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religion. We really cannot suppose that Pitt was blind to the consequences of his conduct. His own experience, and that of his father, must have made every nook and cranny of the royal mind familiar to him. He, doubtless, knew that the Sovereign would consider any person who voted for the measure as 'personally indisposed to him.' But he was sick of office; tired of the war; tired, perhaps, of one of his colleagues, who was bent on continuing it; and not unmoved by the sullen discontent which suspended laws, high prices, and scarcity, had spread throughout the masses of the people. We are confirmed in this opinion, by knowing that in 1800 he had for the third time offered to send Lord Malmesbury with the olive branch to France; but that the proposition had been defeated by Lord Grenville.
George III. was a man of strong feelings and great firmness. Had all his faculties been in harmony with his greatest, he would have been a wonderful man. He was thoroughly conscientious; but his early training, and his moderate understanding, made him a conscientious bigot. He had the physical courage of a family which is constitutionally brave; an activity far beyond his powers of mind; and an adherence to persons and principles which, having nothing to do with reason in its origin, reason could do nothing to remove. Since Lord North's time, he had had no minister for whom he felt any personal attachment. Pitt, he did not dislike; but he did not love him. His recollections of the father were, perhaps, too often revived by the cold, distant, and dictatorial hauteur of the son. He naturally inclined, therefore, towards a more complaisant and dependent servant; one who would suggest nothing offensive to his prejudices or his antipathies; one who would be docile and respectful, and have no views or opinions beyond what he could enter into and understand. Such a one was Addington-at once courtly, placid, plausible, and pains-taking. Addington had never shown any symptoms of statesmanship. He was a type of a large and respectable class of gentlemen, who, in ordinary times, are most useful, and occasionally very efficient, when original and creative minds are not in request. He had many qualities which assimilated with the King's. He was methodical, had business habits, and detested French principles. He was friendly to the institutions of the country,' and inimical to the Catholic claims. Yet he did not resist the latter with the unreasoning rancour of Lord Eldon, whom, in most other respects, he resembled. His political associations and friendships had made him a respecter of 'expediency,' as it is called by a certain school; i.e. he would not sacrifice the public safety to the bigotry of the closet. He
has left on record his assent to the proposal of paying the Ca
tholic priests in Ireland. He also spoke in committee against renewing extreme penalties against the Catholic population, after the rebellion. So far he was liberal, and so far politic. But of any comprehensive statesmanship, he was not acquainted even with the rudiments, any more than Lord Eldon. And this deficiency was, unfortunately, a recommendation with the King. On the strength of it, they became, par excellence, his own Prime Minister and his own Lord Chancellor. In one point, they were very much alike, and it was one that would naturally ingratiate them with the Sovereign. They had a high regard for his person, and a higher for his prerogative. George III. himself had not been trained to greater reverence for the King's crown and the deputed sword,' than Henry Addington and John Scott. We must travel back to the age of relics and Divine right, for a picture of monkery and flunkeyism in high places, (if we knew a more servile word, we should be constrained to use it,) like that which Dr Pellew has delighted to draw of his venerable relative. Long after his retirement from the world, the veteran politician, we are told, might be observed frequently 'stealing away to the cabinet which contained the King's letters, 'that he might feast his eyes with the well-known writing of his 'old master, and enliven the present with the recollection of the ' beloved past!'
It was to the congenial nature of Addington that the king resorted for advice and aid in the difficulty into which Pitt had now thrown him. Six years before, he had consulted Lord Kenyon on the subject of the Roman Catholics. Lord Kenyon's answer was this, that the Parliament might do what it liked; but the King's coronation oath bound him to grant no concessions that might endanger the Protestant establishment. And this henceforth became the King's faith. He never swerved from it; he never reasoned on it. I have an oath in heaven,' would have answered every argument and every question. A conviction so deeply rooted did not require any confirmation from the manuscript considerations' submitted to the king by Lord Loughborough in 1801. They were drawn up to meet other proposals, which had been suggested by Lord C—, (probably Lord Clare,) some years before. They are now curious, as drawing a distinction of principle between the admission of the Roman Catholic population to equal rights, and the payment of the Roman Catholic clergy. The former they absolutely condemn; the latter they recommend; though as a scheme of political expediency so extreme, as to verge on the first principles of all government. But George III. had made up his mind years before. He had no difficulty, therefore, in deciding on his
On the 29th of January 1801, he wrote the follow
ing remarkable letter to Addington :—
'Queen's House, Jan. 29th, 1801.
The Speaker of the House of Commons, I trust, is so sensible of the high regard I have for the uprightness of his private character, as well as of his ability and temper in the fulfilling his public trust, that he will not be surprised at my desire of communicating to him the very strong apprehensions I conceive, that the most mischievous measure is in contemplation, to be brought forward in the first session of the parliament of the United Kingdom, and this by one styling himself a friend to administration-I mean Lord Castlereagh; this is no less than the placing the Roman Catholics of the Kingdom in an equal state of right to sit in both houses of parliament, and hold offices of trust and emolument, with those of the Established Church. It is suggested by those best informed that Mr Pitt favours this opinion. That Lord Grenville and Mr Dundas do, I have the fullest proof; they having intimated as much to me, who have certainly not disguised to them my abhorrence of the idea, and my feeling it as a duty, should it ever be brought forward, publicly to express my disapprobation of it, and that no consideration could ever make me give my consent to what I look upon as the destruction of the Established Church; which, by the wisdom of parliament, I, as well as my predecessors, have been obliged to take an oath at our coronations to support.
This idea of giving equal rights to all Christian churches is contrary to the law of every form of government in Europe; for it is well known that no quiet could subsist in any country where there is not a church establishment.
I should be taking up the Speaker's time very uselessly if I said more, as I know we think alike on this great subject. I wish he would, from himself, open Mr Pitt's eyes on the danger arising from the agitating this improper question, which may prevent his ever speaking to me on a subject on which I can scarcely keep my temper, and also his giving great apprehension to every true member of our church, and, indeed, I should think [to] all those who with temper consider that such a change must inevitably unhinge our excellent and happy constitution, and be most exactly following the steps of the French revolution.
I have adopted this method of conveying my sentiments to the Speaker, as I thought he would not choose to be summoned by me when he could not have assigned the reason of it; but should this ill-judged measure still come forward, I shall then, from the notoriety of the case, think myself justified in setting all etiquettes aside, and desiring the Speaker to come here. GEORGE R.'
Addington had just been re-elected Speaker. On receiving this letter he went to Pitt. He brought away the impression that Pitt was wavering; but he had misunderstood him. Pitt persisted. Upon this his Majesty desired the Speaker to undertake the formation of a government, in these emphatic
words: Lay your hand upon your heart, and ask yourself where 'I am to turn for support, if you do not stand by me.' Addington was not proof against confidence like this; but he again betook himself to Pitt. The language of the outgoing minister was plain and positive. I see nothing but ruin, Addington, if 'you hesitate.' Meanwhile, the latter had written to the King a letter, explaining his view of the matter at issue, and had received an answer which, loose and incorrect in grammatical expression, was unmistakeable as an intimation of his will. All subjects who took office must be friendly to the Church of England; and none could be friendly to the Church who would not take its sacramental test. This was the gist of the King's scruple, which no minister and no persuasion could have induced him to give up. Arrangements for a new ministry proceeded. Addington bade farewell to the house over which he had presided for eleven years; while Pitt asked his friends to continue in office, and promised his own support to his successor. But the King also had his own friends to reward and elevate. He had become tired of the hollow and specious cleverness of Loughborough, and longed for a colleague to Addington, as like him as he could find. He had in this instance likewise formed his own plan. He had told Lord Eldon, years before, that he must make up his mind to take the Great Seal some day. Nor did his schemes end here. The ministry was to become a ministry of the King's friends.' Not content with Addington for his premier, and Eldon for his chancellor, he wished to have made Abbott secretary of state. Meanwhile the disposal of places was suspended by the King's illness, which commenced with a fever on the 14th of February, and continued for some weeks; and there was thus a ministerial interregnum. The Pitt ministry was not actually out; Addington's ministry was only in embryo. Pitt discharged the duties of Chancellor of the Exchequer till the King's recovery would allow Addington to be gazetted; and in this capacity he brought forward the budget. Everything indicated friendship and confidence between the two. Pitt was in frequent communication with Addington. spoke in support of the vote of thanks to him on resigning the chair.
On the 9th of March the King's illness, which in fact was partial insanity, brought on by the excitement of the recent changes, had left him and to this recovery Addington himself had contributed, by recommending the use of a pillow filled with hops, to promote sleep. This display of professional skill was irresistible. The new minister was introduced to the public under the name of THE DOCTOR,'-in which character
he contributed to its amusement, in every form of prose and verse, for the next twenty years.
On March 14th, 1801, Pitt actually resigned; and the late Speaker accepted the seals of Chancellor of the Exchequer and First Lord of the Treasury. His principal colleagues were the Duke of Portland, Lord Eldon, and Lord St. Vincent. There was not one of these who had been distinguished in Parliament; not one, indeed, who could speak tolerable English, much less command men by superiority of manner, or subdue them by superiority in debate. Three years after, when he beat a retreat from the hazardous height of the premiership, Addington was told by his friends-and, doubtless, he believed them-that he was driven from office because his cabinet wanted the specious brilliancy of useless eloquence. They certainly did want this; but they wanted much besides. These deficiencies, however, and worse, were far from being in their way: the King had no right or inclination to find fault with their English, for his own was worse; or with their intolerance, for it was formed upon his own model. Indeed, the latter was their tower of strength, both with king and people. In those days Catholic emancipation was a measure far beyond the liberality of three-fourths of the nation. The King represented the average opinions and prejudices of the country gentlemen, the merchants, and the tradespeople. His recent exercise of prerogative was a vindication of the national conscience-an expression of the national will, as fully as of his own; and the King's friends entered office with much more of public countenance than former administrations brought together under the same title ever had enjoyed. But it was not merely to please the King and to perpetuate bigotry that the new cabinet was formed: a much more arduous task awaited them. They had to smooth the way to a secure and honourable peace -to conciliate a sullen and disheartened people-to repair a disordered exchequer. That they did not do these things cannot be a reproach to them; for their predecessors and rivals had failed, and were destined to fail again in attempting to do them. But that they should have taken the government out of the hands of such men as Pitt and Grenville, to repeat experiments in which Pitt and Grenville had been baffled, seems to us strange indeed, on looking back upon it; and to all intelligent contemporaries must have seemed stranger still.
One member, not of the late cabinet, but of the late administration, never forgave the arrogance of Addington's audacity. Canning, attached by ties of office to Grenville, and by ties of a friendship almost devotional to Pitt, could not brook that the idol of his political homage should be superseded by the tame