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A History of the Four Georges and of William IV, V

And Bute stood alone before the world


himself had no sense that his

regal glory was dimmed in its lustre by the resignation of Pitt. He was so delighted at having got rid thus easily of the great obstacle to his own authority that he could readily consent to lend to the act of parting a gracious air of regret. Much was done to lighten Pitt's fall. Very liberal offers were made by the King, offers which seemed to many to mask a hope, and more than a hope, of undermining the popularity of the great leader. Pitt declined several offers that were personal to himself, but expressed his readiness to accept some signs of the royal favor on behalf of his wife and his family. A barony was conferred upon Pitt's wife and a pension of three thousand a year upon Pitt for three lives. There was nothing unworthy in Pitt's action. He was notoriously poor; he was no less notoriously honest; it was perfectly certain that, in an age when a successful politician was for the most part a peculator, no shilling of public money had ever stuck to Pitt's fingers. If he was instantly attacked by libels and pamphlets that were {28} probably paid for by Bute, or that at least were inspired by a desire to please Bute, the attacks did Pitt more good than harm. They produced a prompt reaction, and only had the effect of making Pitt more dear to the people than before. His pictures had an enormous sale, and his partisans on the press poured out caricatures and lampoons upon Bute and his Scotchmen in greater volume and with greater violence than ever.

justify;">Bute was not content with the overthrow of Pitt. He wished to stand in isolated splendor, and to accomplish this Newcastle too must go. The great briber of yesterday had to give way to the great briber of to-day, and Bute stood alone before the world, the head of the King's Ministry, the favorite of the King, the champion of a policy that promised peace abroad and purity at home, and that resulted in a renewal of war under conditions of peculiar disadvantage and a renewed employment of the basest forms of political corruption. Bute had gained the power he longed for, but Bute was soon to learn that power need not and did not mean popularity. "The new Administration begins tempestuously," Walpole wrote on June 20, 1762. "My father was not more abused after twenty years than Lord Bute is after twenty days. Weekly papers swarm, and, like other swarms of insects, sting." Bute affected an indifference to this unpopularity which he did not really feel. It is not flattering to a statesman's pride to be unable to go abroad without being hissed and pelted by the mob, and it is hard for a minister to convince himself of the admiration of a nation when a strong bodyguard is necessary to secure him from the constant danger of personal attacks. Bute's character did not refine under the tests imposed upon it. His objectionable qualities grew more and more unpopular. The less he was liked the less he deserved to be liked. Adversity did not magnify that small soul. In his mean anger he sought for mean revenge. Every person who owed an appointment to the former ministry felt the weight of the favorite's wrath. Dismissal from office was the order of the day, and Whig after Whig was forced to leave his place or office open for {29} some Tory who was ready to express an enthusiasm for the statesmanship of Bute.

[Sidenote: 1762--Bute's foreign policy]


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