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[244] pieces from the sense of its real weakness, and the
chap. X.} 1756.
weariness of the people of England at the unmixed government of the aristocracy. ‘If,’ said William Pitt, the Great Commoner, a poor and now a private man, ‘if I see a child driving a go-cart on a precipice, with that precious freight of the king and his family, I am bound to take the reins out of such hands;’ and the influence of popular opinion came in aid of his just ambition. A new authority was also growing up; and to win the direction of the cabinet, he connected himself with the family of the successor. In June, 1756, Prince George, being eighteen, became of age, and Newcastle, with the concurrence of the king, would have separated his establishment from that of his mother. They both were opposed to the separation. Pitt exerted his influence against it, with a zeal and activity to which they were most sensible.1

The Earl of Bute had been one of the lords of the bed-chamber to Frederic, the late Prince of Wales, who used to call him ‘a fine, showy man, such as would make an excellent ambassador in a court where there was no business.’ He was ambitious, yet his personal timidity loved to lean on a nature firmer than his own. Though his learning was small, he was willing to be thought a man of erudition, who could quote Horace, and find pleasure in Virgil and Columella. He had an air of the greatest importance, and in look and manner assumed an extraordinary appearance of wisdom.2 Unacquainted with business and unemployed in public office, yet as a consistent and most obsequious royalist, he retained the confidence

1 Walpole's Memoires of George II., II. 39.

2 Chatham Correspond., i. 157. Waldegrave's Memoirs, 38.

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