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[392] of ill-regulated ambition; unsteady in his polit-
chap. XVII.} 1761. March
ical connections; inclining always to the king, yet so conscious of the power conferred on him in the House of Commons by his eloquence, as never to become the servant of the king's friends. Too able to be dependent, too indifferent to liberty to advocate it freely, he floated between the two parties, not from change of views, but because, from his nature and his convictions, he was attached sincerely to neither.

In the House of Commons, Charles Townshend never feared to appear as the rival of the minister; that there might also be in the cabinet one man who dared to stand up against Pitt, contradict him, and oppose his measures, the Duke of Bedford, though without employment, was, by the king's command, summoned to attend its meetings. The Duke was indifferent to office, and incapable of guile; as bold and as open as Pitt, and more regardless of consequences. Halifax, who had so long been trained at the Board of Trade to the assertion of the prerogative, was sent as Lord Lieutenant to carry out the system in Ireland; while the patronage and chief correspondence with the American colonies were taken from the Board of Trade, and restored to the Southern Department.

These changes in the cabinet hastened the period of conflict with the colonies; the course of negotiations for peace between England and France was still more momentous for America.

‘Since we do not know how to make war,’ said Choiseul, ‘we must make peace.’ Choiseul had succeeded Bernis, as the minister of foreign affairs; in January, 1761, had, on the death of Belle-Isle,

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