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ciples, and concurred with that party in all liberal measures His extraordinary talents at once marked him, in his early youth, as a leader of men. His sympathies were all with Lord Rockingham: he supported his government:' and there can be little doubt that he might have been won as a member of his party. But he was passed over when the Rockingham ministry was formed ;' and was now secured by Lord Shelburne, as his Chancellor of the Exchequer. Henceforth the young statesman, instead of coöperating with Fox, became his successful rival; and as bis fortunes were identified with the king's friends and the Tories, be was permanently alienated from the Whig connection.
Who can tell what two such men, acting in concert, might have accomplished for the good of their country and the popular cause! 8 Their altered relations proved a severe discomfiture to the Whigs, and a source of hope and strength to the Tories. There were now three parties, Lord Shelburne and the
Court, Lord North and bis Tory adherents,
and Mr. Fox and his Whig followers. plain that the first could not stand alone ; and overtures were, therefore, separately made to Lord North and to Mr. Fox to strengthen the administration. The former was still to be excluded himself, but his friends were to be admitted, - a proposal not very conciliatory to the leader of a
1 Lord Stanhope's Life of Pitt, i. 72.
2 In an article in the Law Magazine, Feb. 1861, attributed to Lord Brougham, - on the Auckland Correspondence, – it is said, “What mischief might have been spared, both to the party and the country, had not this error been committed!"
8 Wraxall's Mem., iii. 152, 158, 176. _“I am indeed persuaded, that if Fox had been once confirmed in office, and acceptable to the sovereign, he would have steadily repressed all democratic innovations; as, on the other hand, had Pitt passed his whole life on the opposition bench, poor, and excluded from power, I believe he would have endeavored to throw his weight into the scale of the popular representation...... It appeared to me, that Pitt had received from nature a' greater mixture of republican spirit than animated his rival; but royal favor and employment softened its asperity." — Wrocall's Mem., iii. 98.
party. The latter declined to join the ministry, unless Lord
The immediate occasion of their alliance was a coincidence
w The concessions made by Lord Shelburne to the 21st, 1783. enemy were such as fairly to provoke objections; and a casual agreement between parties otherwise opposed, was natural and legitimate. To restrain the influence of the crown was another object which Mr. Fox had much at heart; and in this also he found his facile and compliant ally not indisposed to coöperate. The main cause of their previous differences, the American war, was at an end; and both were of too generous a temper to cherish personal animosities with sullen tenacity. What Mr. Fox said finely of himself, could be affirmed with equal truth of his former rival, “ Amicitiæ sempiternæ, inimicitia placabiles.” But the principles of the two parties were irreconcilable; and their sudden union could not be effected without imputations injurious to the credit of both. Nor could it be disguised that personal ambition dictated this bold stroke for power, in which principles were made to yield to interest. It was the alliance of fac
1 Wraxall's Mem., iii. 252; Fox's Mem., ii. 12; Lord J. Russell's Life of
2 Wraxall's Mem., iii. 261; Lord Auckland's Corr., chap. i., ii.; Fox's
tions, rather than of parties ; and on either side it was a grave political error. Viewed with disfavor by the most earnest of both parties, it alienated from the two leaders many of their best followers.
Either party could have united with Lord Shelburne more properly than with one another. The Whigs forfeited the popularity which they had acquired in opposition. Even Wilkes and the democratic party denounced them. Courtiers and mob orators vied with one another in execrating the “infamous coalition.” So long as coalitions had served to repress the Whigs, advance the Tories, and increase the personal authority of the king, they had been favored at court: but the first coalition which threatened the influence of the crown was discovered to be unprincipled and corrupt, and condemned as a political crime." How the coalition, having triumphed for a time, was tram
pled under foot by the king and Mr. Pitt, has Opinions concerning the been already told. It fell amidst groans and
hisses; and has since been scourged, with unsparing severity, by writers of all parties. Its failure left it few friends: Lord North's followers were soon lost in the general body of Tories who supported Mr. Pitt; and Mr. Fox's party was again reduced to a powerless minority. But the errors and ruin of its leaders have brought down upon them too harsh a judgment. The confusion and intermixture of parties, which the king bimself had favored, must not be forgotten. Every administration of his reign, but that of Lord North, had been a coalition ; and the principles and connections of statesmen had been strangely shifting and changing. Mr. Fox, having commenced his career as a Tory, was now leader of the Whigs : Mr. Pitt, having entered Parliament as a Whig, had become leader of the Tories. The Grenvilles had coalesced with Lord Rocking
1 Wraxall gives an entertaining narrative of all the proceedings connected with the coalition.- Jlem., iii. 257-277.
2 Vol. I. 63-80.
ham. Lord Temple had, at one time, consorted with Wilkes, .and braved the king; at another, he was a stout champion of bis Majesty's prerogative. Lord Shelburne and Mr. Dunning, having combined with Lord Rockingham to restrain the influence of the crown, had been converted to the policy of the court. Lord Thurlow was the inevitable chancellor of Whigs and Tories alike. Wilkes was tamed, and denied that he had ever been a Wilkite. Such being the unsettled condition of principles and parties, why was the virtuous indignation of the country reserved for Mr. Fox and Lord North alone ? Courtiers were indignant because the influence of the crown was threatened: the people, scandalized by the suspicious union of two men whose invectives were still resounding in their ears, followed too readily the cry of the court. The king and his advisers gained their end ; and the overthrow of the coalition insured its general condemnation. The consequent ruin of the Whigs secured the undisputed domination of the crown for the next fifty years.
That the prejudices raised against coalitions were a pretence, was shown by the composition of Mr. Pitt's own ministry, which was scarcely less a coalition ministry a than that which he had overthrown and covered with opprobrium for their supposed sacrifice of principle and consistency. He had himself contended against Lord North, yet his government was composed of friends and associates of that minister, and of Whigs who had recently agreed with himself and Mr. Fox. And when it became doubtful whether he could hold his ground against his opponents, negotiations were entered into, by the king's authority, for
1 Mr. Fox, writing in 1804, said: "I know this coalition is always quoted against us, because we were ultimately unsuccessful; but after all that can be said, it will be difficult to show when the power of the Whigs ever made so strong a struggle against the Crown, the Crown being thoroughly in earnest and exerting all its resources." — For's Mem., iv. 40 Again, in 1805, he wrote:-“Without coalitions nothing can be done against the Crown; with them, God knows how little.” – Ibid., 102.
the reconstruction of the government on the basis of a new coalition. Yet Mr. Pitt escaped the censure of those Principles of who were loudest in condemning the late coali
tion. Both, however, were the natural conse quence of the condition of parties at that period. No one party being able to rule singly, a fusion of parties was inev. itable. Lord Shelburne, unable to stand alone, had sought the alliance of each of the other parties. They had rejected his offers and united against him; and Mr. Pitt, in his weakness, was driven to the same expedient, to secure a majority. A strong party may despise coalitions ; but parties divided and broken up are naturally impelled to unite ; and to reprobate such unions is to condemn the principles upon which the organization of parties is founded. Members of the same party cannot agree upon all points : but their concurrence in great leading principles, and general sympathy, induce them to compromise extreme opinions, and disregard minor differences. A coalition of parties is founded upon the same basis. Men who have been opposed at another time, and upon different questions of policy, discover an agreement upon some important measures, and a common object in resisting a third party. Hence they forget former differences, and unite for the purpose of carrying out the particular policy in which they agree.
Mr. Pitt's popularity and success, at the elections of 1784, Enlarged
widened the basis of the Tory party. He was supbasis of the ported by squires and traders, churchmen and disTory party
senters. He had gained over the natural allies of
the Whigs; and governed with the united power of the Crown, the aristocracy, and the people. He bad no natural connection with the party which he led, except as the
1 Nicholls' Recoll., ii. 113; Adolphus' Hist., iv. 85; Tomline's Life of Pitt, i. 294; Ann. Reg., 1784, ch. vi.; Parl. Hist., xxiv. 472; Lord Stanhope's Life of Pitt, i. 184; supra, Vol. I. 74.
2 Adolphus' Hist., iv., 115; Tomline's Life of Pitt, i. 468; Lord Stanhope's Life of Pitt, i. 211, &c.; Lord Macaulay's Biography of Pitt; Lord J. Rus. sell's Life of Fox, ii. 92.
under Mr. Pitt.