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Title: Memoirs of the Court and Cabinets of George the Third

Author: Duke of Richard Plantagenet Temple Nugent Brydges Chandos Grenville Buckingham and Chandos

Release date: January 5, 2009 [eBook #27704]
Most recently updated: January 4, 2021

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Paul Murray, Louise Pattison and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at (This
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Contents of 'The Court and Cabinets ...'
Advertisements Included in the Original Edition
Transcriber's Notes
[Pg i]



[Pg ii]

The Right Hon. Lord Grenville Chancellor of the University of Oxford
The Right Hon. Lord Grenville
Chancellor of the University of Oxford












[Pg iv]

Printed by Schulze and Co., 13, Poland Street.

[Pg v]












[Pg vi]



















[Pg vii]










[Pg 1]





The fluctuations of the daily accounts from Windsor, and afterwards from Kew, to which place the King was ultimately removed at the instance of the Prince of Wales, and the effect they produced upon the public and the Opposition, greatly increased the difficulties of the Government in this unprecedented emergency. So long as there was the faintest hope of His Majesty's recovery, Mr. Pitt was enabled to avert extremities between the Administration and the Prince of Wales, by repeated adjournments of Parliament. The interest, therefore, which attached to the slightest items of intelligence contained in these letters may be easily understood. All other subjects were of inferior[Pg 2] consideration. Even the serious inconvenience occasioned to the public service by the suspension of business in Parliament was forgotten in the one absorbing topic.

The uncertainty that hung over the issue, the responsibility that attended the treatment of the case, and the extreme caution observed by the physicians in the opinions they were called upon to pronounce, kept all classes of the people in a state of constant agitation. The Prince and his supporters availed themselves of these circumstances to strengthen their party in Parliament and out of doors. The passions of the inexperienced, and the hopes of the discontented, are always on the side of youth and excitement; and every vicissitude in the condition of the King that diminished the prospect of his recovery, augmented the ranks of the Opposition, which now became familiarly known as "the Prince of Wales's Opposition." Mr. Pitt acted throughout with the utmost reserve. Deeply impressed by the complicated hazards of the situation, he carefully avoided all allusions to his ulterior intentions in his intercourse with the Prince of Wales, which was strictly formal and official, and confined to such communications as were unavoidable in his position.


Whitehall, Nov. 15th, 1788.
My dear Brother,

I enclose you the note, which I received from Pitt last night on his return from Windsor. I have seen him this morning; and understand that Warren said one thing which is still more favourable. He told him that a more rapid amendment would, in his opinion, have been a less pleasing symptom; and I find,[Pg 3] from Pitt, that on conversing both with Sir G. Baker and Reynolds, he found them rather more sanguine, upon the whole, than Warren, but agreeing with him in his general account. What I have learnt this morning seems to confirm the pleasing hope which I cannot help indulging, from all these circumstances, though, God knows, it is still exposed to much doubt and hazard. The public account, which has been uniformly less flattering than the private letters from Windsor, states that he has had six hours' sleep, and that he is a little better this morning. All the other accounts say that he is certainly getting better.

Pitt saw the Prince of Wales yesterday, for the purpose of notifying to him the step which the Council had taken, of ordering prayers, and of acquainting him that he had written circular letters to all the Members of the House of Commons, stating the probability of Parliament having to meet on Thursday; and that he meant then to propose to adjourn.

Prince of Wales received the communication with civility, and told him he was persuaded no opposition could be made to this. It is, I think, plain, from Pitt's account of his general behaviour, and from what one hears, that my conjecture is right, and that he will dismiss Pitt without hesitation.

Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.


Whitehall, Nov. 17th, 1788.
My dear Brother,

The accounts for the last two days have been, I think, rather less favourable than that of Saturday, which I sent you. You can, however, hardly conceive the difficulty which we have, even at this small distance, to procure such information as can be in any degree depended on. All the private accounts are so[Pg 4] strongly tinctured by the wishes of those who send them, that no reliance can be placed upon them; and the private letters of the physicians are frequently inconsistent with each other, and even with the public account which they send to St. James's. In general, that account has been uniformly found to be the least favourable; and seems as if it was drawn for the purpose of discouraging the hopes which their own letters and conversation excite. The letters which they read to Pitt, though frequently varying in their general tenor from the public account, are not at all more detailed than that is, and take no sort of notice of the most material circumstances. I imagine all this is to be imputed to a difference of opinion which is supposed to prevail amongst them, it being believed that Warren is strongly inclined to think the disorder permanent, and that Reynolds is sanguine in the contrary opinion. Pitt is gone down again to Windsor to-day; but will hardly be back again time enough for me to insert his account in this letter. The public account of to-day says, I understand, that the King has had much quiet and composed sleep, but is nearly the same as before. The sleep, I am told, is generally considered as a favourable symptom.

Under these circumstances, there can, I think, be no doubt that the two Houses will adjourn on Thursday, without opposition.

Everything remains as before. I think you clearly have done right in stopping Corry, it being so much our interest to prevent, and not to promote, negotiation. I think, on more reflexion, that the idea of refusing the power of dissolving is impracticable, and may be turned against us in the end; the other limitations will, I believe, be proposed; and that alone will be sufficient to put all negotiation out of the question.

Fox is expected in three or four days; but it seems impossible that he should be here so soon.

Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.

[Pg 5]


Whitehall, Nov. 18th, 1788.
My dear Brother,

I do not find from Pitt that he learnt anything very particular yesterday in addition to what you already know. The King continues much quieter, but still deranged in his intellects and conversation. The fever has not yet entirely left him. The physicians seem very unwilling to say anything with respect to his situation, and declare that it must still be eight or ten days before they can pronounce at all decisively as to the nature of his disorder.

You seem, in your letter, to conceive the point of his recovery to be much more desperate than I understand it to be thought even after a derangement of months, or even years. There hardly passes a day in which one does not hear of cases of that sort, and we are now told that a disorder of this sort has appeared in several instances in Devonshire in the course of this autumn, where the patient has been in this way for six weeks together, and has then entirely recovered.

I have no other news.

Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.


Whitehall, Nov. 20th, 1788.
My dear Brother,

I went down yesterday to Windsor, as a matter of form, to inquire after the King's health. Having nothing very material to write to you in the morning, I thought it best to take the chance of being back early enough to write before the post went out. This, however, I found impossible, on account of the different people whom I met at Windsor, and with whom I was naturally anxious to converse.[Pg 6]

The account, as far as relates to the King's actual situation for these two or three last days, is much less favourable than it has been. The disorder of his intellects has continued almost, if not entirely, without intermission for the whole of that time. He talks incessantly for many hours together, and without any appearance of sense or reason, sometimes knowing the persons who are about him, at other times mistaking them, or fancying himself employed in different occupations, such as taking notes on books, or giving different orders. He has appeared several times to have that sort of consciousness of his situation which lunatics are observed to possess, and to use the same sort of methods for concealing it. All this constitutes the gloomy side of the picture; and Warren is so much impressed with this, that he told Pitt there was now every reason to believe that the disorder was no other than direct lunacy.

On the other hand, I understand that he, as well as the other physicians, are now agreed as to the cause of the disorder. You may remember that, at the beginning of this unhappy situation, I mentioned to you that an idea had been entertained of its proceeding from some local cause, such as water on the brain, or some change in the texture of the brain itself, by induration or ossification. Warren has decidedly said, that he is satisfied this is entirely out of the question; this he told Pitt in express terms. The cause to which they all agree to ascribe it, is the force of a humour which was beginning to show itself in the legs, when the King's imprudence drove it from thence into the bowels; and the medicines which they were then obliged to use for the preservation of his life, have repelled it upon the brain. The consequence of this opinion is so plain, that there certainly requires no professional skill to know that his recovery must depend upon this single circumstance, whether there is, or is not strength enough in his constitution to throw off this humour by any other channel. The physicians are now endeavouring, by warm baths, and by great warmth of covering, to bring it down again into the legs,[Pg 7] which nature had originally pointed out as the best mode of discharge.

I was mentioning these circumstances yesterday to a person who lives in intimacy with John Hunter, the anatomist. He told me that they had been all stated to him three days ago, by Hunter, who had collected them from the different inquiries he had made. Hunter added, that we must still expect for some days, and perhaps even weeks, to hear of no decisive alteration, but possibly of some occasional variation from day to day; that at the end of this it would probably come to some sort of crisis, by which it would appear whether there was strength enough in the constitution to prevail over the disease; that all he had heard of the manner of the King's life, did unquestionably make him an unfavourable subject for such a struggle, but that if it was the case of any common man, he should have no hesitation in pronouncing even now that it would be very bad luck indeed if he did not recover, and that the chances were nine to one in his favour. You will easily suppose that this was said under the seal of confidence, and that a professional man would not choose to have his name quoted in a case of so much importance in which he is not employed, and in which his opinions may be either founded at present on false information, or may be defeated by the mode of treatment adopted by those who are called in. I have, therefore, mentioned this only to you, though possibly you may hear it from other channels. On such authority, one certainly may be allowed to indulge some degree of hope. I am, however, far from letting this expectation take possession of my mind, but, on the contrary, have prepared myself for the worst, and can with truth say that I have made up my mind to meet it with cheerfulness, and to accommodate myself as a reasonable man ought to do to my situation.

You will particularly see that this consideration had no effect on my judgment, and that I feel as you do. On the question of[Pg 8] a coalition, no offers have as yet been made. The language of Opposition inclines one to think that their idea is to that, but the conduct of the Prince of Wales marks a desire of avoiding Pitt. I believe he has had no communication with the Duke of Portland, or with any of them, except Sheridan and Lord Loughborough; the latter is supposed to be much in his confidence. Pitt has opened his plan of Regency to Thurlow and Lord Weymouth, and they both approved it; he is to lay it before the Prince of Wales in a few days, and will then make it public.

Whatever is done, I have no conception that it can be brought to a point so as to enable you to form any decisive judgment with respect to your situation so early as the beginning of next month. We are now at the 19th. Pitt means to-day to move an adjournment to this day sevennight, and a call of the House for this day fortnight. It is doubtful whether the business will even then be brought on, and the intervening adjournment is made with the view of enabling Pitt to put off the call to a more distant day if the King's situation should be thought to render that a proper step.

Bernard is now out of town, but I understood from him that your house in Pall Mall was let to the Duke of Gordon for another year, to commence from Christmas.

I am just returned from the House, where Pitt moved the adjournment for the whole fortnight (in consequence of an opinion of the Chancellor's), and a call at the end of that term. Not a word was said by any other person, and he himself barely stated that the continuance of the King's illness had prevented the prorogation, and that the same circumstance made it desirable to have the public attendance when the House met again.

The public account of to-day is that he has passed a less disturbed night, but that the fever continues.

Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.

[Pg 9]


Whitehall, Nov. 20th, 1788.
My dear Brother,

The accounts which Pitt received last night are more favourable than any which have yet been sent. They stated particularly, that during the whole course of yesterday the King was more composed, and with less incoherency in his conversation, than he has been at any period during the last fortnight. The opinion which I mentioned to you yesterday prevents my being very sanguine with respect to the uniform continuance of these symptoms; but it is certainly no light confirmation of that opinion to observe this sort of fluctuation; and it is a pleasant circumstance to find that this abatement of his disorder has followed so immediately on the application of fomentations to the legs.

Since I wrote the above, the accounts of this morning have been received. I enclose the public note, which admits that there is some remission of the fever, by which word they describe the delirium. The letter sent to Pitt only states that the King is less well than he was during most part of yesterday. I do not learn that there is yet any appearance of swelling or eruption on the legs. On the whole, though the account of this morning is certainly less encouraging, I think the two taken together by no means diminish the hopes which I trust there is reason to entertain.

It is become very difficult to get at the real truth; for since there has been an appearance of amendment, Opposition have been taking inconceivable pains to spread the idea that his disorder is incurable. Nothing can exceed Warren's indiscretion on this subject.

You will probably have heard from other quarters how favourable the appearance of yesterday, and the reception of Pitt's[Pg 10] speech, were. There seems to be just such a spirit and zeal gone forth among his friends as one would most desire; and whatever is now the event of this anxious moment, I am persuaded you will see him increase from it in point of character, and lose little in point of strength. What passed yesterday, and the tone of our friends, are much beyond the expectations which I had formed.

Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.


Whitehall, Nov. 22nd, 1788.
My dear Brother,

I went this morning to Nepean, to speak about sending you the official accounts of the King's health. He assured me that he had regularly done so for the last week, and that he would continue it. He sends a messenger to-morrow, so that this letter will be very short.

You will receive the St. James's account of this day from Nepean. I have not yet seen it, but am assured that all the private accounts are favourable. So are, as far as I can learn, the declared opinions of every medical man except those who are employed: and of those, Warren only speaks unfavourably. The rest say nothing.

The indecency of any language held on your side of the water cannot exceed that of the universal tone of Opposition within these last four or five days. So long as they considered the case as desperate, they were affecting a prodigious concern and reverence for the King's unhappy situation. Now that people entertain hopes of his recovery, they are using the utmost industry to combat this idea—circulating all the particulars of everything which he does or says under his present circumstances, and adding the most outrageous falsehoods.[Pg 11]

I think I can say with confidence, that no enmity against an individual, much less against a person in such a rank as his, could induce me to retail the different acts of frenzy which he may commit in a state of delirium or insanity.

Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.

Don't use your new cypher, for I doubt whether mine is not rendered useless. I will write to you about it to-morrow.

P.S.—The cypher will be better set by the last letter of the word en clair, immediately preceding the cyphered part of the letter. I will use it in that manner when I write.


Whitehall, Nov. 23rd, 1788.
My dear Brother,

I[A] write this by Lord Sydney's messenger, but with such an aching head that it is impossible for me to enter into much detail. Pitt was at Windsor yesterday, and by his account, which he collected from the persons who immediately attend the King's person, there can be no doubt of the King's being much better, and more composed than he has been since his illness began. At the same time, the accounts of the physicians are gloomy, and with less hope than they have before expressed. It is very difficult to reconcile these contradictions. Rennel Hawkins, the surgeon who has attended him during the whole illness, and sits up with him every other night, has written a letter to Sir Clifton Wintringham, which the latter has shown about London, in which the King's recovery is mentioned as a thing certain, and likely to take place, sooner than people [Pg 12]in general expect. On these data you can judge as well as we can here. I confess myself to be sanguine in my hopes of his recovery. In the meantime, no pains are spared to circulate all sorts of lies, in order to depress people's spirits on this subject; and the support which is given to these gloomy ideas by the language and conduct of the physicians does certainly produce a considerable effect.

Think of the Prince of Wales introducing Lord Lothian into the King's room when it was darkened, in order that he might hear his ravings at the time that they were at the worst. Do not let this fact come from you; it begins to be pretty well known here, and no doubt will find its way to Ireland; but it is important that we should not seem to spread the knowledge of anything which can injure His Royal Highness's character in public opinion.

I think the best thing that can be done in Ireland is to let your Parliament meet at its prorogation; and that you should then communicate to them the King's situation, and the measures taken in England. A similar proceeding might then be adopted in Ireland, and your commission then revoked in the usual form by the Regent, which I should think far preferable to any contrivances of Justices, &c. Long before all this can be necessary, things will have begun to take some more decided turn than in the present moment, when hopes and fears make the opinions of people fluctuate from day to day.

Unless we are clearly satisfied (which is far from being the case now), that the King is not mending fast, we shall certainly propose another adjournment on the 4th. This will perhaps be opposed, but if it is, we shall clearly have the opinion of people in general with us on that point.

It is quite impossible for me to enter into the other discussions in your letter, important as they are, for it is with difficulty that I write this desultory stuff.

There seems to be a notion among Lord North's friends that he is preparing to take a more moderate line, and more inclining[Pg 13] to the King than Fox's people. I suppose he has a mind to make a parade of gratitude. He has not five votes in this Parliament, and yet any appearance of difference of opinion might assist us.

If I am better to-morrow, I think of going to Stanlake for a few days. I shall have the Windsor news as soon there as in town, and will write to you from thence.

Ever yours,
W. W. G.

Your cypher is, as I feared, spoilt by the unequal extension of the paper in pasting. In future, in using the old cypher, I will use ou instead of out, and er, es, and or, in the three places that are now occupied by word, blank, and ends. The cypher may be set by the first letter, which is written en clair, as I in this letter.

[A] The letter thus written in italics is the key to a new cypher in which these communications were carried on.


Whitehall, Nov. 24th, 1788.
My dear Brother,

The same contradiction still prevails between all the private accounts, even those of the physicians themselves, and the public information which they give either to Ministers or to the country. At the same time, the medical people seem so confident in their declarations of his not being better, that it cannot but shake the trust which one should otherwise place in the accounts of his improvement.

My head is by no means better to-day, so that you must excuse the shortness of this.

Ever yours,
W. W. G.

[Pg 14]


Baronhill, Nov. 25th, 1788.
My dear Lord,

When I left London last Saturday, the accounts were not arrived of the state of the King's health. He was much better on the Friday morning, but relapsed in the evening. I am afraid it is a very hopeless case, though much time ought to elapse before anybody ventured to pronounce for a certainty; and the physicians, who have been so warped by party, or by an anxiety to pay their court to the Prince, as to venture to do so, certainly deserve the severest reprehension. The meeting of Parliament was much the fullest, in both Houses, I ever saw; and in the House of Peers, the greatest decency I ever witnessed, considering the hopes and fears of each party. There were but seven Bishops (among whom Chester was one) present, which is a proof that crows soon smell powder. I took the opportunity of coming down here to settle my private affairs, which my sudden departure had left unsettled, your brother William having promised to send for me in case there is no appearance of the King's recovering before the 4th of December, in which case another adjournment would certainly take place, or in case Government should not contest the Prince's becoming Regent without a Council. It will be with great unwillingness I shall return, as I wish to remain here till the beginning of February; but if I find we are all expected to stand to our guns, and that our generals are ready to fight a battle without a compromise, I shall leave my dear Baronhill, and all my comforts, for all pleasures of war's alarms: marching and countermarching in the House of Lords, drums beating, and colours flying, &c. I supped at White's the night before I left town, where Pitt was in high spirits, and Selwyn uncommonly ridiculous; in general, our friends seem to await the approaching storm with the[Pg 15] greatest sang-froid and philosophy: the longest faces I saw were Lord Hawkesbury's, Lord Sydney's, and Sir George Yonge's. I heard for certain that the Chancellor, who was suspected of being rattically inclined, was firm as a rock, and that the whole Cabinet were determined to die together. Fox was either not found, or averse to returning, although the Opposition were looking out for him as the Jews look out for their Messiah. Je crois qu'il boude un peu. Sheridan and Lord Loughborough are those who more immediately correspond with the Prince, with which, I believe, the old Rockinghams were much dissatisfied; in short, there is every reason to think there is a division among them, which, however, a sense of common interest and common danger may rectify before the day of trial. Your sister Williams, and Sir Watkin, were in town both crying up the affection, humanity, filial piety, feeling, &c., of the Prince, and lamenting the little chance of the King's recovery, &c. The Nevilles were to leave town last Sunday, and by being in the neighbourhood of Windsor, can inform you, if they choose it, of the real state of the late and present behaviour and conduct of some persons in that quarter who are so puffed by the papers and by the Opposition. In the changes and chances of this mortal life, our Barony of Braybroke appears to have been secured at a lucky moment. I left Parry in town, and I set Rose and Steele to coax him a little, for the old grievance sticks by him, and he wants much persuasion to efface the memory of it. Sir Hugh is here, and complains much of never having had one letter answered since Pitt has been in power; notwithstanding which, I shall take him up if the battle is to be fought before Christmas. I am afraid more rats will run, on account of Pitt's inattention to these trifles, than on any other account whatsoever; indeed I heard as much in town. Rose and Steele may laugh at such details, but they are necessary; and the constituent will not believe the member's assiduity unless he sees a real or ostensible[Pg 16] answer. I gave my £100 to the Westminster election, in consequence of a letter from Rose; I could ill spare it, but finding others were dosed in the same manner, I gulped the grievance.

I am, my dear Lord's sincere friend,


Stratton Street, Nov. 25th, 1788.
My dear Lord,

However, at a crisis of such national concern as the present, my mind is impressed with its importance, and would communicate to you the vicissitudes and opinions thereon of each hour, as leading in the minutest variation to new consequences, and of the first moment; yet I confess myself at a loss how to arrange these parvula quidam ex queis magun exoriuntur, and give them their due weight, by stating the deductions thereon as they appear to me, within any compass of letter.

As to the fact on which our fears and speculations are to build, the change of mere words in stating the malady, as daily announced at St. James's, may be proper enough to keep alive the hopes of the public, who will argue on mere words, in reality, within this fortnight the King hath remained from day to day without any variation in symptoms: so this very morning Dr. Gisborne told me, as his opinion, resulting from conversation with his brother physicians in immediate attendance. My friend Dr. Milman seems to be of the like opinion. That possibly His Majesty may recover the perfect use of his understanding is not less believed than hoped for: cases have been stated, more desperate than the present, wherein the recovery hath been perfect. Yet much mischief is already done, or rather the basis of mischief is already and irremoveably laid. In future times, designing, ambitious and profligate men may[Pg 17] start the idea that what has been may be, and in the desperate effort of factious opposition, even venture to arraign the temper and health of mind, though it shows its perfect state, and the wise measures of Government should put such daring insult at defiance.

If the King remains a length of time in the same state, I would, on such too probable circumstance, join my speculations to your Lordship's, could I imagine any resting-place, or outlet, in the labyrinth of cases and deductions which the subject affords. I had best, therefore, confine my correspondence, and take up the immediate matter and language of the mere day, unless I meant a book rather than a letter.

The language touches on the hopes and views of partymen, and on the interests of the country as complicated with the present Administration remaining in power. My business calling me often into the city, I speak as an eye-witness to the temper of men at the Royal Exchange, and Lloyd's Coffee-rooms, never did Administration stand so high in opinion of the moneyed and commercial world: throughout the city, the fears of losing Pitt from the finance make as much of the regrets of anticipation, as the fears of losing the King from the throne. Should the change of Ministry (too much apprehended) take place, it is thought that Fox's party—to temporize with the public opinion, too strong directly to meet in the teeth—will propose a coalescence of some sort; but so narrowed, and in regard to Mr. Pitt, moreover, placing him in such jar of official situation, that it cannot be in any manner listened to. The refusal of the insidious offer is then to be noised throughout the country, and a trial to be made to engage the people "to join with those who proffered a sacrifice of enmities to Pitt for the public good." My opinion is, that the trial will be abortive, and the present Administration retire (if so necessitated), merely to return to power on the shoulders of the nation. The Opposition, I understand, foresee their[Pg 18] difficulties, and are exceedingly embarrassed, even supposing the Regent, or Regency, to venture on the change of Ministry.

I presume to hazard an opinion that such Regent, or Regency, cannot and will not risk a change of Ministry with so precipitate declaration in favour of our opponents, as some expect, at such eventful crisis as the present. It is natural for men's hopes, or fears, to colour too strongly the contingency on which their relative interests depend. Some hope too much, and some fear too much. If the Prince of Wales is made and continues at the head of Regency a twelvemonth, then indeed a revolution in Ministry, or in everything, may be worked out of the occasions ingenuity and ambition may have to take hold of; but here I am running into a book, and to avoid it close my letter. From time to time I shall write, almost from day to day, if aught occurs deserving your perusal. Meantime, and ever, my dear Lord, in truest affection and attachment,

Your faithfully devoted friend and servant,
W. Young.


Whitehall, Nov. 25th, 1788.
My dear Brother,

I am very sorry to be obliged to say that the account from the physicians to-day, confirmed by the most accurate testimony from private quarters, state the King's situation in the most unfavourable manner, his disorder having returned with great violence. I do not understand that there is any return of bodily complaint, so that nothing can be worse than this intelligence. From what I now understand, it should seem that some considerable time must elapse, even after the two Houses meet, before any decisive step can be proposed, as it seems now to be thought necessary that some mode of satisfaction should be given to the Houses themselves, by means of[Pg 19] Secret Committees, or otherwise, respecting the King's situation, and that after that precedents must be searched.

Fox arrived yesterday morning early, having come in little more than nine days from Bologna. He expected, it is said, from the accounts which he had received, to find the King dead.

Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.


Whitehall, Nov. 26th, 1788.
My dear Brother,

I sit down to write a few words, because I know it is a satisfaction to you to hear from me in such a moment as this, although I have nothing particular to say.

The situation of the King continues to be such as I described it yesterday; and Warren told Pitt yesterday, that the physicians could now have no hesitation in pronouncing that the actual disorder was that of lunacy; that no man could pretend to say, that this was, or was not incurable; that he saw no immediate symptoms of recovery; that the King might never recover; or, on the other hand, that he might recover at any one moment. With this sort of information we shall probably have to meet Parliament. I much hope that the previous examination by the Privy Council may be judged sufficient, without any further inquiry into the particulars of a subject which one so little wishes to have discussed.

I have no other news of any sort.

I do not know, whether I mentioned to you in my last letter, that I tried, but to no purpose, to make out that part of yours which was written in the new cypher; my cypher, which you sent over to me, being wholly spoilt in the pasting. I must,[Pg 20] therefore, beg you to write in the old cypher, with the alterations I suggested.

Ever yours,
W. W. G.


Whitehall, Nov. 27th, 1788.
My dear Brother,

The accounts of the King's situation continue to be so much the same as for the last two or three days, that it now appears perfectly plain that we shall be under the necessity of bringing forward some measure for an intermediate Government immediately after the 4th; and that there can be no further adjournment.

The Prince of Wales has sent a letter to the Chancellor, desiring that all the members of the Cabinet may attend at Windsor to-day; but this I imagine (and, indeed, his letter conveys it), has no relation to any other subject, but to an idea of moving the King to Kew, where he can take the air without being overlooked, as is the case at Windsor. I have nothing new to write to you on other subjects, though I believe I shall have in a day or two; probably by Sunday's messenger.

Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.


Whitehall, Nov. 28th, 1788.
My dear Brother,

The Ministers were all sent for to Windsor yesterday by the Prince, in order to give their advice with respect to moving the King. They were detained so late, that Pitt went to Salt Hill to sleep there; and is not yet returned, at least not to his own house, so that I have not seen him.[Pg 21]

I had a note from him yesterday evening, to say that they had not seen the Prince, he having sent a written message to them by the Duke of York. It related to the removal. He says, that the opinion of the physicians, particularly of Addington, who had been desired to come over that day from Reading, was favourable as to a possibility, and even a prospect of recovery, and clear for removing him as soon as possible.

We are still in the dark, as to the Prince of Wales's intentions; though what passed yesterday confirms my opinion. The general language leans to negotiation.


Whitehall, Nov. 29th, 1788.
My dear Brother,

I received your letter of the 23rd, by the messenger only this morning, and have sent the enclosed, which, as you will have seen, exactly tallies with the ideas which I have stated to you in some of my letters. I shall write to you to-morrow, being Sunday, when a messenger would of course be sent with the official bulletin, and as you may very probably receive that letter as soon as this, I think it unnecessary to fatigue either you or myself with figures, especially as I have nothing very material to say, except a confirmation, from my subsequent conversation with Pitt, of the ideas which I mentioned to you yesterday, particularly with respect to Addington's opinion, which seems to have encouraged the rest to speak out. Addington told Pitt that he had himself kept a house for the reception of these unhappy people for seven years. That during that period, he had hardly ever had fewer than ten or twelve with him, and that of all those one only was not cured, he having died in the house of bursting a blood-vessel. He said that the symptoms, as they at present appeared, were those of a morbid humour, flying about and irritating the nerves. The[Pg 22] physicians desired Pitt to see the King yesterday, which he did, and found him, though certainly in a state of derangement, yet far better than he had expected from the accounts. It is not yet settled whether he shall be removed, as he has expressed some reluctance to it, and the physicians are extremely averse to any force.

We are still under some uncertainty whether or not to propose a further adjournment; in the meanwhile we have thought it absolutely necessary to summon all our friends, as without their attendance, we should not even have the decision of that question in our own hands.

Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.


Whitehall, Nov. 30th, 1788.
My dear Brother,

There is no particular account of the King this morning, He was yesterday evening removed to Kew. There was considerable difficulty in persuading him to agree to this removal, but it was at last accomplished without violence. Pitt saw him again at Windsor before his removal, and thought him rather less well in his manner than on the preceding day. Addington's conversation is still such as to show that he thinks the probabilities greatly in favour of his recovery. He mentioned particularly to Pitt, that he had in his house one person whose case appeared to him exactly to resemble the King's, and that this person had been cured.

We are still much undetermined about the time of bringing forward the decisive measures. The general leaning of people's minds appears to be for delay, and there is not anything that can perhaps absolutely be said to require that immediate steps should be taken. There are, however, several points of foreign[Pg 23] business which seem to press considerably, and there seems little reason to hope that this situation will be at all altered within such a time as it would be possible to wait. I am rather inclined towards bringing the business forward on Thursday; and yet I am very apprehensive of the effect which might be produced by any appearance or imputation of precipitancy.

When the Cabinet went down to Windsor two days ago, in consequence of the Prince of Wales's letter, he did not see them, but sent them a written message by the Duke of York, respecting the King's removal. This message, whether accidentally or not, was couched in terms that were thought a little royal. Some caution was thought necessary in wording the answer to avoid the style of giving His Royal Highness advice, or of acknowledging any authority in him.

You will have heard, in all probability, much on the subject of the Chancellor. His situation is a singular one. It is unquestionably true that he has seen Fox, and I believe he has also seen Sheridan repeatedly, and certainly the Prince of Wales. And of all these conversations he has never communicated one word to any other member of the Cabinet. Yet I am persuaded that he has as yet made no terms with them, and that whenever they come to that point they will differ. With this clue, however, you will be at no loss to guess where the Prince acquires his knowledge of the plans of Regency which are to be proposed, because, even supposing the Chancellor not to have directly betrayed the individual opinions of his colleagues, yet still his conversation upon these points, in all of which he has explicitly agreed with the opinions of Pitt, must lead to the communication of the plans in agitation. I am, however, rather inclined to believe that Cuninghame's correspondent has taken by guess one out of a variety of reports circulated, and that he has been right by accident. The general belief of the Opposition certainly is, as you may[Pg 24] by their papers, that measures of much more violence are intended.

Pitt has been induced, from his regard to the King, to dissemble his knowledge of Thurlow's conduct, and to suppress the resentment which it so naturally excites. There is no reason, but the contrary, for believing that any of those who have acted with him are at all disposed to follow his example. It is universally reprobated, and explicitly by them. I think you will do well, if it comes in question, to do as I do, which is to avoid saying anything on the subject as long as I can; and when pressed, to profess ignorance.

There is no great inconvenience arising, in reality, from the communication of these intentions to the Prince. His intentions are sufficiently decided, and he has no means of traversing our schemes.

We do not yet know with certainty whether he has any idea of negotiation; but if he has, it is unquestionably only as a cloak, and meaning that it should be rejected. But the prospect of detaching the Chancellor may make this less probable, although he may perhaps insist on something of the sort being done to provide for his delicacy. The general language is universal and immediate dismission. If I am not mistaken, a storm is rising that they little expect, and the sense of the country, instead of being nearly as strong as in 1784, will be much stronger. But the party in general are so hungry and impatient, that I think they will act upon the better judgment of their leaders, and prevent them from doing anything which may allow a moment's delay.

Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.

It was beginning to be suspected that Thurlow was about to rat. His conduct justified the worst doubts. Sir William Young confirms the intelligence about his[Pg 25] increasing and suspicious intimacy with the Prince of Wales.


Stratton Street, Nov. 30th, 1788.
My dear Lord,

Since my last, all the intelligence to be given consists merely of rumours and of opinions respecting the probable changes in the Administration, on accession of the Prince to the executive authority. The Prince, it is said, is wonderfully of late attached to Thurlow. His Royal Highness hath not been equally gracious to Mr. Pitt; and from the authority of a person who dined with him, I am assured that his melancholy derived from the malady of his father and King, is not of that deep and rooted sort for which "no physic of the mind" can be found. Drinking and singing were specifics on the day stated to me.

As to opinions alluded to above, they appear to me, who am not in the secret, mere sermons to Shakspeare's text of "Harry, thy wish was father to the thought." If aught is settled, your Lordship is undoubtedly apprised of it; if things yet remain for arrangement, your grounds for mere fabrics of speculation must ere this be better laid than mine; and so, in either case, I'd better e'en refrain from the subject, until Thursday begins the course of authentic matter for my letters.

Meantime, a word in regard to myself. I write under the greatest embarrassment of mind, between pressing necessity of not moving from London and a justness of sentiment which would particularly at this moment urge my repairing to you at the Castle. When your kind friendship conferred what, at that moment, was a most essential aid to my family subsistence, your goodness added that I need not visit Ireland oftener than the convenience of my family allowed. Of this goodness I by[Pg 26] no means thought to avail myself, and proposed this winter proceeding with my wife and son to the Castle, and returning to accomplish the passing of my "Poor Laws," in February or March.

The loss of my father hath placed me in a situation wherein, from the magnitude and delicacy of the concern, every hour may afford an important crisis; and in which a single omission, a momentary absence, may entail consequences irretrievable, in matters wherein the result to me and mine is to be conjoined reputation and affluence, or disgrace and penury. I cannot, under impression of such alternatives, delegate an iota of conduct to a second person. I have laid down a systematic plan of conduct for myself, which in executing I am sure of honour and credit, have a certainty of competence, and a prospect of considerable wealth. The more I reflect, the more I am confirmed in the propriety of the grounds of procedure which I have adopted, and I feel myself equal to the accomplishment, as far as it depends on steady pursuit of a well-weighed purpose. Obstacles, however, may arise, and difficulties occur, such as I have daily to obviate or to surmount, in shape of impatient creditors, who, if they were not led to just understanding of circumstances, would not wait two years for a final liquidation of private claims, with an inventory before them in the Commons of property to the amount of £200,000, but would jump forward to their own and my loss. One of the two years I have now securely in hand; the crop of 1789 being shipped from Christmas to March, of produce all grown, and partly manufactured. If Government leaves me the year 1790, at the close of it there will not be a private debt, nor an article alienated of security for public claims; and my gain of the income of 1788-9-90 is actually the amount of £45,000 clear gain, above the result of immediate sale of the estates, which in ordinary course, or other line than I have chalked out, would be the direct legal recurrence for general liquidation of[Pg 27] first public and then private claims. One year of this gain to my residue I have already secured, the second I have no doubt of, the third I have great hopes of, and at the period thereof, the gross total of the Crown demand, without a deduction or charge per centage, would scarcely necessitate any sale, or but a partial one, should I wish quickly to clear all away.

Having no reserve for you, my best friend, I have, in accounting for my "fixing myself on the watch" in England this winter run into these details; and further (which will explain them fully) enclose a rough copy of my instructions to my attorneys in St. Vincent's, which, when read, you will consign to the flames.

I have that grateful attachment to you, that I should yet scarcely hesitate in hazarding a month's absence from home, did not I anticipate that your friendship would rather chide than approve the sacrifice. I am ever at your command, being, my dear Lord, in truest affection,

Your devoted and obliged friend, &c.,
W. Young.

The plans of Ministers are further developed in the next letter from Mr. Grenville.


Whitehall, Tuesday, Dec. 2nd, 1788.
My dear Brother,

I have nothing of any importance to add to my letter of Sunday, everything remaining here precisely in the same state. It is determined to proceed, after Thursday, without any further adjournment. A Privy Council is summoned for to-morrow, to which all the Privy Councillors are summoned; those of the Royal Family by letters from the Lord President. The physicians are ordered to attend, and questions will be put to[Pg 28] them, to which they will be to give their answers on Wednesday. It is then meant, that on Friday, the Lord President in the House of Lords, and Pitt in the House of Commons, should communicate these questions and answers, but not as a message, from the Privy Council. We hope that Parliament will be disposed to proceed, without any inquiry, by themselves; but on the ground of the examination of the Privy Council, a Committee is then to be appointed to search precedents, so that it will be more than a week from this day before the propositions can formally be made. They will, I believe, be nearly, if not exactly, the same as I have already stated them to you. The point, on the prudence of which you had doubts, is of such absolute necessity, that I am sure, by a very little conversation, I could satisfy you in a moment that it must be taken care of. It is intended to say of the whole plan, that it is merely temporary, adapted to the present circumstances, when we are obliged to act after the King has been ill a very short time, and when there is much uncertainty with respect to the nature of his complaint, and an absolute ignorance as to its probable duration; that if, under different circumstances, and after a longer and more defined illness, Parliament shall think it necessary to make other arrangements, that power must rest with them, which cannot, indeed, be taken from them. This would, I think, cure your difficulty.

Pray tell Bernard that the sooner he returns the better, and that I will engage to find him full employment.

Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.

I hope Bernard is not necessary to you in Ireland, because I think he is already seriously wanted here. He will tell you for what.[Pg 29]


Dublin Castle, Dec. 2nd, 1788.
My dear Bulkeley,

Many thanks for your very interesting and affectionate correspondence, which I have not neglected from inattention, but from anxiety, and from business, which you can easily figure to yourself, and as easily excuse. Much of your Windsor anecdotes had reached me from other quarters; but I could not, without very accurate information, have given credit to details so very unpleasant as some of those which I have heard. The messenger, who will deliver this to you, is going to London; but I was anxious that he should leave this at Baronhill, as I think it may be doubtful whether you know that the new system of government is to be proposed at the next meeting of Parliament; and that unless the King's health should vary materially after the 28th (my last date), there was no idea of a further adjournment. My brother will probably have written to you, to press your attendance, and, in that case, this will find you in London, as I shall order the messenger not to leave it at Baronhill; but, if it should reach you in the country, let me implore you not to lose this (perhaps last) occasion of paying a debt to our master, which every principle of private honour and public duty must make sacred to us. The only object to which I look is, not to private power or ambition, but to the means of waking our unhappy King, at some future period, to the use, not only of his reason, but of his power. How this is to be secured I cannot, in my uninformed situation, pretend to say; but I have the fullest confidence on this head in Mr. Pitt, and if I could imagine that he could suffer a consideration of private situation to interfere on such a question, I should despise him as much as I now love him. I can have no doubt, that as soon as His Royal Highness is possessed of[Pg 30] the power of dismissing us, we shall feel the full weight of it, and to that you will believe me most indifferent; but the subsequent scene must, in all events, be so interesting, that I must wish every assistance to Mr. Pitt that friends and countenance can give him. If this should be realized, I shall not be long absent from you; and perhaps our Christmas pies may be too hot for the new Government, if their folly and intemperance should urge them to the steps which those immaculate Whigs, Lord Loughborough and Sheridan, may suggest. Adieu. I am almost too late.

Ever yours,

Robert and I have made our peace. Pray carry Sir Hugh with you.


Whitehall, Dec. 3rd, 1788.
My dear Brother,

It is now past four o'clock, and I am but just returned from the Privy Council. The whole number that attended was above fifty, including Lord North, Lord Stormont, Lord Loughborough, &c., &c. Fox was not there, being confined with a flux, which he has got by the rapidity of his journey. None of the Royal Family attended. The physicians who were examined, were Warren, Baker, Pepys, Reynolds, and Addington. The general questions that were proposed to them were three:

1. Whether the King is now incapable of attending to business?

2. What hopes do you entertain of his recovery?

3. What do you conjecture may be the probable duration of his complaint?[Pg 31]

These are not the precise words, but the substance. They all answered the first question decisively, that he is now incapable, &c.

To the second, Warren gave an ambiguous answer; but said that the majority of persons afflicted with all the different species of this disorder, recovered. An explanatory question was put to him, which it took about an hour and a half to settle; whether, as far as experience enabled him to judge, he thought it more probable that the King would or would not recover. To this he said that he had not, and he believed no one else had, sufficient data to answer that question.

All the rest stated, though in terms more or less strong, that the probability is in favour of recovery.

The time, they all declared themselves unable to speak to.

A question was put to them, to show the degree of experience each had had in these cases. That of the three first appeared not to be great; that of Reynolds more; and Addington stated the particulars, which you already know, about his house at Reading.

On the whole, I think the impression of the examination was universally more favourable than was expected.

After the Council was formally broke up, Pitt proposed, in consequence of some things which had been thrown out by Lord Stormont and Lord Loughborough, that it should be understood, that any proposal for further examination in Parliament should be resisted. After some conversation, this was acceded to; and Monday settled as the day when these papers are to be taken into consideration. A Committee is then to be moved to search precedents, so that the motion itself cannot come on till Friday, or more probably Monday se'nnight.

Ever yours,
W. W. G.

[Pg 32]


Whitehall, Dec. 4th, 1788.
My dear Brother,

Lord Sydney sends off this messenger with the proceedings of yesterday's Council. I write a few lines by him, because I know you would wish to hear from me, although I have, in fact, nothing to say.

Our situation continues exactly as it was. The prevailing idea seems to be that of a general dismission, and of an immediate dissolution of Parliament. How far the examinations of yesterday may operate with respect to this, it is impossible to say; but I thought the Opposition people seemed evidently struck and disappointed with them. If they do dissolve Parliament in such a moment as this, when the physicians concur in declaring the King's recovery probable, I am persuaded the cry will be as strong as it was in 1784.

There is a report, that before the Duke of Portland would consent to have any communication with the Prince of Wales, he insisted on an apology being made to him, for some very rough treatment which he received at the time of the question of the debts; and that this apology has been made. This, however, I give you only as a report, for the truth of which I do not vouch.

I enclose you a pamphlet, which you may perhaps think worth reprinting in Ireland.

I hear as yet of no rats, but I suppose a few days will bring some to light; though I cannot help thinking that the examinations of yesterday donneront à penser à Messieurs les Rats.

I have not heard from you for almost a fortnight, and am impatient to know that you receive my accounts; and to hear your opinions upon them as they arise.[Pg 33]

Pray send Bernard back as soon as you can. I cannot guess what his motive was, for persisting so strongly in wishing to undertake two such journeys at this season of the year; but he assured me, that he had no wish to stay any time in Dublin.

The list, which you will see in the "Morning Post," of the Council is accurate. It makes a curious medley.

James is come to town, looking very sturdy. He is now with me; and has no other message to send, except to wish you all safe home again.

Ever yours,
W. W. G.


Stratton Street, Dec. 5th, 1788.
My dear Lord,

When I came home yesterday afternoon from the House, I wrote the enclosed minute of proceedings—a practice I shall continue to pursue until we meet, for your satisfactory information.

As to news, it consists in the rumour of a general change in Administration. I confess that so hasty a step as is generally talked of and believed, comes not within the scope of credit which my mind is framed to. Political wisdom suggests a multiplicity of reasons why the Prince of Wales should not act precipitately—nay, why Mr. Fox, &c., should not act precipitately; unless, indeed, to embroil the times, and seek occasions of profit and power from their turbulency and vicissitudes, may be the plot of some desperate men of the party. Of authorities for intentions of change, my best is Colonel Stanhope, who, coming from the Duke of Portland's the day before yesterday, mentioned that the arrangement of the new Administration was finally settled in everything; but, "that they had not yet succeeded in persuading the Duke of Devonshire to go to Ireland."[Pg 34]

A-propos of Ireland. Accustomed to speculate on historical points, the precedent seems to me eventful, indeed, on that side of the water. The times, indeed, are perilous, and must be met everywhere with wisdom and firmness. At all times, I am ever, my dear Lord, in truest affection of friendship, your devoted and obliged friend, &c.,

W. Young.


Whitehall, Dec. 6th, 1788.
My dear Brother,

I have great pleasure in being able to tell you that, in addition to what you will have seen in the examination taken before the Privy Council, a Dr. Willis, whose name you will probably have heard, saw the King yesterday, and that his opinion is still more favourable as to the prospect of recovery. I have but just seen Pitt, who has been at Kew this morning, and saw Willis there. This general information is all that he had then to mention; but if there should be any particulars of any importance, I will let you know them. I am much mortified by receiving half a dozen Irish papers together this morning without a word from you, as the speculations on your side of the water are by no means indifferent, or uninteresting here.

The papers will have told you what passed in the two Houses. It was too late for me to write; nor, indeed, was Viner's nonsense worth sending. Fox looked ill, and spoke worse than I ever have heard him. His object was to beat about, and feel the pulse of the House with respect to further examination. I do not think he received much encouragement; but they are so anxious to mend this part of their case by cross-examining the physicians, that I am inclined to think they will try it. This opinion of Willis's is some temptation to us to allow it; but, on the whole, I think it better resisted.[Pg 35] I should be quite clear about it, if it was not from a fear that some individuals may be caught by the notion of parliamentary dignity, and that our first division may thereby be less favourable than if it was taken on any direct question of party.

I send you a note which Wilberforce put into my hands. If the thing cannot be done, pray send a separate and very civil letter about it; because this Sir J. Coghill is one of his chief friends in Yorkshire, and he particularly desires to be able to send him a civil answer.

Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.

The next day, immediately after this favourable report from a physician whose experience in this particular branch of practice gave great weight to his opinions, Thurlow began to veer round again to the Ministry. "Whatever object he might at one time have had in view," says Mr. Grenville, "he has now taken his determination of abiding by the present Government." Thurlow, in short, was exactly the man the King believed him to be, and always kept in the sun.


Whitehall, Dec. 7th, 1788.
My dear Brother,

There is nothing particularly worth mentioning to you with respect to Willis, more than what I told you in my last letter. He expressed himself very strongly to Pitt as to his hopes of the King's recovery, and said that there was no symptom which he saw in him, or could learn from the other physicians, which he had not seen much stronger in other people who have recovered. He has, I understand, already acquired a complete ascendancy over him, which is the point for which he is particu[Pg 36]larly famous. He had the boldness yesterday to suffer the King to shave himself in his presence. The King was much more composed than he has ever been, slept uncommonly well the night before last; said in the morning that he found himself much better, for that Dr. Willis had settled his mind; and was remarkably quiet the whole of yesterday. The account this morning is also, I understand, very favourable. I have just seen a man who saw a note of Willis's dated late last night, in which he says that he is confident the King would do very well. He is to continue entirely with him, and to have the complete management of him. The other physicians are, however, to see him, in order to keep him in bodily health.

It is quite ridiculous to see how angry the Opposition are at the report of the physicians, and particularly at what Warren said, which, I understand, was very different from what they had expected. They go so far as to say, that if Fox had been present he would not have dared to give such an evidence. They hope to mend it by a subsequent examination before a Committee of the House: the object of Willis being examined is so great, that I think we shall consent to something of this sort. Not only his opinion will have great weight, but it will also make the others very cautious what they say in opposition to it.

The behaviour of the two Princes is such as to shock every man's feelings. What do you think of the Duke of York's having a meeting of the Opposition at his house on Thursday, before the House of Lords met, and then going down there to hear the examinations read? After that, they closed the day, by both going in the evening to Brooks's. The truth is, that the Duke is entirely in his brother's hands, and that the latter is taking inconceivable pains to keep him so, in order that he may not see what a line is open to him if he had judgment to follow it.[Pg 37]

The assurances of support which Pitt receives from all quarters are much beyond the expectations which we had formed. It is also clear that, whatever object Thurlow might at one time have had in view, he has now taken his determination of abiding by the present Government, and supporting their measures with respect to the Regency. I imagine that Lord Stafford and Lord Weymouth have chiefly influenced his resolution—their line having been clear and decided from the beginning.

On the other hand, there seems great reason to believe that the Prince of Wales is inclined to go to all the lengths to which that party are pushing him. They have for several days been spreading a report that he has expressed a determination not to accept of the Regency under any restrictions or in any manner at all short of regal power; and that the Duke of York was commissioned by him to have declared this on Thursday, if anything had been said that could at all have led to it. The story of to-day is, that the three Royal Dukes have assured him of their resolution to refuse it if tendered to them on similar terms, and that they have authorized Fox to say this in the House of Commons. There is no knowing what sort of effect this may produce with respect to the measures of the present moment: that must depend entirely on the sort of turn that the people in general may take upon it at first. But it is very evident that by such a step the Prince will do himself a permanent mischief which he will never be able to repair, and which we shall probably all of us have much reason to regret. It is quite clear that, having once proposed these restrictions, as thinking them necessary for the interest of the King (and on that ground only could we propose them), no other motive whatever can be a justification for abandoning them, as long as there can be found one individual or set of individuals who will undertake to carry on the Government, and as long as Parliament continues to think the proposal right and equitable.[Pg 38] What all this may produce, God only knows. Our reliance can only be on the discharge of what we owe to the King in gratitude and duty, and in the decided manner in which we have put all considerations out of the question which can personally affect our own interests.

In the midst of all this confusion, and while his sons and brothers are struggling to gain entire possession of his authority, the King may recover his reason. What a scene will present itself to him! and how devoutly must he pray, if he is wise, to lose again all power of recollection or reflection.

The struggle was now beginning in earnest between the Ministers and the Prince of Wales. The point at issue apparently narrowed itself to the restrictions; but there lay beneath this question of royal expediency a great constitutional principle, which was gradually developed in the progress of the subsequent debates. It was not alone that Mr. Fox and his party demanded the Regency without any limitations whatever, but that they demanded it as a right; setting up the doctrine that when the Sovereign, from any cause, became incapacitated, the Heir Apparent had an indisputable claim to the executive authority during the continuance of the incapacity, just as he would have on the demise of the Crown. It was strange enough that this doctrine, which Mr. Pitt denounced as "treason against the Constitution," should have been maintained by the avowed champions of popular liberty; and that it should have been reserved for the Ministers of the King to defend the interests of the people against the encroachments of royalty. Mr. Pitt asserted that the right of providing a remedy for the suspension of the regular powers of Government rested solely with the people, "from whom," he[Pg 39] added, "all the powers of Government originate." The language he held upon this occasion is remarkable not only from its constitutional soundness, but for the perspicuity with which it states the actual question in contest, stripped of all disguises and evasions. "To assert an inherent right in the Prince of Wales to assume the Government, is virtually to revive those exploded ideas of the divine and indefeasible authority of Princes, which have so justly sunk into contempt and almost oblivion. Kings and Princes derive their power from the people; and to the people alone, through the organ of their representatives, does it appertain to decide in cases for which the Constitution has made no specific or positive provision." It will be seen that in the end the Prince of Wales was obliged to abandon his claim of right, and that the steadfastness of Pitt finally secured the recognition of the principle which placed in the hands of Parliament the settlement of the conditions under which His Royal Highness was to enter upon the Regency.

This glance at the subject is a little in advance of the correspondence; but it will be useful as a key to the points of discussion thrown up in its progress. The fulness and freshness of the letters, written daily, and containing the most minute history of those proceedings that has yet appeared in print, requires such slight elucidation as to render it undesirable to interrupt their continuity by commentaries, except where it may become necessary to direct attention to some special matter.

Both parties were now gathering their allies around them, and preparing for a contest which was not very[Pg 40] creditable to the political character of the Opposition. In the meanwhile a third party was forming, which, trying to reconcile hopeless antagonisms, ran its head against a crotchet, resisting the restrictions on the one hand, and supporting Mr. Pitt, as Minister, on the other, for the sake of his popularity and transcendant abilities. This line of conduct is justly described by Mr. Grenville as "absolute nonsense."


Whitehall, Dec. 9th, 1788.
My dear Brother,

The messenger who carries this is sent for the purpose of collecting proxies. It is, you know, necessary that they should be renewed every session; for which reason I have desired that a blank proxy should be directed to you, which I suppose you will fill up, as before, with Fortescue's name. He is quite eager (especially for him), and came up to town for the first day. I think there is every reason to hope that we shall not stand in need of this sort of canvass, either for the House of Commons or the House of Lords; but you will certainly agree with me, that no pains are superfluous when such points are in question.

I do not learn that there is any foundation for the report which I mentioned to you of the round-robin entered into by their Royal Highnesses. The partizans of Opposition are, however, still circulating, with great industry, the idea that the Prince of Wales has positively declared his resolution not to accept the Regency under any restrictions whatever. I take this, however, to be nothing more than a bully, intended to influence votes in the House of Commons. If, however, he should be so desperate, I should hope there would be every[Pg 41] reason to believe that the Queen would be induced to take the Regency, in order to prevent the King's hands from being fettered for the remainder of his life. Nothing has yet passed with respect to this subject. Pitt has seen her once; but the conversation was nothing more than general, although with the greatest civility, and even kindness, on her part towards him.

We receive every day new professions of attachment; and I do not yet hear of any one individual of any consequence whom we shall lose, except, probably, the Duke of Queensbury. The Duke of Grafton has declared himself explicitly. There is no longer any doubt of Thurlow; and there never has been any of Lord Stafford, Lord Weymouth, &c. Lord Lonsdale is still uncertain, and so is, I believe, the Duke of Northumberland—though this will have been brought to a point by this time. The general idea is, that he has connected himself with the Independents, of which there was some appearance last session. It is said that they mean to support Pitt as the Minister, but to oppose any restrictions on the Regent. This is not the less likely to be their conduct, on account of its being absolute nonsense.

With respect to individuals in the House of Commons, there are several who have long been wavering, and who have sent the most positive assurances of support.

There is every reason to believe that the country will continue entirely with us, and that addresses will be presented from all parts to the Regent, to continue the Government. I am afraid that, in point of time, nothing can be done of that sort in Ireland, without exposing you to much embarrassment.

I conceive that our Regent will probably be appointed, the Bill passed, &c., &c., by about the 10th or 12th of January, and that we shall then immediately be dismissed. You certainly must remain till your Parliament has met and appointed[Pg 42] the Regent for Ireland, because there is no one else who can vacate your commission; and I think the contrivances which you once mentioned for avoiding it, are liable to great objections. Now, you will observe, that the addresses from Ireland could not be presented to the Prince of Wales till he was Irish Regent, and that it would be a very awkward thing to have the people there addressing him to continue you in Ireland, after you had declared your own resolution to quit it in consequence of the removal of your friends here. I wish you would consider all this attentively, because, if these difficulties could be removed, it would certainly be very desirable that it should appear as far as possible to be the united sense of all the three kingdoms, as well as of both Houses of Parliament, and of the King, that the present Government should remain; and that these Whigs should recommend the dismission in the teeth of all these.

Willis sent last night a note to Pitt about his attendance at the Committee to-day. In a postscript, he tells him that he thinks the King better and more composed than he has been since he has attended him.

Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.

A new question and a new embarrassment now arose, as to what was to be done about the Regency in Ireland. It was natural enough that the Prince of Wales should be popular in Ireland as a pis aller, on account of the known antipathy of the King to the Catholic claims; and it was apprehended that the Irish Parliament, acting independently of English precedent, would declare itself in favour of an unlimited Regency. The anxiety to which Lord Buckingham was exposed by this disturbing prospect (some people went so far as to cast the horoscope of an[Pg 43] Irish revolution), and by the delays in the receipt of intelligence, owing to the imperfect and irregular means of communication existing between the two countries, betrayed him into some expressions of impatience, against which Mr. Grenville remonstrated with his habitual temperance and good sense, throwing out at the same time some sound suggestions as to the course it was desirable the Lord-Lieutenant should pursue. There are no qualities in these letters, wherever reference is made to the conduct of public men in great crises, more worthy of unmixed admiration than their practical sagacity and complete self-control.


Whitehall, Dec. 10th, 1788.
My dear Brother,

Your messenger having been, as he says, four or five days at sea, has just brought me your letter of the 2nd. I cannot avoid expressing to you the mortification I felt, on finding it filled with complaints of want of communication. It is now more than a month that I have written to you constantly seven days in the week, with the exception, I believe, of not four days in the whole time. I do this, not only without reluctance, but with pleasure, because I think it contributes to your satisfaction, and because it is a real relief to my mind to converse with you in this manner on the subjects which are, in the present moment, so interesting to us both. But I do it often under circumstances of so much other business, as makes it impossible for me to keep any copies or memoranda of what I write. I cannot, therefore, distinctly call back to my mind the thread of that correspondence; but, as far as my memory serves, I solemnly protest I know of no one fact, opinion, or conjecture, that could be of the least use to you, or could even[Pg 44] satisfy your curiosity, that I have not regularly communicated to you as it arose.

You seem to have mistaken some expression in one of my letters, and to have understood that the proposition itself relating to the Regency was to have been brought forward on Thursday last. You will since have seen, that the preliminary steps require so much time, that it must still be Monday, or more probably Wednesday next, before anything can be moved. But you say that you have received no communication of the extent or wording of that plan, so as to consider its legal or political effect towards Ireland. On this, I can only say, that long before the outlines of that plan were finally settled, even, I believe, in Mr. Pitt's mind, certainly long before they were at all agreed upon by the Cabinet, I communicated them to you distinctly, and at length. There has since been no variation in these. With respect to the precise wording of the plan, I do not know that this is yet decided upon; nor do I suppose it can be so, till within a few hours of its being moved. But as to any legal effect which it can have upon Ireland, I have certainly failed in what I intended to do, if I have not stated to you a clear opinion, that no measure taken in Parliament here can possibly affect Ireland any otherwise than as a precedent, which every Irishman must think himself bound to follow, who does not wish to separate the two countries. It surely could not be your wish, nor would it be desirable, to attempt to pledge any Irishman one step beyond that general proposition, that whatever is done by the authority of the British Parliament as to England, must be done in Ireland by the authority of the Irish Parliament; but that the latter will grossly betray the interests of their own country, if they do not adopt the English measure, whatever that may ultimately be. I trust that we shall be able to carry the measure here, such as I stated to you long ago, some time before your Parliament meets; but if it should fail, and any different form be established, I hope we[Pg 45] should be the last men in the two countries to wish to disunite them on this ground.

I cannot but repeat, that the expressions and style of your letter have hurt me sensibly. I do not believe, that if you were living in Pall Mall, you could be more distinctly or regularly informed of what passes. You will, of course, hear in Dublin, as you would in Pall Mall, an infinite variety of foolish reports, as is naturally the case when every man has his own speculation. You cannot, I am sure, think it possible that I can even enumerate, much less argue upon, or contradict all these; but I cannot, at this time, after some reflection, call to my mind any point of the smallest consequence in our present situation with which I am myself acquainted, and which I have omitted to state.

With respect to your own particular situation, I conceive that it is not possible that things can be brought to the point of affecting that for several weeks to come. The measure which is to be brought forward here will, of course, meet with violent opposition; and cannot, according to my calculation, be completed, so as to put the Prince of Wales in possession of the Regency, till the first or second week in January. I think as soon as you receive the notification that this measure has passed in England, it would be right for you to write a very short letter to the Secretary of State, mentioning in a very few words the opinions of lawyers there, that your patent can be vacated only by a Regent appointed by the Irish Parliament, suggesting the expedient of Lords Justices; and then desiring to know His Royal Highness's pleasure, whether he chooses that under those circumstances you should meet the Parliament, for the purpose of laying before them the circumstances of the present situation, or whether you should name Lords Justices, and who they should be. You see, I put this on the supposition that you are not immediately removed, which, for many reasons, I think unlikely. You know my opinion has[Pg 46] always been that the Prince would not negotiate, and I am every day more confirmed in it. But I think it may be a question, whether he may not choose to look about him a little. Perhaps, however, in order to anticipate any sudden step, you would do well to send a letter such as I mention, so as to reach England a few days before the measure can pass, and to be here ready to be laid before him when he does accept. In a point of such importance, it seems to me that it would be proper that you should have, for your own justification, the written opinions of your lawyers on the point I mention, but not to send them over here. I mention this as a general idea; but wish you to consider it, because I am sure, in general, the less you write on this subject the better, in order that you may not give ground of misquoting, or misrepresenting what you say.

As to the idea of vesting the Government in Lords Justices, or taking any step for throwing up the Government in the interval, except with the consent and by the direction of the Prince of Wales, I should most earnestly deprecate it for a thousand reasons; but, above all, for the impression which it would give here of abandoning the interests of this country in Ireland, for the sake of adding to the confusion, and creating factious difficulties. I think your line clear, and that you have nothing to do but to sit still saying or doing nothing till our measure passes. You then ask the Prince of Wales whether he chooses that you or any Lords Justices should meet Parliament; and if he directs you to stay, you have nothing to do but to express to anybody that asks you, your wish that the English measure should be precisely followed. Whatever, under such circumstances, is the conduct of the Irish Parliament, you cannot be responsible for it, unless you make yourself so.

There is another urgent reason against your taking any step for breaking up your Government: the King is daily getting[Pg 47] better, and has been continuing so to do ever since Sunday. Willis's examination before the Committee yesterday, was all but decisive as to the certainty of his recovery in a short time. I will send it to you in the course of to-morrow, or the next day; but these are the material parts. He is asked what hopes he entertains of the King's recovery? He says he entertains great hopes; that if it was the case of a common man, he should have no doubt of his recovery; but in the King's situation, his own reflections on his situation, when he begins to recover his reason, may retard the cure. (A good lesson, by the bye, to the Prince of Wales, &c.) He says he cannot yet affirm that there are signs of convalescence, but that there is everything leading to it; particularly that the irritation has almost entirely subsided, which must precede convalescence, or any appearance of it. He is asked with respect to his own experience, &c.? He says, that of ten patients brought to him within three months of their being attacked, nine have recovered. That the smallest time he remembers, is six weeks or two months from their being brought to him; the longest, a year and a half; the average, about five months.

With this account, it is not very sanguine to hope that the King's actual recovery may take place before the measure can pass here; or, at least, such a prospect of it as may make it absolutely impossible for the Prince, whatever his disposition may be, to change the Government. If the amendment continues, it may even be a question whether further adjournment may not be thought right, though the inconveniences of this, particularly with respect to foreign affairs, are so great that it must not be done but upon very strong grounds indeed.

The nonsense about dissolution has been talked in England as well as in Ireland; but I cannot persuade myself that it really comes from Lord Loughborough. It has not made its fortune much here. Anybody who had the smallest knowledge of the general turn and bent of the public mind,[Pg 48] both in and out of Parliament, would not have broached so foolish an idea.

I told you, in one of my former letters, that I was utterly at a loss to guess what Bernard's motive was for going to Ireland in the moment which he chose. I stated my wishes against it; but I saw that there was some mystery behind, which he did not wish to explain, and therefore I pressed him no more about it.

Adieu, my dear brother. I hate writing anything to you, which can bear even the appearance of complaint. I feel for the disagreeableness of your situation at this moment: being at a distance from the scene of events which interest you so much, and from any conversation with those in whom you most confide. But I am sure you will, on reflection, acquit me of any want of attention to you on the head of communication.

I am much obliged to you for your anxiety about myself. I had a slight attack of fever for a day or two; but it is now entirely gone.

Five o'clock.

I am just returned from the Committee, who have finished the examination of the physicians. The examinations of to-day are not very material; but as far as they go, they confirm our favourable hopes. Another account is just come from Kew, that the King has continued better ever since the account of this morning, which is the public one.

Pitt is to move to-day for the Committee of Precedents. Fox told us he meant to say a few words against it, as unnecessary, but not to divide; so I shall not go down again.

The notion of the Prince of Wales not accepting, seems to lose ground; and all these favourable accounts of the King are evidently strong grounds of argument for our measures.

[Pg 49]


Stratton Street, Thursday, Dec. 11th, 1788.
My dear Lord,

I did not receive your kind letter of Dec. 2nd, until my arrival last night from the House of Commons, when it was too late to write, and the conversation which then arose was of so important a nature, that it was not practicable or proper to steal a moment from the debate, or to send a line respecting it ere it was closed, and the subject took a decisive turn, which was after the post hour.

To a friendship so dear and honourable to me as yours, and shown me by so many instances of goodness, the best answer I can make is, through life, by a return of grateful attachment, honour, and disinterestedness; and in these, if I aught know myself, I shall never fail.

Of the momentous business opened last night, I can only say that our astonishment is only to be equalled by the spirits we are in, on viewing the grounds Mr. Fox hath abandoned to us and left our own. Lord Radnor, who breakfasted with me this morning, told me he understands that Fox's doctrine, "that the Prince of Wales was Regent, invested with full regal authority immediately and de jure on the incapacity, however temporary, of the King, and that the two Houses of Parliament had no right to debate thereon even," came from that constitutional lawyer, Lord Loughborough. Radnor's further remark, that Fox, having on a former occasion sought to trespass on the royal just prerogative, had now completed his attack on the Constitution, in denying the rights of Lords and Commons, is worthy observation. Talbot, who made one of my morning's levée, told me that at White's last night, all was hurra! and triumph. Charles Sturt and other youngsters took part at the bar, to echo the "Hear, hear," from Fitzpatrick and Burke, of[Pg 50] Fox's doctrine; yet the "Hear, hear," was but little caught or repeated, though given loudly. Looking back to the history of this "Man of the People," and to his present conduct, in despite of his talents of logical discrimination, I begin almost to doubt whether his weakness or profligacy is transcendant. Pitt's language was most masterly and decisive; and has been done but little justice to in the papers of this day. The general tenor of subject they will give you, but what I have seen does not touch on the overthrow of Fox's resort to the doctrine that Parliament was of "Kings, Lords, and Commons; that no two branches thereof could make a law," by the just and constitutional distinction between the two Houses making a law, and the providing or giving efficiency to the third executive branch of Legislature in cases of defect, whatever it may be. The report of the physicians being ordered to be printed, will be out to-morrow, when I will send it, with a few remarks. Our great days are to be Monday and Tuesday.

It will scarcely escape your Lordship's penetration, that when Fox said recognition of the Prince's claim de jure to be the sole right and province of Parliament, implied an act of the House to debate, and, if to debate, to decide upon. So idle is genius! I see through the motive power: if Parliament has a right to confer power, it has a right to say what sort of power. So far Fox's penetration reached, and so he boldly denied the major of the proposition; and then, in a puzzle for consistency of popular attachment to good old rights of the Lords and Commons, and his subscription to the pillar at Runnymede, run into the contradiction of admitting the major in shape of recognitions. It is impossible yet to foresee what tergiversation will take place, or how many will sacrifice their principles to the rising sun; forgetting that apostacy to honest principles requires that there should be a transcendancy of merit of another sort—namely, of great ability to be useful to make that apostacy acceptable or the object of remuneration. Hating the[Pg 51] traitor and loving the treason, is a state maxim to be remembered by those whose treason is scarcely ever to be regarded while themselves are the objects of civil contempt. Yet some hold a language of doubt. One or two, whom I will not yet name, I told if they had not made up an opinion, they had better ask their constituents for one. It seems to me, that the business must close in a resort to the sense of the nation. In what shape such resort may possibly, I think not probably, be made, is serious indeed. But the violence of the faction of Fox portends every evil. Perhaps, however, and most likely, the resort to a new election, may give us time to grow cool, and close matters there. Adieu, for the day.

Ever, my dear Lord, in truth and affection,
Your devoted friend and servant,
Wm. Young.


Stanhope Street, Dec. 11th, 1788.
My dear Lord,

The scene here is a very busy one, and I never was so interested in any public measures in my life as in the support of Mr. Pitt and the King at this moment, looking upon it as my duty to do all in my power to stem the torrent of profligacy which the Opposition and their King seem determined to hazard with the good sense, decency, and character of the country. I really do see such things, and hear of such doings, that my tolerant spirit cannot forgive, and if you had not very good information of them, I should think myself bound to treat you with them. The Nevilles, Fortescues, Jemmy, and the General, being in town, we make a very strong corps together; and we are sent to White's every night to gain intelligence for our ladies, who are not a little animated in favour of the good cause. Charles Fox and Pitt were at issue yesterday in the[Pg 52] House, when the former advanced the most extraordinary doctrines, considering his former opinions in the Whig Club and in Parliament on constitutional points. I hope the nation will see what lengths he is capable of going when it answers his purposes. I do not hear of many rats running as yet, except the Duke of Queensbury, Lord Brudenell, and W. Gerrard, Hamilton, and Sir Robert Smyth, but probably some more dirty dogs will follow them. The Chancellor seems very sour and crusty, and certainly does not like Pitt, but I cannot believe he will do otherwise than right on this momentous occasion.

*     *     *     *     *     

We sat yesterday till eight, in the Lords, and thought Lord Camden imprudent in touching upon what had passed in the Commons the day before, as it gave the Opposition an excuse for being violent; it, however, had one good effect, that the Chancellor opened enough of his sentiments to show that he means to stand by his colleagues. His speech was not long, but one of the finest I ever heard, and made so strong an impression, that we gave him a merry "Hear, hear," which you know is not very frequent in the House of Lords. I think we shall carry the question of restrictions very powerfully in the Lords, as I hear of no rats but the Duke of Queensbury, the Duke of St. Albans, and Lord Rodney. In the Commons, a great deal will depend on the state of the King's health at the time the question comes on, and on the previous activity of Pitt and his two secretaries, in talking a little to dubious friends, which they have not time nor inclination to do, notwithstanding so much depends upon it.

Adieu, my dear Lord. Our joint and kindest love and remembrance attend you both.

Yours ever, &c.

Pray order your secretary to send me word of the number and income of the tide-waiters' offices which you can spare[Pg 53] me, as I have dependants enough if they are as highly paid in Ireland as in England. In the meantime I give you the name of John Thomas, for one of them. Did you ever promote one Alexander Gammach, tide-waiter at Belfast? Pray do before you quit Ireland.


Whitehall, Dec. 11th, 1788.
My dear Brother,

You will, no doubt, be as much surprised as I was, to find that the notion of the Prince of Wales's right was brought forward yesterday by Fox in the House of Commons. It was a matter of no less astonishment to many of his own friends, who were by no means prepared for the assertion of such a doctrine. One should lose oneself in conjecture, by attempting to find out what motive can have induced him to take exactly the most unpopular ground on which their side of the question can be rested. I was not in the House; but I find there was an impression on our friends, that in his second speech he had rather seemed desirous of stating the proposition less strongly.

Our present idea is, that it will be right, in consequence of this debate, that nothing should be moved on the first day (which, I think, cannot be till Wednesday) beyond the abstract proposition, as maintained by Pitt; namely, that in every case of suspension or interruption of the personal exercise of the royal authority, otherwise than by death, the care of making provision for the emergency rests with the two Houses of Parliament. These are not the words, but the substance. A stronger question we cannot desire.

12th.—I intended to have sent this off to you yesterday; but was kept in the House of Lords till it was too late. You will see by the papers, better than I can pretend to retail it, what passed there. The doctrine, as stated by Lord Loughborough, was not quite so strong as Fox's; but is sufficiently so, to be[Pg 54] reprobated by every lawyer in the country. Even Erskine says openly, that he cannot go this length.

The idea is, and some words which Fox dropped yesterday in the House of Lords seem to confirm it, that whenever the report of our Committee of Precedents is made, which will probably be to-day, or, at latest, to-morrow, he intends to explain away his assertion, into the mere statement, that the Prince has such pretensions to a Regency as Parliament cannot overlook. Be this as it may, we are determined to state the right distinctly, by a resolution of the House, before we proceed to any other measures.

Fortescue has this instant been with me, to say that he has heard a report, said to come from a considerable Oppositionist, that they have resolved, in consequence of the examinations and particularly Willis's, to accede to the proposed restrictions, for a short time, reserving to themselves the right of contending for more, should the continuance of the King's illness appear to give grounds to expect that it will be permanent. I do not think this by any means impossible, because the question will clearly go against them in the present moment; and this appearance of moderation may give them grounds at a more distant period. It is difficult, however, to conceive that they can make up their minds to wait so long without a greater struggle.

Only think of Fox's want of judgment, to bring himself and them into such a scrape as he has done, by maintaining a doctrine of higher Tory principle than could have been found anywhere, since Sir Robert Sawyer's speeches.

I enclose the examination of the physicians before our Committee. I am sorry to say, that the examination before the Lords is infinitely less decent and respectful, and goes into a variety of particulars, which, I am sure it will shock you to read, as it did me to hear them.

Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.

[Pg 55]

I do not know in what manner what Thurlow said about Ireland will be represented in the papers, not having seen them. It was so enveloped, that I, who heard it, could form no notion what his opinion is. In the debate in the House of Commons, I mean, for your sake, to state my principles on that subject distinctly.

Sir William Young, in the next letter, reports what was done on Pitt's motion for the Committee.


House of Commons, Friday, Half-past Five, Dec, 12th, 1788.
My dear Lord,

Fox got up, on Mr. Pitt's having moved for a Committee to inquire into the state of the nation on Tuesday. Fox explained away much of the harshness of the doctrine of right in the Prince of Wales to assume the royal authority during the temporary incapacity of the King; but left all the substance of the doctrine. He then spoke his sentiments of what ought to be done, whatever the manner; namely, to recognize, or confer, as others might say, full regal authority on the Prince, for the time of the King's incapacity. He then called on Pitt to relieve the nation from doubt, and give an opening of his plan.

Pitt, in reply, stated the point of law and the Constitution yet to be at issue, the substance of difference yet remaining, and that such great question could not be slurred over. It must be decided by Parliament, and should be the first subject of debate and decision; namely, for Tuesday. It was a question for themselves and for posterity. He then said, that the outline of his plan was, as matter of discretion and conveniency, to appoint the Prince of Wales sole Regent, with no permanent council, with power to remove and make his Ministry at pleasure, and with all other regal powers necessary for giving force, dignity, and vigour to his Administration; but with no powers that[Pg 56] might be needless, intrench on the Crown, and cause embarrassment on the King's recovery, &c.

Our business for Tuesday, therefore, is the question of right.

Pitt stands higher and higher in general estimation. As I passed the gallery to write this, Marquis of Townsend caught my arm, and said: "A glorious fellow, by G——, Young! His speech is that of an angel."

Post bell rings.

Yours ever,
W. Y.


Whitehall, Dec. 13th, 1788.
My dear Brother,

I must refer you to the papers for an account of our triumphant day in the House of Commons yesterday. You will see by that, that I was not mistaken in my opinion that the doctrine of the Prince's right was not likely to be a very popular one. Fox found that by what he said before he had offended so many people, that he was obliged to take the very first moment of explaining it away; still, however, he has left it in such a shape that we cannot fail of debating it with great advantage. He intends, as you will see by his speech, to move the previous question on Pitt's proposition, which he is afraid to attempt to negative. After this recantation was over, the day was closed by such a blunder of Sheridan's, as I never knew any man of the meanest talents guilty of before. During the whole time that I have sat in Parliament, in pretty warm times, I never remember such an uproar as was raised by his threatening us with the danger of provoking the Prince to assert his right, which were the exact words he used.

You may conceive what advantage all this gives us, especially when coupled with the strong hopes entertained of the King's recovery. The account, as given at St. James's, is rather less favourable this morning. I do not well know how to account for[Pg 57] this circumstance, as the letters from persons immediately about the Queen continue as favourable as ever. I rather guess it to be Warren's malice against Willis, who was yesterday put into possession of many points which they had disputed with him, particularly the right of signing the reports. I imagine he was unwilling the first day of this to contest with Warren about the precise words.

There is a report, which I heard yesterday before I went to the House, and which Fox's speech appeared to countenance, of their intending to acquiesce in the limitations, provided they are established only for a short time.

The precise mode of carrying our propositions into effect is not yet settled. Our general idea is, that the two Houses should authorize the Chancellor to put the great seal to a Commission, empowering the Prince to open the session. And that then the propositions should then be brought forward in the shape of a Bill, to which the Prince may, by a similar Commission, be authorized to give the royal assent. We shall, however, in the course of two or three days have reduced this to form, and I will then send it over to you.

Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.

The report alluded to above turned out to be true, which could be said of few of the reports that were so industriously circulated during the King's illness. The Prince's party, finding it impossible to get rid of the restrictions, were ready to enter into a compromise, and to agree to them, provided their duration was limited to a certain period. A Bill to that effect was afterwards introduced. But Ministers were not inclined to accept compromises when they had the power in their own hands to dictate conditions; and so the limited Regency scheme came to nothing.[Pg 58]


Stratton Street, Dec. 13th, 1788.
My dear Lord,

The account at St. James's this morning is, that the King had a quiet night; but that, on awaking, His Majesty was more unquiet than yesterday. Unless something very particular is noted in these official returns of the King's health, shall not in future transmit accounts so inconclusive to such a distance. The disorder in its nature is subject to intervals, and to variations which even a medical inquirer could not build upon, without being a witness to such vicissitudes of malady or having a recital of each minute symptom, and that with comments. Each authentic account, more in detail, as it comes to me you shall have; and then, too, the St. James's note as a corollary.

After my note from the House of Commons—which, if your Lordship can read, I do not think I now could, such was the haste of scribble—Sheridan threw out the menace which the papers state, with Pitt's answer; the comment on which is, in the mouth of Opposition: "Pray, for God's sake, don't put a question, and urge it to a division, which will ruin our pretensions as Whigs if we do, as we must do, divide against it."

On walking out this morning, the first thing that struck me, was a long row of handbills, stuck from one end to the other of the wall of Devonshire House; in which a few words of Fox for the Prince's prerogative, and of Pitt, in reply for privilege of Parliament and liberties of the nation, were not badly selected.

We are likely to have a conversation in Parliament, I am pretty authentically informed, of even a more delicate nature than the last; John Rolle intending to bring forward his old subject of Mrs. Fitzherbert.

Rolle and Sheridan had a whispering conference under the gallery for some minutes; the result of which, Sir J. Scott,[Pg 59] Solicitor-General, with whom I dined, said he understood to be firmness on the part of Rolle, in his intention at a proper time to come forward.

To our question of right, on Tuesday the previous question is expected from Opposition; and that they will be stronger on that point than any other, from having the timidity of some, co-operate with the interestedness of others. The list on that day will be worth marking. I trust we shall yet have a great majority of Parliament who will not submit to be dragooned out of their privileges and freedom by an Irish Brigade.

Grattan is every day under the gallery, not admiring, I hope, the Captains Sheridan and Burke. I know not which side he leans to.

Adieu, my dear Lord. My wife desires to forward her kindest wishes and best respects to the Marchioness, with your most affectionate and devoted friend's,

W. Young.


Whitehall, Dec. 14th, 1788.
My dear Brother,

I received this morning your letter of the 8th, and am very sorry that I am so hurried to-day as to make it absolutely impossible for me to enter into the subject which you discuss, in the manner which I should wish. You will collect from a former letter my general notions upon it, but I doubt whether those may not be considerably varied by the consideration which you suggest of being able to carry more for the King by remaining, than otherwise.

I have had a good deal of conversation with Pitt on the subject. He promises me that he will, immediately after Tuesday, discuss it thoroughly with me, and enable me to send you his decided opinion how you ought to act. I find, from what he says, that he apprehends Lord Thurlow's opinion to be[Pg 60] contrary to ours. This, however, seems immaterial, except with a view to future support, and, probably, cannot easily be brought to a point, as no Cabinet measure or instructions can be grounded upon it. The idea still continues of proceeding by Bill; and as we preface that with an assertion of the right in both Houses, it must still be a considerable time before any measure can come in question with respect to Ireland.

I believe we shall word the proposition in a less abstract form, and apply it more particularly to this individual case, still, however, asserting the right.

The account is less favourable to-day, notwithstanding that of yesterday. I saw a letter from Willis to Pitt, in which he said that the King "had passed the day calmly, and was, in other respects, much the same as yesterday."

Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.


Whitehall, Dec. 15th, 1788.
My dear Brother,

I had yesterday some conversation with Pitt on the subject of your letter, which I had received in the morning.

On the best consideration, we agreed that the line I before mentioned to you is the best which you ought to follow; that you should write a letter, to be delivered immediately upon the Prince of Wales being Regent, to state the doubts, to suggest the solution of Lords Justices, to desire His Royal Highness's commands upon the danger of giving offence here, by the appearing to raise difficulties in Ireland. This was agreed to be more proper, even to the King, than leaving them to open the Parliament. Pitt has received a very haughty letter from the Prince of Wales to Thurlow, complaining of his general behaviour to him, and of his not having had Pitt's plan communicated to him, and ordering Thurlow to require him to send[Pg 61] it to him in writing. Pitt has sent a respectful answer, disclaiming any disrespect to him; but saying that he does not think it proper to do this until the question of right has been discussed.

It is reported that the four Princes of the blood met yesterday, and agreed to refuse the Regency under any limitations, and this is to be declared in the House of Commons to-morrow. I have reason to believe this to be true. Pitt saw the Queen yesterday; I do not know what passed, though I think he is satisfied.

I enclose a letter from Camplin, upon which you must decide. I have not yet seen Captain Nugent, who has sent me a letter from you, but his business is wholly out of our cognizance.

Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.

When Pitt was at Kew he saw Willis, who told him that he did not think the difference in the King's state within these last two days, of the smallest importance. That this sort of fluctuation was naturally to be expected, and did not in any degree diminish his hopes, which are as sanguine as ever.


Whitehall, Dec. 17th, 1788.
My dear Brother,

I have nothing to add to what I said in my last letter, on the interesting subject of your situation and conduct in the events that may most reasonably be expected to arise. It appears, however, to me, to be of the utmost importance that you should not neglect for a moment taking the opinion of the law servants of the Crown in Ireland, with respect to the operation of a new patent granted by a Parliamentary Regent here, under the English Great Seal, previous to any proceeding having been [Pg 62]held in Ireland. I have a real confidence in Fitzgibbon's honour; but I think this a point of much too great importance to yourself, to be vested on verbal opinions. You may, and I think ought, both to keep these written opinions secret, and to require them to do so; but as soon as you have received them, you should, I think, transmit them to Lord Sydney, to remain in his office. You will observe that the ground is now in some measure cleared for you by the declaration of right, which we came to last night, and which will certainly be agreed to by the House of Lords. I expected to have been able to send you an exact copy of the resolutions, but am disappointed. You will, however, probably see them in the "Morning Chronicle," if that comes out early enough for the post. The first states the fact of the King's present inability to attend to business, "and that the personal exercise of the royal authority by His Majesty is thereby for the present interrupted."

The second: "That it is the right and duty of the Lords and Commons (describing them as in the preamble to the Bill of Rights) to provide the means of supplying the defect in the personal exercise, &c., in such manner as the exigency of the case may appear to them to require."

The third: "That for the above purpose, and for maintaining entire the constitutional authority of His Majesty, it is necessary that the said Lords and Commons should determine on the means by which the royal assent may be given in Parliament to such Bill as may be passed by the two Houses, respecting the exercise of the royal power, in the name and on the behalf of His Majesty, during the continuance of His Majesty's indisposition."

I believe I have given you very nearly the words, which I ought to remember, having employed very near the whole of two days in settling them with Pitt and our lawyers.

Our principle is, that the King's authority remains entire. That no legislative act can be done but with the formal sanction of his assent. That no person can take upon him to[Pg 63] give that assent, except by the direction and authority of the two Houses, who have the right, in the present emergency, to act for the King; but must, even in doing that, adhere as nearly as possible to the forms of the Constitution.

Fox opposed these resolutions, in one of the best speeches I ever heard from him; but I think indiscreetly supporting and enforcing all his old ground of the Prince of Wales's right. Towards the end, he made a violent personal attack on Pitt, intimating that he was desirous, through envy, to weaken the hands of those who were to be his successors. This opening was not neglected by Pitt, but laid hold of in a manner which enabled him to speak of his own conduct towards the King and the Prince, and towards the country in the present moment, and to contrast it with that of his opponents. I never heard a finer burst of eloquence, nor witnessed such an impression as it produced. But you will know all this better from the papers.

The division exceeded our expectations. All the neutrals, and many of the wavering people, and some of the most timid of our friends, were against us, on the ground of the inexpediency of agitating this question. You will also naturally see that something is to be allowed for the impression of two Princes of the blood speaking; one of them to assure the country that the Prince of Wales would not urge this claim, and both beseeching, as a sort of personal point, that it might not be made necessary to come to a division upon the question. Still, however, the impression which the claim itself had made on the country, was such that it was a point of real duty to quiet people's minds upon it. But it cannot be surprising, that under all these circumstances, and under the fear of some unexplained danger, many people should be caught by a previous question. I was a little mortified at finding our friend Sir P. P. among these. I had no previous intimation of this till I saw him in the division, nor have I had any opportunity of conversing with him since. I am not sure that he did not[Pg 64] think he ought to have been a Lord of the Admiralty instead of Lord Hood. It is either that, or his intercourse with some of the Independents. On the whole, I think it better to leave him to himself, as I do not think I have sufficient influence over him to do any good, and the attempt might do harm. You know best how you stand in that respect. We have certainly no claim upon him beyond friendship and opinion.

Lord Lonsdale's people were against us, in consequence of a letter, written by the Prince of Wales himself, soliciting it as a personal favour. This, which I know from authority, may serve to give you an idea of the pains they had taken. They were so confident, that, on Sunday night, Fox assured the whole party, at a general meeting at Burlington House, that he had no doubt of beating us. I imagine that we are now sure of carrying our restrictions, and probably by a larger majority.

Lord Loraine has separated himself from the Duke of N.; in consequence of which, Rainsforth has vacated. We do not know who comes in, but Lord Loraine says it is a friend.

Gerard Hamilton is among the rats, which is no small amusement to me, who have frequently been abused by Pitt for my bad opinion of him, at the time that he was swallowing toads à toute outrance. There are one or two more individual members in the House of Commons, but nobody of any consequence but the Duke of Queensbury, which, though everybody expected it, is nevertheless a thing that raises my indignation in no small degree.

The popular opinion shows itself every day more and more, and I have no doubt you will hear of addresses, &c. Fox's declaration of the Prince of Wales's right has been of no small service to us. Is it not wonderful that such great talents should be conducted with so little judgment?

Our mode of proceeding will now be to communicate these[Pg 65] resolutions to the Lords; and when they have concurred in them, then to bring forward the plan; and lastly, to authorize the Lord Chancellor to put the Great Seal to a commission to His Royal Highness, to empower him to open the Parliament, and afterwards to another (at least, I think they should be separate), authorizing him to give the royal assent to the Bill appointing him Regent.

You will easily see, that all this will be no very short proceeding. In the meantime, the prospect of the King's recovery is daily growing more favourable. Willis and Addington have both said, separately, that his emotion at seeing the Queen for the first time, and his subsequent agitation, instead of being discouraging, were symptoms highly favourable. He is now quite calm; and at three o'clock yesterday, the account which came from Willis was, that he was better than at any time since his illness.

It will be ridiculous if he should recover just in time to give the royal dissent to the Regency Bill—which is not impossible. The more probable supposition is, that they will just have time to parcel out the spoils, to dismiss us, and to hold their offices about a month; and so will end (if this should happen) the third reign of King Charles III.

So little was said about Ireland, that it would have been an affectation in me to have talked about it; besides this, I had no opportunity of speaking that pleased me.

Ever most affectionately yours,

W. W. G.

What I mentioned in my last about the four Princes, I now know not to be true with respect to the Duke of Gloucester, who has held aloof from all cabal with them, and even declared in the House of Lords that he had done so.

[Pg 66]


Whitehall, Dec. 19th, 1788.
My dear Brother,

I am very sorry that this letter must necessarily be so short, as I should have great pleasure if there was time to state to you the particulars of our triumph, and of the effect which it has produced, and which is indeed little less than miraculous. It certainly exceeded my expectations; but it was so infinitely beyond what our opponents had thought possible, that they are beat down by it beyond all description. I hope you will hear all this more particularly from others. I write now only for the purpose of sending you the following paragraph from a letter of Willis's to Pitt last night, which he showed me. W. is speaking of the effect of the blisters. He says: "From this, and from several other little occurrences in the course of these last three days, I am more than ever confirmed in my opinion that there can be no doubt of the King's entire recovery."

I know the pleasure which this will give you, and therefore send it, though in great haste.

Ever most affectionately yours,

W. W. G.


Whitehall, Dec. 21st, 1788.
My dear Brother,

I have delayed writing for these two or three last days, in hopes of being able to give you an account of the event of our second division, which has, as you will have seen, been deferred from day to day, and now is finally fixed for to-morrow. The adjournment on Friday was necessary, on account of Pitt's health. He had entirely lost the use of his voice by a cold, so[Pg 67] that he could not have spoken five sentences together, and he was in other respects much exhausted. Our friends were a little chagrined at the delay; but it was unavoidable, and will not, I hope, be productive of any inconvenience.

Our next question is not a pleasant one. It turns on an abstruse maxim of law, which makes it necessary for us to take a very circuitous mode of doing a very plain thing. The necessity of it is forced upon us by our lawyers, whom we could not otherwise have satisfied, with regard to the second proposition which we have voted. I am indeed convinced, that, in strict law, they are right, and that the mode now proposed is the regular and proper mode of doing what is required to be done. At the same time, it would have been more agreeable to have had a more familiar and obvious measure to defend in such an assembly as the House of Commons.

We shall probably lose some individuals, both on this question, and on the subsequent question of restrictions; but we have some new recruits, who were absent by sickness, or other accidents; so that, on the whole, I hope the difference will not be considerable, though nothing can exceed their industry in canvassing, except the open manner in which they offer every sort of bribe.

We have some idea of making the restrictions temporary, by which means they will certainly be much more palatable. You will observe that almost all the physicians seem to point out the probability of his recovering within a year or a year and a half, if at all. This seems to afford a real ground of expediency, besides giving a strong topic of argument for imposing the restrictions only for a similar time. This point is, however, not yet determined.

The accounts from Windsor for the last week, though they have varied, are yet, on the whole, less favourable than before. Willis ascribes this entirely to the effect of the blisters, which[Pg 68] give him great pain; and Willis says that is, on the whole, by no means an unfavourable symptom. The effect, however, which these accounts produce here, is injurious to us, and must be the same in Ireland. Our solid ground of hope does not appear to be in the smallest degree weakened.

You will see in the Opposition papers that they are beginning to abuse the Queen in the most open and scandalous manner. I collect from this that they have some information, on which they can depend, with respect to her sentiments, and I conjecture that they are such as we could wish.

If we were together, I could tell you some particulars of the Prince of Wales's behaviour towards the King and her, within these few days, that would make your blood run cold; but I dare not commit them to paper, because of my informant.

The demands of the Opposition appear to have risen and fallen with the bulletins; and according as the King was better or worse, the resistance to the limitations was faint or violent. The conduct pursued by the Prince's party to obtain votes and strengthen their parliamentary influence, is not shown in a very favourable light.


Stratton Street,
Monday, Dec. 22nd, 1788.
My dear Lord,

I should scarcely venture to anticipate a subject, the event of which within twenty-four hours may belie any pretensions of political sagacity, might not the difference of one day's post from London eventually delay your receiving a letter for a week, should wind and sea prove perverse, as when I passed my Christmas at Holyhead. This, and the anxiety for intelligence, which must necessarily arise from the suggestion in my note of[Pg 69] Saturday, induces me to pursue the matter I then opened, and the more especially as the circumstance, I foresaw, is now more than likely to occur. As I purpose closing this letter at the House of Commons, and the last moment which the post may allow me, I shall have to transmit fact in lieu of probability; at present, I state briefly my grounds for the latter—namely, that the specific great question, whether the Prince shall be Regent without any limitations, and invested with the full prerogatives of royalty, will be agitated and decided upon this Monday night. The turn of debate and temper of the House on Friday, which induced me to suppose such question might be pressed upon us, have induced others to press it. This morning a printed paper hath been sent to certain members, containing a motion for addressing, and an address at length to the Prince, corroborating what Mr. Steele told me yesterday, that Fox's party had some design in view for Monday. Letters having been sent in Fox's name to several members, requesting attendance and an answer; and that Mr. Pitt had written in like manner to such as he apprehended might be withdrawing for the Christmas holidays, with the same unusual request of answer. Two of these letters (pretty long), to Sir H. Hoghton and to Mr. Pye, I afterwards had the perusal of.

The true friendly language, and which I openly hold, is that we shall be stronger on the division than before; such language is proper, because ordinary men consider numbers as a shelter for their opinions and conduct, and some even consider it as the test of truth. But this language hath not its origin in my judgment and feelings. There are circumstances which impress great doubt on my mind, whether the division can be so favourable to our wishes, as was the last. Taking the data of the examination of the physicians, the King's recovery therein presumed, gives a vantage-ground in argument for limitations. But I am sorry to say this ground is now shaken: the public is no longer sanguine in hopes, medical gentlemen have generally[Pg 70] conspired to render the object of recovery much more doubtful at least, and the physicians about the King have had dissensions and disputes amongst themselves. It is now rumoured that Dr. Warren wishes to be re-examined. All this is indeed not before the House of Commons, and the report of the physicians is; I think, therefore, that though not so decisive, we yet shall have a considerable majority on the premises; but even for this dependant on other considerations—namely, how far apprehensions of the King's actual demise may operate from, I believe, the faithful report of the day, that a fever is come on, and that for a day or two past the King has had a constant sweating of the head, to which he was at no time before accustomed. According to wishes or fears, men construe this crisis to portend health or decease; the political effect in the alternative, being in the first case uncertain, in the second case certain. The bent of this is against us, as few narrow motives and personal considerations may extend and favour the active spirit of subornation which stalks in open day, with each hand full of patents of honour and purses of money. Offers have been so prodigal that not fifty years of patronage could accomplish the performance. Those gentlemen who have rejected these kind tenders of service speak openly, and no notice is taken. In these moments of public curiosity, it may not be so well to trust names to a letter. I could give you several.

The bearing of this letter is thus unfavourable to this night's debate terminating fully as we could wish, though yet I think for us. Having thus far written, I shall pocket my paper for the purpose of adding what I can at the House of Commons.

House of Commons,
Half-past Five, Monday, Dec. 22nd, 1788.

I dined at three, at a coffee-house, with my cousin, old William Lawrence, who called on me; Smith, member for Sudbury, leader of the Dissenters, joined us on the walk, and[Pg 71] was of our dinner party. Lawrence said he wished a compromise, a limited regency for a year, and then to take up the business anew, if the King was not recovered, on the other ground, and he is a leading country gentleman of their party, Smith is in an unqualified manner with us; and Thornton, whose place in the House is next to me, being equally staunch, I augur that we have all the Dissenters' interest with us. Indeed, generally speaking, the House looks better for us than I expected, and I doubt not our majority, yet thinking it will not be great; indeed the House is not nearly so full as it was on the late question, and the apprehensions I set out with of temporizers and shirkers, as we called them at Eton, seem confirmed.

Edmund Burke arose a little after four, and is speaking yet. He has been wilder than ever, and laid himself and party open more than ever speaker did. He is Folly personified, but shaking his cap and bells under the laurel of genius; among other things, he said Mr. Pitt's proposals could not be adopted, as gentlemen, as cavaliers: the word will not be forgot.

Fox is present, but looks very ill. Pitt looks recovered. Your brother in high glee at Burke. Burke stated the Chancellor to be like to the God Priapus, and Pitt the carpenter. He run his idea to a charming extravagance, and finished by declaring that "he could not be a votary to Priapus, the false God! vid. Horace, &c."

The question is an amendment of Dempster's, to follow; the Lords and Commons, &c., determine "to address the Prince of Wales, to take on him the Regency, &c."

Adieu, my dear Lord. Your Marchioness in health, and a boy, and yourself in all good that Providence can dispense, is the prayer of your most faithfully affectionate and devoted friend, &c.

W. Young.

Six o'clock.

[Pg 72]


Tuesday, Dec. 23rd, 1788.
My dear Lord,

Never did any debate of nice discussion go off better in our eye than that of last night: never was I more agreeably surprised than by the result—having gained nine on our former majority. The House was thinner by forty at twelve at night, than the debate before at three in the morning. The shirkers I alluded to may now come in, and we may augur our future divisions to be yet stronger and more decisive: our rats having all shown their tails on last night's motion to address the Prince.

Sir John Aubrey, rat-major, receiving his emoluments of the Treasury for five years, and declaring himself unconnected with any, afforded a subject of general laugh. Master Popham, Sir Samuel Hurmery, James Macpherson, W.G. Hamilton, &c., &c., followed the illustrious Aubrey. Fox, after Pitt's reply, and his own rejoinder, paired off with Stevens of the Admiralty. The Marquis of Lansdowne's friends, Barré, &c., were with us. Masham, voting for the Address, declared himself not precluded thereby from voting for limitations. Drake, on the same head, not to preclude himself, left the House. We shall, therefore, have those two. Sir John Scott spoke with such learning, truth, and uncommon energy of reasoning and language, that he carried the House with him, and extorted from Lord North, in particular, the highest compliments ever paid to a lawyer in the House of Commons. I never heard Fox speak so temperately, or better, in point of argument. Pitt, in reply, was equally great. He stated, to conviction, "the fiction of the law, which admitted the application of the royal political authority, when the personal was disabled, as implicated in the very principles of hereditary succession, which otherwise would suffer interruption from[Pg 73] nonage, infirmity, dotage, and every contingency in the state of man." Sheridan spoke very ill: very hot, injudicious, and ill-heard. Rolle, whilst adverting to Sheridan's speech, made use of a remarkable expression, and which seems to hint some future acting up to the rumours of his purpose. He said that in proper time, "He should heartily vote for the Prince's being Regent, if the Prince had done no act by which he had forfeited pretensions to executive government in this country."

Our resolutions being carried to the Lords, in conference this day, on Friday next the Lords will debate thereon. Lords Townshend, Romney, Radnor, and many other occasional opponents, I understand to be decidedly with us on the second Whig resolution.

In speaking of our debate, I had forgot Burke, who, after I finished my last night's letter, finished his wild speech in a manner next to madness. He let out two of the new titles—Fitzwilliam to be Marquis of Rockingham, and Lord G. Cavendish, jun. His party pulled him, and our friends calling "Hear, hear," we lost the rest of the twenty-five new Peers, who would all have come out.

For the King's health, the world is yet in expectation of some crisis. The St. James's notes of last night "quiet," or "unquiet," are disregarded, as too general, or as of course; and accounts from ladies about the Queen, and from the physicians themselves, pass in the greater circles, still mentioning violent intermitting fevers, and profuse occasional perspirations. Having generally, in my last, stated that the faculty had conspired to render the public less sanguine, I mention to your Lordship only what T. Warner, above seventy years of age, and forty years first surgeon of Guy's and St. Thomas's Hospitals, told me, "Being at the head of these city hospitals, he has been often called in to meet the physicians of Bethlem, where a surgeon for scalping, &c., was required, and that a madness after fifty, without a clear assignable cause—and that cause to[Pg 74] be reached by surgery or medicine—did not admit a perfect recovery above one time in an hundred." The opinions of many others of the faculty are bandied about; but, as matter of conversation for your private ear, I give this particular one as authentically coming to my own knowledge.

You'll observe in this day's papers, a meeting advertised of the bankers. It is understood to be for the purpose of tendering W. Pitt, on his going out of office, a transfer of £3000 per annum, Bank Stock, or a principal of £50,000, in the name of the commercial world.

Adieu, my dear Lord. Health and prosperity be yours, and be assured that you have no one more devotedly attached than your most affectionate and obliged friend and servant,

W. Young.


Whitehall, Dec. 23rd, 1788.
My dear Brother,

I received this morning your letter of the 18th; but am so much engaged to-day that it is impossible for me to enter into it, which I will, if possible, do to-morrow. I write now only to press again, in the strongest manner, that you will get Fitzgibbon and Wolfe to state all the particulars of the case, particularly as to the form of the enrolment of your patent under the Irish Great Seal, and to give you their opinions and arguments upon it. I will then take care to know Kenyon's sentiments on that paper, and if I can, the Chancellor's; but you are not ignorant of the bias of his mind, which is, on all occasions, to consider the relative situation of the two kingdoms, not such as it is, but such as it was, and as he thought it should have remained. My idea of your tie by no means went to your pledging yourself to do any act so contrary to your duty and feelings, as the recommending from the throne, in[Pg 75] Ireland, a form of Regency varying one iota from that adopted here. On the contrary, I think you should give it explicitly to be understood, that everything in your power will be done to preserve entire this link of connection. And under this explanation only, do I think you ought to offer the proposed alternative.

I say nothing of our triumph last night. You will hear it from other quarters; and you will probably be able to judge of its extent, by knowing the confidence with which the enemy looked to gaining upon us on this occasion. It is, I think, now quite certain that we shall carry our restrictions.

Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.

Another letter upon the Irish difficulty, into which Mr. Grenville enters in elaborate detail:


Whitehall, Dec. 25th, 1788.
My dear Brother,

I am extremely anxious that you should lose no time in transmitting over to England an exact statement of the case respecting your commission, and of the points and arguments on which your lawyers ground their opinions, in order that they may be well considered here by those who are interested in your situation and character, as deeply and as warmly as Pitt and myself. You mention in your last, that it has occurred to you, that it would be right if you are intemperately removed to desire the opinion of our judges on the point. But you do not seem to consider that, whenever that case occurs, you may have to decide on the moment, either to quit your Government, and to swear in the new Lord-Lieutenant, or to hold it against him, in contradiction to the orders of English Government. Suppose[Pg 76] he should himself be the messenger of his own appointment, as was the case with the Duke of Portland. The same reason exactly exists for it now as before, namely, the fear of suffering the dismissed Lord-Lieutenant to meet the Parliament, especially in a moment when their conduct is so important. The best and, indeed, almost only security that you could have in such a case for the justification of your own conduct, whatever it might be, would be the having given a full previous intimation to the English Government of the difficulties and dangers of the case.

You say that I should feel myself at liberty to act for you on the pressure of any unforeseen case. I certainly should; and my confidence in your affection, and in your persuasion of my desire to do the best for you, would encourage me to take, if it were absolutely necessary, steps even of considerable delicacy and difficulty. But I cannot but be infinitely anxious, as far as possible, to be previously in possession of your ideas on every case that can be foreseen. Besides this, I am at present unable to do the precise thing which I think would be the most desirable, because I am not myself in possession of the particular forms of your commission's passing in England and in Ireland, so as to be able to state them to others. And yet this is the point on which, in one view of the case, the whole question turns. I confess that, in my own individual opinion, there is another point distinct from that of forms, on which I should be disposed to maintain the incompetence of any English revocation of your commission. It is this:

We (that is Pitt and his friends) hold and have persuaded Parliament to declare that, in such a case as the present, the right of providing for the emergency rests in the two Houses, not as branches of the Legislature, but as a full and free representative of all the orders and classes of the people of Great Britain. Now the moment that we admit this, we do it [Pg 77]on the ground of this being a case unprovided for. If it is so in England, it is unquestionably equally unprovided for in Ireland; and the right of making such provision must of necessity rest in the same manner in the Lords and Commons of England. There is this difference, that here the Parliament could not be legally opened, unless the Lord Chancellor had taken upon himself to put the Great Seal to a commission for that purpose, whereas your commission enables you (as I understand) generally to open and hold Parliament. But even in your case, it seems to me to be a doubt whether you can regularly do this without having received the King's pleasure for it, and whether your opening the Parliament in such circumstances is not an act very much of the same nature as the Chancellor's would have been if he had sealed such a commission.

In the same view of the subject, I should most earnestly deprecate your taking upon yourself to issue a further prorogation. Surely, under such circumstances as the present, the two Houses should themselves decide, and not any individual for them, whether it is expedient or not to proceed to any business. My clear and decided opinion on that subject is, that you should go down on the day of meeting, and state the circumstances of the case, saying that you have ordered the several examinations of the physicians before Council and before the two Houses here, to be laid before the two Houses. Your Ministers should then, upon that, propose to adjourn to a further day, on the ground of its not being known (as it cannot then be known) what form will be adopted here, and of its being, at all events, desirable that they should be in possession of that fact before they deliberate, especially as the Government may go on in the interval without inconvenience.

If you see no objection to this, it is, I think, high time that you should write an official letter, stating all the circumstances of the situation, and that your intention is, unless you should be informed that it appears to His Majesty's servants to be[Pg 78] improper, &c., to meet the Parliament on the 20th, for the purpose which I have stated.

It is excessively important that you should, at the same time, transmit, either publicly or privately, such a case as I have mentioned, considering the subject in the two points of view: first, with respect to the particular forms; and secondly, to the question, how far any difference in point of form can preclude the Parliament of Ireland from the exercise of the same substantive right as that which we have declared to vest in us under the existing circumstances.

I have great doubts of the propriety of what you mention of an address of the two Houses to empower you to give the royal assent to any Bills, because that would prematurely, as it seems to me, bring into discussion the great question of all—namely, how far the Lords and Commons of Ireland have the right, either of commanding the use of the English Great Seal, or of superseding its use, in an instance in which that, and the concurrence of the English Council, are fundamental points of the present constitution of Ireland. I am quite sure that the safest of all things will be the adjournment; and I think it very improbable that such a proposal can be opposed, as it must extremely fall in with the wishes of the party who are looking to the Government immediately after the passing the English Bill. I have no means of knowing or guessing at General Pitt's intentions, but should think they can be no other than royal.

You could surely find no difficulty in pledging the servants of Government in Ireland to the adjournment; because it can so clearly be argued not to preclude any future opinion on the subject, and still less to pledge anybody to the adoption of the English system; but only shows the opinion of the Irish Parliament, that a knowledge of the system adopted here, is a point which they wish should enter into their deliberations respecting Ireland.

I am much amused with the circumstance of Lord Sh. and[Pg 79] Lord T. having sent their proxies, as it has answered no other purpose but that of pledging them; for it now seems to be agreed, that no use can be made of proxies in a case where the Parliament does not legally meet, but is rather to be considered as an extraordinary assembly of the same persons who constitute the two Houses of Parliament. It is something more than a Convention, and something less than a Parliament.

Our triumph here is very great. The indignation of the two Princes is, by what I hear, beyond all measure or bounds. The steadiness of the House of Commons on this occasion is no bad lesson to them, and I believe they will long remember it.

Ever yours,
W. W. G.

In the House of Peers, Ministers did not come off so triumphantly. Lord Bulkeley communicates the result, and enumerates the rats.


Dec. 27th, 1788.
My dear Lord,

We divided last night at half-past twelve; our majority was 33, the members being 99 to 66, which in the House of Peers was certainly a large minority. The rat Peers were Duke of Queensbury, Marquis of Lothian, Bishop Watson, Lord Malmesbury, Earl of Abergavenny, Lord Chedworth, Lord Audley, Lord Eglinton; and all of the armed neutrality, who are: Duke of Northumberland, Lord Rawdon, Lord Selkirk, Lord Breadalbane, Lord Hawke, Lord Kinnaird, Lord Shaftesbury, Lord Huntingdon; Lord Lonsdale absent; Lord Lansdowne with us, and spoke better than I ever heard him in my life, fewer flourishes, and less rhodomontade. The Chancellor spoke incomparably; and did give it Lord Loughborough and Lord[Pg 80] Rawdon most completely, particularly the former, who felt it. We are in good spirits, for we fall with éclat, and high in public estimation. I have no time to add more; but that I am yours affectionately,


The Opposition are in great hopes of a riot in the Irish Parliament.


Whitehall, Dec. 28th, 1788.
My dear Brother,

The messenger carries with him, as usual, the account received to-day from Kew. I do not know that I have anything material to write in addition to my former letters. I stated to you on Friday, at length, the strong objections which both Pitt and myself feel against your idea of proroguing the Parliament. If any accident should detain that letter till after you receive this, I hope you will take no step of that sort till you have received that letter, and seriously considered the nature of our objections, which seem to me to be of the utmost importance.

The belief that the Prince of Wales will certainly accept seems to gain ground. It is most probable that we shall be enabled to speak with more certainty on this subject in the course of to-morrow, as a letter is to be written to him to-day by the Ministers, stating the outlines of their plan. It will not materially differ from what I originally stated to you. Peerages, grants for life (with the necessary exceptions), and reversions, are to be restricted for a certain time, which will be about a year and a half. This time is fixed in consequence of what you will observe in the evidence both of Willis and Addington, who both state the recovery as infinitely, and beyond all calculation, less probable if it does not take place within that[Pg 81] time. Some line is to be drawn with respect to the King's household, but what that shall be is the subject of this morning's deliberation. It is a point of delicacy and difficulty. The entire custody, management, and government of the King's person; the appointment, &c., of his physicians, and the regulation of his actual family, &c., is to be vested in the Queen, with the advice of a Council, to be named and removable by her. The idea of a Council of Regency to assist the Prince, but to be removable by him, seems to be given up.

Our division in the House of Lords, though sufficiently decisive, was less than it would have been, owing to a variety of accidental circumstances. There is every reason to believe that we shall divide stronger on Monday. I have no apprehension whatever as to the carrying our restrictions in the House of Commons. Accidental circumstances may vary our majority from 50 to 80; but there can be no doubt of success. There seems very little reason to believe that they will venture to dissolve Parliament till March or April, if they do it then, which I doubt.

There certainly never was in this country, at any period, such a situation as Mr. Pitt's. It is no small addition to the satisfaction which we derive from all these events, to observe that every man of all parties seems to feel how well the game has been played on our side, and how ridiculously it has been mismanaged by our opponents. Add to this, that they are all quarrelling amongst themselves, and that we were never so united as at this moment. With all these reflections you will own that the prospect before us is not an unpleasing one. The opinion of Willis continues as sanguine as ever.

Believe me, my dear brother,
Most sincerely and affectionately yours,
W. W. G.

Lord Bulkeley announces, with exultation, the division[Pg 82] in the Commons, and returns to his enumeration of rats.


Stanhope Street, Dec. 29th, 1788.
My dearest Lord,

We are in high spirits here at the first majority of 64, and at the last of 73, which, considering the open and undisguised canvass of the Prince and the Duke of York, and the very liberal distribution of promises from both, does the House of Commons a great deal of honour. Parry fell down in a fit about two hours before the division of the first day, and was carried home in a chair speechless, where he remained confined till Monday, when I polled him by means of a pair with Sir Robert Clayton, which T. Steele arranged for him. A certain lady in St. James's Square has been tampering with Parry, and he certainly vented all his grievances into the compassionate bosom of that active and politic fair one, who has likewise infused such a political ardour into the mind of her dear Sir Poddy, that on the first division he was seen to take down the names of the different speeches and the members, besides other occasional notes. I have not been in St. James's Square since I have been in town, the manner with which they affect to treat me being such that an old English Baron cannot put up with; besides we are not in the best of humours at present, Sir Poddy being unwell, and unable to attend the last division and we find it difficult to sing the praises of the Prince and the Duke of York on the usual themes of filial piety, virtue, &c., in the face of a majority of 73 in favour of a falling Minister.

Sir George Warren was one of the rats, which Lady B. was much affected at. He and Lady W. dined with us the day before the first division, and both sung the praises of Mr. Pitt, and expressed the warmest anxiety for the King's recovery. I[Pg 83] was not all surprised, well knowing his rattish dispositions. Glynne Wynne, whom I have been working for three years to detach Lord Uxbridge from, has, with the utmost effrontery, cast his benefactor off, and set him at defiance, to which he has been led by promises at Carlton House. I trust we shall be able to do his business on a dissolution, and he well deserves it, being one of the first of scoundrels.

*     *     *     *     *     

I subjoin a list of those members who usually have voted with Mr. Pitt, who have quitted him in the late divisions, i.e. rats.

Yours sincerely,

Sir Peter Parker.
Sir George Warren.
Sir J. Aubrey.
Sir S. Hannay.
Sir Charles Gould.
James Macpherson.
---- Clevland.
Glynne Wynne.
Gerrard Hamilton.
---- Fraser.
---- Osbaldiston.

The Lonsdales voted against Pitt in the first division, and staid away the second. The Lansdownes voted with Pitt in the first, and, I believe, in the second, or staid away.

[Pg 84]



The one absorbing subject which for the last few weeks had engrossed the public mind, almost to the exclusion of every other consideration, kept the Parliament sitting close up to Christmas-day, in the year just expired. On the 23rd of December, a resolution, vigorously opposed by Lord North as instituting a fiction in lieu of the royal authority, was adopted, empowering the Chancellor to affix the Great Seal to such Bill of Limitations as might be necessary to restrict the power of the future Regent; but Ministers had no sooner succeeded in carrying their object to this important stage, than a new impediment presented itself. On the 2nd of January, 1789, Mr. Cornwall, Speaker of the House of Commons, died. It was immediately decided[Pg 85] that Mr. Grenville should be proposed to succeed him. On all accounts, it was indispensable to hasten this arrangement, as the functions of the Commons were unavoidably suspended in the interim. A serious obstacle arose from the informality of the proceeding, the sanction of the royal approbation being necessary, according to custom, upon the nomination of a new Speaker. The elastic character of the Constitution, however, although not providing direct remedies for such special cases, admits of adaptation to the most unforeseen exigencies; and so urgent was the pressure of affairs at this agitating juncture, that the irregularity was passed over by the tacit consent of all parties.


Whitehall, Jan. 2nd, 1788.[B]
My dear Brother,

You will probably not be a little surprised at the contents of this letter. The Speaker died this morning at about nine o'clock, and after some consideration, it has been determined that I should be proposed to the House to succeed him. I am not quite sure whether the choice will come on to-morrow or Monday. The situation is a new one, it having always been held, that the King's commands are necessary for the election of a Speaker, and his approbation for confirming him in his situation. But this cannot be had under the present circumstances; nor can the House take any steps to supply the deficiency till they have a Speaker. At the Restoration and Revolution, the House, in both instances, chose a Speaker, who[Pg 86] was acknowledged as such, and was never afterwards confirmed by the King.

With respect to myself, the time for deliberation has not been long. But upon the whole, I think the decision which I have made is clearly right. If the King recovers before Parliament is dissolved, it is clearly understood that my acceptance of this situation is not to prejudice my other views; and in the public opinion, the having filled this office, though but for a short time, will rather forward them. If the Regent goes on without dissolving, I am then in a situation which, though perhaps not perfectly pleasant, is nevertheless respectable, and will give me occupation. If they dissolve, and carry the Chair against me in the new Parliament, I do not see how I stand worse, in any respect, for having held this office. Such is my reasoning, and I think you will approve it. As far as I can judge, there is no doubt of my carrying it now. I have not yet heard whether they start any opponent, but I think they have none whose personal connexions can materially vary the proportion between the two parties: it is very sufficiently decisive.

I have not heard the account of to-day at St. James's. Nothing can be better than all the accounts, both public and private, for the last three or four days. It is certainly not sanguine to entertain the very best hopes; and the progress has even been more rapid than Willis expected; so that I think we may look with some confidence to March or April at latest.

Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.

[B] This is the date in the original, but it is evidently a mistake. Mr. Grenville forgot that he was in a new year.


Whitehall, Jan. 4th, 1789.
My dear Brother,

The plan for the Regency was sent to the Prince of Wales in a letter from Pitt, three days ago, with an expression of his readiness to give any explanation, either in person or in any[Pg 87] other manner that he might intimate. Yesterday his answer was received, directed to the Cabinet. It is long, and with much affectation of good writing, and is in parts of it well expressed, in other parts confused and timid. It ends, however, with saying that if these restrictions are adopted by Parliament he will accept.

I have no doubt of carrying the Chair to-morrow, but not a little doubt whether I ought to have accepted it. The die is, however, now cast. The restrictions will, I think, pass without much difficulty.

I still adhere strongly to my opinion about the prorogation, because I think there is a wide difference between exercising during the King's health a power which he commits to your discretion, but which he might if he pleased regulate by instruction at any moment, and exercising the same power now when you are to state that the King is prevented by infirmity from attending at all to the administration of his Government. I am sure that your acting in the manner you speak of is liable to, and will probably bear, the very worst construction in the minds of the public here; and I cannot for the life of me conceive what fear there can be that the two Houses will not adjourn, considering that the great point which they all wish, is that they may not be obliged to pledge themselves. The extraordinary anxiety in those whom you see, to get you to prorogue, is, in my opinion, a very strong proof of their being actuated by that sort of wish.

I have not time to write any more, except to express my anxiety to hear how Lady B. and your child go on.

Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.

There was no doubt about the issue of the election to the Speakership. "Your brother William will certainly be Speaker," writes Lord Bulkeley on the 3rd,[Pg 88] "and has already stood the hoax at White's, where it was debated last night whether he should wear a wig or his own hair." The election went off to the entire satisfaction of Mr. Grenville, who, reporting the event, says that "the majority, though quite large enough, would have been larger if they had divided half an hour later, as nearly forty of my friends were locked out below, and about eleven of theirs." With his customary philosophy, he made the best of everything; but he does not disguise from Lord Buckingham that he had strong doubts in his mind whether he ought to have accepted the Chair. The Opposition might, probably, have been stronger against his election, but for the belief that prevailed that the King was getting rapidly better. "The progress of the King," observes Mr. Grenville on the 7th, "is such, according to our accounts, that it is by no means impossible, nor even a very improbable case, that before the Irish Bill can pass, he may re-assume his Government."

Another contingency that weighed with the floating mass of undecided politicians was the rumour which now began to be circulated that the Regent would not dismiss the existing Ministers till the end of the session.


Jan. 6th, 1789.
My dear Lord,

As I understood that Sir W. Young and Bernard wrote you an account of the division last night, which placed Grenville so honourably in the Chair of the House of Commons, I did not trouble you with any letter by the post of yesterday; but I[Pg 89] cannot deny myself the pleasure of acquainting you, that nothing could be more perfectly satisfactory to all our friends than the conduct of the new Speaker on an occasion naturally distressing; his speech of excuse, and his speech from the steps of the Chair, were universally admired, they were both so composed and delivered as to render a scene, which I have always understood to be very ridiculous, really interesting and affecting. It is deemed a misfortune amongst our friends, that the practice of printing the Speaker's speeches on this occasion in the journals is now disused. Grenville's speeches would have done him the highest credit, as well as afforded an excellent precedent to future Speakers. I have prevailed with Mr. Speaker to mount his wig, and the whole apparatus to-day: he must consider this as a young lawyer does his first appearance at the bar, and the sooner the laugh is over the better for the dignity of the Chair. Whatever may be Grenville's future fortunes, it can be no discredit to his character to have been placed in the Chair by such a majority, in such times and circumstances, and at his age.

I write no accounts of what we are doing, you hear that much more correctly from Grenville. I am anxious to know what will be the temper of Ireland at the meeting. Grattan is as much a creature of Fox and his party, as the meanest libeller in the "Morning Herald;" he lives entirely with them. I hear Pelham is to take his father on his back to the Government of Ireland. Grattan will stand, in my opinion, on most unpopular ground, if he either attempts to assert the hereditary right of the Prince, or to give him larger powers in Ireland, than the Parliament of this country entrust to him for the administration of the British Government. The hereditary right, I suppose Grattan will not venture to touch; and the latter proposition, I think, might be argued exactly as he argued the Perpetual Mutiny Bill, and other questions, where the danger of larger powers in Ireland than were held in[Pg 90] England by the same hands, were considered with a view to the Constitutions of both countries. This argument is, in my opinion, clear, if the rights of the King on the throne are admitted to be the rights of the people at large, and if they are not, I know not why they exist. I have not much fear that the Irish Parliament will listen to such proposals. As to reversions and offices for life, a Regent, who has not the power of granting them here, and attempts to obtain it in Ireland, can mean nothing else than to indemnify his disappointed friends in England at the expense of Ireland; I do not think this can go down. On the whole, I think your argument in Ireland stronger in every view than ours here, and that is saying a great deal.

Arthur informs me that my Trimmers wish to have a company of foot quartered on them. I am sure I have no objection to your giving free quarters to the whole army on the worthy inhabitants of that ancient and loyal town.

I sincerely wish you joy of your son, and hope the bad weather does not affect either him or Lady Buckingham.

Ever, my dear Lord,
Yours most affectionately,

What think of Sir John Aubrey, rat?


Whitehall, Jan. 10th, 1789.
My dear Brother,

I send you a letter of Camplin's, about an exchange which had been proposed. We have no news here—everything remaining in precisely the same state. The Committee, will, I think, most probably not make their report to-day, though we meet for the chance of it. In this manner, it will be impos[Pg 91]sible that the restrictions can be opened before Tuesday or Wednesday. The debates of the Committee have been conducted with great heat and violence on both sides, and much indecency towards the King, particularly from Fox and Burke. They are now endeavouring to turn it into a personal attack upon the Queen, for having wished to make one of the reports of the physicians more favourable, and for having dismissed Baker from her service, on the ground of the great inattention towards the King and his family, which appears on the face of his former examination: he having perceived symptoms of this disorder so early as the 22nd of October, and having, subsequent to that time, entirely left the King.

The examination of Baker and Warren state the probability of recovery as being nearly the same as when they were before examined, but rather less. Willis and Pepys state it as much greater; particularly the former of these two, who speaks in the most sanguine terms. The answers of Reynolds and Gisborne are also, as I believe, favourable.

These delays put all idea of dissolution out of the question, till the end of the present session, at soonest; and that cannot take place, according to my calculation, till the end of June. People begin to speak doubtfully about the Regent's making any immediate change, and I know that some of their friends affect to hold that language; but I am inclined to think that, however difficult it may be for them to undertake the Government under the existing circumstances, it is absolutely impossible for them to satisfy the Regent, or to quiet their own dependants, without running that risk.

Fox is apparently recovering, but slowly.

Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.

[Pg 92]


Whitehall, Jan. 12th, 1789.
My dear Brother,

I understand from different conversations, as well as from the general report here, that there is an intention of moving for an Address to the Prince, such as was proposed here, immediately on the first meeting of the Irish Parliament. Grattan, &c., &c., are all going over, so as to be in Dublin by the 20th. He is understood to have entered completely into all the views of the party here, and to be ready to pledge himself to all their doctrines, maintained, or retracted, or both. I thought it right to give you this intelligence, although you will probably hear it from many other quarters, and though I have very little apprehension, indeed, from the effect of such a manœuvre. If anything could more completely ruin them here than they are ruined already, it would be such a measure. As to its effect in Ireland, I cannot persuade myself that there can be any difficulty in getting people to pledge themselves not to run before this country; and to appoint a Regent, without conditions, in Ireland, before it is even known what conditions are to be proposed, much less whether they will be adopted by the British Parliament. At all events, however, the battle must be fought; for it would be the most disgraceful thing in the world to appear to give it up, or rather not to appear to dispute it inch by inch.

Lord Glendon and Lord Fairford are both going over to assist you. They both complain (particularly the former) of want of attention from you; but I am so accustomed to such complaints, without foundation, that I am not disposed to give much credit to them in this instance. I understand that Lord Hillsborough has expressed himself on the subject in a more[Pg 93] decided manner than you seem at all disposed to give him credit for.

Our report cannot probably be made to-day; but when it does appear, I am told that the impression of it will be favourable to the idea of the King's recovery. Surely, when this circumstance is taken into consideration by your Irish speculators, in addition to the many other considerations which make everybody here allow that Pitt's side has the best of the day, they will not be induced to hazard so decisive a step as you must give them to understand their agreeing to this Address will be considered.

It was mentioned to me, that considerable offers had been made to Corry. I mention this to you, but you will probably be able to ascertain the truth of the report more accurately than I can.

It is worth observing, that the appointment of a Regent in Ireland by Address goes directly to dissolve the Union of the two kingdoms, because a Regent so appointed could not command the use of the English Great Seal.

Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.


Whitehall, Jan. 19th, 1789.
My dear Brother,

I was so knocked up on Saturday, that I found it impossible to write to you; though there is one circumstance, which, if I had been acquainted with, would have prevailed over all fatigue—I mean that of Captain Nugent's having voted against us upon the second division. The question has not been distinctly stated in any of the papers, as far as I have seen. It was a[Pg 94] proposal of Fox's, that the restrictions, particularly that of peerage, should continue only for a limited time; by which means, we should have been placed in this sort of situation, that if, at the expiration of that term, the King should be so far recovered, as to afford hopes even of an almost immediate recovery, the Regent would be able, by a sudden creation of Peers, to make it impossible for him to resume his authority.

Nugent had voted with us upon the first question; but was, I suppose, led away by some part of Fox's speech, which had the effect of carrying over Bankes and about six or seven more of our conscientious friends. I think it right to mention this circumstance to you, though not with any view of suggesting what you may think it right to do. I shall, I own, be much mortified if he should vote against us on Monday; but nothing that you can do will be in time enough to prevent that. I do not feel that I can take any measures on the subject, although I certainly have no doubt what your wishes would have been if you were on the spot.

I find, from general report, that some of our friends are staggered about the household resolution, which is to be proposed on Monday. It is, therefore, probable, that we shall not carry this by so triumphant a majority as we have the other questions. I think, however, there is little doubt that we shall carry it; and that is the point of real importance.

I shall be anxious to hear the event of your meeting. You will have observed that, by Lord Sydney's despatch, a latitude is given you of proroguing, in stating the opinion of the King's servants on the different points. I thought, when the despatch was shown to me, that this was a favourable circumstance, as, from your letters, it seemed to me at that time very doubtful whether you would not have adopted that measure; and, in[Pg 95] that case, I felt that you would certainly have been glad to have this sort of sanction.

Believe me ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.

The Duke of Leinster has, as I suppose you know, written to the Prince of Wales, to offer himself to him. The consequence has been, that Lord Charles Fitzgerald has declared, that he does not consider himself in a situation to be turned over from party to party every half-year; and that he has hoisted an Orange cape. He will, as I understand, not go over to Ireland at the meeting; and I take it for granted, that in case of a dissolution the Duke will not re-elect him.


Whitehall, Jan. 19th, 1789.
My dear Brother,

Since I wrote my other letter of this date, I have received yours of the 15th, stating your alarm at the lies spread in Ireland about the proceedings of the Committee of the House of Commons. You will, long before this, have received the report itself from me, and by reading it, will have found how much more favourable the account of the King's situation appears from that examination, and how much you are in the wrong to suffer your noble spirit to be cast down by such weak inventions of the enemy; and above all, how monstrous the idea is that Fox is to gain with the public by a transaction which only shows their inveterate malice against the King and Queen, and its utter impotence. Your expressions of duper and duped, you will see are equally inapplicable to our representations of the King's situation, which I think you will still believe to be as authentic and as credible as the lies which Grattan and Forbes retail from the porter's lodge at Carlton[Pg 96] or Burlington House. Seriously speaking, I am vexed to see the importance which you attach to all these reports, because I know that it must work and agitate your mind. A whole life would not suffice, on my part, to answer every lie in circulation: but I beg you to believe that although, perhaps, naturally a little sanguine in my temper, yet that if there was any really unfavourable circumstance which arose here, I would not conceal it from you. The King is better ever since that examination; and this I speak on no partial authority, but on the information of Warren himself, who gave yesterday to the person who repeated it to me a much more favourable account.

I have not time to answer the rest of your letter to-day. Our Bill is not prepared yet, nor can be till the resolutions have been agreed to by both Houses; but it will be short, and nearly in the same words with the resolutions, adding only the oath of office from the Regency Bill of 1765, and a few other particulars.

Ever yours,
W. W. G.

I suppose you know that Lord Spencer certainly goes to Ireland.

The notion that the Regent would continue Mr. Pitt and his friends in office was rapidly dissipated during the progress of these discussions. The Household Bill, alluded to in one of Mr. Grenville's letters, gave deep offence to His Royal Highness; and from the moment that part of the plan was disclosed, there was no longer any disguise about the fact that the Prince had not only made up his mind to dismiss the Ministers, but that the list of the incoming Administration was actually settled, and ready for use. The object of the Household Bill was to confide to the Queen the care of the King's person, and the dis[Pg 97]position of the royal household, which would have the effect of placing at Her Majesty's control the patronage of four hundred places; while the Regent was to possess no power whatever over any office, reversion, or pension. This appeared to the Prince and his allies a monstrous proposition, calculated to introduce "weakness, disorder, and insincerity into every branch of political business;" to "separate the Court from the State;" to "disconnect the authority to command service from the power of animating it by reward;" and to impose on the Regent "all the invidious duties of the kingly station, without the means of softening them to the public by any one act of grace, favour, or benignity."

In these poised and melodious sentences (said to have been written by Burke) may be recognized the policy of the master spirit that raised the storm which was to overwhelm Ministers. When the moment came, however, at which it should have burst—Pitt's motion for the Address—Fox was absent. "Fox is gone to Bath," says Mr. Grenville. "Whether he is very ill, as some say, or wants to shirk the discussion about Mrs. Fitzherbert, as others assert, I know not."

This business of Mrs. Fitzherbert, of which we hear something in these letters, was suspended like a sword over the heads of the royal Opposition; and whenever it threatened to descend, they endeavoured to escape from it by avoiding the discussion, or to avert it by abating their violence. The rumour, however, which ascribed Fox's absence on this occasion to that cause was certainly unfounded. On the 19th of January, he made his motion[Pg 98] for limiting the continuance of the restrictions; and on the 26th he was ill at Bath, where he remained for some weeks in a precarious state of health. His loss was severely felt by his party. Ministers were triumphant in both Houses. The incidental shocks they experienced from the vibrations of that class of persons designated by Mr. Grenville as "conscientious friends," and from the defection of the rats, had been completely recovered in the final majorities of Lords and Commons; and although Fox may not have thought it prudent on some occasions to enhance the inevitable defeat of the Prince's followers by assisting at their discomfiture, it is unlikely that even the dread of a debate on Mrs. Fitzherbert would have kept him away at this critical juncture.

While these discussions were going on, always ending in fluctuating majorities for Pitt, the Prince of Wales and his brother, notwithstanding the dissipation in which they indulged, were indefatigable in their efforts to cultivate popularity. Thus writes Lord Bulkeley:

The Princes go on in their usual style, both keeping open houses, and employing every means in their power to gain proselytes, attending the Beefsteak Clubs, Freemason meetings, &c., and will probably very soon attend the parochial meetings of Lord John Townshend's Committee in Westminster. Notwithstanding all this, the Parliament still continues steadily to Mr. Pitt, which, considering the looseness of morals and of the times, does the members great credit. * * * The Duke of York never misses a night at Brookes's, where the hawks pluck his feathers unmercifully, and have reduced him to the vowels I. O. U. The Prince likewise attends very often, and has taken kindly to play.

[Pg 99]

General Cuninghame appears to have disappointed the expectations of his friends at this period, and, although present in the House on the 19th, did not vote. It was the next thing to ratting, and seems to have been regarded in that light by Lord Bulkeley.

General Cuninghame has been blowing hot and cold in his language here, but has not voted, not even last night, when he appeared for the first time in the House. I have had a letter from the Duke of Dorset, complaining of his conduct in not resigning his seat, as his conscience troubled him.

No man had so keen a scent for rats as Lord Bulkeley, and he was generally in advance of his party in detecting them.

Thurlow and Loughborough were both ill at this time ("which," says Sir William Young, with a touch of sarcastic humour, "will much shorten the progress of the Regency Bill in the Lords"); and on the 2nd of February, when Mr. Grenville, in his capacity of Speaker, attended at the bar of the House of Peers to hear the Commission under the Great Seal read, Thurlow was unable to attend, and Lord Bathurst officiated for him. The night before, Thurlow declared, as reported by his physician, that "if he were ten times worse, he'd go, by G—;" his physician, however, overruled him; and the obstruction of his presence being thus fortunately removed, it was anticipated that the progress of the Bill through the Lords would be so rapid as to place the Regent on the throne in a fortnight. Active preparations were, consequently, set on foot for settling the new Administration. Amongst the other great[Pg 100] situations, Ireland was offered to the Duke of Northumberland, who declined it, and then to Lord Spencer, who accepted it, with Pelham for his secretary.

Ireland was a considerable item in the calculations of the Opposition. "The Prince and the Opposition," writes Lord Bulkeley, "have great hopes of a riot in their favour in the Parliament of Ireland." Some such result was to be apprehended from the temper of the people, and the adverse views they took of the Regency question; although a true sense of their own independence ought to have shown them that there were national objections against allowing the Prince to indemnify himself by the use of the royal prerogatives in Ireland for the restraints which were put upon him in England. The object to which, under these difficult circumstances, Lord Buckingham and Mr. Grenville directed their attention, was to assimilate, as nearly as possible, the Regency Bills in both countries, so as to prevent the occurrence of so great an anomaly as that of having a Regent whose powers should be strictly limited in the one kingdom, and who should, at the same time, be invested with unrestricted powers in the other. The Parliament of Ireland possessed the unquestionable right of deciding the Regency in their own way, leaving the legal validity of the act for subsequent consideration; and as it was understood that the Opposition intended to move an Address to the Prince, which there was reason to believe they would be able to carry, calling upon His Royal Highness to assume the Government of Ireland unconditionally during the term of His Majesty's illness, the position of Lord Buckingham had become peculiarly[Pg 101] embarrassing. What course should be taken in the event of such an Address being carried? This question is anxiously discussed in numerous communications between Lord Buckingham and Mr. Grenville and other members of the Government. The predicament was so strange, and involved constitutional considerations of such importance, as to give the most serious disquietude to the Administration. The first expedient thought of was to delay the proceedings of the Irish Parliament, by adjournment, or any other available means, till after the Regent had been appointed in England, provided the motion for the Address could be successfully resisted in the first instance. But as it was almost certain the Administration would be beaten on that motion, it remained to be determined whether Lord Buckingham, in that event, should refuse to transmit the Address to His Royal Highness. Upon the propriety of so extreme a measure Mr. Grenville entertained some doubts in the beginning. By refusing to transmit the Address, the Lord-Lieutenant would clearly put himself in the way as an obstacle to that mode of providing for the emergency which the two Houses of Parliament were determined to adopt; or, on the other hand, by sending it he would make himself, in some degree, a party to a request by which His Royal Highness was asked to do an act which he, Lord Buckingham, held His Royal Highness to be precluded by law from doing. Such was the dilemma as it presented itself to the mind of Mr. Grenville. One escape from it was, to forward the Address, accompanied by a representation from Lord Buckingham of his own views of its illegality. Another was, to resign.[Pg 102]

In the meanwhile, the projects of the Opposition in England were checked by the gratifying accounts from Kew. The King was visibly improving, and hopes began to be entertained that there might be no necessity for a Regency after all. The letters of Mr. Grenville, reverting to the opening of the Parliament, trace the progress of these circumstances in detail.


Whitehall, Feb. 2nd, 1789.
My dear Brother,

Our Parliament has this day been opened by Lord Bathurst, the Chancellor being so ill as to make it absolutely impossible for him to come down. The Commission was first read, and then Lord Bathurst said, in a few words, that the Lords Commissioners being empowered by the said Commission to declare the causes of calling the Parliament, thought it their duty to call the attention of the two Houses to the melancholy circumstance of His Majesty's illness, and to recommend to them to provide for the care of His Majesty's royal person, and the administration of the royal authority during His Majesty's illness, in such manner as the exigency of the case requires.

I think that my former calculation is rather too sanguine, and that the 18th is the soonest that the Bill can pass, allowing for the debate, of which notice has been given in both Houses, on the Committee for the royal assent. The idea is, that the letters of dismission are ready written, and will be sent that day.

I cannot yet learn, with certainty, who is to be the Home Secretary of State. It is supposed to lie between Lord Stormont and Lord Rawdon; and there is a report that they are[Pg 103] quarrelling about that as about everything else, and that the Duke of York espouses Lord Rawdon's cause very warmly.

The accounts of Fox are that he is not at all better, and that he has not been able yet to drink the waters. His death would throw them into complete confusion, though the Prince is so far pledged, that even in that case he must attempt to form a new Government.

We mean (but this inter nos only) to move an Amendment upon the Address, expressive of our satisfaction at the flourishing state in which the public affairs are delivered into His Royal Highness's hands, and of our hope that the same principles and measures will continue to be pursued. I have no doubt of our carrying this, in their teeth.

Everybody seems to think a dissolution certain. I imagine it cannot by possibility take place till May or June, though some people expect it in March.

I believe I mentioned to you in my last the great improvement which these last few days have made in the King's situation, and the strong hope which we derive from it.

Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.


Whitehall, Feb. 7th, 1789.
My dear Brother,

I do not know of anything that has happened here since I wrote last, which is worth mentioning to you. Our Bill is to be in the Committee to-day, and Monday, so that I guess we shall not get it into the House of Lords till Wednesday or Thursday. This will put off the passing a little beyond my calculation, and I imagine the Regent will not now be in full possession of his office till about the 19th or 20th. I wait with much impatience to hear what has passed on Thursday in[Pg 104] the Irish Parliament. I find that people here, those at least with whom I converse, are indifferent about the success of the measure in Ireland, but are much exasperated at the madness and folly of the people who are endeavouring to stir fresh questions of separation between the two countries.

The accounts of the King still continue to be very favourable, but I have not heard what degree of hope Willis grounds on this long period of tranquillity. I should think that the breaking out in the neck must be a favourable circumstance, but I begin to think the time long if he still continues without real amendment of the complaint itself. This, however, arises more from one's natural impatience than from any reasonable ground which there is to think worse of the case from this circumstance.

One hears of nothing now but of the intended arrangements. Among these, the military is not the least curious part. His Royal Highness the Duke of York is to be Commander-in-chief; Fitzpatrick, Secretary at War; and there are to be four Field-Marshals; consisting of the Regent himself, of the Dukes of York and Gloucester, and General Conway. These Field-Marshals—of whom three never saw a shot fired, and the fourth of whom has not served for six-and-twenty years, except in the very peaceful situation of Commander-in-chief in England for a few months at the end of the war—make a pretty curious promotion. Faucitt is to continue, notwithstanding a positive promise of the Duke of Portland's to General Vaughan, for the sake of securing his vote and his brother's. They are to make all the Colonels Major-Generals, down to Lord Rawdon. The list of the Prince's aides-de-camp you will have seen in the papers.

Lord Spencer is declared for Ireland.

The accounts from Bath say that Fox is better, and will recover.

The town and neighbourhood of Buckingham have voted an[Pg 105] unanimous Address to Pitt, without any of us knowing a word about it. It is signed by near two hundred persons, as Jemmy tells me, for I have not seen it.

I am living in hourly fear of having a meeting called in the county, which would be a troublesome and useless thing, though, I understand, the sense of the yeomanry is entirely with us. I hear nothing of their intentions in case of a dissolution, but much doubt, from what I hear, whether they will think of doing more than ousting Aubrey, which they may do very peaceably; for by what I hear, he would not have ten votes.

I have, at length, decided not to think of the Bolton Street house, at least for the present year, as the repairs necessary to make it habitable amount to so large a sum. Perhaps, if I was to be re-elected after a dissolution it might be worth my while; but that is, as you will easily suppose, a very doubtful contingency. Is it not a singular thing that it should be doubtful at all, and that there should be any chance of beating them in the new Parliament on such a question as that?

Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.

I open this letter again, to let you know that I have just received an account of Sir Thomas Halifax's death, which happened this morning. This circumstance is not a little perplexing to me, especially in Bernard's absence. I have sent an express to Chaplin to desire him to come to town to-morrow, and I shall then hear what he says. The thing to be wished is, that we could secure Bernard's election, now and hereafter, without much increase of expense; but on that whole subject I am very much at sea, and there cannot be time to hear from you and him upon it. Perhaps Chaplin may think it better that we should now propose some other person, who might be supported by Lord Chesterfield's interest, and not[Pg 106] appear so decidedly connected with us as Bernard is. We had a scheme for a candidate of that sort at the general election, and Lord C. was inclined to give into it. At all events, I think it is absolutely necessary that Bernard should come over instantly, as his presence is equally necessary, either as a candidate or in order to get a repetition of the promises which this intervening election might otherwise be construed to annul.

I have heard, since I wrote the preceding part of this letter, that the Chancellor has been at Pitt's to-day, with an account that he had seen Warren this morning, who had spoken to him in a very favourable manner of the King's present state, and had even said that he thought the amendment so material, that he had felt it his duty, immediately on coming to town, to wait upon His Royal Highness with the account. So there is a little bane for your rats.

Ever yours,
W. W. G.


Whitehall, Feb. 14th, 1739.
My dear Brother,

Although I have nothing else to write to you, yet I could not refuse myself the pleasure of letting you know that I have been at Kew to-day with Pitt, and that the account which he received from Willis is such as to confirm and strengthen all our hopes. The public account is, as you will see, that the King continues in a state of gradual amendment; and every circumstance which we can learn, affords us room to entertain the most sanguine hopes. What has already passed in the public, on the subject of Willis, and the violent attacks of Opposition against him, have made him more cautious and reserved in what he says, and he particularly desires that his name may not be quoted. But I could not find in my heart to[Pg 107] conceal from you the favourable manner in which he speaks of the present situation.

His account is confirmed by that of the other physicians, who all speak the same language. Sir G. Baker told him to-day, that if it was the case of a common patient whom he was attending, he should not think it necessary to give him any more medicines. The most favourable circumstance of all is, the great abatement of the pulse, which, till now, has always been much too high.

You will easily imagine how much speculation all this makes, and a more curious scene, I think, I never saw. The prevailing opinion is, that we are not to be turned out. There is a report, which is very confidently circulated (but I do not vouch for the truth of it), that the Duke of Portland has positively told His Royal Highness that, under these circumstances, it is impossible for him to take any share in a new arrangement. It is also said that they have quarrelled about the Prince's debts, but these are points of which I know nothing but from report.

The account which Lord Chesterfield had yesterday from his friends at Aylesbury tallies with Chaplin's, as to the possibility of Bernard's success, though it is not quite so sanguine as to numbers. If he succeeds at all, this last point may be no misfortune to him, as it will diminish the claims upon him.

Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.

The Irish Parliament had met in the interim, and were debating with extraordinary vigour and asperity the Address by which the Prince of Wales, before he had been appointed Regent in England, was to be invited to assume at once the functions and privileges of the Crown in Ireland. Many of the usual supporters of the Government, including[Pg 108] even some persons in high employments, had joined the ranks of the Opposition; and Lord Buckingham in his letters to Lord Sydney declares that his powers had been annihilated by that lapse of the sovereign authority which led to this result, and that it would be no longer proper for him to interfere any further, except only in reference to the "usual business of the kingdom." Acting on the pressure of these circumstances, he felt it due to his own credit, and to the service in which he was engaged, to tender his resignation, as appears by the following letter from Mr. Grenville:


Whitehall, Feb. 13th, 1789.
My dear Brother,

We have no news here, except of the favourable accounts of the King's situation, which are every hour more and more confirmed. All our present anxiety is, to keep down the too sanguine expectations of our friends, in order to prevent their being too much damped by any check, which Willis considers as an event by no means unlikely, and not such as in any degree to diminish his confidence in the King's recovery. From the general turn of people's conversation here, it seems by no means certain that the Prince will take any step for dismissing the present Government, if the King continues to mend. It would, indeed, be a measure so grossly indecent to turn out the King's servants at the eve of his recovery, that it would be too strong even for those counsels by which His Royal Highness has hitherto been actuated. But there is another consideration which will possibly have still more weight, namely, that the acceptance of office under such circumstances would put his friends to considerable inconvenience and expense, such as to be by no means worth incurring, if[Pg 109] they are to hold them for so very short a period as the King's present situation appears to indicate. This mode of reasoning is of itself sufficiently obvious, and I understand that the Prince has held a language which corresponds with it, since so great an alteration has taken place.

Under these circumstances, you must see that the letter which you sent me is clearly inapplicable to the present situation. If, contrary to our present expectation, the Prince should dismiss us all immediately, I will lose no time in sending that letter; but if not, it seems to be the wish of all your friends that you should remain where you are for some little time, in order that you may not have the appearance of being driven away either by the event which has happened, or by the violence of the abuse thrown out against you. I see and acknowledge the difficulties of such a situation, and lament that you should in any case be subject to them, but you must, on the other hand, consider that these difficulties do not of themselves, unaccompanied by other circumstances, afford a reason for withdrawing yourself from them. I am far from being desirous, for many, very many reasons, that your stay should be prolonged to the usual period of a Lord-Lieutenant's reign; but I cannot help most earnestly wishing that you could, in some mode or other, struggle through the present session, in order to cover your retreat, which will otherwise by your enemies be represented as a flight.

You see that all this refers to an event which may possibly not happen; but I felt it indispensably due to you that I should beg you to consider this case very seriously, and that with a view not to present difficulties only, but taking into the account your future situation. I have told you what I believe is the unanimous wish of your friends on such lights as we possess here. It is possible that circumstances with which we are unacquainted might alter our opinion, but they must be very strong before they could produce that effect.[Pg 110]

I know no other point which is worth writing to you about: certainly none which is worth your bestowing a moment, thought upon, in comparison with that which I have mentioned. I enclose my last account from Aylesbury. I need not say how much I feel for the unpleasant circumstances of your present situation. But I know that you have the best resource against them, in the sense of your own conduct, and in the consciousness of the sincere and invariable affection of those whose friendship you value.

Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.

Two days afterwards, the report of the King's health was so encouraging that his recovery was considered by the Cabinet as little less than absolutely certain. Under these circumstances, it became a matter of speculation whether the Prince would dismiss the Ministers, or, if he did not, whether he would treat them in such a manner as to make it impossible for them to stay in office. In any case, whether they were dismissed or driven to resign, Mr. Grenville judged it prudent to withhold Lord Buckingham's letter of resignation, till the solution, either way, should have been ascertained. The conflicting difficulties of the situation, looking at it from all sides, are ably stated in a letter of the 15th of February.

You cannot come away, without appearing to desert your trust, while the King's servants here abide by theirs; nor without giving the Regent an opportunity to object to the nomination of any person who may be proposed to him by Pitt to succeed you. You cannot remain without the means of carrying on some appearance, at least, of government in the House of Commons. You cannot employ those who have[Pg 111] now deserted you; nor can we expect that the Prince will allow you to dismiss those whom he considers as having stood by him. On the whole, I cannot imagine a more puzzling or distressing case.

Nothing short of the implicit confidence and cordial support of the Ministers, seconded by the highest courage and firmness on his own part, could have enabled Lord Buckingham to sustain his authority in this trying emergency. That he possessed the confidence and support of Government to the fullest extent, is attested by the following letter from Mr. Pitt; and that he displayed the qualities of resolution and self-reliance demanded by the occasion, is sufficiently shown in the sequel.


(Private.) Downing Street, Feb. 15th, 1789.
My dear Lord,

The account received this morning of the step which the Irish House of Commons have taken, has not surprised me; as it seemed before evident that the torrent was too strong to be stemmed by any exertion. Those who at the moment felt it as a triumph, perhaps already begin to repent of it, and will probably have more and more reason to do so every day. It will be abundant satisfaction to you and your friends that you have done everything which depended on you; and in the midst of so much profligacy, that you have experienced such a support as that of Fitzgibbon and a few others, which is in the highest degree honourable and manly.

I am fully aware how delicate your ground has been in all the progress of the business, of which we have hitherto learnt the result; and that it is not less so in what remained relative to the transmission of this strange Address. Whatever you[Pg 112] may have decided on the spot will, I dare say, under all the circumstances, have been right; and in either of the alternatives, you will not want here the most cordial and decided support, whenever the measure comes into discussion. All that I am now writing is, I hope, superfluous; but I could not let the messenger go, without expressing in part the sentiments for which I trust you would at any rate have given me credit.

*     *     *     *     *     

Believe me, my dear Lord,
Sincerely and affectionately yours,
W. Pitt.

Lord Buckingham, acting on the discretion thus confided to him, resolved to decline accepting or transmitting the Address. This determination, which threw the whole responsibility of the measure upon those with whom it originated, afforded the highest satisfaction in England. Letters from Lord Mornington, Lord Sydney, and others, abound in admiration of the firmness of Lord Buckingham's conduct.

As had been anticipated, the Address was voted in both Houses of Parliament, and laid before Lord Buckingham for transmission to His Royal Highness. His Lordship at once declined to receive it; and in a short and explicit answer, rested his refusal on the obligations imposed upon him by his duty and his oath, adding that he did not feel warranted in forwarding to His Royal Highness an Address, purporting to invest him with powers to take upon him the government of the realm before he should be enabled by law to do so. This answer, which had received the full approbation of Mr. Pitt, by whom it had been communicated to the Cabinet, was,[Pg 113] as might have been expected, deeply resented by the Opposition, whose hostility to the Government had been all along assuming that shape of combination in which it now appeared without disguise.

Frustrated in their desire of transmitting this Address through the channel of the Lord-Lieutenant, they passed a resolution appointing ambassadors of their own to lay it before His Royal Highness. The persons nominated to undertake this extraordinary commission were, the Duke of Leinster, the Earl of Charlemont, Mr. Conolly, Mr. O'Neill, Mr. Ponsonby, and Mr. Stewart. Nor did they stop here. It was necessary to avenge the indignity that had been put upon them; and a resolution, declaring the conduct of Lord Buckingham unwarrantable and unconstitutional, was accordingly moved by Mr. Grattan, and carried. That a resolution still stronger than this, going to the preposterous length of declaring the commission of the Lord-Lieutenant actually void by the will of the Irish Parliament, was at one moment contemplated, would appear from a passage in a letter of Mr. Grenville's, dated the 18th of February.

I am a little alarmed by one part of your letter, in which you talk of a resolution of the two Houses being passed for avoiding your commission, and of your resigning the Government in consequence of it to Lords Justices appointed under the Act of last year. I trust, however, that these favourable accounts [of the King's health] will have put this idea out of the question. But if not, for God's sake consider whether there is any one principle in which you deny the right of the two Houses to appoint a Regent by address, which does not apply equally to prove that they cannot either appoint or[Pg 114] remove a Lord-Lieutenant by resolution. I am persuaded, the more I think of it, that it is impossible for you to quit the Government in any other manner, than in consequence of a recal from hence, or a resignation grounded on the removal of the Ministers here, or on the Regent's acceptance of the office, under what you consider an illegal appointment.

Mr. Pitt entirely concurred in these views, and it was resolved that Lord Buckingham should remain in Ireland till he had overcome the confederacy by which the security of the British power in that kingdom was so seriously perilled. In a subsequent letter, Mr. Grenville conveys the assurances of Mr. Pitt's determination to support Lord Buckingham in any measures he should think necessary to the maintenance of the supremacy of the Crown, and the vindication of his conduct in these transactions. One of the measures which was considered indispensable, as marking the sense and upholding the authority of the Government, was the immediate dismissal of all those persons who, holding offices and emoluments under the Crown, had joined in a factious resistance to the policy of Ministers.

I had, yesterday evening, a long conversation with Pitt on the subject of your letter of the 25th. I have already told you that his ideas agree entirely with yours as to the proposition of your remaining in your present situation long enough to complete your victory over this combination, and to establish a Government founded on a better system. We both consider it as a point of absolute necessity and of indispensable duty, that we should resist this profligate conspiracy against the Government of both kingdoms, by every means, and to the last extremity; and we agree in thinking that this battle ought, both for your[Pg 115] own credit and for ours, to be fought by you, preferably to any other person. He desires me to say that there cannot be the least hesitation here in adopting any proposal which you may think it right to make on the subject of dismissals, and that his opinion inclines to the immediate removal of all the people whom you have named, on the ground not of their former votes, but of the combination which is now avowed.

The King was now so much better that he was permitted, at his own request, to see the Chancellor, who, however, was prohibited by the medical attendants from talking to His Majesty on business. Even this prohibition was removed in a few days; and Willis considered him so completely recovered that he recommended, as a preliminary experiment to test the state of his mind, that the Chancellor should be authorized to communicate to His Majesty the public events which had occurred during his illness. Of all men that could have been selected for so delicate an affair, Thurlow was, perhaps, the worst qualified; but his relation to the Crown as Chancellor left Ministers no alternative.


Whitehall, Feb. 19th, 1789.
My dear Brother,

The account which you will receive by this post of the King, is as favourable as any of the others. This is now the thirteenth day since Warren thought him so much—

I am agreeably interrupted in my reasoning by the arrival of Pitt, who has seen Willis this morning. His account is, that as far as he is enabled to judge, the King is now actually well. That he is not sufficiently acquainted with the sort of effect[Pg 116] which the peculiar duties of the King's situation produce upon his mind, to be able to pronounce as decidedly with respect to him as he would in other cases; but that in the instance of any common individual, he should not feel the smallest difficulty in pronouncing the cure complete, and the patient as capable of attending to his own affairs as he had been before his illness. He added that the keeping back from the King the present situation of public business and the measures which have been taken by Parliament, did him now more harm than good, because it created a degree of anxiety and uneasiness in his mind. He therefore recommended that the Chancellor, whom the King has already seen, and whom he has expressed a wish to see again, might go to him, for the purpose of explaining to him all that has passed. You will easily imagine that this will be an anxious trial for us, because if anything can bring back the agitation of his mind, it must be such a recital as Thurlow must have to make. It must, however, be made, and we can do no more than follow the opinion of the physicians, and of Willis in particular, as to the time of making it.

If the experiment succeeds, you need not be told that we shall not feel ourselves disposed, nor indeed at liberty, to give up the King's authority (he being well) into the hands of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales; and the less so, because we now know that he and his friends, as he calls them, have taken the resolution of making the change at all events, and of taking all the offices of the country into their own hands, even (as they express themselves) if they are to hold them only twelve hours.

Certainly, if we looked only to the objects of party, and had nothing more important to attend to than the exposing in their true colours this profligate and unfeeling set of men, we could desire no fairer opportunity of doing it than by showing how much their ambition, or revenge, overbear any other sentiment, when it leads them to overturn the whole Government of[Pg 117] their country, and to bring on the confusion which must attend a double change of Government in the space of a few weeks, merely in order to set the Prince of Wales and Pitt more at variance; for that can be their only object, unless indeed they look to that of drawing the line of separation between His Royal Highness and his father stronger than it was before.

We must not, however, be guided by these considerations. It is impossible not to know and feel how much mischief such a change would produce; and it is our duty to prevent it, both for the sake of the King and of the country. Besides which, there are other reasons which make it impossible that the present measure should go on. We cannot suffer a Bill to proceed which asserts the King's incapacity, at a time when his physicians pronounce him to be capable. He cannot pass such a Bill himself, because the mere act of passing it contradicts the averment of the Bill, and shows its provisions to be improper. Still less can the Chancellor, who has had an opportunity of being personally acquainted with the King's actual restoration to perfect health, receive the orders of any other man, or body of men, as to the use of the Great Seal for the purpose of expressing the King's pleasure.

Our idea, in the present situation, is that the House of Lords should adjourn till Monday, in consequence of the Chancellor's communicating to them that the state of His Majesty's health is such as to make it improper for them to proceed. If nothing unfavourable should have occurred by that day, a motion will then be made for an examination of the physicians; and that would be followed by an Address from both Houses, congratulating the King on his recovery. The King would then pass a Commission for proroguing the Parliament, and another for opening it again, and the business will proceed in the usual form.

I think that your object will be to use every possible endeavour, by all means in your power, debating every question,[Pg 118] dividing upon every question, moving adjournment upon adjournment, and every other mode that can be suggested to gain time. I do not know that we can send you any communication from hence of which you can take formal notice by speech or message, till the examinations of the physicians are sent to you, which they shall be instantly on their being made.

But your Ministers, in both Houses, may certainly communicate to them what it has been thought right for the Chancellor to say to-day, and may make similar motions for adjournments; unless, indeed, which I hardly imagine, the whole business is concluded in Ireland before you receive the account of this happy event.

I have great pleasure in thinking upon the disappointment and mortification of those who have deserted you on this occasion. I hope in God that you will make up your mind to the remaining where you now are long enough to make them feel what they have done, and to show that you are not driven away. After this, we shall probably agree in thinking that the future Government of Ireland may be carried on to more advantage in other hands, because it may possibly become of absolute necessity to receive back some of these rats into favour, and that is not an occupation in which I should like to see you engaged.

Unless I understand from Fremantle that he has any business of yours to do here, I shall desire him to return to you on Tuesday with the examination of the physicians, which will, I hope, be presented on that day, or perhaps I may keep him till the Addresses are carried.

I make you no congratulations on this great event; but it has made a deep impression in my heart, and so I am sure it will in yours.

God bless you, and believe me ever most affectionately yours,

W. W. G.

[Pg 119]

Do not say more of the King's situation than Lord Sydney's despatch authorizes, because Willis's name should not be committed after what has passed.


Whitehall, Feb. 20th, 1789.
My dear Brother,

The House of Commons met to-day and adjourned to Tuesday, without a word being said, except from Viner, who desired to hear from Pitt an account of the King's real situation. No answer was given, and the House adjourned.

Pitt has seen the Chancellor since his return from Kew to-day. He, Thurlow, was with the King to-day for two hours. He did not enter into particulars of what had been done, but only in general terms. He says that he never saw, at any period, the King more composed, collected, or distinct, and that there was not the least trace or appearance of disorder.

Willis, however, does not allow the cure to be yet quite complete, although he thinks it as nearly so as possible. All the other medical people seem to think him quite well; but Willis's means of information and his experience are so much greater, that we cannot but give entire credit to what he says.

The Chancellor is to be at Kew again on Sunday. I think our present idea is to adjourn the two Houses again from Tuesday to Thursday or Saturday. If that is the case, I shall send Fremantle back to you, as he tells me he has nothing to detain him here, and it is very desirable that Bernard should be on the spot soon, to make his bow at Aylesbury.

You must not expect to hear from me on any other subject than the King's recovery; for nobody here writes, talks, thinks or dreams of anything else.

Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.

[Pg 120]


Whitehall, Feb. 21st, 1789.
My dear Brother,

I have little to add to Lord Sydney's letter. Your refusal to transmit the Address is generally approved here; and I have the pleasure of seeing daily proofs that the Opposition in this country are ashamed of what they and their friends have done in Ireland. Your answer, I think, much improved by the transposition, especially as it avoids the necessity of your submitting any advice to His Royal Highness, which might have been said to be an officious interference, as you are not in any situation which calls upon you to advise him.

You will hear with as much pleasure as I write it, that the King was not at all agitated by his interview with the Chancellor, and was perfectly composed and collected all yesterday evening. The accounts this morning are as good as can be.

Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and Duke of York have been once or twice at Kew, to desire to be admitted to see him, which you will naturally suppose was not permitted. This morning they thought proper to make a formal demand that they should be allowed to see him; or if not, insisting that the physicians should give in writing the reasons for their refusal. In consequence of this, Warren and Gisborne, who were there this morning, sent Willis in to the King, to acquaint him that the two Princes wished to see him. Willis returned with a message to them from the King, thanking them for their inquiries, but wishing to put off the seeing them till he had seen Thurlow again, which he is to do to-morrow. This was reduced to writing, and sent to them; how it will be received I know not, but it has completely defeated the avowed object of the visit, which was to prejudice his mind against the measures which have been taken.[Pg 121]

There seems now every reason to hope that by the 6th or 7th of March he will be sufficiently recovered, or rather will have been recovered a sufficient time to make it proper to take his commands for opening the Parliament. If not, you will see by the despatch the nature of the measures which we have in contemplation; and I can have no doubt of your agreeing, that no principle which we have ever maintained would require or even justify us in putting the Prince of Wales in such a situation as to enable him to overturn the whole system of the King's Government, the King being all the while perfectly well, conscious of what is going forward, and restrained from acting himself only by the apprehension of a relapse.

You will already have seen and considered what I have said to you on the subject of remaining. You cannot form to yourself an idea how universally it is the wish of all who wish for your own personal credit, and of all who are interested for the credit of the party, that you should remain in Ireland so long as to make it appear that you have thoroughly weathered the storm. Your session need be but very short indeed. The uncertain state of everything since November last, is an ample apology for not being prepared with other business, and for deferring it till another year. But the leaving it in the middle, would convey the impression that all this difficulty had been personal to yourself, and that you were the only obstacle to the success of English Government in Ireland. Directly the reverse of this proposition is, I am convinced, the truth; but it is a truth which it is of the utmost importance to yourself to establish in the general and public opinion in this country. You have great advantages for this, from the general disposition which is prevalent here to feel the strongest indignation at the conduct which your opponents have held. I must own it would be a severe mortification to me to see you forego this opportunity.[Pg 122]

You know the only motive which I can have for pressing this so much, and how much violence I do to my own feelings when I urge anything which may delay my seeing you again.

Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.

Lord Bulkeley, in a letter dated the 24th, describes one of these interviews of the Princes with His Majesty. The general impressions which prevailed respecting the conduct and dispositions of their Royal Highnesses in this crisis, may be gathered from these unreserved revelations.

The accounts from Kew this morning are as good as possible (but I have not got the precise words); notwithstanding, the Princes were with him half an hour yesterday, which is a proof that his miraculous recovery is not to be shaken. Lord Winchelsea, who was at Kew the whole time, told me that the Prince and Duke of York, though appointed at one, did not arrive till half-past three; and that when they came out, they told Colonel Digby that they were delighted with the King's being so well, and remarked that two things in the half-hour's conference which they had with him had struck them very forcibly: that he had observed to them how much better he played at picquet than Mr. Charles Hawkins, and that since he had been ill he had rubbed up all his Latin; and these facts, which are facts, I expect to hear magnified by the Carlton House runners into instances of insanity.

The Princes entered the King's apartment without any emotion, and came out of it with none visible in their countenances. The Queen only was present, and the conference lasted half an hour. I have not heard as yet; but conclude they were both rioting, ——, and drunk last night at the masquerade, as they were at one a week ago; the truth is, that[Pg 123] they are quite desperate, and endeavour to drown their cares, disappointments, and internal chagrin in wine and dissipation.

The Duke of York plays much at tennis, and has a score with all the blacklegs; and in the public court tells them they shall all be paid as soon as his father can settle with him some Osnaburg money which he owes him.

*     *     *     *     *     

The Princes give out, that as soon as they have an opportunity of explaining their conduct to the King, they are sure he will approve of it as much as he will reprobate that of Mr. Pitt's.

"It is now almost certain," says Mr. Grenville on the 23rd, "that we shall not pass the Regency Bill, and consequently that the Government will not be changed." In the same letter he refers to a suggestion of Lord Buckingham's, that the answer declining to transmit the Irish Address should be laid before His Royal Highness.

On conversing with Pitt, we were both clearly of opinion, that no communication ought to be made to H.R.H. of what has passed in Ireland, as we have uniformly considered him as not entitled, under the present circumstances, to any communication of any part of the business of Government. Nothing has accordingly been ever laid before him, except the measures which Pitt intended to bring forward respecting him personally; but that principle certainly does not extend to such a communication as had been proposed in your separate letter, which I have for that reason not sent to Lord Sydney.

In so absurd a light, indeed, did the whole proceedings of the Irish Parliament appear to Ministers, that Mr. Gren[Pg 124]ville thought it highly improbable that the Irish Ambassadors, as they were called, would venture to present the Address in the improved state of the King's health, or that His Royal Highness would be advised to accept it. They did present it notwithstanding, and their reception is thus reported by Mr. Grenville:

Your Ambassadors are arrived; and presented their Address yesterday evening to the Prince. The answer which, as I understand, he gave them, was, that he was highly gratified with the expressions of loyalty to the King, which the Address contained; but that with respect to the rest he could not give them an answer before Tuesday, on which day he desired to see them again. I take it for granted, he will then say, that the King being recovered, all consideration of a Regency is out of the question.

People in general here do not seem disposed to consider this transaction in any other than a ludicrous manner, and as the most absurd and ridiculous farce. It is impossible to describe how much and how universally their Excellencies are laughed at. One of them came into an assembly last night, and was received with a general roar of laughter. I did not think they would have been so foolish as to present it. The Prince and his friends must have been a good deal embarrassed what answer to give them; and I do not think they have succeeded remarkably well, if the account of the answer, such as I have stated it, is true.

It was on the day after the Princes' interview that Mr. Pitt had his first audience of the King since his illness; no Minister, except the Chancellor, having hitherto been admitted to see His Majesty, on account of the jealousies[Pg 125] with which every step they took throughout this painful interval was watched and turned to account.


Whitehall, Feb. 24th, 1789.
My dear Brother,

Pitt has just shown me a letter which he received last night from the King, written in His Majesty's own hand, couched in the warmest terms, thanking him for his unshaken attachment to his interests, and desiring to see him this morning. He went accordingly to Kew, and was with the King above an hour. He says that there was not the smallest trace or appearance of any disorder; that the King's manner was unusually composed and dignified, but that there was no other difference whatever from what he had been used to see. The King spoke of his disorder as of a thing past, and which had left no other impression on his mind than that of gratitude for his recovery, and a sense of what he owed to those who had stood by him. He spoke of these in such a manner as brought tears into his eyes; but even with that degree of affection of mind, there was not the least appearance of disorder.

After Pitt had left His Majesty, he conversed with Willis, who told him that he now thought the King quite well; that he could not perceive the least trace remaining of his disorder. Under these circumstances, the more I consider our actual situation and what seems due to the King's feelings, the more I am persuaded of that opinion, to which I think our friends begin in general to lean, that the King's resumption of his authority must be done purely by his own act, and that it is impossible to hear of any examination of physicians.

The two Princes were at Kew yesterday, and saw the King, in the Queen's apartment. She was present the whole time, a precaution for which, God knows, there was but too much[Pg 126] reason. They kept him waiting a considerable time before they arrived; and after they left him, drove immediately to Mrs. Armstead's, in Park Street, in hopes of finding Fox there, to give him an account of what had passed. He not being in town, they amused themselves yesterday evening with spreading about a report that the King was still out of his mind, and in quoting phrases of his to which they gave that turn. It is certainly a decent and becoming thing, that when all the King's physicians, all his attendants, and his two principal Ministers, agree in pronouncing him well, his two sons should deny it. And the reflection that the Prince of Wales was to have had the Government and the Duke of York the command of the army during his illness, makes this representation of his actual state, when coming from them, more peculiarly proper and edifying. I bless God it is yet some time before these matured and ripened virtues will be visited upon us in the form of a Government.

Believe me ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.

Acting on the carte blanche which he had asked, and which had been freely accorded to him, respecting dismissals, appointments, and creations, Lord Buckingham proceeded at once to redress the balance of power in Ireland, by dismissing from their offices the persons who had recently opposed the conduct of the Government on the Regency question. A similar course had been pursued in England on His Majesty's recovery. Mr. Grenville mentions specially "the justice which had been executed on Lord Lothian" in this way, the King taking his troop from him, and sending him to join another in Ireland. "The joke current here," says Mr. Grenville, "is, that the Irish Ambassadors came over here to Lothian's hotel, and[Pg 127] that the King sends Lothian to return the visit." In Ireland the disaffection had been more dangerous and extensive, and demanded more severe measures.

The moment it was known that the King was recovered, a negotiation was opened with the Government through Mr. Fitzgibbon, then Attorney-General, by the principal members of the Lords and Commons who had supported the Address, tendering their submission, and asking for an amnesty. It has been stated in some publications referring to these proceedings, that the negotiations were opened by Government; but Lord Buckingham's official despatch, dated the 23rd of March, not only shows that statement to be erroneous, but establishes the fact that Lord Buckingham peremptorily refused to entertain the negotiation until he should have received a positive assurance that a certain defensive and hostile agreement, into which those gentlemen had entered, was to be considered as abandoned. This agreement, or association, was called the Round Robin (although not really a round robin, being merely a declaration, followed in the usual way by the signatures of the subscribers), pledging those who attached their names to it to "stand by each other" (to use the phrase by which Mr. Beresford described it) in the event of their offices or pensions being taken from them, and to oppose any Administration that should resort to such a proceeding.

Finding Lord Buckingham immoveable upon the condition he stipulated for, Lords Shannon, Loftus, Clifden, and many others, authorized the Attorney-General to declare the association at an end, adding that they[Pg 128] desired to be represented to His Majesty as anxious to support his Government, and to endeavour to remove by their future conduct all unfavourable impressions from his mind. In the wise exercise of the discretion reposed in him, Lord Buckingham accepted this voluntary tender of allegiance, and permitted the gentlemen who had made it to retain their offices. The Duke of Leinster, who had been only recently appointed to the Rolls, and Mr. Ponsonby, who held the situation of Postmaster-General, refusing to give the required undertaking, aggravated, in the case of the latter, by a declaration that he would not enter into any communication with Lord Buckingham, were at once dismissed from their offices. This dismissal was followed by that of a few others of less note.

These energetic measures were founded, not only on the dangerous resistance these gentlemen had carried to extremity, at a period of anxious suspense and universal excitement, against the Government, but upon a knowledge of the existence of an organized combination they had embarked in with the English Opposition to supersede the authority of the Sovereign in the person of the Regent. In order the more effectually to accomplish their objects, they had seized upon every act of the Administration, and held it up to obloquy. A pension which had been granted to Mr. Orde, and the reversion of Lord Clanbrassil's office which had been conferred on Mr. Grenville, afforded them a pretext for charging the Government with corruption and profligacy. They opened their impeachment at the very beginning of the session, in February, defeated the motion for adjournment, carried their Address[Pg 129] at the sacrifice of their own dignity and independence, and were only arrested at last in their headlong career by those vigorous measures which broke up the combination, and once more gave a legitimate preponderance in the Senate to the saving influence of the Administration. The effect of the coup d'état—for as such these dismissals may be considered—was decisive. The hostile majority was broken down; and when Mr. Grattan, still confident in his resources, brought forward his Pension Bill, to disable persons who held pensions during pleasure, or offices that had been created after a certain time, from sitting in Parliament, he was defeated by a majority of 9. This was justly claimed as a conclusive victory by a Government that had only just before been denounced in a vote of censure in the same assembly by a majority of 32.

There is no doubt that the happy and unexpected recovery of His Majesty averted a struggle that might have gone near to dissolve the connection of the Executive authority between the two kingdoms; for, had His Majesty's illness continued much longer, there is too much reason to believe that His Royal Highness would have been advised to accept the invitation of the Irish Parliament, by which he would have been created Regent of Ireland, with full powers, before an Act of Parliament had passed in England under the Great Seal empowering him to assume the functions of Sovereignty. The confusion that would have ensued upon such a state of affairs, and the disastrous issues to which it would have inevitably led, cannot be contemplated, even at this distance of time,[Pg 130] without an expression of astonishment that men were to be found capable of entertaining such a proposition. The heroic endurance of Lord Buckingham, upon whom the whole weight of contending against the madness in which this scene of folly and violence originated, enabled him, happily for the repose of both countries, to live down the dangers and the odium which his steadfast discharge of his duties, and his firm adherence to the policy of the English Cabinet, had drawn upon him during this season of political delirium. His own impressions of the scene around him, and the strength of the resolution he brought to bear upon it, will be shown in an extract from a hasty note written to Lord Bulkeley, in the midst of the clamour of the Parliament, on the 14th of March.

I have not shrunk from my duty in the worst times, and I will not trifle with it in those which look more prosperous. Much must be done to save the British Government from an infamous and daring combination, which might have been yielded to by a more pusillanimous minister; but could only be met by one confident in his character and conduct. Do not think this the language of vanity; the times have been, and still are much too serious for such a boyish passion: I feel that the dearest interests of both kingdoms are at stake, and nothing but firmness can save it. I have been insulted, I may be beat, but I will not be disgraced.

When the victory was finally achieved, he writes again to Lord Bulkeley in a strain of justifiable exultation, announcing his complete triumph over the Opposition. The letter is dated the 4th May, and the passage extracted[Pg 131] from it contains an animated picture of the strife through which the writer had just passed.

I told you, two months ago, that my friends would not blush for me—that I might be beaten, but that I would not be disgraced. I write to you now in the moment, and with the transports of the warmest exultation and of honest pride, to tell you, that on Saturday night I closed the session in the House of Commons, having thrown out every measure brought forward by Opposition. They would not divide after their second defeat, where, though our majority was the same, yet, as fewer members voted, it was more in proportion than before; and the illness of Lord Clanbrassil and of Lord Lifford lost us three votes. The House of Lords still sits for a cause which they are hearing, and for some private Bills. The House of Commons adjourned to Friday, and on that day both Houses adjourn to the 25th, when I shall pass the Bills, and shall finally prorogue them.

In the space then of six weeks, I have secured to the Crown a decided and steady majority, created in the teeth of the Duke of Leinster, Lord Shannon, Lord Granard, Ponsonby, Conolly, O'Neil, united to all the republicanism, the faction, and the discontents of the House of Commons; and having thrown this aristocracy at the feet of the King, I have taught to the British and Irish Government a lesson which ought never to be forgotten; and I have the pride to recollect that the whole of it is fairly to be ascribed to the steady decision with which the storm was met, and to the zeal, vigour, and industry of some of the steadiest friends that ever man was blessed with.

While these anxious events were passing in Ireland, the old passion of the King for interfering with military promotions, as if he were resolved, as Mr. Grenville remarks,[Pg 132] to absorb that branch of patronage, involved Lord Buckingham and the Cabinet in another series of protocols similar to those which passed concerning Colonel Gwynne's appointment. Another lieutenant-colonelcy had fallen vacant, and Lord Buckingham desired that it should be bestowed on his nephew, Colonel Nugent, who had been disappointed of a similar favour on the former occasion; but His Majesty directed that it should be given to Colonel Taylor. Even Mr. Grenville, who exercised a philosophical patience in these matters, was so hurt at the manner in which Lord Buckingham's wishes were passed over, at a time when he was rendering such signal services to the Crown, that he could not restrain the expression of his dissatisfaction. Writing to Lord Buckingham, he says:

I feel that I would be unworthy, not only of your confidence and affection, but of the name and character of a gentleman, if I did not warmly partake of your just resentment at this gross and unmerited offence, offered at a moment when your conduct had entitled you to so very different a line of treatment.

Lord Buckingham was again on the point of resigning, and Mr. Grenville participated so strongly in his feelings that he indicated his determination of following his example. After stating in a subsequent letter that he thought he saw in the King's mind "a strong wish to take into his own hands this piece of military patronage whenever it falls," he proceeds to observe upon the consequences.

[Pg 133]

The whole transaction gives me the greatest uneasiness, because I am not afraid to say to you, fairly and openly, that the measures to which, I fear, you may ultimately be driven in consequence of it are of a nature which I fear extremely; and that, I trust, for better reasons than any consideration of their effect on my views. It is on every account a most critical and embarrassing moment for you; and the sense which I entertain of the injustice of those who have brought you into this situation, does not remove or diminish my apprehensions of the consequences to which it leads. It is no affectation or parade of disinterestedness, but the necessary consequence of the first principles of justice and honour, when I assure you that I am resolved to follow your decision upon it, and that I consider your honour as inseparably connected with my own.

Fortunately, however, this solution of the difficulty was rendered unnecessary. A compromise, as usual, afforded a convenient escape to all parties, without disappointing any; and by an ingenious re-distribution of three or four regiments (devised by His Majesty himself), Taylor was provided for elsewhere, and Nugent obtained his lieutenant-colonelcy. There was great difficulty, nevertheless, in bringing His Majesty to this point. He had made up his mind to give the vacant regiment to Taylor, and would hear of no one else. "I am truly sorry to say," observes Mr. Pitt, in the course of the negotiations, "that he seems thoroughly determined not to yield, and I am sure no consideration will induce him to agree to any other arrangement." Had it depended solely on the disposition of the King, the difference would never have been adjusted, and Lord Buckingham, stung by these repeated indignities, might have thrown up his Government at a conjuncture when his retirement must have plunged the country into[Pg 134] anarchy. How seriously this step was contemplated by him and Mr. Grenville will appear from the following correspondence:


Whitehall, April 7th, 1789.
My dear Brother,

I have just received your letter of the 3rd, and though I have nothing new to say to you upon the point of Captain Taylor, he not having yet sent his answer, I cannot help writing a few lines, lest you think the subject is out of my mind. With respect to the promotions of peerage, the fault, if there is any, is mine; because I felt, and still continue to feel, that under the present circumstances, and till this business of Taylor is settled, the other ought to be postponed; nor can I imagine any real inconvenience to arise from it. I am, however, by no means sanguine in my expectations of the event of this business. I have already expressed to you my sense of the King's treatment of you in this instance, and my determination to abide by any measures that you may think it right to take in this situation. I cannot, however, in justice to you or to myself, avoid saying, that I most sincerely wish you to consider well the step which you are about to take; and that not only with a reference to your present situation or to your immediate feelings, but with a view to the interpretation which the public will put upon it, and with a view to any future political object of ours. With respect to the latter, I am persuaded you must see that it is impossible for you to resign the Lord-Lieutenancy of Ireland at this time, and on this ground, without making up your mind at the same moment finally to renounce all ideas of our taking any part hereafter as public men in this country. If you will consider what our situation would be, after such a step, with the King, with the[Pg 135] Prince, with Pitt's friends, and with Fox, and lastly with the public at large, you will, I am sure, think that the consequence which I state is not overstrained.

I can, without affectation, assure you, that though I am not indifferent either to the recollection of what we have already done, or to the prospects which are now before us; yet that I could perfectly well make up my mind to a different line of life, and that I am confident I possess sufficient resources within myself to reconcile myself to such a step, provided it were taken for an object which I felt to be tanti. And such I certainly do consider the object of marking to you, and to the world, and of discharging, in a manner satisfactory to my own feelings, my gratitude and affectionate attachment to you, in an instance where I entirely agree with you in thinking you ill-treated, at a time when you had deserved best.

It remains, therefore, for you to consider what step it may be best for you to take under all the present circumstances. Even if your mind should ultimately lean to the idea of resigning, I should certainly strongly press you not to carry this idea into effect till you have closed your session in Ireland; and in this advice, at least, I am certainly disinterested, because my situation would, in the interim, be more disagreeable and embarrassing than it could be under any other circumstances. But I am sure that if you were to quit immediately, as you now talk of doing, you never could induce any one to believe that this step was not taken with a view to escape from present difficulties, instead of being intended to mark your sense of personal ill-treatment; and that when the impression of the present moment upon your feelings was over, you never would forgive yourself for having concluded the transactions of this winter by such a termination.

I have only to add that I am not indifferent, and that I am persuaded you are not, to the public consequences of our conduct. It is one of the circumstances which are necessarily[Pg 136] attendant upon a public situation and a public line of life, that a person who is engaged in it cannot act even in those points which most nearly concern himself without producing consequences which are often of great public importance. It will certainly not be a pleasant reflection to me to have materially contributed to the overthrow of that system of public men and public measures which I believe to be of the utmost importance to the welfare and prosperity of my country. On the best reflection which I can give to the subject, weighing what I owe to you and to myself, and what I owe to others, I shall feel myself justified, whatever may be the consequences; but certainly my feelings upon them will be such as to prevent my ever again putting myself into a similar situation, even if the circumstances to which I have alluded in the beginning of this letter did not, as they probably will, render such an event absolutely impossible.

When I speak of contributing to the overthrow of the present system you certainly understand me to refer to the probable consequences of our withdrawing ourselves from it, and not to any idea of your being led, which I am persuaded is impossible, to contribute actively to the triumph of a most wicked and profligate faction. I should feel that I gave you just cause of offence, if I thought it necessary to say, that this is a point to which no consideration could lead me.

You will excuse me if I have said so much in this letter upon my own subject, in treating of a point which relates to your conduct and to your situation. I feel that the two subjects are too intimately connected for me to speak of them separately, and I felt that you could not but be desirous, in the moment of deciding a step so interesting to us both, that I should open my heart to you in as free and unrestrained a manner as I have now done.

One thing more I must recommend to your serious consideration. Nothing is clearer to my mind than the propriety of the[Pg 137] step you have taken in dismissing Ponsonby, of the intimation which you have given to Lord Shannon of the necessary consequences of his present conduct, and of the measures you have adopted for securing to yourself efficient assistance by the removal of Fitzherbert, and by the nomination of Hobart on the persuasion which you entertain of his ability to serve you. But I must entreat you to reflect that this line of conduct is only to be justified on the supposition of your being to remain in Ireland; while, on the other hand, entertaining as you now do the idea of quitting your situation, it is surely a duty which you owe to yourself, as well as to the public, to leave to your successor his decision as free and open as your own is now, on points which may be of such infinite importance to his Government. To have failed in this instance would, I am sure, much add to the many grounds of regret which will press themselves upon your mind.

I will say no more on all these points. I have now written you a dissertation, instead of a few lines, as I had intended, but my anxiety on the subject has drawn me on. The groundwork of all this difficulty may, after all, be removed by Taylor's refusal, or by Pitt's exertions; but I again repeat that I am not sanguine on that head, and it is certainly more reasonable that we should prepare our minds for a contrary event.

Believe me ever, my dear brother,
Most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.

Why should you feel yourself offended because particular marks of favour have been shown to Burrard and Lenox, two most steady, warm, and deserving friends of ours at all times, and in all circumstances?

[Pg 138]


April 10th, 1789.
My dear Brother,

I have just received your letter of the 7th, and feel myself bound to answer the question which you put to me as directly and as explicitly as I am able to do. The business remains hitherto in the same situation as when I wrote last to you. A further answer has been received from Major Taylor, in which he still persists in his former refusal; but by some confusion about dates, it is not perfectly clear whether this is his final answer to the notification which had been made to him, that he must renounce his further expectations from the King if he refuses this. We were desirous to delay any communication with the King upon the subject, till it was perfectly clear that the plea of his engagement to Taylor was removed by the refusal of the latter, because we thought that, under those circumstances, the representation of what was due to you would come with greater force. I am, however, obliged to say that there is a further difficulty, even supposing this of Taylor to be removed by his refusal. The King has destined his Majority of Dragoons to Garth, one of his equerries, and has had the folly and precipitation to communicate this intention to Garth. Under these circumstances, it appears doubtful whether even a final refusal from Taylor would remove the plea of actual engagement, and whether Nugent's appointment would not still meet with the same difficulty on account of its not opening a Majority of Dragoons for Garth. You will observe that I speak only from a general idea of the King's feelings and habits of thinking and acting on these subjects, when I state these probable difficulties, but that I have no further information as to his disposition in this particular instance, than I had when I wrote to you last.

This will, however, now be brought in some measure to a[Pg 139] point, as Pitt and myself have agreed that there should be no further delay; but that he should now write to the King to state Taylor's last answer of refusal, and to express his hope, that in consequence of this, His Majesty will, under all the circumstances of the case, be disposed to comply with your recommendation of Colonel Nugent.

It has occurred to us, that even if the King should obstinately persist in a refusal on this occasion, there is another solution which you might possibly deem satisfactory. You will recollect that the business of Colonel Gwynne closed last year, by the King's consenting that Nugent should have the office of Adjutant-General, provided any arrangement could be made by you for Faucitt. Neither Pitt nor myself ever knew from you on what point your negotiation with Faucitt broke off. But if that could be renewed, Pitt authorizes me to say that he could find the means of opening a ten Sh. Government for him in England immediately, and that he has no doubt of the King's consent to the arrangement, even preceding the signing Taylor's commission.

You, however, will best know how far this mode of arranging the business would be satisfactory to you, and what probability there would be of bringing it to bear, with the assistance which I state. If you feel this to be impossible, there will then remain nothing but to press the King on the other point as far as possible, and at last, if it is found absolutely necessary, to give him to understand that his option must be made between his Major Taylor and his Major Garth on the one hand, and his Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland on the other. You do justice to the manner in which I have felt and written to you on this occasion, and it is extremely satisfactory to me to know that you are not insensible to the warmth and sincerity of my affection and gratitude towards you. Let me therefore, upon that ground, presume so far only as to beg that you will not send your resignation, or notify formally (or indeed in any[Pg 140] other manner) your intention so to do, till you learn from me that I am convinced all other steps will be ineffectual. I persuade myself that this is a trust which you will not believe me capable of abusing, however unwilling I must be, on so many accounts, to see you driven to the necessity of taking this last and decisive step.

I mentioned also to you, in my last letter, the reasons which I feel for wishing that, in all events, the actual execution of this measure may be delayed till the conclusion of the session. I press this for reasons personal to you, and which I feel very strongly, although the interval will unquestionably be very embarrassing to you, and perhaps even more distressing to myself. But I am desirous of knowing how far you feel the force of those reasons, and what your determination would be in that case, because I think it might make some difference in the manner of stating your intention to the King, if this should be rendered necessary.

I feel it needless to repeat to you what I have already said of my intentions respecting my own conduct; and I hope you do me the justice to believe, that however deeply I am involved in the result of this business, my first anxiety is that it may terminate in a manner consistent with your honour, character, and happiness.

Believe me, my dear brother,
Most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.


Holwood, April 12th, 1789.
My dear Brother,

As I understand that Mr. Pitt writes to you by this messenger, in order to state to you the nature of the King's answer to his letter, and to explain the arrangement which is proposed to you as a solution of this unpleasant business, I feel that I[Pg 141] can have nothing to add. I have already mentioned to you, in the most full and unreserved manner, the whole of my feelings on this occasion, and I see nothing in the present state of it which can at all vary them. I still continue very desirous that this business may not proceed to those extremities which you have mentioned, because I think such a step, independent of its public consequences, would close our political prospects in this country, and would, besides, be liable to a construction which we should most wish to avoid. But I also continue in the full determination to abide by your decision upon it, and that your conduct shall regulate mine; because I feel this as no less due to myself than to you, on an occasion in which I certainly think the King has been much wanting to you.

If I were to write volumes to you, I could only enlarge upon these points, on which I have already fully written to you, and with the same freedom and sincerity as if I were thinking aloud. I always feel some embarrassment and difficulty in writing upon points in which I am myself so much interested; although I have not, on this occasion, suffered that consideration to weigh with me, so as either to say what I should not otherwise have said, or to leave unsaid anything which I felt I ought to say. I have now, therefore, only to conclude, with my sincere assurances of the uniform and warm affection with which I am,

My dear brother, most truly yours,
W. W. G.


Whitehall, April 16th, 1789.
My dear Brother,

I came to town yesterday with Mr. Pitt, and found your letter of the 11th, and this morning I received yours of the 12th. I was much mortified that I was not able to write to[Pg 142] you yesterday evening, as I had intended to do, first by the post, and afterwards by a messenger. But different circumstances arose, which made it impossible. I could have wished to have answered your letter at length, in order to state to you everything that occurs to me upon it; but I cannot now do this without unnecessarily delaying the messenger, and I wish to lose no time in letting you know the exact state of the business, as it now stands. Taylor has accepted, which considerably increases the difficulty of making a point with the King to undo what he has done for him. But another solution has now offered itself, on which I cannot help feeling rather sanguine. We have just heard of the death of General Mackay: Pitt is now writing to the King, to represent the propriety of making any arrangement, which this event may give rise to, subservient to the purpose of removing this difficulty, and to desire to see the King, in order to converse with him upon that point. The King will probably appoint to-morrow; but as Pitt may not be back till late, I thought it better to send off this messenger, as my letter is now a day later than I meant to have written, and I can easily judge of your impatience to hear from me on this subject.

Lodge Morres will be instantly dismissed, with such a letter as you mention.

You shall hear from me again to-morrow, or Saturday, at latest. I hope you have not taken any step on the receipt of our letters of Sunday; but if any letter of formal resignation comes from you, I should feel myself justified, under these circumstances, to stop it.

In answer to your questions about Pitt, I beg you to believe that, however warm and sincere my friendship is for him, yet that it would not stand one moment in the way, if I thought him acting dishonourably or unfairly by you. I may, to-morrow, have time to write more at large on that subject; but, in the meantime, let me assure you that I am the grossest dupe[Pg 143] in the world if that is the case. I am impatient to hear the result of Monday.

Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.


Whitehall, April 17th, 1789.
My dear Brother,

I have the greatest pleasure in being able to acquaint you that this unpleasant business of the lieutenant-colonelcy is now in a way of being settled, so as, I hope, may be perfectly satisfactory to you. I have just seen Mr. Pitt, and received from him the agreeable information that he found the King entirely disposed to do whatever might conduce to this object, and even desirous of explaining that the former difficulties had arisen only from his actual engagements. It is not yet precisely settled in what mode this should be done; because, Mr. Pitt finding the King in so favourable a disposition on the subject, thought it better, on every account, to avoid pressing him further than appeared necessary. Two modes were, however, suggested in conversation between them: the one, that General Ainslie should have Mackay's regiment, by which means his lieutenant-colonelcy should be given to Taylor, and so Nugent be appointed to Gwynne's; the other, that the regiment should be given to Sir James Stewart Denham, which would vacate his lieutenant-colonelcy for Nugent. A third was also mentioned by the King, namely, the inducing Taylor, by the offer of the Lieutenant-Governorship of Cowes, to exchange with Nugent. Any one of these would, I flatter myself, answer your purpose; because they would show the King's disposition to attend to your recommendation, and that having been hampered by an actual engagement to Taylor, he is now ready to accommodate his own patronage in such a way as may, at the same time, provide for Nugent. But what I think[Pg 144] even better than all this, is the account which Pitt gave me of the King's apparent manner of feeling on this subject. I had, I confess, very much apprehended that, however necessary it might be, in order to keep up your situation and apparent weight with the King, to insist upon some such solution for this business, yet that the doing this would leave a lasting and most unfavourable impression on his mind, which might lead to a renewal of this sort of contest on some future occasion. This appears to be by no means the case, at present; and I am sure that you will agree with me in thinking that although it might, in some points of view, have been desirable that the whole arrangement could have been concluded to-day, so as to put an end to all appearance of suspense, yet that it would have been unwise, in this state of things, to have pressed the King to this sort of peremptory decision as to the mode of doing it, which he seemed desirous of having an opportunity of revolving in his own mind.

It will now probably not be very long before whatever official business you will have in this country, will pass through a medium rather better disposed, and more attentive to you, than that of your present correspondent; and if I do not grossly flatter myself, a little attention on my part, to soothe the King's mind—which has evidently been irritated on these points—will make all this sort of business go smoothly, and to your satisfaction.

I am sorry not to have complied with your wish about the promotions; but, on very mature reflection, I was persuaded that it was risking too much, with regard to the principal and important point, to mix with it any other business on which it was always possible that some difficulty might arise in the King's mind. In the course of the next week, I hope to be able to write to you on that subject; but I trust you will not be unwilling to rely a little on me with regard to the exact time, which I assure you I will not delay, except I think I[Pg 145] see very material reasons for it. You must also make some allowance for the very great additional delay which is created in all this sort of business, by the King's residing wholly at Windsor, which gives Pitt fewer opportunities of seeing him, and for a shorter time.

I mentioned to you, in my last letter, that Lodge Morres would be immediately removed. I have desired that the letter notifying this, may contain some such expressions as you mention; but I cannot answer for this, because I cannot, as things now stand, interfere in the wording of those letters, except by a very circuitous mode.

I also answered your question about Pitt, but I did it shortly; nor indeed could any expressions that I could have used do justice to the warm and anxious feeling which he has shown on this occasion. I am inclined to impute this termination of the business, so much more favourable than I had expected, almost entirely to his judgment and address.

I have had the pleasure this morning of seeing Lady B. and your children. You will have heard that she has had a feverish cold, but I hope it has now quite left her. Your children are all well.

Adieu, my dear brother. I cannot express to you what a weight is removed from my mind by the success of Pitt's journey.

Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.

The promotions and creations glanced at in these letters were recommended by Lord Buckingham as proper marks of His Majesty's sense of the services rendered to the Government during the late crisis in Ireland by some influential men in both Houses of Parliament. As those who had abandoned the Administration were dismissed, it[Pg 146] was no less an act of justice that those who had supported it should receive some testimony of the King's approbation, and the Lord-Lieutenant's carte blanche embraced this dispensing power on both sides. Some alarm was felt by the Cabinet at the list of promotions and creations (nineteen in number) forwarded on this occasion for the royal sanction. The increase of the peerage was, perhaps, the only point on which Mr. Pitt's Government was vulnerable, for, although he exercised the greatest caution in his selections, and introduced them by degrees, instead of making them in batches, as the peculiar circumstances of Ireland at this moment demanded, it was felt to be the objection which, of all others, operated most injuriously against the character and popularity of his Administration. His Majesty's engagements, too, enhanced the embarrassment. Whenever any proposition for honours or appointments, naval, military, or civil, was submitted to him, it was certain to be obstructed by some obligation he had previously laid himself under by promise to different persons. In the present instance a difficulty of this kind interposed. Two peerages were already engaged in advance, and the arrangement of the Irish list depended entirely on the nature of the pledges to which His Majesty had committed himself in these cases. Mr. Grenville writes that Mr. Pitt was to see His Majesty on the subject in two or three days. "He will then endeavour to find out whether the King's engagements were so positive and absolute as to Lords A. and C. as to lay him under the absolute necessity of conferring this honour on four persons in order to be able to reward the services of two." It may be presumed that these[Pg 147] engagements were not absolute, or, at all events, that they were not suffered to interfere with Lord Buckingham's list, as all the persons he named, with the exception of two or three, who were excluded on special grounds, received the honours to which he recommended them.

Amongst these was Mr. Fitzgibbon, Poor old Lord Lifford, who had kept his seat, and exerted himself indefatigably to the last, died on the 28th of April. The labours of that terrible session proved too much for his declining powers, and he finally sank under them. The opportunity to which Mr. Fitzgibbon had been so long looking forward was now thrown open to him. Lord Buckingham pressed his claims earnestly on the Government, recounting the signal obligations he had laid them under on the Regency question, tracing his career, and depicting his character in terms of the highest eulogy. The appointment rested with Thurlow, whose humours required to be waited upon, and who was suspected, moreover, to be unfavourable to Fitzgibbon. Much delay and suspense consequently ensued, and it was not until June that the patent was made out. Fitzgibbon was immediately created a Baron. From that point his promotion in the peerage advanced rapidly. In 1793, he was created Viscount Fitzgibbon; and in 1795, Earl of Clare.

The King's recovery now enabled Ministers to resume those measures which the late unhappy suspension of public affairs had so grievously interrupted. One of the first subjects that called for consideration was the abolition of the Slave Trade. Mr. Wilberforce had succeeded in raising such an excitement throughout the[Pg 148] country about his forthcoming motion, that the West India interest took alarm, and desired to know whether it was the intention of Government to adopt the measure. But Mr. Pitt, who had not yet pledged the Administration to any step beyond that of inquiry, maintained a reserve on this point, which the enthusiasm of Mr. Wilberforce may be said to have forced upon him. A letter from Sir William Young touches on this matter; and alludes, also, to some unseemly conduct on the part of the Princes, which is spoken of in a similar spirit of deprecation in other letters. The circumstances that rendered their proceedings on this occasion the more conspicuous and objectionable were, that the ball at White's Club, referred to, was given in honour of His Majesty's birthday, and happy restoration; and that the Queen had signified her intention of being present.


Stratton Street, April 22nd, 1789.
My dear Lord,

The week passed hath not afforded an item of information worthy the sending you. I have now a circumstance or two to mention in the political line, and a little scandal to garnish it with, of a sort "quod predetendici potuisse, et non potuisse refelli." Of business in the first place. Steele told me yesterday, that on Mr. Fox's motion this day to repeal the Hop-tax, it was meant to give it up with the best grace possible. The next piece of Parliamentary intelligence is respecting the Slave Trade; a committee from the planters and merchants of the West Indies waited the other day on Mr. Pitt, to put the short[Pg 149] question, whether Government supported Mr. Wilberforce in his motion for the Abolition of the Slave Trade? Mr. Pitt answered, that "He must decline committing his own opinion thus early, and that the Cabinet had not yet sat in discussion of that question." The gentlemen of this committee speak of Lord Hawkesbury as against the extent of Mr. Wilberforce's proposition, and that Administration are generally (Camden and others) with Lord Hawkesbury. Je ne m'en mêle pas.

I know of no other business to engage the attention of Parliament after Easter but my poor Bill, which is much amended and enlarged from last year. It seems to have general support. I have thought it more candid to read it a first time and print it, deferring the second reading to the first week of meeting after Easter, when I am engaged to the House to open fully the principle of my undertaking, in what your Lordship terms mémoires raisonnées. If I succeed in this Bill, as I expect to do, relating to the able poor, I shall, next sessions, proceed to accomplish the rest of my plan, by amending and giving force to (where necessary) the Bastard, Vagrant Laws, and generally those of police respecting the poor. The plan is extensive, but I have much considered it. I think I have it clear in comprehension, and can pursue it through each effect on the industry and manners of our people. I cannot be idle, ainsi je veux quelque part me faire ministre.

For the dish of scandal I promised, it is of marked importance as to the character of those whose character must have leading consequences in this country; and, in fact, it is no scandal, it is a shameful truth; otherwise, tales of this sort, are not such as I like blotting my paper with. In the first place, on the ball given by White's Club, at the Pantheon, the Prince of Wales sent round to canvass non-attendance by every one of his party; yet both himself and the Duke of York took the tickets sent, and then the Duke of York sent them all to be sold, at Hookham's, to any one that would buy them. The[Pg 150] fact was intimated at White's, when the stewards adopted a regulation to preclude the mischief of improper company, by directing that the person subscribing, or to whom the tickets were sent, should put his name. The Duke thereon put his name, and the tickets were sold, with the prostitution of the title of "York." To close this disgraceful detail, a ball, the same night, of ——, was given at the Horse Guards, expressly for the Duke of York. I have not authentically heard whether the Prince of Wales was of the party. The day will come when Englishmen will bring these Princes to their senses.

Adieu, my dear Lord; health and prosperity, and success in all you undertake, be yours; and to me, the happiness whilst I have life, of signing, your affectionately devoted and obliged friend and servant,

W. Young.

The lamentable divisions that existed in the royal family formed a topic of common conversation, and deeply disturbed the tranquillity of His Majesty's mind. The Prince of Wales and the Duke of York took industrious advantage of all available means to cultivate popularity out of doors; and when it was thought advisable by Ministers, that the King should make a procession to St. Paul's to offer up thanks for his recovery, their Royal Highnesses seem to have entered into a sort of rivalry with the King for the applause of the spectators. Indeed, there was so little disguise about their personal conduct to His Majesty, that the newspapers did not hesitate to charge them with it, and the Dukes of York, Gloucester and Cumberland, felt it necessary to protect themselves against the animadversions of the Press, by prosecuting the publisher of the "Times," for accusing[Pg 151] them of "insincerity" in their professions of joy at the King's recovery. Some fears were entertained as to the bearing of His Majesty on the occasion of the procession; but he passed through it with a composure and self-control that inspired his friends with the utmost confidence in the future. Mr. Bernard, writing to Lord Buckingham on the 23rd of April, gives the following account of the proceedings:


London, April 23rd, 1789, Five o'clock, p.m.
My Lord,

The ceremony of this day has been gone through exceedingly well. The procession from the House of Commons began at eight o'clock, and the King reached St. Paul's between eleven and twelve. The arrangement of the cathedral, particularly the dome, presented a beautiful sight. The King seems much reduced by his late illness—was remarkably composed during the service, and attentive to the music. His Majesty, as well as the Queen, seemed much affected with the solemnity of their first entrance, as were many of the persons present. Lady Uxbridge was near fainting away.

As the King went out of the church, he seemed to be in good spirits, and talked much to the persons about him; but he stared and laughed less than ever I knew him on a public occasion. He returned to the Queen's House between three and four o'clock. Mr. Fox and most of his party were there. He and Colonel Fitzpatrick were stationed in front of the altar, and directly opposite the King, being the part of the cathedral for Privy Councillors and Peers' sons. Mr. Pitt sat near them, but not in the first ranks. I saw Lord Temple in a very good place, in that part of the church. I did not see Mr. Burke[Pg 152] there, and therefore suppose he continues ill. The trial was deferred yesterday on account of his illness, which people say was occasioned by his working himself into too great a passion the day before.

I have the honour to be ever, my Lord,

Your Excellency's most faithful and affectionate servant,
S. Bernard.

The same subject is followed up in a letter from Lord Bulkeley.


Stanhope Street, April 27th, 1789.
My dear Lord,

The pilgrimage to St. Paul's, which funck'd us all very much, has turned out exceedingly well, for the King conducted himself throughout the whole of that very arduous trial in such a manner as to convince all, except those who will not see nor hear, that he is in perfect possession of his faculties. The Princes of Wales, York, Cumberland, and, I am sorry to say, Gloucester, talked to each other the whole time of the service, and behaved in such an indecent manner that was quite shocking. The King in Pall Mall was received without applause, and the Prince with a good deal; but from Cockspur Street to St. Paul's he had the warmest acclamations possible, particularly in the city of London, where all ranks of people were unanimous, which the King perceived, and since has much praised. In parts of the Strand the Prince's dependants were posted to give him an huzza as he passed, which flattered him most exceedingly; but he lost his temper in the City, and he never recovered it afterwards, for at St. Paul's he was in the worst humour possible, and did everything he could do to expose himself in the face of an amazing concourse of persons, and of all the foreign Ministers.[Pg 153]

On the return of the procession the Prince and Duke of York put on their uniforms at Carlton House, and headed the whole brigade of Grenadiers, and fired a feu de joie before Buckingham House, the King and Queen and the Princesses standing in one of the windows. The Prince, before the King got into his carriage, which the whole line waited for before they filed off, went off on a sudden with one hundred of the common people, with Mr. Wattie in the middle of them, huzzaing him, and was done evidently to lead, if possible, a greater number, and to make it penetrate into Buckingham House.

The breach is so very wide between the King and Prince, that it seems to me to be a great weakness to allow him any communication with him whatsoever; for under the mask of attention to their father and mother, the Prince and Duke of York commit every possible outrage, and show every insult they can devise to them. The report of the journey to Hanover prevails to an alarming degree, and the King talks of it right hand and left; but it is to be hoped the Ministers will be able to divert his attention from it at this particular moment, for in the present unhinged state of things it might be pregnant with very disagreeable consequences. I believe the King's mind is torn to pieces by his sons, and that he expects to relieve himself by a new scene, and by getting out of the way of hearing of and seeing the Prince of Wales, with the hopes of being able to detach the Duke of York, whom he fondly and dotingly loves, and of prevailing on him to marry on the continent, of which there is no chance, for in my opinion he is just as bad as the Prince, and gives no hopes of any change or amendment whatsoever in thought, word, or deed.

*     *     *     *     *     

P.S.—It is said that the King abuses Dundas to those about him very much, in a language that is very much copied by[Pg 154] those whom we all know by the term of "King's friends;" and there are some who pretend to say that his loss of ground at Buckingham House has been owing to the part he took against Hastings, in which he has the reputation of having engaged Pitt to concur. I have made every inquiry whether the King ever expresses himself to his people about him in favour of Hastings, and I am told he is very guarded and reserved on his subject, but that some females in his house talk loud and warmly in his favour, which occasions the attributing the same opinions to him.

On one of the adjourned questions on Hastings's trial in the House of Lords, Lord Maitland, standing next to Dundas, asked him what he thought would be the result of the inquiry, to which he replied in these words: "I don't care what is done with him, for you and your friends in Opposition have done our business, by keeping him out of the Board of Control." Lord Maitland on this called up Colonel Fitzpatrick and Dudley Long, in whose presence Dundas actually repeated his words, and they, of course, trumpeted them all over town, and they have occasioned much conversation and much abuse of Dundas, in addition to their former abuse on the part of Hastings's friends. The folly of such language, especially to three violent Oppositionists, was very absurd, weak, and ill-judged, but the fact is certain.

I hear many complaints of Pitt and his Secretaries' personal inattentions to Members of Parliament, but they will think twenty times before they go into Opposition; and it is most probable that these complaints are not made till impossible jobs have been refused; I therefore only mention them as certainly existing, and most probably as to any consequences, vox et præterea nihil, at least till the last sessions.

*     *     *     *     *     

Just as I was sealing my letter a person called on me, who[Pg 155] tells me that divisions in the Cabinet, or rather among the Cabinet Ministers, certainly do exist, to a great degree, about Mr. Dundas, and has confirmed to me what I have before told you, that every corner of Buckingham House resounds with abuse, and opprobrious epithets against him.

A passage in a letter of Mr. Grenville's, dated the 2nd of May, indicates an approaching event, to which many circumstances, but chiefly the increasing weight the writer had latterly acquired in the councils of Mr. Pitt, had for some time been obviously tending.

I wish to mention to you that Lord S. has taken great offence, from the circumstance of having at last found out that your despatches to him come over enclosed to me. I could wish, therefore, that for the very short time that your correspondence with him is likely to continue you would alter this, as nothing material is likely to arise that can render it necessary, and I am desirous just at this particular moment to avoid any altercation with him. This jealousy on his part, and a just sense on mine of his conduct towards you, has entirely broke off all communication between us with respect to Irish, or indeed any other, business. Some delay and awkwardness necessarily arises from this; but it is unavoidable, and I repeat that it will probably be of very short duration.

The nomination of Mr. Grenville to the Home Office had been delayed only till the arrangements consequent upon the necessary changes it involved could be satisfactorily carried out. The means of effecting it were now within Mr. Pitt's reach; and at the moment this letter was written, Mr. Grenville's appointment was on the eve of being ratified.[Pg 156]


Whitehall, May 15th, 1789.
My dear Brother,

Just as I was sitting down to write to you, I received a note from Hobart, informing me of his arrival. I have seen him, and had a long conversation on the different points which he is charged with. My appointment is, I think I may now decisively say, fixed for Friday next, and I hope that you will soon feel the effects of your new correspondent, in the expedition of the various matters which are now lying on hand. You must, I am sure, be sensible that under the circumstances of these last three weeks, it has been quite impossible for me, however ardently I wished it for your sake, to bring forward these different points of business; but on Monday sev'nnight, at latest, I hope to write to you upon them all, though the length of Hobart's memorandum-paper has a little frightened me. I do not complain of it as thinking your bill a large one, considering the value received, but only I think the impression of my début in the closet may be a little awkward. I must, however, meet this as well as I can; and although this ten days' more delay must, I know, be very unpleasant to you, I trust you will see it is unavoidable.

If you find it necessary, for reconciling any of your principal people to the delay, to assign the intended change in the Secretary's office as a reason, there can now be no objection to it, as we have agreed that it would be right that, by the time you can receive this letter, we should begin to buzz it about, as a thing not improbable to happen.

With respect, however, to your peerages, I have, as I promised you, got Pitt to state them to the King, who has consented to them, Marquisates and all. You may now, therefore, recommend them as soon as you please, and I will take care there shall be no further unnecessary delay.[Pg 157]

There are, however, still two points with respect to this business. I understand from Hobart that Lord Glerawley wants his promotion to be limited to his brother. This had not been stated in your letters, and I was therefore unable to mention it to Pitt. It is therefore still possible that the King may make some objection to this, as you know it is against one of his rules (though by no means an invariable one) to give a step and a limitation at the same time.

The other is essential, and can, I hope, make no difficulty with you. He is willing to engage that these should all be done without delay, but he seems much to wish that the promotions and creations should be separated, in order that they may not, by coming together, appear to fill too large a column in the "Gazette." There must, therefore, be an interval of a fortnight or three weeks. You will judge whether the promotions or creations should come first.

The only remaining point is that of the Seals. I beg you to believe me sincere when I assure you that, independent of your wishes upon the subject, my own opinion is quite as much made up as yours is on the subject of Fitzgibbon's appointment. But, in the same sincerity, I assure you that it is by no means advantageous towards the attainment of this object, that it should be pressed forward in the present moment. Hobart has asked me whether Fitzgibbon's coming over would not be of use to him? I am strongly inclined to be of opinion that it would; but before I gave him a decisive answer, I wish to consult Pitt, and he is not to write to Fitzgibbon till after that. With respect to the difficulty of your Chancery causes, I can conceive no earthly reason why Carleton, especially as he is to receive so great a favour, should not have to go on with them, just as Lord Loughborough did here when the Seals were in commission for a year. Depend upon it that I do not deceive you, when I say that it is much better to wait for the favourable moment, than to hurry it on to a decision now. That favourable[Pg 158] moment may arise sooner or later, but I am confident that ultimately le bon tems viendra. Your information about the Chancellor's resolution is very curious, because I have reason to know that McNa. is exactly the very person who has most strongly urged Thurlow on the propriety of an English appointment, and who has suggested this curious notion of F.'s unpopularity. But I mention this, relying upon your honour that you will not repeat it to any one, but particularly not to Fitzgibbon.

I am most sincerely sorry that the consideration of your health should enter at all into the question of your going or remaining. Pray let me entreat you, whether you take the one resolution or the other ultimately, not to delay nor put off one day a fixed resolution to use constant and sufficient exercise. I am sure any delay on that head is of a hundred times more consequence than all those which we have been lamenting. Nothing in the world could make up to you for the consequences which your omission in this respect (which I am grieved to learn from Hobart still continues) may bring upon you. You cannot conceive how earnestly I feel on this subject, because I am every day feeling the good effects of a contrary practice, which enables me to go through all the business I have, without hurting my health or spirits.

Adieu, my dear brother,
Believe me ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.

The duel between Colonel Lenox and the Duke of York took place on the 26th of May. The town gossiped about it, but regarded it with indifference; and neither party got much credit in the end. Mr. Hobart, on the 30th, communicates another on dit concerning the behaviour of the Princes.[Pg 159]

The Queen and Princesses were last night at the fête given by the French Ambassador. The Prince of Wales, Dukes of York and Clarence, were also there; but would not dance, or stay supper, lest they should have the appearance of paying the smallest attention to Her Majesty. The officers of the Duke of York's regiment met yesterday, at the request of Charles Lenox; they did not come to a decision till about an hour ago. I hear it is that Lenox acted with courage, but not with judgment.

There was some difficulty in finding a successor for Mr. Grenville in the House of Commons. The choice at last fell on Mr. Addington. The selection was not altogether unexceptionable; but, upon the whole, he was the best person that could be found.


Whitehall, June 1st, 1789.
My dear Brother,

I have this morning received your two letters, of the 26th and 28th together, which was a great relief to me from the uneasiness which I should have felt from your first letter, if I had received it separately. I most sincerely hope that you will feel no further bad effects from this accident. Lady B. has been some days on her road to Dublin, and is probably with you before this time. I cannot express to you how much I am concerned that any parts of my letter on the subject of the promotions should have appeared to you in the smallest degree wanting in that kindness and warmth of affection which I so sincerely feel, and always wish and mean to express. I have no copy of that letter, nor have I any recollection of the particular turn or expression of it which can at all serve me to remember what part of it can have impressed your mind with[Pg 160] this sensation. I can therefore only say that, whatever it was, it has been most remote from my intention, and that as to any expression which can bear such an interpretation—totum hoc indictum volo.

With respect to the King's health, on which you ask me so particularly, I can only repeat to you what I said in my last letter—which I have from what I believe to be the very best authority—that he continues perfectly well, both in mind and body, and, with respect to the latter, is growing stronger every day. I beg you to believe, that though I should write you any contrary account with much pain and mortification, yet that I feel too much the importance of your being well and accurately informed on the subject, to have a moment's hesitation in stating anything of that sort to you as soon as I heard it myself. But, in truth, I believe that all these reports originate in nothing else than the anxiety of the King's friends for the preservation of his health, and the impatience which his enemies feel for the only event which can give them any prospect of seeing their wishes accomplished.

Addington is the person intended for my successor. He wants only a little more age, and being a little more known, to make his nomination unexceptionable; but I certainly cannot but confess that he does want both these. It is, however, the best appointment that we can make to a situation to which so few people are willing to look, and for which so much fewer are at all qualified. I have no doubt of his acquitting himself well in it, and of his becoming, in a little time, extremely popular in the House. We shall certainly lose our Abolition question. The cry against us upon it is growing every day stronger, without anybody being willing to give themselves the trouble of entering, in the smallest degree, into the examination of the grounds upon which our arguments rest.

We have no foreign news, except the continuance of the disputes and difficulties in France. But these you have as fully[Pg 161] in the newspapers as I could detail them to you. The accounts from Vienna seem to agree that there is not much probability of the Emperor's finally recovering these repeated attacks, though he may linger out a considerable time.

Adieu, my dear brother,
And believe me ever most sincerely and affectionately yours,
W. W. G.

Lord Buckingham's health had suffered so much from the toils and anxieties to which he had been exposed during the last few months, that his physicians urged upon him the necessity of trying the waters at Bath. So long as the exigencies of the public service made an imperative demand on his energies, he bore his labours with unshrinking resolution; but now that the contest was over, and the security and influence of the Government were restored, he felt the recoil severely. It was natural that there should be mixed with this hope of recruiting his strength by change of scene, a strong desire for repose. The stormy times he had fallen upon in Ireland rendered his position there onerous and oppressive. He had ridden the storm in safety, and had the satisfaction of feeling that, whenever he retired from the Government, he would leave to his successor, untrammelled by the associations and recollections of the past, a comparatively easy task.


(Private.) Whitehall, June 13th, 1789.
My dearest Brother,

You will receive with this the official notification of Fitzgibbon's appointment to the Seals, which I send with the more[Pg 162] pleasure at this particular moment, because I know that it will relieve your mind from one of the points on which you have felt a peculiar degree of anxiety. The decision on this point gives me great satisfaction, on many accounts, as an act of justice towards him, and as an example both to our friends and our enemies; but the interest which you took in it makes the event infinitely more agreeable to me than it would otherwise have been, however much I am convinced that it was right and necessary.

The particular occasion, however, of my writing this letter, was not so much the conclusion of this business, as something which relates to another, more nearly concerning yourself. In consequence of your letter, and of the alarm which I have since had on your account, I thought it very material that the idea of your going to Bath should be opened to the King, in order to ascertain how far it was practicable for you to avail yourself of this, which I am persuaded will be the best of all remedies for you, without, at the same time, giving up the idea of returning to Ireland, if you should feel yourself desirous of it. I accordingly took to-day the first opportunity which I have had, of mentioning this to the King, and I have great pleasure in saying, that he not only acquiesced in the idea, but that he lent himself to it with the greatest readiness, and seemed desirous that you should not omit this if it could be useful to you. If, therefore, on consultation with Austin, you should find that a journey to Bath will be of service to you, there remains nothing for you to do, but to write an official letter "requesting the King's permission to be absent from Ireland for a limited time, in order that you may go to Bath for the recovery of your health," and I shall be able to return you an answer, signifying the King's consent, before your preparations for your journey can be made. If, after some residence at Bath, you should find your health and spirits not equal to the returning, you will be better enabled then to decide upon that point, and it will be perfectly easy for you then to state[Pg 163] this, and to resign on the ground of the injury which the King's service would sustain from any longer absence. But I am sure I need not mention to you, who are so well acquainted with that country, the absolute and indispensable necessity of your doing everything (in the event of your going to Bath) which may give the strongest impression of your determination to return. If this is not done, you must feel that the Government will be thrown loose, and that the mischief of such an interval may be such as to be irretrievable. If, on the contrary, this persuasion prevails, I see no fear of inconvenience from your absence on this account.

I enclose to you, under a flying seal, a letter of congratulation and compliment to Fitzgibbon, which expresses no more than I really feel on that subject. Adieu, my dear brother.

Believe me ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.

P.S.—You will, of course, immediately recommend Fitzgibbon for a Barony; but if you can dissuade him from it, pray do not let him take the title of Limerick, actually possessed by Lord Clanbrassil. The instance of Earl of Buckinghamshire (so created) and Marquis of B. by no means applies, and it would look invidious.

Lord Buckingham's resolution to relinquish the Government of Ireland was now finally taken. He communicated his intentions, in the first instance, in a private letter to Mr. Grenville, to which the following is the reply.


Wimbledon, Sept. 14th, 1789.
My dear Brother,

I received your letter of the 6th respecting your resignation, and your subsequent letters of the 10th and 11th. You are[Pg 164] too much aware of the extreme difficulty of finding persons willing and qualified to undertake the office which you are quitting, not to expect some little delay before we can say anything to you respecting the choice itself, or the mode or exact period of your resignation; though I certainly agree with you, that, if you have entirely abandoned the idea of returning, the formal notification of that intention ought not to be long delayed. It certainly would have been a satisfaction to me, both on public and private grounds, if the state of your health would have admitted of your completing your triumph even more decidedly than you have already done, though I trust that is sufficient.

The finding a proper person to replace you is, indeed, no easy task; because, although I am entirely of your opinion, that by proper management, the situation of English Government in Ireland is secure; yet, on the other hand, I cannot but feel how very little mismanagement would throw us back again, and how much more the crisis seems to demand, than is, I fear, to be found in any of the persons who may probably be to look to that situation. It will certainly be my wish on many accounts, that the change of the Lord-Lieutenant should not affect Hobart's situation.

I have not yet seen him, as I have not been in town for this last week; but if he is come, I suppose I shall either to-day or to-morrow.

The question about Lord Loftus can, I think, end no otherwise than as Hobart proposes. I shall, however, not say or write anything on the subject to the King till I have seen Hobart. I have no difficulty in conversing with him quite freely about his own situation, as when I saw him in town last, I told him very fairly what my wishes would be in the event of your quitting the Government; but, at the same time, told him as fairly, that nothing could be decisively fixed on that subject till your successor was appointed, and his wishes consulted.[Pg 165]

I enclose you a letter from Lord Clonmel, which was transmitted to me with one which I also send you a copy of. I shall merely write an answer acknowledging the receipt, and saying, that agreeably to his desire, I have transmitted it to you.

I heartily wish, that the distance of Teignmouth was not such as to put all idea of our meeting there entirely out of the question; especially as Nepean's being ill makes it still more impossible for me to leave this neighbourhood.

We have no sort of news. The French Assembly is going on with endless disputes about their Constitution; but one ought to be much more interested than I feel myself in the event of these disputes, not to be heartily tired of hearing of them. The main point appears quite secure, that they will not for many years be in a situation to molest the invaluable peace which we now enjoy.

Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.

P.S.—I had almost forgot to mention, that on hearing of the contest for Cornwall, and being informed that no time was to be lost, I took upon me to desire Camplin to write to Dale to exert himself in favour of Gregor, our candidate, having every reason to believe that you would have no other wish on the subject, than that of helping to keep out an enemy.


Holwood, Sept. 25th, 1789.
My dear Brother,

I have not yet sent to the King your letter of resignation. Pitt has, however, explained to him that you have notified to us the impossibility of your returning, and that you have only delayed the formal resignation till His Majesty shall have considered of the arrangement to be made for that Govern[Pg 166]ment. This point is not yet decided. It is indeed one of most extreme difficulty.

In consequence of Cooke's letter to Hobart, which the latter showed me, I mentioned to the King your intended recommendation of Lord L., explaining to him at the same time that you clearly understood yourself not to have made any such engagement, but that as a contrary interpretation was put upon it by Lord C., through whom the transaction passed, it seemed for the benefit of His Majesty's service that this step should be recommended. I also stated that this would necessarily bring with it the two others and perhaps a third, which I named to him at Hobart's desire. He acquiesced in the whole of this without difficulty.

Adieu, my dearest brother.
Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.

There has been an action off the coast of Finland, between what are called the Swedish and Russian army fleets. The Russians appear to have had the victory decisively, but to be so disabled by it as to be quite unable to do anything more with that fleet this year. Nothing new from France.

On the 30th of September, Lord Buckingham formally resigned. His successor, however, was not yet decided upon, and the subject occasioned much perplexity in the Cabinet. The Lieutenancy was offered to the Duke of Beaufort, who declined. The next person thought of was the Earl of Westmoreland, who accepted. "There are several points," observes Mr. Grenville, "in which Westmoreland would do perfectly: there are those in which he fails; but God knows the list to choose out of is not long."

The letter containing this intelligence announced also the death of the Duke of Chandos, who held the office of[Pg 167] Lord Steward, with an intimation that it was probable the new Lord Steward would be the Duke of Dorset. Upon receipt of this information, Lord Buckingham wrote to Mr. Grenville, expressing his desire to be appointed to the vacancy, and urging also his claims upon promotion in the peerage. He felt strongly upon this point. The personal obloquy and factious resistance he had encountered and triumphed over in his Government, appeared to him to demand some distinct and special mark of His Majesty's favour and approbation; and as this was the mode most likely to make that impression upon the public mind in Ireland which the dignity of the Crown, and his own justification in the policy he had pursued, emphatically called for, the feelings that were awakened throughout the course of the following painful correspondence may be readily conceived.


Holwood, Oct. 5th, 1789.
My dear Brother,

Your messenger brought me here, yesterday evening, your letter of the 3rd instant; but I have deferred answering it till this morning, because I wished for a little time to turn the subject of it over in my own mind, and particularly to consider whether I should communicate it to Pitt. After some deliberation with myself, I have resolved not to make this communication, because I consider the Lord Steward's staff as being, in fact, disposed of; and I feel, on that account, an unwillingness to state, even to Pitt, that you had entertained a wish to succeed to that office. I am sure I need not say, that if this idea had ever come across my mind, I should have given you the earliest intelligence in my power of the death of the Duke of Chandos; and should have endeavoured to prevent[Pg 168] any steps being taken for filling up his office, till I had heard from you. As it is, you will already have heard from me, that our intention was to offer it to the Duke of Dorset; there not being the smallest ground to imagine that the Duke of Leeds wishes to quit his present situation. This offer was accordingly made two days ago; and the Duke of Dorset has all but accepted it, desiring only to have five minutes previous conversation with Pitt. He is to come here for that purpose this morning; and I have no doubt, from the turn of his letter, that he intends to accept. Under these circumstances, you will, I am sure, approve of my saying nothing to Pitt on that part of your letter; nor do I feel it necessary to state to you all that would otherwise occur to me upon it as matter for your consideration. * * *

Ever most sincerely and affectionately yours,
W. W. G.


Whitehall, Oct. 6th, 1789.
My dear Brother,

The D. of D. has, as I imagined he would, accepted without hesitation. His wish to see Mr. Pitt appears to have been only for the purpose of stating his situation and feelings with regard to the French Embassy. The D. of B. has refused. We shall have W.'s answer to-morrow.

I send you no French news, for in fact we get none that is not more fully detailed in the papers.

Ever, my dear brother,
Most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.


Whitehall, Nov. 2nd, 1789.
My dear Brother,

I saw Mr. Pitt on Saturday evening, and explained your [Pg 169]wishes to him. He has undertaken to mention the subject to the King on Thursday (as he does not return to town till Wednesday evening), and to second it with all the eloquence of which he is possessed. He expressed himself with real friendship and zeal upon the subject; though, I am sorry to say, he appears to entertain the same apprehensions with myself as to the result. I am, however, persuaded that this opinion will not lessen his exertions for a more favourable answer, if it can be obtained. He thought it better to mention to the King, at the same time, the idea respecting the Duke of Grafton; though he seems to think it doubtful whether the Post-office will afford the means of that arrangement.

We have no news from France; the express, which generally comes on Sunday, not being yet arrived.

The insurrection has broke out in Austrian Flanders; but in a manner which seems little likely to be successful. Our accounts from thence are, however, very imperfect.

Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.


St. James's Square, Nov. 6th, 1789.
My dear Brother,

The drawing-room was so very late yesterday, that it was impossible for Pitt to go into the closet afterwards, as it was not over till past five, and the King had to go back to Windsor. This being the case, we have agreed that, in order to prevent any further delay, Pitt shall write to the King upon the subject, stating all the arguments upon it, and at the same time reserving a ground for speaking to the King upon it at the next levée, if it should be necessary. I own I am by no means sorry that the circumstance of the lateness of the drawing-room, has given a plea for having recourse to this mode, as I have always observed it to succeed best with the King. There are many things which can be much more strongly put in a letter than in conversation with him, espe[Pg 170]cially on any subject on which he is unwilling to converse; and all the points of this particular business may be more forcibly urged by being collected and stated with a reference to each other, in a manner which the King's desultory way of speaking makes almost impossible. I am persuaded, therefore, that whatever the chance is of success in this business, it is greater in this mode; especially as Pitt will still have to mention it to him on Wednesday, if his written answer is not favourable.

I would write to you oftener, or desire Bernard to do it when I cannot, on the French and Flemish news, but that I really find the papers are every morning just as good intelligencers as I could be. They will even tell you all that I can about the Duke of Orleans' mission, which is evidently only a pretence for leaving Paris, as he has not even affected to talk to the King, or his Ministers, about any business, except to ask, in general terms, what is thought of the state of the Low Countries? to which you may suppose the answer would be quite as general, even supposing that we had anything more particular to say, which we have not.

What the motive was for his leaving Paris, I know no more than by the general report which circulates there as well as here, of his having been detected in plans against the small remains of the King's authority.

Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.


St. James's Square, Nov. 7th, 1789.
My dear Brother,

I am persuaded it is unnecessary for me to say how sincerely sorry I am to be obliged to acquaint you that the King's answer to Pitt's letter of yesterday is such as to give, I am afraid, very little hope indeed of success in the business to which it relates. The King says, however, in it, that in compliance with Pitt's request he defers giving a final answer till he sees him on Wednesday, so that we cannot consider the[Pg 171] subject as closed till then; but I fairly own to you that I think there is now very little ground for expecting a favourable result. The King does not enter into the subject at all in his answer, but only refers to what has formerly passed upon it.

I heartily wish that I was the channel of more pleasing intelligence, and this the more, because though I certainly do not see this point exactly in the light in which you seemed to consider it when we conversed upon it, yet the success of it would have afforded me real satisfaction, independent even of the gratification of your wishes.

Believe me ever, my dear brother,
Most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.


St. James's Square, Nov. 9th, 1789.
My dear Brother,

I received this morning your letter, acquainting me with your determination, in the event of the King's answer on Wednesday being such as there is certainly every reason to believe it will be. You announce this as a determination in some measure taken in your own mind, and on which you do not appear to wish for my advice; and there are perhaps too many circumstances which must make such a step painful to me, to allow me to be a competent adviser on such a subject. I must therefore confine myself to expressing my very great and sincere concern both in the cause and the effect.

Your letter does not express whether any and what part of it should be communicated to Pitt. Perhaps you will think it right that he should have some previous knowledge of your resolution, if such it is, before he sees the King, but this is a point of infinitely too much delicacy for me to take upon myself to decide; and I also confess that the task of communicating it would be to my feelings so extremely painful, that I should be particularly desirous to avoid it.[Pg 172]

I have only to add my strong sense of the kindness of your expressions and wishes towards me. I hope I have deserved your affection, I am sure I have endeavoured to do so; and this business, unhappy as it is, would be a thousand times more so to me, if I could think it possible. I trust in God that it is not so, that any event of it could produce the smallest diminution of that mutual affection and confidence which has now so long subsisted between us, and to which I have felt, and shall ever feel, that I owe more than to any other circumstance of my life. In these sentiments,

Believe me ever, my dear brother,
Most truly and affectionately yours,
W. W. G.


St. James's Square, Nov. 12th, 1789.
My dear Brother,

As I understand from Pitt that he means to write to you to-day in answer to your letter, I have nothing to add to the account which he will give you of the unfavourable result of his conversation of yesterday. He mentioned to me an idea which he had of contriving to see you if possible before you took the step of resigning the Lieutenancy of the county. Perhaps if he comes down to Stowe for that purpose, it would be more agreeable to you that I should accompany him, and in that case I would certainly contrive to do so. Otherwise, I feel that you are already so fully in possession of all that I think and feel on this painful subject, that I could not wish to give you the labour of a journey to Missenden for the purpose of a conversation, which could only be a repetition of what I have already said and written. I have turned the whole question over and over again in my mind, and the result is the same with what I have already stated to you, and is founded on the same feeling: that though the object is a natural one for you to have looked to, I cannot think that the King's refusal does,[Pg 173] in any manner, call upon you for that line of conduct which you can be disposed to adopt only in the belief that you are called upon so to do. It is unnecessary for me to enlarge again on the grounds of this opinion; but in stating it, I give you my sincere and honest sentiments, freed, as far as I can free them, from the bias which they are necessarily liable to, on account of the painful impression which is made on my mind by the idea of the smallest difference in our political line.

I cannot conclude this letter without again expressing to you the heartfelt satisfaction which I derive, under these circumstances, from the sense which you entertain and express of my sincere and zealous affection.

Ever yours,
W. W. G.


St. James's Square, Nov. 28th, 1789.
My dear Brother,

I have just received your letter. Things remain hitherto on the same footing, with every appearance of doing well. All depends, however, on the ultimate arrangement of the point referred. I own I am inclined to hope better things than you seem to do. Real friendship and connection is, I agree with you, not to be hoped for; but if public appearances are preserved, and public support effectually, even though not cordially, given, all is obtained that is in any degree necessary for public objects; and the present disposition does, as far as I can judge, go the whole length of what I have now stated. It is by no means a difficult or new situation for people to act together in public business without the bond of private connection and friendship. It is indeed very rare, I believe; and what I consider as a most singular and peculiar happiness, that the contrary should exist to the degree to which it does, and it[Pg 174] would, I am afraid, be much too sanguine to entertain hopes that this should be extended to the case now in question. I will not fail to let you know as soon as anything occurs on the main point.

There is every appearance that the Flemish revolution is complete. Trautsmansdorf and the patriots are running a race for Luxemburg, where the former means to wait for succours. There are not fifteen thousand troops in the provinces, and there are above forty thousand of the patriots already armed, and the whole country with them. They collect the revenues of the country, on which they maintain their army. They flatter themselves that, allowing for the necessary requisitions for passage, &c., no effectual force can be brought to act against them till the spring; and the style of the Emperor's concessions, as well as the mode of making them, looks as if he was of the same opinion.

Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.

It was some compensation to Mr. Grenville that, in his official capacity as Secretary of State, he had the satisfaction of conveying to Lord Buckingham His Majesty's entire approval of the line of conduct his Lordship had pursued in Ireland. After expressing His Majesty's concern at the state of Lord Buckingham's health, which rendered him unable any longer to serve His Majesty in the situation of Lord-Lieutenant, the letter signifies the royal approbation of his Lordship's attachment and zeal in the discharge of the important duties of his station; adding, "and, particularly, I have His Majesty's express direction to acquaint your Lordship with the satisfaction which His Majesty has felt from your[Pg 175] attention to maintain the honour and dignity of his Crown, and to preserve the constitutional connection between his two kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland, under the interesting circumstances which were occasioned by His Majesty's late indisposition."

Feeling the delicacy of the position in which he was placed by his relationship to Lord Buckingham, in having to convey this gracious message, Mr. Grenville submitted a draught of the letter to His Majesty for his approval, before it was forwarded. Upon this draught His Majesty made the subjoined minute:

Windsor, October 17th, 1789.
Eighteen minutes past Ten o'clock.

The draught of an answer to the Marquis of Buckingham's letter of resignation meets entirely with my sentiments. If I thought any alteration necessary, it would be by more explicitly stating the allusion to his very commendable conduct, during my late calamitous illness, which would render the approbation in effect more marked.

G. R.

A retirement thus graced and dignified by the special approbation of the Sovereign, left nothing for Lord Buckingham to regret in the scene of party conflict he had quitted. It was an exchange from turmoil to peace, rendered still more acceptable to him by the expressions of regard and attachment it drew from some of the most distinguished men of his time. Well might Lord Fife congratulate him, in one of the numerous letters addressed to him at this period, on the difference he would find between Stowe and the Castle of Dublin.



The events of this year on the continent of Europe offer a striking contrast to the repose of England. While the wise and steadfast policy of Mr. Pitt had secured to this country the blessings of peace, now rapidly expanding into a condition of almost unexampled prosperity, France was undergoing the throes of that desolating Revolution which brought the Sovereign to the scaffold, and laid the train of those disasters which finally expelled the Bourbons from the throne. There are few traces of those disturbing circumstances in the correspondence of Lord Buckingham and his brother, which, in consequence of the frequent opportunities they now enjoyed of personal intercourse, had become scanty, and, so far as public affairs were concerned, unimportant. Slight scraps of intelligence, the last rumour from abroad, or matters of purely personal or domestic interest, form the staple of the letters that passed between them at this period.[Pg 177]

It was in this year that Edmund Burke, to the infinite surprise of his old allies, published his famous pamphlet on the French Revolution. The impression it made in England may be accepted as an evidence of the soundness of the national judgment, and the devotion of the people to the established institutions of the country. This healthy condition of the public mind was attributable, in a greater degree than we can venture now to estimate, to the spirit of patriotism and union awakened in the kingdom by the firm Administration of Mr. Pitt and his friends. They had restored the general confidence in the justice and stability of the Government, which the weakness and divided councils of former Cabinets had dissipated; they had struck the happy mean between the prerogatives of the Crown and the encroachments of the Legislature; and, above all, in the recent conflicts on the Regency question, they had successfully asserted the doctrine, that the rights of the Sovereign and the rights of the people were founded on a common basis; and, by showing that their interests were identical, they had reconciled those extreme elements in the Constitution which a powerful party had laboured, with great eloquence and considerable effect, to separate on the grounds of a natural antagonism. Their popularity was unbounded, and saved the country. Paine's "Age of Reason" fell innocuous upon the people; the tidings of the Revolution, and of the massacres that tracked its daily steps in blood, excited wonder and horror, but produced no frenzy of imitation such as they inspired elsewhere; and while Europe was convulsed with alarms,[Pg 178] England, strong in her liberties and self-reliance, was united and unmoved.

In Ireland, the departure of Lord Buckingham was followed by a revival of the factious intemperance his energy had for a season suppressed. The Parliament opened in disorder, and carried on its debates in a tone of vindictive hostility to the British connection. The opponents of Government had strengthened their hands by the accession of new orators, and by the occasional lapses into their old violence of others who had given in their submissions to the late Viceroy, and who, now that he was gone, affected an independence of their obligations. The Lord Chancellor Fitzgibbon was growing into increasing disfavour with the Opposition, and becoming, by the force of resistance, more English and less popular than before. The invectives in which the wild passions of party found a congenial vent, descended to the fiercest recriminations, and led to the severance of friendships, and personal rencontres. Fitzgibbon and the Ponsonbys, who had hitherto preserved unimpaired, amidst the contentions of the Senate, their intimate relations in private life, were now cast asunder by an explosion of animosity that tempted the Chancellor to declare "that he would never speak to them again;" even the close bonds that united the Ponsonbys and the Beresfords were imperceptibly relaxed; and Mr. Hobart, to use his own expression, was "obliged to fight Mr. Curran," for which he excuses himself to Lord Buckingham by saying that "in any other country in Europe he would not have met him." In no other country, undoubtedly, from a cause so absurd and unwarrantable, could the necessity[Pg 179] for such a meeting have arisen. Numerous letters from Ireland conveyed fragments of news of this kind to Lord Buckingham in his retirement, the old supporters of Administration still seeming to look up to him for encouragement and advice. But these letters are not now of sufficient interest to justify their publication.

Such, indeed, is the general character of the correspondence of the year. One letter, however, announces an incident which cannot be so satisfactorily recorded as in the language of the writer. Mr. Grenville was about to receive that recognition of his great talents and important services which few men had earned so worthily or were destined to wear more honourably and usefully. The absence of all exultation at his approaching elevation to the peerage, and his near assumption of the title by which he is best known in the history of the country, is a characteristic of that nobility of mind which conferred dignity upon, rather than derived it from, the station to which he was advanced.


St. James's Square, Nov. 22nd, 1790.
My dear Brother,

I send this by a messenger, in order to lose no time in informing you that Pitt wrote yesterday to the King, to propose the measure of my going to the House of Lords, and that he has received His Majesty's acquiescence, in terms very satisfactory to me. The delay has been occasioned by a sort of negotiation which has been pending with the Chancellor for some time past, and which there seemed a prospect of bringing to a point before the meeting. As the determination respecting[Pg 180] my peerage might possibly have been affected, one way or the other, by this negotiation, we were unwilling to decide that question finally till the last moment; but as that last moment is now arrived, it seemed, after much deliberation, better to take the step in the present situation of things, rather than to wait the issue of a business, one event of which could much have increased the difficulties of the measure itself.

Pitt is gone to-day to Windsor, to lay before the King the whole of the transaction, and to explain more fully the motives which have induced us to wish for my being removed to the House of Lords. There is no probability that this conversation will alter the full consent which the King expressed yesterday by letter. If it does not, it will be necessary that I should kiss hands on Wednesday, in order to give time, which even that will barely do, for passing my patent, &c., so as to enable me to take my seat on Friday, which is the day on which the King makes his speech, and on which the general Address will be moved in the House of Lords. We mean to fix a separate day for considering the Convention, and to have a particular Address upon it. The precise day for this is of course not yet settled.

This arrangement will necessarily occasion a delay of two or three days before the writ can be moved in the House of Commons, who do not proceed to business till the Monday, on account of swearing the Members; but this does not seem to me to be at all material, and I am persuaded that you will feel with me that it is unavoidable. The writ once moved, the election may come on upon the tenth, or at latest, the eleventh day from the Monday, so that the whole notice will not exceed a fortnight.

I reserve, till I see you, the particulars of the negotiation of which I have spoken, and of our present situation with a view to that important point. I am sorry for the delay in making the other arrangements, but you must allow something for the difficulties which always occur in bringing points of this nature to[Pg 181] bear, and for the various loads which press at such a moment as this on Pitt's time, by whose personal negotiations alone all this must be done. Pray let me know, by the return of my messenger, when I may expect you in town.

I am sorry to hear of so long a sick list. Adieu, my dear brother, and believe me

Ever most truly and affectionately yours,
W. W. G.

[Pg 182]



The first object to which the attention of Ministers was addressed at the opening of Parliament in 1791, was a measure for the further relief of the Roman Catholics. The only objection urged against it by the Opposition was that it did not go far enough. Mr. Pitt himself held the same opinion, but did not consider it expedient to act upon it.

The interest which Lord Buckingham never ceased to feel in Ireland, where this question of Catholic disabilities was a spring of constant agitation, led him to regard the subject in relation to that country with much solicitude. Agreeing in principle with Mr. Pitt, he held that the Roman Catholics should be placed on the same footing in both kingdoms; and that whatever privileges were bestowed upon them in England should also, and at the same time, be granted to them in Ireland. Mr. Hobart, who had[Pg 183] been his Lordship's secretary during his last Administration, and who was continued in that appointment by his successor, Lord Westmoreland, corresponded with him frequently on this topic; and it may be gathered from his letters that the views of the new Lord-Lieutenant were unfavourable to the demands of the Roman Catholics. In the early part of the correspondence, Mr. Hobart expresses considerable doubt about the policy of placing power in their hands, especially with reference to their admission to the bar, which had been conceded to them in England. His observations on that particular point are curious. In Ireland, he remarks, the sentiments of the lawyers have considerable weight in the discussion of political subjects, which, "whether it arises from the confident and pertinacious loquacity of gentlemen of that profession, or from the deference which is shown and felt for those in whose hands are entrusted the most interesting concerns of every family in the kingdom, and from their frequent intercourse with all parts of it, is matter of no consequence." The influence which the lawyers were thus supposed to possess, weighed strongly with Mr. Hobart as an argument against the admission of the Roman Catholics to the bar. Such a measure might be adopted with comparative safety in England, but it was likely in Ireland to be productive of increased agitation and social disorder. The perplexities of the question were evidently taking a very distinct shape at this time, and occupying no inconsiderable share of the attention of Government. In endeavouring to sift them, and to extricate something like a practical line of policy from them, Mr. Hobart was not a[Pg 184] little embarrassed by the example of England, which he could not quite make up his mind either to follow or renounce.

The English Bill has put us under no small degree of difficulty. The circumstances of the two countries, with respect to Roman Catholics, are so different, that what may be extremely advisable in the one, may be just the reverse in the other; and, therefore, for us precisely to follow your Bill, would be to adopt a principle which in its consequences might be productive of the greatest mischief. Nevertheless, if we do not go so far, the Roman Catholics of Ireland will be highly discontented; and if we go further, we shall throw too much power into their hands.

That Lord Buckingham removed Mr. Hobart's objections as to the wisdom of conformity in legislating for the Roman Catholics in both countries, is indicated in a subsequent letter; but that Mr. Hobart differed from his Lordship as to the prudence of maintaining a Government opposition between the two sects is no less apparent. Lord Buckingham's influence in moderating Mr. Hobart's opinions on other points is frankly admitted. Mr. Hobart gave up his objections to admitting the Catholics to the bar, or even to the army or navy, if England should think fit to set the example; but civil offices, or the elective franchise, he still considered highly dangerous.

My opinion, I speak with great deference, does not concur with yours, as to the little importance of supporting the Protestants against the Catholics; it is, in my mind, the link which binds the two countries: break that, and you endanger the connection. Every means should be exerted to prevent the[Pg 185] struggle taking place; and, therefore, every indulgence that with any degree of safety can be given to the Roman Catholics, and more particularly at this time, ought to be extended to them. Notwithstanding a variety of objections, I cannot help thinking that the safest principle for the Parliament of Ireland to adopt, is, that of following England upon all questions relative to Roman Catholics; but it is of the utmost consequence, that the Government of England should accede to no measure upon that subject, without a due consideration of its effect in Ireland, and fairly weigh the benefits to be attained in the one country, against the disadvantages that may arise in the other.

The example of England, if adopted as a principle, may be extremely useful as a means of resisting inconvenient pretensions urged here; for, whether avowedly adopted or not, it will always be made use of by the Roman Catholics when they have anything to gain by it; and ultimately they must be successful upon that ground. I would therefore admit them to the bar; and if England opens the army and navy to them, it should follow of course here; but admission to civil offices, or anything that led to voting for Members of Parliament, or sitting in either House, would, I conceive, be highly dangerous in this country; because I am a friend to the Protestant ascendancy, and that can be maintained only through the medium of a Protestant Parliament, aided by a profitable encouragement to those who profess that faith.

The times are growing so enlightened, or so depraved, that a man need not live very long, to have a chance of seeing all religious distinctions abolished; but so long as things remain in their present state, I am strongly impressed with the idea, that the connection between England and Ireland in a great degree depends upon the maintenance of the Protestant ascendancy. It is the principle which attaches the Parliament of Ireland to Great Britain; it is the security for the property[Pg 186] of those whose influence gives them power in this country; it is the strength of English government in Ireland. If ever the Roman Catholics should acquire power enough to render the prospect of regaining their properties sufficiently promising for the attempt, they must begin by the destruction of English government. I do therefore consider it indispensably necessary to give every degree of influence to the Protestant interest; but that would be as a drop of water to the sea, unless that interest was supported by the power of England. But as I do not believe John Bull would much like to expend his money in a struggle between the Protestants and Roman Catholics of Ireland, merely on a crusade principle, I would not have him called upon in a case wherein the ground to be maintained was not similar to that which had been sanctioned by the British Parliament, and might therefore, in a certain degree, be considered as the cause of the empire.

You desire me to turn my thoughts to a permanent system. The only permanent, practicable system that I can discover, is, that there should at all times be a perfect understanding and concurrence between the Governments of the two countries upon this subject; that no step affecting the Catholics should be taken in England without a minute attention to Ireland; and that the people of that persuasion should be on the same footing in the two countries.

The entire passage may be accepted as an epitome of the principle on which Lord Westmoreland's Administration in Ireland was conducted; and this authentic exposition of it is invested with some claim to historical importance.

A letter from Lord Grenville in the beginning of the session refers to certain new arrangements which were in progress in the Cabinet, but which did not materially affect its constitution.[Pg 187]


St. James's Square, Feb. 4th, 1791.
My dear Brother,

I should have written to you before on the subject of the arrangements, if I had been able to say anything satisfactory or decisive to you about them. But I think it right to mention to you the state of the business, in order that you may know exactly how it stands. An unexpected difficulty has arisen where we least looked for it, on the part of Lord Hawkesbury, who has declined exchanging the Duchy for the Mint, although he has been distinctly told that the Cabinet is to be given him with the latter, and not with the former. Whether he is playing any game in this we are unable to discover, but such is the answer which he has given, after having taken time to consider of it. This, as you see, at once stops the whole business in limine, unless some solution can be found for the difficulty; and I must confess I do not now see what solution there is for it. It was not till two days ago that this great man gave his answer, and therefore it is still, I think, by no means impossible that his stomach may come down when he sees Pitt determined to abide by this as a condition of the other, which there is indeed no temptation to grant him without it. On the whole it may be only a piece of magnificence, in order to give to his admission to the Cabinet the appearance of a favour done by him, instead of one received. But of all this you are as well able to judge as ourselves, and none of us have anything to go upon but conjecture. A few days may probably enable us to form a better judgment, and for that we must wait.

It is, I am sure, unnecessary for me to say how much this unexpected difficulty has hurt both Pitt and myself. I am racking my brains to find a remedy for it, and shall be truly happy if any such should occur either to you or to us.

[Pg 188]

The accounts of our dear Catherine are now such as I hope to put all idea of present danger out of the question; but it has been a most alarming attack, and I fear is only the earnest of much suffering and frequent illness from the same cause, the existence of which seems now to be but too clearly ascertained.

Everybody in London has been ill. I have not escaped my usual cold, but am now getting well. I rejoice in the satisfactory account which the Bulkeleys give of you.

Ever, my dear brother,
Most affectionately yours,

They have suddenly stirred in Ireland a question about spirits, beer, &c., which they seem to understand no more of than I do, who have had no opportunity of learning anything about it. Lord W., in one of his private letters, mentions some plan of yours about hops, and I think I recollect something passing between us on the subject, but have no trace what it was. I have a clerkship vacant in my office: can it be made useful to any object of yours?

You probably know also that Selwyn's death gives me the disposal of his office in Barbadoes, of between £100 and £500 per annum, but it can be held only by a resident. I feel myself bound, in the first instance, to offer to Nepean, who is killing himself by his labour here, to give it to any proper person who will vacate anything for it here. If that fails, you know I have no other idea of patronage than that of consulting your wishes, or serving our joint objects.

A little stray light is thrown upon this question of spirits and beer in Ireland by Mr. Hobart in a letter to Lord Buckingham. The great evil which demoralized the Irish, including, it appears, even the country gentlemen, was[Pg 189] whiskey-drinking; and with a view to diminish it, if possible, the Irish Government brought in a Bill, putting a heavy duty on spirits, and liberating beer, hoping that the measure would act as a prohibition in the one case, and as an encouragement in the other.

Sobering the people of Ireland, I look upon to be an impracticable undertaking; but the abominable use of whiskey, rendered it necessary that Government should endeavour to do something which might tend in some degree to check the evil. Meeting and reconciling all the difficulties you have adverted to, I cannot flatter myself has been accomplished; but we have struggled against them as well as we could, and by not attempting too much, perhaps we shall effect something. I enclose a paper, showing what will be the state of the duties when the Bill passes; in addition to which, we take all restrictions off the brewery, leaving the brewers at liberty to sell at their own price, and to brew as they please. We have also some hopes from regulations, to which we are encouraged by the general outcry against whiskey, and assurances that country gentlemen will violate their natures, and assist in carrying the laws into execution. I must acknowledge that I am not very sanguine upon the subject; but the magnitude of the grievance called for the interposition of the legislature—et librari animum meum.

The subject of the following letter, although, from its nature, cautiously expressed, may be inferred from the allusion it contains to the Duke of Leeds, who held the office of Secretary of State. His Grace was on the eve of relinquishing the Seals, but, for reasons of his own, or, perhaps, to avoid embarrassing the Ministry, he desired his intentions to be kept secret. Having imposed this[Pg 190] obligation on others, he seems to have violated it himself, and thus his approaching retirement became known to Lord Buckingham before his Lordship received any intimation of it from Lord Grenville. The silence of his habitual and confidential correspondent on a point of so much interest disturbed Lord Buckingham's sensibility; but it will be felt that Lord Grenville's vindication is conclusive.


Holwood, April 26th, 1791.
My dear Brother,

I should certainly be much to blame if I were insensible to the kindness of your last letter, though written under an impression, in the justice of which I should be very sorry indeed to acquiesce. I have little time for justifications on that subject, but my anxiety to remove such an impression makes me say that I am not conscious to myself of any want of that confidence towards you, which our friendship demands, and which I wish to be reciprocal. But that I neither ask of you, nor can think that you require from me, the breach of actual or even of implied engagements to others, not to divulge points in which they are concerned. A strict observance of such engagements is surely the condition of all honourable intercourse in society, and a duty from which no degree of confidence, friendship, or affection towards a third person, can absolve one. With respect to this particular case of the Duke of L., I am sure your own reflections will not suffer you to impute blame to me, if after having required from those with whom he was acting an engagement of secrecy, which he had a right to demand from them, his own levity, or any other reason, induced him to divulge his own secret. Ask yourself, and I will leave the subject there, whether[Pg 191] you had rather have known this event, as has been now the case, a day or two later than you might otherwise have done, or have been the occasion of my doing an act which my own mind would have reproached me with as dishonourable in itself, and in this particular instance a breach of a positive promise which I had given.

Surely if I am deserving of your confidence, or any man's, it can only be so long as I feel the nature of such confidence, and fulfil the obligations which it imposes upon me, even where the violation of them might be of real advantage to you, much more where it could have answered no one purpose of utility, or even of gratification. All I can add is, that if I see this subject in too serious a light, or entertain ideas too strict with respect to it, my impressions upon it are at least those of serious reflection; and that they are the same which direct my conduct towards the few other persons who have a right, and none has so much right as yourself, to affection and confidence from me.

I have anticipated your advice, and taken refuge here. I feel already the advantage of air, and of rather more exercise than I have been able lately to allow myself. I am sorry if my former letter bore the appearance of depression, but you know that my mind has not been at ease on other subjects, and will therefore allow for the effect of the weight of fresh labour and anxiety suddenly thrown upon me.

Ever, my dear brother,
Most truly and affectionately yours,

The Duke of Leeds resigned on the 8th of June, and was succeeded by Mr. Dundas.

At this moment, not England alone, but all Europe, was engrossed by the strange drama that was going forward in Paris. The first piece of intelligence that arrived was an[Pg 192] announcement that the King and the royal family had effected their escape at night from the Tuileries by a subterranean passage leading to the Seine; and, as it afterwards appeared, that His Majesty had left behind him a paper formally revoking, on the grounds of compulsion, the oaths and declarations to which he had been forced to subscribe. Lord Grenville conveyed the startling news, just as it had reached him, in a hasty note to Lord Buckingham.


St. James's Square, June 25th, 1791.
My dear Brother,

The enclosed, which I received this morning from Lord Gower, will inform you of the very unexpected event which has happened at Paris. As the messenger came through Calais, he heard a report, which was circulated with much confidence, that the King, &c., had been stopped at a place which he calls Quinault, and which I guess to be Quenoy in the Cambresis, if, indeed, there is any foundation at all for the story. Montmorin is to write to Lucerne, to make a communication here from the National Assembly, of their intention to maintain peace with other countries. We have, of course, not had time to consider what answer to give, or what steps to take.

One of the French papers contains an account of a party of travellers passing through Senlis about four or five in the same morning, which evidently appears to have been the King and his suite. This account was read at the Assembly; and confirms the idea of their having taken the route of the Netherlands.

You will have the goodness to communicate this letter and its enclosure, to Lord Camelford.

Ever most affectionately yours,

[Pg 193]

Tell me what Lord Camelford and you think we ought to do; as it is very possible we may not have taken our determination before I can receive your answer.

The story was, of course, doubted at first. But it turned out to be true in every particular except the name of the place, which was Varennes. The royal fugitives were seized on the 22nd of June, and carried back to Paris to be confronted with the Provisional Executive Council that had been established as soon as their flight was known.


St. James's Square, June 26th, 1791.
My dear Brother,

The King and Queen of France were stopped at Varennes, a small town between St. Menchond and Luxemburg. The post-master at St. Menchond, suspected them to be aristocrats making their escape, and followed the carriage. Seeing it strike out from the great road, to Verdun, he got before them by another road, to Varennes, and gave the alarm. When they arrived, the National Guard was already drawn out; and they were forced to stop, and go into the inn. There they were known by a man of the town. They were prevailed upon, without much resistance, as it appears, on their part, to turn their horses' heads, and to go back to Chalons, where they slept that night. They were to sleep at Epernay the Thursday night; and were expected in Paris, Friday, or more probably, Saturday. Commissioners have been named by the Assembly, at the head of whom is Barnave, to protect their return to Paris. The proclamation, or manifesto, left behind him, by the King is curious, and in some parts well drawn. I hope to be able to send it you by to-morrow's post. Paris had remained pretty quiet; but there was some[Pg 194] disposition in the Poissardes and Faubourg St. Antoine to assemble, in order to manifest their joy. Bouillé appears to have been in the plot, and is suspended from his command by the Assembly, who have also given orders to arrest him; but I suppose he is too wise to suffer himself to fall into their hands.

Monsieur and Madame are safely arrived at Mons; so that if the King had taken that route, he might probably have escaped. I feel sincerely for him; and still more for the Queen, who, I imagine, must expect to suffer much.

Ever most affectionately yours,


St. James's Square, June 29th, 1791.
My dear Brother,

Lord Gower's courier arrived this morning, with an account of the King and Queen being brought back to Paris. Everything passed with a black and sullen silence; no mark of respect whatever was allowed to be shown them. Biron and Lafayette were in the carriage with them. The mob followed the carriage into the garden of Tuileries; and on alighting, these wretched captives heard every species of abuse and insult, that even a Paris mob is capable of.

They talk of sending the Queen to the Convent of Val de Grace for the present; and the report is, they mean to try her. The King is to undergo an interrogatory on Tuesday; and on the result of that, it is supposed he is to be deposed, and the Dauphin declared King, with a Council of Regency. These, as you will see, are all reports; but the melancholy certainty is, that neither in Paris, nor in any part of the country which we have heard of, does there seem the least disposition to pity, and much less to assist them.

We have the bad news, that the Austrian Plenipotentiaries[Pg 195] have left Sistovo; but, as they express it, without breaking up the Congress. The armistice is not renewed; but it seems as if it would be continued by a sort of tacit consent. You will have seen in the papers the further demands made by the Emperor, on which the business has stopped.

Ever yours,

The Queen's behaviour is said to have been admirable.

Early in this year, Ministers had moved and carried an Address from His Majesty, reporting the failure of his negotiations to bring about a peace between Russia and Turkey, and desiring to augment his naval forces for the sake of giving more weight to his interposition. This Address was vehemently, but unsuccessfully, opposed in both Houses, on the ground that such a course was calculated to lead to hostilities, and plunge the nation into an unnecessary expenditure. Advantage was taken of the occasion to make it appear that Mr. Pitt wanted to involve the country in the war, and that his policy was essentially injurious to the industry and material welfare of the people. The following interesting passage from a letter of Lord Grenville's, dated the 17th of August, not only disproves the imputation, but shows how anxious Ministers were to secure peace, how much they were relieved and gratified by its accomplishment, and to what a height of prosperity they had succeeded in bringing the commerce and revenue of the kingdom.

We received this morning the account that the negotiations at Sistovo are at last satisfactorily concluded. A definitive[Pg 196] treaty of peace, on the grounds of the status quo strict, was to be signed on the 4th of this month, under the mediation of the Allies; and at the same time a separate Act, by which the Austrians and Turks treat as powers between whom peace is already concluded (and consequently without mediation) for some such arrangements of frontier, and the settlement of a dispute about Old Orsova, which town is to remain in the hands of Austria. You may suppose this event gives me no small satisfaction; and I hope I shall now begin to breathe a little, which I have hardly done since April last. You can hardly form to yourself an idea of the labour I have gone through; but I am repaid by the maintenance of peace, which is all this country has to desire. We shall now, I hope, for a very long period indeed enjoy this blessing, and cultivate a situation of prosperity unexampled in our history. The state of our commerce, our revenue, and, above all, that of our public funds, is such as to hold out ideas which but a few years ago would indeed have appeared visionary, and which there is now every hope of realizing.

The next letter refers to a matter of personal interest. A Rangership had fallen vacant by the death of Lord Orford, and it appeared desirable to Lord Grenville to effect an exchange between that office and the reversion he held of the Chief Remembrancership in Ireland. Upon all questions of this nature, as indeed on all questions that directly affected himself and his own objects, Lord Grenville was always reluctant to decide until he had first consulted Lord Buckingham, in whose judgment and affection he reposed unbounded confidence.[Pg 197]


St. James's Square, Dec. 7th, 1791.
My dear Brother,

I mentioned to you last week, that there was a subject I wished to talk with you about; but as my getting down to Stowe seems to grow every day more and more uncertain, and as the subject in question is now brought to a point, I am obliged to write to you upon it; though I cannot so easily say all I wish upon it in this manner. It is, shortly, to ask your advice whether, in consequence of Lord Orford's death, I should not exchange my reversion of Lord Cl.'s office, for the immediate appointment to the Rangership, which I apprehend it is clearly in the King's power to grant for life. The different reasons, pro and con, will as readily suggest themselves to you as to me. The great points to be gained by the exchange are, first, the certainty of some provision, instead of an expectancy, which I may never live to enjoy; and what is still more than that, the great advantage of having that provision in this country, instead of looking for it in Ireland, subject to the chance of what injustice party may be able to do in Ireland, which they could not do here, and subject, also, to the general chance of troubles in that country, which I fear are too probable. Against this, is to be set some difference (as I believe) in the value of the two offices, though I have not yet been able to ascertain it; and the degree of invidiousness and clamour which my receiving any new favour (for such this would undoubtedly be considered) would be subject to, especially at a moment when Government are rather under difficulties, and when I must expect so many competitors, for a thing in many respects so desirable.

The impression of my own mind is, I confess, very strongly for taking the step. Pitt is entirely ready to acquiesce in what I judge best, though I can see he is, to a certain degree, alarmed at the impression it may make. The thing has been[Pg 198] generally opened to the King as a possible arrangement, in order to prevent his entering into any other engagements. I cannot describe the real kindness of manner and expression with which he assured me of his readiness to do in it whatever I wished. It rests, therefore, with myself to decide; and although I have, as you see, a strong bias in favour of the step, I do not feel confident enough of my own opinion not to be very desirous of knowing yours. I fairly own to you, that if I was in the same situation as I was a year and a half ago, I should be inclined to let this go by me, and to run my chance for some better opportunity. But I certainly feel that after the conduct which Lord C. has observed towards me on the subject of money, I am (even as with respect to him) hardly as much at liberty as I was to consult my own feelings, supposing that it were possible for me to put out of the question another consideration a good deal more interesting to me.

If the thing is to be done, "then 'twere well it were done quickly," in order to prevent applications from different people, every one of whom might feel, to a degree, offended by the preference, if his wishes were known. You will conceive, therefore, for this reason, and from the anxiety of the suspense, how glad I shall be to hear from you soon, as your affection is the only quarter to which I can look for advice, founded on a view and knowledge of my real situation. I hinted the thing generally to Tom before he left town, but the unfortunate difference of politics makes it impossible for me to talk over with him freely and fully that part of the subject, which is a material one. He is getting well very rapidly.

I have heard from Lord C. from Rome. He gives a very good account of the health of the whole party. He had received letters from his son and Mudge, which he tells me are all he could wish. He desires to be remembered to you.

Adieu, my dear brother,
Ever most affectionately yours,

[Pg 199]



Notwithstanding the vast expenditure to which the country had been recently exposed, the Budget, at the opening of Parliament in 1792, more than realized the anticipations of Lord Grenville. The statement laid before the House of Commons by Mr. Pitt was a complete answer to the apprehensions of the timid, and the taunts of the Opposition. There was a clear surplus of £900,000 in the month of January, after paying the interest of the National Debt, the annual million devoted to its extinction, the Civil List, the naval and military establishments, and all other items of current outlay. Upon this basis of unexampled prosperity the Minister proposed to remit a large amount of taxation, and to apply a further sum towards the extinction of the National Debt. He did not regard this surplus as a temporary or transient incident,[Pg 200] but as the genuine and natural result of regular and permanent causes. In the existing state of the continent, it was impossible to calculate with certainty upon the future, and Mr. Pitt, even in this solid condition of the national finances, was careful not to indulge in hopes of too sanguine a character, which a sudden turn of events, beyond the control of English influence, might frustrate and disappoint. His language was explicit as to his confidence in the present, but guarded as to his views of the future. "On the continuance of our present prosperity," he observed, "it is indeed impossible to count with certainty; but unquestionably, there never was a time when, from the situation of Europe, we might more reasonably expect a durable peace than at the present moment." The subsequent course of European politics, unfortunately, did not bear out this expectation; but at the moment when it was uttered, the lull that had set in on the continent, and the flourishing state of our own trade and commerce, abundantly justified the statement of the Minister. Some additional reliance on the stability of our prospects might also have been drawn from the fact that the destinies of England were never in abler hands than those to whom they were confided in 1792, with Mr. Pitt at the Treasury and Lord Grenville at the Foreign Office.

Parliament met on the 31st of January. The Speech from the Throne announced the conclusion of the treaty between Austria and the Ottoman Porte, and the agreement to preliminaries between the latter and Russia. The maintenance of peace was regarded, under the circumstances, as so certain that His Majesty was induced to recommend for[Pg 201] the consideration of Parliament an immediate reduction of the naval and military establishments. The following letters, written before the opening of Parliament, touch slightly on these affairs.


St. James's Square, Jan. 6th, 1792.
My dear Brother,

My present idea on the subject of your last letter entirely agrees with yours, and I wait only till the great bear returns to this hemisphere to put it in execution roundly, and without reserve. The only thing that restrains me is the extreme importance that I feel it is of to my honour not to involve any other persons, and still less a whole system of Government, in a personal contest, which I am obliged to maintain (being embarked in it) for a personal object. The mode of doing this is not without much difficulty, and it is the only difficulty I feel on the subject.

Before I do anything decisive, I will certainly contrive in some manner to talk it over with you, but till I know the precise time of his return my motions are of course suspended. The moment I am able I will write to you again.

The solution of the French enigma which you state is, that it is a war of bullying on both sides, the two parties being equally afraid of each other. In the meantime there certainly are some in France who wish the war, but very many more who fear it, and the ruin of their finances is approaching with very rapid strides indeed. What a contrast we shall make with them, when I come to state to you the particulars, about which I am now little less sanguine than I was at Weymouth.

Ever most affectionately yours,

[Pg 202]


St. James's Square, Jan. 17th, 1792.
My dear Brother,

Nothing more has passed on the subject, but a day or two will now probably bring it to a point, as Dundas is to see him, and put the question to him, yes or no, either to-morrow or Thursday. This is not to be done with any message from me, a point which I have thought it indispensably necessary to stipulate, in order that I might not have to reproach myself with anything like personal solicitation to him on such a point. I feel this so material, that I have made a pretext of going to take possession of my castle on Thursday, in order to be completely out of the way of all negotiation upon the subject. Pitt comes to me on Saturday, and brings me the answer on which my future conduct must depend. I shall remain there, if possible, till the Friday or Saturday following. It would be very little out of your way to make it your run on Tuesday, when you would certainly find me there, and I need not say that I should, in any case, be extremely glad to see you there; but more particularly if any further step is to be taken about this business, in which I do not well see my way, because I hardly see how I can take that line which my own situation personally seems so loudly to demand, without involving more than I should like to do of public consequences. If I alone were concerned, my line would be very soon taken.

Ever, my dear brother,
Most affectionately yours,

Everything looks like peace on the side of France.

A letter from Mr. Hobart gives a sketch of the state of Ireland at this time. The English Bill of toleration had[Pg 203] produced a ferment in the country, and the war of religious animosity was assuming a more violent aspect every day.


Dublin Castle, Jan. 30th, 1792.
My dear Lord,

The multiplicity of business, both public and private, in which I have been engaged since I left Stowe, must plead my excuse for having so long postponed writing to your Lordship. I cannot, however, delay thanking you for the communication you have made through Mornington on the subject of my marriage—a subject I should not have been silent upon when I had the pleasure of seeing you, had I not predetermined the case, and therefore was not open to advice. I flatter myself you will be happy to hear that I have received a most friendly and liberal letter from the Earl of Bucks upon the occasion, and have experienced every attention and kindness from all my friends, and a marked civility from all persons here on both sides of the question.

You can have little idea of the ferment that has been raised on the subject of Catholics. When I saw you, I talked of existing prejudices, which would ever render it no easy task to carry the English concessions. I little thought that the minds of the Protestants could be so inflamed, as a variety of circumstances (but principally the industry of Mr. R. Burke) has inflamed them. He has endeavoured, and with too much success, to persuade the Catholics that British Government were determined to compel the Irish Administration, and through them the Parliament of Ireland, to open the franchise to the Catholics; that therefore, if they persevered in the assertion of their claims, they could not fail of carrying their point. The alarm and indignation that this created amongst the Protestants was such as I will not venture to describe; but[Pg 204] you may be assured that any Irish Government that countenanced such a measure could not stand twenty-four hours afterwards, if the Parliament was sitting. So far from the Protestants being likely to be terrified into compliance, they instantly became desperate at the very idea of it. The cry was, "Let us bring it at once to an issue. If England will not protect us, the sooner we know it the better: anything is preferable to the horrid state of suspense we are now reduced to; at all events, we must resist every concession. Let us not make the Catholics stronger, the better to enable them to annihilate us at a future day. The Protestants must unite for their own protection; and although Mr. Pitt's Government will not defend us, possibly the weight of all the Parliamentary power of Ireland thrown into the scale of English Opposition may force them into office, and they may be more disposed to favour us than the present Administration."

These ideas were rankling in every man's mind when the Parliament met, and it is with the utmost difficulty that we have been able to remove them. I cannot paint more strongly to you the real situation of the feelings of the House of Commons, than by telling you, that a declaration from me upon my legs, "that it was the determination of the Government of both countries to maintain the Protestant establishment, and to resist any attempts by force or intimidation that might be made to subvert it," afforded a degree of consolation which, not having witnessed, you can hardly credit, so great was the apprehension upon the subject.

The newspapers will have informed you of our proceedings upon that day; I shall, therefore, only add that I am still doubtful of the event of the Bill, but am inclined to believe we shall carry it. I hear that, if the Ponsonbys are satisfied that there will be a majority in favour of it, they will concur; if they think they can throw it out, they will [Pg 205]oppose. Should we carry the Bill, the gentlemen of the Roman Catholics will be highly gratified, and the rabble bullied—both circumstances which will tend very much to the future quiet of the country.

I am informed that Mr. R. Burke and his employers have quarrelled, and that Ireland may soon hope to be relieved from his gracious superintendence. I am sure I heartily wish it, for he has contrived, by his impudence, folly, and misrepresentations, to awake animosities between the Protestants and Catholics that had slept for fifty years, and that a reasonable man might have hoped would have slept for ever. I see no ground to apprehend tumult of any kind. The Catholics, I think, dare not stir; and the United Irishmen, with Napper Tandy at their head, are sinking into nothing. Napper, and indeed his friend Grattan, have totally lost their influence in the Corporation.

The Duke of Leinster had committed himself very far indeed upon the subject of franchise, and is now retreating through his Corporation of Athy, who have addressed their representatives, Colonel Arthur Ormsby and Mr. Falkiner, to support the Protestant ascendancy.

I am told that the northern people do not much object to our Bill. Any one step further would have been totally impracticable, and would have produced a confusion that no man could have foreseen the consequence of.

My best compliments to Lady Buckingham.

Believe me ever, my dear Lord, with every respect and gratitude, affectionately yours,

R. Hobart.

Amidst the arrivals of foreign news, which every day created new excitements in the political circles, a movement was beginning to be felt in the Cabinet which was shortly to produce an important change in the Adminis[Pg 206]tration. The eccentricities of the Chancellor had on several occasions given much uneasiness to Ministers. He seemed to move in an orbit of his own, independently of his colleagues; while the influence he exercised over the King's mind, and his repulsive bearing, made all approaches to him difficult and hazardous. The first consideration, when an unexpected question sprung up, was to ascertain what view Thurlow was likely to take of it; and it was sometimes as necessary to conciliate him and to wait upon his moods, as if he had been a powerful, but doubtful supporter, instead of a member of the Government. "We may do with, but cannot do without him," appears to have been the general feeling in reference to him; and it was only by the most skilful management that Mr. Pitt averted those dissensions in the Cabinet which his strange line of conduct had so palpable a tendency to provoke. At last the Chancellor committed himself openly to a hostile vote upon a vital measure, and left it no longer possible for the Minister to palliate their differences by private negotiations. The character and dignity of the Administration was at stake, and there was but one alternative left. The extremity to which matters were thus reduced is glanced at hesitatingly by Lord Grenville. The commentary which he did not think it right to make at such a moment may now, however, be supplied. The vote of Lord Thurlow placed the Cabinet in this position, that it remained for the King to choose between them. Mr. Pitt was prepared to resign, if the decisive advice he tendered to His Majesty was not immediately acted upon.[Pg 207]


St. James's Square, May 15th, 1792.
My dear Brother,

I have the happiness of being able to send you an account of the capture of Seringapatam. The news is brought by a letter from a Dr. Abercromby, who was sent with Lord Cornwallis's despatches, in the 'Vestal.' He put this letter on board another vessel in the Channel, and it comes by express from Bristol.

A decisive action took place about the 6th of January, at a village near Seringapatam. Tippoo's army was entirely routed, and a few days after the place surrendered. Tippoo is said to have been wounded in the action, and carried to the hill-fort: this is all we know. If the "Gazette" is out in time, Goddard will send it you.

The Duke of P. and his friends have declined being at the Council. We mean, nevertheless, to take the step, and to propose Addresses in both Houses of Parliament. It seems impossible for them not to support us there, but it is at least right to bring it to a point. When the day is fixed for the motion in the House of Lords I will let you know it, as I think you will wish to be present, and probably may be desirous of expressing your opinion. I consider the Duke of P.'s refusal as an additional proof of the decisive influence Fox possesses over their minds when he chooses to exert it.

You will have seen that the Chancellor opposed the National Debt Bill yesterday by surprise, and had nearly beat us. What this may lead to, I do not yet know; but as at present advised, I think the consequences must be decisive on his situation or ours. But it requires some reflection, and some management in the quarter that you know.

Ever, my dear brother,
Most affectionately yours,

[Pg 208]

The "quarter" alluded to had the courage to decide not only wisely but promptly, and Thurlow was peremptorily called upon to resign.


St. James's Square, May 18th, 1792.
My dear Brother,

The King has charged Dundas with a message to the Chancellor, stating the necessity he was under of making his option, and therefore requiring him to give up the Seals, leaving the time to his choice. The Chancellor is to see the King to-day, and after that the thing will, I imagine, be immediately announced, though I hardly think it can take place till the end of the session. Our present idea is to put the Seals in Commission, with Eyre at the head, which (with the vacation) will give time for future arrangements. It is impossible as yet to guess at the success of those arrangements, but I imagine they would unquestionably be much facilitated by the sacrifice you so generously offer. I have not, however, thought myself at liberty to make any use of what you say on that subject, nor will I, as I think that if you make up your mind to so very handsome an offer, you ought at least to have the merit with Pitt of announcing it to him, instead of its having the appearance of passing in any manner through me.

We shall, I believe, issue the proclamation to-day or to-morrow at latest, and Friday is, I think, the most likely day for the Address in the House of Lords; but you shall hear further from me. I say nothing of that part of the Indian news which is true, as you will already have seen it in all the papers.

The King has conducted himself towards Pitt in this unpleasant situation in a manner the most handsome possible, and such as must leave a lasting impression in our minds. I[Pg 209] do not look without some uneasiness at the increase of personal labour of all sorts which this will bring upon me; mais le vin est tiré.

Ever most affectionately yours,


St. James's Square, June 13th, 1792.
My dearest Brother,

I know you share the happiness I feel, in learning that my travellers were to be at Brussels in the course of last week, and did not purpose making more than four or five days' stay there, so that I may reasonably expect them here from day to day. I am rejoiced that my holidays have begun before they are arrived. We prorogue on Friday, and have finished all our business to-day, which is a great load off my shoulders. The Chancellor is to give up the Seals immediately, and they will be put into Commission with Eyre, Buller, and Wilson, as I imagine, though the names are not yet quite settled. We shall have the summer to look about us; and I feel no great uneasiness even at the thoughts of meeting them again precisely as we are, if that should be the case.

There is no news of any sort, except the continuance of the French follies, which you read day by day in their papers, as fully, and indeed often much more so, than I could detail them. There have been some great failures at Bordeaux, and some at Paris, which makes those few of our merchants who are concerned with them look about them a little.

Our Addresses are going on swimmingly, and it will, I think, soon be time for the loyal county of B. to show itself. They expect a dust in Surrey, which my good Lord Onslow does not seem to have quite wit enough to lay.

Ever most affectionately yours,

[Pg 210]

Two days after the date of this letter, Parliament was prorogued, and the Chancellor sent in his resignation.

The events that were taking place in France had recently awakened in England a spirit of sympathy amongst the lower classes, which it was apprehended might lead to disastrous consequences, if strong measures were not adopted for its suppression. Several associations were established in London and elsewhere to give practical effect to the democratic and revolutionary doctrines of the day, under such titles as the Corresponding Society, the Revolution Society, and the Society for Constitutional Information; and some of them carried their views so far as to transmit congratulatory addresses to the National Assembly. The Government, seeing the peril that was impending over the country, took immediate measures for the suppression of seditious correspondence abroad, and revolutionary publications at home. A proclamation embodying these objects was laid before Parliament towards the end of May, and carried without a division, notwithstanding a violent opposition from Mr. Grey and others, who had formed themselves into a Society called "The Friends of the People," for the ostensible purpose of appeasing the discontents, by obtaining a reform in the representation.

Immediately after the prorogation of Parliament, meetings were held all over the country, to testify to the King the loyalty and gratitude of the population, and to return thanks to His Majesty for the activity and decision with which the dangers of the crisis had been met. In the course[Pg 211] of two or three months, the number of addresses that were voted at these meetings and presented to the King amounted to three hundred and forty-one.

It is to these circumstances Lord Grenville alludes in the closing paragraph of the last letter. In the next communication he urges Lord Buckingham to move the Address in his own county; and in the letters that follow he touches upon the progress of the sanguinary drama that was then enacting in Paris. The domestic allusions refer to his approaching marriage.


St. James's Square, June 21st, 1792.
My dearest Brother,

Although I have as yet no tidings of my travellers, I feel so confident of their being here before the day fixed for the Address, that I think I run no risk in promising to be there at all events. I have, however, no idea that the noble Marquis will give us the meeting; though I will own to you, there are few things which I should like better. I think the Address perfectly unexceptionable as it now stands; but I should wish to add a sentence somewhere, expressing the satisfaction and concurrence of the county in the sentiments expressed by Parliament on this subject, because I think it may not be indifferent to future debates, to have to quote expressions of this sort, in order to show that, on a great occasion like this, the sense of the people was immediately and completely expressed by Parliament. I enclose you the Devonshire Address, which Fortescue sent me. It was drawn by him; and I think singularly well put together.

It appears to me, that you ought certainly to move the Address yourself; this not being a case where the common[Pg 212] objections apply, but rather the contrary. In that case, perhaps, some person of higher rank ought to second than Drake, Duke of Portland, or Lord Chesterfield, or Lord Inchiquin, or Lord Hampden. If, however, you have actually applied to him, it must be managed as well as it can.

Do you advertize the meeting in the London papers? I think you ought to write to Lord Chesterfield. When you return me the Address, I will put it into Tom's hands for the Duke of Portland. I think this meeting ought by no means to supersede the idea of the Grand Jury presentment. If you still think that right, I will contrive that Lord Loughborough, who goes your circuit, shall have a hint to prepare the way for it by his charge. You will, of course, be very civil to him. Whether it will come to anything I have not; but there is reason enough to be civil to him, as I will explain when we meet.

The Berlin news is nothing more than the common story of a squabble between Mistress and Favourite, in which, contrary to custom, Favourite has this time got the better of Mistress. As far as it goes, it is unfavourable to the Jacobins; for the whole project of French interference is Bishopwerder's; and the crime imputed to the other, is a leaning towards the democrats.

I need not tell you how much I feel the kindness of what you say about my domestic concerns, and the near approach of my prospects. I am sure you do me the justice to think that I am not insensible of all your affection to me on that subject, as, indeed, on every other. Till they arrive, I can form no guess of their plans, nor, consequently, of my own; but, as I shall certainly see you so soon, either here or at Aylesbury, we shall be able to talk about it; and, till then, I think you had better not write to Lord C. on the subject of Stowe, for a reason which you perhaps guess.

Ever most affectionately yours,

[Pg 213]


St. James's Square, June 25th, 1792.
My dearest Brother,

Having been out of town Saturday and Sunday, I did not get the East India news time enough to write to you. The newspapers contain all we know or have received. There is no doubt of the authenticity of the "Bombay Gazette," the original of which is received. But it seems very odd how the news should first reach Bombay through the Nizam's Durbar. On the whole, however, I see no sufficient ground to disbelieve it; and, if true, it is as good as the most sanguine wishes could have desired.

Lord Camelford is landed at Deal, and will be in town to-morrow night. I shall, therefore, certainly keep my engagement for Friday. I shall see Tom this morning, and will put the Address into his hands, to be communicated to the Duke of Portland, and will also talk to him about the Grand Jury. The new French Ministry is wholly Fayette's, and by his letter he seems to think himself strong enough to take the whole into his own hands and keep it. I have, however, no opinion of his judgment. I am persuaded his plan is to negotiate with the two Courts, and he will find a ready ear to all he can say there. The Princes are wholly excluded, and systematically so, from all that is doing, and will scarce be allowed the honour of fighting should it come to blows. And the King will be too happy to yield to any compromise that he may think will insure his personal safety. And so far for prophecies, in which you know I do not deal much.

Ever most affectionately yours,

P.S.—The enclosed is for Lord Buckingham. Pray let it be put among the portraits of other heroes. It is original, and[Pg 214] Liston says very like. The whipping-post, knife, and pistol, are also portraits.

I open my letter again to tell you, that by way of anniversary of the 20th, there was a procession of the two faubourgs with pikes, &c., to the National Assembly. From thence they went to the Tuileries, to present what they called a petition to the King. He ordered them to be let in, and they entered, notwithstanding the National Guard, who were there in force, but made no resistance, though it is said they were disposed to it if they had been encouraged. They remained three hours in the King's room, loading him with insults, and demanding the recal of the Jacobin Ministers, and the sanction for the two decrees. They put the red cap upon his head, upon the Queen's, and upon the Dauphin. They were at length persuaded to disperse by Petion telling them that they had sufficiently manifested their patriotism. The King is said to have behaved with uncommon firmness and apparent indifference. The whole was expected, and had been announced for a week, and you see how it was met. The Jacobins feel it a complete triumph, and talk of sending La Fayette to Orleans.

Luckner has taken possession of Menin, Ypres, and Courtrai, the latter after some resistance, in which the Austrians lost about one hundred men. An action was expected every hour.


July 2nd, 1792.
My dearest Brother,

I have a whole budget of news for you, but I must begin with what interests myself most, which is, the thanking you again for your kindness to your future sister. I have told her of it, and she feels it as she ought to do. You know I do not deal much in long speeches, nor do you much delight in hearing or reading them; but I am sure that you do me the justice to[Pg 215] believe me not the less sensible of all your affection to me, which I have experienced in every stage of my life, and most of all on the most interesting occasion of it. I feel that it is to you I owe my happiness.

When you give your directions to Froggatt, will you be so good as to bid him put in Lord Camelford's name as the trustee.

Now for news. The "Gazette," which Goddard sends you, will tell you of Lord Cornwallis's victory. We have this morning a letter from Brooke at St. Helena, enclosing a "Madras Courier," with the account of a second victory, followed by a peace, in which Tippoo stipulates to cede half his dominions to the allies, and to pay them £3,500,000 for the expenses of the war, and to give his two sons for hostages. Nothing can appear more complete; but I wait with impatience for Lord Cornwallis's despatches, as the above expression relative to the cessions is so very loose.

Lafayette has left his army to go to Paris, and has made a speech to the Assembly, threatening them in pretty plain, though guarded terms, with the resentment of his army, if they do not punish the outrages of the 21st, and demolish the Jacobins. His friends moved to refer his address to the commission des douze, which was carried on the appel nominal by 110 majority. He was afterwards carried in triumph to the Tuileries by the National Guards. But the Jacobins are not stunned, and much disturbance was expected in Paris.

I take it for granted you have told my own news to Lady B., and therefore do not trouble her with a letter. Will you be so good as to say everything that is most kind to her, both from Anne and myself.

Ever, my dear brother,
Most affectionately yours,

Crowds of emigrants that were driven out of France[Pg 216] by the massacres that were going on there, night and day, swarmed into the streets of London, where they wandered about in great distress. The majority of these people were priests; and it was computed that the number of French refugees that landed in England, between the 30th of August and the 1st of October, amounted to nearly four thousand. Large subscriptions were raised for their relief; but as it was essential that the protection extended to them should not be abused, Lord Grenville turned his attention to the necessity of providing some measure for regulating the assistance they received, and guarding against any sinister advantage the disaffected amongst them might be disposed to take of the asylum which the free institutions of this country threw open to them. Here we have the first suggestion of the Alien Bill, which, three months afterwards, Lord Grenville introduced into Parliament.


St. James's Square, Sept. 20th, 1792.
My dearest Brother,

We returned here from our expedition the day before yesterday, having passed through Weymouth in our way. We left Lord Camelford far from well, and in the intention of coming immediately to town, in order to set out again for the continent. It is a melancholy reflection to think that he should again so soon be obliged to leave us.

My sudden expedition from Castlehill has delayed my return here so much later than I expected, that I fear it cuts off all hope of my making you a visit in the autumn at Stowe. Pitt goes to-day to take possession of his castle. I suppose you will[Pg 217] have heard that Paine had a very narrow escape at Dover. I send you the enclosed, because you may, perhaps, not have seen it, and I am sure it will please you. Pray read Necker's last work.

We have no news from the armies, except that the siege of Thionville was turned into a blockade, and a general action hourly expected. The Duke of Brunswick's progress does not keep pace with the impatience of our wishes, but I doubt whether it was reasonable to expect more. The detail of the late events at Paris is so horrible, that I do not like to let my mind dwell upon them; and yet I fear that scene of shocking and savage barbarity is very far from its close. I deliver this day to the Imperial and Neapolitan Ministers a note, with the formal assurance that in case of the murder of the King or Queen, the persons guilty of that crime shall not be allowed any asylum in the King's dominions. Opinions are a little doubtful about the best means of giving effect to this promise, should the case arise. Our lawyers seem clear, and Blackstone expressly asserts, that the King may prevent any alien from coming into the kingdom, or remaining there. But this power has so rarely been used, that it may, perhaps, be better to have a special Act of Parliament applying to this case. This, however, relates only to the mode. I imagine everybody will think the thing itself right, and some people seem to hope it may prevent the commission of the crime in question. In this hope I am not very sanguine.

We have no account of Spain having declared war, except what comes through France.

God bless you, and believe me
Ever most affectionately yours,

The retreat of the combined army, under the Duke of Brunswick, cast a gloom over the hopes of the struggling[Pg 218] royalists. The soldiers had suffered severe sickness from eating the unripe grapes of Champagne, and, contrary to the expectations in which they had been led to indulge, the peasantry everywhere opposed them by attacking detachments, and breaking up the roads.

Whilst these events were spreading consternation over the continent, the proceedings of the Irish Roman Catholics were of a nature to awaken serious uneasiness in England. The whole country was convulsed on the subject of concessions, the debates in Parliament exhibited unexampled intemperance, and it was said that subscriptions to the extent of nearly three millions had been entered into with the intention of purchasing lands in America, should the demands of the Roman Catholics be refused.

Whatever opinion Lord Grenville and Mr. Pitt might have previously entertained as to the justice or policy of granting further relief, was much shaken by the attitude which the Irish assumed at this alarming juncture. It was no longer possible to deal with the question on the grounds on which it originally rested; and the Imperial Government could not compromise its influence and authority by yielding to menace those claims which it was willing to accept as a legitimate subject for deliberate legislation. Out of these unfortunate checks, hindrances, and distrusts on both sides, arose that calamitous condition of Ireland which broke out a few years afterwards into open rebellion; but, looking back dispassionately on these events at this distance of time, it is difficult to see how that disastrous issue could have been prevented. The hazard lay between going too far and not going far[Pg 219] enough, with the certainty that whatever was done must have fallen short of satisfying one party, and in an equal degree must have dissatisfied another. It was also a matter of continual perplexity with the Government to find the right moment for initiating the policy of conciliation. There were always moments when, in certain shapes, it would have suited one party or the other; but the moment when it would have suited both never came.


St. James's Square, Oct. 11th, 1792.
My dear Brother,

We go to Dropmore to-morrow, to fix ourselves for the remainder of the autumn—if any autumn remain. I shall be very much obliged to you for your cargo, whenever Mr. Woodward's prudence allows him to send it.

We are all much disappointed with the result of the great expectations that had been formed from the Duke of Brunswick's campaign. According to the best accounts I can get, of a business involved in almost inextricable mystery, the flux—which had got into his camp—was the true cause of his retreat. Whatever be the cause, the effect is equally to be regretted. The plan seems now to be, to hold Verdun and Longwy; and to employ the interval before the spring allows them to march forwards again, in besieging the different frontier towns in the neighbourhood. But the example of Thionville will prevent the success of intimidation, or of coups de main; and the opening trenches is impossible, at least, till the post comes. Clairfayt's corps of about twenty thousand men is to march towards the Low Countries, to prevent them from being insulted.[Pg 220]

I have thought much of the Irish business. I am very much inclined to think that the alarms stated by the people there are much exaggerated, partly with the view of producing an effect here, and partly, because you know such is the genius of that people to carry everything to extremes. Allowing, however, for this, there is certainly much real cause for alarm. It is, I think, clearly impossible not to resist the demands of the Catholics, in the manner and circumstances in which they are now made. How far it was prudent to have gone last year, in voluntary and gratuitous concession, I know not, and really feel that it requires more local knowledge than I possess to decide. My leaning was certainly in favour of going as far as could be gone with safety, but no person is authorized to state even that leaning; and the subsequent conduct of the Catholics does, in my opinion, go far to shake any opinion which might then have been entertained in favour of further concession.

My idea, therefore is, that the Irish Parliament must be enabled to meet the struggle, if struggle there is to be, by having the means put into their hands of calling forth all the resources of that country; which, if called forth, I believe to be very great indeed. That this may not ultimately lead to some drain upon the purse and force of this country, is more certain than any man would affirm, who sees what has passed in France. But the probability is, I think, against it. I am inclined to believe, that the voting an increase of the army may be a wise measure of intimidation, and as such, it will be stated to that Government for consideration; but, on the other hand, any increase of expense, which is to lead to increase of taxes, is certainly objectionable. My own persuasion is, that with a very little firmness, the Convention of 1793 will vanish like that of 1783; but this is no reason for neglecting reasonable measures of precaution.

Ever most affectionately yours,

[Pg 221]

In these letters occur the first allusions to Dropmore, Lord Grenville's seat in Buckinghamshire, which he had recently purchased, and upon the embellishment of which he bestowed all the spare hours he could rescue from the fatigues of public business. The trees, acknowledged in the following letter as having been just received from Stowe, were destined to convert a common into pleasure-grounds, under the direction of his accomplished taste, which "made the wilderness smile," and transformed a remote country nook into a scene of singular and matchless beauty.

The state of Europe, and the views of the writer in reference to it, are treated at large in this letter, which is of great historical value as an exposition of the firm and judicious course pursued by Lord Grenville through a period of universal panic and confusion. To have kept England in tranquillity aloof from the perils that were devastating the continent, and to have sustained her in such prosperous circumstances as to justify the hope that in the next year the Government might be enabled to announce a further remission of taxes, furnishes a triumphant answer to the charge so frequently brought against Mr. Pitt's Administration, of wantonly encouraging a policy that plunged the country into a profligate war expenditure.


St. James's Square, Nov. 7th, 1792.
My dear Brother,

The trees arrived safe at Dropmore yesterday, and we were at their unpacking in the middle of such a fog as I never saw before. They will answer admirably well for my purpose, and[Pg 222] will make a great figure on my hill in the course of a century or so, provided always that the municipality of Burnham does not cut them down sooner.

I cannot deny that you have some reason to complain of my silence for the last month, but you have the kindness to assign the true cause; unless, indeed, I was to add another almost equally strong—I mean the absolute want of anything to say. This sounds strange, but it is not the less true. The events you read in the newspapers, often before I get them, and they have been such as it could give me little pleasure to detail. The causes have been hid, caliginosâ nocta, in a fog almost as thick as that of yesterday, and I have been among the guessers only, and not always among those who were luckiest in their guesses. I bless God, that we had the wit to keep ourselves out of the glorious enterprize of the combined armies, and that we were not tempted by the hope of sharing the spoils in the division of France, nor by the prospect of crushing all democratical principles all over the world at one blow. But having so sturdily resisted all solicitation to join in these plans, we have been punished for our obstinacy by having been kept in profound ignorance of the details by which they were to be executed, and even of the course of events, as far as that could be done, which occurred during the progress of the enterprize. Now that it has failed, we must expect these deep politicians to return to the charge, and to beg us to help them out of the pit into which they wanted to help us. But they have as yet been in no hurry to begin this pleasant communication, and most assuredly we are in no disposition to urge them on faster. You have here, therefore, the explanation of the total impossibility in which I find myself to explain all the inexplicable events of the last two months otherwise than by conjecture. It is but lately that I have thought I had even grounds enough to guess by. But you shall hear my guess. The Austrians and Prussians thought they were marching to certain victory.[Pg 223] The emigrants, who had given them this idea, confirmed them in it till the facts undeceived them. The Duke of Brunswick, who joins to great personal valour great indecision of mind, and great soreness for his reputation, hesitated to take the only means that could have insured success—a sudden and hazarded attack. The more he delayed, the more difficult his position grew. He then attempted to buy a man, who, under other circumstances, would have been very purchasable; failed in this; lost time; excited distrust and jealousy among his allies; dispirited his own troops; and ended his enterprize by a disgraceful retreat, which coffee-house politicians are, as usual, willing to attribute to all sorts of causes except the natural and obvious one. The subsequent successes of the French are natural. An army that expected to be in Paris in October, had naturally taken little precaution to prevent the French from attacking Germany in the same month. The French officers, who could have no authority over their armies in defeat and disgrace, have naturally acquired it in success; and the business will begin again in the spring, being about twice as difficult as it was when it began this autumn.

I have little doubt that this is the project of both parties. The Austrians may perhaps put themselves a little more forward than the Prussians; and from what I have heard of the conduct of the latter, the enterprize may not fare the worse for this difference. The Emperor must feel that he has now got an enemy whom he must devour, or be devoured by it. And the governing party at Paris have very many very obvious reasons for continuing the war. The rest of the empire will give their contingent, unless they have been lucky enough to be forced to sign a capitulation of neutrality. The King of Sardinia and Italy will defend themselves as they can, which will probably be very ill. What Spain will do, she does not know, and therefore certainly we do not. Portugal and Holland will do what we please. We shall do nothing. Sweden and Denmark can[Pg 224] do nothing, and Russia has enough else to do, and has neither the will nor the means of doing much against France. And there is the tableau of Europe for next year, according to my almanac.

You will not complain that this time I have not given you speculation and prophecy enough—more than any man ought to make who has profited, as I have done, by the experience of all these events, to learn that human wisdom and foresight are somewhat more shortsighted personages than the most shortsighted of us two, whichever that is.

All my ambition is that I may at some time hereafter, when I am freed from all active concern in such a scene as this is, have the inexpressible satisfaction of being able to look back upon it, and to tell myself that I have contributed to keep my own country at least a little longer from sharing in all the evils of every sort that surround us. I am more and more convinced that this can only be done by keeping wholly and entirely aloof, and by watching much at home, but doing very little indeed; endeavouring to nurse up in the country a real determination to stand by the Constitution when it is attacked, as it most infallibly will be if these things go on; and, above all, trying to make the situation of the lower orders among us as good as it can be made. In this view, I have seen with the greatest satisfaction the steps taken in different parts of the country for increasing wages, which I hold to be a point of absolute necessity, and of a hundred times more importance than all that the most doing Government could do in twenty years towards keeping the country quiet. I trust we may again be enabled to contribute to the same object by the repeal of taxes, but of that we cannot yet be sure. Sure I am, at least I think myself so, that these are the best means in our power to delay what perhaps nothing can ultimately avert, if it is decreed that we are again to be plunged into barbarism.

I find that I am growing too serious, even for you, upon a[Pg 225] subject on which I know you are serious enough, and it is high time to release you. God bless you, and thank you once more in my name, and my little woman's, for your trees. May we long continue to love one another as we do, and we shall both, I trust, have a comfort in our long affection and friendship, which the study or practice of the art of governing men seems very little likely to afford in our time.

Ever, my dear brother,
Most affectionately yours,

The disasters of the Duke of Brunswick reanimated the factious spirit which the vigorous measures of the Government had previously succeeded in subduing. The prosecutions instituted under the proclamation against seditious publications had been followed by the most decisive results; and Thomas Paine, who was the chief offender, foreseeing the inevitable issue of his impending trial, although Mr. Erskine was engaged to defend him, had absconded to France, where he was admitted to a citizenship more congenial to his principles, and enjoyed the doubtful honour of being returned by two constituencies as a member of the National Assembly.

The flight of Paine broke down the courage of his disciples; and the circulation of seditious libels was effectually arrested, until the misfortunes of the Allies once more revived the hopes of the disaffected. Fresh measures of prevention and defence were now rendered necessary to preserve the peace of the country. The Militia was to be augmented by volunteer companies, and the law officers of the Crown were to exercise with vigilance the powers entrusted to them for bring[Pg 226]ing malcontents to justice. But it was not by such means alone the Administration proposed to meet the evil. It appealed to the good sense and loyalty of the people. Upon these elements it depended for the ultimate success of its efforts. The language of patriotism never found more felicitous or energetic utterance than in these words of Lord Grenville's: "The hands of Government must be strengthened if the country is to be saved; but, above all, the work must not be left to the hands of Government, but every man must put his shoulder to it, according to his rank and situation in life, or it will not be done."


Whitehall, Nov. 14th, 1792.
My dear Brother,

The events in Flanders have brought so much hurry of things to be done and thought of upon me, that I really have been unable to answer your letter, which I have been some days intending to do. With respect to what you mention about prosecutions, you do not advert to the forms of our laws, by which no step of that nature can be taken by the Attorney-General, except in term time, when alone his informations can be filed. No seditious publication has ever come to my knowledge, without my referring it to the Attorney-General for prosecution; and out of the five which you mention, viz., Jockey Club, Paine, Cooper, Walker and Cartwright, the three first have been so referred, the two last I have never seen. In truth, without assistance from the magistrates and gentlemen of the country, who give none except Addresses, it is very vain for Government to attempt to see and know, at Whitehall, every libel which may be dispersed in the country.[Pg 227]

But the real fact is, that these people were completely quelled, and their spirit destroyed, till the Duke of Brunswick's retreat. Since that they have begun to show themselves again, and nothing that I know of has been neglected that could tend to put the law in force against them. Steps are now taking by Government to send persons into the counties to purchase these libels, with a view to indictments at the Christmas Quarter Sessions; but this is a thing that can be done but once, and could not be continued without an expense equal to that of the old French police. Our laws suppose magistrates and Grand Juries to do this duty, and if they do it not, I have little faith in its being done by a Government such as the Constitution has made ours. If you look back to the last time in our history that these sort of things bore the same serious aspect that they now do—I mean the beginning of the Hanover reigns—you will find that the Protestant succession was established, not by the interference of a Secretary of State or Attorney-General, in every individual instance, but by the exertions of every magistrate and officer, civil or military, throughout the country.

I wish this was more felt and understood, because it is a little hard to be forced to run the hazards of doing much more than one's duty, and then to be charged with doing less.

As to what you mention of overt acts, those things are all much exaggerated, where they are not wholly groundless. The report of what is called "Cooper's Ass-Feast" (Walker's I never heard of), and of the Scotch Greys being concerned in it, reached me by accident, for of all the King's good subjects, who are exclaiming against its not being noticed, not one thought it worth his while to apprise the Secretary of State of it. I took immediate steps for inquiring into it, and am satisfied that the whole story has no other foundation than Mr. Cooper having invited two officers to dine with him in a small company, and having given them, by way of curiosity, as a new dish, a piece of a young ass roasted. I inquired, in the same[Pg 228] manner, about the riot stated to have happened at Sheffield; and learn from Lord Loughborough, who lives in the county, and is enough on the qui vive on the subject, that there was nothing which, even in the most peaceable times, could deserve the name of a riot. That supposed at Perth I never heard of yet, though Dundas has been within a short distance of that place.

It is not unnatural, nor is it an unfavourable symptom, that people who are thoroughly frightened, as the body of landed gentlemen in this country are, should exaggerate these stories as they pass from one mouth to the other; but you, who know the course of this sort of reports, ought not too hastily to give credit to them.

It is, however, not the less true that the danger exists, and perhaps not the less from its not breaking out in the manner stated. The conquest of Flanders has, as I believe, brought the business to a much nearer issue here than any reasonable man could believe a month ago. The hands of Government must be strengthened if the country is to be saved; but, above all, the work must not be left to the hands of Government, but every man must put his shoulder to it, according to his rank and situation in life, or it will not be done. I could write much more of the same sort, but I have already people waiting for me.

Ever most affectionately yours,


Whitehall, Nov. 25th, 1792.
My dearest Brother,

Our hopes of anything really useful from Opposition, are, I am sorry to say, nearly vanished. In the meantime the storm thickens. Lord Loughborough has declined, and Fox seems to govern the rest just in the old way.[Pg 229]

We are called upon on all sides for counter associations, and indeed it seems too clear that the peace of the country cannot otherwise be preserved. The army, though I trust still steady, is too small to be depended on. We must look to individual exertions, and to the Militia. I forgot to beg you to state to me the grounds you had to think parts of that body infected. It is material to know the truth on that subject. Our plan is to enable the King to authorize the Lord-Lieutenants to commission volunteer companies to be added to the Militia on the first appearance of tumult. This seems to add the advantage of subordination to regular power to that of association.

In the meantime, we are preparing an association in London, which is to be declared in the course of next week. I enclose you the plan of their declaration, in which you see the great object is to confine it within the limits of the regular Government, and not to go beyond that point. A few persons of rank cannot be kept out of it, but we mean it chiefly to consist of merchants and lawyers, as a London society, and that the example should then be followed by each county or district—including there as many farmers and yeomen as possible. In this we shall of course have no difficulty. Probably we need hardly appear much before the Quarter Sessions. It seems desirable that at the different Quarter Sessions the magistrates should name an adjourned day for receiving the reports of their different constables, &c., &c., relative to the state of their districts in this respect, and taking the necessary measures thereupon.

I throw out these ideas to you for your consideration, as it is now clear I cannot see you before Saturday, if then. If I cannot leave town I will let you know in time.

Ever yours,

I really have not time to extract for you a state of the[Pg 230] Austrian and Prussian armies. Both Courts are making the utmost possible exertions to march down fresh troops. But then, I apprehend, the amazing superiority of numbers must keep them on the defensive, unless they can cut off Custine, of which I have little hope.

I am delighted with the spirit and feeling of your son's letter, which are, I hope of the best augury, with a view to a game in which he will probably be called upon to play his part pretty soon.


Whitehall, Nov. 29th, 1792.
My dearest Brother,

As we have, I think, nearly determined that, in consequence of the situation of affairs, both at home and abroad, we cannot discharge our duty to the country, nor even answer for its security, without calling the whole or a considerable part of the Militia immediately, I lose not a moment in apprizing you of it, both that you may be enabled to hold yourself in readiness to take your measures, and also to beg you to suggest to me any particular of importance that may occur to you respecting the mode of doing the thing.

Parliament must, as you know, by law be assembled within fourteen days; and it will, I think, be so within twelve days of the proclamation, which I expect to issue on Friday. But the precise day is not yet determined, because we are desirous, before the thing is known, to have troops enough round London to prevent the possibility of anything happening in the interval, which they would of course try if they saw an opening.

You must not, from this measure, think the alarm greater than it is. The step is principally founded on the total inadequacy of our military force to the necessary exertions.

At the time that the order is sent, directions will be given[Pg 231] to the Lord-Lieutenant immediately to assemble the serjeants, &c., and to place the arms under proper guard. I am, as you will easily believe, too much hurried to be able to go into more details.

We have nothing new from abroad.

Ever most affectionately yours,

I am afraid all visits to Dropmore are quite out of the question.

I do not understand what you say in one of your letters about quarters instead of lodging.


Saturday, Dec. 1st, 1792.
My dear Brother,

The King's orders are this day given to embody the two-thirds of all the Militias of the counties on the east coast from Scotland to London, which, together with Cumberland, Westmoreland and Kent, give us a strength of about five thousand one hundred men.

Parliament will meet on Thursday sev'nnight. Before that time, I conclude I shall see you here. I am really so occupied, as not to have a moment to spare.

Dumourier is advancing towards Liege; and I think if some blow is not already struck by their small force from Ostend against Flushing, the season secures Holland for some months, during which much must happen of all sorts.

We have, I trust, secured the Tower and the City, and have now reason to believe that they are alarmed, and have put off their intended visit; but we are prepared for the worst.

Ever yours,

[Pg 232]


Whitehall, Dec. 5th, 1792.
My dear Brother,

We determined last night to call out, in addition to the regiments already ordered, the Militias of the maritime counties from Kent to Cornwall, inclusive, and those of Berks, Bucks, Herts, and Surrey. You will, in consequence, receive by this messenger the warrant and letter for that purpose. The reason of the addition is partly the increasing prospect of hostilities with France, and partly the motives stated in your letter. Our object at first was to limit the number, in order not to give too great an alarm. The spirit of the people is evidently rising, and I trust that we shall have energy enough in the country to enable the Government to assert its true situation in Europe, and to maintain its dignity.

We shall certainly proceed to business on Thursday; but how long we shall sit, it is impossible as yet to decide. I think the present idea is to bring forward the bills immediately which are necessary for strengthening the hands of Government. Hitherto, we have every reason to be satisfied with the impression our measure has made.

Ever most affectionately yours,

Parliament stood prorogued to the 3rd of January; but it was convened by proclamation on the 3rd of December, in consequence of the urgent necessity that existed for adopting immediate measures of internal defence. On the 17th, Lord Grenville introduced his Alien Bill; and two other measures were rapidly passed for interdicting the circulation of French assignats, and preventing the exportation of naval stores and ammunition.[Pg 233]

The signs of the future were now darkening the horizon. The French Republic sent over an ambassador extraordinary, under the title of Minister Plenipotentiary, to demand of England whether France was to consider her as a neutral or a hostile power. Lord Grenville refused to negotiate with him in a character which England could not acknowledge; but intimated that if France was desirous of maintaining peace with Great Britain, she must renounce her views of aggression and aggrandizement, and confine herself to her own territory, without insulting other Governments, without disturbing their tranquillity, without violating their rights.

The sequel need not be detailed. The King of France was brought to trial, sentenced to death, and beheaded. This terrible catastrophe terminated the mission of the French Ambassador, who was informed by Lord Grenville that he could no longer remain in this kingdom in a public character, and ordered to retire within eight days. In a week from that time, the Convention passed a decree declaring the Republic of France at war with the King of England and the Stadtholder of Holland.[Pg 234]



The policy of England in reference to the proceedings in France had hitherto been that of a conservative neutrality. The letter of Lord Grenville to the Marquis of Buckingham, dated 7th November, 1792, to which attention has been specially directed, clearly and unequivocally establishes that fact. Had the motive commonly imputed to Ministers, of having entered into the war for the vindication of the monarchical principle and the restoration of the Bourbons, been really the actuating object, it would have appeared in these confidential communications. Not only, however, is there no such motive avowed or contemplated, but, on the contrary, Lord Grenville declares that the greatest source of pride and satisfaction he finds on reviewing the line of conduct he had acted upon throughout that reign of anarchy, is in the reflection that he had kept[Pg 235] England out of it. Up to the last moment, so long as France confined her public acts and the dissemination of her new doctrines to her own territory, the English Government remained merely a spectator of events in which she took no part, and evinced no concern. The case was altered when France invaded Holland, and passed a decree fraternizing with the people of other countries, and offering them assistance to procure their liberties. These were the measures of oppression and aggrandizement referred to by Lord Grenville in his communications with the French Envoy; and upon these grounds, and these grounds alone, England accepted and prosecuted the war.

Immediately after the declaration of hostilities by the Convention, the King sent a message to Parliament explicitly declaring the causes of the war, which were, the occupation by the French of the Scheldt, the exclusive navigation of which had been guaranteed by treaty to the Dutch; the fraternizing decree which invited the people of other countries to revolutionize their Governments; and the danger with which Europe was threatened by the progress of the French arms. In one aspect this was a war of principles; in another, it was a war of self-defence. In both, it was just and inevitable. Even the Opposition admitted the validity of the grounds on which it proceeded, although they could not resist the temptation of assailing the Minister, while they adopted his measures. The resolutions founded on the message were carried with scarcely a shadow of objection in either House of Parliament. The people of all classes were wholly with Mr. Pitt. Amongst the last to be convinced was Mr. Wilberforce, who had a[Pg 236] moral aversion to all wars, but who ultimately expressed himself converted to the necessity of war on this occasion.

The effect of the message from the King was remarkable. Numbers of the most influential men, who had previously voted with the Opposition, passed over to the Ministerial benches, including Burke and Wyndham, and the Lords Portland, Spencer, Fitzwilliam, Loughborough, and many other peers and commoners. Lord Loughborough, who had so often run in couples with Thurlow, was now appointed to succeed him on the Woolsack; and Ministers, acquiring augmented strength from all quarters, addressed themselves vigorously to the task of preparation.

The letters of this year are scanty, but not unimportant, in their references to passing events. Taken in connection with the history of the period, which is too familiar to require any further elucidation, they will be found to throw a new light upon some points of contemporary interest.


Whitehall, Jan. 19th, 1793.
My dearest Brother,

It is at length settled that Lord Loughborough shall take the Seals on Wednesday. He has written a long letter to the Duke of Portland, which has not been answered. It is as yet very difficult to say what proportion of the ci-devant Opposition will follow Lord Loughborough's example, and join Government avowedly, but I am inclined to hope a pretty large one. The Prince of Wales has also written to the Duke of Portland, and sent a message to us, declaring his intention to join Government. I have not seen the letter, but my informant, to whom[Pg 237] it was shown yesterday morning by the Duke of York, told me it was proper and explicit.

424 against the referring the judgment to the Assemblées Primaires, 283 for it.

The first question, of guilty, decided almost unanimously; the third, that punishment should be inflicted, was deferred to the 10th.

Brissot's report, which you will see in the French papers, seems well enough calculated for our purpose. The thing must now come to its point in a few days; and we shall, I trust, have appeared to the public here to have put the French completely dans leur tort.

Ever most affectionately yours,


Whitehall, June 12th, 1793.
My dearest Brother,

In consequence of what you requested in the conversation we had at Dropmore, I write to mention to you that the vacant Ribands are to-day to be given to Lord Salisbury, Lord Westmoreland, and Lord Carlisle. I did not learn this yesterday till it was too late to write to you. With respect to what you mentioned to me of your own intentions, you know too well what my opinion is, and how anxiously I am impressed with that opinion, to make me feel it right to urge you with what could only be a repetition of all I have already stated. But I wish to make it my earnest request to you that you will not take any actual step till you have seen Pitt. I have not told him anything of your idea of taking any measure on this occasion but I have stated to him in general terms the uneasiness you still seemed to feel on the subject of the former request, and the possibility that this impression might be strengthened, supposing Lord Camden's death to produce that sort of arrange[Pg 238]ment to which you had so handsomely consented, but which might, nevertheless, bring the other idea more forward in your mind.

His plan was (if he had not been hindered by the gout) to have run down to Somersetshire for a week, at the close of the business in the House of Commons, and to have been back before he could almost be known to be gone. He had then intended to take Winchester in his way. I have not seen him for several days, and cannot therefore say whether this idea still holds, but at all events there could be no difficulty in your coming to town for a day or two for that purpose.

I urge this because I know you may fully rely upon his friendship, and that even if he should not be able to alter the thing itself, which I am sure I know not how he can, it is still, in my opinion, very desirable that you should not take so marked a step without hearing the advice of those who love you best, supposing even that after all you should not be influenced by their reasoning upon it.

I say nothing about myself in all this, because I am sure you believe me truly sensible of your constant and unvaried affection to me, and unwilling to intrude upon you repetitions which I must fear would be useless. But you will not attribute it to indifference or unconcern about the thing itself, which, God knows, are sentiments the reverse of what I feel upon it.

We have no news of any material event at the army. The siege was to be opened on Monday, and they seem to entertain very sanguine ideas indeed as to its speedy success. I have some doubt whether the report from Paris, respecting Marat's new revolution, is to be credited, though all the late accounts from thence seemed to indicate an approaching crisis. I have a confused account from the Hague, of the Duke of Brunswick having gained a decisive advantage over the army that was Custine's. But it is not distinct enough to place much reliance upon it.[Pg 239]

Mudge is returned by the way of China with despatches from Vancouver. I have not yet seen them, but I understand, generally, that some difficulty arose about the restitution of Northa. It is not, however, of a nature to create any real embarrassment. He has brought a letter for poor Lady Camelford from her son, whom he tells me he left in great health and spirits. We have not opened it, but wait till Lord C. comes, which I hope will be about the end of this month at latest. From what he says, Vancouver's expedition is likely to continue so much longer, that I think of proposing to Lady C. that her son should return by the first opportunity, in order to go into some larger ship, which at his age now will clearly be desirable. He will have served his time before he can hear from Europe. Juan de Fuca's inlet is explored, and found to be closed with high lands.

Ever most affectionately yours,


St. James's Square, Sept. 11th, 1793.
My dear Brother,

I am sorry to acquaint you that we have unpleasant accounts from the army, and the more unpleasant from their uncertainty. All that seems to be certain is, that the Duke of York thought himself obliged to raise the siege of Dunkirk, at least for the present, in consequence of an attack which I imagine to have taken place on the evening of the 7th; and which must, of course, have been bloody, and the event unfavourable to us. We have no direct account from the army, but the report is that of an officer of the navy, who comes, I understand, from Nieuport, and states that he had prevented any other letters from coming over, in order to prevent the spreading an alarm till the official accounts arrive.

There is also a letter from Watson, the Commissary-General,[Pg 240] which seems to confirm the intended retreat, and says that he has provisions, &c., enough in the rear of the army; but he mentions no particulars of what has happened, except that he says the spirit of the troops is good—that they have suffered, but have not been beaten. His letter is from Furnes, on the 8th.

I am sorry for the suspense in which this must leave you, as it does us. If we hear more before the post goes out, I will add a line to this letter.

Ever most affectionately yours,

I should have added, that the same officer brings the account that they had got at Ostend of the capture of Quesnoy, which I credit, because my last letters from the Austrian army state the fall of that place as certain within a very few days. This is the more important, as P. Cob. would then be at liberty to march towards Flanders, if necessary.

Since I wrote the above, I have seen the narrative of the officer in question—Lieutenant Popham. It is long, and full of little details; but the result of the whole is, that he was going, by Macbride's orders, to communicate with the Duke of York, and turned back on account of the news he heard; that he met on the road parties of our cavalry evacuating Furnes on the 8th, and many wounded soldiers going to Ostend; but he does not appear to have collected accounts of what had happened, and indeed it is most probable that individuals could not give any general information. It does not appear whether they were going from Furnes by orders or not.

Five, p.m.

I have just got the enclosed letter to Bruges from a young man I sent as Secretary to Sir James Murray; and[Pg 241] as it is very doubtful whether I shall get the particulars time enough to send you anything further, I would not omit letting you have this, which will at least put you at ease for individuals. You will observe it is dated from Furnes, on the 9th. It is brought by an officer charged with the despatches.


Dropmore, Sept. 15th, 1793. At Night.
My dear Brother,

You will receive with this letter, which will be sent you from London, the good and the bad accounts together. For the Flanders war, I fear the latter overbalance the former; there is, however, in my opinion, very little reason to be discouraged at these checks, which must be expected whenever the French took the resolution to leave the sieges on the side of Hainault to their fate, in order to break in upon the line of communication. This must have happened equally if the combined armies had remained together, and undertaken a joint operation; and the proposed plan had the advantage of being the only one whose success would have remedied this inconvenience, resulting from the nature of an attack from an open country against such a barrier.

It must be left to military decision what is precisely the best point of attack, combined or separate, which now remains; but the loss of Menin as a post of communication does not tend to lessen the difficulties of any plan, and I am decidedly averse to anything that shall hazard the delaying the West India expedition, for which, when you consider how much is to be done there, you will not think a whole season too much.

After all, a few towns more or less in Flanders are certainly not unimportant; but I am much mistaken in my speculation, if the business at Toulon is not decisive of the war. Only let[Pg 242] your own mind follow up all the consequences of that event, and you will, I believe, agree with me that the expression I have used is not too sanguine. We have news that the people of Lyons have defeated Dubois Cranée, with a loss to the latter, as it is said, of four thousand men. Allow this to be exaggerated, as I suppose it is, but take the fact to be true that he has been defeated, and it is everything to us. The next month or six weeks will be an anxious period, and big with events.

You asked me some time ago about Parliament, and that with a view to your own motions. Nothing can, of course, be absolutely fixed on that subject; but I think it highly improbable that Parliament should meet before January. I heartily wish that we may arrange it so as to meet, though in the present moment I should be afraid even of such a distance as Stowe. At all events, when your camp breaks up, I trust you will take Dropmore in your way, as indeed I believe it will lay directly in your road, if you come by town, and not far out of it, if you go straight to Stowe.

My dear wife desires best love to you and Lady B. Lady Camelford is, I think, better than we could have hoped.

Ever most affectionately yours,


This ought to have gone to-day, and I am sorry to find it this evening in one of my boxes here. We have nothing new to-day, except the account of the murder of the King of Poland, which is believed.


Walmer Castle, Oct. 1st, 1793.
My dear Brother,

Your letter of the 27th followed me here yesterday, and I have just received that of the 29th. With respect to the[Pg 243] first, I can only say that I have by this post sent your letters to Pitt, and am very sure that if it depends on him, what you wish will be done.

Lord Amherst's answer of the reduced state of the regiments at home is, however, surely not quite so much out of the way as you state it. It is a great pity that your protégé is in Canada, where no promotion can be going forward, and from whence, I conclude, he cannot be brought into regiments upon actual service. Sir C. Grey conveyed to me the other day a wish to know whether there was any officer in his army that I felt interested about; but I know of none that I should think it worth laying myself under an obligation for. If Talbot had happened to be in one of the regiments in Nova Scotia, he would probably have been in this predicament; but I suppose the force in Canada is little likely to be weakened, in the present state of America.

I am delighted to find that you are so well pleased with the manifesto. I have hardly had time yet to consider your observations on the particular passages you have marked, but I will do so, and am much obliged to you for the trouble.

The Duke of Richmond will, I am persuaded, not resign in the present moment, though he has been talking and doing foolishly. As far as I can learn, there is no sort of ground for the accusation of delay on his part relative to Dunkirk. When I see you, I can say on that subject what for many reasons I do not choose to write. Au reste, the Duke of Richmond's campaign seems completely to have annihilated the little popularity he ever had; and though I am satisfied he will not resign till after the meeting of Parliament, and perhaps till after the session is over, I am equally persuaded he will not continue another year in the Cabinet.

We are sending Hessians to Toulon, and shall soon have there a really respectable force; the interval is the only thing to be feared; but Mulgrave's being there is a great comfort[Pg 244] to me; as great, indeed, entre nous, as if I knew the new Governor was actually arrived there. We have nothing like force enough for all the objects that present themselves, and you know my settled aversion to undertaking little points of detail; some of which might succeed, but the result of the whole must be to cut to pieces the small force we have, without adequate success. Besides this, the reliance on the dispositions of the country, with the single exception of Toulon, pressed as it was by famine at one door, and the guillotine at the other, has always failed us.

I believe it is true, that almost in every part of France they detest the Convention, but that they are quite incapable of giving any solid footing in the country.

Ever yours most affectionately,


Walmer Castle, Oct. 11th, 1793.
My dearest Brother,

I was just going to write to you when I received your letter. My present plans are to return to town about Tuesday next, and to get to Dropmore by dinner on Friday, if possible; but I would not wish you to let your dinner depend on that. I conclude, from what you say of your having been reviewed, that you will be able to get away soon, and it will be a great gratification to us both to see you, especially if, as I hope, Lady Buckingham comes with you. Lady Camelford writes to Anne that she much wishes to see you, and if she knows of the time of your coming will endeavour to contrive to be with us. I return you Freemantle's letter, for fear of accidents. You have, perhaps, guessed that it anticipates part of what I had to say to you, but I hope you have also felt the singularly embarrassing situation in which the King's Ministers are placed in this respect, with the cause of Royalty to defend, and with the great[Pg 245] obligations they owe to the extreme liberality and honour of the King's conduct towards them. They are obliged, therefore, to say nothing, and to let nothing be said: and indeed I hardly know what I should wish to be said, so great is the difficulty in all respects. I know I may reckon upon your discretion, not only in saying nothing from me, but also in saying as little as possible from yourself, which would not fail to be repeated, and to be ascribed to me. We will talk this over fully when I see you, and I really much wish to know what you think ought ultimately to be done on the subject. You will have seen that it is not the camp of Mauberge, but the advanced posts that had been unsuccessfully attacked. The attack of the camp itself was to take place somewhere about this time, and yesterday the British troops marched to Cysoing, where they thought it not improbable they might be engaged with the French, who are collecting at Bouchain and Cambray.

George Nugent had written to me twice on the subject of his proposal, and I sent him Lord Amherst's answer, which is negative, at least for the present. He seems to have an invincible aversion to new corps, I fancy, from all the badgering he got upon that subject last war. He now states only the plea of seniority, that the number intended to be raised is filled up by older Lieutenant-Colonels. I fancy Nugent had not received my letter when he wrote to you.

The language of the Convention looks as if some serious attack might be expected here; serious at least as they intend it, but ridiculous, I trust, it will prove. An attempt in force requires preparations they have not, and a superiority in naval force which they certainly have not. Buccaneering expeditions I take to be practicable, with only the certainty of much greater loss to themselves than to us. They would be unpleasant in their effect here, but what help.

I have profited of your advice about the manifesto, and now send you the English translation which I have prepared, with[Pg 246] the transpositions you recommended. I do not think it reads as well in English as in French, which I am sorry for, as it must be read in English by John Bull, whose approbation of my writings I should like to retain. I hardly know how to ask you to correct, as it must be a translation, and a literal one. But mark what you dislike, and I will try if, retaining the translation, it can be altered. I have kept guerre defensive and that pour cause: which indeed you may guess, when you see in the papers that His Prussian Majesty is returned to Berlin, and when I tell you that we had no previous notice of his journey.

Ever most affectionately yours,


St. James's Square, Nov. 21st, 1793.
My dearest Brother,

I had already spoken to Pitt upon the idea of G. Nugent's being appointed one of the aides-de-camp, if the promotion mentioned by him should take place. I have reason to be sure, that for the present no idea exists of that promotion. If it had, I should certainly have pressed his declining the offer of the corps; because, though that is no absolute bar according to any rule, yet it may, certainly, in the King's mind, stand in his way; and such exceptions as Lord Chenton and Lord Rawdon do not prove much. I am very confident, that, as it is, whatever can be done by Pitt will be done, if the promotion should hereafter take place; but I am sure you know that the King's Ministers do not name his aides-de-camp; and that the pressing such a request, beyond a certain point, makes difficulties in his mind, instead of removing them. Besides his wish to oblige you, Pitt is personally well-disposed towards Nugent, and I have reason to think that Lord Amherst is so too.

Sir James Murray will, I think, not continue in his present[Pg 247] situation; and the mode of removing him, will probably be by putting him at the head of some corps; but this is not yet mentioned to him, and, therefore, I rely on your not speaking of it to any one else. I do not know whether, in that case, the King will fill up his place as aide-de-camp, or not; but one vacancy cannot be expected to make room for Nugent, who is at the end of his year; besides, the natural claim which Manners has on the King. It is, therefore, I think, better on the whole, that Nugent should go on with his corps.

With respect to your lesser army jobs, I say nothing about them, because I really do not understand them, and am unable to judge of the facility or difficulty of Lord Amherst's complying with them. It is useless for me to talk about Pitt's share in all this, though I certainly do not think it very fair that he should bear on his shoulders all the grievances of cornetcies and lieutenancies, which Lord Amherst or any other Commander-in-chief is sure to create.

I have spoken about the précis, and you will certainly have them whenever there is news to send. The army is safe, and I hope quiet, in its winter quarters. Lord Moira sets out to-morrow morning, and will find everything ready for him at Portsmouth. You see how right you was about the impossibility of keeping secret at Portsmouth the new destination of this force. Luckily, it is so ready, that the thing itself will take place even now as soon as the news can reach Paris.

Lord Malmesbury is going to Berlin, to bring our good ally to a point—ay or no. I think it will end in no.

I certainly will not forget my engagement; and I still hope we shall find a Saturday and Sunday for Stowe.

God bless you, my dear brother, and believe me

Ever most affectionately yours,

[Pg 248]


St. James's Square, Dec. 12th, 1793.
My dearest Brother,

At your request, I certainly will do a thing extremely disagreeable to myself, by putting into Mr. Pitt's hands the letter you desire me to show him. In any case where you or yours could have the smallest interest, I should never consider whether a compliance with your wishes is or is not pleasant to me; but I freely own, that I hardly think you would be repaid, by Mr. Pigott's getting his company, for the uneasiness I feel in being made (unprofitably, too, as I think, even to the object) the channel of such a communication between two persons whom I have so much reason to love and value.

The accounts of the Duke of Brunswick's victory, though they have not come to us from any channel that we can consider as strictly official, are such as to leave no doubt of the fact. There appears to have been different actions for three days, from the 29th of November to the 1st of December; and on the last of these days the victory was obtained, which persons, pretty well informed, seem to consider as decisive of the fate of Landan. The great object of the French was to relieve that place, and surround Wurmser; and in both they have failed, having been repulsed in a last attack they made on the latter the 1st instant. It appears likely now that little more will be done on that frontier till Landan is obliged to surrender; nor anything after that.

All our expectations are turned towards Brittany; but the news from that quarter is by no means favourable, as far as it goes. The Royalist army appears unable to make any siege, or even to continue twenty-four hours in the same place; and this for want of provisions. There is, besides, among them much disunion, and a total want of discipline; and they seemed to have formed the resolution of retiring inwards into France.[Pg 249] Whether they will be deterred from this by the communications since made to them, and by the knowledge of our force being actually at their doors, remains to be seen.

I did not send you the account of the failure of all our hopes, from Lord Howe. I was not in town; and if I had been, I do not know whether I was not too much vexed to write. He is still off Ushant; so that the idea of sending out the second fleet is, for the moment, at least, out of the question. Some of those ships are, as you know, destined for other services; and the whole, without Lord Howe, would not be strong enough to meet the Brest fleet; and with him, would be much too strong.

The business of St. Domingo is highly important. The possession of the Mole, though not beyond what we had looked to, is much beyond my hopes. Dansey's letter to Williamson expresses much confidence of maintaining himself there, with such a force, as I trust, by this time, and long before, he actually has there.

Ever most affectionately yours,

At the close of the year France was stronger than at the commencement. The destruction of her navy at Toulon was the principal reverse she suffered. On the other side the allies had encountered defeat at almost every point; the Prussians compelled to retreat to Mentz, the Imperialists driven beyond the Rhine, and the English forced to raise the siege of Dunkirk. The enthusiasm of the masses, sustained by these successes, and acted upon by the popular appeals of the Jacobins, placed at the disposal of the Republic an enormous physical force, which the whole winter was occupied in augmenting and organizing for the campaigns of the ensuing year.[Pg 250]



Parliament was convened on the 21st of January, 1794; and the Speech from the Throne expressed a sanguine hope on the part of His Majesty that the resources of France would be speedily exhausted. There was certainly little in the operations of the last year upon which the country could be congratulated; and the only remaining encouragement that could be held out was in reference to the future. The prodigious exertions of the Republic undoubtedly justified the expectation, that she could not long continue to meet the increasing demands which the extension of the war was making upon her means and energies; but it was difficult, in the heat and excitement of the conflict, to form an adequate estimate of the devotion with which the French[Pg 251] were prepared to follow up their successes. A series of fortunate incidents and some brilliant achievements had inflamed the national vanity to such a height of exultation as to produce a perfect military mania in all parts of the country; and when Mr. Pitt, in the course of the opening debate, declared that "France had been converted into an armed nation,"—an expression that elicited much criticism at the time—he described accurately the exact state of the people, and the lengths they were prepared to go in the assertion of the principles they had baptized in the blood of the Sovereign.

There were not wanting persons in England who sympathized with the republicans of France, and regarded their martial spirit with something of the admiration which the impassioned and the thoughtless bestow upon gallantry and heroism. But the bulk of the nation entertained a different opinion, and viewed with alarm and detestation the sanguinary excesses by which the war was initiated and sustained. While the former class, few in number, and confined chiefly to the lowest dregs of the population, continued to give occupation to the Government at home, the latter were ready to make any sacrifices the exigency of circumstances required to support the policy of the Government abroad.

Parliament unanimously voted an augmentation of eighty-five thousand men to the navy, and sixty thousand to the army. Ample preparations in other respects were made for the approaching operations; and, amongst the extraordinary measures resorted to, arrangements were made for augmenting the Militia, and[Pg 252] raising voluntary subscriptions for the maintenance of the war. The spirit of the country was awakened to the defence of those constitutional principles which presented the surest safeguard for the public liberties; and the delusions which at first had seized upon the factious and discontented rapidly vanished as the war advanced. Success alone was wanted to confirm the confidence of the people; but as yet the genius and headlong valour of France was in the ascendant, and the solid endurance of England was doomed to a long and harassing term of fluctuating fortunes.

The Correspondence traces some of the principal events of the year; and maps out in advance the plans and difficulties of Ministers, by which we are admitted, so to speak, to the deliberations of the Cabinet upon nearly every fresh exigency that arose in the course of the campaigns.


Charles Street, Jan. 1st, 1794.
My dear Brother,

I had no sooner received your letter, than I communicated it to Lord Grenville; and desired him to write to you as soon as he could. It gives me great pain to see, by the language of it, how very much your mind is oppressed and disturbed in the impression under which you write. Of the proposition which you suggest, it certainly does not in any shape become me to offer any opinion; I am precluded from doing so, both by the magnitude of the question, and by its being of a nature upon which I cannot have either the pretence or the means of exercising any judgment; and I so expressed myself to Lord[Pg 253] Grenville, when I read your letter to him; all that, on my part, can be for me to do is, what I am sure you will believe is the honest feeling of my mind, to express to you the anxious and earnest wish of my heart, that all disquietude and uneasiness may vanish from your mind; and that you may heartily and happily continue to co-operate with Lord Grenville and Pitt, at a time when the greatest interests which this country ever knew seem to me to be at stake. For myself, you know that I am but a private man, and have no other concern in these great public questions, than that sense of common danger and common interest, which ought, I think, to produce but one common voice in the country. Mr. Wilberforce, you see, thinks otherwise, but does not change my opinion by having changed his.

I am much obliged to you for the naval letter, which the post of to-day brings me from Stowe; I will make the use of it which you allow me to do, and will then return it to you. I hope Dr. Pegge will find Lady B. better. I take for granted we shall soon meet here.

I hear no news.

God bless you, my dear brother.

P.S.—As soon as I heard from you to-day (which was very late, as I had gone out before the post came in), I sent to Lord G., to tell him that if he wrote to-day, he must direct to Stowe.


St. James's Square, Jan. 30th, 1794.
My dearest Brother,

I believe Pitt's budget is finished, as it is to be opened on Wednesday. I have, however, sent him your project; though I do not conceive favourably of it, as the object appears so[Pg 254] small, and such a nest of hornets to be brought upon one by it.

The French seem certainly disposed to try their scheme of invasion. This leads to the necessity of some augmentation of interior force, and possibly some of our last year's plans will be resorted to. Our best defence is unquestionably our water-guard, which is very strong, and will, I trust, every day get stronger. In the meantime, Lord Moira's force stationed at Cowes, and with its transports ready to put to sea at the shortest notice, is no inconsiderable check upon them.

I have no faith in their attacking Flanders; but rather believe they will wait our attack. But two Dutch, and as many Flanders mails are due.

Mack returns to the army to the great joy of every one. We expect him over here every day.

Ever my dear brother's
Most affectionately,

The Budget was brought forward by Mr. Pitt on the 2nd of February. It estimated the total supply for the year at twenty millions; and proposed for the ways and means a loan of eleven millions, and the imposition of some new taxes.

Here was the first great pressure of the war on the industry of the people. It was a trying moment with Government; but the demands of the Minister were, nevertheless, heartily responded to. The interior force of the kingdom at this time amounted to one hundred and forty thousand men; and the foreign troops in British pay to forty thousand more. The augmentation of the Militia, which was not carried into effect till the[Pg 255] following month, was now occupying the consideration of Government.


St. James's Square, Feb. 1st, 1794.
My dearest Brother,

The idea of augmentation which I think most practicable, is that of militia cavalry, to be raised by volunteers, in the same manner as the additional companies in the last war, but to a much larger extent than you mention in your letter. Dundas told me two days since that he had been looking for your plan of last year, but had mislaid it. Have you a copy? It does not seem advisable to broach this idea much in conversation or discussion with Lord-Lieutenants and Colonels till it is to a degree matured; for the St. Albans' meeting, though very good for supporting a measure resolved upon, or even for arranging particular details of a plan, of which the outlines are already fixed, is but a bad place to prepare the plan itself. As far as I am capable of judging, I think that the natural defence of this country against an enemy once landed, is by the immense irregular cavalry that might be collected, and formed round small bodies of disciplined horse. This, of course, does not exclude the necessity of some infantry to oppose the enemy in front, while the cavalry harass his flanks and rear, and while your naval force, even supposing it unable to have prevented the landing, cuts off all possibility of supplies from France. We are preparing, partly with the latter view, and partly as a means of defence where frigates cannot act, a formidable force of gun-boats.

You say that all this is superfluous, and that the attempt will not be made. I think its being made or not depends wholly on the other employment which we can find for their force, and this depends on points which we cannot command; viz.: internal[Pg 256] commotion, and the exertions of the German Powers on the side of the Rhine.

That they are making preparations with a view to having the thing in their power is unquestionable, and we should be very deficient in our duty if we did not put the country in a state to be prepared for all events.

The employment of Lord Moira's force, and its future destination, depend on plans of continental operations, but in the meantime its effect is almost beyond calculation in its present position, menacing everything from Dunkirk to Brest, and defending everything from Yarmouth to the Land's End. You will see this in a minute, if you compare the facility of moving that force, either by land or sea, with the efforts of the same sort that the enemy can make, either offensively or defensively.

We cannot have too much force anywhere, but if I am not very sanguine, Sir C. Grey has already a force beyond what the service requires; and it is likely that he will still be reinforced without breaking up Lord Moira's army, which I consider as the most usefully employed, and telling the most effectually against the enemy of any troops now in our service.

I will send your artillery plan to Dundas.

Ever most affectionately yours,


St. James's Square, July 9th, 1794.
My dearest Brother,

I am sincerely sorry to see that you do not entertain the same hopes as I do of good from the new arrangements. I confess I think it so great an object to have annihilated all distinction of parties in this country among those who are attached to the present order of things; and I feel that the late events abroad have given so much more importance to this[Pg 257] point, with a view to the internal situation of this country, than it had before, that I cannot help feeling very sanguine as to the consequences of the steps now taken with that view. God only knows which of us is right, and time only can show. In the meantime, jacta est alea, and we must abide by it.

On the subject of war and peace, you state very truly, that nothing is less probable than that peace should now be in our option. The retreat to Antwerp has been decided, not by opinions here, nor even by those of the Duke of York and Lord Cornwallis, but by the necessity consequent upon the Austrian movements. Whether those movements were right, I am not enough of a soldier, nor enough informed as a statesman, to pretend to form an opinion. The immediate effect of them is not necessarily the abandoning the towns taken last year, which are in a state to maintain themselves long, and to impede many of the operations of the enemy. Nor, as long as the Austrians maintain their line from Louvain to Namur, is the possibility of succouring them considered as desperate. What I most fear in the present moment is the effect of despondency here and abroad, without which I should see no reason why we should not, as you suggest, fight the country over and over again, inch by inch, with means and resources for carrying on the war, such as are out of all comparison superior to those of the enemy. It would have been a flattering and glorious thing, and a brilliant success, to have terminated the war by the favourable result of a plan of offensive operation in Flanders. If that has failed, I am very far from thinking this a reason for abandoning a cause in the issue of which I consider our existence as implicated. If we listen to the ideas of peace in the present moment (even supposing it were offered), it can be only because we confess ourselves unable to carry on the war. Such a confession affords but a bad security against the events which must follow, in Flanders, in Holland, and (by a very rapid succession) in this island.[Pg 258]

I do not know from whence the papers have got the idea of Lord Camelford's return. He is not come, nor any officer or despatch, from Vancouver, but I understand the ship has been heard of in October last, all well. Many thanks for the offer of Paddington, which we may probably be glad to avail ourselves of.

Ever, my dear brother,
Most affectionately yours,

We have nothing new from Lord Hood; and I am told that officers who know the coast do not speak favourably of the chance of doing anything against the French fleet in their present situation.

The failure of the Imperialists had thrown a serious damp on the spirits of the allies. It appears to have been thought the Austrians had not shown sufficient energy and determination; and it was resolved to send over Lord Spencer and Mr. Thomas Grenville to Vienna, in the hope of inducing them to make more vigorous exertions. A subsequent letter from Mr. Thomas Grenville to the Duke of Portland contains an admirable report of the progress of the mission.


St. James's Square, July 19th, 1794.
My dearest Brother,

Tom has, I know, mentioned to you the Commission which he has undertaken—jointly with Lord Spencer—to endeavour to encourage our Austrian allies to a little more exertion and energy, which, after all the late events, I continue persuaded is[Pg 259] the only thing wanting to ensure success, instead of such a series of retreats as the last month has shown. God knows whether they will succeed; but it is an infinite satisfaction to me to see his talents employed in the public service, and to be corresponding with him on subjects of this nature. The rest of our public events are just such as you see them in the papers.

Lord Cornwallis is returned, speaking highly of the Duke of York, and far otherwise of the Austrian Generals, to whom he, and all mankind in Flanders, impute all that has happened. It is a whimsical circumstance, and hardly to have been foreseen, that in a war which we carry on conjointly with Austria, the great want which we experience should be that of Austrian Generals, of capacity sufficient to command the excellent troops which are acting in the Netherlands.

My American negotiation is, I think, going on promisingly. I have nothing else to tell you; and am, indeed, so completely knocked up by this last week's fagging, as hardly to be able to write at all. This evening I am going to Dropmore, for a little respite.

Ever most affectionately yours,


(Private.) Vienna, August 24th, 1794.
Dear Duke of Portland,

It had been very much my intention to have written to you by our messenger of the 16th instant, because, although our despatches have been very much detailed, and have not, therefore, left much to be said in private letters, it is upon these occasions, I know, some satisfaction to hear that nothing remains behind, which is material to the subject; but having been hitherto prevented, by the very entire occupation of our[Pg 260] time here, I take the opportunity of writing to you, a little at large, by the messenger who is going to England to-night.

You know that upon the slight view which the shortness of the time allowed me to take of the business in question here, I was persuaded that we probably might, in some degree, succeed in our expedition; because, if the course of things here could not be improved by our journey, yet I should consider the being able to ascertain what that state was, as an object very useful to pursue, and one which, if pursued with attention, we might probably succeed in possessing ourselves of. How far we have already obtained this information you will have seen by the communications which we have made; and I much fear that our journey will not produce any advantage of a more solid and substantial description. To say that it might not be possible to procure from the Government here a formal consent to such an arrangement as we have to propose, is more than I would assert: although, the condition which they positively insist upon of being paid for it by loan and subsidy, as well as all the difficulties which they throw upon the subject of the proposed barrier, and upon that of acting in the Netherlands, might well seem to justify the opinion of its being improbable that anything like the proposed arrangement would be consented to. But the misfortune is, that—in my judgment, at least—the evil lies much deeper, and is such as would leave me little hope of seeing any effectual purpose served, even by the signature of a Convention between the two Courts.

I do not know of any good ground for believing the common report of treachery, either in the civil or military government of the country; but I know, that if the principle upon which our Government act in the prosecution of the war is not cordially felt here—if the greatness of those interests, which we think now at stake, is not to the same degree here considered as being of the very essence and existence of all regulated government, a Convention will not give them a livelier perception of[Pg 261] this common danger, or teach them to see in it a crisis such as demands greater energy and exertions, than any other state of things could call for. But this common principle is not all that is wanting in the present case: we think, in England, that the preservation of the Austrian Netherlands is an object important to us as providing a defence for Holland, and important to the Court of Vienna as forming a rich and considerable possession to the House of Austria, and, therefore, making an object of common interest, though touching Austria still more sensibly than England. If this obvious view of the interests of both countries prevailed in the Governments of both—as one might rationally expect that it would—it would naturally furnish, by common consent, a very leading and governing motive, as well to the operations of the war, as to the ultimate issue of it. This, however, is not the view which is entertained here, or which I can persuade myself is really acted upon by those whose influence is decisive here.

M. de Thugut, the efficient Minister of this Court, is personally very much disposed (and long has been so) to the old project of an exchange of the Netherlands; and though that project appears to be laid aside for the purpose of conciliating Great Britain and Holland, yet it is evident that M. de Thugut's opinions are such as lead him to set but little value upon the possession of the Netherlands, and, therefore, that every circumstance, either of expense or of military enterprise, which looks towards the acquisition and defence of those provinces, is as much discouraged by him as he can venture to do, without openly declaring the whole bias of his mind: and it is very remarkable that, much as we have made it our business to press this to him in all our conversations, we have never yet been able to draw from him even a cold assent to the idea of the Low Countries being of any real value in themselves to the Emperor; though he sometimes feebly admits that, with a considerable addition to them, they might be made so.[Pg 262]

It may be said, that a Convention might engage them on this point, whatever their inclinations may be; but the answer is, first, that in point of fact they do object to bind themselves to the employing one hundred thousand men in the Netherlands, though they have not finally refused it; and secondly, that be there what agreement there may, the only substantial security for a hearty co-operation in fighting for that country, or for any manly system to be adopted hereafter for the preservation of it, must arise from a sense—in the owners—of the value of its possession, and not from the words employed in any treaty respecting it. I am aware that part of the indifference which I so much remark in M. de Thugut may be affected, for the purpose of throwing the whole weight of the defence of the Low Countries upon the Maritime Powers; but if that is his policy, he must mean to support it by abstaining from any vigorous exertions in behalf of it, and in the end, whether his coolness and inactivity shall have been produced by a real or disguised opinion, the result will equally have been fatal to that earnest and animated concert, which is so much to be wished for on this occasion.

You see that I have so far considered the Convention, as taking place upon the terms proposed by us; but you will have known, long before you receive this letter, that they have persisted from the first in asking, as indispensable conditions, that their loan must be completely satisfied in England to enable them to answer the demands of this year, and that they must receive from England a considerable subsidy for next campaign, if it is expected that they should act vigorously in the prosecution of the war, which they assert themselves to be utterly unable to do without pecuniary assistance from England. We have urged them very ineffectually on this point: they declare that they have good hopes of M. de Merey's succeeding in obtaining these demands at London, and the negotiation actually hangs upon the report which they hourly expect from him on[Pg 263] this subject; though we have repeatedly told them that their expectation was hopeless, and that, meanwhile, the delay occasioned by it might be fatal to those exertions which required immediate action and enterprise.

What decision the Cabinet will make upon this heavy demand of subsidy, is doubtless a very important question, of which they will be the fit and competent judges; but if that question simply turned upon the supposed probability of our being able to purchase, even at that dear rate, a proportionate degree of energy and activity in the war from this Government, I confess I do not hesitate to say that, from what I see here, I should not believe, if the experiment is tried, it will well answer their expectations. There is no soul in the bodies of these men—none, at least, which is alive to the magnitude of all the objects now at stake, or which leads them to share with you, as it ought the great points of common danger and common interest; and while these mainsprings are wanting, it is in vain to look for such movements and effects as cannot be produced without them. If this radical defect did not exist; if the Government here was as earnest as it ought to be in its contemplation of this war, but really was without the means of prosecuting it; if it acknowledged and took its proper interest in the possession of the Netherlands, and asked your assistance to that object, only because they had exhausted all their own resources, there might be great inducements to hope that, in furnishing to them the supply which they wish, you might on your side expect all the active effects which ought to be produced by it; but I know not how to hope that a subsidy will give vigour to their councils or enterprise to their armies; still less can I hope that a subsidy, given for the preservation of the Netherlands, will teach them to put a proper value upon those possessions on their own account, though it certainly would teach them how highly you value their retaining them on your account.[Pg 264]

All M. de Thugut's conversation, even upon the idea of the subsidy taking place, is evidently adverse to the prosecuting of the war in the Netherlands; and even when the danger of Holland is urged as a powerful argument for this course, he very coldly answers that, supposing the French to succeed in Holland for a time, they would be glad enough to relinquish it if the arms of the allies were successful in the interior of France. How, then, can one easily hope that the payment of a subsidy will reconcile views so remote—as I apprehend these are—from the wishes of the English Cabinet, or prevent much of thwarting and contradiction in the operations of the campaign? I confess that I suspect this disinclination to the defence of the Netherlands to arise, not only from a habit of undervaluing them, but partly, too, from a persuasion that the Maritime Powers must and will, at their own expense, protect them; and partly, also, from a narrow and timid view of collecting the whole Austrian force on the German frontier, so as to be more immediately ready for the defence of the imperial dominions, as well as to have less reason to fear in their jealousy of the intentions of the King of Prussia.

Upon this latter point the difficulties are, perhaps, much more likely to be increased than to be relieved, by transferring the Prussian subsidy to the army of Austria, because the Court of Berlin will doubtless express great dissatisfaction at that measure; and everything which excites their apprehension here, will naturally more or less interfere with the energy of their operations against France. I do not mean that these arguments would be stated as reasons against their acting up to the conditions of the subsidy; but I fear they would nevertheless be found to have too much influence and effect in practice.

The objections which have seemed to me to arise against a large subsidy to Austria—from the little hope which I should have of its producing from hence that exertion of force, and[Pg 265] that course of military operations which, with a view to Holland, we should think ourselves fully entitled to—are of course much increased by my apprehension of the bad and dangerous consequences which would affect our Government at home, from a second disappointment of so costly an experiment, which I must hope need not be considered as necessary to the prosecution of the war.

If it is true—as it may, perhaps, be found—that much of the languor and apathy of this Court arises out of a confidence in the greatness of our exertions, which may allow them to be sparing of their own, if (as there is reason to believe) they have still the fair means of recruiting their armies and maintaining their present military force, is it not to be hoped that the necessity of the case will rouse them to the use of those means, when they see no other prospect of safety open to them? They sometimes talk stoutly of all that they would do by arming the empire, and other vigorous measures, in case the French succeeded in forcing their way to menace Germany. But why are these exertions to be reserved for any other situation of things? and why are we to pay them a million and a half, rather than put them to the full extent of all their own exertions and resources? Nor is it, perhaps, to be overlooked, in this view of the subject, that the crooked policy of Prussia would perhaps acquiesce in the loss of his own subsidy much more readily, if he does not see it given to Austria, but has the satisfaction of seeing Austria fight her own battles with her own men and money. They always insist here, too, that they are sure the King of Prussia, even if his bargain should not be renewed with England, will not withdraw entirely from the war, and still less will take a part hostile to the combined Powers. And whether this speculation of theirs is true or not, while they believe it, they are more at liberty to act solely against France, without fearing any attack from the quarter of Berlin.

The great danger, perhaps, of trying another campaign[Pg 266] without subsidizing either Prussia or Austria, might first be found with respect to Holland (at least, if the Government here act as they threaten in the case of being unsubsidized), by their withdrawing of the Austrian army from the neighbourhood of Maestricht, and contracting their defence to the limits of their German frontier. But even if they did so—which may be much doubted—might not England and Holland, at a smaller expense than that paid to the King of Prussia, subsidize an army of auxiliary troops to act for the defence of Holland, and for carrying on the war in the Netherlands, and have that army really and effectually at their own disposal, and doing the service which they were paid for. How far this may be practicable, I do not pretend to judge. If it is so, nobody could doubt that it would be an expense more grateful to the public of our own country than that of paying for a force which we cannot bring as we ought into action, and which we must consider as compelled by their own interests to continue the war, whether we pay them or not for doing so. By subsidizing Austria, we acquire no greater force than that of the last campaign, and we put the justification of that enormous expense upon the unpromising chance of a vigour and energy on their part such as they appear to be altogether incapable of exerting, unless under the pressure of such a danger as would force them to act without hiring them to do so.

The length of this letter is such as I am really ashamed to add to.

Lord Spencer writes to Lord Grenville by the same opportunity. Neither he nor I see much prospect of making ourselves useful in the shape and with the views proposed, and we are therefore naturally anxious to see the ordinary course resumed in some other person, and any such arrangements taken as may admit of our return as soon as without inconvenience might be. We speak the more directly on this matter, from the entire and perfect agreement of our view of it, and our opinions concern[Pg 267]ing it; at the same time, if, in your determinations at home, it should seem to you that Lord Spencer can and ought to stay longer, with any fair prospect of such advantages to this great subject as his peculiar situation alone could promise, I do not doubt but that he would consent to protract his stay a little longer; and while he does, I certainly will not ask to desert him, bien entendu, that I cannot think of staying one hour after him.

Ever, my dear Duke,
Very truly and faithfully yours.

The session had been protracted to the beginning of July, not merely by the interest of passing occurrences, but by the efforts of the Opposition to damage the character and embarrass the action of Ministers. The most remarkable of these movements was a string of resolutions moved in the Upper House by the Duke of Bedford, and in the Lower by Mr. Fox, and urged upon the consideration of both Houses with an amount of ability that could not have failed of its object, had that object been a sound one, or sustained by the public opinion of the country. The main purpose was to obtain from Parliament a protest against the war, and to compel the Government to enter into proposals for a peace with France. After setting forth that the policy of the Administration had been that of strict neutrality before the commencement of hostilities, and that, after the declaration of war, Ministers adopted the policy of resistance to the ambition and aggrandisement of France, the resolutions went on to state, that at the beginning of the war it was considered a matter of general concern[Pg 268] in which His Majesty was to have the cordial co-operation of the powers united with him by the ties of interest and alliance; that His Majesty had not received that co-operation; that Russia had not contributed in any shape to the common cause; that Denmark and Sweden had coalesced to defend themselves against any attempt to force them into it; that Venice and Switzerland remained neuter; that Sardinia was subsidized merely to act on the defensive; and that Great Britain was loaded with a subsidy which ought properly to be borne by Prussia; and, finally, that the time was now come when peace might be secured on a permanent basis, and that it was the duty of His Majesty's Ministers to avail themselves of the opportunity.

There was some truth in these statements, although the general deduction was erroneous, and the colouring throughout false. The allies had not given that cordial co-operation to Great Britain which they were bound to do, and Prussia had evaded the onus of the coalition. Mr. Thomas Grenville's letter to the Duke of Portland discovers a great deal more than was known to the Duke of Bedford or Mr. Fox in illustration of these facts; and the correspondence that follows, which is of the highest importance from the confidential character of its details, confirms them. But the attempt to cast the responsibility of these circumstances upon the English Cabinet was equally ungenerous and unjust. The policy of Ministers had undergone no change, except that which was contingent upon the altered situation of affairs. To preserve a strict neutrality in the face of a declaration of[Pg 269] war, was clearly impossible; and to abandon the war, from an abstract desire for peace, at a time when the common enemy had gained enormous advantages, and were menacing the tranquillity and liberties of other nations, and threatening an invasion of England, would have precipitated results the very reverse of those contemplated by the Opposition. To have made proposals to France on what the resolutions termed "equitable and moderate conditions of reconciliation," would have involved two serious difficulties—the negotiation, in the first place, with a Government of anarchy which England had justifiably refused to treat with from the outset; and, in the second place, the admission of the power of France to dictate terms which England could not accept without degradation, or refuse without aggravating the existing grounds of hostility. Circumstances might arise—such as a change in the Government—to obviate the former difficulty; but the latter was insuperable. It would have been inconsistent with the principles upon which the war was undertaken to have proposed or submitted to any conditions which France, exulting over her recent successes, could have been expected to approve; and the result of such a negotiation at such a moment must have been, in any event, fruitless and inglorious. The decision of Parliament was unequivocal and decisive. The Duke of Bedford's motion was lost on the question of adjournment, and Mr. Fox's thrown out by a majority of 210 against 57 votes. The influence of the Opposition was overthrown. The country was against them, and their ranks were daily weakened by secessions. So[Pg 270] strongly and unanimously had the Parliament pronounced its judgment in favour of the maintenance of the war, that His Majesty at the close of the session was enabled to urge both Houses "to persevere with increased vigour and exertion in the present arduous contest against a power irreconcilably hostile in its principles and spirit to all regular and established government."

Immediately after the close of the session, some changes took place in the matériel of the Administration, arising out of the accession of power the Ministry had obtained by the adhesion of some of the leading Whigs. The Duke of Portland (to whom Mr. Thomas Grenville addressed his first letters from Vienna) was appointed Third Secretary of State; Earl Fitzwilliam, Lord President of the Council; Earl Spencer, Privy Seal; and Mr. Wyndham, Secretary at War. Further changes took place before the close of the year, when Lord Fitzwilliam accepted the Government of Ireland, and was succeeded as President of the Council by Earl Mansfield. Lord Spencer, at the same time, was placed at the head of the Admiralty; and Lord Chatham, the brother of the Premier, who had for some years occupied that department, was made Lord Privy Seal.

The junction with the Whigs was, as far as it went, a new coalition; but, under the circumstances which led to it, a coalition of a very different character from that which had been entered into by Mr. Fox and Lord North. The old elements of the Cabinet still held the ascendancy; and although some sincere friends of Mr. Pitt doubted the prudence of admitting the Whigs to office, no actual[Pg 271] disturbance of the existing system was apprehended from it. All agreed upon the question of the war—the one great question upon which agreement was essential to the repose and security of the country. In forming this alliance, however, another question had been overlooked, which was now daily rising into importance, and upon which the Whigs differed widely from Mr. Pitt, not so much in principles, as in the time and mode of their application. That question, the clog and difficulty of every Administration, was Ireland. But the moment had not yet arrived when the dangers of this question became manifest.

The following series of letters trace the whole course of the negotiations going forward on the continent, and exhibit in minute detail the actual position in which England stood in her relation to the rest of the allies, and the incessant energy she exerted in vain to awaken them to a just sense of their obligations.


(Private.) St. James's Square, Aug. 26th, 1794.
My dearest Brother,

I have to acknowledge your private letters, which I do not attempt to answer by this conveyance for obvious reasons, and only write that you may not receive my public despatch without a line to tell you that your private letters have reached me, and that I will state to you, by a safer opportunity, what occurs to me upon them. I am a little out of humour with you for not telling me how you bore your journey, and how you are, but I am willing to hope it has not renewed any symptoms of your former complaint. There never was such a succession of[Pg 272] cross-incidents as seem to have accompanied every part of poor Merey's mission, and I fear his loss is a serious one to us all. What do you think of Robespierre's death? I look upon it as a very favourable event, not from any opinion that I ever entertained of his personal talents, but because those who succeed him are evidently under the necessity of lowering the despotism of the Revolutionary Government, and of giving up thereby the great instrument with which they worked. A strong proof of this, and a circumstance very favourable in itself, is, that instead of a Committee of six or eight efficient persons who conducted the Government in all its branches, and with absolute power, they have already been obliged to institute twelve Committees, who are to be chosen with a sort of rotation, those who go out not being re-eligible. This is, in fact, a substitution of the weakest possible form of Executive Government in lieu of the strongest.

God bless you, my dearest brother, and believe me
Ever most affectionately yours,

We have received this morning accounts from Italy, mentioning the reduction of Calvi. You will probably have heard it by this time.

It was in the beginning of this month of August, that the Duke of York, at that time stationed at Breda, retreated before the French towards Bois-le-Duc; and afterwards, upon the advance of General Pichegru, crossed the Maese, and took up a fresh position near Grave. Seeing the necessity of placing the conduct of the campaign in more experienced hands, Ministers now proposed to give the command in chief to Lord Cornwallis; but before this step could be finally resolved upon, it was necessary to[Pg 273] consult the feelings of His Majesty on the subject. Mr. Pitt therefore submitted a statement to the King, assigning the reasons which induced him to urge the appointment of Lord Cornwallis upon His Majesty's consideration; and suggesting that Mr. Wyndham should be sent on a mission to the army. The following was His Majesty's answer:

Weymouth, August 27th, 1704.
Thirty-five minutes past One, p.m.

I have this instant received Mr. Pitt's letter accompanying the Paper of Considerations, which I undoubtedly should wish to keep; but not knowing whether Mr. Pitt has a fair copy of it, I have thought it safest to return.

Whatever can give vigour to the remains of the campaign, I shall certainly as a duty think it right not to withhold my consent; but I own, in my son's place, I should beg my being allowed to return home, if the command is given to Lord Cornwallis, though I should not object to the command being entrusted to General Clairfayt. From feeling this, I certainly will not write, but approve of Mr. Wyndham's going to the army, and shall be happy if my son views this in a different light than I should.

I will not delay the messenger, as I think no time ought to be lost in forming some fixed plan, and that the measure of sending Mr. Wyndham is every way advantageous.

George R.

It is hardly necessary to observe that Mr. Wyndham was sent upon his mission; and that the Duke of York, having met some further reverses, which almost incapacitated the troops from acting even on the defensive, shortly afterwards returned to England.[Pg 274]


(Private.) St. James's Square, Aug. 29th, 1794.
My dearest Brother,

The despatch which you will receive by this messenger, and the letter which Wyndham has promised to write to you from the British head-quarters, will explain to you the whole of the system which we have adopted, as affording the only hope of vigorous or successful exertion. The Austrian Government is already prepared for your proposal, respecting the giving to Lord Cornwallis the command of the whole combined force, as Count Starhemberg is apprized of it, having, indeed, himself in a great degree suggested the measure, on some general hints which I threw out to him, in order to try the ground. For the moment, the great point seems to be to bring them to acquiesce in the virtual command which his rank of Field-Marshal will give him over Clairfayt, and to send positive orders to the latter to that effect; and if there should be any difficulty in Clairfayt's submitting to this, then to let Clairfayt absent himself for the moment, and leave the Austrian troops under the command of some officer whose standing will occasion no difficulty in this respect. You will observe that, by virtual command, we mean precisely the same deference as the Duke of York has shown to the Prince of Coburg, not extending to any of the points of military etiquette by which command is usually rendered ostensible, but going to the effect of complying with his suggestions respecting the mode of executing the operations agreed upon in concert, when the instructions of his Court do not interfere with such suggestions. Before you receive this letter, Lord Cornwallis will probably be on the spot; and it is therefore urgent, to prevent the first beginnings of dissension, that no time should be lost in making the Austrians give their orders to Clairfayt. Knowing the delay of that Government,[Pg 275] and the difficulty of getting them to adopt any decided line of conduct, we have thought it best to do the thing first, and afterwards to try to obtain their consent to it. If you succeed, or, indeed, in any case, it will be useful that you should write directly to Lord C. upon the subject, as that may save a week, at a time when a week's delay might be of the utmost importance.

With respect to the Duke of York, Wyndham will probably tell you in confidence how he succeeds in his negotiation. It certainly is a pretty strong instance of zeal and desire to facilitate whatever can promote the cause, when he undertakes a task of no less difficulty than the reconciling the mind of a young Prince to a supercession in his military command, and that too at the precise moment of moving forwards, after so mortifying a retreat. I am, however, not without hopes of his success; and, at all events, the moment was too critical to suffer any consideration to interfere with the only means of salvation that appeared practicable.

With respect to the languor of the Austrian Government, and the doubt whether even money will obtain from them decisive efforts, we have strongly felt the force of all that you have stated on that head. But we are inclined to flatter ourselves, that if we once obtain so large a force as is mentioned in my despatch, and can put that force, in addition to our own, under the absolute and supreme direction of such a man as Lord Cornwallis, we shall at least be able to say to ourselves, whatever be the result, that we have done everything that it was possible to do; and without trying this measure, I confess for one that I should not have that sentiment in my mind. I lament that we have thought ourselves obliged to bring forward the discussion of a precise barrier, and yet I do not see how it could be avoided. But the impression may be very bad on their minds, if we appear to be narrowing the benefits which they are to derive from exertion, instead of animating them by[Pg 276] the hope of increased advantage. I have not dwelt on this point in my despatch, as you mention that you intended to write further upon it.

When the idea of transferring the subsidy was opened to me by Starhemberg, from Merey's instructions it was expressly stated, as a part of the plan, that the empire could be made to subsidize the Prussian troops; and this agrees with every information we receive on the subject, all which concur in stating the efforts of the empire, particularly in money, as being very far below what they could be brought to make by the joint exertions of Austria and Prussia. But on my pressing Starhemberg for further detail on this point, he has always avoided it, assuring me, whether truly or not, that he found no particulars respecting it among Merey's papers. You will see that in the despatch we make the whole dependent on a complete and bonâ fide execution of this point, and my language to him has always been of the same nature. But I confess that it is on this point that I feel the strongest apprehensions, and I much fear that Austria will both be disposed to evade it, and, in truth, unable to accomplish it. Should this be the case, the whole plan must be abandoned; and we should, I believe, in that event, be disposed to turn our subsidy to the object of raising other force, of whatever nature, so as, if possible, to form a separate British and Dutch army, destined to act under Lord Cornwallis, without the pretence or show of concert with either of the German Powers.

With respect to your remaining at Vienna, you will easily conceive, that having a project of this nature to propose, none of us thought we should give it its fair chance if we put it into other hands than those in which the business now is. We allow for your natural desire of quitting a scene which, God knows, must be mortifying enough to men who feel how much of the safety of Europe depends on the conduct of the Austrian Government, and who see how unfit that Government is to be[Pg 277] trusted with the interests of the smallest corporation. But we are confident that as long as there may remain the hope of doing so much good as would, we trust, be done by the complete success of the present plan, you will not be unwilling to give your assistance to it.

With respect to what you mention about yourself, you know my wishes on the subject, but I certainly will not urge them beyond what you are disposed to do. The proposal Lord Fitzwilliam makes to you is, I fairly own, in my apprehension, one less eligible than that of Vienna; but I fear a nearer view of that Court has rather strengthened than diminished your indisposition to that situation. You know, as well as I do, all the désagrémens belonging to the post of Irish Secretary; but it is certainly an important and honourable one, and such as to afford you ample room for showing yourself such as you are: more, perhaps, than many others which commonly rank higher in public estimation. My objection to it is the banishment, which obtains as much as in the foreign missions, and certainly to the most disagreeable of all countries. I do not know well how to make myself quite a disinterested adviser; but if I was to give you fairly the result of my thoughts upon it, I should still beg you to look at the foreign line, and if that must not be, I should then say yes to the question of Ireland.

Supposing that yes were decided, let me ask you whether your remaining some time longer at Vienna, so as finally to conclude, not the leading points only, but all the details of the arrangement now in question, and of the preparations for the active scene of next year, is wholly out of the question? It seems very clear that no arrangement will happen before that time which can change the Irish Government, and in the meanwhile you would be honourably and most usefully employed. I have, however, not hinted this idea to any individual, nor will I. If all this is wholly out of the question, I conclude that my reply to your answer to these despatches, will bring to[Pg 278] Lord Spencer and you the King's permission to return to England.

It would be very satisfactory to you to see how well things are going on here, and how completely our hopes have been realized on the subject which employed so much of our time and thoughts this summer.

God bless you, my dearest brother.

At this time, the new changes in the Administration, already alluded to, were under discussion in the Cabinet; and, amongst the rest, it was proposed that the government of Ireland should be offered to Lord Fitzwilliam. As soon as this appointment was suggested, his Lordship wrote to Mr. Thomas Grenville to offer him the office of Secretary.


(Private.) Vienna, Aug. 30th, 1794,
Dear Lord Fitzwilliam,

You will already have heard enough of our proceedings here to give you no considerable expectations of any great good to be done here; and if you happen to have been in London, and to have read a very tedious and long letter which I wrote on the 24th to the Duke of Portland, you will have seen there, more at large than it is necessary to repeat, the general view and impression of our minds as to the business with which we are charged; and the little ground which there appears to us for hoping that even by satisfying their pecuniary demands, we could depend upon such exertions being made in consequence, as the country would expect in return for expense of so great and heavy a scale. It is very true, to be sure, that in this as well as in many other cases, the difficulties present themselves something more readily than the remedies to them, yet upon the[Pg 279] question of the subsidy, if we are right in our conception that it would not probably produce, either in degree or in shape, that energy and cordial co-operation which we are looking for, perhaps no difficulty could be much more serious than that of engaging ourselves at home in an expense, the disappointment of which might produce in the minds of the public an effect, both with respect to the war itself and with respect to the Government which supports it, of the most perilous description. It is very true that great objects must sometimes be pursued at great hazards, and nobody is more ready than I to acknowledge that a greater object cannot be found than the successful prosecution of this war; but the peculiar question of subsidy seems to me to apply chiefly to the mode of carrying on the war, and, I would hope, not to the entire decision of pursuing or abandoning it.

I will not again go over the same detail which I pursued in my letter to the Duke of Portland, but satisfy myself with recalling to your observation, that the Government here, in speaking of the exertions which they should be driven to the necessity of making, if the French should threaten the German empire, plainly admitted that they do still possess resources capable of being applied to such critical exigencies, and in this confession show pretty plainly that nothing but the necessity of the case will drive them to the use of those means. Is it not then probable that a much greater exertion may be made by that necessity existing in our refusal of subsidy, than will be made by such pecuniary assistance being given, as may relieve them from the necessity of making any exertion of their own?

If the immediate alarm on the side of Holland seems to be a considerable inducement to the grant of the subsidy, in order to interest Austria in that very important defence of which the Netherlands make so essential a part, it should not, on the other hand, escape notice, that all our observation on their language and views would lead us very much to doubt how far[Pg 280] they would cordially concur in the defence of the Netherlands, even though they might consent to do so in the words of their contract; whatever value they may or may not themselves put upon the possession of the Low Countries, they always argue and act under the manifest persuasion, that the Maritime Powers are alone interested enough in this point to secure its being ultimately carried, and they give it pretty plainly to be understood, that they mean to depend upon us for that object. Under this view, they seem to me always disposed to consider the operations of the Austrian army in another campaign as likely to be concentered for efforts from the German frontier, by which means they will have a more collected force more immediately applying to the Imperial dominions, and better suited to the jealousies which they entertain of the King of Prussia, but certainly not best adapted to the defence of Holland, and the recovery of Brabant.

Perhaps I may be considered as carrying these suspicions too far, but I own I cannot help fearing too, that the suggestion made by them of mortgaging the Low Countries to us, is not as security for the money in question in this and the next campaign, is not a bonâ fide offer of their best security, but is considered by them as a fresh motive for interesting us in their possession of those territories, and as contributing the more to make that object our business, by either taking upon ourselves the whole defence of them, or, what they rather look to, by our purchasing the cession of them at the peace, by some of the acquisitions which Great Britain has made in the war: a measure which they may have the more hope for our concurrence in, if we have two millions lent out upon the security only of the Austrians regaining those territories at the peace.

Do not believe that these impressions are taken from any starving principle of economy, or from a too timid apprehension of the unpopularity of a subsidy in England; but be assured,[Pg 281] that even if there should be no difficulty at home as to this demand being acquiesced in, I should retain the same doubts as to any expectation of proportionate advantages resulting from it, and should be inclined to believe that even if the whole amount of the subsidy was to be expended, it might be more advantageously used in the purchase of Hessians, Swiss, or any other such troops absolutely at our disposal, in addition to the Austrians, than in the proposed purchase of increased vigour and activity in the government and army of this country: you cannot buy what they have not to sell.

 Sept. 14th, 1791.

The former part of this letter had already been written before I received yours of the 11th of August, which did not reach me till the 2nd instant. I am very sincerely rejoiced to find by it that you have made your decision for Ireland, because I believe that much good may be done there, by your taking that heavy load upon your shoulders; and although you are wanted enough both in London and Yorkshire, I am persuaded that for public objects you are still most wanted at Dublin. I am not enough acquainted with the interior there, to judge how far the means (as Government now stands) are competent to the end, or to what degree you may be able to supply all those links of connection between the two countries, which have latterly appeared to be very much worn away and broken through. I presume that it will be found easy enough to continue the same negative course of administration, and that it will be a work of great difficulty and delicacy for you to do all that you will think should be done; I am, therefore, from a strong persuasion of the arduousness of the task, well pleased to know that it is in such good hands.

With respect to my undertaking the office of Secretary, I am very far from being confident that I should be able to make myself, in that situation, as useful to you as it undoubtedly[Pg 282] should be made. You know it is not the first moment in which I have expressed my doubts as to that employment, since it is twelve years ago that the same objections presented themselves to me; and if I still feel the weight of them, it is not from any disinclination to pull at my oar in the galley, or from any reluctance to take part in public measures at a time when I think, as you do, that everything is at stake; on the contrary, I confess that, all other considerations put apart, I shall be gratified in making myself actively one of a system with which the prosperity of the country will, I am persuaded, be to stand or fall; and I shall be best gratified by doing this in whatever shape it could be hoped that I should be serviceable. To foreign mission, I own I know not how to reconcile myself; and for Ireland, besides my own disinclination to it, I should have thought Pelham better suited, as I have often told you. But my own opinion upon this, as upon all other subjects, gives way to the better judgment of my friends; and if the Duke of Portland and you think, that in the present state of things, I should do best to go to Ireland, I cannot say that I will not try it; sure I am that your going there gives to the situation every advantage which I can receive in it, and that if my engaging in it could succeed, it is on every account as promising and gratifying to me with you, as the situation itself can be made. Thus, therefore, it stands, that my own inclination, if no difficulties stood in the way, would rather lead me to any such employment at home as I might be fit for, when any such offered itself; but no such destination being easily found, if the Duke of Portland and you think it any way desirable that I should go to Ireland, I will certainly undertake it, and do the best I can in it; trusting always, that if hereafter, when you are settled on your Irish throne, the chance of events should make any home-situation of business practicable for me, you would not object to any such arrangement if it could be found.[Pg 283]

The long delay which has prevented my sending a messenger when I wrote the first sheet of this letter, has now so altered the events of the negotiation that it is hardly worth sending to you, except as a proof that want of opportunity, and not want of punctuality, has prevented my letter reaching you at an earlier period.

The loss of the fortresses, at a moment when they had been reluctantly induced here to make an effort to save them, is vexatious in the extreme. They threaten the vengeance of a court-martial on the officers who surrendered Valenciennes; but what will that avail towards recovering these great objects, which were equally material, both to the regaining of the Netherlands, and to their security when reconquered?

The hopeless inactivity of this Court is too long a theme to write upon, and will continue, I fear, to be a fertile source of uneasiness. It is shocking to foresee that their assistance may be as much wanted to save Holland as it was to save Valenciennes, and may likewise be retarded till it is equally ineffectual.

I expect to be in England towards the 12th or 15th of November.

Ever very faithfully and affectionately yours,
T. G.


Camp, Weymouth, Aug. 31st, 1794.
My dear Brother,

I have just received your letter of the 16th from Vienna, and am glad to find from it that you are as well as I wish you to be, and as sanguine as any one could wish who is less desponding than myself. I fear that very much of your difficulty is insuperable, for I have no idea that it is possible to induce the Imperial Government to exert themselves more for the recovery of Brabant than they did for the preservation of[Pg 284] it. Various circumstances (some of which you have stated) co-operated to the scandalous dereliction of a country, which all former history proves to us might have been defended (even for a losing campaign) with one half of the allied force; and it is no part of my creed that the zeal or activity of the Austrian Ministry (even if they act with good faith) can replace us by the end of November where we were last year. But if it is to be proposed to us to add Austria to the list of powers subsidized, and to call upon Great Britain, the ally of the war, to consider herself as the only principal in it, I fear that the proposition will meet with every difficulty, and (if acceded to) with as little success as the subsidy paid to Prussia. You will then ask me for my solution of this difficulty; and I will fairly own that I see none, but in endeavouring to stimulate Austria, by showing them clearly that we will not take the whole upon our back; and that we can better keep the wolf out of our house, than they can out of theirs, if the war is to be defensive.

As to the military operations of the Prince of Saxe Coburg, I make no doubt that he has done very ill; indeed, it seems difficult to conceive that his groom could have done worse. But I fear that the ignorance or treachery of the German Generals goes much deeper than you imagine, for I do not recollect one instance in the course of this campaign—and perhaps not one in the last—in which they answered the expectation formed of them. Again, if we imagined that by protracting the war we might exhaust the enemy, though I might not agree as to the prospect of success, I could understand it as a system; but in that case, the war would have been defensive, and co-operation settled to that object, instead of abandoning the Duke of York to certain ruin, if the winds and the circumstances of this country had not permitted Lord Moira's army to arrive just (and only just) in time to cover their retreat, and communication. These points are all mysterious to us lookers-on, and perhaps not much more[Pg 285] clear to you at Vienna. The only point clear and indisputable is, that we begun the campaign offensively in the south-west point without securing West Flanders; that we undertook by defensive positions to cover it; and notwithstanding the very slow progress of the French, which gave us full and ample time, it was lost for want of sufficient force on the western flank of our combined force, and for want of co-operation, either of defensive retreat, or of mutual support in a systematic evacuation of a country so very tenable. Now, if all this is proposed to be cured by changing the Commander, and by taking the Austrians into British pay, I fear that I shall be one of the first to cry out against such a measure, which cannot in the least tend to remove those difficulties, and will superinduce many others on the continent, and others more serious at home, to which you cannot be a stranger. If the object be to add to our force, we do not accomplish it by changing the Paymaster or Commander of the troops; but we may obtain a very considerable force under our immediate and actual command, by adding to the levies of French troops; or, in plain terms, by raising an immense French army in British pay, who would not be liable to be called off à la Prussienne to schemes of plunder, or possibly of home defence, in the moment in which they are the most wanted by us. I have taken some pains to get information on this subject; and I verily believe, that if we take the small remnant of the Prince of Condé's army into our pay, with him at the head of it as a foundation, we may in a very short time increase it to twenty-five, or perhaps thirty thousand men, which, added to our British, Hessian and Hanoverian army, would effectually support the Dutch in covering Holland, and would enable us to make a very serious diversion either in Normandy or in Poitou.

I have written upon this subject more at large than I at first intended, but it is very difficult to compress it; and having found it difficult to reconcile the conduct of Ministry in the[Pg 286] management of this campaign to my own feelings, or the plan (so far as I understand it from common report) of reconquering Brabant for the Emperor by an Austrian army in British pay, or of assisting Holland by a force of the same nature on which the experience of two campaigns shows how little we can depend, I have not thought it fair to withhold these opinions from you, having stated them to my other brother as soon as I heard of your mission (and from public report of the objects of it) to Vienna. But be assured, my dear brother, that I do not feel the less warmly for your credit, and for the success of your negotiation (whatever it may be) as far as the question is personal to yourself. I have always seen, with very sincere regret, your talents useless to the public; and I am happy, on every account, that you have found an opportunity of showing them in co-operation with my brother William, who seemed so happy in this proof of your confidence and affection.

I feel, as I ought, your anxiety about the yeomanry. I have the satisfaction of hearing that they go on very well, but of course meeting very seldom, because of the harvest. Their numbers, however, increase; and are, as near as can be, as follows:

 Captains.Lieutenants.2nd ditto.Qr. Masters.Numbers.
Sir J.DashwoodW. HicksT. MasonClarke4
DrakeK. MasonClerk——37
SirW. YoungCh. ClowesL. WayQuanne29

Most of them have got their swords, and have returned their pistols, which were most scandalously bad; they have got their appointments, and (except Young's troop) they come on very well. I am, however, tied by the leg to Weymouth, while the King is here, and cannot stir. He is in wonderful health; but very unruly as to the common precautions which ought to be[Pg 287] taken, and which keep me in constant hot water, notwithstanding our incessant rains. Lord Howe passed Portland yesterday with thirty-three sail of the line, and three Portuguese ships; of which one ran foul of the 'Barfleur,' and stove in her bows so as to force her to return to Portsmouth. All the sea prisoners lately taken, say, that Barrère is determined to force the Brest fleet of thirty-five sail to sea. Sir J. B. Warren's last prisoners say, that they were brought from the interior to Brest, and embarked handcuffed; another account states, that sixteen thousand men have been sent to Brest en réquisition, since Lord Howe's action. Our line of battle is thirty-seven sail, including what is to join at Plymouth; from which deduct two ships not ready, and the 'Barfleur,' his number will be thirty-four. He will probably fall in with your friend, Lord Macartney, who is coming back with "the Emperor's copy of verses," and left St. Helena on the 6th of July with nineteen East India ships.

Adieu, my dear brother,
Ever most affectionately yours,
N. B.

Sept. 5th, 1794.

P.S.—This letter was begun five days ago, but I have been for the last four days confined, and very ill from an epidemic, which is running all over England. It is not confined to the army, and it has not been fatal, but very painful. I have got clear of it, but I have above forty men ill of it at this moment. Adieu.

The difficulties of the negotiation in which Lord Spencer and Mr. Thomas Grenville were engaged, are very clearly stated in the following letter. It is perfectly evident from these curious revelations, that Austria and Prussia were pursuing a crooked and evasive policy in[Pg 288] their diplomacy with England, that the vacillations and infirmity of purpose they betrayed left them open to the suspicion of insincerity, and that the affairs of both Courts were conducted by Ministers utterly deficient in all qualities of firmness and judgment, which the occasion imperatively demanded.


(Private.) Vienna, Sept. 1st, 1794.
My dear Brother,

If M. de Thugut is waiting with impatience the result of M. de Merey's negotiation, you will easily believe that we have no less impatience to know your decisions upon that subject, though you will have seen that Lord Spencer and I have not been able to teach ourselves to wish that the pecuniary demands may, or ought to be, gratified by us. If they had confined themselves to asking only such a temporary assistance as might have given a more immediate spring to the vigorous movement which we are urging them to make, I should have been as little disposed as anybody could to withhold any practicable facilities of that description; but to the extent to which they steadily continue to point, I own I feel myself too little satisfied as to the equity of their claim upon us, and as to the probability of their acting fairly and manfully up to the great exertions which they ask from us, to entertain much disposition towards those demands.

They dwell certainly upon the difference which they state between loan and subsidy, and wish to prove to us that their offer of security upon the revenues of the Low Countries should, at least by us (who always insist on those territories remaining in the House of Austria), be accepted as a good and ample mortgage for the repayment of the sums which they want for this year and the next; but if it is true that they do not feel[Pg 289] interested at heart in these possessions, or if they think us so earnest in our wishes on this subject, that they may safely throw the whole weight of it upon us, their offer of a hypothèque on those possessions takes a much more suspicious character; nor is it, perhaps, an unreasonable jealousy on my part to apprehend that they may wish you to have a mortgage of two millions on the Netherlands, as an inducement to you hereafter to give up some of your French acquisitions in the West Indies, in order to recover for them a country, in which you will have a larger pecuniary stake, added to the ordinary course of political observations.

Much at least of Thugut's conversation would seem to tally with this view of the matter. It is observable that he perpetually recurs to its being a settled point, that de façon ou d'autre the Netherlands will be secured to Austria at the peace, and yet he never seems (in his view of the military operations to be pursued) to consider them as a main object of defence, and is so little disposed to make them so, that he expresses much reluctance at the idea proposed, of engaging Austria to furnish so large an army, to act in that country, which he thinks might be better employed elsewhere. Add to this, his remarking that England might be satisfied by the irrecoverable detriment done to the navy and commerce of France, and his contrasting the difference in point of acquisitions made by Great Britain, with the total failure on the side of Austria; and it is no great refinement to suspect the whole of this to lead to an expectation that we may better buy back the Netherlands for them, than put them to the expense of defending them or regaining them; and that we should have an additional motive for sacrificing some of our conquests to this object, if we have two millions of money mortgaged upon it.

Of the advantage which may be expected at home from adopting this shape of lending upon security, rather than of furnishing a direct subsidy, I do not well know how to judge;[Pg 290] but unless the security could be shown to be in itself substantial, and of a nature to be easily got at by those to whom it was due, I should doubt whether the public at home would be better reconciled to it than to a direct and acknowledged subsidy. The very small proportion of effect produced by the large payments this year to the King of Prussia, will create much indisposition to the incurring of a similar expense again, unless it can be shown to promise, upon good probable grounds, a much better return than we have had; and, generally speaking, I cannot but fear that the mere difference in point of exertion which we can hope from this country, may not turn out to be worth the purchase-money in the estimation of the country at large, though I should hope they might easily acquiesce in a very considerable exertion, if a great manifest exertion of strength, fairly disposable to the course of the war, could be procured by pecuniary aids. What inducement there may be to this measure, from any apprehension of the Emperor's withdrawing from the war, is another part of the question, upon which I can form no more correct judgment than belongs to the observation of a very short residence here.

Lord Malmesbury hints to me a suspicion of a proposed concert between the Emperor and the King of Prussia, to compel the Maritime Powers to make peace, though he appears to give no great credit to it. Certain it is, that in the month which we have past here, one of the most striking features of the conversation, both of Ministers and individuals, has been a hatred and aversion to Prussia, by Thugut, too, particularly marked towards Lucchesini, of whom he never scruples to speak to us in terms of the most unqualified dislike; so that as far as can be collected from what we hear, there ought to be no ground to suspect any plan of intimate concert between his Court and Berlin.

It is possible, to be sure, that independently of any such concert, the Government here, if unassisted by money from us, might endeavour to withdraw from the prosecution of the war;[Pg 291] but, as we have had no reason to expect any ultimate success to the propositions which we brought here, we have endeavoured, as much as possible, to learn what their conduct would be in failure of the proposed Convention, and to consider them in all that we have said as equally bound to continue in their co-operations with us according to the existing agreement, whether any new arrangement should succeed or not. To this view they have not only acceded always in distinct terms, when urged by us, but they have frequently stated this of their own accord, confining themselves only to the observation, that their means are limited, and will no longer allow of the exertions which they wish; but solemnly protesting against any present idea of peace, and always expressing their belief that Prussia is now desirous of peace being made, because, in the present situation of things, it might probably be made to the disadvantage of Austria. Unless, therefore, their opinions should be disguised to a degree which I cannot well believe, or should undergo an entire change, I do not see what ground there is to suspect in them any intention of abandoning the war, though I can entertain no great hopes of such a vigorous prosecution of it as we might wish and expect from them.

There is but one opinion as to the Emperor's inclinations on this subject, and if his personal character had steadiness enough to influence the Government, his disposition to the true principles of the war would be a great security to us; at present, however, it is of little or no avail; and it is much to be lamented in times like the present, that though there is no dislike entertained to him, there is not either the respect or consideration which ought to be attached to his situation, to make it tell with any of the effects one wishes to derive from it. With respect to his Ministers, you have seen too much of our remarks upon the striking features of their conduct, to make it necessary for me in every letter to repeat them. Thugut is certainly the only efficient Minister here: very diligent and laborious in his office,[Pg 292] he seems to have acquired an influence here by being the only man of business about the Court; and with this recommendation has reached a situation which the nobility of the country are mortified to see him hold, because he has no pretensions to hereditary rank, and because they have been used to see that office for many years filled by Prince Kavnitz. What we, however, miss in him is, either the disposition or capacity to see the present great crisis of Europe upon the large scale on which it should be looked at by the leading Minister of this empire; instead of which, we see in all our discussions a cold, narrow, and contracted view of this subject, infinitely too languid and little for the object, and made peculiarly unfavourable to our propositions, by the disinclination which he certainly feels to concur heartily with us in the great interests attached to the Austrian possession of the Low Countries. We have, it is true, obtained from him assurances of concerting an immediate plan for the relief of Valenciennes; but even this has not been obtained without many discouraging tokens of that total want of manly energy and direct dealing, without which all co-operation must necessarily be languid and feeble: always taking merit for having sent the most distinct orders to try the relief of Valenciennes, yet never taking the obvious mode of satisfying us by communicating those orders to us; maintaining as an argument for the loan, that without it the army cannot move, yet at the same time resisting our objections of the delay of waiting for answers from M. de Merey, by stating this movement as being actually in great forwardness, and not depending upon the loan for its execution; acquiescing in the change of command urged by us, and yet ever since that event reminding us that in his opinion this very change may defeat the operation which we wished to assist by it; gratifying our impatience at one time by counting up the days to the probable time of the desired movement, and then again stating that Clairfayt's army may be weakened too much to attempt it by his[Pg 293] detaching, perhaps considerably, towards the side of Treves; complaining that the Austrians had been prevented from sending Blankenstein's corps towards Flanders, as they wished, by the Prussians having engaged it in their line of defence, and yet refusing to us a corps much more inconsiderable, and not involved in the objection—I mean the corps of Condé—a corps, too, which, as I have before observed, from their own statement of their want of money, they should have been glad to have seen transferred to the pay of another country.

These, and many other such traits of inconsistency, I advert to only as being descriptive of the very unsatisfactory manner in which our business is discussed, always providing on their side apologies for future failures, instead of means of success, and projects of vigour and enterprize. Yet though the shortness of our possible residence here makes this inanimate character of the Government a bar to that immediate spirit and alacrity which, for the purposes of the present crisis, it was highly desirable to create here, so as to act upon instantaneously; much, I should suppose, may be done after our return, by any person of steadiness and activity, in the course of an established residence here, there being certainly fair grounds for the most intimate union between the two countries, and appearances enough of general inclination towards it, though traversed for the present by their hopes of fighting at our cost, and by the unfavourable turn of M. Thugut's mind upon the subject of the Netherlands. For this purpose, the sooner a regular Minister is appointed here the better; because though the opening of the subsequent campaign is at present distant enough, the dilatory habits of this Government make every moment more precious than it should be; and the points, both of the barrier and the Dutch indemnity, may be found longer in discussion than they were expected to be when I left London, particularly upon the former of those two subjects, on which[Pg 294] the future possession of Dunkirk and Givet must, perhaps, be distinctly explained.

We have heard of Lord Malmesbury's intention to quit Frankfort on the 10th of September, and we have read the formal acceptance, signed by him, of the military concert of the 26th July; you will already have seen, in our despatch No. 5, our apprehensions of the inconvenience of placing Clairfayt's army in any state of dependance upon the Prussian line, as we are always afraid that the Prussians may, by a nominal concert upon this subject, become a real hindrance, and throw difficulties in the way of the proposed enterprise for the relief of Valenciennes. In this view, therefore, we had certainly rather have seen Lord Malmesbury remaining at least till the movement in question had actually been carried into effect; and the more so, as we have always kept their fears a little quiet here, by promising that Lord Malmesbury, at Frankfort, should look to and strictly watch the operations of Marshal Mollendorff's army. I take for granted, however, that you will provide as well as you can against the inconveniences which in this shape may arise, and we shall likewise mention it to Lord M.

Ever, my dear brother,
Most affectionately yours,
T. G.


(Private.) Vienna, Sept. 15th, 1794.
My dearest Brother,

You will receive enclosed with this a letter, which I had already written before the arrival of your last despatches, and which can only be useful by showing you all that occurred to me upon the former view of the subject. The conditions which are now attached to the two questions of loan and subsidy,[Pg 295] appear certainly to be the best which could have been imagined for promising a fair use of the troops for which we are desired to pay, and would probably appear to the country to be so, besides really furnishing all the means which can be supplied to this great stake which we are compelled to play for. What has passed upon these propositions, you will have seen pretty amply in the public despatch, which is written so much at length as to require no great additional comment. It is manifest, that instead of complying with all the conditions proposed, they could not easily be brought to consent to any one of them. Upon the subject of command, there is a soreness which would be an insuperable bar to the idea of a large combined force (chiefly Austrian) acting under any English General; and yet there is so little hope of their acting vigorously under any other, that the choice lies between two extreme difficulties.

Under the pressure of your letter, which led us to imagine that Lord Cornwallis is actually gone to Flanders, we have done and said all that was in any shape likely to assist his situation there; at the same time, from Wyndham's letter, and from the fall of Valenciennes, it is possible that his journey may still have been delayed. Instead, therefore, of writing to him in Flanders, as you suggested, we have given a letter for him to Colonel Ross, who will find him either on this or the other side of the water, and will be best able to communicate to him whatever intelligence from hence it is material for him to know.

They do not talk heartily here of Clairfayt's co-operating, though they do not plainly refuse it; and I fear it is but too likely that they will satisfy their dignity by keeping their army entirely distinct from ours, a determination which may perhaps but too much assist the views of the French, if they really make a vigorous attack upon Holland. All that we could do by threats, entreaties, and remonstrances, on this very important[Pg 296] point we have done, and will continue to repeat while we stay here.

Upon the subject of transferring the subsidy, I believe they are in earnest when they say it is out of their power to engage for any considerable subsidy from the empire to the King of Prussia; and if it is true that they are now under the necessity of ascertaining what are their means for the next campaign, it may be true that they cannot act upon the uncertain speculation of receiving so much from us as they could promise for the King of Prussia. I know not whether I am right, but I have thought once or twice that Thugut has spoken with some marks of dislike to-day to Comte Stahremberg, whom he appears to suspect of having broached this proposition at London; to prevent any confirmation of this suspicion, we have not in any manner quoted Comte Stahremberg in our conferences; and as I believe you are satisfied with him, I hope I misinterpret the word or two which Thugut dropped upon this matter.

We are come back again (upon the failure of our overtures) to the hearing of a reduced scale of military operations, an idea more like a haberdasher of small wares than the Minister of a great empire. What the supposed plan of this contracted war is to be, I never have been able to learn; and, indeed, it requires all the good temper one can muster to make so discouraging an inquiry.

Meanwhile, orders are said to be already issued for raising sixty thousand new recruits in the hereditary states of Austria, but no hopes are given of assistance from Hungary, where the harvest has been, in many places, uncommonly deficient.

We have done what we could to urge them to be active in Sardinia, now the French appear to be retiring; and though an invincible prejudice to that quarter prevents Thugut from doing all he might, yet he expresses a readiness to concur in an attack upon Nice, if the English fleet would co-operate,[Pg 297] as soon as the equinoctial snows have fallen to guard the mountains of the Milanes.

There are, however, bad reports of Kosciusko declaring war against Austria, which will be both a reason and a pretext for suspending enterprise, if any would otherwise be undertaken. The Duc de Guiche has a project of collecting the Gardes du Corps, of which he says he thinks he could soon muster twelve hundred. He and the French here are grown very anxious about Comte d'Artois' journey to Rotterdam. We expect impatiently to hear from you of our return.

With respect to Vienna, Lord Spencer having considered this business as now come to a point, which requires some new shape and fresh regular negotiation, writes to request leave to return home, and only waits for it to set out immediately. In that request (after all the consideration which I can give to it) I feel that I must likewise beg to be included, so as to return with him at the same time. The line of foreign mission is one to which I own I cannot reconcile myself; it leads certainly to a claim for future competency, but it seems to me little likely to assist those views of honest ambition, which are certainly, though I hope to no improper degree, still more forward in my mind than those of emolument. In this view it was, that upon a former occasion of arrangement, I had declined the Hague, which certainly is the first of all the situations in that line, but which still has the objection of banishing from all connections, social as well as political, and of cutting across all other expectations except those of an invalid upon half-pay.

I believe I need not tell you, that upon the proposition which you suggest of my staying here only to make the detail of the new arrangements for next year, I certainly would not have refused it, if I had thought that I could more usefully transact that point for you; but I am really firmly persuaded, that the only chance of any good being done here, is by some active and intelligent man taking[Pg 298] root here, and acquiring over these Ministers by the vigour and perseverance of his own mind, influence enough to supply the total want of it in theirs; but as this must be a work of some time, so it seems highly important that it should immediately be undertaken in that regular established shape in which alone it is likely to succeed, and to which I could very little contribute by protracting my departure two or three months beyond that of Lord Spencer; besides, too, that if Ireland is to be looked at, I have not much time to lose with a view to that subject. Certainly no man can be more sensible than I am to the désagrémens of the Irish Secretaryship; and if the political arrangements which have taken place, had admitted of my occupying any situation of business at home, there is scarce any which I should not prefer to it. I am, however, very ready to confess, that at the present moment I do not see any such opening likely to be easily made; and, therefore, the question is as with respect to myself, whether, even with all my dislike to the situation, it may not be right that I should take it, and trust to the course of events to supply hereafter some other situation more eligible. What much inclines me to this is, that I shall be able to preserve a much nearer and closer connection with my family and friends, whom I shall at times have an opportunity of seeing, and that the business itself may become in one light highly interesting to me, if I see in it the means of making myself essentially useful upon a subject certainly not unimportant.

I am not without considerable apprehensions, as you know, with respect to the practicability of all that in theory one wishes to be done in that country; but of those difficulties, it is useless now to speak. Upon the whole, therefore, I have thought it best to accept of Lord Fitzwilliam's offer, and have accordingly written to say so.

I will not unnecessarily add to this letter, as I expect to see you so soon: we calculate that in about twenty-six[Pg 299] days we shall receive from you our answer, with permission to return; and that we shall be enabled to set out between the 15th and 20th of October at latest. Happy, indeed, I am to find, by the conclusion of your letter, that everything is going on at home upon as good a footing as we could wish. Every day's experience confirms me in the conviction, that with the present arrangement of Government, the peace and prosperity of the country must stand and fall; and however threatening may be the prospect from without, as long as everything keeps so right within, I shall continue to be of good heart.

I am ashamed of having written so much about myself, or rather I should be so if I was not writing to you; but I have confidence in your kindness and affection.

God bless you, my dear brother.


(Private.) Vienna, Sept. 15th, 1794.
Dear Duke of Portland,

The impatience which we know that you must all have in England to hear the result of your last determinations, leaves me no time to add to what is contained in our despatches; but having had occasion to write to Lord Fitzwilliam upon his having offered to me and pressed upon me the Secretaryship in Ireland, I cannot let the messenger go without a few words likewise to you upon that subject, to tell you that I have left that to your decision and to his; having only added such expressions of my own views and inclinations as I know your friendship for me will lead you to view in their proper light. My objections to the situation of Secretary in Ireland you very well know, because even all my desire of making myself useful to you could not, twelve years ago, overcome those objections. I am, however, so persuaded that, in this moment, it is every[Pg 300] man's duty to take his task without consulting his inclination, that if, all things considered, you agree with Lord Fitzwilliam in thinking that I had best go to Ireland, I will certainly try it.

You will, I am sure, forgive me for adding that, if the future course of political arrangements (according as facilities may occur) should admit of my being usefully employed at home, my wish and preference to any such arrangement will not, I am sure, be overlooked by my friends in England.

Ever, my dear Duke,
Most sincerely yours,
T. G.

That some inconvenience had already arisen, and that more was yet likely to arise, from the nomination of Lord Fitzwilliam to the government of Ireland, will be seen from a letter addressed by Lord Grenville to his brother at Vienna. It had been clearly understood all along, that Lord Fitzwilliam's appointment could not be confirmed until some suitable provision should have been made for Lord Westmoreland, who had accepted the office of Lord-Lieutenant on that express condition; yet the friends of Lord Fitzwilliam, in their eagerness to make known the accession of their party to power amongst their allies in Ireland, committed the indiscretion of talking publicly about the approaching change, before any arrangements had been concluded, or could be concluded, respecting Lord Westmoreland. The immediate effect of these premature announcements was to embarrass the Cabinet, and irritate the feelings and compromise the position of the Lord-Lieutenant. Worse effects followed soon afterwards.[Pg 301]


Sept. 15th, 1794.
My dearest Brother,

I am so late, that I have hardly time to write this private letter to you, nor, indeed, have I much to add to my despatches.

There is, however, one point which it is material that you should know for your own satisfaction. The despatches, as now drawn, bear very much the appearance of contracted operations in Flanders, without any very distinct statement of an intention to extend our plans elsewhere. The reason is, that we doubt whether we ought to trust the Government at Vienna with our secret in this respect. The failure of our expected operations in Flanders, where we had hoped to engage the principal attention of the enemy for the next month, makes it impossible to try, with the small force of which we now have the disposal, any operations of consequence in the Vendée; and a weak and ineffectual effort there would both betray and dispirit those whom we wish to support. We have therefore, for the present, renounced the idea of doing more than barely trying to throw in arms and supplies; and we reserve our attack for the spring, when, if our present expectations do not deceive us, we shall have the means of disposing of a very large force, independent of émigrés, &c.

In this way, the two parts of the war will operate as a diversion one to the other, and we shall be able to push that, whichever it may be, when we shall appear at the time most likely to succeed. That will probably be the quarter where we act alone, and have neither to depend on Prussian faith nor Austrian energy.

It is in the meantime discouraging to see how fair an opportunity is lost by our not being able to profit of the present [Pg 302]state of things in France. God knows what may happen between this and the spring. It does not appear to me that there is any foundation for the report of the young King's death. If it was true, it would solve at once the question of the acknowledgment of the Regent, which Spain has formally proposed to us.

You will have received my letter on the point on which you asked my opinion. If the decision is likely to go in favour of Ireland, I heartily wish you were here, as I am afraid that there is less discretion on that subject than there should be. The intended successor to Lord W. is talked of more openly than I think useful, at a time when there is yet no arrangement made for his quitting his station. But what is worse than that, ideas are going about, and are much encouraged in Dublin, of new systems there, and of changes of men and measures. Whatever it may be prudent to do in that respect, I know that you will agree with me that, till the time comes when that question is to be considered, with a view to acting upon it immediately, the less is said about it the better, in every point of view. When I see you, we can talk this over more easily than by letters between Vienna and London; and yet I have heard so much of it lately, that I almost wish it were possible for you, even at that distance, to write something that might suggest the necessity of caution; and that something you might even ground upon the paragraphs in the papers, which, as you may have seen, have been full of speculations upon it, particularly since Ponsonby's journey here.

The notion of seeing your personal quiet and happiness committed in this business, makes me feel more anxious about it than I otherwise should, though it is otherwise sufficiently important, and that in more than one point of view.

God bless you, my dearest brother, and believe me

Ever most affectionately yours,

[Pg 303]


St. James's Square, Sept. 17th, 1794.
My dearest Brother,

I have forwarded your letter to Tom, who will, I think, probably set out from Vienna soon after the receipt of it. I should have been very glad if I could have engaged him to stay there, but that, I think, seems out of the question. I am not more sanguine in his success than he is himself; and if my conjecture is right, at least you will have the satisfaction of knowing that a subsidy is not given to Austria. I own myself that if the situation of affairs there had been such that one could, with propriety, have been given, with a reasonable hope of adequate exertion in return, I should never have signed any other instrument with as much pleasure as the warrant for ratifying that agreement, whatever had been the consequences of it. I have no other view of the contest in which we are engaged, nor ever have had, than that the existence of the two systems of Government is fairly at stake, and in the words of St. Just, whose curious speech I hope you have seen, that it is perfect blindness not to see that in the establishment of the French Republic is included the overthrow of all the other Governments of Europe. If this view of the subject is just, there can be worse economy than that which spares the expense of present exertion, and incurs the probability of increased risk, and the necessity of protracted efforts. I believe, however, that all this reasoning applies, in this instance at least, to a case which will not exist.

Our letters from Holland yesterday announced the execution of Barrère and Co.; but so many false reports have come from thence, that I do not give much faith to this, except from the probability of the thing itself. The weakness which this state of things at Paris occasions, in their efforts in the Low Countries, is very encouraging, and would be much more so, if we were but in a situation to profit of it.[Pg 304]

Mulgrave's expedition has, I believe, completely performed its object, and averted all danger for the present from that quarter. The corps will now be broken up. In that event, Nugent has been thought of to go to the West Indies with the command of a brigade, and the local rank of Brigadier-General. I have taken it for granted that this will be a thing agreeable to him, and have therefore promoted it as far as I could, because it gives him the opportunities of showing himself both in service and in command. If you see it in the same light, perhaps, you would prefer throwing out the idea to him before it is formally proposed to him, as he might have difficulty in declining any proposal of service, even if for any reason that I do not foresee this destination was not agreeable to him.

I rejoice to think that your King's guard is almost over, which I imagine must have been a troublesome business enough.

God bless you, my dearest brother.

The straw was now beginning to move in the direction of Ireland. Mr. Ponsonby and his friends made no concealment of the expectations they founded upon the advent of Lord Fitzwilliam; and reports were creeping out, that with the change of men would come an entire change of measures.


Dropmore, Sept. 27th, 1794.
My dearest Brother,

I received your letter here yesterday, and write this because what you say on two material points of the public situation of affairs, impels me to it, though I well know how impossible it is within the compass of a letter to discuss such questions, or even to state the mere grounds of the considerations on which they depend. I see so much all around us of the gloomiest[Pg 305] colour, that I am on that account, perhaps, more sensible to the manner in which you seem to view our situation. I cannot, however, be much surprised at the confidence which you seem to feel as to the possibility of our seeing the storm break all round us, and remaining untouched by it, because such appears to be the prevailing sentiment here, as well as in every other part of Europe: every country, and almost every individual, seeming to reason and to act in the hope of such an exception being made in their favour during the general ruin which they see impending over others. I am, however, not the less convinced of the truth of my own opinion, which is unhappily already confirmed by too many instances of the effects which this delusive security, as I think it, has produced, and is daily producing. I can see no grounds, in the state of this country, to hope for such an exception in our favour, and I do verily believe that we must prepare to meet the storm here, and that we must not count upon the continuance of a state of domestic tranquillity which has already lasted so much beyond the period usually allotted to it in the course of human events. I trust that we shall at least meet it with more firmness than our neighbours, but even in order to do this, we ought not to blind ourselves at the moment of its approach. It seems too probable that it is decreed by Providence that a stop should be put (for reasons probably inscrutable to us) to the progress of arts and civilization among us. It is a melancholy reflection to be born to the commencement of such a scene, and to be called to bear a principal share in it, but I trust we may hope that our strength may be proportioned to our trial.

With respect to what you say of Ireland, I am not ignorant of the reports upon the subject, though perhaps a little mortified at the facility with which you seem to have given credit to them. I know of no such measure as you say we have adopted. I have never varied in my opinion as to the impolicy of the conduct held in Ireland during the time of Lord Rock[Pg 306]ingham's Administration, nor do I believe that any one is disposed to repeat that conduct now. On the other hand, I must say that I think we, least of all people, and yourself less than any man existing, have reason to feel any particular interest in a system which experience has always shown, at least in our time, to be neither able nor disposed to carry any support to English Government whenever England can think such support material. It has long appeared to me, and I believe to you also, that to make the connexion with Ireland permanently useful to Great Britain, that connexion must be strengthened by a systematic plan of measures, well considered and steadily pursued. Whether the present moment, or any other moment that is in near prospect, would be favourable to such a plan, is another and a more difficult question; but I am sure that every year that is lost increases the hazard of our situation as with respect to Ireland. These points I feel as those which are truly important to England, are not questions of power or advantage to Lord Shannon, or Mr. Ponsonby, or any other individual, or set of individuals there. And with this impression, I certainly have not for one consented, as you express it, to surrender Ireland to the Duke of P. and Lord F. under the government of Mr. Ponsonby; but neither can I conceive what other interest you or I have, or ought to have, on that subject, except that Ireland should be so managed, if possible, as not to be an additional difficulty in our way, when so many others are likely to occur.

I have not often as much leisure as I have found to-day to put these ideas on paper. Do not think me dispirited by what has happened. I see the extent of our danger, and think that danger much greater than it is commonly apprehended; but the effect of that opinion on my mind is no other than that of increasing the conviction with which I was before impressed, of the necessity of perseverance and exertion. France and Spain and the Netherlands, and Geneva, most of all (small as it is),[Pg 307] show us that this danger is not to be lessened by giving way to it, but that courage and resolution are in this instance, as in most others, the surest roads to self-preservation.

I have written this with more than usual seriousness, because such is the state of my mind, which I am accustomed to open to you without reserve, and such as it is at the moment of my writing or conversing with you.

When are we likely to meet? I suppose that your campaign will not last much beyond the King's journey. You will not, I hope, forget that this place is your best inn, whether you go to Stowe or to town; but you must give me a few days' notice, that I may be sure to be here. God bless you.

The progress of the negotiations on the continent, and the weakness of Austria and Prussia, mixed up with no inconsiderable amount of indecision and duplicity, are freely commented upon in letters from Mr. Grenville and Lord Malmesbury. Want of power, and want of will—fear, hesitation, and imbecility—were so conspicuous in the conduct of these Courts, as to destroy all confidence in their professions. The character drawn by Lord Malmesbury of the King of Prussia—which the reader will find confirmed in the subsequent communications of Mr. Grenville—shows how little reliance, under any circumstances, could be placed on His Majesty's co-operation.


(Private.) Vienna, Sept. 22nd, 1794.
My dearest Brother,

The course of this last week has been employed—as you will have seen from our despatch—in very long, but fruitless arguments on our parts. The proposal which we send to you, has no other recommendation than that of its having been strenuously[Pg 308] resisted by us, and steadily persisted in by them. If the fact really was, as they are disposed to consider it, that England—at no risk and no expense—could, in the shape of this guarantee, furnish means to Austria, without which they must consider themselves as beat, and act too under that impression, to their own certain ruin, and to the great probable danger of Holland; if, I say, all this mischief could be prevented without any real expense to England, the question would seem to me very different from what it now is. But, I confess, that I have not been able to make out of their conversation on this subject any of that security on these points which they must insist upon. They say, provision can be made by which the interest of this money can be punctually secured, to be paid strictly when due to the commissaries of the English army, or any other persons appointed to receive it; yet what those provisions are which provide for that security, I do not make out, nor do they seem able to describe. I state to them that Mr. Pitt must find ways and means for the payment of the interest of this loan, which must increase the first shape of our annual expenses, whether they are afterwards honestly repaid or not; but they maintain that M. Desardroui can settle this somehow or other, though how they have not by any means explained; perhaps M. Desardroui has been more fortunate with Mr. Pitt.

One considerable difficulty in regard to this proposition seems to be the influence which this loan might have upon their wish to regain the Low Countries—a wish which we already think too weak in their minds, and which would probably become weaker from the reflection that the income of those revenues was already mortgaged for a considerable sum. It was with a view to this that I dropped to them the notion of their giving a larger security, and asking a smaller loan, as well as complying with the requisitions of augmented force and British command. The general security you see they do consent to give; but, until I hear some more distinct expla[Pg 309]nation, I shall still fear that they mean to throw the whole security upon the Netherlands. They are still quarrelling more every day with everything that is Prussian: they have stopped a large magazine of blue cloth from Prussia to Switzerland, which they say they know is destined to France; and the King of Prussia threatens, in consequence, to stop some of their supplies in their passage to their armies. Thugut said of the King of Prussia to-day, with some truth and some humour, that all he wanted was to save the whole of his army, to conquer Poland without the loss of a man, and in reward to receive from us a pension of a million and a half per annum. If half that sum would purchase from him thirty thousand troops absolutely at our disposal, to make with British, Hessian and Dutch an army under English orders of one hundred thousand men, for the side of Holland; and that the other half—viz.: £700,000—given in the way of subsidy to Austria, could give it good heart to make a vigorous offensive campaign, I know not whether my inclinations would not lead me to the experiment; but their wants here are so great, and their resources, or at least their spirit and exertions, so reduced, that the prospect is certainly very discouraging. They seem full of new fears about the Turks, and express much expectation that our Minister at Constantinople will make great efforts to keep all quiet there.

I believe I told you there were apprehensions of the Poles, under Kosciusko, breaking with the Austrians. A small affair had taken place, but it is said to be amicably settled, and to be, for the present, safe on that side. We are anxiously expecting our permission to return; and I depend now upon seeing you so soon, that I will not unnecessarily protract this letter.

I know not who you are sending here; but we have taken great pains to keep alive in them here the most favourable dispositions that we could; and as far as appearances can be depended on—if the pecuniary demands were out of the ques[Pg 310]tion—nothing can be more promising than their general language and professions are, of earnestly desiring to establish the most intimate union between the two Courts.

God bless you, my dearest brother.


Frankfort, Oct. 2nd, 1794.
Dear Grenville,

I have written to Lord Spencer all I have to write officially. I fear I have mixed up a little bile with my intelligence; but the times are bilious, and it is beyond the compass of my patience to see the great stake we are playing for lost by imbecility, treachery, and neglect, without betraying a few symptoms of discontent. It is really deplorable that we should be the only nation in Europe who are up to the danger of the moment, and that the minds of all the other Cabinets are either so tainted with false principles, or are so benumbed, that it is impossible to work upon them. It is manifest, from the most undoubted information, that the interior of France is in a state of the greatest disorder and confusion; that the successes of the armies are the only cause of this confusion not breaking out in the shape of a civil war; and that if we could at this moment obtain any one brilliant success, that the whole fabric would fall to pieces.

It is said that H. P. M. will come here, and that when he does come, things will take another turn. I doubt one and the other. Any means will be employed at Berlin to keep him there, and if these should not succeed, any means will be employed here to persuade him to approve all that has been done, and to follow up the same line of conduct. I know from experience the weakness of his character, and the facility with which he gives way to the last advice. I know also by experience that his assurances cannot be depended on, and that his conduct does not always correspond with his[Pg 311] promises. It is from your mission and from your Court that I expect any good. I am free to confess (still under the influence of that vile thing called experience) that my hopes are not very sanguine.

Lord Howe is returned to Torbay. This is all I hear from England. Nobody writes to me, since everybody supposes me on the road. Mr. Braddye gave me your letter an hour ago, I will do all I can to make Frankfort pleasant to him, but this is almost as impossible as to make the Prussians act.

I probably shall be here still a fortnight. I will write again soon.

Ever yours most truly and sincerely,

The curious revelations that are made in the next letter respecting Ireland are of infinite value in enabling us to estimate correctly the events that afterwards took place in that country under Lord Fitzwilliam's government, and the circumstances which led to its abrupt termination. Two important facts are authenticated in this communication: the first, that Lord Fitzwilliam, before he assumed the government, and even before his appointment to it was advanced so far as the removal of his predecessor, had not only determined upon the introduction of a new system, involving extensive changes of policy and persons, but that he had made known his determination to the heads of that party in Ireland who had obstructed Lord Buckingham on the Regency question; and the second, that this determination was formed without any previous concert with Mr. Pitt and the Cabinet, and to a great extent in opposition to their known and avowed principles.[Pg 312]


(Private.) Dover Street, Oct. 15th, 1794.
My dearest Brother,

I think it probable that you may receive with this letter, others mentioning to you the unhappy misunderstanding which has clouded all our prospects, and which seems to threaten the worst consequences to that system, from the permanence of which I had looked, as you did, for the safety of this country, under all the difficulties of our present situation. Everything has continued up to this hour to go on in the most satisfactory manner, with the single exception of this unfortunate subject of Ireland, which now is brought to that sort of point which must, as I fear, unavoidably produce the immediate dissolution of the union, which we were both so anxious to maintain and perpetuate.

It would be difficult for me to give you an exact account how this mischief has originated, because I am of course ignorant of the manner in which the Duke of P. and Lord F. received the impressions, on which they appear to have acted. About the time I wrote my last letter to you, or rather earlier, reports came round to Pitt and myself that the party who had acted in opposition in Ireland, and particularly Ponsonby and Grattan, had held the strongest language respecting assurances received by them from the Duke of P. and Lord F., that the latter was immediately to be declared Lord-Lieutenant, that Mr. Pitt had given Ireland over entirely to them, and that a new system of measures and men was to be adopted. In these reports particular persons were mentioned as being to be dismissed, and amongst these the Chancellor. The only impression which these produced on my mind was, that Lord F. had talked too soon of his intended appointment, as it had been uniformly explained that he could not be named till some provision was[Pg 313] found for Lord W., the fact being that when the latter went to Ireland he accepted that situation, on an express engagement that he should return to one not less advantageous than the Post-Office, which he then quitted. I imagined also that in his communications with persons, whose support to a new Government in Ireland we all wished to secure, he had been less guarded than he might have been, and had given in his conversation more way to ideas stated by them than it could be prudent to do. And in this impression I wrote to you, thinking all the rest to proceed only from the usual exaggeration of reports of this nature, particularly in Ireland; and feeling confident that before any measure was really determined upon, we should have an opportunity of discussing it fully, and of weighing the proposed advantages of it against the very great objections which naturally and at first sight occur.

Soon after this we heard that Lord F. had actually taken such steps in Ireland as marked his persuasion of his being immediately to be appointed, and as gave on that account great offence to Lord W., to whom no communication of that nature had yet been made on our part, because we saw no such opening as it would have been necessary to hold out to him when such communication was made.

While we were doubting what step it might be best to take on this subject, to avoid giving any ground of uneasiness or dissatisfaction, the Duke of P. wrote to Pitt to urge the immediate appointment of Lord F. as a thing already determined upon, and without taking any notice of the necessity of the previous arrangement for Lord W. This led to intercourse upon the subject, and it is only since that time that we have found ourselves apprized of all the difficulties of the subject, and of the extent of the misunderstanding which prevails respecting it.

It appears that Lord F. has (on whatever grounds) announced to his friends in Ireland his immediate destination for that[Pg 314] country, in such a manner as makes him now think that his appointment cannot even be postponed without discredit to himself, and that he cannot any longer continue in the King's service in any other situation than that of Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland.

If this difficulty stood alone, it would be sufficiently great. The principle on which Pitt had always acted in forming this junction, and the justification which he has used to those of his friends who disapproved or doubted about the measure, was, that he sacrificed to it the situation of none of the former Government, or its supporters; but that he used such openings as presented themselves, and such as he could create without removals, for the purpose of bringing into the public service a large and respectable description of persons, actuated by the same view as himself of the present state and circumstances of the country. Yet it hardly seems possible that, without breaking in upon this principle, Lord F. could now be appointed. I am, however, persuaded that if this had been the only difficulty, some expedient would have been found to remove it, though it is not easy to say what that expedient could have been. But certainly for such an object as the maintenance of a system on which the fate of the country seems so much to rest, great sacrifices would and ought to have been made.

But it now appears that the reports which had reached us were in a very great degree, if not indeed wholly, founded in the real truth of what had happened. There is, I fear, no reason to doubt that some of the very expressions I have mentioned have actually been used, and that Lord F. has pledged himself too far to recede, with respect to a total new system, both of men and measures. The first point of this system goes to no less than the dismission of the Chancellor, who was, as I understand, to be replaced by Adair. On this subject, Pitt and myself cannot but feel that the only ground on which the Ponsonbys can desire the Chancellor's removal, is the conduct he[Pg 315] held during the Regency in support of Lord Buckingham's Government, and that our consent to such a step must therefore be utterly dishonourable and degrading to us. But independent of this consideration, it is my sincere opinion that there cannot be adopted any measure more certainly destructive of the peace and tranquillity of that country. The system of introducing English party into Ireland, the principle of connecting changes of Government here with the removal of persons high in office there, and particularly the marking that system in the instance of a person of Fitzgibbon's situation, weight, and character, are all so utterly irreconcilable with every view that I have of the state of that country, that I should really be inexcusable if I could make myself a party to such a measure; and in this opinion Pitt entirely concurs.

On every principle, therefore, of duty and character, we are obliged to say that we cannot consent to this step, and we can only regret that, if it was originally intended, so capital a feature in the new arrangement was not brought forward earlier. The same observation applies to the whole idea of holding out a new system of men and measures in Ireland. If that was meant before the junction was made, it ought surely to have been stated then, in order that we might judge whether it did not oppose an insurmountable bar to the whole scheme. If it has only been conceived since that period, it ought certainly to have been communicated and concerted here, before any pledge or assurance was given to individuals who might be concerned in it there.

When I say this, you must not suppose that there enters into our minds anything like warmth or resentment on the subject. The manner in which everything else has been conducted since we acted together, convinces me that the evil has arisen from precipitation and indiscretion, and not from any concerted plan of committing us, without our knowledge, to measures which we could not be supposed willing to adopt.[Pg 316] And if it were still possible that the thing could be settled without discredit to either party, not only my sense of the public interest, but my personal feeling towards them, would make me think that no means ought to be left untried for that purpose. I am, however, obliged to confess to myself that I see no possibility of this. The publicity which has been given to the whole business seems to render it utterly impracticable. The assurances which have been given are well known, and the breach or performance of them must be discreditable to one of the two parties, for such, unfortunately, they now are again.

I never can enough regret your absence from this country while this has been going on. I am sure if you had been here the whole thing would have been avoided. As it is, what determination you will take respecting your own line I know not, and I feel myself too deeply interested in it to think myself a fair or competent adviser.

Nothing can be more unfortunate to the public interest than this incident; but the sense of it would certainly be very much aggravated to me if it were to lead, which I still hope it may not, to the placing us two again on different lines, and in opposite systems. Whatever you decide in that respect, I cannot help flattering myself that you will do justice to our conduct; and without calling upon you to condemn others, I cannot help entertaining the belief that you will think no part of this great misfortune imputable to us. With respect to my own personal opinions of the importance of forming and maintaining the union, you were, I am sure, enough a witness to them to make it very unnecessary for me, in writing to you, to dwell much on that point.

I have written this to you, though the thing has not yet taken its final turn, because any delay might possibly prevent your receiving it before your arrival here, for which I now look with increased impatience and anxiety.

God bless you, my dearest brother.

[Pg 317]

The weak point of the Government was its combination of opposite parties; and the consideration which finally determined the course of Ministers, was the necessity of preventing their differences from coming to an open rupture—a result that would have jeopardized the very existence of the Administration. With that paramount object in view, Lord Grenville, writing again to his brother, analyses the difficulties of the situation, and points out the only paths that could be opened to an honourable and creditable accommodation.


Dover Street, Oct. 24th, 1794.
My dearest Brother,

Since I wrote my last letter I have received yours, written the day of your leaving Vienna, and I calculate that this will probably find you at the Hague. Our situation, with respect to the point on which I wrote to you so much at large, has been a little, and but a little, improved by a conversation between the Duke of P. and Pitt. Nothing having since passed, we conclude that there is a desire to wait for the benefit of your opinion and Lord Spencer's upon this difficult and distressing subject—a desire in which I need not say we most heartily concur.

As far as anything can be concluded from a conversation which did not lead to any decisive issue, I hope that we have been too easily alarmed by Irish reports on the subject of a new system, and that, probably in the imagination of those who have first given rise to those reports, some loose and general expressions have been construed into pointed and specific assurances. Be this however as it may, it is certain that infinite mischief has already been done by the prevalence of[Pg 318] those reports, and both the settlement of the points in discussion here, and the subsequent task of the future Governor of Ireland, whoever he may be, have been rendered much more difficult than they would have been if more reserve and caution had been used. It is, however, useless to regret what is past, and all our endeavours ought to be applied to remedy the present evil. I most anxiously wait for the moment of talking over with you the means of doing this, which I am confident every one concerned joins in wishing, though all are obliged to confess the difficulty of it.

Three points are to be considered—Has Lord F. still kept himself sufficiently open with respect to his engagements with Grattan and the Ponsonbys, as to be able to undertake the Irish Government with honour and satisfaction to himself, without displacing the old tenants of Government to make room for their opponents, and without giving to the Ponsonbys in particular more influence and power than belongs to their situation as one among several of the great connexions in that country? If not, there seems no hope of any permanent agreement on this subject, even if it were so patched up for the present as that he could go to Ireland. The next is whether it is possible for him to undertake the Government without insisting on the removal of Fitzgibbon? If this cannot be done, the thing must come to an immediate stop, as we are more and more convinced that we cannot in honour or duty accede to that measure. And lastly, supposing any or all of these considerations to oppose an insurmountable obstacle in the way of his going, ought that to prevent his continuing to hold his present situation? and can the Duke of P., Lord F., and others, be justified in bringing on the country the infinite mischiefs of the dissolution of the present united Government, on no stronger ground than because alterations, however desirable in their opinion, in the system of governing Ireland cannot be adopted.

I have said nothing in all this of the question about Lord[Pg 319] Westmoreland's removal. I should readily agree with what you say in your last letter on that subject, that he ought to wait for a provision, if I did not see that even this is rendered more difficult by the éclat of what has happened. Still I should think he ought to forego his claim; but if he thinks otherwise, he has a positive promise, which of course cannot be broken. But I always feel a confidence that this point would in some manner be arranged, because I am sure that we should all be willing to make almost any sacrifice rather than let it be said by the enemy, that after having professed to unite on public principle, we had separated on a mere squabble about the distribution of places.

The other points are those from which I fear the most. It is, however, a satisfaction to me to think that I see on both sides (I know it exists on one) a very sincere and earnest desire to prevent the fatal consequences which a division amongst us, at such a moment as the present, must infallibly produce. And I can truly add that, on our part, this desire is increased by the manner in which everything else had gone on before this unhappy subject was started.

You are coming from a bad scene and to a bad scene; but we must hope the best, both at home and abroad, and at least we ought all to be quite sure that we can tell ourselves we have each done our best to prevent the misfortunes which seem to hang over us.

God bless you, my dearest brother.


Dover Street, Oct. 30th, 1794.
My dearest Brother,

I received your letter the day before yesterday at Dropmore. Mr. Pitt, who had left me that morning, had shown me your letter to him, with respect to which I say nothing, as I under[Pg 320]stood he meant to write to you upon the subject. The whole business to which it relates is in a situation, the final issue of which is extremely doubtful. With my impression of the advantage, and even necessity, of uniting at this time in the public service the great bulk of the landed property of the country, and doing away all distinctions of party between those who wish the maintenance of order and tranquillity here, I shall very deeply regret, as a great public misfortune, any event that leads to the dissolution of a system so lately formed. But, on the other hand, I have certainly no intention of making myself a party to any system of government in Ireland that is incompatible with my views of the interest of this country there. And in any case, I certainly neither have, nor can take, as far as relates to myself, any step upon the subject which has its origin in any other motive than a sense of public duty under circumstances of much difficulty.

I considered the subject of my brother's acceptance of the situation offered to him in Ireland as being, as in fact he appears to have stated it to you, very undecided, even if any arrangement were made for Lord Fitzwilliam's going there. I could have no motive to keep it back from you, but felt it due to him to leave it to him to do what I was sure he would be anxious to do. The whole subject appears now in some degree suspended till his arrival. When I see him I should of course state to him, as far as I am able to do it, your ideas respecting it.

I am still of opinion that it will turn out that the alarm created in Ireland, and the impression given here has originated in very loose reports, magnified, as usual, by persons repeating them according to their interest and wishes; but I state this as matter of opinion only.

I expect my brother here every day. They left Vienna in the beginning of this month, without having concluded any treaty, though they seem to have established a juster sense of the present crisis than prevailed before.[Pg 321]

Our Prussian ally has had his payments stopped, and is withdrawing his troops. In the meantime, the Empress of Russia has done his business, or rather her own, in Poland, the Polish army being completely defeated, and Kosciusko, who was the soul of the enterprise, taken prisoner.

God bless you, my dearest brother.

Believe me ever most affectionately yours,

The conduct of Lord Fitzwilliam had been reprehensible from the beginning. The suggestion of the Lord-Lieutenancy had scarcely taken a definite shape, when he opened a communication, as appeared afterwards, with the heads of the Irish party, and announced the system on which he intended to govern the country. In any case, such a proceeding would have been inexpedient and indefensible, its inevitable effect being to commit the policy of the Administration beforehand, to deprive it at once of all dignity and independence, and to revive those heart-burnings and dissensions which had already so nearly endangered the connection of the two kingdoms.

But, composed as the Cabinet was of men who were known to entertain different opinions in reference to Ireland, the premature and unwarrantable publicity given by Lord Fitzwilliam to his own views was calculated to precipitate still more injurious results. So far back as the 23rd of August, he had written to Mr. Grattan, who was then personally unknown to him, apprising him of his approaching appointment; and, in plain terms, calling in that gentleman and his party to his future councils. From the very first paragraph of his letter, it is evident[Pg 322] that at the time when this ill-judged communication was made, the arrangements respecting the Lord-Lieutenancy had not advanced sufficiently far to justify him in taking any ostensible step whatever in reference to Ireland. His own language was abundantly explicit on this point: "Though I have not as yet the honour of an appointment to succeed Lord Westmoreland, there certainly is great probability of that event taking place very soon." Yet in this early stage of the ministerial negotiations, he did not hesitate to inform Mr. Grattan that he intended to look to "the system of the Duke of Portland, as the model," by which he should regulate his conduct; and that, in order to enable him to render that system effective, it was necessary he should be supported by Mr. Grattan and his friends. "It is, Sir, to you," he observes, "and your friends, the Ponsonbys, that I look for assistance in bringing it to bear," adding, "it is that assistance which I am therefore now soliciting." The letter concludes by inviting Mr. Grattan to form an "intimate, direct, and avowed connection" with the Castle, which he had never hitherto "approached in confidence and avowed friendship;" and in the postscript he gives Mr. Grattan this significant caution: "It may seem a little inconsistent, and that this letter is written rather prematurely, when I beg not to be quoted as having announced myself in the character of a Lord-Lieutenant elect; my nomination not having yet been mentioned to the King, on account of his absence at Weymouth."[C]

This indiscreet and unjustifiable line of proceeding [Pg 323]placed the Ministry in a dilemma, from which the escape, either way, was surrounded by dangers. They selected that alternative which appeared, under all circumstances, to be the least hazardous; and on the 10th of December, Lord Fitzwilliam attended the levée to kiss hands on his appointment.

Mr. Thomas Grenville, however, declined the office of Secretary, which was conferred on Lord Milton.[Pg 324]

[C] This letter is published in full in the Life of Mr. Grattan.



The line of policy Lord Fitzwilliam intended to adopt was intimated at the opening of the Parliament in January. Mr. Grattan moved the Address in answer to the Speech; a little later Mr. Conolly withdrew his opposition to the prorogation in deference to the wishes of Government; and the old supporters of the Administration were displaced by the Ponsonbys and their connections. Remembering how all these men had acted in the Regency business, the obstructions they had thrown in the way of the public service, and the vindictive opposition they had given to his measures, Lord Buckingham was deeply wounded by the apparent sanction extended to this complete change of system, which he regarded as a disavowal of the course he had pursued in Ireland, and, in some sort, as a personal indignity. In his communications with Lord Grenville he stated his feelings on this subject without reserve. He considered that in assenting to the appointment of Lord Fitzwilliam, after the damaging disclosures that had taken place, the Cabinet had abandoned him to[Pg 325] the obloquy of that party against whose inveterate hostility he had successfully preserved the executive union of the two kingdoms; and this consideration was embittered by the reflection that Lord Grenville, from his position in the Ministry, had contributed influentially to place him in that humiliating light before the public. Lord Buckingham, with his acute sense of what was due to his own honour, looked at the question from that point alone; but Lord Grenville, in the discharge of his responsibilities as a Cabinet Minister, was compelled to take a more comprehensive view of it. Whether he decided rightly or wrongly, there can be no doubt that he decided conscientiously, and that it was impossible he could resolve upon any conclusion likely to be painful to Lord Buckingham which his affection for him would not render equally painful to himself. But he felt at the same time that his duty demanded at his hands the sacrifice of his private feelings, and that this was a case in which any hesitation upon such grounds would be attended by the gravest consequences to the Administration. It may be seen, also, from the following letter, that he did not put the same construction upon these transactions as that which was so sensitively urged by Lord Buckingham. His more practical mind discerned in the irresistible necessity of the position a sufficient answer to all individual scruples; and maintaining, as he had stated in a former letter, that the security and repose of Ireland depended, not upon this or that set of men, which his observation of the character of the people and their politics had led him to regard with comparative indifference, but upon the soundness of the measures applied to her con[Pg 326]dition, he could not admit that the decision which had been come to with respect to Lord Fitzwilliam implied, even remotely, a disavowal of the line of conduct Lord Buckingham had so successfully pursued under totally different circumstances.


Dover Street, Jan. 5th, 1795.
My dear Brother,

As I keep no copies of my letters to you, and have neither time enough, nor a mind sufficiently disengaged, to measure my expressions, nor have ever accustomed myself to do so in writing to you, all I can say on the subject of my last letter is, that if it conveyed to you any impression different from that of the sincere friendship and affection which dictated it, it very ill expressed my feelings.

With respect to the rest, I can only say that, to the best of my understanding, I have neither disavowed nor abandoned you, but given a very strong proof of my determination to do neither; that I cannot believe that any such impression exists anywhere; that not knowing the proofs of its existence, to which you refer, I can only guess at them, and I therefore forbear to make upon them the remarks to which, if my conjecture is right, they are so obviously liable. But that I am at a loss even to guess at the meaning of that part of your letter, which speaks of proofs laying before you of some compact made on this subject above twelve months since, not having, in my own mind, the smallest idea of the fact to which this can refer.

Having never had any intention to disavow you, or to consent to any system or measure to which I thought you could wish to object, it was impossible for me to make to you any previous communication of such intention.[Pg 327]

The detail of all that passed respecting Lord Fitzwilliam's appointment would be too long to go into now; and I have reason to believe that you are not unacquainted with many of the circumstances which would prove how very little idea there was of concealment or mystery on my part respecting that subject. From the first moment that you stated to me that you considered the idea of giving to the Ponsonbys a share of office in Ireland as a measure injurious to you, I explained to you my reasons for viewing it in a different light. But I anxiously reconsidered the object in my own mind, and I then acted, as I was bound to do, on my deliberate and fixed opinion respecting a point which, in either view of it, was of much too great public importance to make it possible for me to decide it merely on the desire I must ever feel to consult your wishes in preference to my own. Which of us is right in our view of this question, it is not for me to say. The motives and grounds of my opinion remain the same; and I see with regret that they do not make on your mind the impression they have made on mine.

It would be a painful and invidious task to discuss the question further; but I cannot receive from you a letter in which you tell me that you feel you have lost my affection, without repeating to you the assurance, which I still hope is not indifferent to you, that this is not, in the smallest degree, the case. I have intended to do nothing towards you but what should be the most kind and affectionate. I think I have so acted; but I am sure that I have so meant to act. If any contrary impression produces in your mind any feelings different from those which have made so great a part of my happiness throughout life, I shall deeply regret what seems to be annexed as a curse inseparable from the pursuit of a public life; but I will once more beg you to be assured that neither those feelings on your part, nor anything which they can produce, will vary my sincere and heartfelt affection towards[Pg 328] you, and that whether my judgment has been right, as I still think it has, or wrong, as you think it, my heart is, and shall be, uniformly and invariably the same towards you.

It is with these sentiments that I shall ever be, my dearest brother,

Most sincerely and affectionately yours,

Lord Fitzwilliam had scarcely arrived in Ireland when he collected about him the party with whom he had been in previous communication, and commenced his new system by a series of dismissals of the former supporters of Mr. Pitt's Government. Announcing his conviction that the immediate concession of the Catholic claims was indispensable to the tranquillity and security of the country, he followed up his objects with a vigour and expedition that created considerable alarm in England. The Attorney-General was to be displaced, to make way for Mr. George Ponsonby; the Solicitor-General was also to be removed, and Mr. Beresford, who was Purse-bearer to the Chancellor, and Mr. Cooke, Secretary at War, were to be dismissed. The dismissal of Mr. Beresford was regarded as a measure of such extreme violence that it brought matters to an issue between Lord Fitzwilliam and the Cabinet. Some letters at this time from Mr. Cooke to Lord Buckingham present a striking coup d'œil of these affairs, as they appeared to one who was deeply interested in their progress. Lord Fitzwilliam, it should be observed, arrived in Ireland on the 5th of January, and the rapidity of his official movements may be inferred from the date of the first of the following letters, which was written only ten days afterwards.[Pg 329]


Dublin Castle, Jan. 15th, 1795.
My dear Lord,

As it was through your Lordship's kind and affectionate partiality that I was placed in the War Office, I think it my duty to give you the earliest information of my removal.

Since Lord Fitzwilliam's arrival, I have merely seen his Excellency at levée. With his chief secretary, Lord Milton, I have daily transacted official business, without a syllable passing of a nature in any degree confidential. The removal of Mr. Beresford, of the Attorney and Solicitor-General, had created alarms; but there were assurances from an English quarter that Mr. Hamilton and I were not to be meddled with.

The reverse has taken place. About four o'clock to-day, Lord Milton conveyed to Mr. Hamilton his Excellency's pleasure that he should retire from office, with a desire that Mr. Hamilton should state his situation after removal, as it was his Excellency's intention to make him a provision.

About half an hour after, Lord Milton sent for me, and delivered a similar message; stating, upon conversation, that his Excellency did not in any degree mean to reflect upon my conduct, but that my retirement was necessary for his arrangements, and that he was disposed to make me a fair provision; at the same time, upon conversation, his Lordship intimated that it was possible his Excellency might differ as to the provision which I might expect and he might think reasonable.

I have thought it my duty to submit these particulars to your Lordship. From your Lordship I received my office; the Government with which you have been connected I have supported to my utmost; and I have the happiness to feel[Pg 330] assured that I shall ever retain your Lordship's kindness and regards till I cease to deserve it.

Believe me, my dear Lord, with the utmost respect,
Ever your most devoted and humble servant,
E. Cooke.

The Most Noble the Marquis of Buckingham, &c. &c.


(Most Private.) Dublin, Sackville Street, Feb. 7th, 1795.
My Lord,

I am to thank your Lordship for your most friendly and flattering letter; and as you seem curious to know the feelings of myself and colleagues on our removals, as well as the nature of our compensations, I will endeavour to detail them as well as I can.

With respect to Mr. Wolf, the first act was to claim the reversion recommended for him by Lord Westmoreland, and promised above a year ago by Mr. Pitt, and which the King had actually signed, as a measure for negotiation. Wolf in vain argued that the reversion was not a subject for negotiation. They offered him a Peerage for his wife, and a Chief Judge's place. Wolf, in addition, asked precedency at the Bar. After some days, the precedency was refused, and the promise of a Chief Judge's place was retracted. Wolf insisted on the promise. He was threatened that if he insisted, he should be superseded. He did insist, and the promise was at length renewed, in case a vacancy should happen.

Mr. Wolf gains nothing but the Peerage for his wife, for the reversion was actually his own, and had been signed by the King; the promise of a Chief Justiceship is very precarious, and he is degraded in his profession.

Mr. Toler, having in his pocket the promise of succeeding to the Attorney-Generalship, is to be superseded for Mr. Curran.[Pg 331] He has asked for a Peerage to his wife, and for the succession to Lord Carleton. Upon his first demand, nothing has been said to him; upon his second, it has been intimated that he may look for any seat on the Bench short of Chief Justiceship. Your Lordship must guess that Mr. Toler feels himself gratified, especially when he recollects that, after having boldly and manfully, at the risk of his person, set himself against all the seditious and levellers in and out of the House, he is sacrificed to make way for Mr. Curran, who has been the most seditious incendiary in Ireland ever since he became a public character.

Mr. Beresford your Lordship may have probably seen. He, it seems, was dismissed because he was king of Ireland, as Bowes Daly authoritatively informed him in his Excellency's name. The object with respect to him was to publicly degrade him, give him a provision during pleasure, then attack him, and have a pretext to ruin him, if he should defend himself with spirit. He has been acquainted that, in pursuance of a resolution of the House of Commons, he is to have his salary of £2000 a-year on Excise Incidents—not for his services, but his long and laborious attendance. The attempt has been to stigmatize him, to degrade him, and to make him dependent. I hope the last will not be the case—the two former cannot.

Mr. Hamilton had merely fifty years of the most laborious and faithful service to plead, under all Administrations, whether adverse to each other or combined. He loses £1200 a-year by removal; he loses the comforts of settlement, he loses the prospect of providing for his sons; he is, however, informed that something will be done for one of them!

I am equally removed from a station of much advantage and opportunity. If I do not resort to my bargain with Thornton, I lose £1800 a-year; if I do, I lose £1300 a-year. I am told that I am not to expect compensation for my losses, but that his Excellency, on review of my situation, will make com[Pg 332]pensation for my services. As, however, Lord Milton was pleased to state to me that his Excellency did not mean to cast in any degree any imputation on my conduct, and that he removed me merely on the principle of accommodation, and to make room for arrangements which he thought necessary for his Government, I thought it my duty to claim compensation, not for my services, but for my losses, and to throw myself upon his Excellency's justice and honour.

I have heard that my having ventured not to appear satisfied in my dismissal, has given offence; and it has been intimated, though not from authority, that there is not an intention to compensate me at all, but merely to indemnify Thornton for what, by agreement, he is in honour obliged to pay me.

When Lord Fitzwilliam seized upon the Provostship and the Secretaryship of State, the patronage of which absolutely belonged to Lord Westmoreland, his Lordship was obliged to forced measures, in order to extricate himself from specific promises; he therefore, on this principle, included Lord Glentworth in Sir L. O'Brien's patent of Clerk of the Hanaper. Sir L. lately died. Lord Glentworth felt the luckiest of men; in a few days, Lord Fitzwilliam sent for him, and acquainted him that he could not suffer him to remain in that office; that, however, he had a high respect for him; that he had been particularly recommended to him by Mr. Pitt, and that he should hope to do something for him. The Duke of Leinster, being very hungry, has swallowed the office.

With regard to coalition here, or the slightest appearances of it, there are none. Parnell is the only old servant of the Crown who is at all consulted, and he only so far as concerns his situation. The whole is very strange. The Ponsonbys are all-powerful, and appear to direct everything. I know not at all what measures are intended, or whether an opposition will start up; but the giving up all the powers of the State to one family does not please.

[Pg 333]

The idea of removing all the remaining restraints from the Catholics is not relished; the worst is, that an appeal has been made to the Catholic democracy, and I know they are not to be depended upon; they look to the abolition of tythes and a reform of Parliament on numerical principles. Ever since the first movements of the Roman Catholic Committee, the lower classes have been in a state of fermentation, and they continue their disorders and insurrections.

I write this confidentially, and beg your Lordship to accept my best acknowledgments for your kind sentiments.

Ever most respectfully, your Lordship's most faithful and obedient servant,

E. Cooke.

The result of Lord Fitzwilliam's vigorous attempts to force upon the Cabinet a line of policy which reason and justice alike rejected, is well known. A Cabinet Council was called on the 19th of March, for the purpose of taking the whole subject into consideration, when it was unanimously resolved to recal Lord Fitzwilliam "as a measure necessary for the preservation of the empire." The most remarkable incident connected with this proceeding was the fact that the Duke of Portland, upon whose "system" Lord Fitzwilliam had based his operations, and who was supposed, all throughout, to have supported him in them, was present at this meeting of the Cabinet, and concurred in its decision.

But Lord Fitzwilliam had not done with Ireland yet. On his return to England, he brought the subject before the House of Lords and demanded an inquiry, which was refused. On this occasion some letters which had been addressed by him to Lord Carlisle were published, and in[Pg 334] one of them "imputed malversations" were attributed to Mr. Beresford. In consequence of this statement, Mr. Beresford addressed the following letter to his Lordship:


No. 11, Beaumont Street, June 22nd, 1795.
My Lord,

Your Lordship must have seen two letters to the Earl of Carlisle, which have been published in your name, and in general circulation. I have for a long time hoped, that they would be disavowed or explained by your Lordship; I was unwilling to suppose that such a publication had ever been sanctioned by you; I could not bring myself to believe, that your Lordship, possessing the feelings of a man, and the honour of a gentleman, could avail yourself of the power and the trust which had been committed to you by His Majesty, wantonly to traduce a private character, by insinuations expressed in terms so vague and unqualified, as to make it impossible publicly to refute them. From the rank which you hold in society, I must presume, if you thought it your duty to impeach my conduct as a servant of the Crown, you would have adopted the fair and manly course of advancing direct and specific charges against me, which must have led to my conviction, if they had been founded. Direct and specific charges I could fairly have met and refuted; but crooked and undefined insinuations against private character, through the pretext of official discussion, your Lordship must allow are the weapons of a libeller.

The publication in question, states that you recommended my removal from office, "because I was a person under universal heavy suspicions, subject to the opprobrium and unpopularity attendant on maladministration and much im[Pg 335]puted malversation." The aspersions contained in this paragraph, are so utterly ungrounded, so unprovoked, unmanly, illiberal, and false, that I could not believe your Lordship could have meant to apply them to a gentleman, by birth your equal, and I will tell you, of reputation as unsullied as your own at any period of your life; there is no charge, however monstrous, of which the idea is not here conveyed; and yet there is none to which the paragraph points directly, so as to afford an opportunity for vindication.

Your Lordship will, I trust, feel the justness of the warmth with which I express myself on those aspersions of my character; and that when I give the lie to such aspersions, I give it upon reasonings as essential to your honour, as they are to mine; and if anything were wanting to induce me to believe that your Lordship will concur with me in this opinion, I should be satisfied of it, from the communications which were made to me by persons authorized to convey your Lordship's sentiments upon my projected removal from the Board of Revenue, and from the official communication made to me by Lord Milton on the same subject.

Considerations of domestic calamity might sufficiently explain the silence I have hitherto observed; but in other respects I should have been unwilling perhaps to have addressed you sooner. I would not appear to avoid any inquiry into my conduct, which insinuations originating from such high authority might be expected to provoke; it became me, therefore, to await with patience the result of the discussions respecting Irish affairs which were taking place in both Parliaments, and even until the close of the session had shown that it was not your Lordship's intention, nor that of either House, to take any further step in the business. I cannot now repent of my own forbearance, as it served, at least, to bring forward testimonies most highly honourable to me, from many individuals of the first weight and character in the age in which[Pg 336] we live; these testimonies having been so repeatedly and so publicly urged in your Lordship's presence, and without contradiction on your part, cannot but have convinced you, that you had formed a wrong judgment respecting me, or that you had been deceived by others; in either case, I am entitled to hope and to presume that you will render to me, and to my character, that justice which one man of honour has a right to expect from another.

I have the honour to be,
Your most obedient and humble servant,

Earl Fitzwilliam.

To this letter Lord Fitzwilliam transmitted the following reply:


Milton, June 23rd, 1795.

I had the honour of receiving your letter of the 22nd this morning. The letters you allude to, were written by me to Lord Carlisle; and those printed, though not printed by my direction, at my desire, or with my privity, I believe to be substantially copies of the letters I sent to Lord Carlisle; and certainly are so with respect to the quotation in your letter to me, which, therefore, I cannot permit any person whatever to charge with falsity.

It is difficult for me to leave this place abruptly (domestic considerations require a little management); but I will be in London in the course of a few days, where I trust I may rely upon your remaining for the present.

I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your most obedient and very humble servant,
Wentworth Fitzwilliam.

Rt. Hon. John Beresford.

[Pg 337]

In consequence of this letter Mr. Beresford sent his friend Mr. Montgomery to Lord Fitzwilliam, who refused to enter into any explanation. The usual arrangements were then made for a hostile meeting, Lord Townshend acting as the second of Mr. Beresford, and Lord Moira attending Lord Fitzwilliam. When the parties met upon the ground, however, at Kensington, the duel was prevented by the interference of a peace officer.

The correspondence of Lord Grenville with Lord Buckingham appears to have been suspended during the greater part of the year, but it was resumed towards its close. By this time the allies were gradually retrieving their losses.


Pall Mall, Nov. 12th, 1795.
My dearest Brother,

You will receive by this post the "Gazette," with the account of the late successes of the Austrians. These accounts came in yesterday at so many detached periods, and that circumstance, with others, occupied every moment so completely, as to make it really impossible for me to send you any detail of them by the post. I enclose for your better understanding the "Gazette," a Prussian map of the siege of Mentz, when the French occupied it. The position of the French in this business has been very nearly the same with that of the allies, as marked in this plan.

Craufurd's account of the successes is certainly understated, but particularly in what relates to the loss of the French; because, besides the killed and wounded—the number of which all the private accounts state to have been exceedingly great (as it must be in that precipitate retreat)—the enemy have lost very great numbers by desertion.[Pg 338]

No doubt is entertained of our having Manheim very soon. I am not sanguine enough to hope that Pichegru will stay to be surrounded by Clerfage, who is marching up the left bank of the Rhine, or that he will suffer the latter to force him to a battle, which he may so easily avoid by retreating towards his own frontier, now covered by Landau, Luxembourg and Tours, &c., &c. The disappointment of the French projects, and the destruction of so great a part of the army which had been employed in them, are therefore, I fear, the chief advantages we shall reap from these successes, except in what relates to the impression produced here and on the continent, the effect of which is almost beyond calculation.

Our Bills are going triumphantly through the two Houses. The general impression of the House of Commons was, I understand, as favourable as it could possibly be, and you need not be told what the feelings of the House of Lords are on this subject. We shall not have Pitt's Bill up till after the call. If you should not then be in town, I should much wish you to send your proxy; and if you have no objection to do so, and had rather put it in my hands than any other, I will disengage myself in the interim from one of those I now hold.

What have you done about our meeting? Shall I attend it or not? Let me know which you wish, and I will do accordingly.

Ever most affectionately yours,

I should be much obliged to you to return my map when you have done with it, as I keep all these historical maps that fall in my way.

[Pg 339]



The motion for negotiations with France had been again brought forward towards the close of the last session of Parliament, and was again negatived. Mr. Pitt still insisted upon the impossibility of France being enabled to prosecute the war, with her finances in a state of ruin, and seven hundred and twenty millions of assignats in circulation. Great changes had undoubtedly taken place. The National Assembly had been dissolved, and a regular form of Government established in its place; and although at that time Mr. Pitt rejected the idea of proposing any terms of peace to the Republic, he admitted without hesitation that if the new Government were put into activity with the acquiescence of the nation, so as that the voice of the people could be heard through their representatives, all obstacles and objections to negotiation would be removed. Thus the question stood at the close of the year 1795.[Pg 340]

The subject was renewed at the opening of the session in 1796, with the same result. Mr. Pitt resolved it at once into a question of confidence in Ministers. If the House thought that confidence could not be safely vested in them, the proper course was to address His Majesty to remove them. He still maintained that the French had exhausted their means of carrying on the war; and that, with respect to negotiations for peace, the point to be considered was the probability of obtaining just and honourable terms, which, it was evident from their public declarations, the French were not disposed to admit. The confidence of Parliament in the wisdom and discretion of Ministers was unequivocally testified in the large majority by which the motion was rejected.

Failing to attain their object in this direct form, the Opposition resorted to other means of harassing the Administration. In a motion on the state of the nation, Mr. Grey entered into an examination of the financial condition of the country, exposing the enormous expenditure and heavy taxation entailed by the war, at a time when a more discreet patriotism would have avoided such details. He showed that during the three preceding years seventy-seven millions had been added to the funded debt, and that, in addition to the parliamentary grants, upwards of thirty-one millions had been expended without the consent of Parliament. Notwithstanding these disclosures, however, Mr. Pitt proposed a second loan of seven millions and a half for the prosecution of the war, which the House immediately acceded to.

In both Houses, the efforts of the Opposition to over[Pg 341]throw the Administration were followed up with indefatigable activity in the shape of condemnatory resolutions and motions of addresses to the Throne; and in all instances they were defeated by overwhelming majorities. The session terminated in the middle of May, when Parliament was dissolved by proclamation, His Majesty thanking both Houses emphatically for the uniform wisdom, temper, and firmness by which their proceedings had been characterised.

The destitute condition of the French emigrants who sought an asylum in England on the breaking out of the Revolution, and whose numbers were continually increasing, excited universal commiseration. The attention of Government was earnestly directed to the means of providing for them, and measures were adopted for giving the utmost efficacy to the public sympathy. Amongst the persons who interested themselves actively on their behalf were the Marquis of Buckingham and Mr. Burke. The object to which they mainly addressed their exertions was the education of emigrant children whose fathers had perished in the convulsions of their country, or who were unable to obtain instruction for them. The forlorn situation of these friendless children, in a country with whose language they were unacquainted, had attracted the notice of Mr. Burke, with whom the project originated, and who applied to Government in the first instance for assistance to enable him to carry out his charitable design. The appeal was liberally responded to. A house was taken and fitted up for the purpose in Buckinghamshire, at Penn, near Beaconsfield, the residence of Mr. Burke; and, by an order of the[Pg 342] Treasury, the Duke of Portland, the Lord Chancellor, the Marquis of Buckingham, Mr. Burke, and others were appointed trustees for the management of the school, which had been established in the first instance by Mr. Burke at his own expense. The following interesting letter from Mr. Burke contains some particulars concerning this institution, which had just been opened. The "clean and not unpleasing" costume spoken of by the writer consisted of a blue uniform which he had assigned to the boys, with a white cockade bearing the inscription of "Vive le Roi." Those boys who had lost their fathers were distinguished by a bloody label, and the loss of uncles was marked in a similar manner by a black one. At this time Mr. Burke had the sole management of the school, and watched over its progress with unabated solicitude to the end of his life. The Commission nominated by the Government had not, it appears, been communicated to him, and he justly complains to his correspondent of the embarrassing position in which the oversight, or neglect, had placed him. The Marquis of Buckingham took a warm interest in the education and welfare of the boys, and, as a means of fostering a martial and loyal spirit amongst them, made them a present of a pair of colours and a brass cannon, which were exhibited with great pride and exultation on all public occasions.


May 24th, 1796.
My dear Lord,

Having received no answer to my last letter, I persuade[Pg 343] myself there was nothing in it to displease you; otherwise your general politeness and your kind partiality to me would have led you to give me such instructions as might prevent me from falling into errors in the delicate business in which, under your countenance and with your approbation, I have engaged myself.

We look forward with a pleasure, mixed with some degree of impatience, to the visit which your Lordship and Lady Buckingham have flattered us with the hope of, though I am afraid the heat of the general election will be over before we can enjoy that satisfaction.

I think, however unfortunate I may find myself in all my attempts to please the Bishop of Leon, that your Lordship and Lady Buckingham will feel the same pleasing and affecting interest in what is done here, that all have been touched with who see what is going on. You will be pleased with the celerity, if not with the perfection, of our work. Five-and-forty beds are ready; the rest will be so in a very few days. An old bad stable is converted into an excellent school-room. The chapel is decent, in place and in furniture. The eating-room is reasonably good. Twenty-five boys are received, clad in a cleanly and not unpleasing manner, and they are fed in an orderly way, with a wholesome and abundant diet. The masters are pleased with their pupils; the pupils are pleased with their preceptors; and I am sure I have reason to be pleased with them all. I see them almost every day, and at almost all hours; as well at their play as at their studies and exercise. I have never seen finer boys, or more fit for the plan of education I mean to follow for them, as long as it pleases the Government to continue that charge in my hands. I am responsible, that if they are left to me for six months, a set of finer lads, for their age and standing, will not be seen in Europe.

The only unfortunate part of the business is, that some of[Pg 344] them speak not a word of English, and they who are the most forward in it are very imperfect. There is but one of the masters who can be said to know anything of it, and he is far indeed from the ability to teach it. There must be a person who, besides going with them through all their Latin readings and construing them into English, will daily converse with them, and ground them in the principles and the utterance of that tongue which belongs to the nation which alone promises them an asylum upon earth. For many reasons, I should prefer a clergyman of their own persuasion, and of our country. But though I have always known that their number was small, I did not conceive it to be so inconsiderable as I now find it. But some English subject must be found to be about these boys at all hours. It would be a terrible thing to condemn these poor creatures to an universal exile, and to be perpetual vagrants, without a possibility of being in a state of effectual communication with the natives of any country or incorporating themselves with any people. God forbid that, under the pretext of a benefit, I should be the cause of their utter ruin.

The Bishop of Leon has written me a letter which, in my present state of health (by no means the best), gives me a good deal of uneasiness. Hitherto, I have received the boys without any inquiry, as they were successively sent to me by the worthy prelate; considering them as the objects of his selection amongst the candidates for this situation. To my astonishment, in a letter which I received from him last Saturday he tells me that all the vacancies are filled: but that he has had nothing in the world to do with the matter, and that he is no more than a simple clerk. Your Lordship will see by the letters that I have the honour to enclose for your perusal, that after filling up all the places, the pleasure of rejecting the rest of the candidates is reserved for me. He has contrived matters so, that others have all the grace of obliging,[Pg 345] and all the pleasure of being useful; and that all which is harsh and odious is thrown upon me, as a reward for all the trouble and expense I have been at in this business. On this I shall make no further remark.

By the letters, your Lordship will see that the Bishop of Leon tells the applicants, that the selection is to be made by certain Lords Commissioners. I never have been apprised by the Bishop of the existence of any Commission, or of any Commissioners for the purpose of a choice. If such a thing at all exists, I should have flattered myself that I should have been apprised of it; of their rules, of its proceedings, and of the times of its sitting. I believe I am the very first person who, having had the honour of proposing a plan to Government, and being permitted to have the management of it, have been kept wholly out of the secret of the appointment of its objects. The name of every boy sent to me was unknown to me to the moment of his arrival; the names of those who are to come are equally unknown. Not one circumstance relative to any of them is come to my knowledge. The poorest country schoolmaster would have been favoured with some better account of his pupils.

I must beg leave to remark to your Lordship, that the account given by the Bishop of Leon to the applicants is wholly different from that which he gives to me. In his two last letters to me (one, and the most explicit, of which I received just now) he tells me that the selection and nomination is not in any Commissioners, but solely in your Lordship, and that he is no more than a clerk. If I had not received it from so good an authority, I could hardly have believed that your Lordship, upon a mere abstract of petitions, without further examination, or any consultation, even with the Bishop of Leon, should have decided upon sixty out of perhaps fourscore applications. But, as I am sure you always act with equity and discretion, I am perfectly satisfied in your having assumed this very delicate[Pg 346] and critical of all trusts. I only wish that I had been apprised of your Lordship's having taken on you that office, as, though I should not have ventured to recommend a single person, I really think I might, with all humility, have made some useful suggestions, which your desire of all matters being before you, that might guide you to a sure decision, would make you willing to receive, even from a person so very inconsiderable as I am in every point of view.

I am sure your Lordship wishes that, in the very reprehensible situation in which I stand, I may be able to give some sort of account of my trust; and when I have engaged with Government for the education of sixty boys, I ought to know at whose hands, on what authority, and on whose recommendation I receive them. Certainly they are not recommended or chosen by me; and when I go to the Treasury, and tell the Minister who issues the money to me (whenever it shall be issued) that I have employed it in the maintenance and the education of those whom I do not myself know, nor can tell in any regular and authorised manner from whom I received them, I should make a very despicable, not to say a criminal figure. I cannot take your Lordship's pleasure from the Bishop of Leon; though he tells me he is (not your Lordship's friend and adviser) but your clerk, as you have never informed me of this his relation to you. I therefore, for my voucher and justification, request that you will be pleased (the Committee and the Bishop absolutely disclaiming all choice) to send me a list of the names, circumstances and description of the boys whom you send to me, or have sent, together with a certificate, that having duly examined into the several claims and pretensions of the candidates, you have found these the best entitled.

When I have received this attestation as my authority and voucher, far from cavilling at either the person naming, or the names, I shall receive them most cheerfully; happy that your[Pg 347] Lordship having generously and nobly taken to yourself the election, these objects have obtained security for a powerful protection, to place them, as successively they shall be qualified, in some way useful to themselves and to the public. I shall take care that they do no dishonour to your patronage; at least to the moment in which (having received them from your hands) I deliver them back into the same benevolent and protecting safeguard.

My dear Lord, have the goodness to excuse the length of this letter, on account of the weight of my responsibility and the very difficult situation in which I stand.

Mrs. Burke begs leave to join me in the most truly respectful compliments to Lady Buckingham, and if we may be permitted, on very little acquaintance, to Lord and Lady Temple. No persons can more sincerely wish, than we do, all kind of honour and happiness to you and all that belong to you.

I have the honour to be, with the most perfect respect and affection,

My dear Lord,
Your Lordship's most obedient and faithful humble servant,
Edm. Burke.

The name of Buonaparte appears for the first time in this Correspondence in the month of August. Supported by the patronage of Barras, whose confidence in his talents and activity were so conspicuously justified by the results, he had recently been appointed to the command of the army of Italy, now augmented by large reinforcements. He was at this period only twenty-six years of age, and had never seen a regular engagement; but his genius inspired the highest hopes, and his extraordinary success gave a completely new aspect to the war.[Pg 348]


Dropmore, Aug. 14th, 1796.
My dearest Brother,

I was extremely sorry to hear so indifferent an account of your health, but I hope the worst of the attack is now over. I return you the letter from this unfortunate King, whose restoration to the throne of his ancestors is now, at least, as remote as that of Charles II. ever was—I fear, indeed, a great deal more so. I have heard no more particulars of the attempt to assassinate him, than the account which the Duke de Harcourt showed me, and which was the same which they afterwards put into the newspapers.

The Prince of Hohenlohe's language has always had a leaning to the side of Austria and England; but long experience has satisfied me that, from a Prussian General, language of this sort means no more than to describe to which party in the Berlin politics he may happen to be inclined. We have, however, now made a last effort to ascertain this point, but with very little expectation of success.

I do not wonder that the Navy should wish for a Spanish war, nor that they should be the only set of men in England who do so. I trust it may still be avoided, though the result is certainly very doubtful when treating with such a Court. The distribution of our limited number of sailors, into ships of the line and frigate force, is a very nice and delicate question; but as far as I can flatter myself that I understand it—which is not very much—I have always inclined more to the latter, and I think the experience of this war is in favour of that opinion. The same circumstances would surely operate still more strongly in the case of a war with Spain, whose commerce offers more prise than that of France, and whose line-of-battle force, even separately—and still more if united with French ships—can[Pg 349] never be put in competition with ours, ship for ship, or anything approaching to it.

There is an account of a successful sortie from Mantua, in which the French have lost fifteen hundred men; but I do not yet know the particulars, the despatches being gone to Weymouth. The Archduke is at Donawert, or at least looking to that position, which is a strong one, if his army was not dispirited. The reinforcement sent to Italy has hitherto operated very fatally upon the campaign. It remains to be seen what effect it will produce against Buonaparte's army. But it is evidently too late to prevent the plunder of Italy—the great object of that expedition.

Ever, my dear brother,
Most truly and affectionately yours,

Pray let me remind you of the sheep; though just now my pastures look rather brown, and will, I fear, give them a bad impression of the fare which they will have.


Sept. 24th, 1796.
My dearest Brother,

We have again a report, which seems worthy of credit, of an action at Montauban, on the 14th, previous to Jourdan's crossing the Rhine, at Neuwied, in which he was totally defeated, and lost all his cannon, &c. This seems to accord so well with dates and places, that I have little doubt of the truth. It therefore only remains to see what will become of Moreau. If he is dispatched, and that quickly, there will be time and means to make Buonaparte suffer severely for his late advanced move.

On the whole, the situation is, to be sure, very much improved[Pg 350] within these few weeks, but there is still enough for serious alarm. The Directory has sent us the most insolent answer that can be conceived; but as the substance of it is in some degree ambiguous with respect to the main question of granting or refusing the passport, it has been thought better not to leave a loop-hole or pretence to them, or their adherents here, to lay upon us the breaking the business off. Another note is therefore to be sent to-day, by a flag of truce from Dover, in which the demand of the passport is renewed in such terms as seem most likely to bring that point to a distinct issue, ay or no. In other times, this last step would have been not only superfluous, but humiliating; in the present moment, the object of unanimity here in the great body of the country, with respect to the large sacrifices they will be called upon to make, is paramount to every other consideration.

I am extremely anxious to find that the plan in question may appear practicable. The advantages of it would be infinite.

Ever most affectionately yours,

The nature of the efforts which were making in England to sustain the war may be partially inferred from the following letter. Lord Grenville, it will be seen, notes with a mark of admiration a subscription of £100,000 from the Duke of Bedford. The circumstance was singular and significant, the Duke of Bedford having all along taken a leading part in the House of Lords in opposition to hostilities, and in calling for votes of censure and opprobrium upon the Ministry. He had been the chief mover of all those resolutions that protested against the expenditure to which the country had been put for the maintenance of the war, and now he was one of the largest of the voluntary subscribers to a fund for its continuance.[Pg 351]


Dropmore, Dec. 2nd, 1796.
My dearest Brother,

I have been followed here to-night by a letter, to mention that above twelve millions are already subscribed to the loan, and that it may very probably be full to-morrow, so that I had no time to lose in doing what of course the public will expect from me. I have therefore desired that £10,000 may be subscribed to-morrow in my name; and I imagine that by getting Coutts to advance the two first payments, and transferring the stock, at whatever loss, the moment it is transferable, I shall be able me tirer d'affaire, better than I had hoped. It was my intention to have written to you to-morrow, to let you know what other persons in your sort of situation and class had done; but what I have now heard, makes me think that I ought to send to you without delay, in order that you may know how the thing stands, and of course afterwards judge for yourself whether to do anything, and what.

The only names that have been mentioned to me, except among my colleagues, are the Duke of Bridgewater and the Duke of Bedford! each £100,000, and Lord Romney and Lord Carrington each £40,000, besides £100,000, which the house of Smith and Co. subscribe as bankers.

Lord Spencer, Lord Liverpool, Pitt and Dundas, subscribe £10,000, as I have done; the two last will, I believe, have still more difficulty in finding it than I shall.

You will, of course, not imagine that by sending to you in this manner, I have the least idea of saying or suggesting to you to do anything but what may have occurred to yourself, but I thought you would naturally expect to hear these particulars from me.

Other news I have none. There was a report yesterday that[Pg 352] Kehl was surprised by the Austrians, but I could not trace it to any certain source.

God bless you, my dear brother.

The time had now arrived when the English Cabinet believed that an attempt might be made to negotiate for peace, without compromising its honour. In the preceding March, the ambassador to the Helvetic States had been authorized to inquire of the Government of France, through the medium of their representative, whether they were disposed to entertain such a negotiation. The answer was so unsatisfactory, laying down as a peremptory condition the retention of all those conquests which, during the course of the war, had been annexed to the republic, that nothing more was then done in the matter. The subject was resumed in September, and, the Directory having signified their readiness to grant passports to any persons who should be furnished with full powers and official papers, Lord Malmesbury was appointed as plenipotentiary on the part of His Britannic Majesty to treat for peace with the French Republic. On the 22nd of October his Lordship announced to M. de la Croix, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, his arrival in Paris in that capacity. The negotiations occupied nearly two months, and the main point of difficulty turned upon the Netherlands, Lord Malmesbury, who acted strictly on his instructions, making the restoration of the Netherlands a sine quâ non, and M. de la Croix repeatedly stating that this difficulty was one which could not be overcome. The negotiations had arrived at that stage which made this insuperable difficulty perfectly clear and unmistakeable on both sides, when Mr. Talbot, a[Pg 353] gentleman connected with Lord Malmesbury's embassy, addressed the following letter to Lord Buckingham. No allusion will be found in it to the pending negotiations, which were of too delicate and important a nature to be touched upon in a private letter; but it is very curious and interesting, as presenting a picture of the state of France at that period.


Paris, Dec. 18th, 1796.
My Lord,

Your Lordship, I trust, is aware of my motives for not having written to you since I left England; I shall, therefore, make no apologies for my neglect; but I must beg leave to assure your Lordship that I am, notwithstanding the urgency of my reasons, so much ashamed of the omission, that I now feel much embarrassed in taking up my pen.

The only letters I have hitherto sent to England have been to Lord Grenville, in answer to those he has done me the honour to write; and to Mr. B. Taylor, his secretary, for some articles which I stood in need of.

Your Lordship has without doubt received much better accounts of the appearance and state of things in this country than it is in my power to communicate; however, I will attempt a description of what has struck me as worthy of notice, and rely upon your kind indulgence for my errors.

Our first entrance into France was certainly not attended with the reception which might have been expected, under the particular circumstances in which we came. It is true a good many people of all sorts were upon the quay at Calais when we arrived, but they showed no signs of joy or any other feeling more than the arrival of an indifferent vessel would have occasioned; and very shortly after we had landed, and[Pg 354] gone to the inn, the crowd was dispersed, and everything seemed as silent as if nothing had happened. Indeed, all those we conversed with expressed their happiness at seeing us, and wished success to the negotiation; and all the principal officers of the Government stationed there waited upon Lord Malmesbury with the utmost civility; but the bulk of the inhabitants—whether they were ignorant of the arrival of an envoy to propose peace, or whether they were afraid to express their satisfaction in any public manner, I cannot say—manifested not the least sign of rejoicing.

Nothing very material occurred between this place and Paris. The aubergistes and post-masters were almost the only persons with whom we had any conversation, and their language uniformly was that France was most anxiously desirous for the restoration of peace; that their sufferings had been more than they could describe, but that latterly their situation was much mended by the diminution in the price of provisions. But I was not inclined to give much credit to them, imagining that this language was intended to flatter us, and coming from those who had suffered more than any of their description in France, from the intercourse between the two countries being stopped. It must, however, be allowed that a general gloom seemed to prevail; and very little of that gaiety for which this nation was formerly remarkable was to be observed. At Amiens, I remember, the people of the inn where we supped entered more fully and with less reserve into the detail of their calamities. There had been a considerable manufacture of woollen cloths in this town, in which at this time no more than two hundred people were employed.

I profited of the opportunity which the changing horses afforded me to see the Château of Chantilly. I found it totally stripped of its furniture, and every decoration that bore the smallest reference to armorial bearings was defaced; but otherwise the building has not suffered much injury. The[Pg 355] statue of the great Condé on the principal staircase remains, but the head is cut off. The barbarians were not content with beheading the statues of men, but they have likewise done so to all the busts of stags placed over the stalls in the stables. The château was used as a prison in the time of Robespierre, and almost all the apartments continue still divided into small spaces for that purpose. The gardens are totally destroyed, but the park has met with no injury further than the almost total destruction of the game. There is a keeper appointed by the nation for the protection of the wood. The timber on the opposite side of the river is chiefly cut down, the land having been sold.

The adjacent château of the Duc d'Angoulême, his son, as far as the walls, remains perfect; I had not time to see the inside of it. The care of the château has lately been given in charge to one of the former servants of the Prince de Condé.

The roads were in general in excellent condition, and the post-horses tolerably good; but we were in several places kept some time waiting for them. This is not to be wondered at, if we consider how little they have been accustomed to travellers for some years past.

A great number of the best houses by the roadside and in the towns were shut up, and seemed to be abandoned. Very few of the churches appeared to be open, many of them were pulled down, and none that were not considerably damaged; but the country was throughout in a state of high cultivation, although there was apparently a scarcity of men at work. This is to be accounted for by the encouragement which the late dearness of bread has given to the farmers, who are become, by a variety of circumstances, extremely wealthy. They are one of the very few descriptions of people who have profited by the Revolution. Very many of them have purchased lands, and this they were enabled to do almost for nothing by the depreciation of assignats, for an enormous nominal value of which they sold the produce of their[Pg 356] farms; and this paper was received from them for the sum it represented, in payment for the estates of the ci-devant seigneurs and other confiscated property. I am told there have been repeated instances of the basest ingratitude on their part, in denouncing their landlords; and, on the contrary, that many of them have given proofs of the strongest attachment to them.

Provisions are in abundance, and at a very moderate price. Common bread is little more than two sous, and butchers' meat from five to eight sous the pound.

I have not observed any want of specie in circulation; never yet have I found any difficulty in getting change upon the purchase of any article, nor any such thing as paper money produced in such transactions. The exhausted state and the degree of distress which I could discover in this country, I must confess, fell short of the expectation which the various species of plunder, exaction, and cruelty, which it has for several years submitted to, had impressed upon my mind.

Between Calais and Paris, scarcely any troops were to be met with.

The scene being so perfectly new to me, and having little or no intercourse with any one here, except our own society, I was some time in Paris before I could form any opinion of the state of affairs, and the sentiments of the people. The streets seemed crowded, the shops tolerably well supplied, the theatres well attended, some private and a great number of public carriages to be met with; all this brought to my reflection how very difficult a matter it must be to destroy a great country, considering that all the pains which have been taken to ruin this have left so much undone. But the first fortnight we lived in the most populous part of the town, near the Palais Royal, and therefore the last place where distress would be evident.

There are few parts of Paris I have not since been in, and[Pg 357] I find in many of them, the outlets particularly, the greatest wretchedness to prevail, and to be very thin of inhabitants. A great part of the Faubourg St. Germain, near the Boulevards, is in a great measure deserted; but this quarter was formerly inhabited principally by the noblesse. There is scarcely a street in Paris where there are not several houses written upon, Propriété nationale à vendre, and sometimes in addition, ou à louer; and in many places a great part of the street is in the same manner advertised for sale.

The names of many of the streets are, as your Lordship must know, entirely changed; but where they are not, and began with Saint, that word is invariably defaced, and the remainder of the name is left untouched. But, notwithstanding that, most places are commonly called as formerly; and this practice is becoming more general every day.

The hôtels of many of the ci-devant noblesse are inhabited by the Ministers and other members of the Government. Many of them are converted into public offices and others of them into hôtels garnis, &c.; besides, a prodigious number of them remain unoccupied, and offered for sale by the nation.

The Luxembourg is divided into five separate habitations for the Directory, besides the apartments that are used for their sittings, audiences, and other public business.

The Council of Ancients hold their sittings in the Palace of the Tuileries, and the Council of Five Hundred meet in what was formerly the riding-house of the King; but this is considered as merely a temporary chamber for this last body, until the Palais Bourbon, which is now undergoing great alterations and additions, is ready for their reception. This building is in the Faubourg St. Germain, in front of the new bridge called Pont de la Révolution. I shall take an opportunity hereafter of giving your Lordship a description of the interior of these several places.

The scene of any great revolutionary event continues still[Pg 358] decorated with the national flag and other emblems of their glorious Revolution, accompanied with an inscription; that where the Bastille stood is, 14 Juillet 1789, la Bastille détruite, et elle ne se relevera jamais; and that in the Place du Carrousel, opposite the Tuileries, is, 10 Août 1792, La Royauté française est abolie, et elle ne se relevera jamais. There are several marks of cannon-balls, but they have made but little impression on this front of the Tuileries; and under each of them is written, 10 Août 1792.

The garden of the Tuileries is, I am told, kept as well as ever it was; some of the largest trees in it, however, have been cut down since our arrival, but they were chiefly decayed. Of the Bastille nothing remains, except a very small part of the foundations; and near it is a newly-erected powder magazine, and much of the remainder of the space is a depôt for firewood.

The churches are many of them open, and have Divine service performed in them without restraint; but a great many more of them are shut, and some used as casernes, storehouses, &c.; but they have all been stripped of every internal decoration, and nothing suffered to remain but the bare walls. Sometimes, indeed—and it appears to be by an oversight—a piece of painting, or perhaps a little image, may have escaped injury; but such a thing is a curiosity, and to be found in a situation not readily to be observed, or difficult to be reached. The favourite mode of mutilating a statue seems to have been to break off the head. In the church of St. Sulpice there is a tolerably good statue of a Virgin and Child remaining, but of this the Child's head is taken off, and that of the Virgin seems to have met with the same fate, but to have been restored. It is wonderful the industry that has been used in the destruction of everything in the way of inscription, of sculpture, or coats of arms, which could possibly remind the people of the ancien régime; and I cannot help being much surprised that[Pg 359] all this was done with so much care as to remove merely these particular objects of their enmity, without in the least damaging the adjacent parts. In defacing armorial bearings and things of this sort, the reformers have been at the trouble of cutting them away, so as to leave the shield quite plain, although they were carved in stone. I should have supposed that mischief done in the moment of frenzy would not have been so methodical.

Upon all the public buildings, the public offices, and many others, is written in large characters—Unité indivisibilité de la république, liberté, égalité, fraternité, ou la mort; but in general the last word is rubbed out. The nation took it into their heads not to like death upon the downfall of Robespierre. Upon many of the churches is this inscription—Le peuple français reconnait l'être suprême et l'immortalité de l'âme. This was a decree of the Convention for the people at large, and your Lordship will allow that this must have a ridiculous effect upon the walls of a church entirely in ruins, as is often the case. Another modern inscription is—Citoyens, respectez le bien d'autrui, c'est le fruit de son travail et de son industrie; and perhaps close by it you may read propriété nationale à vendre, in direct violation of the other, offering to sell property of which some unfortunate person has been robbed by the very preachers of this doctrine.

I am obliged to break off suddenly, for reasons which will be very soon known to your Lordship.

I have the honour to be your Lordship's most obedient, faithful, humble servant,

James Talbot.

The last line of this letter is written in an agitated hand, which the circumstance that compelled Mr. Talbot to break off so abruptly sufficiently accounts for. At that moment[Pg 360] a note had arrived at the embassy from M. de la Croix, giving Lord Malmesbury notice to depart from Paris in eight-and-forty hours, adding that if the British Cabinet were desirous of peace, the Executive Directory were ready to carry on the negotiations, on the basis they had already laid down, by the reciprocal channel of couriers.

[Pg 361]



The result of Lord Malmesbury's mission was communicated to Parliament as soon as it became known in London, by a message from the King, and addresses were moved approving of the conduct of Ministers. Amendments, condemning their policy, and demanding an investigation, were proposed in both Houses, and rejected by large majorities. In the House of Commons, notwithstanding an appeal of extraordinary eloquence and power from Mr. Fox, the address was carried by a majority of 212 to 37. Mr. Pitt's position, perhaps, was never stronger than at this moment, although the affairs of the Bank of England, in consequence of repeated loans to Government, were reduced to the most desperate condition, and the lower classes of the population, feeling heavily the burthens of the war, began to clamour against its prosecution. But the national spirit sustained the Government. Possessing the implicit confidence of the King, the two Houses of Parlia[Pg 362]ment, the heads of the Church, the landed interest, and the monied and commercial classes, Mr. Pitt persevered. The greatest efforts were made out of doors to induce His Majesty to remove his Ministers. Public meetings were held in several places to get up petitions on the subject; and the energies of the Opposition were incessantly employed in spreading alarm and discontent through the country. Several unfortunate circumstances concurred to give effect to these movements. The war had reached its most disastrous point. England was left alone in the field to contend against the power of France, now grown haughty and formidable by a long course of successes. The credit of the country, under this pressure of events, was seriously affected. The Bank had stopped payment. Two mutinies had broken out in the fleet, one at Spithead, and another at the Nore. An organization of malcontents had been formed in Ireland under the name of "the United Irishmen," and had carried their insurrectionary views so far as to send deputies to treat with the French for assistance to enable them to throw off the English yoke. The year opened with the most gloomy prospects on all sides; but the firmness of Ministers triumphed over all difficulties, and conducted them to its close with the happiest results.

The first incident of the year to which allusion is made in these letters, is the appearance in British waters of a French squadron. It consisted of two frigates and two sloops, and its insignificance, compared with the demonstration that was anticipated from the loud threats of invasion by which it was heralded, excited ridicule rather than alarm.[Pg 363]


Wednesday, Jan. 4th, 1797.
My dearest Brother,

A little after eleven this morning came an account of Elphinston's being arrived with the 'Monarch' (I believe at Spithead). He had letters from General Dalrymple of the 31st, by which it seems probable that the French fleet is, if not entirely, certainly in great part, broken to pieces. Two French seventy-fours and a frigate had put into Bantry Bay, one without a bowsprit, and all of them damaged, and were lying within mortar reach of Bantry when Dalrymple wrote: other vessels were seen also trying to get into Bantry Bay. The 'Impatiente,' a very fine frigate of forty-four guns, just reached Cuxhaven, and foundered there, the whole crew going down with her except a pilot and four men, who were saved. By their report twelve thousand men only were on board, and provisions so scarce from the first, that they were put upon short allowance the day that they left Brest. Another French frigate was seen driving up St. George's Channel, and is said to have gone to pieces upon the Welsh coast. A Barbadoes ship saw a large ship, supposed to be one of the flutes, struggle some time, and then founder; another of the flutes was seen to founder off the Lizard; and great traces of wreck are thrown upon the Irish coast.

Lord Bridport sailed very early yesterday morning, and met Elphinston, who gave him all this intelligence. I presume that he will probably detach part of his squadron towards Ireland, and part towards Brest; besides which, I believe he has power to take with him whatever he meets.

Kingsnill was indefatigable in collecting his frigates, which, with his two sixty-fours, will count heavily upon this shattered and disabled force of the enemy. Meantime, the greatest part of the Oporto fleet is come in, and very good accounts are[Pg 364] received from the West Indies, where a strong naval force is gone down to the protection of Jamaica. One of the frigates, too, upon that station has taken a rich Spanish prize. Of the four ships out belonging to Colpoys' fleet, all are come in except the 'Powerful,' which is thought to have made Ireland. Upon the whole, therefore, you will admit that I send you to-day a very prosperous naval budget. In truth, I do think that, if the ruin of this French expedition be as complete as it promises to be from these circumstances, the security of Ireland, and of England too, has been more promoted by it than by any event which has happened during the war; and much as I applaud your manly and forward zeal in your military offer, I doubt whether the occasion for it will again be renewed. I ought to have mentioned to you that the four men saved from the 'Impatiente' describe the troops on board as having been from the first highly dissatisfied and discontented with the expedition, and that twelve thousand, instead of twenty thousand, sailed, because it was found difficult to persuade the troops in general to embark in the enterprise. The result will therefore add to the ill-temper upon this subject, and Irish invasion will for a long time be no popular measure in the harbour of Brest. Stay then at Stowe, my dear brother, and enjoy the satisfaction which you will feel in the prompt and handsome service which you were ready to have done. Laudo momentem—not so (between ourselves)—do I say to Elphinston. I do not know what is his pretence for coming away with the 'Monarch' in such a moment, but I shrewdly suspect his Cape treasure to have been on board and to have influenced his decision; if that is the case, of which I know nothing, I do think it will be disgraceful beyond all measure, but I am speaking my own conjectures only, for I have not had time yet to ask more. God bless you.

The sequel of the expedition was sufficiently ludicrous.[Pg 365] Having effected a landing of some fifteen hundred men on the shore of the Bay of Cardigan on the 23rd of February, the militia, fencibles, and peasantry of the neighbourhood immediately collected; but the invaders saved them the trouble of an engagement, by laying down their arms, and surrendering themselves prisoners of war. The frigates were captured on their return to Brest; and thus terminated an enterprize, which was so inadequately planned, as to create universal astonishment that it was ever undertaken.

The state of Ireland offered a favourable opportunity to the Opposition for an attack upon Ministers; and Lord Fitzwilliam, having failed in his attempts to bring them into discredit in reference to his own case, now extended the grounds of accusation to the general discontents of the country. Lord Moira, who undertook to bring forward the motion, appears to have had no other object in view than to trace all these disorders to the recal of Lord Fitzwilliam.


Cleveland Row, March 14th, 1797
My dearest Brother,

Lord Moira (having given to Government, through the Lord Chancellor, a sort of intimation that he was what he called going into Opposition) has this day given notice of a motion for Tuesday next, to address the King on the internal state of Ireland, which motion he is understood to have concerted with Lord Fitzwilliam.

You know I never think of pressing you to attend on any of the common points of attack and defence between the Govern[Pg 366]ment and Opposition. But on this occasion I should certainly most ardently wish that you should be present, and I think you yourself would not wish to be absent. At all events, I thought it right not to omit a moment giving you notice of it, that if you meant to attend you might arrange other matters accordingly. It is, however, not quite certain that he will make the motion that day, the Chancellor being too ill to come out; but he seems resolved, even if Lord Loughborough's illness continues, not to defer it for more than two or three days longer.

We have nothing new to-day. The Archduke is got back to the army in Italy, and will, I hope, at least be able to prevent any further progress of the French on that side. Mack is to be sent to the Rhine.

Ever most affectionately yours,


Cleveland Row, March 20th, 1797.
My dearest Brother,

Lord Moira persists obstinately in bringing on his motion to-morrow. I suppose they attach some political importance to the having had the discussion with us before it comes on in the House of Commons, for I can conceive no other reason for this pertinaciousness. The Chancellor will not be there, so that I shall have the whole battle, or nearly so, upon my shoulders. It is not, however, the first time that this has happened to me, and most probably it will not be the last; and I have no uneasiness as to the result in point of effect or impression, even though the Prince of Wales should (as is said) be persuaded that this is an occasion in which it befits his station and prospects to put himself forward.

There is no news nor much appearance of any, as both armies and in both quarters seem to want much time to repair[Pg 367] the effects of the last campaign. It is some satisfaction to see that Buonaparte is in no situation to push his advantages further as yet; and before he is, I hope and trust the Emperor will have collected an army, better generalled and able to resist the French, who are, however, drawing all their strength to that side.

The elections are going on quietly in France. What the result will be, I believe nobody knows, and it is therefore in vain to guess.

Ever most affectionately yours,

Pray accept our kindest remembrance to Lady B. and yourself, on the celebration of to-morrow, and convey them to Lord and Lady T.

The motion was brought forward the next day, and negatived by a majority of nearly four to one. A similar motion brought forward by Mr. Fox two days afterwards in the House of Common, met with a similar reception.

About this time Lord Mornington was appointed Governor of Madras, in the room of Mr. Hobart, now Lord Hobart, upon whom that office had been conferred in the year 1794. The following letters refer to that appointment, and are explanatory of the circumstances under which it was made.


Hertford Street, April 20th, 1797.
My dear Lord,

I received your very kind and affectionate letter last night at Dropmore, where I had been for a few days. When you[Pg 368] were last in town, the projects of arrangement for India remained so nearly in the state in which our last conversation had left them, that I thought it unnecessary to trouble you at that time on the subject. Since that time, the matter has certainly taken a more distinct shape, although it is not true, as the newspaper has stated, that my appointment has actually taken place, or that I am to embark within a few days for India. Had you continued in town, I would have communicated to you, step by step, every stage of the transaction, and especially whatever concerned Hobart; but the distance of your situation rendered such a detailed communication difficult, and I was besides unwilling to intrude upon your time in a moment of so much domestic anxiety, in which, I assure you, I took the deepest concern. I also had an expectation that Mr. Sullivan, with whom I had constant intercourse, might have had the opportunity of seeing you in Buckinghamshire (if Lord Temple's health should allow you to see anybody), and that he would have apprised you of every circumstance which could affect Hobart's interest or reputation; to both of which objects, it is my sincere opinion that the utmost regard has been shown by all parties in this affair: I say by all parties, because common justice compels me to declare that Mr. Dundas, instead of having impeded or frustrated the arrangement proposed for Hobart, or of having sacrificed him to any intrigue at the India House, has to my certain knowledge asserted Hobart's cause with the warmest zeal, used every means of representing it to the Company in the most advantageous light, and even entered into personal engagements for the benefit of Hobart far exceeding any demand which could justly or reasonably have been made upon him by Hobart or by his friends. A short statement of facts will, I think, satisfy you of the truth of my opinion.

After a very full consideration of all the despatches both from Bengal and Madras, relating to the affairs of the latter[Pg 369] Government, Mr. Dundas wrote a letter to the Directors, of which he sent me a copy, expressing his sense of Lord Hobart's services in these words: "To his zeal and promptitude in the execution of his orders, after the unfortunate rupture with Holland, I in a very great degree attribute the very proud and advantageous situation in which our Indian empire is now placed." The letter concludes with the following recommendation to the Court to make a provision for Lord Hobart: "If the Court of Directors concur with me in thinking that Lord Hobart has performed very meritorious services, but that there are at the same time very forcible grounds of expediency why he should not proceed to the higher situation originally destined for him, I can have no doubt, from the known justice and liberality of the East India Company, that they will concur with me in thinking that he ought not to return to his own country without a substantial mark of the approbation and favour of the East India Company."

The grounds of expediency for Lord Hobart's recal, Mr. Dundas stated in these terms: "I am, after the most mature consideration of the subject, thoroughly satisfied that, after the unfortunate misunderstandings which have prevailed between Lord Hobart and the Government-General, and the equally unfortunate differences which exist between his Lordship and the Nabob and the Rajah of Tanjore, it would be inexpedient to re-appoint him to the Government-General; and still more so, that he should remain longer at Madras."

Upon this letter, my dear Lord, I am persuaded that your own justice and candour will anticipate my observations; but the very strong expressions contained in your letter render it my duty to observe, that in this application to the Court of Directors, Mr. Dundas has chosen the very same topics, on which to urge the claims of Lord Hobart to the gratitude of the Company, which you concurred with me in selecting as the most favourable grounds to found a public motion in the[Pg 370] Court of Proprietors, with a view to obtaining a pension for Lord Hobart; and Mr. Dundas has stated the expediency of removing Lord Hobart on no other grounds than those which in conversation you and I have repeatedly agreed to be of the greatest force, and at the same time perfectly consistent with Lord Hobart's fair reputation and unsullied honour. It cannot, therefore, be denied that Mr. Dundas has dealt fairly by Lord Hobart's character and interests, both in the reasons assigned for his recal, and in those urged in favour of his services.

To this letter the Chairman of the Court of Directors returned an answer, concurring in Mr. Dundas's opinion of the necessity of recalling Lord Hobart, admitting the extent of his services, and expressing the inclination of the Court to propose a provision for him to the consideration of the proprietors; but postponing the moment for making that proposal to a period which appeared to me rather too distant, and not sufficiently defined.

In this state of the matter, Mr. Dundas proposed to me the reversion of the Government-General after Lord Cornwallis, having previously furnished me with a copy of the correspondence, to which I have already referred. I expressed my doubts whether the provision for Lord Hobart was yet sufficiently secure to admit of my accepting the offer made to me consistently with my good wishes for him. Mr. Dundas then informed me, that he knew the intention of the Directors was to propose the pension to the Court of Proprietors in May; and he added, that if at that time the pension should fail in either court, he would himself move it in Parliament, and charge it upon the revenues of Ceylon, or take some other effectual means of securing it. He also said, that there would be no objection to calling Lord Hobart to the House of Peers within a very short time, probably even before Lord Cornwallis's departure.

Here again I must observe, that Mr. Dundas offers a[Pg 371] personal pledge in favour of Lord Hobart, which neither you nor I, nor any of Lord Hobart's friends ever had required, and which we could not on any fair grounds have demanded. When Mr. Dundas had thus stated to me the situation of Lord Hobart in terms so perfectly satisfactory, and affording such undeniable proofs of his sincere wish to serve him under all possible contingencies, I entered into a variety of points relating to my own views (which I will state to you when we meet); and the conversation ended without my final acceptance of the proposal made to me. In a day or two afterwards I saw Mr. Sullivan, and communicated to him what had passed between me and Mr. Dundas relative to Lord Hobart. I had then the satisfaction to learn from Mr. Sullivan, that he also had seen Mr. Dundas, from whom he had received the very same assurances, which Mr. Dundas had given to me in relation to Lord Hobart's pension and peerage; and Mr. Sullivan further stated, that Mr. Dundas had desired that those assurances might be communicated to Lord Guilford. I then asked Mr. Sullivan whether, under all the circumstances of the case, he thought that my acceptance of the Government of Madras, with the reversion of the Government-General after Lord Cornwallis, could be in any degree injurious to Lord Hobart's interest or honour? Mr. Sullivan answered, certainly it could not; and added, that he and Lord Guilford were now perfectly satisfied with the footing on which Mr. Dundas had placed the credit and welfare of Lord Hobart.

Having seen Lord Cornwallis, and at length made up my mind to undertake this most arduous charge, I communicated to Mr. Dundas about a week ago my final acceptance of the Government of Madras, with the provisional succession to Bengal after Lord Cornwallis. My appointment not having yet been formally made by the Court of Directors, I cannot yet acknowledge my destination to India; you will, therefore,[Pg 372] be so good as to speak of the whole matter merely as a vague report until you hear further from me.

Thus, my dear Lord, you will perceive that whatever has been done relating to Hobart in the conclusion of this arrangement for India, has received the sanction of his nearest relations, of persons whose affectionate friendship for Hobart, and just discernment of his interests, will readily be acknowledged by you. In a situation of peculiar delicacy and embarrassment, it has been a great satisfaction to me to have been able to submit every step which I have taken in this affair to the judgment of such a man as Mr. Sullivan.

The various delays which have retarded the conclusion of this arrangement, have rendered it impossible for me to embark with Lord Cornwallis. However, I am in constant habits of the most confidential intercourse with him from day to day; and I mean to pass six weeks or two months with him in Bengal before his resignation of the government. My departure will probably not take place sooner than July or August.

Finding that the office of Private Civil Secretary at Bengal would be well worth my brother Henry's acceptance, I mean to take him with me. After a very accurate inquiry from Lord Cornwallis, I am concerned to find that it would not be in my power to be of any assistance to Mr. Fisher in India. My intention is to take no other person, besides my servants, excepting my brother Henry, and to avoid all engagements universally in Europe, in order to secure myself against any temptation to an irregular distribution of patronage. In this resolution, which I formed very early, on principles which a long attention to the affairs of India has enabled me to fix with some degree of confidence, I have been strongly confirmed by Lord Cornwallis, and I am persuaded that you will approve of my determination.

Pray accept my cordial thanks for the kindness and friendship[Pg 373] which appear in every part of your letter, and believe me, my dear Lord, ever yours most faithfully and affectionately,


I have been interrupted in this long detail, and have not been able to send my letter until this evening, the 21st. I am happy to learn in Pall Mall that Lord Temple is so much better. Nothing new to-day from Portsmouth; I mean, nothing authentic. Private letters say that the mutiny is likely to subside for the present, in consequence of the propositions made yesterday by the Admiralty. How discipline and subordination are ever again to be restored on any permanent basis surpasses my understanding to conceive.


Hertford Street, July 3rd, 1797.

The Court of Directors have appointed me Governor of Madras, with the provisional succession to Bengal. The arrangement has been made by them, and accepted by me, with this understanding: that I am to undertake the Government of Madras only in the event of Lord Cornwallis's acceptance of the Government of Bengal. If his Lordship should not go to Bengal, I am to proceed directly to the Supreme Government. The nature of this arrangement does not appear upon the face of it: I state it to you in strict confidence, as it has been explained to me; and I believe you are already sufficiently acquainted with my sentiments to know my willingness to hold the Government of Madras under Lord Cornwallis, as well as my resolution not to hold it under any other person.

Mr. Dundas authorizes me to say that he retains the same intentions with regard to a provision for Lord Hobart which he stated to you and to me, and you have been already apprized by me of the footing on which the proposed peerage stands.[Pg 374] You may rely on my constant and unremitting attention to both objects; but I must declare, in justice both to Mr. Pitt and to Mr. Dundas, my conviction that neither will delay the performance of their respective engagements one instant beyond that in which it shall be possible to execute them.

I find that Mr. Dundas considers himself to have given sufficient intimation to Lord Hobart of the intended arrangements, as far as they could affect his Lordship, by having enclosed to him, in a despatch forwarded overland some months ago, a copy of the letter addressed by Mr. Dundas to the Chairman of the Court of Directors on the subject of Lord Hobart's pretensions to a mark of the respect of the Company in the event of a change in the Government of India.

To whatever situation I may be destined, whether to Madras or Bengal, the maintenance of Lord Hobart's credit and reputation will always be a leading object of my wishes; and I trust, before I leave England, that I shall have the satisfaction of receiving your advice with respect to the most effectual mode of combining the accomplishment of that object with ideas, in some degree different from those which have governed the policy of Lord Hobart's administration at Madras in more than one material branch of the public service.

I am, Sir, with great respect and esteem,
Your most faithful and humble servant,


Hertford Street, July 19th, 1797.
My dear Lord,

I assure you that I felt no difficulty or delicacy whatever in communicating your letter to Mr. Pitt as soon as I received it, and I flatter myself that throughout the whole of the arrangement relative to India I have never been found deficient in any mark of regard for my old friend Hobart's interest or honour.[Pg 375] Mr. Pitt authorized me to inform you that he would very soon write both to you and to Lord Hobart; and to that letter, whenever you receive it, I must refer you for the detail of facts on which Mr. Pitt is more competent to afford explanation than I. I must however declare, in justice both to Pitt and Dundas, that I see nothing in the conduct of either to justify the least suspicion of any other than the most cordial sentiments of good-will towards Hobart. I have said the same thing to Mr. Sullivan, whom you will probably see, and stated the grounds of my opinion at large. Mr. Pitt does not appear to admit that Lord Hobart's interests ever have been or can be made matter of negotiation. He says he has acted in the whole transaction, and will continue to act, conformably to his sense of public duty, and his unaltered feelings of friendship for Lord Hobart, to whom he will not fail to give a full statement of all his conduct. I believe Mr. Dundas's view of the subject to be nearly the same; but not being at liberty to communicate your letter to him, I have not been enabled to enter so fully with him into the discussion of its contents. However, I can inform you that his favourable intentions towards Lord Hobart remain precisely the same.

Mr. Sullivan will immediately communicate in person with Mr. Dundas on all the points of this business, and you will learn the result from him.

Nothing but the continual hurry and interruptions to which I am at present exposed could justify my having delayed so long the acknowledgment of your kind letter. Pray, my dear Lord, accept my cordial thanks for the many marks of friendship which it contains. I do not expect to sail before September, and you may be assured that I will make it my business to see you before my departure.

Ever, my dear Lord,
Yours most sincerely and affectionately,

[Pg 376]

The remaining letters of the year refer at intervals to the events in progress on the continent; events which occupy so large and prominent a space in history, as to render any detailed allusion to them unnecessary.


Cleveland Row, April 28th, 1797
My dearest Brother,

I have this day seen Dutheil, and to-morrow I am to see the other; but there has been a blunder about it, or I should long since have seen him. I hardly know how to credit all I hear on that subject, and yet I must say I hear it from all quarters, agreeing in the essentials, though varying a little as to sub-divisions, according to the dispositions of the informants.

I hardly know how to tell myself, under these circumstances, what I wish about Hammond's mission, because the panic here is so disgraceful, that the country will not allow us to do them justice. If I thought others would do them that justice, my resolution would soon be taken; but I have not nerves to plunge my country into the horrors of a Jacobin Government to save myself the unpleasant task of being compelled to do worse for them than I am sure I could if they would but be quiet and suffer themselves to be saved. It is a curious speculation in history to see how often the good people of England have played this game over and over again, and how incorrigible they are in it. To desire war without reflection, to be unreasonably elated with success, to be still more unreasonably depressed by difficulties, and to call out for peace with an impatience which makes suitable terms unattainable, are the established maxims and the regular progress of the popular mind in this country. Yet, such as it is, it is worth all the other countries of the world put together, so we must not too much complain of it.[Pg 377]

I am grieved to hear that your dear son has had another relapse, and should be extremely obliged to you if, whenever you can send me a better account, as I trust you will be able to do, you would let me have a line.

Ever most affectionately yours,


Cleveland Row, May 3rd, 1797.
My dearest Brother,

The Paris papers arrived this morning seem to confirm, beyond a doubt, the signature of peace with the Emperor. We know nothing more of it than you will find in those papers. The last accounts from Vienna which I have received were of the 17th, and they looked more like war than peace; but not enough so to give me any reason to doubt the fact.

The task which is now left to us, is no doubt arduous and difficult. It would not be in the least so with a country united, and feeling its own strength: but to contend against dejection, cowardice and disaffection at home, aiding a powerful enemy from without, is not a light or easy matter. It must, however, be tried; for I have no conception that any other use can be made of this event by the Directory, than that of exacting from us concessions, which I trust neither the country nor Parliament will bring themselves to listen to.

I hope you are all going on well at Stowe, and that your invalid is recovering. Have you seen my Prince? He is sensible, and well informed; though not exactly the picture of a young lover.

Ever most affectionately yours,

[Pg 378]


Cleveland Row, May 5th, 1797.
My dearest Brother,

The messenger is arrived this morning, and has brought us the confirmation of the Paris reports. The preliminaries were signed on the 18th; but we are still uninformed of the particulars of the conditions, except that they contain a stipulation for a Congress at Berne, to which the allies of the two parties are to be invited. I believe, from what I can collect from the very defective information which has yet reached us, that the articles have been drawn in so much haste and confusion, and by persons so little used to transact points of this nature, that they are unintelligible, and require explanation before they can be made public, or even communicated to other Courts. Thugut has resigned—this step having been taken in contradiction to his opinion—and a Count Cobenzl, now Austrian Minister at Petersburg, is supposed to be destined to succeed him. This is, in the whole of it, a great event, and big with the greatest consequences, whether good or bad—caliginosá nocte premit Deus.

You cannot see the state of Ireland more gloomily than I do. Possibly, if we have peace, that may leave us more at liberty to act in that quarter; but even then, what force have we? and to what objects are we to direct it, when the gentlemen are all flying from their duty, and either joining the adverse standard, or at best deserting their posts?

I rejoice to hear so good an account of your son, and I trust the attack is now over, though the recovery of strength must naturally be very slow.

Ever, my dear brother,
Most affectionately yours,
[Pg 379]

Wells's ship's crew being harangued by him refused to cheer with the other ships, till the 'Glory' loaded her guns to fire upon her.


Charles Street, May 9th, 1797.
My dearest Brother,

I cannot express to you my disappointment in the Portsmouth news, which I found upon my return to town yesterday evening. By the post of Saturday, the letters from the fleet were better than they had ever been; and the officers themselves seemed in much better heart and spirits. On Sunday, however, it broke out afresh: representations were handed about, complaining that the speeches of Lord Howe, Lord Spencer and the Duke of Clarence, were meant to disappoint the seamen of what had been promised them, and it was suggested that the 'Marlborough' was to be kept back, and made an example of when the fleet had sailed. Upon these pretences, the delegates began going round to each ship: Colpoys told his crew he would not admit them; they mutinied, and he ordered his marines to fire, who did so, and badly wounded four mutineers; but the fire was returned by the crew, who overpowered the officers and the marines, confined Colpoys, and threatened to hang Lieutenant Bover. To save him, Colpoys asserted that Bover had been ordered so to act by him, and that he had an order for this discipline from the Admiralty, which order he gave to the delegates. The order was a very proper order from the Admiralty to every captain, requiring him to give no cause of complaint to the men on the subject of provisions, requiring him to keep up a proper discipline, and to exert a proper spirit in resisting any appearance of mutiny. This order, we since hear, is stated as an act of treachery in the Admiralty as against the seamen.

Upon this tumult in the 'London,' the crews of the other[Pg 380] ships took possession of the arms, and many confined their officers to their cabins. The post of to-day brings no new or different state of things, except an account that three of the mutineers are dead in Haslar Hospital of their wounds; and that Campbell, Nichols, Talbot, one or two other captains, and many lieutenants, have been put on shore at St. Helen's.

A messenger was dispatched last night with the news of the vote of the House of Commons having passed unanimously, but it is doubtful whether in this high wind he could get to the fleet; and all these circumstances show so little colour or pretence of real complaint, that I cannot help fearing the evil is more deeply rooted in the influence of Jacobin emissaries and the Corresponding Society, and to their machinations the vote of yesterday will afford no answer. Upon the whole, this is the worst state of things which I have seen. The ground of the mischief is not known to the officers, and as far as I can see, they have no heart or nerves to meet this formidable calamity. With this wind they might have sailed; but with what has happened in the 'London,' and with so many officers put on shore, one can hardly now wish the fleet to sail.

The last accounts from Brest announce about twenty sail, but not in a very forward state of readiness; but this state of our fleet cannot be news to them, and they will doubtless profit of an opportunity which perhaps they have themselves created.

At half-past one no news was come. If I hear more before the post goes out, I will add it.

God bless you, dearest brother.


Charles Street, May 11th, 1797.
My dearest Brother,

Great anxiety again prevailed here by an account which arrived at midnight, that the delegates were on board the[Pg 381] 'London,' and it was feared they were urging for the execution of Colpoys and his captain; but a few hours afterwards, news arrived that Colpoys' crew had resisted the delegates; that even the most mutinous ships, viz. the 'Duke' and 'Mars,' were returned to their duty, and that most of the ships had desired their officers to join them again. I have also read a letter from Payne, who writes in high spirits, and says that there is now a complete hostility on the part of the well-affected as against the mutineers, and that he has just spoke a cutter from the 'Queen Charlotte' with twenty or thirty well-affected men on board, who were going to every ship in the fleet, to insist upon everything being quiet, and upon their going instantly to sail in quest of the French. Lord Howe would arrive about nine this morning, with a warrant under the King's sign-manual, for making such final arrangement as might be necessary for the sailing of the fleet, if he should find it so disposed to sail. Not a word from Lord Bridport, except to acknowledge the communication of the Act of Parliament!

Under these circumstances, there is every reason to suppose that one may hope the immediate storm is a little blown over, and that no new resource need be looked for such as you suggest; but the apprehension of my mind is still extremely great, because I am more and more convinced that Jacobin management and influence is at the bottom of this evil; and till that influence is traced and rooted out, there is, in my view, no chance of safety. The tampering with the soldiers by conversation and handbills is another unanswerable proof of the system by which all this mischief moves forward; and the activity of Brest in the last accounts, seems to confirm, as far as such preparation can, their knowledge of, if not their participation in, this mischief.

Orde has written from Plymouth, that he hopes to get the ships there to sea before any communication is had of this new mutiny.[Pg 382]

Things look badly, as I believe, in Ireland; but those of Government, whom I ever see, are so entirely occupied, that I write to you more from my own guess than from their communication.

God bless you, dearest brother.

I know no foreign news of any sort, nor have I seen William these three or four last days.

A third effort to effect a pacification with France had been entered upon by Lord Grenville in the month of June. On this occasion his Lordship addressed a direct application to M. de la Croix, expressing his readiness without delay to open a discussion of the views and pretensions of both parties. To this communication M. de la Croix replied by accepting the proposal; and the town of Lisle was appointed for the meeting of the ambassadors.

Lord Malmesbury was again appointed on the part of England; and it became evident at once that his re-appearance in that capacity was not very satisfactory to the French Government, M. de la Croix coldly signifying the consent of the Directory to negotiate with Lord Malmesbury, but adding that another choice would have augured more favourably for the speedy conclusion of peace.

The conference at Lisle seems to have taken its colour all throughout from this preliminary distrust of the English envoy. It lasted up to the 17th of September; and ended as it began, in a fruitless debate about Lord Malmesbury's powers to treat in full. In the meanwhile, the event known by the name of the Revolution of Fruc[Pg 383]tidor took place in Paris, the meeting was broken up, and Lord Malmesbury left Lisle on the 18th of September.


Cleveland Row, Sept. 20th, 1797.
My dearest Brother,

Late last night we got a messenger from Lord Malmesbury, with an account that he was ordered away from Lisle, and was on his way to London, where he arrived this morning. It is not easy to say beforehand what effects it will produce here, where people's spirits are so susceptible of alarm and depression; but I really think, in the manner of doing the thing, the Directory have done everything they could to play our game.

The dissatisfaction will be great in France, but they seem, for the moment, completely masters there. Ireland is our weakest point, and to that our attention must be most directed; for anything else I have very little apprehension.

I think it probable that the consequences of this new state of things will be to detain me in and about town, and to put an end to my hopes of a journey to Stowe or Wotton; but I am not yet quite sure as to this. I hope we shall not be in a hurry to meet Parliament, as I understand that it will not be necessary, in point of finance, till about the middle of November. Between this and that time many things may still happen to raise people's spirits, which I should fear would in the present moment be much depressed, whatever pains we took to raise them.

Ever, my dearest brother, most affectionately yours,

[Pg 384]



A rebellion in Ireland, and a threat of invasion from France, for which active preparations were making on the coast and in the Channel, almost exclusively absorbed the attention of Government at the beginning of the year 1798, and demanded all the resources which the devotion of the people could contribute to the protection of the country. The extremity of the public danger had the effect of uniting all classes in a combined effort for self-preservation; and the national enthusiasm was pronounced so strongly and unanimously on this point, that the heads of the Opposition, shattered and enfeebled, retired from the fruitless contest they had been so long waging against the Administration, and left Mr. Pitt and his colleagues[Pg 385] in almost undisturbed possession of both Houses of Parliament.

But security was not to be purchased without great sacrifices. The expenditure of the past year had amounted to the enormous sum of twenty-five millions and a half; and Mr. Pitt found it necessary, in order to provide a supply equal to the emergencies of the future, to introduce an entirely new system of finance. He proposed to triple the amount of the existing assessed taxes, with a limitation, restraining the maximum of taxation to the tenth of each person's income; and to borrow the remainder of what was required without creating any additional debt, by appropriating the produce of the sinking fund.

There was a violent resistance in both Houses to this plan; Mr. Fox, Mr. Sheridan, and others, who had previously seceded, re-appearing in their places for the express purpose of opposing it; but it was carried, nevertheless, by large majorities. Several other measures, to provide means for carrying on the war, and strengthening the national defences, were also introduced; and at no period, since the commencement of hostilities, was public opinion declared so energetically in favour of the ministerial policy. Numerous circumstances contributed to feed the popular ardour as the year advanced. Splendid naval victories inspired the highest confidence in the ultimate issues of the war; commerce once more resumed its former activity; the harvest was unusually abundant; and all branches of trade and industry reached a height of prosperity that completely relieved the depression under which they had suffered during the preceding year.[Pg 386]

The most active measures were set on foot to promote the common object of protecting the empire against foreign invasion and domestic treason. The most prominent of them was a plan for augmenting the Militia, afterwards matured and introduced by Mr. Dundas; and the collection of subscriptions towards the formation of a national defence fund. No greater proof could be given of the zeal of the people, at a period when their burthens were already so excessive, than the munificence and promptitude of their contributions on this occasion. At a meeting of bankers and merchants held in the open square of the Royal Exchange, upwards of forty-six thousand pounds were collected on the spot; the King subscribed £20,000; the Queen £5,000; numerous mercantile firms and private individuals contributed large sums, varying from £3,000 to £10,000; and the Bank of England, the noble tribute of £200,000. That this urgent necessity should have pressed heavily upon those public men whose position made a heavy demand upon their patriotism, was to be expected, and in some instances, sacrifices were made to an extent which rendered unavoidable the reduction of their domestic establishments; but no considerations of personal inconvenience were suffered to interfere with the paramount claims of duty. The subjoined letters throw considerable light on these transactions, and are of especial interest from the minute details they present respecting the measures that were adopted in this great emergency for augmenting and organizing the Militia force of the kingdom.[Pg 387]


Cleveland Row, Feb. 2nd, 1798.
My dearest Brother,

I saw yesterday in Pitt's hands your letter to him. The sacrifice you make is certainly very great, and such as I could not have thought myself at liberty to advise, though I am glad on the whole that your determination is such as it is; not that I am very much attached (but quite the contrary) to the idea of raising public supplies by voluntary contributions, and still less by contributions soi-disant voluntary, but in reality extorted by popular clamour and prejudice. But after that business has been carried as far as it has, it would have been too invidious for you to have put yourself in a breach which I think ought never to have been made. I am much concerned at what you say in your letter to Pitt respecting the personal inconvenience to which this step will subject you, and particularly as to the idea of your doing anything that can look like an avowed intention of suspending your residence at Stowe. It seems to me that nothing is more natural than that this state of things should lead to reduction of your establishments; and I believe in so doing you will only follow a very general example, though I appear to be selected as a much more striking instance of it than I have yet been able, with my best endeavours, to make myself. It will also be very easy for you, quartered in Essex, to be as much or as little as you please at Stowe in the course of the year; but any avowal of quitting that residence would, I think, do you a needless injury.

You will receive in a day or two the circular letter for calling out the supplementary Militia, with the explanation of the manner in which this is intended to be executed, so as to make it a muster of the whole, but an embodying only of a part.

War with America and Portugal seems quite determined on at Paris; nor do I see how Denmark can keep herself out of[Pg 388] the scrape, though she will most certainly do her best. The general opinion is that Mulin has established his superiority over Barras and Buonaparte. There can be no doubt of the intention to invade us here or in Ireland, or both.

The capture of the packet leaves us still without official or direct accounts from the West Indies, but all the accounts we get are favourable.

I enclose you, in confidence, a paper, which I think will be interesting to you. You will be so good as not to have seen it, and to return it to me. It is of course to be kept under lock and key. It is unpublished, and meant to remain so.

Ever most affectionately yours,


Charles Street, April 27th, 1798.
My dearest Brother,

It is only from your letter to William that I have learnt what is the actual state of the discussion which you had begun upon the subject of the flank companies of the Militia, and very sorry I am to find that it is likely to take any shape which can be unpleasant or disagreeable to you. The measure itself is one which I have understood to be one of the few measures upon which, in point of necessary military preparation, all our officers are agreed, and which, if I recollect right, you yourself are as strongly inclined to as anybody, though not precisely in the mode recommended by the Commander-in-chief; if the objections which you felt on the point of Militia establishment had been equally felt and adopted by the generality of the commanding officers of Militia, some way or other must, I suppose, have been found to accommodate the difficulties of such a representation; but in the present instance (as far as I could collect from Fortescue, who was at a pretty numerous meeting of all the Militia commanders who were in town), there was[Pg 389] not any one of those who did not express their readiness to adopt this plan, and their approbation of it; so that, in fact, this matter, so far from being taken up by the generality of commanding officers in the same light in which you had objected to it, has really the sanction of every commanding officer, except, as I am told, Lord Berkeley, Lord Carnarvon and yourself.

Under these circumstances, much as I regret that any arrangement could be proposed and could be likely to be carried, which is so disagreeable to you, you will, however, I am sure, agree with me that it stands upon very different ground, when it stands upon the ground of individual opinions, from what it would have done if it had been taken up by the whole or the majority or a large part of the Militia. My best hopes are that some mode may yet be found which may place your own regiment in the shape that you had wished; and William has, I know, taken all the pains he can to urge the adoption of all or of any of the modifications of this order, which may make it less objectionable to you; and I cannot therefore but hope that his zeal and anxiety in this will carry it to a better shape for you as far as you are immediately interested. But we live in times of such pressing public duty, and the military post to which you are called and in which you are placed, is one so forward both in danger and in honourable distinction to you, that I should not do my duty by you if I did not (however uncalled upon for that opinion) add that, in my poor judgment, no state of military arrangements or orders can for a moment admit of the possibility of your giving up your command in an hour of danger, as immediate as that in which I write. I know you will give me credit for the honesty of this opinion, as well as for the affection which calls it forth from me.

God bless you, my dearest brother.
Ever most affectionately yours,
T. G.

[Pg 390]


Cleveland Row, April 27th, 1798.
My dearest Brother,

On receiving your letter to Pitt, I sent it to him, and have since seen him and Dundas. I understand from them that you have been misinformed about the idea of their intending to bring in any new Bill on the subject of forming the flank companies of Militia into light infantry battalions, as the opinion both of the Attorney and Solicitor-General is quite clear on the interpretation of the present law. With respect to the measure itself, I must say that as far as I understand it, my opinion is and always has been clearly for it. But what is much more important is, that the Duke of York, all the Generals of districts and Lord Cornwallis, the only military Cabinet Minister, all put the salvation of the country upon it. In this situation I do not think that Pitt, or Dundas, or any of us, could take upon ourselves the responsibility of omitting a measure, stated to be clearly within the law, and in which so large a proportion of the Militia officers are disposed to acquiesce with cordiality and cheerfulness.

Nothing certainly can be further from their wishes, even as public men only, than to place you in any unpleasant or difficult situation; but you will not think this a moment when points of real importance can be given up to personal considerations of regard and good-will.

It has occurred, that adopting the measure generally, the application of it to your particular regiment might be avoided, by permitting you to form a separate light infantry battalion, under the command of Fremantle, he being an army officer, and one whom the Duke of York himself allows to be as fit for that purpose as any he could select; and that this permission may, under certain circumstances and conditions, be extended to other colonels desirous of taking that mode preferably to the other.[Pg 391]

But this is not without its difficulty, nor is it possible for any man, beforehand, to engage for the Duke of York's consent to a measure, on which he has so much right not only to have voix au chapitre but to have a voice nearly decisive, so long as his regulations do not interfere with the law. All, therefore, that I can say is, that I am persuaded Dundas will do whatever he can to promote this arrangement, the only solution that I see to difficulties, one side of which, in the alternative stated by you, present consequences to which I am very sure, whatever else happens, you will never bring yourself to look. If I had the least doubt upon that point, I certainly could and should say much of the time, of the situation of the country, of the local position of your regiment in its present quarters, and of the possibility of any man, under such circumstances, resigning a command because he disapproves in his own judgment, even supposing him right in that judgment, of a military order which the Commander-in-chief has clearly a right to give, and for the omission, as well as the giving of which, he and the Government are exclusively responsible.

I know nothing more of the supplementary Militia than that they are to be immediately called out.


Dropmore, May 1st, 1798.
My dearest Brother,

I got your letter here last night. I should not have gone out of town even for one day, if I had not understood from Dundas that the Duke of York, though quite determined against adopting the substitution you propose, seemed to think that in order to avoid putting you under difficulties of any sort, he could forbear to make the demand on your regiment.

I do not say that I like this expedient, but I see no other without his abandoning a measure which, for one, I should be very sorry to see abandoned, believing, as I do, that things of[Pg 392] much more importance than the matter of any legal question of a Militia Act, depend upon it. I really believe that you are not accurately informed when you speak of the wishes of the Militia in general being against this measure. But on this point you have certainly better means of knowing individual opinions than I can have. On the legal point, the opinion of the King's law servants must of course be the only guide for a Commander-in-chief, even if he were not a Prince of the blood, but much more when he is so, and consequently not supposed to enter into discussions of that sort, or to be responsible for them.

I grieve that in these times you should set the example of raising these questions; but I am confident you would not do so if you did not think it right. I own I should have thought that any idea of disobeying, as a Militia officer, a command of the Commander-in-chief, was out of the question in the present moment, and that if the case (I had almost said) which you yourself put, had occurred, that of being ordered to embark on board Lord Bridport's fleet, you would have done so, with a protest of ne trahatur in exemplum.

Dundas will, as I understand from him, explain to you what he considers to be the case about your letter, which he states to me to have been an official letter addressed, I think, to P. W. Howe or his Adjutant-General, and which therefore he did not consider in any other light than as an accurate statement of the doubt given in officially and meant to be so considered. But all this is of very little consequence in comparison of that of the light in which the thing itself places you, if it were possible that you could adopt the resolution you speak of.

I take it for granted that Dundas's Bill is meant only to extend to British subjects, or may easily be so limited. As such, it is surely highly advantageous in the present moment to have the services of the men who, of all British officers, have seen the most real service.[Pg 393]

I do not think that the Vienna news at all lessens the expediency of calling out the remaining third of the Militia. It is highly probable that the French, seeing that they cannot hope to contend again with England and Austria joined together, may determine to accelerate their attack on us, and put the whole on that one desperate issue.

Ever, my dearest brother,
Most affectionately yours,

The insurrection in Ireland was now approaching the moment which had been arranged by the rebels for the final move upon the capital. The whole plan of the rising, which was to have taken place on the 23rd of May, appeared in the details of a paper found upon the person of Lord Edward Fitzgerald, whose capture on the 19th frustrated the designs of the infatuated conspirators. Measures of the most careful precaution had been previously taken by the Government. Sir Ralph Abercromby, who had been in command of the army, and expressed a wish to retire, was replaced by General Lake, whose knowledge of the country afforded the strongest assurance of success in the vigorous proceedings it became necessary to adopt.

The presence of the military in the disturbed districts, and the numerous seizures of arms and arrests of members of the provincial committees that were organized over the country, had considerably deranged the plans and weakened the resources of the confederacy previously to the arrest of Lord Edward Fitzgerald, which effectually crushed the hopes of the rebels, although for some months afterwards they carried on a sort of flying campaign, with a despera[Pg 394]tion and ferocity that constantly baffled the operations of the regular troops. Lord Edward Fitzgerald died on the 3rd of June from the effects of the wounds he received in the frantic resistance he offered to the persons who arrested him.


Cleveland Row, May 25th, 1798.
My dearest Brother,

Accounts of a very satisfactory nature have been received here this morning from Dublin. They were upon the very brink of an insurrection, which was to have taken place on the 22nd. They had intelligence of it, and by the arrest of Lord Edward Fitzgerald and the two Sheares's, who were at the head of the plot, they have not only disconcerted this plan, but have procured indisputable evidence for proceeding against these traitors, and have now, I trust, the certainty of convicting them. A special Commission is preparing for the purpose of bringing them to trial as speedily as possible, but it will require about a month before all the forms can be got through. We are sending back O'Connor to them, and it is probable that his trial may be included in the same Commission.

They write on the 21st, in the best possible spirits, from the Castle. The attack was intended against Chapelizod, the magazine in the Phœnix, and the Castle, at the same time; and in order to increase the confusion, the houses of some of the leading people were also to have been attacked, and the individuals, at the head of whom of course was the Chancellor, were to be put to death. The camp near Dublin was also to be assaulted.

In the desk of one of the Sheares's was found the proclamation ready drawn, which was to be issued for the establishment of the Republican Government.[Pg 395]

A letter was written on the 21st, to the Lord Mayor of Dublin, by Lord Castlereagh, to acquaint him with this design, and to order him to make search for arms, &c., and a message was to be sent to Parliament the 21st or 22nd. They are not quite sure that the idea of the insurrection was abandoned, even after this blow-up; but they were so completely on their guard, that there was nothing to be apprehended.

You will have seen that Lord E. F. made a desperate resistance when he was taken. It is, however, supposed that Ryan will recover, though stabbed in the belly. They had already taken about two thousand pikes in Dublin alone, and great numbers in the adjacent counties. On the whole, I trust that with vigorous measures, such as every one will feel this crisis requires, the seeds of the rebellion will be crushed.

I think there are full grounds to proceed against Lord Thanet and Co. for a conspiracy to rescue, as well as for the riot. O'Connor's acquittal is imputed to Miller's charge, and that to his being completely exhausted, so as to omit some of the most material points in the evidence.

Ever most affectionately yours,


Cleveland Row, June 1st, 1798.
My dearest Brother,

I did not answer your letter earlier, because I waited to know the opinion of others on the subject of the proposal which you mention. I find that there is a very strong apprehension of creating by it dissatisfaction among the Militia, and of impeding the future raising and augmentation of that force. For it is reasoned thus: although in the present moment the public spirit is so high that it is probable a very large part would readily concur in a similar proposition, yet there would certainly be many individuals, and perhaps some bodies among them,[Pg 396] who would be reluctant to alter their original terms of service. These persons would hardly be placed in a fair situation, because although the option would still nominally be left to them; yet that would be attended with so much odium, and would so much carry the appearance of backwardness, that any persons in such a time as this, and particularly persons engaged in military service, would naturally be very unwilling to expose themselves to it. By this means, all security and confidence in the original terms of enlistment would be lost, and both officers and men, deliberating about entering into the Militia, would do it with the idea that they might continually be called upon to serve out of the kingdom, which would destroy the whole Militia system.

Besides this, another objection strikes me, which I think perhaps even stronger than the preceding. It is that of the loss of security to this country, both in point of fact and opinion, from rendering that force applicable otherwise than to the immediate protection of Great Britain. I hope that in all cases we should have done our best, according to such judgment as we could form at the time: but I will fairly own to you that I do not myself believe that England would have been now as secure as I trust it is, if we had possessed the power of disposing of the Militia regiments for Channel or Irish service, and much less if that power had also been extended to the continent in general.

A third argument I think of little weight, but I know from what I have heard in general conversation on the subject, that it would make considerable impression among a particular class of men. The Militia is now raised by a sort of direct burthen on the landed interest, who are reconciled to it from the apparent and visible protection which their property derives from it. Whereas, if it was applied to purposes of more general, though possibly greater, public advantage, that would be called unfair upon the counties, as the term now is, and we[Pg 397] should infallibly have proposals for throwing the whole burthen, in all its various shapes, more equally on the general mass of property within the kingdom.

For all these reasons, tempting as it would be in the present state of the war, to avail ourselves of the service of that which constitutes the greatest part of our regular force for the purpose of those operations, with the necessity of which we are thoroughly impressed, yet I really do not think, nor is it thought by others, that we can prudently attempt it.

A more limited idea has occurred to me, in which I think your zeal might be useful in the way of example. It is this. In any case of invasion (which is by no means to be put out of the question, however the public love to flatter themselves about it) I think it is evident that there might, and probably would be, much boat service. It is by no means impossible that, even in the very act of landing, they might have to be opposed by gun-boats, et id genus omne, and that troops would be wanted for that service. If landed, and having taken Dumourier's "position on the coast" to wait for reinforcements and provisions, perhaps the General who commands our force in that quarter may wish to attack them from the sea, without waiting for the certain arm of starvation which would be hanging over them. The same principle applies to the defence of our tide rivers, harbours, &c. Now, for all this, I should think it would be highly useful that our troops should in some degree be trained to this boat work, and though perhaps an inland regiment of Militia might not be thought the best to begin with, yet by suggesting this idea to Sir W. Howe, and expressing your readiness and that of your regiment to lend yourselves to it, an example might be set to others and a very useful practice introduced.

I wrote this early in the morning and before the arrival of the post, so that I do not know whether there will be any accounts from Dublin. If there are, I will add them before[Pg 398] I close this letter. Those of yesterday were, as I understood from the Duke of P. and King, perfectly good, but I did not see them. The only thing that appears at all distressing is that the communication with the south was still interrupted, and although this may arise from the disturbed state of any one point through which the roads pass, yet it is productive of uneasiness, and may afford opportunities for spreading alarms in the south, the consequences of which might be very serious. No disturbance had shown itself in the north.

Buonaparte is gone to Toulon instead of Rastadt, and it is now publicly declared at Paris that his object is Cadiz, Portugal, or Ireland. If we are not more than commonly unfortunate, il trouvera à qui parler en chemin.

I do not think Pitt could avoid answering Fremy's call, and as it has turned out it is certainly better as it is. One shudders to think what might have happened.

Ever most affectionately yours,

I do not enclose the "Gazette," because I conclude you have it. There was nothing else of any importance from Ireland last night, and nothing at all this morning.

In the month of June, Lord Cornwallis, upon whose military talents the Cabinet placed great reliance, was appointed to succeed Lord Camden in the government of Ireland; and the Irish Secretaryship was again offered to Mr. Thomas Grenville, and declined.


Aylesbury, June 11th, 1798.
My dearest Brother,

By a letter from Cleveland Row which I have this moment received, I find the Irish storm, which I told you I had seen[Pg 399] gathering, is likely to fall as I had expected it. It is settled that Lord Cornwallis is to go Lord-Lieutenant, and in case of Pelham's declining on account of his health, I see I shall be urged in the strongest manner possible to fill his situation there. I have already talked this matter so much over with you, and you know so entirely, both my utter aversion to it, and my reluctance to decline any personal risk or inconvenience in these critical times, that I cannot on either side add anything upon this subject; but upon a matter of so much anxiety and importance to me, a matter too of which you are in every respect qualified to give me so good an opinion, you will not be surprised at the solicitude which I express to know all that you may think about it. Perhaps it may not come in question, if Pelham is strong again and in health, but if it does, as very possibly it may, I cannot enough say how desirous I shall be to discuss the whole matter with you; and as time may press in the instant of its being proposed, I know that you will readily turn this in your mind in the present moment. I shall be in town on Thursday, which being a fair day here, ends our eight days' exercise; it has passed very prosperously, they do extremely well, and have been from seventy to eighty out, and working every day seven or eight hours. We go on to beat the rebels in Ireland, but we beat them into soldiers.

God bless you, dearest brother.


Cleveland Row, June 13th, 1798.
My dearest Brother,

I do not hear of any Irish news this morning; if there is any, I will add it before I close this letter. I entirely agree with you in thinking the situation of Irish Secretary to be in rank and estimation much below Tom's calibre. In point of real utility and scope for displaying the powers of his mind, God[Pg 400] knows it is difficult, extensive, and important enough for the talents of the greatest man this country ever saw. It is, however, as you will have learnt by my note of yesterday, out of the question; and Pelham's rank is too much on a level with his, to admit of the idea of interposing Tom or Lord D. between Lord C. and him.

When I wrote yesterday, I had not seen Nugent's letter, nor indeed heard much of the particulars, as you will have seen from my letter. I think nothing can be better than Nugent's conduct seems to have been, and his letter is extremely manly, distinct and judicious. But what a picture does it offer of our officers! I believe I do not know this Lumley; but I do not, as far as I have known them, think that there is one of the race fit to be trusted with the command of a patrole of watchmen, from Lord Scarborough downwards. Walpole I had long known, and certainly I should have said the same of him. What a calamity it is, that our army has not yet been taught that the command of troops in moments of difficulty and danger requires skill and knowledge, and is not a faculty bought with a commission at the regulated price.

Je vois très en noir about this Irish business; but with me that feeling never has, I trust, operated otherwise than as an incitement to greater exertion, "to bate no jot of heart, or hope, but still bear up, and steer right onward." We have gone through such scenes as this country has never before known; where we have been wanting in firmness, we have suffered for it; where we have shown courage adequate to the danger, God has borne us through it; and so I trust He will do. At all events, our lives, and honour, and the existence of our country, are staked upon the issue, and nothing but resolution can save us.

I saw with the greatest pleasure the address of your regiment. I am happy it has taken that shape, because I think it the least exceptionable, and still am inclined to the measure.[Pg 401] If it depended on my choice alone, I do not think many hours would pass over before you would be in march.

It really looks as if Buonaparte was after all in sober truth going to Egypt: and Dundas seems to think the scheme of attacking India from thence not so impracticable as it may appear. I am still incredulous as to the latter point, though as to the former I am shaken. But as Buonaparte on the 23rd was still off Toulon, and as Lord St. Vincent must have detached on the 21st at latest, there is much reason to hope that Nelson may destroy all these visions, be they what they may. From the coasts of Normandy and Brittany the troops are in great part withdrawn—they do the Germans too much honour!

Ever yours,

One of the plans of Ministers (which appears to have originated with Lord Buckingham) for inspiring confidence in Ireland, was to send over a few regiments of English Militia, during the continuance of the disturbances. Lord Buckingham was the first colonel of an English Militia regiment that volunteered upon that service, and, remembering the position he had on two former occasions occupied in Ireland, his example in taking the lead on such an occasion was productive of the happiest effects in awakening the zeal of others.


Cleveland Row, June 28th, 1798.
My dearest Brother,

I this morning received your letter from Liverpool. I rejoice to think that the Wexford news will probably make your stay at Dublin of no long continuance, and much as I regret the[Pg 402] present inconvenience to yourself, yet I will own that it is gratifying to me that this news did not arrive time enough to stop your embarkation. I consider it as very important on many accounts that some of the British Militia regiments should actually arrive in Ireland, and I would not willingly forego the pride of knowing that your regiment was the first of them. We have no news here of any kind; indeed Ireland has engaged the whole attention of everybody here, and left us no leisure to think of anything else except to cast now and then a longing wish to the Mediterranean. We have, as you will have heard from my brother, accounts of Nelson's being actually in the Mediterranean, and such particulars as seem to leave no doubt of his having been joined by the ten of the line and the fifty under Trowbridge. I am more and more convinced that Buonaparte's intention was only to proceed to Corsica and to wait there the event of the negotiations, hanging upon the rear of Naples and Tuscany, but without any other present object, and then to be determined by circumstances as to the future destination of his fleet, for Portugal, Great Britain, Ireland, or the West Indies. If we have tolerable luck, Nelson will disappoint all these plans.

When you see Lord Clare, pray tell him that in consequence of his having been spoken of by the Duke of Bedford and Lord Holland last night in a manner extremely galling to my feelings, I took the opportunity to express the sentiments which I believe he knows I entertain of his character and conduct. This passed with the doors of the House shut, so that he will not see any account of it in the papers. He will not suppose that I claim any thanks for a bare act of duty and justice, nor should I have wished it to be mentioned to him from me, if I had not thought it just possible that he might hear of the attack, in which case I should have felt much concern if he had not at the same time known that it had been treated with as much indignation and scorn as it merited.[Pg 403]

The business of Williams is arranged to your wishes. I shall be anxious to hear of your son after his arrival at Dublin, for I did not think the account of his leg at all comfortable. If the Irish news continues good, you will not, I think, have any other Militia regiments besides those now there. We expect Lord Camden to-day. Lord Darnley made a useful speech last night, in which he told us, amongst other things, that he had never witnessed so much satisfaction from any event at Dublin, as from the destruction of Lord Moira's town. Lord M. was not there, and kept the Prince of Wales away.

Ever most affectionately yours,

Lord Buckingham arrived in Dublin towards the end of June, to the infinite satisfaction of Lord Cornwallis, who found himself surrounded by the usual perplexities of Irish Government, considerably increased by the excited condition of the country.

The general opinion entertained in England of the change that had recently taken place in the character of the Irish insurrection, may be gathered from a passage in a letter addressed to Lord Buckingham by Mr. Thomas Grenville, on the 5th of July.

As far as I can judge from the public accounts in the newspapers, the rebellion seems rather to have changed its shape than to have abandoned its object, and it may be a question whether much advantage is gained in its becoming a Maroon war of plunderers and banditti, rather than continuing to be a formal array regularly opposed to the regular army in the country; because though it may be true that the danger of a large army of rebels may be a danger of greater magnitude, as well as more immediate, yet it furnishes at least the opportunity of meeting that danger, and of grappling with[Pg 404] it; whereas this plundering, robbing, and burning war, carried on by an infinite number of small parties, associated together and hiding together like the thieves in the cave of Gil Blas, puts the peace and the security of the country in greater danger, keeps up a more constant alarm, is more difficult to resist, because it is more difficult to find and to prepare against, and, what is not the least consideration, it utterly ruins and destroys the hopes of these men, after indulging long in such habits, returning again either to labour or even to subordination.

To me, therefore, I own it seems to be more necessary than ever to make the most active exertions in order to counteract this new shape of evil; and I do hope and trust that, however ungracious and mortifying it may be to military habits and military education to be opposed to what may be deemed petty bands of robbers and incendiaries, Lord Cornwallis will feel the necessity of applying his best military talents in a service where no military glory can be obtained, except as it may be applied to the restoration of the security and tranquillity of the country.

The forbearance of Lord Cornwallis is alluded to in a subsequent letter from Lord Grenville. It was felt that his lenity in treating with the rebels was misplaced, and that the Government ought to have adopted a more decided course in extinguishing the dying embers of the insurrection.

I do not know how to trust my own judgment upon the very small lights which (entre nous) Lord C. gives us as to what he is doing in Ireland. But as far as I can judge, he is proceeding very fast indeed, particularly when he allows rebels to stipulate for the point of honour of not naming their confederates, and thereby accepts a fresh act of misprision of treason, as a satisfaction for former acts of treason. But this[Pg 405] of course is only to you. The great point I wish to be assured of, if I could, is that he has not suffered a nearer view of difficulties to discourage him from the pursuit of the only measure which can make it signify one farthing what he does in the present moment. Let him carry that, and I will willingly compromise for all the rest.

On the 22nd of August the long-threatened French invasion took place in a shape that covered the expedition with universal ridicule. A handful of men, to the number of eight hundred, landed at Killala, and were joined by the rebels; and when they were attacked by General Lake a few days afterwards, the whole force surrendered at discretion. This incident formed a striking contrast to the progress of the French in other directions, for at the very time when they were suffering this humiliation in Ireland, their victorious arms were completing the subjugation of Switzerland.


Dropmore, August 27th, 1798.
My dearest Brother,

I am much obliged to you for your letter, which I got last night, with the other accounts of the landing at Killala. I hope we are not too sanguine in thinking that the French are much too late for their object, and that the result of this expedition will give us fresh security. The interval is however unavoidably one of some anxiety, and I confess I regret now Lord Cornwallis's security in declining to receive any further reinforcements, though it is seldom that a General fails on that side. All this can only be with a view to the possibility of a general insurrection; for without that their twelve hundred men are[Pg 406] not worth a second thought, and their arms are merely thrown away.

I see in their full force all the difficulties that might arise in the contingency of Lord Cornwallis's death. But I trust that danger is as remote as the death of any man can reasonably be said to be. There would be much inconvenience in its being suspected or known that he had a provisional successor named and resident on the spot, because Irish speculation would extend the contingency thus provided for, from the case of his death to that of his resignation. The subject shall however be considered, and your name shall certainly not be brought forward unless I see that the thing would be wished; the only footing on which it is possible to place so liberal and generous an offer.

God bless you.

No more news of Buonaparte or Nelson. I terribly fear that the latter will do something too desperate.

Austria and Russia are evidently, at last, preparing for war. But we are now in the end of August, and with a very little more hesitation and delay the possibility of acting this year is gone, and then France must use the winter to divide us all by separate negotiations.

In a subsequent letter, Lord Grenville again refers to the policy acted upon by Lord Cornwallis in reference to the rebels.

With respect to the political system I had my doubts, and expressed them to you, at the time that your opinions, formed I am sure every way on much better means of judging than I have, was more favourable to what was doing. But the experience is now, I am sorry to say it, wholly on my side, and I am every hour more and more persuaded that the old rules[Pg 407] are best, and that Government has not gained, but lose extremely, by allowing traitors to treat with them in a body, and to stipulate for the right to commit a fresh and distinct act of misprision of treason, for which they are at this time indictable, till this new offence is protected with the old ones by a Bill of pardon.

The situation of the Secretary, who is afraid to act on his opinion in a great parliamentary question, is neither respectable nor useful; but I protest that I am not more a stranger to Buonaparte's government of Egypt than I am to that of Ireland. It cannot continue in this state; but unfortunately, in these times it is not enough to see that a thing is wrong, but one must be sure that in endeavouring to correct it we do not produce some fresh and greater mischief. It is a bad subject, and fait faire du mauvais sang.

My flock is more docile, and my Emperors are going to war like good boys, but they have been a long while bringing themselves to it.

The excellent effect produced by the presence of the English Militia in Ireland, led Lord Grenville to desire the extension of a service which, in many points of view, was admirably calculated to check the insubordinate temper of the people. The English character offered an example of steadiness and discipline which could hardly fail to make some impression on the disordered masses of the population; while the independence of all local interests and sectarian prejudices displayed by those troops might be reasonably hoped to exercise a beneficial influence on the minds of dispassionate people. Lord Cornwallis, however, held a different opinion; but he was so chary in his communications to the Cabinet, that we find Lord Grenville con[Pg 408]stantly complaining of not receiving any intelligence from the Castle, either as to the views of the Government or the events that were passing in the country. "You will easily imagine," he observes in a letter to Lord Buckingham, "I still feel some anxiety for further information, when I tell you that neither from Lord-Lieutenant nor Secretary have we, by this messenger, one word more than you will see in the 'Gazette' published this day. This system must have its end." The zeal of the English Militia was not likely to be much encouraged by the plan of close councils and sudden resolves thus pursued by Lord Cornwallis, and which, excellent, perhaps, in reference to regular troops, was calculated to produce resentments and discontents amongst voluntary and temporary levies. An unfortunate misunderstanding which occurred at this time between Lord Cornwallis and Lord Buckingham developed the state of feeling existing between the Irish Government and the English Militia, and brought it to a very unexpected crisis.

A detachment of the Bucks had been ordered by the Lord-Lieutenant into the field, and Lord Buckingham, as colonel of the regiment, conceived that he had a right to take the command; but Lord Cornwallis, who looked at these matters with the formality and decision of a martinet, exercised his own discretion in giving the command to another officer. The grounds of Lord Buckingham's exception to the Lord-Lieutenant's dictum on this point were, that the detachment taken from his regiment for this particular service was numerically greater than the remainder of the regiment left behind, and that being also of greater force than a detachment from another regiment with which[Pg 409] it was to act, he was entitled to take the command of both. Lord Cornwallis, however, overruled his wishes, as tending to produce inconvenience to the service in the matter of rank, and in other respects. To Lord Buckingham's remonstrance on the subject, Lord Cornwallis transmitted a reply which induced Lord Buckingham to request his Lordship's permission to lay the whole correspondence before the King. It was to be expected under these feelings of irritation that Lord Buckingham should have been desirous of returning to England. But the expression of such a desire was liable to misconstruction. Lord Grenville felt that it was possible it might be interpreted into an appearance of declining service.

Now, my dear brother, as to the question of sending the Bucks back, I really scarce know what to do about it. I have no communications (for none of us have any) which can enable one to form the least guess of Lord Cornwallis's intentions, much less any previous knowledge of his measures. Nothing could be more unexpected to me than to hear that he had ordered back any part of the Militia force, which can alone enable him to accomplish his object, or to protect Ireland during the winter. If any part is to go back, it certainly seems reasonable that those who went first should be first relieved; but I am totally at a loss how to take any steps for this purpose which shall not be liable to interpretations the most repugnant to your feelings and to the spirit with which you set the example of a measure by which alone Ireland was to be preserved to this country.

In a state of unreserved communication, such as ought to prevail between a Lord-Lieutenant and his employers, or with a Secretary to whom one might speak openly, and put such a[Pg 410] point on its true bearing, there would be no difficulty; but you know how far we are from such a situation. Nor can I honestly advise the taking any steps towards the removal of any part of the British Militia from Ireland; though if any is to come away contrary to my opinion, I feel and acknowledge the justice of your claim, and should, for every personal reason to yourself, be most anxious to contribute towards relieving you from such a scene. But even then, how to make the application, and urge the claim without putting it into his power to say that there is an appearance of declining service, I know not, and yet I much wish to manage it. I have made an indirect suggestion, in the hope that it may be conveyed to him, of the propriety of considering (if any come away) how the choice should be made; but I cannot answer for it that this will be stated to him, and still less that he will pay any attention to it; and I am restrained by the very forcible consideration I have already mentioned, from taking more direct and active steps.

Lord Castlereagh was now appointed to the Secretaryship in Ireland, and the question of the Union, which had been for some time under the consideration of Government, began to shape itself into a practical form. We have here the first rough outline of the views of Ministers upon that measure.


Dropmore, Nov. 5th, 1798.
My dearest Brother,

I am extremely obliged to you for your constant and kind letters, which supply the vacancy of all other information.[Pg 411] You will perhaps know before you receive this, that after having employed Pitt, and through him, me, and also General Ross, separately, to press Tom to accept the thankless office of his Secretary, Lord Cornwallis has, without one word of communication to him, written to say that, Pelham declining, he desires to have Lord Castlereagh. It is of a piece with all the rest! Pelham has declined, and so the whole thing will go on exactly as it does now. Yet, lamenting this most sincerely on public grounds, I cannot but rejoice that Tom is not to be embarked dans cette maudite galère. For what satisfaction or honour could he receive from it? If he had gone at first, he might have acquired and exercised some influence over his principal, and God knows that could not but have turned to good. But now the pli is taken, the system is set up, and what can alter it I know not. With respect to Lord Castlereagh, I have always heard him spoken of as a man of parts and character; but he cannot have, with Lord Cornwallis, or with the public, the weight which his peculiar situation requires.

You will easily do me justice enough to believe that I am not blind to the difficulties which all this heaps on the object (already sufficiently difficult) which we have in view. I have had no opportunity (and I am vexed at it) to discuss this subject in private with Lord Clare. He was to have come here in his way to Ireland, but he now writes me word that his letters from Ireland are so pressing for his immediate return that he cannot lose a day. I can well enough understand that his absence dissolves the little government that did exist; but I fear, from what Pitt tells me, he has not spoken out to him, nor would probably to me, as to the real state of affairs there. I am assured that he talks not only decisively of the necessity, but also very sanguinely of the success of our measure, provided always that no attempt is made to change, as a part of the Union, the existing laws about the Catholics. And in this last point I am very much disposed to agree with him now,[Pg 412] though before the rebellion I should have thought differently. For, the doing this thing as a part of the present measure, would be to hold out an encouragement to rebellion, instead of showing that every endeavour to disunite Great Britain and Ireland only makes them "cling close and closer" to each other.

I send you the sketch of our ideas—beyond that, I am sorry to say we have not yet proceeded, though time presses so much. Many points of detail will obviously arise from the discussion of these general ideas, but who is to discuss them if the Lord-Lieutenant is afraid to communicate with anybody? Forster has been written to twice, to come over here; he holds back, but will I suppose now come, and means will easily be found of having that said to him which may be necessary, whatever it may be.

One great doubt in my mind has been the mode of bringing the thing into regular shape. In the case of two really independent kingdoms, like England and Scotland, an union was as much matter of treaty as an alliance between either of them and Austria and Prussia, but here the kingdoms are inseparably annexed to each other, and the legislatures only are independent. The King cannot, therefore, by commission or full powers, authorize two sets of his subjects to treat with each other concerning the mode in which he shall hereafter govern his two kingdoms.

The manner in which the Irish propositions, as they were called, were brought forward in 1785, was in my mind the most objectionable part of that whole measure, and that which most contributed to its failure. The scheme which has occurred to me in the present instance is that the King should, by Order in Council in each kingdom, refer it to a Committee of Council in each, to consider of the means of an union, referring to them at the same time some general sketch like that which I now enclose to you, or possibly a little more detailed. Towards[Pg 413] the conclusion of the business, it might perhaps be necessary that the King should order a part of his Irish Committee of Council to come over to confer with the British Committee on any points of difficulty; and if at last the two Committees can be brought to agree on one plan, that might by the King be submitted to the consideration of Parliament in both kingdoms, and then passed all together, in one Bill, as in the case of the Scotch Union.

You will observe in this plan which I now send, the particular care taken not to alter the present rights of election, nor to give into any theory of uniting small boroughs into sets, and leaving cities as at present, in order to equalize, as it is called, the representation of Ireland. This I consider as the corner-stone of the whole building. If once we touch this, Parliamentary Reform rushes in upon us here and in Ireland; and, as my friend Condorcet said, "from thence to the establishment of a complete republic, the transition will be short indeed."

In better times, if we lived in them, I could certainly arrange this matter more according to my own fancy; and there is nobody who could not make to himself some theory on this subject, the very framing of which is an amusing occupation of the mind, and for which it then acquires a parental fondness. But now, if ever, and here if in any matter, stare super vias antiguas is the only salvation to this country.

The idea of the French tariff I consider as very luminous and happy. It was suggested by Cooke, but possibly he may not like that it should be known, either to his principal or to the public, that he is in the course of offering such suggestions.

You will not complain at least of the shortness of this letter. I sent you no bulletin about transports in Alexandria, because, I am sorry to say, I do not believe one word of the report, but am persuaded that it will turn out to be nothing more than the destroying a gun-boat or two, the account of which we received[Pg 414] and published long ago. I am, however, totally without letters from Eden by the last mail, from which I conclude that he has, for expedition's sake, sent a messenger with his letters, who will some time or another arrive. But there are many occasions of sending a messenger besides this news. It does seem likely that Malta will itself drive out the French. What a wonderful change in twelve months!

God bless you.

The affairs of the continent, which had undergone latterly some considerable alterations, appearing to open a favourable opportunity for laying the foundation of a new confederation against France, Mr. Thomas Grenville was charged with a mission to undertake negotiations for that purpose. His destination was Vienna and Berlin, with a roving commission subject to circumstances. The rash and impolitic ambition of France had awakened an angry resistance on the part of Austria, who had recently entered into an alliance with the Court of St. Petersburg; and England, desiring to avail herself of these events, employed Mr. Grenville to ascertain the views of Prussia and Austria with reference to the formation of a general combination against the common enemy. "He will have, if I mistake not," observes Lord Grenville, "very much the glory of signing the overthrow of Jacobin France."


Charles Street, Nov. 16th, 1798.
My dearest Brother,

I had yesterday a long conversation with Lord G., who assured me that his friend here had continued to the present[Pg 415] moment to express the same wish with respect to my destination, as he had at first conveyed in the month of June last; but that a strong wish being expressed on your side of the water for the present shape, the great man here had thought it necessary to give way to the great man there. Be this, however, as it may, he continued to state so strongly the conviction of his own mind, and that of his colleagues, to be that I could do a service in foreign mission highly important to do, and with greater probability of success than any other man, he appealed so directly to that sense of duty which I had always announced as governing my conduct against even the course of my own inclinations, that I told him, much as I thought I had reason to complain, I would still be faithful to the sense of duty to which he appealed; and upon his assurances, that his colleagues felt as strongly as himself the importance of my giving way to their wishes, I agreed to do whatever came within the description of real or important service.

The general view of that service I cannot better describe to you in large, than by saying that my local situation must be governed by the circumstances of the time; but wherever I may be, my business will be to arrange a better understanding among the powers of the continent than has hitherto been found in them. It is again upon this subject that I have more than ever to regret our separation, because you will easily see how much of a subject like the present I should anxiously wish to talk confidentially over with you, that it would yet be impossible for me to put upon paper in the shape of a letter; but in this short description you will see at once the importance of the subject, and your readiness in all business will easily suggest to you the numberless difficulties which are likely to attach upon this. To those difficulties I am not blind; but it is because they are felt to be such, that I think it my[Pg 416] duty to engage in them, and in that sentiment I am sure to have your concurrence.

With respect to Mr. Fisher, you will easily see that for such a situation I shall want the assistance which I have understood from you he is well qualified and well disposed to give; I dare say, therefore, that you will advise and recommend to me, to make this proposal to him; and yet, till I have again seen Lord Grenville, to know upon what footing of expense this stands, I do not know what I can afford to offer to him, nor how far the situation of Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary will, in point of pay, furnish what Mr. Fisher ought to have; I will write again as soon as I am better informed, for I apprehend that there will not be much time to lose.

I think with you, that Tone's business has been awkwardly bothered. I met Lord G. and Mr. P. this morning in the park; and was glad to show them your letter, to give them the information, with your own comments upon this strange jumble so unnecessarily produced. Do not make any proposal to Fisher till you hear again from me. Can he cypher? Does he understand German, &c.? I suppose, by your recommending him, he does. My chief doubt is the insufficiency of pay, and the impossibility of holding out future expectation whatever. My route will probably be Berlin in about a fortnight; but nothing can be more uncertain than my stay.

God bless you, dearest brother.


Charles Street, November 19th, 1798.
My dearest Brother,

I have been anxious, as you will naturally suppose, to lose no time in making such arrangements as may in any shape assist[Pg 417] a situation so little to my taste, and so repeatedly refused by me, till it was put in such a shape of duty, as neither my opinions nor yours could allow me to put by. I have therefore pressed for information on the subject of Mr. Fisher, and wish to take the earliest opportunity of stating to you how that matter stands. My mission will be a special mission to Berlin and Vienna, and William is desirous of putting it upon the footing and establishment of Ambassador in Ordinary, though with the rank only of Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary, and with that of Privy Councillor; for I understood that this last high honour will facilitate the means of increasing the establishment of Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to that of Ambassador in Ordinary. If this meets with no difficulty, he hopes likewise, upon inquiry, to find himself justified in allowing me a private secretary, at something less than that of a Secretary of Legation, which is a guinea per day. With this general description, therefore, I immediately acquaint you, and hope you will think its outline tempting enough to Mr. Fisher to engage him to come immediately, although I cannot yet name the specific sum to be allowed to him. I must, however, add that William has urged me in the strongest manner to hold out to Mr. Fisher no expectation of farther remuneration or promotion in consequence of this employment; not only because officially he never admits any such claim of a private secretary, but also because, by the many foreign appointments lost in the present state of Europe, he is overloaded with claims of promotion, so as to leave him no such means whatever. I think it fair to state this as strongly as it was told me; but, as in your former letter you had expressed Mr. Fisher's readiness to come to me without any expectation of farther remuneration, I am still inclined to think that I may depend upon this arrangement as made, and trust to you for obtaining immediate leave of absence for him in Ireland; I say immediate, because I apprehend that[Pg 418] my stay in England cannot possibly exceed a fortnight from to-day, though I cannot well be prepared much under that time.

Of course, you will suppose me to be very impatient for Mr. Fisher's arrival; and I trust he will lose no time, but will let me see him in London as soon after you receive this letter as he conveniently can. I cannot describe the probable duration of my absence, it may be three months, or twelve, or more or less; but it is too uncertain to leave me any fixed opinion even in my own mind. Lord Elgin goes to Constantinople, where he will find Sir Sydney, Koehler, &c. &c.

There is no foreign news whatever by the last mail; but many accounts are come in of great loss on both sides, both insurgents and the republican troops in Flanders; and the country is in such a state, that the six last mails from France have not yet reached Rotterdam.

A strong report prevails of Guadaloupe having given itself to the English. It is believed in the city, on the credit of a Danish ship, arrived from St. Thomas at Portsmouth; and I think they are disposed to believe it at the Admiralty, though they have no official account of it.

Our idea in London is, that all Irish courts-martial proceeding on martial law will be suspended till this question is decided; my own opinion is, that if the courts of law can safely sit, the courts of martial law cannot exist at the same time. These latter seem to me to grow only out of such a disturbed state of things as will not allow of the due administration of justice by the regular course of law, and therefore that for a time military government must for the common safety stand in lieu of the courts of law; but to allow the courts of law to resume their functions, is, in itself, as it strikes me, a notice of the cessation of martial law; they cannot go on together inter arma silent leges.

It is expected that Fox and his friends will continue to[Pg 419] secede; and Tierney support the Address, abuse O'Connor, and attack Government only on this last event in Ireland. Pray write to me by return of post. I presume I may depend on Mr. Fisher, and therefore that I am secure in waiting for him.

No news yet of the 'Melpomene.'

God bless you, my dearest brother.


Cleveland Row, Dec. 11th, 1798.
My dearest Brother,

I have this morning received your letter; and to the first paragraph of it I will only say that I am too much accustomed to your kindness to be surprised at this fresh instance of it. Be assured that I feel it as I ought.

Tom will, I think, set out to-morrow, though it is in truth useless for him to leave town while this east wind blows in the teeth of all our projects. He will have a more difficult task to accomplish than I once thought, particularly on account of a new intrigue that has just sprung up at Berlin, as if on purpose to cross or thwart our plans. Still, however, I persuade myself that all will ultimately go right, and I am confident that he will do whatever can be done.

If no more solid arguments are opposed to the Union than those of Mr. Wild, we shall have at least the victory in disputation, though in point of violence and inflammation he will, to be sure, not be easily surpassed. The part which you say the Catholics are disposed to take is undoubtedly very important; but does this mean only their leaders, who do not lead them, or has this opinion been spread among the parish priests and lower orders? Certainly, if they knew their interest, those descriptions ought to be peculiarly favourable[Pg 420] to it, for they will come under the especial protection of the mildest and most equitable government upon the earth. But do they see and feel this, and are any pains taken to impress them with it? Forster's language continues to be very hostile, and I imagine he thinks the Government will be frightened out of the measure. The appointment of Commissioners seems, on the whole, to be unavoidable, and the Acts for that purpose should, I think, be proposed on the same day to both Parliaments.

Much objection seems to be taken to any Committee or other body of that sort resident in Ireland; and perhaps the novelty in our Constitution of Members of Parliament who cannot attend Parliament is a solid objection to it. Would it not be easier to make the representation consist of thirty county members, eight or ten city members chosen from Dublin, Cork, &c., and the remainder elected by alternate choice from classes of four boroughs each? What I mean is not that the four in each class should choose altogether by delegates, &c., but that the choice should be in one of them for each Parliament, and this rotation settled at first by lot, and then to continue unalterable. If this will not do, we must then class them and choose by delegates, as in the Scotch precedent. But who shall regulate this classing? and how conciliate the jarring interests of great men?

By the way, you got me into something of a scrape by giving Cooke a copy of the queries in the margin of the paper I sent you. I omitted to give you any caution on this subject, because I thought it was quite safe that you would not communicate it, and you probably thought that the communication was very unimportant and indifferent. It happened otherwise, but do not say anything to Cooke about it.

You see the French papers confirm our hopes of Minorca. The Russians and Turks have begun their operations against the department of the Egean Sea, and have taken Cephalonia,[Pg 421] I believe Zante. I expect to hear very soon of the attack of Alexandria by the Turks.

Ever yours,

Dec. 12.

By a mistake this was omitted to be sent to you yesterday. No mails in to-day, nor anything new of any kind. By the newspaper accounts, Canning seems to have made an admirable speech yesterday.[Pg 422]



About the middle of December, 1798, a provisional treaty had been entered into between Russia and England, by which the Emperor bound himself, on condition of a monthly subsidy from Great Britain, to have a contingent of forty-five thousand men ready for the field, whenever the common cause should require their services. The original object of this treaty was to induce Prussia to join the confederacy of European powers which England was now endeavouring to form against France, with a view to bring the war to a conclusion by an overwhelming military combination; but Prussia, guarded and timid, declined to embark in the coalition; and, failing that result, Russia accepted the alternative of a subsidy proposed and guaranteed by the treaty. The value of her co-operation was[Pg 423] not limited merely to the force she brought to bear against the enemy. England hoped that the influence of her example would stimulate the other Powers to concur in a general movement to repel the aggressions of the French, who were rapidly extending the scene of hostilities, and who, in the course of this year, carried their arms over the whole surface of Italy, swept the banks of the Rhine, penetrated Holland, and ravaged the valleys of Switzerland.

When Mr. Thomas Grenville set out upon his mission to the Courts of Vienna and Berlin, intelligence had arrived of the disasters that had recently befallen the King of Naples, who, alarmed at the approach of the French, had taken the field with twenty thousand men, and was driven back by Championet with a much inferior force, and compelled to act upon the defensive. The last news was that Naples had surrendered to the French after a gallant resistance, chiefly sustained by the Lazzaroni, who have an insuperable aversion to all changes in their government.

The first incident that befell Mr. Grenville on his departure from England was inauspicious and discouraging. The weather was unusually severe. On the night of Christmas Eve, the thermometer was 14° below freezing point; and for many weeks afterwards the snow lay so thickly on the ground that the service of the ordinary coaches was arrested, and the mails were forwarded on horseback. This delay and suspension of communication occasioned serious anxiety at a time when every item of intelligence was of importance to the country. The effect of the inclement state of the season was to force Mr. Grenville back to[Pg 424] England. He embarked on his destination as had been arranged, but the sea was frozen up, and, unable to effect a landing, he was compelled to return and wait for a more favourable opportunity.

The Legislative Union between Great Britain and Ireland, which Ministers were now preparing, was recommended to the consideration of Parliament in a message from the King on the 22nd of January. The Rebellion had given a decisive impulse to the project by effectually demonstrating the want of power, energy, and influence of the local Parliament to control the insubordinate spirit of the country, or to provide adequate remedies for existing and acknowledged evils. It was considerably accelerated also by the despair of the Protestants and the landed proprietors generally, who, exhausted by the long and wasting struggles of faction, looked to England, across the ashes of a desolating insurrection, for the last hope of relief from anarchy and spoliation. In the letters that immediately follow, the views of Ministers in reference to the proposed plan are incidentally elucidated; and it appears, from Lord Grenville's allusions to the subject, that it was originally suggested to make the representation of the Irish Peerage in the Imperial Legislature elective under every new Parliament, like that of the Scotch Peerage; a mode of representation to which Lord Grenville objected, although, in other respects, he approved of the adoption of the Scotch Union as a model for imitation. He foresaw clearly the confusion and jealousies likely to be engendered in such a country as Ireland by repeated elections amongst a body whose title to the right of election rested on hereditary[Pg 425] grounds, and he felt that the frequent recurrence to such contests would re-open old grievances and party feuds, and, instead of satisfying the expectations of the Peers, would only create a new element of discontent. The elective principle was the single feature in the Scotch Union which Lord Grenville seems to have considered injudicious and impolitic. We gather from many passages in his letters that he regarded harmony in the structure of the legislative body to be as essential to its effective action as unity in the executive; and that the nearer the House of Lords approached to permanency in the foundation of all its parts, the more completely would it realize, as a whole, the constitutional theory of an hereditary estate.


Cleveland Row, Jan. 4th, 1799.
My dearest Brother,

I have been so occupied this last week as really not to have had a moment to write to you. We have indeed nothing to write; this frost locks up all our communications; it has sent poor Tom back to us after nine days' sea-sickness, and when I hoped he was already at Berlin; and we are now told that less than a fortnight's thaw will not open the intercourse again. In that time how many things may be done, and what is worse, how many may not be done! Naples and Sardinia, with all that belongs to them, you will have seen in the French papers as fully as we, and we know no more.

In this interval the Union engrosses all my thoughts. I worked hard when Lord Castlereagh was here to assist in expediting his return, for I clearly see that without communication the thing will not do, and that there can be none but[Pg 426] through him. I was better satisfied than I had expected with his manner of doing business, which I found both ready and clear; and he seems to me to have the success of this measure most thoroughly at heart. Your letters teach me still to indulge hopes of success, but the prospect is certainly less favourable than it was, and the difficulties of Government with its supporters will be proportionably increased.

Before you receive this you will have learnt that Parnell has been brought to a positive explanation of his sentiments. What the final issue has been I do not yet know, but I conclude it will be hostile, and in that case I think his removal will operate very favourably, particularly in dissipating the foolish idea you mention.

Lord Castlereagh brought over here a plan for the election of the Commons which was approved, and indeed I am satisfied it is the most reasonable. As it admits only nine or ten single members from cities, &c., and classes all the other boroughs by twos it seems to me free from most of the objections you mention; all we cannot hope to obviate, but must on the whole choose between contending inconveniences on both sides. It is a very great merit of this plan in my eyes that it so closely follows the model of the Scotch Union.

Yet from that model I am tempted to think we ought to depart in the election for the House of Lords, by choosing for life, and letting the electors sit in the House of Commons. When Lord Castlereagh was here I drew a scheme for that purpose, which he has taken over with him, in order to see which of the two plans is likely to be most palatable to the Irish peerage—this, or the mode followed in the Scotch Union. I own I think that the re-election of so large a number as near fifty Peers in every Parliament would tend almost to destroy the very principle of a House of Lords in our Constitution; nor do I think a body of Peers excluded from Parliament (like the Scotch) by any means a good elective[Pg 427] body from Parliament to Parliament. With one vacancy at a time, arising from death, they may more safely be trusted.

You gave me hopes some time since of receiving from you some ideas about provision for Catholic and Dissenting Clergy. I am very anxious for them.

Adieu, I have exhausted my paper and my light.

God bless you.


Cleveland Row, Jan. 10th, 1799.
My dearest Brother,

* * * It is for you to send news, and not to receive it, for nothing is interesting just now but what relates to Ireland and the Union. Twelve days bring us to the prologue, to this swelling scene, as Shakspeare calls it. How long it will be before the dénouement, and what that dénouement will be, and what the piece, who shall say?

Your chief Governor, you know, is not given to be very communicative, either to his employers or to any one else; but I collect from the statement in the newspapers that he has resolved to adopt, without further reference here, the suggestions which Lord Castlereagh carried over as to the members of the two Houses in the United Parliament. I am very glad of it as to the House of Lords, not only from parental fondness, but because on solid grounds, as I think, I very much feared the effect of a septennial election of fifty Peers not chosen by the very best possible bodies of electors.

As to the House of Commons, it is almost entirely a question of local expediency as to the best chance of satisfying Messieurs les intéressés; for you and I, who are not parliamentary reformers (and, thank God, never were), do not hold very high the superior virtue of a man chosen by one mode of[Pg 428] election rather than by another. I am, however, entirely satisfied that the plan of a resident committee at Dublin was impracticable; and even if it had not been so, the universal prejudice was so strong against it here, on the part of everybody of every description who was talked to on the subject, that it put the execution of such a plan totally out of the question. The strongest, and with me quite decisive, argument against it was the introduction into our Constitution of a principle so perfectly novel and anomalous; the merit of the Scotch Union having been, and that of the Irish being intended to be, its simplicity, and the precision with which everything new is accommodated to the existing state of our Constitution and Government. In the Scotch Union, the Peerage was the only exception; and in the present case we are, as you see, labouring to bring even that point nearer to the actual practice.

Ever most affectionately yours,

Lord Cornwallis had been avowedly selected for Ireland on account of his military talents. But his Administration did not satisfy the Cabinet. Lord Grenville, who confesses to the feeling of disappointment with which he reflects upon the results of the appointment, makes allowances for the failure on the ground that Lord Cornwallis undertook the office unwillingly, and from a sense of public duty alone, and that he had experienced nothing but disgusts and mortifications. In this case, however, as in all former cases, the difficulty was to find a successor. There was, also, another consideration which Lord Grenville points out—the evils that always attended a change of Government in Ireland, even from worse to better.[Pg 429]


Dropmore, Jan. 28th, 1799.
My dearest Brother,

I am much more mortified than surprised at the event of the House of Commons debate on the Union; for though Lord Castlereagh wrote (as he talked) with confidence, yet one saw very clearly the elements of ratting. I rejoice to hear that you think the question recoverable, because I am more than ever of opinion that it must be tried again and again, till it succeeds. With respect to the person in whose hands it has failed, I may say to you (in our confidence) that my opinion does not very much differ from yours, if indeed it does at all. Since he has been in Ireland I have seen no one trait of that character which I thought he had displayed in former situations of great difficulty, and for which I still gave him credit, though a nearer view of his mind had certainly diminished the impressions which I once entertained on the subject. Sorry I am to confess that I concurred heartily and eagerly in his appointment, a measure, my share in which I shall deplore to the hour of my death, though I certainly have nothing to reproach myself with on that account, having done conscientiously what I then thought the best, though I did not, even then, think it so good as others did.

The question of his removal is, however, a very difficult one indeed—one of the most embarrassing circumstances attending the present state of Ireland being, that in that office, above all others, the effect of change, even from worse to better, is frequently, if not always, more mischievous than the continuance of the evil. A violent and precipitate removal just now would, I think, totally unhinge the Government, and it would, above all, throw the whole absolutists at the feet of[Pg 430] those who perhaps (I think, certainly) need not have been made enemies, but who being such, must be guarded against as such. Lord Cornwallis never did like the situation; he accepted it unwillingly, and, to do him justice, I believe solely from a sense of public duty. Since he has held it he has experienced nothing but disgusts of every kind, and mortification in every shape, arising no doubt in a very great degree from his own misconduct, but not on that account the less galling to his mind. He can therefore certainly have no desire to stay, and, I should think, would very probably desire to quit at the close of this session, if the dread of foreign invasion is at that time not very urgent.

But if it is, what officer have we to oppose to the domestic and external enemies whom we should in such case have to meet? In a situation requiring above all others the mixture of civil and military talents, to a degree that the Duke of Marlborough scarce possessed them, and for which we must provide by sending some old woman in a red riband that has not a grain of either.

You see it is easy enough to start difficulties, but I do not think myself quite so ready at expedients as I wish I was. This is, I believe, a case where nothing is to be done just now, but to remain quite steady, announcing an unalterable purpose of carrying this great measure, and a fixed persuasion that we must succeed in it. And as to all the rest, if Paddy will set fire to his own house, we must try to put it out if we can, and if we cannot, we must keep the engine ready to play upon our own.

I rejoice that you took the determination, both of not speaking or attending this question in the Irish House of Lords, and of giving your proxy to the Chancellor, which was at once showing him a mark of attention and confidence, which he well deserves, and manifesting your own sentiments in the only way at all consistent with your situation. A little more[Pg 431] than two months will now close your pilgrimage, from which you will return with the satisfaction of having done a great deal of good, though not quite all that you might have done if others had done their part.

God bless you.

You will see in to-day's papers the fate of the poor King of Naples. The infatuation of the Emperor is like nothing but that of an Irish Orangeman.

Towards the end of January, Mr. Thomas Grenville again left England on his mission; but his second departure proved even more unfortunate and disastrous than the first. The vessel in which he had sailed was supposed to have made the Elbe, and to have been lost in the ice. The distressing tidings, or rather the terrible apprehensions caused by the absence of any authentic or reliable intelligence, were immediately forwarded to Lord Buckingham. For several days this state of dreadful suspense continued. Every fragment of news that afforded the slightest ground of hope was eagerly seized upon; and, in the anxious solicitude of that affection which appears so touchingly all throughout these letters, Lord Grenville communicated to Lord Buckingham all he could learn from day to day. At last came the joyful intelligence that he was safe! This happy news was rapidly followed by letters from Mr. Grenville himself, and from his Secretary, Mr. Fisher, announcing his landing at Cuxhaven, and his subsequent arrival at Berlin.[Pg 432]


Cuxhaven, Thursday, Feb. 7th, 1799.
My dear Lord,

I cannot think of leaving this place without first acquainting you of our safe arrival here, after experiencing a thousand dangers and difficulties in consequence of our ship having run aground on the Newerk bank, at the entrance of the Elbe.

Mr. Grenville, I am delighted to be able to assure you, is in good health, notwithstanding the extreme fatigue he has undergone since Thursday last. The few hours he stays here being entirely occupied with writing letters of business, he fears he shall not have time to write to you from hence. The same reasons, my dear Lord, will deprive me of the honour of giving you, at the present moment, the details of our misfortunes. The officers and crew are all saved with the exception of thirteen seamen, and one woman and child, who were frozen to death in attempting to gain Newerk from the wreck. We are without a change of any one article of dress, and we fear there is little probability of saving any part of our baggage. We, however, proceed on our journey in a few hours to Berlin, from whence it shall be my first care to write to you the particulars of the melancholy events of the last week. Mr. Wynne is quite well, and has on every occasion of danger and difficulty shown the greatest fortitude and discretion.

I beg to be recalled to the remembrance of Lady Buckingham. Believe me, my dear Lord, to be ever, with the most grateful attachment, your Lordship's most obliged and most devoted servant,

Edward Fisher.

[Pg 433]


Cuxhaven, Feb. 7th, 1799.
My dearest Brother,

The fatigue which I have undergone, added to the necessity of my writing several letters upon my arrival here, makes it impossible for me to say more to you than that I am alive and well, after a miraculous escape from the 'Proserpine,' which ran ashore off Searhorn, and a second danger, scarcely less, yesterday morning, in a long walk to gain this place, during which we were overtaken by the tide and forced to wade for an hour, in the hardest frost I ever felt, against a strong current of tide, which was sometimes up to, and sometimes above our middle. We are all, however, well to-day, and I proceed this evening towards Berlin, as well as my fatigues will allow me. I cannot say enough to you of Mr. Fisher's behaviour in these trials of danger; his resources, his attachment, and his kind attentions in assisting our poor Henry, and lessening, where he could, the inconvenience of my situation, have entitled him and ensured to him the sincerest and warmest regard. Henry, likewise, has been a stout mariner, and has shown a fortitude much beyond his years.

I find no Italian news except a report of the French having possession of Naples. They have, likewise, Ehrenbreitstein. When will they have Berlin? We have not a shirt in company. My loss, about £700.

God Almighty bless and preserve you.

Having arrived safely at Berlin, Mr. Grenville gives a sketch of his first impressions of the King of Prussia and his Court.[Pg 434]


Berlin, Feb. 28th, 1799.
My dearest Brother,

The journal which Mr. Fisher has shown to me, and which he proposes to send to you by this messenger, will give you a much more accurate account of our voyage than I could pretend to do if I had time to undertake it; but that is unfortunately so far from being the case, that I can with difficulty catch a short time by this opportunity to write even a few words to you.

We arrived here on the 17th, and I have scarcely yet got through the endless presentations and the weary first suppers of the Princes, which engross the whole evening from six in the evening till one in the morning. I have seen the King hitherto very little, but I am going to dine with him to-day; he is thought to be well-disposed in his general intentions, perfectly aware of all he has to fear from the great nation whom he detests and abhors; but having no original opinions of his own, nor habits of forming his own judgment, he falls unfortunately too much into the hands of the military officers, particularly the aides-de-camp with whom he lives, and their influence is, in consequence, powerful enough to weigh sometimes against the opinions of the Ministers whom he employs.

The general idea here is, that the person who has most weight with him is an aide-de-camp named Kochentz, of whose honesty there is no suspicion, but whose talents and capacity are of a very inferior description, and who is therefore open to the artifices of bad and designing men, who work powerfully through him upon the King.

Haugwiz is believed to be sincere in his apprehensions of the[Pg 435] general danger of French republicanism, and is considered as struggling against the more immediate followers of the King, who surround him daily, and haunt him with the dreadful consequences of war to Prussia, and the old jealousies and distrusts of Austria.

If the Court of Vienna should at last act, as I am almost disposed to think they will rather than send back the Russian troops at the requisition of France, the beginning of hostilities from that Court cannot fail of producing a good effect here; the great danger is, that while each is waiting for the other to begin, the time for useful and effective exertion will pass by.

I have seen Sièyes at Court with his scarf and cockade. What Lavater would say of his features I know not, but I have seldom seen a countenance of so bad impression. His manners, conduct and appearance here have produced nothing but disgust in all that are not of the lower ranks of life, but it is to those that his mission is considered as being chiefly addressed, and he is said to have both means and agents enough to work through upon the lower classes of men here.

I have heard nothing from England or Ireland since I left Yarmouth, nothing of Union, and nothing of you; but how can I till the summer, if the last ten days of soft weather will not unlock the inhospitable ice of the Elbe at Cuxhaven? We are all well. God send that you and yours are so. Love to Lord B. and George and Mary. The Major is, I trust, soon expecting you in England.

God bless you, dearest brother. You will be glad to hear great part of my baggage is saved.

The negotiations which the French had been carrying on at Rastadt relative to the German boundaries, were broken off in consequence of the Emperor having permitted the Russian troops to enter his dominions; and on[Pg 436] the 1st of March, the Directory having declared war against him, Jourdan, at the head of forty thousand men, crossed the Rhine at Kehl and Basle. Austria was now fairly committed to the war, and, strengthened by the Russians, who entered into it with enthusiasm, achieved a succession of important movements. On the 5th of March, the Arch-Duke Charles crossed the Leck; and on the 25th, defeated Jourdan at the battle of Stockach, and, leaving ten thousand men dead or expiring on the field, compelled the French to retire towards the Rhine. This triumph was followed up vigorously by the battle of Magnan, on the 5th of April, in which the Austrians, under Kray, joined by the vanguard of the Russians, effected so signal a victory, that Scherer, beaten for the third time in the course of the campaign, fled in precipitation across the Nincio. The effect of these encouraging successes was utterly lost on the Court of Prussia, where the policy, or no-policy, of doing nothing still prevailed over the counsels of friends, and the menaces of enemies. The picture Mr. Grenville gives of the weakness and incapacity of the Government suggests the only intelligible explanation of the conduct they pursued at this juncture.


Berlin, April 17th, 1799.

If I am behind-hand, my dearest brother, in thanking you for your two letters of the 11th and 24th of March, I am less so than those dates would lead you to imagine, for the messengers did not bring me the first of them till a week ago, and the last arrived here only the day before yesterday. The[Pg 437] amities of the 'Proserpine' are out of date with me, and would long ago have been forgotten, if they were not daily recalled to me by new and continued proofs of the affectionate interest which has been taken in them. To know what you would feel in a state of anxiety and suspense which I could not relieve, was a distress greater to me than the fatigue and danger which accompanied my escape. It has ended well, and I trust it will not be long before we shall laugh over it together.

I presume that you will have heard from William how exactly the politics of Berlin have continued to remain in statu quo; how much more occupied they are in enumerating the follies and disgraces of Austria, than in adapting their own conduct to any wise system or any liberal principles, and how little applicable are the measures which they take, either to the danger which they fear, or to the hopes which they entertain. Their fear of France is, however, not dissembled by them, and certainly is not affected by them; it engrosses all their attention, and furnishes to them great and constant disquietude in the present, and serious apprehension for the future. But as there is no man of leading and commanding talents enough to show them the greatness of their danger, and to provoke from the public the adequate means of resisting it, there is nothing done by the Government, and they are living on from day to day, conscious of all they have to fear, but destitute of energy and activity, and submitting to a state of things which could only be produced by the most extreme weakness and incapacity; for you will certainly have remarked that the little influence which Prussia exercises, either from her hopes or fears, in Europe, is not owing to the defeat of any great and ambitious projects, is not to be attributed to the disappointment of any great plans, civil or military, but to a total absence of any[Pg 438] leading and governing talents in those who direct the measures which prevail here.

It has been the fashion, I know, to consider the influencing men here as having views and principles of a bad description, and as being engaged in a systematic course of conduct pursued by them with great address and dissimulation. It is perhaps presumptuous in a stranger, as I am, to trust to any opinion formed upon so short a residence amongst them, but if I am sure of anything, I tell myself I may be sure that the miserable policy which is seen here is very much more weak than wicked, and the wretched state of Government much more to be attributed to the absence of great talents than the influence of deep and dangerous designs. Whatever be the cause, the effect is the same; and although it seems to be a pretty universal opinion that Prussia must and will at length be driven into war, they are content rather to let their enemy choose that moment for the commencement of hostilities, than make common cause and fight one common battle, which in my conscience I believe would be successful. Indeed, the Austrian successes in driving the French to the Rhine, if they are followed by similar success in Switzerland, will almost justify one's hope that, even without Prussia, the French may in this campaign be pushed back upon their own country; and the continued state of insurrection in the Low Countries, where the republican troops can scarcely restrain the inhabitants, give good hopes on that side as soon as any solid force could be made to bear in that quarter. The zeal and enthusiasm of the Court of Petersburg increases every hour, and they will become very immediately principals in the war against France, both by word and deed.

In this immediate state of the negotiation, I am remaining here more because there is an inclination in London to think I can do good, than from any great good that is[Pg 439] likely to be done. I am very much obliged to you for your offer of a loan, which, however, I hope will be unnecessary by the shortness of my stay. If that should unexpectedly be prolonged, I will then have recourse to you to assist by an advance the tardy payment of His Majesty's Envoys Extraordinary and Ministers Plenipotentiary, who are always left in arrears seven quarters for the better credit of the Court that employs them. I hope my loss by the 'Proserpine' will turn out not to exceed £600, as many things have been saved.

I trust you are now happy and well at Stowe. God bless you, dearest brother.

By this time, Lord Buckingham had returned to England, and the next despatch from Berlin is addressed to Stowe. The account of the vacillation of the Court, and the sketch Mr. Grenville gives of the King, are full of interest. Since he had last written, Suwaroff had taken the command of the Austro-Russian armies in Italy, and in a short time had expelled the French from the principal towns of the North, which forced Macdonald to evacuate Naples, and cross the Apennines.


Berlin, May 25th, 1799.
My dearest Brother,

My last letters from Cleveland Row have, thank God, brought you back safe and sound to your own fireside and to the many who share the comforts of it with you; it cannot, I presume, be very long before I may reckon myself of that number, although as I do not like to do anything by halves, I consider myself as liable to duty as long[Pg 440] there is any fair demand to be made upon me. You will have heard from William all that was to be heard of our hopes and of our disappointments, and you will know likewise from him that our stock of those articles is not yet exhausted, although the briskness of the market is a little affected by the absence of the King. The Berlin reviews being over, he has begun a military progress, which will carry him through Brunswick, Minden and Wesel to Cassel and to Anspach, and after various reviews in those places he will return to Potsdam in the first week of July.

Whether in the first of these places, or in the last, or in any of them, he will have determined to take his part with us, remains to be decided, and it will be less hazardous to abide the event than to pretend to foretel it. It is certain that the inclination to war has grown very much of late among all the thinking men in the country, and the regular Ministers have agreed in recommending it very strongly to the King; the disinclination to it is chiefly found in the confidential aides-de-camp and the subordinate characters, whose familiar habits with the King enable them to exercise a very governing influence upon him.

The King himself is, I believe, of a very well-disposed and honest character; his inclinations are English, and his personal respect for the King of England is very striking; his suspicion and dislike of the French is also beyond all question, and there are so many ingredients in his situation and character that should lead him to an open declaration against France, that it is not easy to account for the different line which he pursues; it must, however, be attributed to the influence of the very weak persons who are in familiar confidence with him, and to his being too diffident in himself to decide upon the important measure of engaging Prussia in war. I am, however, inclined to believe that such will at last be his decision, though there is too much hesitation[Pg 441] in his own mind to give us any solid ground of reliance until he shall be completely embarked.

Meantime, all is going on prosperously under the active exertions of Suwaroff, who is daily hemming in and menacing Turin, and who has now advanced to Chivasso, and has detached Kaim with a considerable force to the Valais. The general opinion here is that the French will evacuate Switzerland whenever their line at Luceinsteig and Coire is forced, and some accounts to-day seem to announce that event as having happened.

Moreau, with seventeen thousand men, is at Alexandria, and I suppose the Naples army will try to join him, although Macdonald will find that junction rather difficult to accomplish.

We are all still waiting in anxious expectation for news of the fleet. The Ministers here think the Mediterranean is the object, and to me it seems not unlikely that they may pursue that object, and at the same time detach to Ireland.

God bless you, dearest brother.

The occupation which was given by the Austrians and Russians to the French troops in Italy and Germany, appearing to offer a favourable opportunity to rescue Holland from the hands of the republicans, an expedition, under the command of Sir Ralph Abercromby, set sail from England on the 13th of August, and disembarked off the Helder. On the 30th, the Dutch fleet surrendered, and hoisted the Orange flag. In order, probably, to give more weight and effect to a mission which had for its object the restoration of the Stadtholder, it was proposed that Lord Grenville should undertake an embassy to Holland, and that Mr. Thomas Grenville (who had[Pg 442] in the interim returned home) should proceed to St. Petersburg.


Dropmore, Sept. 5th, 1799.
My dearest Brother,

I was much obliged to you for your kindness to us in writing on the subject of Lady B. We earnestly hope that all cause of uneasiness to you on her account has ceased, and that both fever and cold are gone. If you would let anybody write us a line to say so, you would much oblige us.

You will have seen that, in spite of wind, we have succeeded at the Texel. The Lieutenant says that the Dutch fleet had cut the buoys, and run up into the Zuyder Zee. Lord D. was preparing to lay the buoys down again, and to follow them, but it was not expected that Storey would make any further resistance, more than half his fleet being Stadtholderians.

The wind is now changed to the N.E., as if to bring our Russians. The Dutch reported that they were to have had nine thousand French at the Helder by the Wednesday night, but that is doubted. I have not learnt what their actual force is, but it appears that there were some Trench there. We have now about seventeen thousand men there, and when the transports return, we can, if necessary, send ten thousand more, besides our eighteen thousand Russians. I trust, therefore, I am not very sanguine in thinking the business as nearly certain as one can allow oneself to call anything in these times.

But for the plans which we have in view, supposing this to terminate well, and soon, we want full twenty thousand more British force. Do you think it is possible to get them from the[Pg 443] Militia? and how? Dundas is revolving in his mind projects for the purpose, but I should much wish to know from you whether you think the thing practicable for a great object, and in what manner.

An idea has been proposed to me, which I think I shall not be at liberty to decline, if, when the time comes, I should myself be satisfied that I could be of more use than other people: it is to go to Holland as Ambassador Extraordinary, carrying myself and my office there for about a month or six weeks, to help to fix Old Stadt a little more firmly in his chair. You know I had destined Tom to this service, and if he should go, I still think my going would be quite superfluous. He had agreed to undertake the service as a temporary one only; but I have been since urged to press him to go to Petersburg, to establish a further concert there, and I trust he will not refuse the earnest entreaties we have made him on that subject. You may suppose that I do not look to this as a very pleasant interlude to my other business, but I cannot deny that it is at least possible I may be of use there, and if so, I must practise as I preach.

God bless you, my dearest brother.


Dropmore, Sept. 5th, 1799.
My dearest Brother,

Your letter, which I received yesterday, though a little more satisfactory than your former account, still leaves room for so much uneasiness, that Lady G. and I are extremely anxious to hear again from you, and I trust in God the answer will be such as to set us quite at our ease; but the complaints of which you speak are of so ugly a nature, that one cannot feel satisfied while any trace of them remains.[Pg 444]

I have not yet my answer from Tom; but by an intermediate letter, I guess that he will be very little disposed to undertake this jaunt to Petersburg. Even if he should not, but should go to Holland, I am not quite sure that I must not go, for as short a time as I speak of, to assist him in Holland; not that personally I have the vanity to think that I could do any part of the business better, or as well as he, but my red boxes and my seals would have a great effect in enabling me to expedite, and even in some degree to brusque a business which, if left to Dutch arrangement only, or with nothing more than the usual aid of an English Ambassador, would take not six months, as you say, but six years, and not be done at last.

I fully understand the nature of your offer, and should not certainly have suspected even, if you had not explained it, that you were canvassing for the delectable amusement of leaving Stowe and England, to figure at the Hague or Petersburg. But the best negotiation you can carry on for us just now would be one with the Militia for giving us twenty thousand more men. I hardly dare say, or let myself think, what we could do, or rather what we could not do, with such a reinforcement, supposing Holland to go on quick, and our troops not to suffer much from sickness; for of their suffering in battle there, I am not much afraid.

If any fresh parliamentary authority is necessary, we can now call Parliament together in a fortnight. I will write to Dundas, as you desire. If I had known of his coming to town to review his East India regiment, I would have proposed precisely the Dropmore plan you speak of; but I fear you could hardly have looked at it at that moment, and I presume he is gone back to Walmer; I shall, however, expect his answer.

Ever most affectionately yours,

[Pg 445]


Dropmore, Sept. 9th, 1799.
My dearest Brother,

I hope, from your account, that the worst is over, and that Lady B. will continue to mend, but we shall be very anxious to hear that it is so. If nothing new arise, and if we shall not be troublesome to you, we think of being with you on Wednesday in next week; but pray let us know if you would wish us to delay our visit.

If the project holds respecting Holland, it is likely, I think, that I shall not be much longer before I am called upon to begin my preparations. I have as yet no answer from Tom, but I shall have one to-day or to-morrow; for we know that the wind changed to the eastward on the other side the water on Friday, and we have three mails due.

Our first division of Russians, five thousand two hundred men, are arrived, and are under sailing orders for the Texel. Popham left the second division at Elsineur on Sunday last; and calculates that both this and the rear division, amounting together to above eleven thousand men, will be here by Tuesday or Wednesday next. Our own transports were also beginning to arrive, so that we shall have to send them in the course of a week or ten days a reinforcement of twenty-six thousand men, besides cavalry. I have no doubt that this is more than sufficient, with tolerable activity and enterprise, to do our work completely, and in a very few weeks—I might almost say days—for we have the command of the Zuyder Zee, by which we can turn the enemy on their right, and of the North Sea, which equally turns their left; and they have, I am confident, no means of assembling an army of half the force of ours, to oppose it in front. All this, however, is a question of time; for if that is allowed them, one can answer for nothing.[Pg 446]

We have not heard of Abercromby (nor indeed could we) since the 31st. He was then preparing to march forward to Alkmaar. Have you got Wiebeking's map of Holland and Utrecht? If not, let anybody write for it for you from Hamburgh. You will see, indeed, in any map, a little promontory that runs forward opposite to Amsterdam, on the north bank of the Y., between Buyksloot and Newdam. The opinion of persons of the country is, that if we can make ourselves masters of that point, Amsterdam is open to be bombarded, and must capitulate on the first summons. All the other advantages of the country we have to act in, upon our line of march, are obvious by looking at the map. The disadvantages are, the facility of retarding our march by defending the dykes and narrow causeways along which we must pass; but a great superiority of force will enable us to surmount many of these. The French papers talk of having marched against us the garrisons of the Generality. So much the better if it is so, for then we shall not find them there, and the fact itself proves (if even our intelligence were defective) how little other force they have in the country.

I am greatly obliged to you for what you have written on the subject of the Militia. It seems to me that allowing the Militia to volunteer by companies for a fixed time is the best suggestion I have yet heard. But it would be necessary to consider, on a statement of numbers, how many could be so procured from all the Militias—English, Scotch, and Irish—though, with respect to these last, there is, I fear, an insurmountable difficulty, from the necessity of assembling Parliament, which could not be done in Ireland without broaching the question of Union before we are prepared for it.

Less than twenty thousand men would not, on the most sanguine calculations, answer our object, and the issue of the war so much depends upon it that we should be unpardonable to omit any possible effort that we could make for it. What[Pg 447] we want is to be able to garrison Holland with twenty thousand men so as to have as soon as possible after the conquest of it the means of disposing of our whole army now there. It is a very doubtful question, I think, whether our Militia volunteering would be more or less promoted if we confined our proposal to that particular service, and sent our Militia battalions into the Dutch garrisons, employing the army now there in the active service, or if we took the offer generally for foreign service, and made such distribution between the two as might best suit our convenience.

There would be no difficulty as to Parliament; we can call them together at a fortnight's notice. We would do so for this object alone. The King would speak of nothing else, and ask no supply; and we could easily, in a moment of triumph like the present, exclude all other discussions, so that the execution, were the plan once arranged to the satisfaction of the Militia officers, would take up not more than ten days or a fortnight at most.

If anything new occurs to you upon it, let me hear it. If not, we will talk it over when we meet; but as that is always precarious, write if you have anything to suggest upon it.

Ever yours,

A year, memorable in the annals of the war for the European confederacy which was formed by the energies of England to resist the aggressions of France, and for the successes by which it was crowned, was now drawing to a close. How much of that vast machinery of diplomacy, of that activity in council and promptitude in action, by which the happy results were obtained, may be justly attributed to the genius and firmness of the distinguished states[Pg 448]men whose correspondence forms the substance of these volumes, need scarcely be pointed out; nor would it be becoming in this work to pronounce the eulogy which their virtues and patriotism deserve. That grateful duty may be securely left to history.

The last letter of the year appropriately terminates the record of its events, by a general outline of the projects that were contemplated and in preparation for the arduous and important period that marked the opening of the nineteenth century.


Cleveland Row, Nov. 6th, 1799.
My dearest Brother,

I have just received your letter. My business seems to increase upon me so much that I fear I must abandon all hope of my Stowe project. I heartily wish that I could see the means of executing the idea you mention, but our force is not as yet sufficient for the purpose, especially considering that the possession of the country would give the enemy such incalculable advantage over an army whose communication would be maintained in that season across the Channel. We cannot well put the army brought back from Holland at more than thirty thousand effective men, including Russians. Twenty or twenty-five thousand Militia volunteers, English and Irish, may be added to this during the winter if our last measure succeeds, and other additions will also be gradually coming forward; but I doubt whether even then we shall have enough to encounter the mass of force which the enemy could bring against us in his own country, if not occupied by some serious attack on the other side.[Pg 449]

Our system must therefore, I think, of necessity be this, viz.: to complete the winter in negotiating on the continent, in furnishing supplies to the royalists, who have, however, shown themselves much too soon, both for their own interest and ours; and in nursing up our own force to make it as considerable and as fit for action as we can.

In the spring its employment must be regulated by the state of the other two points. If Austria has made her peace (which, though certainly not improbable, I do not however consider as the most likely event), and if the royalists are crushed, our force can then only be used in desultory expeditions to annoy the enemy, and weaken his means of acting against us; for to make a serious impression on France with sixty, or even eighty thousand men, unsupported by any diversion, is impossible, and the attempt can only lead to disaster, and to the loss of the only army we ever can have during this war. This was our situation in 1798. We fought manfully through it under much greater disadvantages than we should now have to meet. The enemy was stronger and more abundant in resources. We were weaker in force, and the extent of our means was unknown even to ourselves.

If, on the contrary, the French are materially occupied either by Austria, or by royalists, or still better if by both, we may then choose our own point of attack; our fleet will threaten the whole coast from Cadiz to the Texel and Delfzuyl, and nothing but a course of ill luck, equal to that of this year, can deprive us of the benefit of a fortnight or three weeks' start in whatever point we really attack.

I should be sorry that any degree even of private blame in people's minds should attach on the Duke of York, who has, I really believe, had no other fault on this occasion than that of following, perhaps too implicitly, the advice of those whose advice he was desired to follow. In many things he has certainly done extremely well.[Pg 450]

The business of the Union is going on well, and I trust rapidly approaching to a conclusion. Even if it were possible that we should again fail next year, still I should regard the ultimate success of the measure as certain.

I have been ruminating on some ecclesiastical projects, but I do not know whether I shall be able to bring them to bear, nor do I yet possess all the knowledge of the actual state of things which is necessary in order to enable me to fix my own judgment. They relate to the two points of episcopal jurisdiction and superintendence, and residence of parochial clergy.

My notion is to strengthen, if necessary, the legal powers of the bishops, so as to give them effective means, both of suspension and deprivation, in all cases, both of improper life and manners, and of remissness in the execution of certain stated duties which they are to be required to exact from all their parochial clergy. To enable them, from the chapters in their dioceses, at their own choice, to augment the number of their archdeacons or visitants, under whatever name may best suit the old constitutional forms of our Church. To require them, or in their absence, the archdeacon, or other proper person, to hold fixed and invariable annual visitations; at which, calling, if necessary, to their assistance a certain number of their beneficed or dignified clergy, they should receive the reports of their archdeacons and other visitants, and should at such visitation, or at furthest at the next visitation, proceed by sentence either of suspension or deprivation against all persons who should appear on such reports to be of scandalous life or conversation, or to have published irreligious, immoral, or seditious books, or to have been remiss in the performance of such stated duties as above. Lastly, to compel the bishops to return these reports, and their proceedings thereon at their visitations, to their metropolitans, by whom they should be annually laid before the King, with their observations thereon.[Pg 451]

As to parochial residence, the idea would be to require that no person shall on any pretence be non-resident on his living, without appointing a curate to be there constantly resident in his room. And to charge on the consolidated fund a sum sufficient to make up every living throughout the kingdom to the amount of £70 per annum, with the single exception of such parishes as, being adjacent to each other, it might be fit to conjoin for this purpose, by the act of proper commissioners to act with the bishop, &c.

When, therefore, the living fell short of £70, the parson would receive the difference from the public, but would be compelled to personal and constant residence, (and some provision might be made for the residence and maintenance of his curate in the single case of absence with the bishop's licence, from extreme necessity of sickness). When the living amounted to £70 or upwards, he would have the choice, as at present, of residing, or finding some legal excuse for non-residence; but in the latter case he would be obliged to provide a curate constantly resident. And in both cases proper certificates of residence would be required to be produced to the visitants.

The hardship, whatever it was, which this regulation would bring on the body of the clergy at large (I do not speak of particular cases), would be amply compensated by the addition which the Legislature would thus make to the smaller livings; and the expense of this last measure would be much more than compensated to the public, by the benefit which must arise from the constant residence of a clergyman in every parish throughout the kingdom.

By what I have called stated duties above, I mean, that from these resident clergymen, who would no longer have the plea of other duty to perform, I would certainly exact, by enumeration, many points of their duty (evening service, catechism, visitation of sick, and other points), which are now growing, or grown into disuse.[Pg 452]

You would much oblige me by your ideas on these points. On the first I have been told that it is no more, or little more, than the law as it now exists. All I can say is, that I am sure it is not the practice as it now exists; and that this is not the only case where it has been found to be highly useful to re-enact, with small variation, the existing law, in order to call the attention and excite the zeal, both of those who are to execute the law, and of those who are to obey it.

You are not, I am very certain, one of those extremely profound politicians who have, among other happy discoveries of this age, found out that the religion of the people has no influence on its morals, or its morals on the prosperity and good government of the State. You will not, therefore, think that an attention to this subject is either unbecoming Government and Parliament, or is ill suited to such a moment as the present.

God bless you, my dear brother.

Ever most affectionately yours,


Printed by Schulze and Co., 13, Poland Street.

[Pg 1]


Of Interesting New Works.


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From Blackwood's Magazine.—"This biography cannot fail to attract the deep attention of the public. We are bound to say, that as a political biography we have rarely, if ever, met with a book more dexterously handled, or more replete with interest. The exertions of Lord George Bentinck in behalf of every assailed or depressed branch of British and Colonial industry—the vast pains which he took in procuring authentic information—and the enormous amount of private labour he underwent in the preparation of those materials which have thrown a novel light upon disputed doctrines of economy—are faithfully chronicled in this most interesting volume. The history of the famous session of 1846, as written by Disraeli in that brilliant and pointed style of which he is so consummate a master, is deeply interesting. He has traced this memorable struggle with a vivacity and power unequalled as yet in any narrative of Parliamentary proceedings."

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From The Morning Herald—"Mr. Disraeli's tribute to the memory of his departed friend is as graceful and as touching as it is accurate and impartial. No one of Lord George Bentinck's colleagues could have been selected, who, from his high literary attainments, his personal intimacy, and party associations, would have done such complete justice to the memory of a friend and Parliamentary associate. Mr. Disraeli has here presented us with the very type and embodiment of what history should be. His sketch of the condition of parties is seasoned with some of those piquant personal episodes of party manœuvres and private intrigues, in the author's happiest and most captivating vein, which convert the dry details of politics into a sparkling and agreeable narrative. But the portrait which will stamp the book as one of the most extraordinary productions of the time is that of Sir Robert Peel. It is written with wonderful force and extraordinary impartiality."[Pg 2]


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"A valuable, well-written, and elaborate biography, displaying an unusual amount of industry and research."—Morning Chronicle.

"A careful and elaborate historical composition, rich in personal anecdote. Nowhere can a more intimate acquaintance be obtained with the principal events and leading personages of the first half of the 17th century."—Morning Post.

"A work of high literary and historical merit. Rarely have the strange vicissitudes of romance been more intimately blended with the facts of real history than in the life of Marie de Medicis; nor has the difficult problem of combining with the fidelity of biography the graphic power of dramatic delineation been often more successfully solved than by the talented author of the volumes before us. As a personal narrative, Miss Pardoe's admirable biography possesses the most absorbing and constantly sustained interest; as a historical record of the events of which it treats, its merit is of no ordinary description."—John Bull.

"A life more dramatic than that of Marie de Medicis has seldom been written; one more imperially tragic, never. The period of French history chosen by Miss Pardoe is rich in all manner of associations, and brings together the loftiest names and most interesting events of a stirring and dazzling epoch. She has been, moreover, exceedingly fortunate in her materials. A manuscript of the Commandeur de Rambure, Gentleman of the Bedchamber under the Kings Henry IV., Louis XIII., and Louis XIV., consisting of the memoirs of the writer, with all the most memorable events which took place during the reigns of those three Majesties, from the year 1594 to that of 1660, was placed at her disposal by M. de la Plane, Member of the Institut Royal de la France. This valuable record is very voluminous, and throws a flood of light on every transaction. Of this important document ample use has been judiciously made by Miss Pardoe; and her narrative, accordingly, has a fulness and particularity possessed by none other, and which adds to the dramatic interest of the subject. The work is very elegantly written, and will be read with delight. It forms another monument to the worthiness of female intellect in the age we live in."—Illustrated News.[Pg 3]



And Edited by Her Grandson, the Count de Montbrison.

3 Vols. Post 8vo., 31s. 6d. bound.

The Baroness d'Oberkirch, being the intimate friend of the Empress of Russia, wife of Paul I., and the confidential companion of the Duchess of Bourbon, her facilities for obtaining information respecting the most private affairs of the principal Courts of Europe, render her Memoirs unrivalled as a book of interesting anecdotes of the royal, noble, and other celebrated individuals who flourished on the continent during the latter part of the last century. Among the royal personages introduced to the reader in this work, are Louis XVI., Marie Antoinette, Philip Egalité, and all the Princes of France then living—Peter the Great, the Empress Catherine, the Emperor Paul, and his sons Constantine and Alexander, of Russia—Frederick the Great and Prince Henry of Prussia—The Emperor Joseph II. of Austria—Gustavus III. of Sweden—Princess Christina of Saxony—Sobieski, and Czartoriski of Poland—and the Princes of Brunswick and Wurtemberg. Among the remarkable persons are the Princes and Princesses de Lamballe, de Ligne and Galitzin—the Dukes and Duchesses de Choiseul, de Mazarin, de Boufflers, de la Vallière, de Guiche, de Penthièvre, and de Polignac—Cardinal de Rohan, Marshals Biron and d'Harcourt, Count de Staremberg, Baroness de Krudener, Madame Geoffrin, Talleyrand, Mirabeau, and Necker—with Count Cagliostro, Mesmer, Vestris, and Madame Mara; and the work also includes such literary celebrities as Voltaire, Condorcet, de la Harpe, de Beaumarchais, Rousseau, Lavater, Bernouilli, Raynal, de l'Epée, Huber, Göthe, Wieland, Malesherbes, Marmontel, de Staël and de Genlis; with some singular disclosures respecting those celebrated Englishwomen, Elizabeth Chudleigh, Duchess of Kingston, and Lady Craven, Margravine of Anspach.

"The Baroness d'Oberkirch, whose remarkable Memoirs are here given to the public, saw much of courts and courtiers, and her Memoirs are filled with a variety of anecdotes, not alone of lords and ladies, but of emperors and empresses, kings and queens, and reigning princes and princesses. As a picture of society anterior to the French Revolution, the book is the latest and most perfect production of its sort extant; and as such, besides its minor value as a book of amusement, it possesses a major value as a work of information, which in the interest of historical truth, is, without exaggeration, almost incalculable."—Observer.

"Thoroughly genuine and unaffected, these Memoirs display the whole mind of a woman who was well worth knowing, and relate a large part of her experience among people with whose names and characters the world will be at all times busy. A keen observer, and by position thrown in the high places of the world, the Baroness d'Oberkirch was the very woman to write Memoirs that would interest future generations. We commend these volumes most heartily to every reader. They are a perfect magazine of pleasant anecdotes and interesting characteristic things. We lay down these charming volumes with regret. They will entertain the most fastidious readers, and instruct the most informed."—Examiner.

"An intensely interesting autobiography."—Morning Chronicle.

"A valuable addition to the personal history of an important period. The volumes deserve general popularity."—Daily News.

"One of the most interesting pieces of contemporary history, and one of the richest collections of remarkable anecdotes and valuable reminiscences ever produced."—John Bull.[Pg 4]




Second Edition, Revised. 1 vol. Post 8vo.

"This work treats of the whole origin of nature in an intelligent style; it puts into the hands of every man the means of information on facts the most sublime, and converts into interesting and eloquent description problems which once perplexed the whole genius of mankind. We congratulate the author on his research, his information, and his graceful and happy language."—Britannia.

"The skill displayed in the treatment of the sciences is not the least marvel in the volume. The reasonings of the author are forcible, fluently expressed, and calculated to make a deep impression. Genuine service has been done to the cause of Revelation by the issue of such a book, which is more than a mere literary triumph. It is a good action."—Globe.

"Its tone is grave, grand, and argumentative, and rises to the majesty of poetry. As a commentary upon the stupendous facts which exist in the universe, it is truly a work which merits our admiration, and we unhesitatingly refer our readers to its fascinating pages."—Dispatch.

"Without parading the elaborate nature of his personal investigations, the author has laid hold of the discoveries in every department of natural science in a manner to be apprehended by the meanest understanding, but which will at the same time command the attention of the scholar."—Messenger.

"A grand tour of the sciences. Mr. Fullom starts from the Sun, runs round by the Planets, noticing Comets as he goes, and puts up for a rest at the Central Sun. He gets into the Milky Way, which brings him to the Fixed Stars and Nebulæ. He munches the crust of the Earth, and looks over Fossil Animals and Plants. This is followed by a disquisition on the science of the Scriptures. He then comes back to the origin of the Earth, visits the Magnetic Poles, gets among Thunder and Lightning, makes the acquaintance of Magnetism and Electricity, dips into Rivers, draws science from Springs, goes into Volcanoes, through which he is drawn into a knot of Earthquakes, comes to the surface with Gaseous Emanations, and sliding down a Landslip, renews his journey on a ray of Light, goes through a Prism, sees a Mirage, meets with the Flying Dutchman, observes an Optical Illusion, steps over the Rainbow, enjoys a dance with the Northern Aurora, takes a little Polarized Light, boils some Water, sets a Steam-Engine in motion, witnesses the expansion of Metals, looks at the Thermometer, and refreshes himself with Ice. Soon he is at Sea, examining the Tides, tumbling on the Waves, swimming, diving, and ascertaining the pressure of Fluids. We meet him next in the Air, running through all its properties. Having remarked on the propagation of Sounds, he pauses for a bit of Music, and goes off into the Vegetable Kingdom, then travels through the Animal Kingdom, and having visited the various races of the human family, winds up with a demonstration of the Anatomy of Man."—Examiner.[Pg 5]




2 v. post 8vo. 21s. bound.

"English readers have long been indebted to Mr. and Mrs. Howitt. They have now increased our obligations by presenting us with this most charming and valuable work, by means of which the great majority of the reading public will be, for the first time, made acquainted with the rich stores of intellectual wealth long garnered in the literature and beautiful romance of Northern Europe. From the famous Edda, whose origin is lost in antiquity, down to the novels of Miss Bremer and Baroness Knorring, the prose and poetic writings of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland are here introduced to us in a manner at once singularly comprehensive and concise. It is no dry enumeration of names, but the very marrow and spirit of the various works displayed before us. We have old ballads and fairy tales, always fascinating; we have scenes from plays, and selections from the poets, with most attractive biographies of these and other great men. The songs and ballads are translated with exquisite poetic beauty."—Sun.

"We have most cordially to thank Mary and William Howitt for their valuable contribution to our knowledge of the literature of Northern Europe. They have effected a public good. They have offered to all classes of readers a work abounding in original and entrancing interest, overflowing with varied matter—of criticism, biography, anecdotes, sketches, and quotations, all tending to exhibit new treasures for the gratification and enlightenment of a vast circle of minds. Our authors have described to us in copious and entertaining detail the romance and the poetry, the writings and the imaginations, of the Scandinavian races, interspersed with abundant and well-selected specimens of the historical, romantic, legendary, chivalric, ballad, dramatic, song, and critical literature of Northern Europe. They have brought to light the treasures of the illustrious poets, historians and bards of Scandinavia, in a work of astonishing interest."—Sunday Times.

"This work teems with information of the rarest and most curious character, and is replete with interest to the scholar, the philosopher, the antiquarian, and the general reader. The subject has the charming freshness of novelty. There is not any other book in the English language, which presents so vivid, so interesting, and so accurate a picture of the manners, customs, opinions, and superstitions of our Scandinavian forefathers."—Morning Post.

"A standard work on the whole subject."—Globe.

"A valuable addition to our literature."—Daily News.

"A book full of information—and as such, a welcome addition to our literature. The translations—especially of some of the ballads and other poems—are executed with spirit and taste."—Athenæum.[Pg 6]


In 2 vols. post 8vo. 21s. bound.


By the Author of

"A most attractive work."—Standard.

"The cleverest volumes Judge Haliburton has ever produced."—Messenger.

"We conceive this work to be by far the most valuable and important Judge Haliburton has ever written. The exhaustless fund of humour—quiet, yet rich and racy, and at the same time overflowing with the milk of human kindness—which his writings display on one hand, and the wonderful knowledge of man's character, in all its countless varieties, which they exhibit on the other, have insured for them a high, and honourable, and enduring station in English literature. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to arise from the perusal of any of Mr. Haliburton's performances without having become both wiser and better. His 'English in America' is, however, a production of a yet more exalted order. While teeming with interest, moral and historical, to the general reader, it may be regarded as equally constituting a philosophical study for the politician and the statesman. It will be found to dissipate many popular errors, and to let in a flood of light upon the actual origin, formation, and progress of the republic of the United States."—Naval and Military Gazette.

"Those who wish for an accurate history of the rise of republicanism in America to its grand development in the United States revolution, will here find a narrative that is invaluable for its accuracy, its impartiality, its admirable order in arrangement, and that true philosophy of statesmanship which can attach to each incident a fitting moral, from which every honest politician can derive instruction. The work is one equally useful in the double aspect in which it may be regarded—first, an insight into the causes of past transactions; second, as a warning to guide mankind amid the many perplexing political questions of the day. The spirit of impartiality animates every page of this work. It is deserving of a place in every historical library."—Morning Herald.

"We believed the author of this work to possess a power of humour and sarcasm second only to that of Rabelais and Sidney Smith, and a genuine pathos worthy of Henry Fielding or Charles Dickens. In his particular line of literature we believed him to be unrivalled. In the volumes before us he breaks upon a new, and—according to his method of breaking the subject—untrodden ground. We hail this book with pleasure; we consider it an honour to Judge Haliburton, as by it he has proved himself to be a Christian, a scholar, a gentleman, and, in the true sense of a mis-used word, a patriot. Mr. Haliburton places before us, fairly and impartially, the history of English rule in America. The book is not only a boon to the historic student, it is also filled with reflections such as may well engage the attention of the legislating statesman. Mr. Haliburton also shows us the true position of the Canadas, explains the evils of our colonial system, points out the remedies by which these evils may be counteracted, that thus the rule of the 'English in America' may be something better than a history of the blunders, the follies, and the ignorant temerity of colonial secretaries."—Irish Quarterly Review.[Pg 7]


In 3 vols. post 8vo. 31s. 6d. bound.


By the Author of "SAM SLICK," &c.

"We have seldom met with a work more rich in fun or more generally delightful."—Standard.

"Those who have relished the racy humour of the 'Clockmaker,' will find a dish of equally ludicrous and amusing Transatlantic wit in the volumes before us."—Herald.

"A new book, by the author of 'Sam Slick' causes some stir among the laughter-loving portion of the community; and its appearance at the present festive season is appropriate. We hold that it would be quite contrary to the fitness of things for any other hand than that of our old acquaintance, the facetious Judge Haliburton, to present to us a Christmas dish, and call it 'Traits of American Humour.' But even without the recollection of 'Sam Slick' to evoke the spirit of fun within us, we should have been forced to yield to the racy humour of these American 'Traits.' Dip where you will into this lottery of fun, you are sure to draw out a prize."—Morning Post.

"The untravelled European who has not made the acquaintance of Sam Slick, can have but little knowledge of the manners, customs, humours, eccentricities and lingos of the countless varieties of inhabitants of North America who we are accustomed to conglomerate under the general name of Yankees. Assisted, however, by Sam Slick's graphic descriptions, literal reports, and racy pen-and-ink sketches, gentlemen who sit at home at ease, are able to realize with tolerable accuracy the more remarkable species of this lively family, to comprehend their amusing jargon, to take an interest in their peculiarities of person and speech, and to enter into the spirit of their very characteristic humours. No man has done more than the facetious Judge Haliburton through the mouth of the inimitable 'Sam,' to make the old parent country recognise and appreciate her queer transatlantic progeny; and in the volumes before us he seeks to render the acquaintance more minute and complete. His present collection of comic stories and laughable traits is a budget of fun full of rich specimens of American humour."—Globe.

"The reader will find this work deeply interesting. Yankeeism pourtrayed, in its raciest aspect, constitutes the contents of these superlatively entertaining volumes, for which we are indebted to our facetious old friend, 'Sam Slick.' The work embraces the most varied topics,—political parties, religious eccentricities, the flights of literature, and the absurdities of pretenders to learning, all come in for their share of satire; while in other papers we have specimens of genuine American exaggerations, or graphic pictures of social and domestic life as it is more especially in the ruder districts and in the back settlements, or again sallies of broad humour, exhibiting those characteristics which form in the country itself the subject of mutual persiflage between the citizens of different States. The work will have a wide circulation."—John Bull.[Pg 8]


In 2 vols, 8vo. with Illustrations, and a valuable Map of European Turkey, from the most recent Charts in the possession of the Austrian and Turkish Governments, revised by the Author, 28s. bound.

IN 1850:


Author of "Travels in Circassia," &c.

"These important volumes appear at an opportune moment, as they describe some of those countries to which public attention is now more particularly directed: Turkey, Greece, Hungary, and Austria. The author has given us a most interesting picture of the Turkish Empire, its weaknesses, and the embarrassments from which it is now suffering, its financial difficulties, the discontent of its Christian, and the turbulence of a great portion of its Mohammedan subjects. We are also introduced for the first time to the warlike mountaineers of Bosnia, Albania, Upper Moesia, and the almost inaccessible districts of the Pindus and the Balkan. The different nationalities of that Babel-like country, Turkey in Europe, inhabited by Sclavonians, Greeks, Albanians, Macedonians, the Romani and Osmanli—their various characteristics, religions, superstitions, together with their singular customs and manners, their ancient and contemporary history are vividly described. The Ionian Islands, Greece, Hungary, and the Sclavonian Provinces of Austria on the Lower Danube, are all delineated in the author's happiest manner.

"We cordially recommend Mr. Spencer's valuable and interesting volumes to the attention of the reader. They are replete with information upon countries of which we know but little; they will be interesting to the military man for the details they give of the strength and defensive positions of the various countries through which the author travelled; to the merchant for the insight given into the state of trade; and to the man of the world as they place before his view the present political and social state of an empire, whose welfare it is the interest of England to promote. The work must be considered a standard production, enriched, as it is, by an excellent map derived from the most authentic modern charts, added to, and improved by the observations of the author during his travels."—United Service Magazine.

"A work of great merit, and of paramount present interest."—Standard.

"This interesting work contains by far the most complete, the most enlightened, and the most reliable amount of what has been hitherto almost the terra incognita of European Turkey, and supplies the reader with abundance of entertainment as well as instruction."—John Bull.

"An excellent and admirable work. Mr. Spencer is a very able writer, a shrewd, experienced and philosophical observer, an eminently thinking and yet practical man. His work forms the most valuable addition that our literature has lately received. He sets forth to inquire and learn: he returns to inform and suggest; and information most valuable and interesting has he here bestowed upon us."—Tait's Magazine.[Pg 9]



2 vols. Post 8vo., 21s. bound.

"The authoress of these volumes was a lady of quality, who, having incurred the displeasure of the Russian Government for a political offence, was exiled to Siberia. The place of her exile was Berezov, the most northern part of this northern penal settlement; and in it she spent about two years, not unprofitably, as the reader will find by her interesting work, containing a lively and graphic picture of the country, the people, their manners and customs, &c. The book gives a most important and valuable insight into the economy of what has been hitherto the terra incognita of Russian despotism."—Daily News.

"Since the publication of the famous romance the 'Exiles of Siberia,' of Madame Cottin, we have had no account of these desolate lands more attractive than the present work, from the pen of the Lady Eve Felinska, which, in its unpretending style and truthful simplicity, will win its way to the reader's heart, and compel him to sympathise with the fair sufferer. The series of hardships endured in traversing these frozen solitudes is affectingly told: and once settled down at one of the most northern points of the convict territory, Berezov, six hundred miles beyond Tobolsk, the Author exhibits an observant eye for the natural phenomena of those latitudes, as well as the habits of the semi-barbarous aborigines. This portion of the book will be found by the naturalist as well as ethnologist full of valuable information."—Globe.

"These 'Revelations' give us a novel and interesting sketch of Siberian life—the habits, morals, manners, religious tenets, rites, and festivals of the inhabitants. The details of the author's painful journey will be perused with feelings of indignation and deep sympathy. The record of her residence of nearly three years at Berezov, which constitutes the most valuable part of her 'Revelations,' does credit to her heart and her understanding. Her extraordinary powers of observation, and the graceful facility with which she describes everything worthy of remark, render her 'Revelations' as attractive and fascinating as they are original and instructive."—Britannia.


Mineralogical Surveyor in the Australian Colonies.

2 Vols. Post 8vo., 21s. bound.



Late Lieutenant Connaught Rangers. 2 vols. Post 8vo., 21s. bound.[Pg 10]



Second Edition, in 2 Vols., with Illustrations, 21s. bound.

"One of the best accounts of the country and people that has been published of late years."—Spectator.

"A very agreeable book. Mr. Neale is evidently quite familiar with the East, and writes in a lively, shrewd, and good-humoured manner. A great deal of information is to be found in his pages."—Athenæum.

"We have derived unmingled pleasure from the perusal of these interesting volumes. Very rarely have we found a narrative of Eastern travel so truthful and just. There is no guide-book we would so strongly recommend to the traveller about to enter on a Turkish or Syrian tour as this before us. The information it affords is especially valuable, since it is brought up almost to the last moment. The narrative, too, is full of incident, and abounds in vivid pictures of Turkish and Levantine life interspersed with well-told tales. The author commences his narrative at Gaza; visits Askalon, Jaffa and Jerusalem, Caipha and Mount Carmel, Acre, Sidon and Tyre, Beyrout, Tripoli, Antioch, Aleppo, Alexandretta, Adana, and Cyprus. Of several of these famous localities we know no more compact and clearer account than that given in these volumes. We have to thank Mr. Neale for one of the best books of travels that we have met with for a very long time."—Literary Gazette.



Second Edition. 2 v. post 8vo., with Map and Illustrations, 21s. bound.

"Independently of the amusement and information which may be derived from Mr. Melly's interesting work, the references to the relations which exist at this time between the Sublime Porte and Egypt are worthy of every consideration which statesmen and public men can bestow upon them."—Messenger.

"We cannot feel otherwise than grateful to the author of these valuable and useful volumes for having kept so faithful a journal, and for giving the public the benefit of his adventures and experience. The manners and customs of the natives, as well as the natural curiosities, and the relics of antiquity which the travellers visited, in turns engage the reader's attention; and, altogether, the book is a most entertaining and instructive vade-mecum to the interesting portion of the East of which it treats."—John Bull.


By the REV. G. CROLY, LL.D.

Author of "Salathiel," &c., 1 v., 10s. 6d. bound.

"Eminent in every mode of literature, Dr. Croly stands, in our judgment, first among the living poets of Great Britain—the only man of our day entitled by his power to venture within the sacred circle of religious poets."—Standard.

"An admirable addition to the library of religious families."—John Bull.[Pg 11]



Late Assistant Political-Resident at Nepaul. 2 v. post 8vo. 21s. bound.

"No man could be better qualified to describe Nepaul than Captain Smith; and his concise, but clear and graphic account of its history, its natural productions, its laws and customs, and the character of its warlike inhabitants, is very agreeable and instructive reading. A separate chapter, not the least entertaining in the book, is devoted to anecdotes of the Nepaulese mission, of whom, and of their visit to Europe, many remarkable stories are told."—Post.

"No one need go elsewhere for information about Nepaul. He will find it all arranged in this intelligent and interesting work with perspicuity and completeness. It will henceforth be the standard work on Nepaul. Captain Smith's narrative of his personal adventures is most exciting."—United Service Gazette.


By the late Lieutenant-Colonel Sir R. Bonnycastle.

With an Account of Recent Transactions,


2 v., post 8vo., with Maps, &c. 21s. bound.

"These volumes offer to the British public a clear and trustworthy statement of the affairs of Canada; a narrative of the late troubles, their causes and consequences; an account of the policy pursued in the colony, and the effects of the immense public works in progress and completed; with sketches of localities and scenery, amusing anecdotes of personal observation, and generally every information which may be of use to the traveller or settler, and the military and political reader. The information rendered is to be thoroughly relied on as veracious, full, and conclusive."—Messenger.

"This is the best work on Canada for every class of readers—the most complete, the most important, and the most interesting."—Sunday Times.



2 v., with Illustrations, 21s. bound.

"To the tourist this work will prove invaluable. It is the most complete and interesting portraiture of Spain that has ever come under our notice."—John Bull.[Pg 12]


2 vols. post 8vo. 21s. bound.

"Among the anecdotes in this work will be found notices of King George III., the Dukes of Kent, Cumberland, Cambridge, Clarence, and Richmond, the Princess Augusta, General Garth, Sir Harry Mildmay, Lord Charles Somerset, Lord Edward Fitzgerald, Lord Heathfield, Captain Grose, &c. The volumes abound in interesting matter. The anecdotes are one and all amusing."—Observer.

"Colonel Landmann's work is written in an unaffected spirit, and contains matter of agreeable and lively interest."—Literary Gazette.

"These 'Adventures and Recollections' are those of a gentleman whose birth and profession gave him facilities of access to distinguished society; and the interest of the volumes will be found to consist in anecdotes and recollections relating to individual members of that society. Colonel Landmann writes so agreeably that we have little doubt that his volumes will be acceptable. They partake, to some extent, both of the good and bad qualities of Horace Walpole and of Wraxall."—Athenæum.


By PETER BURKE, ESQ., Barrister-at-Law. 2 v. 21s.

"These attractive volumes will be perused with much interest. They contain a great variety of singular and highly romantic stories."—John Bull.

"Few who once take up these volumes will lay them down unread."—Examiner.

"Nothing can be more deeply interesting or affecting than many of these narratives."—Observer.


Author of "The Crescent and the Cross," &c.,

Second Edition. 3 v.

"The scheme for the colonization of Darien by Scotchmen, and the opening of a communication between the East and West across the Isthmus of Panama, furnishes the foundation of this story, which is in all respects worthy of the high reputation which the author of the 'Crescent and the Cross' had already made for himself. The early history of the Merchant Prince introduces the reader to the condition of Spain under the Inquisition; the portraitures of Scottish life which occupy a prominent place in the narrative, are full of spirit; the scenes in America exhibit the state of the natives of the new world at that period; the daring deeds of the Buccaneers supply a most romantic element in the story; and an additional interest is infused into it by the introduction of various celebrated characters of the period, such as Law, the French financier, and Paterson, the founder of the Bank of England. All these varied ingredients are treated with that brilliancy of style and powerful descriptive talent, by which the pen of Eliot Warburton was so eminently distinguished."—John Bull.[Pg 13]


1 v. 8vo., with Portrait, 12s. bound.

"This work ought to have a place in every political library. It gives a complete view of the sentiments and opinions by which the policy of Lord Palmerston has been dictated as a diplomatist and statesman."—Chronicle.

"This is a remarkable and seasonable publication; but it is something more—it is a valuable addition to the historical treasures of our country during more than forty of the most memorable years of our annals. We earnestly recommend the volume to general perusal."—Standard.



2 v., with Illustrations, 21s. bound.

"These interesting volumes possess considerable merit as regards information on that important subject, the state of the West Indies as they are at present."—Sun.

"It would be unjust to deny the vigour, brilliancy, and varied interest of this work, the abundant stores of anecdote and interest, and the copious detail of local habits and peculiarities in each island visited in succession."—Globe.



2 v. 21s. bound.

"A work of great and permanent historical value and interest."—Post.

"A fair and accurate narrative of the political history of British India, evidently written after careful study and laborious research."—Literary Gazette.

"The style is graphic and spirited. The facts are well related and artistically grouped. The narrative is always readable and interesting."—Athenæum.


BY LIEUT. H. J. W. JERVIS, Royal Artillery.

1 v., with Illustrations, 10s. 6d. bound.

"A work of great value, from the importance of Corfú in case of an European war."—Literary Gazette.

"Written with great care and research, and including probably all the particulars of any moment in the history of Corfú. The principal interest will attach to the military details and the concluding account of the present state of the island."—Athenæum.[Pg 14]



2 v. 21s. bound.

"Captain Mackinnon's sketches of America are of a striking character and permanent value. His volumes convey a just impression of the United States, a fair and candid view of their society and institutions, so well written and so entertaining that the effect of their perusal on the public here must be considerable. They are light, animated, and lively, full of racy sketches, pictures of life, anecdotes of society, visits to remarkable men and famous places, sporting episodes, &c., very original and interesting."—Sunday Times.

"Captain Mackinnon's sketches of America are perhaps the best that have appeared since the work of Captain Marryat, and they are far more candid and impartial. The volumes are crowded with valuable and important statements. The work will find its way rapidly into wide and general circulation, such is its justice, candour, and accuracy of information."—Observer.



Second Edition, with 54 Diagrams, 6s. bound.

"In this able work, Lord Robert Montagu has treated an important subject in the most comprehensive and masterly manner. The publication will be equally valuable to the ship-builder and the ship-owner—to the mariner and the commanders of yachts. The whole science of ship-building is made plain to the humblest understanding, while the most valuable suggestions are given for its improvement in the rig, structure, and laying down of vessels."—U. S. Mag.




Second Edition, 1 vol. with numerous Illustrations, 10s. 6d. bound.

From the "Times."—This volume is not the least interesting or instructive among the records of the late expedition in search of Sir John Franklin, commanded by Captain Austin. The most valuable portions of the book are those which relate to the scientific and practical observations made in the course of the expedition, and the descriptions of scenery and incidents of arctic travel. Many of the latter possess considerable literary merit, and all are impressed with the vividness of fresh observation. From the variety of the materials, and the novelty of the scenes and incidents to which they refer, no less than the interest which attaches to all that relates to the probable safety of Sir John Franklin and his companions, the Arctic Miscellanies forms a very readable book, and one that redounds to the honour of the national character.

[Pg 15]

New Works of Fiction, by Distinguished Writers.


By the Author of "Emilia Wyndham," "Ravenscliffe," &c. 3 vols.


Author of "Father Eustace," "The Barnabys," &c. 3 vols.

"'Uncle Walter' is Mrs. Trollope's best novel since 'Widow Barnaby.'"—Morning Chronicle.

"'Uncle Walter' is an exceedingly entertaining novel. It assures Mrs. Trollope more than ever in her position as one of the ablest fiction writers of the day."—Morning Post.

"'Uncle Walter' is filled throughout with Mrs. Trollope's broad satirical dashes at human nature."—Daily News.

"A very clever and entertaining book; equal to Mrs. Trollope's most successful efforts."—John Bull.


By the Author of "Margaret Maitland," &c. 3 vols.

"A story awakening genuine emotions of interest and delight by its admirable pictures of Scottish life and scenery."—Post.

"'Adam Graeme' is full of eloquent writing and description. It is an uncommon work, not only in the power of the style, in the eloquence of the digressions, in the interest of the narrative, and in the delineation of character, but in the lessons it teaches."—Sun.



With a Memoir of the Author, by the Hon. Sir T. N. Talfourd, D.C.L. 3 v.

"'Annette' is a stirring tale, and has enough in it of life and interest to keep it for some years to come in request. The prefatory memoir by Sir Thomas Talfourd would be at all times interesting, nor the less so for containing two long letters from Sir Walter Scott to Mr. Deacon, full of gentle far-thinking wisdom."—Examiner.



Author of "The Gambler's Wife," &c. 3 v.

"Equal to any former novel by its author."—Athenæum.

"A very interesting story."—Observer.

"An admirable work—a powerfully conceived novel, founded on a plot of high moral and dramatic interest."—John Bull.



Author of "Tales of the Colonies." &c. 3 v.

"The life of an Etonian—his pranks, his follies, his loves, his fortunes, and misfortunes—is here amusingly drawn and happily coloured by an accomplished artist. The work is full of anecdote and lively painting of men and manners."—Globe.


By the Author of "The Old English Gentleman." 3 v.

"An admirable story, quite out of the common order in its conception, and highly original in its execution. 'The Belle of the Village' may take its place by the side of 'The Old English Gentleman.'"—John Bull.

[Pg 16]






"Miss Pennefather has in this work evinced much literary ability. The fashionable circle in which the principal personage of the novel moves is drawn with a bold and graphic pencil. We have no doubt that in Lord Montagu, Sir Reginald Talbot, Lord Ravensdale, and others, those conversant with fashionable life will recognise living acquaintances."—Globe.


By the Author of "Emilia Wyndham," &c. 3 v.

"'Ravenscliffe' contains scenes not surpassed in power and beauty by those in 'The Admiral's Daughter.' No reader can bear the heroine company without feeling the same sense of powerlessness to cope with the fascinations of a dark destiny which is conveyed by the stories of Richardson's 'Clarissa,' and Scott's 'Lucy Ashton.' This is praise enough—yet not too much."—Athenæum.


3 v.

"A story of absorbing interest."—Globe.

"A novel of more than ordinary merit. An exciting story, crowded with romantic incidents."—Morning Post.



"This tale has the fascination and the value of a glimpse into a most strange world. We heartily commend the novel."—Athenæum.





Author of "Susan Hopley," &c. 3 v.



Author of "The Ladder of Gold," &c. 3 v.


3 v.

A TALE. 2 v.

"The execution of this tale is very remarkable."—Spectator.

"There is a family likeness to 'Eugene Aram' in this powerfully written romance. The moral is well worked out. The situations are well imagined, and pourtrayed with highly dramatic effect."—John Bull.


By the Author of "Margaret Maitland," &c. 1 v. 6s.

"This beautiful production is every way worthy of its author's reputation in the very first rank of contemporary writers."—Stand.

"'Caleb Field' is a story of moving interest, full of novelty, and abounding in scenes of graphic beauty."—Sunday Times.


3 v.

"This interesting story will afford both profit and amusement to a large circle of readers."—Herald.

"A charming tale of fashionable life and tender passions. It is extremely interesting as a highly-romantic history of the affections, and an exceedingly brilliant series of fashionable scenes."—Globe.


By the Author of "Rockingham." 1 v.

The LADY and the PRIEST.



3 v.

"The world of fashion is here painted by an artist who has studied it closely, and traces its lineaments with a masterly hand."—Morning Post.



"This work has a real interest. The pictures of the Scottish homes, in which the heroine's youth is past, are excellent."—Examiner.

[Pg 1]




Now complete, in Eight Octavo Volumes (comprising from 600 to 700 pages), price 4l. 4s., elegantly bound,



A New, Revised, and Cheaper Edition,


*** This Edition is also now in course of Monthly Issue, at 10s. 6d. each volume.

In announcing the publication of the new, revised, and greatly augmented Edition of this important and interesting work, which has been considered unique in biographical literature, the publishers beg to direct attention to the following extract from the author's preface:—"A revised edition of the 'Lives of the Queens of England,' embodying the important collections which have been brought to light since the appearance of earlier impressions, is now offered to the world, embellished with Portraits of every Queen, from authentic and properly verified sources. The series, commencing with the consort of William the Conqueror, occupies that most interesting and important period of our national chronology, from the death of the last monarch of the Anglo-Saxon line, Edward the Confessor, to the demise of the last sovereign of the royal house of Stuart, Queen Anne, and comprises therein thirty queens who have worn the crown-matrimonial, and four the regal diadem of this realm. We have related the parentage of every queen, described her education, traced the influence of family connexions and national habits on her conduct, both public and private, and given a concise outline of the domestic, as well[Pg 2] as the general history of her times, and its effects on her character, and we have done so with singleness of heart, unbiassed by selfish interests or narrow views. Such as they were in life we have endeavoured to portray them, both in good and ill, without regard to any other considerations than the development of the facts. Their sayings, their doings, their manners, their costume, will be found faithfully chronicled in this work, which also includes the most interesting of their letters. The hope that the 'Lives of the Queens of England' might be regarded as a national work, honourable to the female character, and generally useful to society, has encouraged us to the completion of the task."


"These volumes have the fascination of romance united to the integrity of history. The work is written by a lady of considerable learning, indefatigable industry, and careful judgment. All these qualifications for a biographer and an historian she has brought to bear upon the subject of her volumes, and from them has resulted a narrative interesting to all, and more particularly interesting to that portion of the community to whom the more refined researches of literature afford pleasure and instruction. The whole work should be read, and no doubt will be read, by all who are anxious for information. It is a lucid arrangement of facts, derived from authentic sources, exhibiting a combination of industry, learning, judgment, and impartiality, not often met with in biographers of crowned heads."—Times.

"A remarkable and truly great historical work. In this series of biographies, in which the severe truth of history takes almost the wildness of romance, it is the singular merit of Miss Strickland that her research has enabled her to throw new light on many doubtful passages, to bring forth fresh facts, and to render every portion of our annals which she has described an interesting and valuable study. She has given a most valuable contribution to the history of England, and we have no hesitation in affirming that no one can be said to possess an accurate knowledge of the history of the country who has not studied this truly national work, which, in this new edition, has received all the aids that further research on the part of the author, and of embellishment on the part of the publishers, could tend to make it still more valuable, and still more attractive, than it had been in its original form."—Morning Herald.

"A most valuable and entertaining work. There is certainly no lady of our day who has devoted her pen to so beneficial a purpose as Miss Strickland. Nor is there any other whose works possess a deeper or more enduring interest. Miss Strickland is to our mind the first literary lady of the age."—Morning Chronicle.

"We must pronounce Miss Strickland beyond all comparison the most entertaining historian in the English language. She is certainly a woman of powerful and active mind, as well as of scrupulous justice and honesty of purpose."—Morning Post.

"Miss Strickland has made a very judicious use of many authentic MS. authorities not previously collected, and the result is a most interesting addition to our biographical library."—Quarterly Review.

"A valuable contribution to historical knowledge. It contains a mass of every kind of historical matter of interest, which industry and research could collect. We have derived much entertainment and instruction from the work."—Athenæum.[Pg 3]




With the ARMS (1500 in number) accurately engraved, and incorporated with the Text.

In 1 vol. (comprising as much matter as twenty ordinary volumes), 38s. bound.

The following is a List of the Principal Contents of this Standard Work.—

I. A full and interesting history of each order of the English Nobility, showing its origin, rise, titles, immunities, privileges, &c.

II. A complete Memoir of the Queen and Royal Family, forming a brief genealogical History of the Sovereign of this country, and deducing the descent of the Plantagenets, Tudors, Stuarts, and Guelphs, through their various ramifications. To this section is appended a list of those Peers who inherit the distinguished honour of Quartering the Royal Arms of Plantagenet.

III. An Authentic table of Precedence.

IV. A perfect History of All the PEERS and Baronets, with the fullest details of their ancestors and descendants, and particulars respecting every collateral member of each family, and all intermarriages, &c.

V. The Spiritual Lords.

VI. Foreign Noblemen, subjects by birth of the British Crown.

VII. Peerages claimed.

VIII. Surnames of Peers and Peeresses, with Heirs Apparent and Presumptive.

IX. Courtesy titles of Eldest Sons.

X. Peerages of the Three Kingdoms in order of Precedence.

XI. Baronets in order of Precedence.

XII. Privy Councillors of England and Ireland.

XIII. Daughters of Peers married to Commoners.

XIV. All the Orders of Knighthood, with every Knight and all the Knights Bachelors.

XV. Mottoes translated, with poetical illustrations.

"The most complete, the most convenient, and the cheapest work of the kind ever given to the public."—Sun.

"The best genealogical and heraldic dictionary of the Peerage and Baronetage, and the first authority on all questions affecting the aristocracy."—Globe.

"For the amazing quantity of personal and family history, admirable arrangement of details, and accuracy of information, this genealogical and heraldic dictionary is without a rival. It is now the standard and acknowledged book of reference upon all questions touching pedigree, and direct or collateral affinity with the titled aristocracy. The lineage of each distinguished house is deduced through all the various ramifications. Every collateral branch, however remotely connected, is introduced; and the alliances are so carefully inserted, as to show, in all instances, the connexion which so intimately exists between the titled and untitled aristocracy. We have also much most entertaining historical matter, and many very curious and interesting family traditions. The work is, in fact, a complete cyclopædia of the whole titled classes of the empire, supplying all the information that can possibly be desired on the subject."—Morning Post.

"The 'Peerage' and the 'Landed Gentry' of Mr. Burke are two works of public utility—constantly referred to by all classes of society, and rarely opened without being found to supply the information sought. They are accessions of value to our books of reference, and few who write or talk much about English Peers and English Landed Gentry, can well be looked on as safe authorities without a knowledge of the contents of Mr. Burke's careful compilations."—Athenæum.[Pg 4]


A Genealogical Dictionary


Comprising Particulars of 100,000 Individuals connected with them.

In 2 volumes, royal 8vo, including the Supplement, beautifully printed in double columns, comprising more matter than 30 ordinary volumes, price only 2l. 2s., elegantly bound,



The Landed Gentry of England are so closely connected with the stirring records of its eventful history, that some acquaintance with them is a matter of necessity with the legislator, the lawyer, the historical student, the speculator in politics, and the curious in topographical and antiquarian lore; and even the very spirit of ordinary curiosity will prompt to a desire to trace the origin and progress of those families whose influence pervades the towns and villages of our land. This work furnishes such a mass of authentic information in regard to all the principal families in the kingdom as has never before been attempted to be brought together. It relates to the untitled families of rank, as the "Peerage and Baronetage" does to the titled, and forms, in fact, a peerage of the untitled aristocracy. It embraces the whole of the landed interest, and is indispensable to the library of every gentleman. The great cost attending the production of this National Work, the first of its kind, induces the publisher to hope that the heads of all families recorded in its pages will supply themselves with copies.

"A work of this kind is of a national value. Its utility is not merely temporary, but it will exist and be acknowledged as long as the families whose names and genealogies are recorded in it continue to form an integral portion of the English constitution. As a correct record of descent, no family should be without it. The untitled aristocracy have in this great work as perfect a dictionary of their genealogical history, family connexions, and heraldic rights, as the peerage and baronetage. It will be an enduring and trustworthy record."—Morning Post.

"A work in which every gentleman will find a domestic interest, as it contains the fullest account of every known family in the United Kingdom. It is a dictionary of all names, families, and their origin,—of every man's neighbour and friend, if not of his own relatives and immediate connexions. It cannot fail to be of the greatest utility to professional men in their researches respecting the members of different families, heirs to property, &c. Indeed, it will become as necessary as a Directory in every office."—Bell's Messenger.[Pg 5]


Author of "Sylva," &c.



In 4 vols., post 8vo, price 10s. 6d. each.

N.B.—Vols. III. and IV., containing "The Correspondence," may be had separately, to complete sets.

The Diary and Correspondence of John Evelyn has long been regarded as an invaluable record of opinions and events, as well as the most interesting exposition we possess of the manners, taste, learning, and religion of this country, during the latter half of the seventeenth century. The Diary comprises observations on the politics, literature, and science of his age, during his travels in France and Italy; his residence in England towards the latter part of the Protectorate, and his connexion with the Courts of Charles II and the two subsequent reigns, interspersed with a vast number of original anecdotes of the most celebrated persons of that period. To the Diary is subjoined the Correspondence of Evelyn with many of his distinguished contemporaries; also Original Letters from Sir Edward Nicholas, private secretary to King Charles I., during some important periods of that reign, with the King's answers; and numerous letters from Sir Edward Hyde (Lord Clarendon) to Sir Edward Nicholas, and to Sir Richard Brown, Ambassador to France, during the exile of the British Court.

A New Edition of this interesting work having been long demanded, the greatest pains have been taken to render it as complete as possible, by a careful re-examination of the original Manuscript, and by illustrating it with such annotations as will make the reader more conversant with the numerous subjects referred to by the Diarist.

"It has been justly observed that as long as Virtue and Science hold their abode in this island, the memory of Evelyn will be held in the utmost veneration. Indeed, no change of fashion, no alteration of taste, no revolution of science, have impaired, or can impair, his celebrity. The youth who looks forward to an inheritance which he is under no temptation to increase, will do well to bear the example of Evelyn in his mind, as containing nothing but what is imitable, and nothing but what is good. All persons, indeed, may find in his character something for imitation, but for an English gentleman he is the perfect model."—Quarterly Review.[Pg 6]



4 vols., post 8vo, with Illustrations, 10s. 6d. each, bound.


"A most agreeable book. The authoress, already favourably known to the learned world by her excellent collection of 'Letters of Royal and Illustrious Ladies,' has executed her task with great skill and fidelity. Every page displays careful research and accuracy. There is a graceful combination of sound, historical erudition, with an air of romance and adventure that is highly pleasing, and renders the work at once an agreeable companion of the boudoir, and a valuable addition to the historical library. Mrs. Green has entered upon an untrodden path, and gives to her biographies an air of freshness and novelty very alluring. The first two volumes (including the Lives of twenty-five Princesses) carry us from the daughters of the Conqueror to the family of Edward I.—a highly interesting period, replete with curious illustrations of the genius and manners of the Middle Ages. Such works, from the truthfulness of their spirit, furnish a more lively picture of the times than even the graphic, though delusive, pencil of Scott and James."—Britannia.

"The vast utility of the task undertaken by the gifted author of this interesting book can only be equalled by the skill, ingenuity, and research displayed in its accomplishment. The field Mrs. Green has selected is an untrodden one. Mrs. Green, on giving to the world a work which will enable us to arrive at a correct idea of the private histories and personal characters of the royal ladies of England, has done sufficient to entitle her to the respect and gratitude of the country. The labour of her task was exceedingly great, involving researches, not only into English records and chronicles, but into those of almost every civilised country in Europe. The style of Mrs. Green is admirable. She has a fine perception of character and manners, a penetrating spirit of observation, and singular exactness of judgment. The memoirs are richly fraught with the spirit of romantic adventure."—Morning Post.

"This work is a worthy companion to Miss Strickland's admirable 'Queens of England.' In one respect the subject-matter of these volumes is more interesting, because it is more diversified than that of the 'Queens of England.' That celebrated work, although its heroines were, for the most part, foreign Princesses, related almost entirely to the history of this country. The Princesses of England, on the contrary, are themselves English, but their lives are nearly all connected with foreign nations. Their biographies, consequently, afford us a glimpse of the manners and customs of the chief European kingdoms, a circumstance which not only gives to the work the charm of variety, but which is likely to render it peculiarly useful to the general reader, as it links together by association the contemporaneous history of various nations. The histories are related with an earnest simplicity and copious explicitness. The reader is informed without being wearied, and alternately enlivened by some spirited description, or touched by some pathetic or tender episode. We cordially commend Mrs. Everett Green's production to general attention; it is (necessarily) as useful as history, and fully as entertaining as romance."—Sun.[Pg 7]




2 vols., 8vo, uniform with the "Curiosities of Literature," 28s. bound.

"By far the most important work on the important age of Charles I. that modern times have produced."—Quarterly Review.




2 vols. 8vo, with Portraits, 16s. bound.

Perhaps no name of modern times is productive of so many pleasant associations as that of "Horace Walpole," and certainly no name was ever more intimately connected with so many different subjects of importance in connexion with Literature, Art, Fashion, and Politics. The position of various members of his family connecting Horace Walpole with the Cabinet, the Court, and the Legislature—his own intercourse with those characters who became remarkable for brilliant social and intellectual qualities—and his reputation as a Wit, a Scholar, and a Virtuoso, cannot fail to render his Memoirs equally amusing and instructive. They nearly complete the chain of mixed personal, political, and literary history, commencing with "Evelyn" and "Pepys," carried forward by "Swift's Journal and Correspondence," and ending almost in our own day with the histories of Mr. Macaulay and Lord Mahon.

"These Memoirs form a necessary addition to the library of every English gentleman. Besides its historical value, which is very considerable, the work cannot be estimated too highly as a book of mere amusement."—Standard.


Comprising Full and Interesting Details of

With an Historical Introduction by FRANCIS PULSZKY, late Under-Secretary of State to Ferdinand, Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary. 2 vols., post 8vo, 21s bound.


Comprising important Particulars of the Revolution, &c.

Published from the Original MSS. With Notes. 2 vols., with fine Portraits and Plates, bound, 1l. 11s. 6d.[Pg 8]


Beautifully printed, in 1 vol. 8vo, containing 800 double-column pages, 21s. bound.

This work, formed on a plan precisely similar to that of Mr. Burke's popular Dictionary of the present Peerage and Baronetage, comprises those peerages which have been suspended or extinguished since the Conquest, particularising the members of each family in each generation, and bringing the lineage, in all possible cases, through either collaterals or females, down to existing houses. It connects, in many instances, the new with the old nobility, and it will in all cases show the cause which has influenced the revival of an extinct dignity in a new creation. It should be particularly noticed, that this new work appertains nearly as much to extant as to extinct persons of distinction; for though dignities pass away, it rarely occurs that whole families do.


1. Peerages of England extinct by failure of issue, attainder, &c., alphabetically, according to Surnames.

2. Baronies by Writ—England—in abeyance, and still vested probably in existing heirs.

3. Extinct and Abeyant Peerages of England, according to titles.

4. Charters of Freedom—Magna Charta—Charter of Forests.

5. Roll of Battel Abbey.

6. Peerages of Ireland, extinct by failure of issue, attainder, &c., alphabetically, according to Surnames.

7. Baronies by Writ—Ireland—in abeyance.

8. Peerages of Ireland, extinct and abeyant, alphabetically, according to Titles.

9. Peerages of Scotland, extinct by failure of issue, attainder, &c., alphabetically, according to Surnames.

10. Extinct Peerages of Scotland, alphabetically, according to Titles.


Cheaper Edition, 2 vols. 8vo, 12s. bound.

The leading feature of this important work is its application to the great question now at issue between our Protestant and Catholic fellow-subjects. It contains a complete expose of the Romish Church Establishment during the eighteenth century, and of the abuses of the Jesuits throughout the greater part of Europe. Many particulars of the most thrilling kind are brought to light.


Cheaper Edition, 2 vols. 8vo, with Portraits, price only 12s.—The same in French, 7s.

"We have seldom perused so entertaining a work. It is as a mirror of the most splendid Court in Europe, at a time when the monarchy had not been shorn of any of its beams, that it is particularly worthy of attention."—Chronicle.


By LORD KING. 2 vols. 16s.[Pg 9]



Author of "Lives of the Queens of England," &c. 1 vol., post 8vo, elegantly bound, with Portrait of the Author, 10s. 6d.

"This attractive volume is replete with interest. Like Miss Strickland's former works, it will be found, we doubt not, in the hands of youthful branches of a family, as well as in those of their parents, to all and each of whom it cannot fail to be alike amusing and instructive."—Britannia.


Now first published from the Originals, with Historical Notices.

Author of "Lives of the Princesses of England."

Cheaper Edition, 3 vols., with Facsimile Autographs, &c., 15s. bound.


Now first published from the original Italian Manuscript.

Cheaper Edition, 2 vols., post 8vo, 12s. bound.

"We predict that posterity will accept General Pepe as the historian of the great Italian movement of the nineteenth century. His work is worthy of all commendation."—Standard.


Cheaper Edition in 2 vols., post 8vo, 12s. bound.

"Mr. Milman's book has considerable merit. He has evidently, in his interesting biography of Tasso, undertaken a labour of love. His diligence has been great, his materials are copious and well-arranged, and his sketches of the poet's contemporaries form agreeable episodes in the narrative of Tasso's works and woes."—Edinburgh Review.


Minister Plenipotentiary at the Courts of Dresden, Copenhagen, and Vienna, from 1769 to 1793; with Biographical Memoirs of


2 vols., post 8vo, with Portraits, 21s. bound.

"A large portion of this important and highly interesting work consists of letters, that we venture to say will bear a comparison for sterling wit, lively humour, entertaining gossip, piquant personal anecdotes, and brilliant pictures of social life, in its highest phases, both at home and abroad, with those of Horace Walpole himself."—Court Journal.[Pg 10]


2 vols., post 8vo, with Portraits, 12s. bound.

"A work which cannot fail of being popular in every portion of our sea-girt isle, and of being read with delight by all who feel interested in the right hand of our country—its Navy."—Plymouth Herald.




Second Edition, 1 volume, post 8vo, with Portrait, 10s. 6d. bound.

"We have perused this work with extreme interest. It is a portrait of Talleyrand drawn by his own hand."—Morning Post.

"A more interesting work has not issued from the press for many years. It is in truth a complete Boswell sketch of the greatest diplomatist of the age."—Sunday Times.

FRANCE IN 1813 & 1814.

By Lieut.-Gen. the MARQUIS OF LONDONDERRY, G.C.B., &c. &c., 21s.

Now ready, Volume XI., price 5s., of



Having filled at different times the high offices of Minister of the Interior, of Finance, of Foreign Affairs, and President of the Council, M. Thiers has enjoyed facilities beyond the reach of every other biographer of Napoleon for procuring, from exclusive and authentic sources, the choicest materials for his present work. As guardian to the archives of the state, he had access to diplomatic papers and other documents of the highest importance, hitherto known only to a privileged few, and the publication of which cannot fail to produce a great sensation. From private sources, M. Thiers, it appears, has also derived much valuable information. Many interesting memoirs, diaries, and letters, all hitherto unpublished, and most of them destined for political reasons to remain so, have been placed at his disposal; while all the leading characters of the empire, who were alive when the author undertook the present history, have supplied him with a mass of incidents and anecdotes which have never before appeared in print, and the accuracy and value of which may be inferred from the fact of these parties having been themselves eye-witnesses of, or actors in, the great events of the period.

*** To prevent disappointment, the public are requested to be particular in giving their orders for "Colburn's Authorised Translation."[Pg 11]



By WM. CHARLES TOWNSEND, ESQ., M.A. 2 vols. 8vo, 12s. bound.

"We have here a collection of biographical notices of all the Speakers who have presided during the hundred and forty-four years above defined, and of several Members of Parliament the most distinguished in that period. Much useful and curious information is scattered throughout the volumes."—Quarterly Review.


Now first published from the Originals. Cheaper Edition, 2 vols., 8vo, with Portrait, 12s. bound.

"A book of marvellous revelations, establishing beyond all doubt the perfect innocence of the beautiful, highly-gifted, and inhumanly-treated Sophia Dorothea."—Naval and Military Gazette.


Illustrative of Her Personal History.
Edited, with an Historical Introduction and Notes,


Cheaper Edition, with numerous Additions, uniform with Miss Strickland's "Lives of the Queens of England." 2 vols., post 8vo, with Portrait, &c., 12s. bound.

"The best collection of authentic memorials relative to the Queen of Scots that has ever appeared."—Morning Chronicle.


Written by HERSELF. 3 vols., post 8vo, with Portrait.

"One of the most delightful and deeply-interesting works we have read for a long time."—Weekly Chronicle.


Cheaper Edition, in 8vo, embellished with Portraits of Lady Blessington and Lord Byron, price only 7s. bound.

"The best thing that has been written on Lord Byron."—Spectator.

"Universally acknowledged to be delightful."—Athenæum.


Being the Memoirs of EDWARD COSTELLO, of the Rifle Brigade, late Captain in the British Legion;

Comprising Narratives of the Campaigns in the Peninsula under the Duke of Wellington, and the Civil War in Spain.

New and Cheaper Edition, with Portrait of the Author, 3s. 6d. bound.[Pg 12]



Author of "The History of the Landed Gentry," "The Peerage and Baronetage," &c.

Second and Cheaper Edition, 2 vols., post 8vo, 21s. bound.

"Mr. Burke has here given us the most curious incidents, the most stirring tales, and the most remarkable circumstances connected with the histories, public and private, of our noble houses and aristocratic families, and has put them into a shape which will preserve them in the library, and render them the favourite study of those who are interested in the romance of real life. These stories, with all the reality of established fact, read with as much spirit as the tales of Boccacio, and are as full of strange matter for reflection and amazement."—Britannia.

"We cannot estimate too highly the interest of Mr. Burke's entertaining and instructive work. For the curious nature of the details, the extraordinary anecdotes related, the strange scenes described, it would be difficult to find a parallel for it. It will be read by every one."—Sunday Times.



By J. B. BURKE, Esq.

2 vols., post 8vo, 21s. bound.

"From the copious materials afforded by the history of the English Aristocracy, Mr. Burke has made another and a most happy selection, adding a second wing to his interesting picture-gallery. Some of the most striking incidents on record in the annals of high and noble families are here presented to view."—John Bull.


Cheap Standard Edition, with a New Preface.

In 1 vol., with Portrait, 6s. bound.

"We are glad to see that the finest work of Disraeli has been sent out in the same shape as those of Dickens, Bulwer, and other of our best novelists, at such a price as to place them within the reach of the most moderate means. 'Coningsby' has passed from the popularity of a season to an enduring reputation as a standard work. It is a valuable contribution to popular literature."—Weekly Chronicle.


1. WOMAN AND HER MASTER. A History of the Female Sex from the earliest Period. 2 vols., 12s.

2. THE BOOK OF THE BOUDOIR. 2 vols., 10s.


4. THE O'BRIENS AND THE O'FLAHERTYS. 4 vols., 14s.[Pg 13]


Comprising the Narrative of

With an Account of British Commercial Intercourse with that Country.


New and Cheaper Edition. 2 vols. post 8vo, 10s. bound.

"No European has been able, from personal observation and experience, to communicate a tenth part of the intelligence furnished by this writer."—British Review.


of H.M.S. "ADVENTURE" and "BEAGLE," under the command of Captains KING and FITZROY.

Cheaper Edition. 2 large vols., 8vo, with Maps, Charts, and upwards of Sixty Illustrations, by Landseer, and other eminent Artists, bound, 1l. 11s. 6d.


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2 vols., post 8vo, bound, 12s.


With Remarks on the Chaldeans, Nestorians, Yezidees, &c.

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2 vols., post 8vo, with Illustrations, bound, 12s.



8vo, with Portrait, bound, 10s. 6d.


By the Hon. COLONEL KEPPEL (now Lord Albemarle).

Third Edition, 2 vols., post 8vo, with Portrait and Plates, 12s.


By G. T. VIGNE, Esq., F.G.S. Cheaper Edition. 2 vols., 8vo, with a valuable Map, and 22 Illustrations, bound, 1l. 1s.[Pg 14]




Second and Cheaper Edition. 2 vols. 8vo, 21s. bound.

"An important, yet most amusing work, throwing much and richly-coloured light on matters with which every one desires to be informed. All the courts and people of Germany are passed in vivid review before us. The account of the Austrians, Magyars, and Croats, will be found especially interesting. In many of its lighter passages the work may bear a comparison with Lady Mary Wortley Montagu's Letters."—Morning Chronicle.


Fourth Edition, Revised and Corrected, 1 vol., post 8vo, 6s. bound.

"Lord Lindsay has felt and recorded what he saw with the wisdom of a philosopher, and the faith of an enlightened Christian."—Quarterly Review.


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2 vols., with Plates and Maps, 21s.





Ninth and Cheaper Edition, 1 vol., with numerous Illustrations, 10s. 6d. bound.




Edited by ELIOT WARBURTON, Esq.,

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Transcriber's Notes.

Punctuation, hyphenation, capitalisation and accenting of common words has been corrected without note here.

Variant spelling of some proper names has not been corrected, e.g. Staremberg, Stahremburg, Starhemburg.

The following typographical errors in the main text have been corrected:

Page - Corrected text (error in original)
vi - 250-323 (350-323)
25 - sermons to Shakspeare's text of (Skakspeare's)
47 - whether further adjournment may not be thought right, (adjourment)
48 - finished the examination of the physicians (physicans)
84 - 2nd of January, 1789, Mr. Cornwall, (1799)
104 - Prince's aides-de-camp you will have seen (aides-de-camps)
160 - confess that he does want both these (does-want)
290 - intimate concert between his Court (betweent)
311 - impossible as to make the Prussians act. (Prusians)
346 - give some sort of account (some some)
369 - expediency for Lord Hobart's recal, (Hobart'a)
387 - selected as a much more striking instance (strking)
407 - indictable, till this new offence (ndictable)
419 - more difficult task to accomplish (acccomplish)

Typographical errors in the advertising section have been corrected without note.