King used the following terms respecting Mr. Fox: 'Mr. Pitt is so well apprised of the mortification I feel at any ' possibility of ever again seeing the heads of Opposition in public 'employments, and more particularly Mr. Fox, whose conduct has .. not been more marked against my station in the empire, than . against my person, that he must attribute my want of perspicuity, &c.(Ibid. p. 396.) † Ib. p. 341,
lost everything: he threw away his popularity, he destroyed his party, he weakened his moral authority, and he made an opening for the formation of a new combination, which speedily predominated in both Houses of Parliament. As it was said of Napoleon that he was the heir of the Revolution, so it may be said of Pitt that he was the heir of the Coalition. At the critical moment, he was able to satisfy the conditions of the practical problem, which had for so many years remained unsolved. Lord North had, during his twelve years' Ministry, been the favourite of the Crown, but after a time he lost the support of the country. Mr. Fox, up to the Coalition, was warmly supported by the country, but the King would not endure him. In Mr. Pitt was at last found a Minister whom the King would tolerate and the country would support. His Administration, when once formed, could not be shaken by Fox's opposition. It weathered the storm of the Regency, by the King's timely recovery; and the results of the French Revolution gave it additional strength. At last, it fell by an intrigue of secret advisers who alarmed the Protestant conscience of the King: it was stabbed by an assassin in the dark, not overthrown by the blows of Fox's broadsword in fair and open parliamentary warfare. Like most great political contests in this country, the contest between George III. and Mr. Fox ended in a compromise. The compromise was effected in the person of Mr. Pitt.* Mr. Pitt was too unbending to become an instrument in the King's hands, and had too much principle to lend himself, like Lord North, to a policy of which he disapproved. On the other hand, the King was grateful to Pitt for rescuing him from the hands of Fox: he endured and almost liked him, though he ultimately tripped him up. Pitt's ascendency in Parliament was maintained by his own talents and conduct, and by the personal confidence which he inspired, not by the influence of the Crown,
it was osts of Fox's brorent political con. Fox ended in Mr. Pitt.*
* On Lord Rockingham's death, Pitt expressed his concern to Mr. Fox under the gallery, at the report that Government would break up. Fox said, “it would, and the whole system be revived," "adding, “they look to you; without you they cannot succeed ; with "" you I know not whether they will or no.” “If,” replied Pitt, "they « « reckon upon me, they may find themselves mistaken.” Fox, as he
left the House, repeated this to Lord John Townshend, and Lord • Maitland (afterwards Lauderdale), and probably many others; and • both Townshend and Lauderdale told it me. Fox added, “I believe
“ they do reckon on Pitt, and I believe they will not be mistaken." (Lord Holland, in Mem. of Fox, vol. i. p. 446.) Neither of the parties in this curious dialogue were quite right in their antici. pations.
or the support of the King's friends. In this manner the conflicting elements, which Fox could not harmonise, were reconciled.
Lord John thus sums up the effects of the Coalition, and the disruption of the Whig party, which that measure of apparent union produced :
· Thus was broken and dispersed, by its own dissensions, that great confederacy of freedom which, nurtured in the adversity of the American war, had revived the ancient virtues of Whiggism, and made the Senate shine with the lights of patriotism and eloquence. Thus vanished the hope of seeing a more brilliant Fox and a more consistent Pitt; the one adorning and advising his country in the conduct of foreign affairs, which he, above all men, understood ; and the other applying to the management of our finances the economical principles of Smith, and the wise frugality of Sully. The Coalition prevented a consummation so desirable. * * * The rout of the Whig party, the Pitt Administration, and the war of the French Revolution were the results of this fatal event.' (Vol. ii. p. 91.)
The life of Mr. Fox is brought down in these volumes to the year. 1792 ; the Buckingham Papers reach as far as 1799; and both works contain much curious and authentic information respecting the Regency debates in 1788-9; but the length to which this Article has already extended prevents us from following the events of that period in detail ; we can only remark that much light is thrown upon it by both publications.
The period of our history from the decline of the American war to the commencement of Mr. Pitt's long Administration, is full of instruction with respect to the working of our Parliamentary Constitution. It was not, in fact, definitively and clearly established until the year 1784, that where there is a conflict between the personal opinions of the sovereign and those of a majority of the House of Commons, the latter, and not the former, is to prevail; unless, indeed, a dissolution and a new election should reverse the decision of the previous Parliament.* The lessons which this portion of our annals teaches are manifold; but it throws especial light on the two points which appear to us to form the characteristic difficulties of that form of Government which is commonly known by the appellation of " limited monarchy ;' that is to say, a hereditary King, associated with a parliamentary body. These are, 1. The desire of the King to govern as well as to reign, and his attempts, open or concealed, to defeat the policy of the Ministers in whom the majority of the Parliament, for the time being, confides.
* On the constitutional right of the Crown to dissolve Parliament in this state of things, see the authoritative remark of Lord J. Russell (vol. ii. p. 245.).
2. The envies and rivalries of the parliamentary chiefs; their impatience of a superior, or even of an equal; their unwillingness to co-operate for public objects, on account of their separate pretensions and personal ambition; and the consequent facility afforded to the King of ruling by division, of fomenting their discords and animosities, and ultimately, perhaps, of reducing them all to impotence and silence.* Parliamentary leaders of parties, in their more contracted sphere, are likely to indulge the feelings which animated the great party leaders of Rome in their contest for the mastery of the world, —
* Nec quemquam jam ferre potest, Cæsarve priorem,
Pompeiusve parem. But there is this important difference in their respective situations, that, whereas Pompey and Cæsar contended which should be chief, parliamentary leaders, who act singly, and embroil everything with mutual jealousies, end by being all put down under the feet of one common master.
We have no space now to dwell upon this theme at the length which it requires, but we wish that our feeble voice could induce the leaders of popular parties on the Continent to gather from our history the warnings which it contains with respect to the working of a parliamentary system. If the great Powers should continue at peace; if the quiet development of wealth and industry, and the amicable relations of individuals in society, should be permitted to advance without the interruption of destructive violence; we cannot believe that the fairest and most civilised portions of Continental Europe will remain under purely despotic forms of government. The trial of the American model, which has been made in some European States, has not proved successful; and though we are far from being exclusive in our attachment to constitutional forms, and
* Aristotle enumerates want of mutual confidence as one of the three great means by which the Greek despots maintained their power. (Pol. v. 11.) The impatience of equals is well denoted in the expressive Greek term, TÒ Ollón pwrov.
Mr. Fox, in a letter of May 1782, expresses a fear that Pitt will attempt to revive the system of governing by the influence of the Crown, and in defiance of the independent portion of Parliament. He then proceeds to say:-'I feel myself, I own, rather inclined to 'rely upon his understanding and integrity for resisting all the temptations of ambition, and especially of being first, which I know will be industriously thrown in his way, and contrasted with that secondary and subordinate situation, to which they will insinuate he must be confined while he continues to act in the general system.' (Mem. of Fox, vol. i. p. 325.)
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are quite willing to admit that a system of government which is suited to England may not be suited to countries differently situated; we still think that, whenever the pressure of the despotic regimen is at all relaxed,-looking to the fact that man is a historical animal — the parliamentary form of government, combined with a hereditary king, offers the best chance of permanent amelioration in the existing circumstances of the European States. If the time should ever arrive when an attempt should be made in the great Continental States to reach a popular system of government by this road, we earnestly exhort the parliamentary leaders to bear in mind, that the first object to be secured is some form of parliamentary or corporate government, some species of rule which is not dependent on the will of one man, but which lodges the supreme power in a body; some constitution which ensures public debate in a legislative chamber, freedom of the press, and security against arbitrary imprisonment. When this great and paramount object has been accomplished, and a habit of regular government, upon these principles, has been formed, the time will have arrived for deciding the proportions of the aristocratic and democratic elements in the constitution, and for raising questions on which the anti-despotic party are likely to be divided. But it is premature to stir those questions, and to dwell upon the refinements of a free Government, the apices of a constitutional system, before its foundations have been laid. It is premature to dispute about accidents before we have secured the substance. The leaders of liberal parties should bear in mind that despotism is the normal state of mankind, and free governments the rare exception; and that, in all unsettled states of society, the tendency to a despotic form of government is strong and constant.
We have made these remarks with a view to the future, not to the past; not for the purpose of blaming the popular leaders in the late movements on the Continent, but for the purpose of exhorting them to a different course hereafter. Much wonder has been expressed at the failure of parliamentary government in the recent experiments in the Continental States : and an opinion has even been promulgated that the Anglo-Saxon race are alone fitted for free institutions. The Republican Governments of antiquity and the middle ages—which, whatever may have been their defects, were the best Governments of their respective times-prove that Free Government is not the monopoly of a privileged race: and the failure of the late attempts may, as it seems to us, be completely explained by the neglect of those precautions which an intelligent study of the history of England during the reign of George the Third is calculated to suggest.