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THE KING TO MR. PITT.
Richmond Lodge, July 29, 1766. 25 m. past five, p. m.
I HAVE signed this day the warrant for creating you an Earl ('), and shall with pleasure receive you in that capacity to-morrow, as well as entrust you with my privy seal; as I know the Earl of Chatham will zealously give his aid towards destroying all party distinctions, and restoring that subordination to Government, which can alone preserve that inestimable blessing, Liberty, from degenerating into Licentiousness.
(1) The event was thus announced in the London Gazette of the following evening: "St. James's, July 30. The King has been pleased to grant unto the right honourable William Pitt, Esq. and his heirs male, the dignity of a viscount and earl of Great Britain, by the titles of viscount Pitt of Burtou Pynsent, and earl of Chatham, in the county of Kent." Lord Chesterfield, writing at this time to Mr. Stanhope says, “I wish I could send you all the pamphlets and half-sheets that swarm here upon this occasion; but that is impossible, for every week would make a ship's cargo. It is certain that Mr. Pitt has, by his dignity of earl, lost the greatest part of his popularity, especially in the city; and I believe the opposition will be very strong, and perhaps prevail, next session, in the House of Commons; there being now nobody there who can have the authority and ascendant over them that Pitt had." The noble letter-writer might have borne in mind, that Mr. Pitt was at this time on the verge of sixty; that his constitution was much broken by repeated attacks of the gout, which threatened to render him unfit for the vehement and con
THE RIGHT HON. WILLIAM DOWDESWELL(1) TO
Downing Street, July 31, 1766.
YOUR Lordship was so good as to inform me this morning, by his Majesty's permission, that either
tentious eloquence of the House of Commons; and that the custody of the privy seal, which had always been entrusted to a member of the upper house, seemed therefore, on every account, better adapted to his years and infirmities.
(1) Of Pull-court, in the county of Worcester; which county he at this time represented in parliament. In the preceding short administration, Mr. Dowdeswell had been chancellor of the exchequer and a member of the privy council. He died at Nice in 1775; whither he had gone for the recovery of his health. The following delineation of his character, from the pen of Mr. Burke, forms part of the epitaph on his monument in Bushley church: "A senator for twenty years, a minister for one, a virtuous citizen for his whole life: a man of unshaken constancy, inflexible integrity, unremitted industry: his mind was generous, open, sincere; his manners plain, simple, and noble; rejecting all sorts of duplicity and disguise as useless to his designs and odious to his nature: his understanding was comprehensive, steady, vigorous, made for the practical business of the state; in debate he was clear, natural, and convincing; his knowledge in all things which concerned his duty profound: he understood beyond, any man of his time, the revenues of his country; which he preferred to every thing except its liberties: he was perfect master of the law of parliament, and attached to its privileges, until they were set up against the rights of the people: all the proceedings which have weakened government, endangered freedom, and distracted the British empire, were by him strenuously opposed; and his last efforts, under which his health sunk, were to preserve his country from a civil war, which, being unable to prevent, he had not the misfortune to see."
the first seat at the board of trade, or a joint paymaster's place, was at my service, if I thought proper to accept it. Your Lordship also wished to have my answer in the course of this day. I should hardly have found it possible, in so short a time, to have taken a resolution in a matter, the importance of which I feel so strongly; but the Duke of Grafton having, on Tuesday last, opened his Majesty's intentions towards me, as far as his Grace was then authorised to do, I have had time sufficient to collect, in my own mind, all that I think could occur upon the most mature consideration.
I must therefore, in the first place, beg your Lordship to assure his Majesty of the unfeigned zeal I have for his service, and of my gratitude for his Majesty's great kindness to me; but, with infinite concern, I am obliged to beg your Lordship to entreat his Majesty's permission, that I may decline accepting either of these offers.
Your Lordship will, at the same time, give me leave to thank you for the very obliging manner in which you expressed your wishes that I might again enter into his Majesty's service, and of the perfect regard and esteem with which I have the honour to be, my Lord,
Your Lordship's most obedient
and most humble servant,
THE KING TO THE EARL OF CHATHAM.
Richmond Lodge, August 1, 1766. 5 m. past nine, p. m.
UPON the whole, I am glad the treaty of commerce with Russia is thought not improper, as it would have disgusted that court much, if it had not been accepted on the foot they have, though reluctantly, submitted to.
I am surprised Mr. Dowdeswell has declined both the offices proposed to him. I shall be by eleven at the Queen's house on Sunday, when I shall wish to hear your ideas with regard to the board of trade. (')
Mr. Yorke this day resigned his employment, but appeared more placid than on Monday. I desired Lord Northington yesterday to desire the chancellor to be with me after the drawing-room on Sunday, that he may appoint the new attorney and solicitor(2) to kiss hands on Wednesday; for the
(1) The office of paymaster-general was divided into two employments, and given to Lord North and Mr. George Cooke, the member for Middlesex; and the Earl of Hillsborough succeeded Lord Dartmouth at the board of trade. In a letter of this date to Sir Andrew Mitchell, Lord Barrington writes, "I hope the board of trade will be restored to Hillsborough, who will certainly execute it better than any other man living."
(2) Mr. De Grey was, on the 5th, made attorney-general, and Mr. Edward Willes, solicitor-general. On the same day, Sir John Eardley Wilmot, one of the judges of the king's bench, was appointed chief justice of the court of common pleas, in the
filling up offices as soon as possible after they are vacated shows decision in administration, that gives a good impression to the public.
room of Lord Camden. Mr.Wilmot, in his memoir of his excellent parent, states, that in the evening of that day, Sir Eardley thus addressed him :-"Now, my son, I will tell you a secret worth your knowing and remembering: the elevation I have met with in life, particularly this last instance of it, has not been owing to any superior merit or abilities, but to my humility, and to an uniform endeavour to pass through life void of offence to God and man." In the same interesting piece of biography, we find the following lively picture of the new ministry, in a letter, written on the 2nd of August, by Sir Robert Wilmot, secretary to the lord chamberlain, to his brother the new chief justice :
"The curtain is now drawn up: the actors are coming upon the stage. I understand you have a part, which, though not your own choice, has been assigned to you in so distinguished, so honourable a manner, that you certainly ought, cheerfully, graciously, and gratefully, to accept it. 'T is a duty which you owe to the King, to your friends, to your family, to yourself; and the duty required is neither hard nor unprofitable. You come in without terms, conditions, stipulations of any kind. It is presumed you will do your duty (and nothing more is required); and always, when called upon, give your advice in council, according to the rectitude of what shall be proposed, and not with a ministerial warp, which scandalises the man. You will, at all events, be a permanent pillar, though the new ministry, as it probably will, topple down; for Lord Bath has risen from the dead, and has drawn the thorns out of the feet of every competitor, and has stuck them into those of his friends; and when the ball comes to be tossed up again, as every body thinks it must, and a new match played, the lame ones must lag behind. One set of men are thoroughly united; another, whom artifice has severed and set at variance, may now, and will, if they be not infatuated, piece again; and the number and strength of the new comers do not seem sufficient to carry away the ball