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you may be assured that any Irish Government that countenanced such a measure could not stand twenty-four hours afterwards, if the Parliament was sitting. So far from the Protestants being likely to be terrified into compliance, they instantly became desperate at the very idea of it. The cry was, “Let us bring it at once to an issue. If England will not protect us, the sooner we know it the better : anything is preferable to the horrid state of suspense we are now reduced to; at all events, we must resist every concession. Let us not make the Catholics stronger, the better to enable them to annihilate us at a future day. The Protestants must unite for their own protection; and although Mr. Pitt's Government will not defend us, possibly the weight of all the Parliamentary power of Ireland thrown into the scale of English Opposition may force them into office, and they may be more disposed to favour us than the present Administration."
These ideas were rankling in every man's mind when the Parliament met, and it is with the utmost difficulty that we have been able to remove them. I cannot paint more strongly to you the real situation of the feelings of the House of Commons, than by telling you, that a declaration from me upon my legs, “ that it was the determination of the Government of both countries to maintain the Protestant establishment, and to resist any attempts by force or intimidation that might be made to subvert it," afforded a degree of consolation which, not having witnessed, you can hardly credit, so great was the apprehension upon the subject.
The newspapers will have informed you of our proceedings upon that day; I shall, therefore, only add that I am still doubtful of the event of the Bill, but am inclined to believe we shall carry it. I hear that, if the Ponsonbys are satisfied that there will be a majority in favour of it, they will concur; if they think they can throw it out, they will oppose. Should we carry the Bill, the gentlemen of the
Roman Catholics will be highly gratified, and the rabble bullied—both circumstances which will tend very much to the future quiet of the country.
I am informed that Mr. R. Burke and his employers have quarrelled, and that Ireland may soon hope to be relieved from his gracious superintendence. I am sure I heartily wish it, for he has contrived, by his impudence, folly, and misrepresentations, to awake animosities between the Protestants and Catholics that had slept for fifty years, and that a reasonable man might have hoped would have slept for ever. I see no ground to apprehend tumult of any kind. The Catholics, I think, dare not stir; and the United Irishmen, with Napper Tandy at their head, are sinking into nothing. Napper, and indeed his friend Grattan, have totally lost their influence in the Corporation.
The Duke of Leinster had committed himself very far indeed upon the subject of franchise, and is now retreating through his Corporation of Athy, who have addressed their representatives, Colonel Arthur Ormsby and Mr. Falkiner, to support the Protestant ascendancy.
I am told that the northern people do not much object to our Bill. Any one step further would have been totally impracticable, and would have produced a confusion that no man could have foreseen the consequence of.
My best compliments to Lady Buckingham.
Believe me ever, my dear Lord, with every respect and gratitude, affectionately yours,
Amidst the arrivals of foreign news, which every day created new excitements in the political circles, a movement was beginning to be felt in the Cabinet which was shortly to produce an important change in the Administration. The eccentricities of the Chancellor had on several occasions given much uneasiness to Ministers. He seemed to move in an orbit of his own, independently of his colleagues ; while the influence he exercised over the King's mind, and his repulsive bearing, made all approaches to him difficult and hazardous. The first consideration, when an unexpected question sprung up, was to ascertain what view Thurlow was likely to take of it; and it was sometimes as necessary to conciliate him and to wait upon his moods, as if he had been a powerful, but doubtful supporter, instead of a member of the Government. “We may do with, but cannot do without him," appears to have been the general feeling in reference to him; and it was only by the most skilful management that Mr. Pitt averted those dissensions in the Cabinet which his strange line of conduct had so palpable a tendency to provoke. At last the Chancellor committed himself openly to a hostile vote upon a vital measure, and left it no longer possible for the Minister to palliate their differences by private negotiations. The character and dignity of the Administration was at stake, and there was but one alternative left. The extremity to which matters were thus reduced is glanced at hesitatingly by Lord Grenville. The commentary which he did not think it right to make at such a moment may now, however, be supplied. The vote of Lord Thurlow placed the Cabinet in this position, that it remained for the King to choose between them. Mr. Pitt was prepared to resign, if the decisive advice he tendered to His Majesty was not immediately acted upon.
LORD GRENVILLE TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.
St. James's Square, May 15th, 1792. MY DEAR BROTHER,
I have the happiness of being able to send you an account of the capture of Seringapatam. The news is brought by a letter from a Dr. Abercromby, who was sent with Lord Cornwallis's despatches, in the · Vestal.' He put this letter on board another vessel in the Channel, and it comes by express from Bristol.
A decisive action took place about the 6th of January, at a village near Seringapatam. Tippoo's army was entirely routed, and a few days after the place surrendered. Tippoo is said to have been wounded in the action, and carried to the hill-fort : this is all we know. If the “Gazette” is out in time, Goddard will send it you.
The Duke of P. and his friends have declined being at the Council. We mean, nevertheless, to take the step, and to propose Addresses in both Houses of Parliament. It seems impossible for them not to support us there, but it is at least right to bring it to a point. When the day is fixed for the motion in the House of Lords I will let you know it, as I think you will wish to be present, and probably may be desirous of expressing your opinion. I consider the Duke of Pi's refusal as an additional proof of the decisive influence Fox possesses over their minds wben he chooses to exert it.
You will have seen that the Chancellor opposed the National Debt Bill yesterday by surprise, and had nearly beat us. What this may lead to, I do not yet know; but as at present advised, I think the consequences must be decisive on his situation or ours. But it requires some reflection, and some management in the quarter that you know.
Ever, my dear brother,
The “quarter" alluded to had the courage to decide not only wisely but promptly, and Thurlow was peremptorily called upon to resign.
LORD GRENVILLE TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.
St. James's Square, May 18th, 1792. MY DEAR BROTHER,
The King has charged Dundas with a message to the Chancellor, stating the necessity he was under of making his option, and therefore requiring him to give up the Seals, leaving the time to his choice. The Chancellor is to see the King to-day, and after that the thing will, I imagine, be immediately announced, though I hardly think it can take place till the end of the session. Our present idea is to put the Seals in Commission, with Eyre at the head, which (with the vacation) will give time for future arrangements. It is impossible as yet to guess at the success of those arrangements, but I imagine they would unquestionably be much facilitated by the sacrifice you so generously offer. I have not, however, thought myself at liberty to make any use of what you say on that subject, nor will I, as I think that if you make up your mind to so very handsome an offer, you ought at least to have the merit with Pitt of announcing it to him, instead of its having the appearance of passing in any manner through me.
We shall, I believe, issue the proclamation to-day or tomorrow at latest, and Friday is, I think, the most likely day for the Address in the House of Lords; but you shall hear further from me. I say nothing of that part of the Indian news which is true, as you will already have seen it in all the papers.
The King has conducted himself towards Pitt in this unpleasant situation in a manner the most handsome possible, and such as must leave a lasting impression in our minds. I