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In these circumstances opened the year 1742. Fearing the consequences of the debate on the state of the nation that was to take place on the 21st of January, Walpole made a last grand effort to divide the party in array against him: this was, to buy off the Prince of Wales and his adherents. For this purpose he prevailed on the king to grant an additional fifty thousand pounds a year and the payment of all his debts, on condition that he should abandon the Opposition. Secker, Bishop of Oxford, was selected as the bearer of this offer; but the prince declined the proposal, declaring that he would listen to no overtures so long as Walpole continued in office. This was a stunning blow, but the tenacious Minister did not yet give in. He continued to avail himself of the interval before the 21st to bribe and bring over less distinguished men. The Opposition, however, were now every hour receiving fresh accessions of strength, and men who had stood the brunt of many years now went over to them. Lord Hervey joined Pulteney and Chesterfield; and Bubb Doddington, now perceiving that one side really preponderated, stepped out of his equivocal demeanour, and openly wrote to Lord Wilmington to entreat him to persuade the king to dismiss the obnoxious Minister..
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This was a thunderstroke to Newcastle鈥擫egge,[120] who had been so pliant, thus to rebel. Newcastle, in his consternation, hastened to Pitt, imploring him to use his influence with Legge, and promising him the Seals as Secretary, engaging to remove all prejudice from the king's mind. But not only Pitt, but the public, had been long asking whether, in these critical times, everything was to be sacrificed for the sake of this old grasping jobber at the Treasury? whether Newcastle was to endanger the whole nation by keeping out of office all men of talent? Pitt stood firm: no offers, no temptations, could move him. Newcastle, finding Pitt unmanageable, flew to Fox, who accepted the Seals on condition of having proper powers conceded to him, and agreed to support the treaties, against which he had been equally as violent as Pitt, having just before said to Dodington, "I am surprised you are not against all subsidies." Robinson was consoled with a pension of two thousand pounds a year and the post of Master of the Wardrobe. The king had returned from Hanover, and Fox was not to receive the Seals till two days after the meeting of Parliament, so that he might keep his place and support the Address. By his accession to office he changed the violence of the opposition of the Duke of Bedford, and brought the support of the Russells to the Ministry. This strength, however, did not prevent the certainty of a breakup of the Cabinet. Pitt was now arrayed against his former colleagues.?
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Grey followed, contending that we ought to avoid the calamities of war by all possible means. A long debate ensued, in the midst of which Mr. Jenkinson declared that on that very day, whilst they were discussing the propriety of sending an ambassador to France, the monarch himself was to be brought to trial, and probably by that hour was condemned to be murdered. All the topics regarding Holland and Belgium were again introduced. Fox was supported by Grey, Francis, Erskine, Whitbread, and Sheridan; but his motion was negatived without a division.
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