By Peter Jupp
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Additional resources for British Politics on the Eve of Reform: The Duke of Wellington’s Administration, 1828–30
The government wished to reduce the Crown's private resources and to increase parliamentary scrutiny of the Civil List. The Whigs, on the other hand, wanted to go further and to advance the separation of the Royal resources from those of the State. In addition, they wished to put this in the hands of a select committee of the Commons rather than leave the initiative with the government. For a prime minister who had controlled the influence of the Crown so effectively, his government's defeat on this issue was somewhat ironic.
This was the case in 1827 when Lord Liverpool's departure led to the formation of two short-lived coalition ministries in which the anti-Catholic Tories declined to take a part. The King pursued a course of 'masterly inactivity' in order to be able to appoint Canning as Liverpool's successor and played a key role in the formation of the next administration, that of Lord Goderich. 46 In fact he came to regard Goderich's mixture of moderate Tories, Canningite Tories and coalition Whigs as a concoction of his own making that warranted preservation.
Moreover there are compelling reasons for arguing that they led him to exercise the royal prerogatives more emphatically then than hitherto. Thus as far as the choice of ministers is concerned, the King played a decisive role on a succession of occasions. In 1783 he ousted the Fox-North coalition in favour of Pitt. In 1801 he frightened Pitt into resignation and gave Addington, Pitt's successor, less than a free hand in his choice of ministers. In 1804-5 he brought Addington and Pitt together to sustain the latter's second ministry.