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‘ [108] that mad man, Lord Chatham, should come and
Chap. XXXI.} 1767. Nov.
throw a fire-ball in the midst of them.’ But Chatham's long illness1 had for the time overthrown his powers. When his health began to give out, it was his passion to appear possessed of the unbounded confidence of the King. A morbid restlessness now led him to great and extravagant expense, in which he vied with those who were no more than his equals in the peerage, but who were besides the inheritors of vast estates. He would drive out with ten outriders, and with two carriages, each drawn by six horses.2 His vain magnificence deceived no one but himself; and was but the poor relief of humbled pride. ‘He is allowed to retain office, as a livelihood,’ observed Bedford. The King complained of him, as ‘a charlatan, who in difficult times affected ill-health to render himself the more sought after;’3 and saying that politics was a vile trade, more fit for a hack, than for a gentleman,4 he proceeded to construct a Ministry that would be disunited and docile.

On the fifth of December, Bedford, now almost

blind and near his end, just before the removal of cataracts from his eyes, told Grenville, that his age, his infirmities and his tastes disinclined him to war on the Court, which was willing5 to enter into a treaty with him, and each member of the Opposition would do well to exercise a like freedom.6 ‘He chooses to give bread to his kinsmen and friends;’

1 Compare Durand to Choiseul, 23 Nov. 1767.

2 Durand to Choiseul, 10 Dec. 1767.

3 Durand to Choiseul, 1 Feb, 1768.

4 Grenville Papers, IV. 184.

5 Compare the entry in the Dukes Diary of Oct. 1.

6 Durand to Choiseul, 13 Dec. 1767.

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