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[446] fever, and strong and well defended fortresses, all
chap. XIX.} 1762.
the obstacles of nature and art, were surmounted, and the most decisive victory of the war was completed.

The scene in the British cabinet was changed by the capture of Havana. Bute was indifferent to further acquisitions in America, for he held it ‘of much greater importance to bring the old colonies into order than to plant new ones;’1 but all his colleagues thought otherwise; and Bedford was unwilling to restore Havana to Spain except for the cession of Porto Rico and the Floridas. The king, who persisted in the purpose of peace, intervened. He himself solicited the assent of Cumberland to his policy; he caused George Grenville, who hesitated to adopt his views, to exchange with Halifax the post of secretary of state for that of the head of the admiralty; and he purchased the support of Fox as a member of the cabinet and leader of the House of Commons by the offer of a peerage. These movements enraged both the people and the aristocracy; Wilkes, through The North Briton, inflamed the public mind; while the Duke of Devonshire and the Marquis of Rockingham resigned their offices in the royal household. An opposition seemed certain; nor was it expected by the friends of the prerogative, that ‘ancient systems of power would fall to the ground without a struggle.’2 ‘The king's rest is not disturbed,’ said Bute; ‘he is pleased to have people fairly take off the mask, and looks with the utmost contempt on what ’

1 Knox Extra official papers, II. 29.

2 Lord John Russell's Introduction to vol. III. of the Bedford Correspondence, XXVII.

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