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Written by Linden
(3/12/2003 7:34 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Ministry of All the Talents, penned by Jack Cerf
] A coalition of Whig factions and arch-Tories under Lord Grenville, Charles James Fox, and Lord Sidmouth that governed for about 13 months after Pitt's death in January 1806.
Yes: my biography of Fox says that the only thing that united them was an inability to work with Pitt. There were four main issues of contention:
-- Catholic emancipation: many of the Talents, including Greville and Fox, were in favour, but King George III was staunchly opposed, and the coalition was divided about how far to go against the King's will.
-- Peace with France: Fox had always opposed the war with France; in the Talents ministry he was Foreign Secretary, and made serious and at first optimistic attempts to bring peace. His old friend Talleyrand was his opposite number in France, and they shared many principles (insofar as Talleyrand ever had any principles). But there was too much opposition to peace in both countries, as well as in their allies in other countries. JA herself was opposed to peace, as the article you posted above on JA's politics shows.
-- Abolition of the slave trade: this was the only solid achievement of the Talents Ministry, and in my view justifies the whole thing.
-- The spoils of government: there was considerable public and undignified squabbling over places, promotions etc. Since all factions had their adherents and there was a limited number of places they could hand out, it was not resolved before the government collapsed, and the heirs of Pitt took over again.
Yes, they were talented (especially Fox); but their differences divided them fatally.
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