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‘ [162] merchants, can the House bear, if eloquence alone is
chap. VII.} 1754.
to carry it? I hope words alone will not prevail;’1 and the majority came to his aid. Even Fox, who ‘despised care for the constitution as the object of narrow minds,’2 complained to the heir of the Duke of Devonshire, that, ‘taking all share of power from the Commons is not the way to preserve Whig liberty. The Lords stand between the crown and the privilege of both peers and commons;’ ‘after we are nothing,’ he continued, addressing the great chieftains of the Whig clans, ‘you will not long continue what you wish to be.’3 George the Second, the aged king, was even more impatient of this thraldom to the aristocracy, which would not leave him a negative, still less an option in the choice of his servants. ‘The English notions of liberty,’ thought he, ‘must be somewhat singular, when the chief of the nobility choose rather to be the dependents and followers of a Duke of Newcastle than to be the friends and counsellors of their sovereign.’4 The king was too old to resist; but the first political lessons which his grandson, Prince George, received at Leicester House, were such a use of the forms of the British constitution as should emancipate the royal authority from its humiliating dependence on a few great families. Thus Pitt and Prince George became allies, moving from most opposite points against the same influence—Pitt wishing to increase the force of popular representation, and Leicester House to recover independence for the prerogative.

These tendencies foreshadowed an impending

1 Walpole's Memoirs of George II. i. 355.

2 Chesterfield on Fox.

3 Waldegrave's Memoirs, 20 and 152.

4 Ibid. 133.

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