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[303] inclining to the liberal side. He had little
chap. XV.} 1765. July.
sagacity, but he meant well; and, in after years, preferred himself to record and to explain his errors of judgment rather than to leave in doubt the sincerity of his character. This is he to whom the poet Gray, in verses splendid but not venal, flung praise as to one who kept the steady course of honor through the wild waves of public life. In his college vacations, he had seen Pitt at Stowe, and been fascinated by his powers; he took office, in the hope that the ministry might adopt the Great Commoner as its chief.

Conway, who had been arbitrarily dismissed from military office, was suggested, as Grafton's associate. But ‘thinking men foresaw’ peril to the stamp act, in ‘intrusting its execution to one of the very few persons who had opposed the passing of it;’ and the king wished to consign that office to Charles Townshend, by whom it had so long been coveted. Who can tell how America would have fared under him, in an administration whose patron and adviser was the victor at Culloden? But though the king, in person, used every argument to prevail with him, yet he declined to join in a system which he compared to ‘lutestring, fit only for summer wear.’ Even so late as on the ninth of July, the king, who had reserved the place of secretary at war for Conway, renewed his entreaties; but the decisive refusal of Townshend, who held fast to his lucrative office of paymaster, threw the seals of the southern department and America, at the very last moment, into the hands of Conway.

The new secretary, like Shelburne and Edmund Burke, was an Irishman, and, therefore, disposed to

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