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[257]

On that same day the regency bill, with the

chap. XII.} 1765 May 13.
amendment, rehabilitating the princess dowager, was accepted by the House of Lords. It so happened, that in the same sitting a bill came up, raising the duties on silks, for the benefit of English weavers. In the Commons it had been countenanced by Grenville, who was always the friend of the protective policy; and it had the approval of the king. But Bedford having, like Edmund Burke, caught the more liberal views of political economy which were then beginning to prevail, especially in France and in Scotland, spoke on the side of freedom of trade; and the bill was refused a second reading.

The silk weavers were exasperated; professing to believe that Bedford had been bought by the French. On Tuesday they went in a large body to Richmond

14.
to petition the king for redress. Cumberland, at that time, was explaining his commission to Rockingham and Newcastle, both of whom were zealous for the proposed change. The Earl of Albemarle, therefore, communicated, in his name, with Pitt, who terminated a conversation of four hours without an engagement, yet without a negative. Edmund Burke, as he watched the negotiation, complained of Pitt's hesitancy, and derided his ‘fustian.’

Temple and Grafton were summoned to town. Of Grafton, Cumberland asked, if a ministry could be formed out of the minority, without Pitt; and received for answer, that ‘nothing so formed could be stable.’ ‘The wings of popularity were on Pitt's shoulders.’

Lord Temple, who had not one personal quality

15.
that fitted him to become a minister, but derived all

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