The Search for a Ministry
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For a decade after the resignation of Pitt, the country was ruled by a succession of shortlived ministries, all of them exposed to the impact of war, and all of them torn by internal dissensions and confusion. In some respect these years were reminiscent of the first ten years of George iii’s reign, but because of the war, and perhaps because of the depressing experience of the ‘Ministry of All the Talents’, only the most embittered Foxites and Grenvillites blamed the King for the failure to find a minister capable of retaining the royal confidence and the trust of the House of Commons for any significant length of time. The recurrence of ministerial instability reflected the confusions and uncertainties of the party system. Although Lord Liverpool eventually reunited most of those who claimed, in one way or another, to belong to the Pittite tradition, he was able to accomplish this only over a number of years, and because he showed outstanding powers of tact, restraint, and discretion in appealing to a variety of political groups, all of which liked to look back to Pitt in some respects but whose respect for each other was often streaked with remembered wrongs or past differences.
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