7 - ‘The Arbiter of England’: the Formation of the Newcastle–Pitt Coalition, April–June 1757  pp. 354-447

‘The Arbiter of England’: the Formation of the Newcastle–Pitt Coalition, April–June 1757

By J. C. D. Clark

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…I am convinced that there are two classes of causes, one ostensible and plausible, calculated to meet the publick eye and mind: the other from private and bye motives, which men scarcely dare to own to themselves.

Shelburne, in Fitzmaurice, Shelburne, i, 79

FOX'S SECOND ATTEMPT TO FORM A MINISTRY, 30 MARCH-7 APRIL 1757

It was anticipated at Court that Cumberland would leave for Germany to take command of the Army of Observation during the week beginning Sunday, 3 April; in the event he left town for Harwich on Friday 8th and sailed on Sunday, 10th. Walpole records, and there seems little reason to doubt, Cumberland's aversion to that unwelcome task while the ministry remained: ‘If to be clogged with orders from Pitt, – if to be obliged to communicate with him, and depend on him for supplies, command itself would lose its lustre. Even if successful, the popularity of Pitt would ravish half his laurels; should he miscarry, his misfortunes would all be imputed to himself. Walpole claimed that it was Fox who ‘snatched at this dilemma’; but, in his last week in England, Cumberland too was active in assembling an alternative ministry on the lines of Fox's suggestion of 30 March. The key office was again the Admiralty. Cumberland brought Winchelsea to accept it without making conditions for himself, or about the rest of his Board. Holdernesse was on hand to arrange the formalities, so that Winchelsea could kiss hands on Monday, 4 April.