The Second Tory Party, 1714-1832

By Keith Grahame Feiling | Go to book overview

XI
THE PARTY OF MR. PITT
1784-1792

AN age opened of new measures under a new man. His inheritance was a mass of ruins. An empire had been lost. The fabric of trade was obsolete. Ireland, having taken her autonomy, must be rewon if she were not to be lost. The fleet must be rebuilt. India was in convulsion. Consols stood at 56. Behind the minister were courtiers and reformers; the dispositions which would preserve, and the ardour which would change, all to be bonded together in royal favour and national confidence if he was to survive. This was a moment when character might not merely divert party, but create it.

At the age of twenty-four he carried, besides the burden of the State, the weight of a name from which much was expected, and of a virtue for which he had staked a high claim. At the name of a second Pitt, passion, fear, and confidence revived, in English democrats, in the French Foreign Office, in old men who had worshipped the father, and young men who believed in the son. So a half-pay Highland officer made his appeal--'a Cameron naturally looks up to a Pitt for protection, it was your noble father that called us from under a cloud'.*

What he could be as a man we know from some remarkable human beings. In old age Wellesley recalled 'the gay heart and social spirit',--'beyond any man of his time'--while the saint Wilberforce wrote of 'the wit and playfulness', and of the regard for truth, 'greater than I ever saw in any man who was not strongly under the influence of a powerful principle of religion'. The childless Prime Minister was most at ease with children, shoots of the same innocency for which full-blooded animals derided him, and only to a few grown men, to Harrowby or Canning, was he all in all. 'My ambition', he said, 'is character, not office', and even those who detested the man

____________________
*
P.R.O. G.D. 112 ( 1792).

-164-

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The Second Tory Party, 1714-1832
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • I- The Problem and Its Conditions 1
  • II- In the Wilderness 1714-1727 13
  • III- Sir Robert 24
  • I- Fusion and Confusion 1742-1754 39
  • V- The Watershed- I 1754-1760 58
  • VI- The Watershed- II 1760-1765 68
  • VII- The Watershed- III 1765-1768 87
  • VIII- The New Parties 1768-1774 99
  • IX 122
  • X- The Divide 1782-1784 143
  • XI- The Party of Mr. Pitt 1784-1792 164
  • XIII- The Breaking of the Pitt Party 1800-1806 213
  • XIV- The Age of Faction 1806-1812 247
  • XV- Aftermath of War 1813-1820 276
  • XVI- Breaking-Point (1820-1826) 304
  • XVII- The Break 1826-1830 345
  • XVIII- Finale 384
  • Authorities 405
  • Notes 409
  • Index 425
  • By the Same Author British Foreign Policy 1660-1672 *
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