6 - The Pitt–Devonshire Ministry, October 1756–March 1757  pp. 283-353

The Pitt–Devonshire Ministry, October 1756–March 1757

By J. C. D. Clark

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He [Pitt] passed his time studying words and expressions, always with a view to throw the responsibility of every measure upon some other, while he held a high pompous unmeaning language. Yet good as his parts were, he was afraid to trust to them, and was a complete artificial character. It gave him great advantages to serve a turn, by enabling him to change like lightning from one set of principles to another, for which to do him justice, he had an extraordinary quick eye, which enabled him to judge mankind en masse, what would do and not do: by nature insolent and overbearing, at the same time so versatile that he could bend to anything.

Shelburne, in Fitzmaurice, Shelburne, 1, 60.


With his summons to London, Devonshire probably received Wilmot's news that Legge, briefly in town, was hostile towards Pitt and the Grenvilles and inclined to be connected again with the Old Corps, particularly Devonshire. Legge's move was not ‘convertible’, thought Wilmot, to backing for Newcastle; but he might be brought by Devonshire to take a part in a ministry without Newcastle or Pitt if he were not expected to defend the measures he had spent the summer in attacking. Legge, predicted Wilmot, would join the ministry if Fox took the Treasury and Exchequer under Devonshire's patronage, or would accept the Exchequer or a Secretaryship of State if Devonshire had the Treasury; but if Bedford had it, Legge would support measures while refusing place.