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[277] and Sir Edward Hawke, whom illness detained from
Chap. XL.} 1769. May.
the meeting, was of their opinion. Had not Grafton and Camden consented to remove Shelburne, the measure would have been carried, and American independence indefinitely postponed. But Rochford, the new Secretary, with Gower and Weymouth adhered to Hillsborough. The fearful responsibility of deciding fell to Lord North. Of a merciful disposition and of rare intelligence, he was known to be at heart for the repeal of the tax on tea.1 He wished, and at that time intended, to extend the proposal to the repeal of the other duties,2 and he never surrendered himself to the party of the Bedfords. But it was the King's fixed rule, never to redress a grievance, unless the prayer for it was made in the spirit of obedience; and then and for years after, he held that ‘there must always be one tax to keep up the right.’3 He was so much dissatisfied with Grafton's vote on this occasion, that ‘from that time he was more forward to dictate his will to the Duke, than to inquire first the Duke's opinion on any measure;’4 and ‘Lord Camden also sank much in the royal estimation.’5 The most questionable acts of Lord North's public career, proceeded from ‘an amiable weakness, which followed him through life,6 the want of power to resist the influence of those he loved.’ It was the King, who swayed Lord North,

1 Franklin's Letters of 18 March, 1770, and 8 June, 1770; in Franklin's Writings, VII. 467, 475.

2 Lord North in Cavendish Debates, i. 485.

3 King to Lord North, communicated to me by Lady Charlotte Lindsay.

4 Grafton's Autobiography, III. 34.

5 Grafton's Autobiography, III. 34.

6 Lady Charlotte Lindsay to Lord Brougham, 8 February, 1839.

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