Monday, July 07, 2008

Eighteenth Century Flip-Flop

I'm starting into Hague's William Pitt the Younger, and the first chapter describes the brilliant, Churchillian-like career of William Pitt the Elder, the subject's father. In pertinent part, Hague writes:

Having finally thrown in his lot with King George II in 1746 in return for a place in the government, [the Elder] Pitt was happy to use his oratorical skill to advance arguments sometimes the exact opposite of those he had propagated in opposition [to the King's party], a phenomenon well-known to this day. He had made his name in opposition denouncing the payment of subsidies for Hanoverian troops even to the point of saying he would agree to be branded on the forehead as a traitor if he ever supported the idea, but once in office he swiftly switched sides on the issue with "unembarrassed countenance."

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