British Friends of the American Revolution

By Jerome R. Reich | Go to book overview

intended to make a motion for the removal of the ministers, announced that it was no longer necessary and that he looked forward to new ministers who would have "the confidence of the people, save the empire from destruction, and rescue the character of the nation from contempt." 50

Lord North had been preparing the king for this contingency ever since General Conway's motion to end the American war had been approved on February 28, 1782, by a majority of nineteen votes. That same day, North suggested that at least some members of the opposition be taken into the ministry. Negotiations began with the duke of Grafton but he declined. It soon became obvious that either Rockingham or Shelburne was the only viable choice, but Rockingham laid down certain demands including the recognition of American independence, which the king found unacceptable. On March 19, North assured the king that "the fate of the present Ministry is absolutely and irrevocably decided" and that he [the king] could yield without loss of honor "to the opinion and wishes of the House of Commons" and select either Rockingham or Shelburne as his chief minister. The king's churlish reply to his faithful minister was to warn him, "if You resign before I have decided what I will do, You will certainly for ever forfeit my regard." North could only abjectly beg the king to allow him to resign rather than be "forever stigmatized" as having been ousted from office by a vote in the House of Commons. 51

One of the outgoing ministers then approached Shelburne, whom North thought more pliable than Rockingham, but he was only willing to serve under Rockingham. Finally, the king capitulated and on March 27 accepted Rockingham as his chief minister and Richmond as master general of the Ordinance. 52 Rockingham had been in opposition for sixteen interminable years, but his return to office was terminated in a little more than three months by his untimely death on July 1, 1782. And on that sad note, we shall terminate this chapter and return to our "friends" outside of Parliament.


Notes
1
George Thomas, Earl of Albemarle, Memoirs of the Marquis of Rockingham and His Contemporaries, II, p. 245. Hereafter referred to as Rockingham Memoirs. The most recent useful work on Rockingham is Ross J. S. Hoffman, The Marquis: A Study of Lord Rockingham, 1730-1782.
2
R. C. Simmons and P. D.G. Thomas, eds., Proceedings and Debates of the British Parliaments Respecting North America, 1754-1783 (hereafter referred to as Parliament Debates), V, p. 237.
3
William Stanhope Taylor and Captain John Henry Pringle, eds., Correspondence of William Pitt, Earl of Chatham (hereafter referred to as Pitt Correspondence), IV, pp. 359-361, 368; Richard Henry Lee, The Life of Arthur Lee, LLD, II, p. 212.
4
Thomas W. Copeland et al., eds., The Correspondence of Edmund Burke(hereafter referred to as Burke Correspondence), III, pp. 30, 89-92.

-87-

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British Friends of the American Revolution
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • 1 - The Stage and the Players 3
  • Notes 6
  • 2 - Governor Pownall, Dean Tucker, and Major John Cartwright: Practical Idealists or Wishful Thinkers? 7
  • Notes 19
  • 3 - Pitt, Burke, and American Policy, 1763-1770 21
  • Notes 31
  • 4 - "Birds of a Feather": John Wilkes and John Horne Tooke 33
  • Notes 39
  • 5 - The "Honest Whigs" 40
  • Notes 48
  • 6 - The Coercive Acts and Their Opponents: a Study in Futility 50
  • Notes 57
  • 7 - A Dire Prediction 59
  • Notes 72
  • 8 - The House of Lords 74
  • Notes 87
  • 9 Richard Price: Apostle of Liberty 90
  • Notes 103
  • 10 - The Single Legal Victim of the American Revolution 105
  • Notes 111
  • 11 - Dean Tucker: He Told Them So! 112
  • Notes 117
  • 12 - Governor Pownall Fights to the Finish 119
  • Notes 125
  • 13 - David Hartley: Amateur Diplomat 127
  • Notes 137
  • 14 - Charles James Fox: the Life of the Party 139
  • Notes 151
  • 15 - "Peace, Peace, When There is No Peace" 154
  • Notes 162
  • 16 - Summary and Conclusions 164
  • Bibliography 173
  • Index 179
  • About the Author *
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