Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

are hardly sure from day to day what impression they may receive. We have worked them up to carry us through this undertaking in its present shape; but we have had awkwardness enough already in many parts of the discussion. The idea of having stirred this question first in Ireland, without taking previously the sense of the Parliament of England; the necessity we have been under to make explanations and amendments which, though perfectly consistent with the general tenor of the original Resolutions, are, for this purpose, magnified and misrepresented by Opposition ; the inference attempted to be drawn from hence, that the Propositions were not at first properly considered; and the argument drawn for further delay, from stating the danger which would have followed if they had been passed as we first proposed them ; all these topics, enforced and aggravated, as you will imagine them, have damped, and perhaps, in some instances, discontented our friends, even in the moment of victory. Any new circumstance of embarrassment might have the effect, sooner than can almost be imagined, of reversing our apparent situation of strength and security. It would give a credit to the invidious attacks of Opposition and a turn to the general opinion which we should not know how to counteract. I assure you therefore seriously, and upon my honour, that the carrying this point seems essential to the success of this measure, and material to all the future prospects of Government. Knowing all you feel on this subject, I need say no more. You will, I am sure, not

let any difficulty that can by possibility be surmounted

involve our whole system in hazard. You are not, I am aware, without plagues and embarrassments on your side, but I believe (though, on the whole, I do not envy it) that you have a Parliament more manageable than ours. Your perseverance has abated, if not extinguished, the alarms without doors. On this point you are in no respect committed against it. The solid objections, in point of argument, are none. We are absolutely committed for it. The security of the contribution, on the strength of which we uphold our system, is gone without it; and therefore, unless this can be carried, believe me, the whole settlement is at an end. As to your means of carrying it, it is difficult to judge at a distance; but I protest, if it is resolutely pushed, I can hardly conceive how you can have any formidable opposition. Adieu, my dear Duke. I cannot describe to you the earnestness and anxiety with which I write on this subject, feeling how near we are to the attainment of so great an object—and yet how possible it is for this circumstance, comparatively small, to defeat the whole.

Believe me ever

Most faithfully and affectionately yours,
W. PITT.

Be so good as to destroy this letter when you have read and considered it.

[graphic]

Mr. Pitt to the Duke of Rutland. [Private.] MY DEAR DUKE, Burton Pynsent, Aug. 8, 1785.

I arrived here last Thursday, intending to forget, if possible, for a little while the scene which has lasted so long, and had the mortification to find my mother recovering but slowly (though out of danger) from a complaint in her stomach of a very alarming sort, with which she was attacked about a fortnight since. She has been mending from that time; but, under these circumstances, and after two years' absence, I hardly find an hour to command here more easily than in the busy moments of London. I most devoutly hope that the shape in which we have sent our Bill, and the alterations in yours to make it correspond, will prove satisfactory. We have strove to consult, not only reason, but even, as far as we could, prejudice; and I know not how we can, on this side, go an inch farther. The main difficulties seem so far removed, that I can hardly see how accident or malice can raise any essential obstacles; and I hope for the best. If you succeed in the accomplishment of the great work which now rests with you, I may indeed congratulate you on the most important service which I believe can, in the existing state of things, be rendered to either kingdom. I have a long arrear of things to say to you, and have even now hardly the leisure. You will, I am sure, have accounted for my silence from the real cause ; and I must still wait an opportunity to write more fully.

I cannot omit telling you, however, that the conclusion of our Session has been in all respects triumphant. The zeal of our friends seems more confirmed than ever, and everything essential to the strength of our Government as satisfactory as possible. I find rumours are spread of a spirit of disunion in the Cabinet, especially on the subject of Ireland. I can assure you, on my honour (and it is a subject on which I would, on no consideration, leave you in the dark), that the reverse is the truth. Whatever room for discussion there may be in the modes to be adopted; in all substantial points, and in the common cause of Government, a more cordial co-operation never existed. The newspapers are equally filled with lies on the idea of hostile appearances towards France. The state of politics on the Continent is delicate enough ; but still, I believe, may be improved to our advantage, without any hazard of our being involved. And let this business of Ireland terminate well, let peace continue for five years, and we shall again look any Power in Europe in the face.

In what remains to be done in Ireland, I have only to conjure you not to admit of expedients which sacrifice any part of the consistency, effect, or even appearance of the plan to the caprices or pretences of men who either object captiously and without intending to be satisfied, or who are afraid for any object to hazard momentary unpopularity.

The fourth Proposition, as explained by the Address, by our Bill, and by the draft of yours, as we have corrected it, is essential to everything. Any attempt to fritter it down, under colour of making it more palatable, should, at all events, be rejected. To attempt to blink or to disguise so fundamental a point would, in my firm belief, be as ruinous as I am sure it would be disgraceful. Putting it, like all the other points, expressly as a fundamental article of the settlement, is the only way that can either be distinct or effectual. I meant to have added a page on the subject of individuals concerning whom you have written to me, but I must close for the present.

[graphic]
[graphic]

Yours ever most affectionately,
W. PITT.

Mr. Pitt to the Duke of Rutland.

MY DEAR DUKE, Putney Heath, August 17, 1785.

I confess myself not a little disappointed and hurt in the account brought me to-day by your letter, and Mr. Orde's, of the event of Friday. I had hoped that neither prejudice nor party could on such an occasion have made so many proselytes against the true interests of the country; but the die seems in a great measure to be cast, at least for the present. Whatever it leads to, we have the satisfaction of having proposed a system which, I believe, will not be discredited even by its failure, and we must wait times and seasons for carrying it into effect. I think you judge most wisely in making it your

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »