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essential to any good for this country.

I am

ever, with truest respect and attachment, my dear


Your most obedient

affectionate humble servant,



Tuesday, 4 o'clock. [January 21, 1766.]


THE riddle of negotiation is at an end. I have seen Lord Rockingham from the King, and am informed that his Majesty does not judge proper, upon the report of my answers, to have any further proceeding in this matter. I propose going to Hayes to-morrow; my knee much easier, and my heart certainly not heavier, though indeed presaging melancholy things for this country. I beg to return many thanks for your Lordship's goodness in sending me the votes, which are herewith returned. I see the resolution (') is not for the right. Believe me ever, with the truest respect and attachment,

Your Lordship's most obedient

and affectionate humble servant, WILLIAM PITT.

(1) The resolution of the house of representatives of the province of Massachusets-bay, of, the 29th of October, denying the right of the British legislature to tax the colonies.


Hill Street, Monday. [February 24, 1766.]


THOUGH I was very much ashamed to have troubled you lately upon such an ill-grounded tale, it is not through an apprehension of my having lost any degree of your attention by it, that makes me rather write than wait upon you, to tell you the particulars of a conversation I had yesterday, at the French minister's, with Lord Rockingham, very much at his desire; which, upon consideration since, was so distinct, and had so much the appearance of premeditation, that it certainly must have been intended to be communicated directly to you; or else that, as from myself, it should make part of the first conversation you honoured me with; which 1 look upon as the same thing. But, as I neither gave any opinion, and do profess myself totally unable to form any, and nothing passed which makes it necessary for me to renew the conversation, I think this way of communicating


may be more convenient than desiring to wait on you upon it.

Lord Rockingham said he intended waiting on you on Saturday, but was prevented; that the time was now come, or coming very soon, when something settled was to be formed, if ever, without regard to the Duke of Bedford's party on the one

hand, or Lord Bute's on the other; but that he was glad of an opportunity to tell me where he was under the greatest apprehensions it would hitch, and that all that he could do could not prevent it.

He then stated his own situation in regard to some individuals, whom, though his opinion led him to be almost sure Mr. Pitt would not treat with harshness in new casting the system, and was it only himself that was in question, it could not meet with a moment's doubt, yet he could not, with any content of mind, go into any thing, where they were to be left to what they might call uncertainty: that in regard to the Duke of Newcastle and Mr. Yorke, though he had reason to believe they might be brought into every thing that was desired, yet it was to be wished, that it should be proposed with a certain degree of regard, and that manner might reconcile men's minds to that which it would be impossible ever to force them to.

I observed, or at least thought, he avoided saying whether the seals were to be Mr. Yorke's object, but seemed carefully to adhere to such general terms, upon Mr. Yorke's subject, as I have mentioned. He then spoke of the consequence of offending them, perhaps unnecessarily, in point of numbers in the House of Commons; which I took the liberty of telling him I could not think him serious in mentioning: but, upon the whole, came to this point, that from these reasons, as well as others regarding the King himself, who had

always, since the Duke's death ('), dwelt upon his not being given up blindfold, that he was certain, when they came to go into the King, if nothing previous was settled, it would give his Majesty such advantage, that every thing would be given up, without any thing certain, and a convulsion would follow, which might bring in the late ministry, or no one knew what; while, if they went in united, and in good humour with each other, the King was so hampered by many things that had passed, that, without entering into any consideration of the interior of the court, he must certainly agree to it. (2)

He spoke a great deal of the Duke of Grafton, with regard and friendship as a man, but not quite, I thought, as a minister, with that cordiality I could wish. I plainly saw he was convinced the Duke of Grafton and Mr. Conway would bring things to a crisis. He said he had been told, from those who had heard it from you, that they had acted more as your friends than he had done, at the same time that you could with great sincerity commend his motives. I told him, with great truth, that I had never heard any such distinction.

When he spoke of influence about the King, I could not help saying something, though, as I saw there was little hope of convincing, what I said

(1) The Duke of Cumberland. See Vol. II. p. 329, note. (2) See, on this point, Mr. Nuthall's "Memorandum of a Conference with Lord Rockingham," vol. ii. p. 397.

was so guarded, that it amounted to nothing; and as to the rest, my aim was to leave it in general where I found it, assuring him, with great sincerity, that I felt myself totally unable to form any judgment, in the present confusion, that I could mention even in the greatest confidence to you. And I have only to beg, Sir, that you will not interpret my relation of the conversation into any opinion of my own; which is one among other reasons of my writing it. It is not only such a labyrinth, but a labyrinth so entangled, that I have no faculties which lead me to any understanding of it, or any clue to direct the little judgment I have; and as to passions, they have some time subsided in regard to it.

Though I believe I have been pretty exact in relating what Lord Rockingham said, yet, as he did not expressly desire it to be communicated, I should be sorry that it made the foundation even of an opinion in your own mind, till you had it from better authority. Though he seemed to me to speak with a manner of decision, yet he may have meant it a manner of negotiation, which I may not understand. At any rate, I have At any rate, I have many pardons to ask for troubling you with so long a letter, and in return I will only beg for a very short one, either from you or Lady Chatham, to tell me, I hope, that you are not the worse for sitting up so late in the House. (1)

(1) Mr. Pitt, though in a state of great weakness, had, on the preceding Friday, remained in the House of Commons till

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