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This was a thunderstroke to NewcastleLegge,[120] who had been so pliant, thus to rebel. Newcastle, in his consternation, hastened to Pitt, imploring him to use his influence with Legge, and promising him the Seals as Secretary, engaging to remove all prejudice from the king's mind. But not only Pitt, but the public, had been long asking whether, in these critical times, everything was to be sacrificed for the sake of this old grasping jobber at the Treasury? whether Newcastle was to endanger the whole nation by keeping out of office all men of talent? Pitt stood firm: no offers, no temptations, could move him. Newcastle, finding Pitt unmanageable, flew to Fox, who accepted the Seals on condition of having proper powers conceded to him, and agreed to support the treaties, against which he had been equally as violent as Pitt, having just before said to Dodington, "I am surprised you are not against all subsidies." Robinson was consoled with a pension of two thousand pounds a year and the post of Master of the Wardrobe. The king had returned from Hanover, and Fox was not to receive the Seals till two days after the meeting of Parliament, so that he might keep his place and support the Address. By his accession to office he changed the violence of the opposition of the Duke of Bedford, and brought the support of the Russells to the Ministry. This strength, however, did not prevent the certainty of a breakup of the Cabinet. Pitt was now arrayed against his former colleagues. Sir Robert Peel hoped that by earnestly promoting practical reforms, and improving the institutions of the country in the spirit of his manifesto, he would gradually conciliate a number of members of independent position and moderate views, so that he might be able to secure a working majority. He therefore did not resign when defeated in the first trial of strength on the election of a Speaker; and the same consideration induced him to hold his ground when he was defeated on the amendment to the Address. The House of Commons met for the despatch of business on the 24th of February. The Speech from the Throne, after lamenting the destruction of the Houses of Parliament, congratulated the country on the prevalent commercial prosperity, which, however, was accompanied by a general depression of the agricultural interest. The king, therefore, recommended to the consideration of Parliament whether it might not be in their power, after providing for the exigencies of the public service, and consistently with the steadfast maintenance of the public credit, to devise a method for mitigating the pressure of those local charges which bore heavily on the owners and occupiers of land, and for distributing the burden of them more equally over other descriptions of property. When the Address was moved, an amendment was proposed by Lord Morpeth, which was designed to strike at the very existence of the new Ministry. It was not a direct censure upon their policy, or a formal declaration of want of confidence; but it affirmed a policy materially differing from that which had been announced by Sir Robert Peel. It expressed a hope that municipal corporations would be placed under vigilant popular control; that the undoubted grievances of the Dissenters would be considered; that abuses in the Church of England and Ireland would be removed; and it lamented the dissolution of Parliament as an unnecessary measure, by which the progress of these and other reforms had been interrupted and endangered. This hostile motion gave rise to a debate of intense earnestness, which lasted four nights. It was not easy to predict, during the course of the conflict, which side would be victorious. Even the whippers-in were doubtful of the issue; but the contest ended in the triumph of the Liberals, who had a majority of seven, the numbers being 309 to 302. Of the English members, the Government had a majority of 32; and of the English and Scottish together, of 16; but in Ireland Sir Robert Peel's supporters were only 36, while the Liberals mustered 59. HENRY GRATTAN.

The triumph of the Whigs was complete. Whilst Oxford, who had been making great efforts at the last to retrieve himself with his party by assisting them to seize the reins of power on the queen's illness, was admitted in absolute silence to kiss the king's hand, and that not without many difficulties, Marlborough, Somers, Halifax, and the rest were received with the most cordial welcome. Yet, on appointing the new cabinet, the king showed that he did not forget the double-dealing of Marlborough. He smiled on him, but did not place him where he hoped to be, at the head of affairs. He made Lord Townshend Secretary of State and Prime Minister; Stanhope, the second Secretary; the Earl of Mar was removed from the Secretaryship of Scotland to make way for the Duke of Montrose; Lord Halifax was made First Lord Commissioner of the Treasury, and was raised to an earldom, and was allowed to confer on his nephew the sinecure of Auditor of the Exchequer; Lord Cowper became Lord Chancellor; Lord Wharton was made Privy Seal, and created a marquis; the Earl of Nottingham became President of the Council; Mr. Pulteney was appointed Secretary-at-War; the Duke of Argyll, Commander-in-Chief for Scotland; Shrewsbury, Lord Chamberlain and Groom of the Stole; the Duke of Devonshire became Lord Steward of the Household; the Duke of Somerset, Master of the Horse; Sunderland, Lord-lieutenant of Ireland; Walpole was at first made simply Paymaster of the Forces, without a place in the cabinet, but his ability in debate and as a financier soon raised him to higher employment; Lord Orford was made First Lord of the Admiralty; and Marlborough, Commander-in-Chief and Master of the Ordnance. His power, however, was gone. In the whole new cabinet Nottingham was the only member who belonged to the Tory party, and of late he had been acting more in common with the Whigs. The Tories complained vehemently of their exclusion, as if their dealings with the Pretender had been a recommendation to the House of Hanover. They contended that the king should have shown himself the king of the whole people, and aimed at a junction of the two parties. The progress of Great Britain in commerce during the reign of George III. had been extraordinary. At the beginning of the reign the number of British vessels of all kinds amounted to only 7,075, with a tonnage of 457,316 tons; but at the end of the reign the vessels amounted to 30,000, with a tonnage of upwards of 3,000,000 tons. At the commencement of the reign the exports were 14,500,000, and the imports 9,579,159. At the end of the reign the exports had risen to 43,438,989; and the imports to 30,776,810.

The Crown had resolved to proceed against the queen by a Bill of Pains and Penalties, the introduction of which was preceded by the appointment of a secret committee, to perform functions somewhat analogous to those of a grand jury in finding bills against accused parties. Mr. Brougham earnestly protested against the appointment of a secret committee, which was opposed by Lords Lansdowne and Holland. The course was explained and defended by the Lord Chancellor, who said that the object of Ministers in proposing a secret committee was to prevent injustice towards the accused; that committee would not be permitted to pronounce a decision; it would merely find, like a grand jury, that matter of accusation did or did not exist; such matter, even if found to have existence, could not be the subject of judicial proceeding, strictly so called. The offence of a queen consort, or a Princess Consort of Wales, committing adultery with a person owing allegiance to the British Crown would be that of a principal in high treason, because by statute it was high treason in him; and as accessories in high treason are principals, she would thus be guilty of high treason as a principal; but as the act of a person owing no allegiance to the British Crown could not be high treason in him, so neither could a princess be guilty of that crime merely by being an accessory to such a person's act. Yet although, for this reason, there could be no judicial proceeding in such a case, there might be a legislative one; and the existence or non-existence of grounds for such legislative proceeding was a matter into which it would be fit that a secret committee should inquire. In no case could injustice be done, because that committee's decision would not be final. There might be differences of opinion about the best mode of proceeding, but, for God's sake, said the Lord Chancellor, let it be understood that they all had the same object in view, and that their difference was only about the best mode of procedure. On the 23rd of June the king sent down a message to the Commons, recommending them to[301] take into consideration a separate establishment for the Prince of Wales, who had arrived at the age of twenty-one. This young man, whose whole career proved to be one of reckless extravagance and dissipation, was already notorious for his debauched habits, and for his fast accumulating debts. He was a great companion of Fox, and the gambling rous amongst whom that grand orator but spendthrift man was accustomed to spend his time and money, and therefore, as a pet of this Coalition Ministry, the Duke of Portland proposed to grant him one hundred thousand pounds a year. The king, alarmed at the torrent of extravagance and vice which such an income was certain to produce in the prince's career, declared that he could not consent to burden his people, and encourage the prince's habits of expense, by such an allowance. He therefore requested that the grant should amount only to fifty thousand pounds a year, paid out of the Civil List, and fifty thousand pounds as an outfit from Parliamentary funds. The Ministers were compelled to limit themselves to this, though the saving was merely nominal, for the debts on the Civil List were again fast accumulating, and the prince was not at all likely to hesitate to apply to Parliament to wipe off his debts, as well as his father's when they became troublesome to him. Resenting, however, the restraint attempted to be put upon him by his father, the prince the more closely connected himself with Fox and his party, and the country was again scandalised by the repetition of the scenes enacted when Frederick, Prince of Wales, father of George III., was the opponent of his own father, George II., and the associate of his opponents. Such, indeed, had been the family divisions in every reign since the Hanoverian succession. On the 16th of July Parliament was prorogued. But the most discouraging feature of this war was the incurable pride of the Spaniards, which no reverses, and no example of the successes of their allies could abate sufficiently to show them that, unless they would condescend to be taught discipline, as the Portuguese had done, they must still suffer ignominy and annihilation. Blake, who had been so thoroughly routed on every occasion, was not content, like the British and Portuguese, to go into quarters, and prepare, by good drilling, for a more auspicious campaign. On the contrary, he led his rabble of an army away to the eastern borders of Spain, encountered Suchet in the open field on the 25th of October, was desperately beaten, and then took refuge in Valencia, where he was closely invested, and compelled to surrender in the early part of January next year, with eighteen thousand men, twenty-three officers, and nearly four hundred guns. Such, for the time, was the end of the generalship of this wrong-headed man. Suchet had, before his encounter with Blake, been making a most successful campaign in the difficult country of Catalonia, which had foiled so many French generals. He had captured one fortress after another, and in June he had taken Tarragona, after a siege of three months, and gave it up to the lust and plunder of his soldiery.

The Duke of Richmond made a feeble reply, and then Chatham rose, in the deepest indignation, to answer the Duke, but the violence of his feelings overcame him; he staggered and fell in a swoon, and would have been prostrated on the[252] floor but for the assistance of some friendly hands. He lay apparently in the agonies of death. The whole House was agitated; the Peers crowded round him in the greatest commotion; all except the Earl of Mansfield, who beheld the fall of his ancient rival almost as unmoved, says Lord Camden, "as the senseless body itself." His youngest son, John Charles Pitt, was there, and exerted himself to render all possible assistance. The insensible orator was carried in the arms of his friends to the house of Mr. Sargent, in Downing Street. By the prompt aid of a physician, he was in some degree recalled to consciousness, and within a few days was conveyed to his own dwelling at Hayes. There he lingered till the morning of May 11th, when he died in the seventieth year of his age.