pains were taken to quiet the Bourbon powers.
The Secretary of State
would speak with the French Minister
of nothing but harmony.
‘Never,’ said he in like manner to Pignatelli,1
, ‘never was the union between Versailles
, so solid; I see nothing that can shake it.’
Yet the old distrust lurked under the pretended confidence.2
The Government at the time encountered no formidable opposition.
One day in February, Charles James Fox
, who was of the Treasury Board, severely censured Lord North for want of decision and courage.
was ‘greatly incensed at his presumption.’
‘That young man,’ said the King
, ‘has so thoroughly cast off every principle of common honor and honesty, that he must become as contemptible as he is odious.’
He was therefore dismissed from office at this critical moment in American affairs; and being unconnected, he was left free to follow his own bold and generous impulses.
He was soon ‘to discover powers for regular debate, which neither his friends hoped nor his enemies dreaded.’
He could not only take the vast compass of a great question, but with singular and unfailing sagacity, could detect the decisive point on which it turned.
In his habits, he delighted in excess; he squandered recklessly at the gaming table, what his father had taken anxious years to hoard; but with all his vices and extravagance, ‘perhaps no human being was ever more perfectly exempt from the taint of malevolence, vanity, or falsehood.’