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[94] him at the head of the Treasury with less dissatisfac-
Chap. XXX.} 1767. Aug.
tion. He retained the confident expectation of an alliance1 with Bedford, who could not keep his party together without official patronage;2 but for the moment, he relied on Townshend.3

So Charles Townshend remained in the cabinet, treating every thing in jest,4 scattering ridicule with full hands, and careless on whom it fell. Grafton was apparently the Chief; but the King held the helm, and as the dissolution of Parliament drew near, was the more happy in a dependent Ministry. The patronage of the Crown amounted to an annual disbursement of six millions sterling,5 and the secret service money was employed to cover the expenses of elections, at a time when less than ten thousand voters chose a majority of the House of Commons. As merchants and adventurers, rich with the profits of trade or the spoils of India,6 competed for boroughs, the price of votes within twenty years had increased three-fold. The Duke of Newcastle grumbled as usual. Edmund Burke grumbled also, because the moneyed men of his party did not engage more of ‘the venal boroughs.’7 In the great contest with oppression, he had no better reliance than on the English constitution as it was, and the charitable purchase of venal boroughs by opulent noblemen of his connection.

‘May the anarchy in the British government last ’

1 Walpole's Memoirs, III. 99.

2 Durand to Choiseul, 7 August, 1767.

3 Grafton's Autobiography.

4 Durand to Choiseul, 7 August, 1767.

5 Durand to Choiseul, 12 August, 1767.

6 Durand to Choiseul, 7 August, 1767.

7 Burke to Rockingham, 13 August, 1767.

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