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[403] And claiming the right to interfere in Spanish affairs,
chap. XVII.} 1761. Aug.
with the approbation of Spain, he submitted modifications of the British offer. He still desired peace;1 but he already was convinced that Pitt would never agree to a reasonable treaty, and his only hope was in delay.

Thus far Pitt had encountered in the cabinet no avowed opposition except from Bedford. On this point the king and his friends made a rally,2 and the answer to the French ultimatum, peremptorily rejecting it and making the appeal to ‘arms,’3 was adopted in the cabinet by a majority of but one voice. ‘Why,’ asked George, as he read it, ‘why were not words chosen in which all might have concurred?’ and his agitation was such as he had never before shown.4 The friends of Bedford mourned over the continuance of the war, and the danger of its involving Spain. ‘Pitt,’ said they, ‘does govern, not in the cabinet council only, but in the opinions of the people.’ Rigby forgot his country so far as to wish ill success to its arms;5 but with the multitude, the thirst for conquest was the madness of the times. Men applauded a war which was continued for no definite purpose whatever.

But on the fifteenth of August, the very day on which Pitt despatched his abrupt declaration, Choiseul concluded that Family Compact6 which was designed to unite all the branches of the House of Bourbon as a counterpoise to the maritime ascendency of England.

1 Bussy to Pitt, 5 Aug., 1761.

2 Wiffen's Russell, II. 473.

3 Pitt to Bussy, 15 Aug., 1761.

4 Bute to Pitt, 14 Aug., 1761.

5 Rigby 27 Aug. in Wiffen, II. 473.

6 Martens: Receuil, VI. 69.

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