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member for York, dealt, as was the general fashion, in wonderful metaphors, saying that the King had sucked in his infancy the milk of patriotism, and he was confident some of the milk remained in him, and would come forth on all occasions of this kind. Sir George Savile's colleague, Mr. Duncombe, voted in the minority; the motion was only lost by 20 votes in a House of 301 members, and no such favourable division to reform was to occur for 49 years. In spite of this, Fox considered that the result was damaging to the Government. Lord Rockingham was ill, the Duke of Richmond was deserted by his colleagues in the Lords, and dissensions were constant among the ministers. In June Mr. Wyvill saw Lord Rockingham, in the hope of obtaining some promise from him to support a reform of Parliament. Lord Rockingham answered that he had seen no plan he could approve of; Parliamentary reform had been made an open question for the sake of the Duke of Richmond, but he did not like the Duke's plan. When Mr. Wyvill pointedly asked him whether he might represent him as a general well-wisher to the cause of Parliamentary reformation, he did not receive any clear or decisive answer.
Three weeks after this interview with Mr. Wyvill, Lord Rockingham died. The King behaved to the great Yorkshire noble with characteristic rudeness, and never sent to inquire after his health, even to the last. Though Lord Rockingham was unlikely to support any plan of reform, yet the Yorkshire Committee lost much by his death. He had appeased jealousies, allayed discontents, and imposed, by means of his position, his conciliatory words, his uprightness and honesty, upon those around him. His style and his expression were confused and laboured, he had no great gifts, he was not an orator, but he was an admirable type of the English country gentleman, with a high standard from which he never swerved, with the power of attaching to himself friends and followers as highminded as himself, and as incapable of sullying themselves with the low intrigues and chicanery by which they were surrounded.
The Lord Lieutenancy of the West Riding was declined by Lord Fitzwilliam and accepted by Lord Surrey. Yorkshire seems to have been noted for the dismissal of its Lords-Lieutenants. Lord Carmarthen, as has been stated, was dismissed from his post in the East Riding in 1780, Lord Rockingham in 1762, and Lord Carlisle in the spring of 1782 ; the Duke of Norfolk lost his office on account of the memorable toast he gave on the 24th of January, 1798, and Lord Fitzwilliam in more recent times, after the contest at Peterloo.
Lord Shelburne, a few weeks after his accession to the head of affairs, sent most rashly a message to Mr Wyvill, through Mr. Frank Dodsworth, to the effect that he meant to act nobly by the York Association. Mr. Wyvill lost no time in announcing the minister's support to the members of the Association, and was undeterred by Lord Shelburne's subsequent endeavour to explain away what he had said, and to represent it in the light of a complimentary and personal communication. Horace Walpole accuses Mr. Wyvill of want of common sense, remarking that his father knew that to govern or serve mankind it was necessary to understand them, and to lead, not to dictate to, them. Mr. Wyvill's letters, however, do not bear this out, whether he was writing to an idiot like Lord Buchan, or to Pitt and Fox. He displayed great zeal and energy and even tact when the difficulties he had to contend against are taken into account, and in his controversies he never lost sight of his main object. He was a very sleuth-hound in pursuit of reform, and he had the mortification of seeing one after another of his colleagues slacken in the chase. In April the Coalition Government had succeeded Lord Shelburne, which augured ill for reform. The winter meetings at York, after agreeing upon a petition to be presented, formulated at last a specific plan of reform, by which fifty of the most corrupt boroughs were to be abolished, with compensation to the electors for the loss of the franchise; a hundred members to be added to the counties and metropolis, and the Septennial Bill repealed. The debate at York took place . on the 19th of December. Mr. Stanhope pointed out that of the thirty members sent by Yorkshire to Parliament eighteen were sent by boroughs of private property, while of the remaining twelve many were far from being purely constituted, and added that the price of a seat was better known than that of a horse. Sir Charles Turner gave a message from Mr. Pitt, and Lord Galway offered up for sacrifice the two seats for Pontefract, thereby earning the thanks of the committee for his disinterestedness. Mr. Peirse offered up half Northallerton, and the only opposition came from Beverley. Considering the fate which has befallen that borough, it is interesting to read that a member of the Corporation assured the meeting that Beverley was not a corrupt borough, and ought not to suffer. “What: language,' said the worthy deputy, "have I heard this day? Threaten: Parliament ! abolish boroughs! abolish corporations! sad arguments; what I disfranchise Beverley ?'
It is not surprising that when the circular of the Yorkshire committee was issued and an endeavour made to obtain its adoption by all the constituencies in the kingdom, some notes of disapprobation were sounded. The Mayor of Petersfield was desired by the most respectable persons in the place to acquaint the Yorkshire Committee that they were very apprehensive that they and their association would do much harm to old England, apd that they desired no alteration. Penrhyn, the property of Sir Francis Basset, held the proposed measure to be unjust, unwise, and ill-timed. West Looe thought it would be highly improper to make any change in so perfect a constitution. At Norwich a meeting was called, but no one attended ; at Doncaster a corporation meeting could not be made, showing that Doncaster still retained its indifference to politics. Many converts, however, were obtained, and many promises of support came from the larger towns while there was some abatement of the jealousy which existed between Yorkshire and the committees in London, Westminster, and Middlesex. At the end, indeed, of the year 1783 Mr. Wyvill needed all the encouragement that could be gathered from his partial success. A heavy blow was to fall upon the Association, far heavier than the death of Lord Rockingham. Sir George Savile had never recovered from his attack on the 7th of May, when in spite of Mr. Wyvill's entreaties, he attended Parliament in order to support Mr. Pitt's motion. November he was anxious to resign his seat, a course which was earnestly deprecated by his Yorkshire colleagues, with the exception of Mr. Burke, who had paid a visit to Wentworth in the summer and quarrelled with Lord Fitzwilliam's guests about reform. Sir George answered them in a characteristic letter. "If,' he said, “I could see a rational prospect of my growing better able to bustle a little, and to make again a little running, I might perhaps be induced to try. Neither of these are the case; I lose the chance equally by breaking my neck over the next hedge as by taking my tired horse home in time. On the 26th the resignation was announced. A meeting of the committee was called, at which Mr. Foljambe was nominated, and the news of the election of his nephew reached Sir George just before his death. He died on the 10th of January 1784, in the arms of his friend David Hartley, having first exclaimed, 'I have finished, and I have finished well.'
Important as was Sir George's position—the keystone,' to use language nearly his own, by which the nobles and the people, as parts of the same political arch, were united and kept together, yet no separate biography' of him, as far as I am aware, exists, and no collection of his correspondence has been made. Scattered letters and notices of his name occur among the records of his contemporaries, who always mention him with respect and affection. Sir George was never sent to a public school, but carefully educated at home by his father (himself elected one of the members for Yorkshire in 1728) until he reached the age of seventeen, when he was sent to Cambridge. Eleven years later he was elected member for Yorkshire in the place of Sir Conyers d'Arcy, and retained the seat until his death. He was in religion a Unitarian, of which sect there was a very powerful body in Yorkshire, and he subscribed 1001. to the building of Mr. Lindsey's Chapel. His parliamentary life was consistently Liberal. He carried the Nullum Tempus Act, and he obtained relief from subscription to the Articles for Protestant Dissenting ministers. The Roman Catholics had equal reason to be grateful to him, and it was owing to his successful efforts to obtain a relaxation of the penal laws which affected them that his house was fired by the mob during the Gordon riots. Lord Rockingham chiefly relied upon his judgment for guidance, while, on the other hand, he was the idol of his constituency. Probably no more popular representative enjoyed the confidence of his party until a West Riding crowd stood in tears at Wakefield listening to Lord Morpeth after his defeat in 1841. When Mr. Fox was asked by Lord Holland who had been the best speaker in his time who had never held office, he answered, Sir George Savile and Mr. Windham. Sir Grey Cooper said of him that great men were rebutted in his presence. "Be assured,' wrote Mr. Pitt in 1763, I shall think any plan highly defective in which a person of such honour and ability does not take a share. When all the world was struggling for a place or a peerage, it is pleasant to come across one man who never cared for either, and was the model of an English gentleman and county member. Both his letters and speeches are full of happy illustrations and similes, redolent of country life and full of vigour and directness of thought, though sometimes carelessly and clumsily expressed.
1 Mr. Wyvill, in his sixth volume, in a letter to Lord Buchan dated August 7, 1801, says that 'the Dean of Winchester promised to collect materials for the life of Sir George Savile from Mr. Hartley and other friends, to add more from his own stock, and draw up the account himself.'
The Coalition Government fell in December, but the alarm excited by Mr. Fox's India Bill had lasting effects. Dr. Jebb, who had joined a society called the Quintuple Alliance, wrote that he cordially wished entire rout to the party of Fox, Burke, and North ; "England, if expiring, could never be benefited by such men.' On the 30th of March, a few days after the dissolution of Parliament, a large number of members ordered their names to be withdrawn from the list of the Yorkshire Committee of Association, in consequence of Mr. Wyvill's determination to support Duncombe and Wilberforce in opposition to Weddell and Foljambe. Amongst them was Mr. Foljambe, who, after three months' tenure of his seat, was now to lose
Wilberforce had received Pitt's mandate on the 26th, to keep his friends together and tear the enemy to pieces. Sir Thomas Gascoyne, General Hale, Sir William Milner, Mr. Pemberton Milnes, Sir John Ramsden, and some eighty others of less note, seceded, dealing an irretrievable blow to the Committee, which never held another meeting. Mr. Foljambe in vain assured Mr. Wyvill, on the 31st of March, that he continued a zealous friend to reform. Mr. Wyvill replied that he thought well of his private character, that he still venerated the memory of his uncle, but nevertheless he should oppose his nomination. On the next day Mr. Foljambe failed to explain his past votes satisfactorily to the county, and Mr. Wilberforce took his place, to hold the seat for twenty-six years.
In spite of quarrels and defections Mr. Wyvill clung hopefully to his projects. In the first week in December, at an interview with Mr. Wyvill, Mr. Pitt promised to bring forward the question of reform in
the coming session, support it to the utmost of his strength, and exert
Dr. Jebb had gauged the chances of success better than his friends. He had written in the winter to Major Cartwright. We must exhort our friends not to confide too much in the Minister, who, I am still satisfied, means to do as little as possible, or rather has leave to do but little. Sure I am that the King will never permit the smallest good to be done to the Constitution if he can help it.' Mr. Wyvill still kept up an active correspondence with those who were pledged to reform, but loss followed loss, and dissension dissension. Dr. Jebb died in 1786, and Mr. Mason separated himself from his old friend on the subject of religious toleration, one of the cardinal points in Mr. Wyvill's creed. There was no cohesion left, and the Association was rapidly drawing to its end. At the beginning of 1786 its debts amounted to six hundred pounds, and its numbers were greatly