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[19] from his mind the memory of days of activity, when,
Chap. XXVI.} 1766. July.
as he directed against the Bourbons the treasure and the hearts of the united empire, his life was the life of the British people, his will was their will, his uncompromising haughtiness was but the image of their pride, and his presumptuous daring the only adequate expression of their self-reliance. His eager imagination bore him back to the public world, though to him it was become a riddle, which not even the wisest interpreter could solve.1

While he was in this tumult of emotions, a letter was brought from the King's own hand, reminding him that his last words in the House of Commons had been a declaration of freedom from party ties,2 and inviting him to form an independent Ministry.3 The feeble invalid, whose infirmities inflamed his constitutional hopefulness, bounded at the summons of his sovereign, and flew, as he expressed it, ‘on wings of expedition, to lay at the King's feet the poor but sincere offering of the remnant of his life, body, heart and mind.’4

He arrived in London on Friday, the eleventh of July, by no means well;5 but his feverishness only bewildered his judgment and increased his self-confidence. On Saturday he was barely able to have a short interview with the King, and obtain consent to take the actual Administration as the groundwork of his own;6 even though Newcastle and Rockingham

1 Pitt to Countess Stanhope, 20 June, 1766. In Mahon's History of England, v. Appendix, VII. 4

2 Rigby to Bedford, 24 April, 1766. Bedford Correspondence, III. 333.

3 The King to Pitt, 7 July, 1766. Chatham Correspondence, II. 436. Northington to Pitt, 7 July, 1766. Chat. Cor. II. 435.

4 Pitt, in Chat. Corr. II. 435.

5 Pitt to Lady Chatham, 12 July, 1766. Chat. Corr. II. 439.

6 That Pitt stated this on Saturday the 12th appears from the King's secret note of the 15th July.

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