« PreviousContinue »
a retinue adequate to the importance of his station. He meant to propose such a retinue, and he was confident, that, though it might involve some additional expence, it would cheerfully and unreluctantly be contributed by that house.
The arguments of the minister were attacked with great energy by Lord North, Mr: Sheridan, Mr. Fox, and others. Lord North particularly controverted Mr. Pitt's description of the great officers of the household. They might, observed his lordship, in the time of King George II. have been intimately connected with the interior of the palace, and been in the strict sense of the word domestics of the sovereign; but it was well known that of late years the lords of the bedchamber had been otherwise employed. They were indeed the political servants of the crown, not appointed for the domestic convenience of the monarch, but for his public pomp, being a part of the pageantry annexed to his office, and a source of the influence which it was intended to maintain among the people at large.
Mr. Sheridan declared that the minister had discovered in one part of his speech the true motives of his conduct, when he had stated his apprehension, that the government would fall into the hands of those persons, who he had dared to assert had been convicted of a conspiracy to overturn the constitution. This was the real spring of Mr. Pitt's measures. Had the regent intended to have kept the present ministers in office, the limitations, he verily believed, would never have been heard of. The whole of Mr. Pitt's conduct was confessedly. -governed by party considerations, and the impulse of his personal ambition. He had talked of
the evil advisers to whom the regent might possibly be exposed. there in fact any reason to dread such a circumstance? If it occurred, was there not vigour enough left in that house, to crush any attempts at the abuse of authority, to call bad ministers to a severe account, and address the regent to remove them from his councils ?
Mr. Pitt had more than once wantonly attacked that side of the house, as containing a political party. He made no scruple to declare, that he thought it the glory and honour of his life to belong to that party. Was it a disgrace to have been formed under the Marquis of Rockingham, and under his banners to have combated with success in the cause of the people ? Was it a disgrace to be connected with the Duke of Portland, a nobleman, who, actuated solely by the desire of the public welfare, dedicated himself unremittingly to the service of his country?
Of Mr. Fox, Mr. Sheridan remarked, that it was his characteristic distinction, fully to possess himself of the affection of all those who were in habits of intercourse with him, and to force them by the most powerful and amiable sort of compulsion to participate in his fortune. With respect to his talents he would not speak of them. They could derive no additional lustre from the most sanguine panegyric of the most enlightened of his friends. Thus much he would only observe, with regard to the extent of his mind and the keenness of his understanding, that it was the best proof of any other man's talents to be able to comprehend the enlargement and feel the superiority of those of his friend. He regarded the friendship of such a man as the greatest happiness that could befal him ; and he desired to know whether the Duke of Portland and Mr. Fox were the less worthy of the confidence of their country, or the more unfit to become ministers, because an arrogant individual chose presumptuously to load them with calumny.-Mr. Sheridan condemned in the strongest terms the idea of reserving the patronage of the household, which could answer no other purpose but what Mr. Pitt had unjustly charged upon Mr. Fox, the erecting a fortress, from which, when out of office, he might successfully counteract the measures of administration. The pretence, that the feelings of the King would be shocked when he recovered and found his household changed, was ridiculous. The bad advisers of the regent were to be allowed the power of making war and peace, and alliances, and ex