Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 49.djvu/455

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them. Pitt is said to have reproached Bedford for neglecting warnings of a possible invasion (Walpole, George II, ii. 406), but in a letter to him of 13 April he speaks of him and his administration in complimentary terms (Correspondence, ii. 412). Bedford left Ireland in May, and resigned his viceroyalty in March 1761.

At the coronation of George III on 22 Sept. he officiated as lord high constable. Early in the reign he attached himself to Bute, and was urgent for the conclusion of the war. From time to time he was summoned to the council by the peace party as the only man who dared to speak firmly in opposition to Pitt and Temple. When at a council in August Pitt adopted a dictatorial tone, he retired, declaring that he would attend no more ‘if the rest were not to be permitted to alter an iota’ (Walpole, Memoirs of George III, i. 54; Correspondence, iii. 36, 39, 41–2). Pitt having resigned office, Bedford accepted the privy seal on 25 Nov. Equally with Bute he was responsible for deceiving Frederick II of Prussia by keeping secret from him the first preliminaries for peace (ib. Introd. p. xxi). On 5 Feb. 1762 he made a motion against the continuance of the war in Germany. Bute thought it expedient to oppose the motion, which was defeated, and Bedford signed a protest against the vote (Parl. Debates, xv. 1217). Bute having become prime minister, Bedford was appointed ambassador to treat for peace with France. He set out on his embassy in September, and was hissed as he passed through the streets of London. It is said that the chief magistrate of Calais, believing that he was a descendant of John, duke of Bedford (1389–1435) [see John], brother of Henry V, complimented him on his coming with far different intentions than those of his great ancestor (Walpole, u.s. p. 151). He conducted his negotiations with the Duc de Choiseul and M. de Grimaldi, the Spanish ambassador at Paris. Immediately on his arrival his powers were limited by an order that the preliminaries were to be sent home for approbation before being signed. The reason of this order was that Lord Egremont had entered into a discussion with the Duc de Nivernois, the French ambassador in London, on the ‘projet’ of the treaty. Bedford was deeply annoyed, and sent Bute a strong remonstrance. When the news of the taking of the Havannah arrived, a supplementary ‘projet’ was sent him, and this settled the difficulty between the duke and the ministers. Nevertheless Bedford had further cause of complaint that the ministers meddled in the negotiations by indirect communications with Nivernois (Correspondence, iii. 114–20, 126, 137; Wiffen, u.s. pp. 497–498, 505–6). The preliminaries were signed by the duke on 3 Nov. In these he departed from his instructions by admitting the French to a share in the fisheries in North America. He signed the definitive treaty at Paris on 10 Feb. 1763. During his residence in Paris he suffered much from gout.

In April, while still residing there, he received a letter from Bute announcing his resignation and urging him to return to England and accept the office of president of the council (Correspondence, u.s. p. 225). He had an interview with Bute, complained of the many marks of ill-will received during his embassy, which had endangered its success, recommended the admission into the government of certain great whig lords, refused to take office, and returned to Paris, which he did not leave finally until June (ib. pp. 227–9). His displeasure with Bute and Egremont was strengthened by his duchess, who had been offended by Bute and the Princess of Wales (Walpole, u.s. i. 206). On the death of Egremont in August he was again pressed to accede to the ministry. He advised the king to send for Pitt, and made overtures to him on his own account, being prepared to accept office under Pitt, and on an undertaking from the king that Bute should be excluded. These overtures failed, and he afterwards accused his envoy, John Calcraft (1726–1772) [q. v.], of having deceived him. The negotiations between the king and Pitt also failed. Sandwich and others of his party represented to Bedford that, in the course of them, Pitt had ‘proscribed’ him (cf. Chatham Correspondence, ii. 248–50); the duke, in a fit of resentment, accepted the presidency of the council in an administration formed by him, and thence called ‘the Bedford ministry,’ though George Grenville remained first lord of the treasury and chancellor of the exchequer. He took office on 9 Sept. on the condition that Bute should retire from the king's councils.

In the debate on the address in November, Bedford spoke in defence of the peace, which was censured by Temple, and on 6 Dec. made a violent attack on the lord mayor and other magistrates of the city with reference to the Wilkes riot of three days before. In the summer of 1764 he had a short quarrel with Grenville, and retired to Woburn. With the object of doing mischief to the ministry, Horace Walpole published a statement that the abolition of vails to servants had been set on foot by Bedford and opposed or not complied with by the house of Cavendish (Walpole, u.s. ii. 2–3). In the debate on