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[90] Grenville,1 he surveyed calmly the condition of the
Chap XXX.} 1767. July.
chequered factions, which had been so freshly and so loosely put together; he saw that his own consent to their union would set them at variance among themselves2 and he gave Rockingham leave to revive, if he could, the exclusive rule of the great Whig families. He knew that he was master of the field. ‘The King may make a page first Minister,’3 said Lord Holland. The day was past when England was to be governed by Privilege alone; but with the decline of the aristocracy, the people not less than the King increased in authority; demanded more and more to know what was passing in Parliament; and prepared to enforce their right to intervene. All that could be done through the press in their support, was done with alacrity.4 ‘Power,’ thought a French observer,5 ‘has passed into the hands of the populace and the merchants. The country is exceedingly jealous of its liberty.’

While Rockingham, self-deluded as to the purposes of his associates,6 summoned his political allies to London, Shelburne was quieting the controversy with America respecting the Billeting Act. New-York had foreseen the storm, and without recognising the binding force of the British Statute, or yet conforming to its provisions, it

1 Walpole's Memoirs, III. 67, 68; and compare 86.

2 Compare Bedford to Rockingham, 16 July, 1767, in Bedford's Corr. III. 373. Grenville to Temple, 18 July, 1767, in Grenville Papers, IV. 59. Walpole's Memoirs. Temple to Rigby, 17 July, 1767. Bedford to Rockingham, 17 July, 1767, &c. &c. Grenville to Rigby, 16 July, 1767; and Same to Same, 17 July, 1767, 9 o'clock.

3 Walpole's Memoirs, III. 66.

4 Compare T. Hollis to Andrew Eliot, 23 Feb. 1767.

5 Durand, acting as French minister at London, to Choiseul, 21 July, 1767.

6 Walpole's Memoirs, III. 68.

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