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Title: Memoirs of the Reign of King George the Third, Volume 1 (of 4)

Author: Horace Walpole

Editor: Denis Le Marchant

Release date: April 25, 2018 [eBook #57043]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by MWS, Charlie Howard, and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This file was
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Transcriber’s Note: Cover created by Transcriber and placed in the Public Domain.



George III.

Houston, pinx.t

G. Cook, sc.


London, Published by Richard Bentley, 1844.





Publisher in Ordinary to Her Majesty.

Printed by S. & J. Bentley, Wilson, and Fley
Bangor House, Shoe Lane.



The Memoirs of the Reign of King George the Third, by Horace Walpole (Earl of Orford), now for the first time submitted to the Public, are printed from a manuscript copy contained in the box of papers which came into the possession of the late Earl of Waldegrave, under the circumstances stated in the Preface to “The Memoires of the Last Twelve Years of the Reign of George the Second.” This manuscript was placed by Lord Waldegrave in the hands of the late Lord Holland at the same time with “the Memoires” last mentioned, and hopes were long entertained that it would have had the advantage of the editorial care which gave so much additional interest to that work; but from the date of Lord Holland’s return to office, in 1830, the little leisure he could find for literary pursuits was diverted from these volumes by engagements of a more pressviing character; and it appeared at his death that he had never even commenced the task which he was of all persons eminently qualified to execute. Under these circumstances Lord Euston (now Duke of Grafton) on whom the property of the manuscript had devolved, as Lord Waldegrave’s executor, became very desirous that the publication should no longer be deferred; and happening to consult me on the subject, my interest was so much excited by a cursory perusal, that I acceded to the request made to me to prepare the Work for the press. In this I was further encouraged by the assurance I received of the zealous co-operation and assistance of the late Mr. John Allen, whose knowledge of the early years of George the Third’s reign was surpassed by none of his contemporaries (excepting, perhaps, Lord Holland), and whose participation in all the studies, and I might almost add identification with the literary pursuits of that nobleman, would have given me many of the advantages I should have derived from himself, had he been still living. I had several conversations with Mr. Allen on the plan to be pursued in editing the Work, and his hints on the characters of the individuals described in it were of essential service to me; but unhappily, before my labours had commenced in earnest, he was taken ill, and in a few days followed his friend and patron to the grave.vii Few of the associates of his latter days valued him more than myself, or more deeply regretted his loss; and in revising these pages, my mind has often recurred with melancholy yet grateful satisfaction to the many agreeable and most instructive hours I have passed in his and Lord Holland’s society at a house which has acquired an European celebrity as the great point of intellectual and moral reunion among the most distinguished political and literary men of the present century.

These Memoirs comprise the first twelve years of the reign of George the Third, and close the historical works of Horace Walpole. “On their merits,” to use the words of Lord Holland,1 “it would be improper to enlarge in this place. That they contain much curious and original information, will not be disputed.” In common with the Memoires of George the Second, “they treat of a part of our annals most imperfectly known to us,” with the decided advantage of the period being one marked by events of deeper interest and more congenial in their character and bearings with those which have since engaged, and still occupy our attention. The contests between Whigs and Jacobites may not be undeserving our curiosity; yet they sink into insignificance when compared with theviii origin and progress of the American discontents, in which may be traced the first indistinct rudiments of the great antagonistic principles and social revolutions of our own time. The Parliamentary struggles, too, in the case of General Warrants, are important, not less on account of the stores of constitutional knowledge they elicited, than from the spirit of free inquiry into the Prerogatives of the Crown on the one hand and the Privileges of the People on the other, which necessarily sprang out of them. Nor is it an uninstructive lesson to observe the efforts made by George the Third to break up the political parties which had embarrassed the reign of his predecessor. These topics are among the most prominent in the History of England during the Eighteenth Century, and they constitute the staple of the present Work. Some of the best debates on the Stamp Act, and on the proceedings against Mr. Wilkes, are here reported with a vivacity and apparent correctness which may be sought in vain elsewhere; and we meet throughout the Work the same abundance of anecdote, and the same graphic description of men and manners, that characterise the Memoires of George the Second. It gives even more copious details of the negotiations between political parties, especially those incidental to the fall of Lord Rockingham’s Administration; the gradual alienation of that noblemanix and his friends from the Duke of Grafton; and the other divisions among the Whig party, which ended in the long enjoyment of power by their opponents. The records of these transactions do not, it is true, form the most dignified department of the historian, but political history is necessarily incomplete without them; and here Walpole is on his own ground. Unlike most of the writers who have minutely chronicled their times, he can neither be charged with obtaining mere imperfect or occasional glances into the councils of men in power, nor with suffering himself to be shackled by a sense of official restraint, not to say responsibility. He possessed entirely the secret of affairs, at least as long as Conway remained Minister; and so unreservedly discloses what he knew, that he might not untruly boast, as he does elsewhere, “that the failings of some of his nearest friends are as little concealed as those of other persons.”2

I have little to add concerning my own share in these Memoirs. They are printed exactly as the Author left them, except that it has been thought right to suppress a few passages of an indecent tendency; and following the example of Lord Holland, “two or three passages affecting the private characters of private persons, and in no ways connected with any politicalx event, or illustrative of any great public character, have been omitted.”3

The notes that occur without any distinguishing mark were left by the Author. It will be perceived that they seldom extend beyond a brief statement of the rank or relationship of the individuals noticed in the text. All the other notes are mine.

In compliance with a wish generally expressed after the publication of the “Memoires of the Last Twelve Years of the Reign of George the Second,” for additional information respecting many of the characters described in that work, I have enlarged on the meagre notices left by Walpole, and endeavoured to correct his errors—taking, as my model, the annotations of Lord Dover and Mr. Wright on the Author’s correspondence. My references to those popular works will be found to have been frequent, and I can venture to add my testimony to their impartiality and correctness.4 I may have unconsciously borrowed from them, where we are treating of the same individuals; but I have endeavoured, as much as possible, to steer an independent course, and the subject isxi sufficiently wide to admit of it. I have also carefully consulted all the contemporary authorities within my reach, and, in more than one instance, have received valuable communications from persons who either lived near the times described by Walpole, or were actually acquainted with him. My sole object, however, has been to contribute to the information of readers hitherto little conversant with the events and characters of the period under our notice. More detailed criticism on particular transactions, and some biographical sketches, too long for insertion in the notes, will be given in the Appendix to the Fourth Volume; but I have no pretensions to encroach on the province of the historian—especially since the publication of the last volume of Lord Mahon’s History of George the Third, and the recent article on Lord Chatham in the Edinburgh Review, both of which have appeared since this Work went to the press.

It was at first expected that this Work would be comprised in three volumes, but a more careful examination of the manuscript having proved a fourth to be indispensable, it is thought best not to delay the publication of the two volumes already printed, and to reserve the two concluding volumes until early in the Spring.

I have to acknowledge much kindness from various friends in the prosecution of my inquiries. Sir Edwardxii Colebrooke, in particular, has favoured me with the loan of the manuscript autobiography of his grandfather, Sir George Colebrooke, M. P., Chairman of the East India Company, an active politician, who lived on confidential terms with the Duke of Newcastle, Lord Rockingham, and Mr. Charles Townshend; and I am indebted to Sir George Larpent for the perusal of the papers of his father, when Secretary to Lord Hertford, during the embassy of the latter at Paris.

Denis Le Marchant.

7, Harley Street,
December 4, 1844.



A. D.   PAGE
Career of George II. 4
1760. Auspicious circumstances under which George III. ascended the Throne 5
Firmness of the Administration ib.
Glory and Fortune in War ib.
Precipitate Peace ib.
Communication to the Prince of Wales of the Death of George II. 6
His Conduct to the Duke of Cumberland 7
The first Council ib.
George II.’s Will 8
The King’s Speech to his Council 9
1760. Plan to carry the Prerogative to an unusual height 16
Unpopularity and Seclusion of the Princess of Wales 17
Intended Duel between the Earl of Albemarle and General Townshend 20
Nov. 18. Meeting of Parliament 24
The King’s Speech ib.
Increase of the Court Establishment ib.
Interview between Lord Bute and the Duke of Richmond 27
Irish Disputes 31
The King of Prussia’s Victory over Marshal Daun 33
Mauduit’s Pamphlet on the German War ib.
1761. Ways and Means for the ensuing Year 34
New Promotions 35
Lord Bute 36
Secret Article in the Treaty with the Landgrave of Hesse 39
New Tenure of the Judges 41
Lord Bute appears more ostensibly in the character of Minister 42
Ministerial Changes 43
Overtures by France for Peace 50
1761. March 18th. Thanks of the House of Commons to Mr. Onslow, their Speaker 51
Lord Bath’s Pamphlet 54
Solicitations by France for Peace 55
Mr. Pitt disinclined to negotiate 56
Expedition against Belleisle 57
Negotiation for Peace 58
1761. July 8th. Announcement of the King’s intended Marriage 62
The Princess Dowager’s Aversion to her Son’s Marriage 63
Schemes of Mr. Fox 64
Colonel Graeme despatched to Germany to select a Queen 65
Serious Crisis in the Cabinet 67
Lofty Conduct of Mr. Pitt 69
His Draught for a Treaty with France ib.
Sept. 7th. Arrival of the new Queen 70
Her mental and personal Characteristics 71
Disposal of the vacant Bishopricks 73
Lord Talbot and the Barons of the Cinque Ports 74
1761. Interposition of Spain in behalf of France 77
Oct. 5th and 9th. Resignation of Mr. Pitt and Lord Temple 80
Effect on the Nation of Mr. Pitt’s Secession from the Cabinet 82
His Acceptance of a Peerage for his Wife, and of a Pension ib.
His Injudicious Conduct ib.
Address to him from the Common Council of London, and from Provincial Towns 85
Nov. 3rd. Meeting of Parliament 86
Choice of a Speaker 87
Nov. 6th. The King’s Speech 88
The Address ib.
Nov. 9th. The King and Royal Family dine in the City with the Lord Mayor 89
Mr. Pitt’s Reception at Guildhall ib.
Riots 90
1761. Nov. 13th. Mr. Wilkes’s Censures on the King’s Speech 91
Debate on continuing the War 92
The Queen’s Dowry voted 99
Ministerial Manœuvres on the Secession of Mr. Pitt ib.
Nov. 25th. Meeting at the St. Alban’s Tavern 100
Policy of the Court 101
Debate on the War in Germany ib.
George Grenville’s Desertion of Pitt 104
1761. Debates in Parliament on the German War 109
Dec. 11. Discussion on our Affairs with Spain 112
Colonel Barré’s insulting Conduct to Mr. Pitt 120
Family-compact between France and Spain 123
Portugal invaded by Charles the Third of Spain 125
1762. Jan 1st. Fuentes, the Spanish Ambassador, quits England 127
Jan. 4th. War declared against Spain 128
Divisions in the Council respecting the War with Spain 129
Expedition to the Havannah 131
Jan. 19th. Meeting of Parliament ib.
Court Intrigues in France against Marshal Broglio and his Brother 138
Preponderating Influence and Haughtiness of Lord Bute 139
The Duke of York’s Contempt of Lord Bute and the Scotch 140
Proceedings in the Parliament of Ireland 141
March 19th. Bill for continuing the Militia 142
1762. March 22nd. News of the Conquest of Martinico 143
War in Portugal 144
Pacific Disposition of the new Czar 150
His Popular Measures 151
Meditated War with Denmark by the Czar and the King of Prussia 152
Insurrections in Ireland quelled by the Earl of Hertford 154
The Portuguese War, and the War in Germany 155
Private Negotiation with the Court of Vienna 157
April 28th. Creation of seven new Peers ib.
Buckingham House purchased by the Queen 159
Seclusion of the King and Queen ib.
1762. May 12th. Debate in the House of Commons on a Vote of Credit and the Support of Portugal 161
May 26th. The Duke of Newcastle’s resignation 168
Lord Bute is declared First Lord of the Treasury 171
Sir Francis Dashwood, Chancellor of the Exchequer ib.
1762. Honours heaped on Lord Bute 176
Lord Halifax appointed to the Admiralty 177
First Appearance of “The North Briton” ib.
Its excessive Audacity 178
Sketch of its Author, John Wilkes 179
Churchill, Wilkes’s Associate 180
Capture and Recapture of Newfoundland 183
The French Camp surprised by Prince Ferdinand ib.
Propensity of the Court for Peace ib.
The Empress Catherine 184
Horrible Conspiracy against Peter the Third 185
Catherine raised to the Throne 186
Murder of Peter 187
Effect of the Russian Revolution on the King of Prussia 188
1762. August 12th. Birth of the Prince of Wales 190
Treasure of the Hermione ib.
Conquest of the Havannah ib.
Indifference of the Court on that event 191
Negotiations for Peace ib.
Reception in France of the Duke of Bedford ib.
Beckford elected Lord Mayor 193
Duel between Lord Talbot and Wilkes 194
Disgust at the Union of Bute and Fox 195
Purchase of a Majority to approve the Peace 199
1762. Nov. 8th. Preliminaries of Peace with France and Spain 204
Embassy to the Court of Spain offered to Lord Sandwich 205
Insult to the Duke of Cumberland ib.
Resignation of Lords Ashburnham and Kinnoul 206
Lord Lincoln’s Ingratitude to the Duke of Newcastle 207
The Duke of York obliged to go to Italy 209
Attempt to propitiate Walpole 211
1762. Conference between the Duke of Cumberland and Mr. Pitt 219
Anxiety of the Ministers 220
Nov. 9th. Debates in both Houses on the Preliminaries of Peace 222
The Minority on the Division 232
Exultation of the Princess of Wales on the Preliminaries being carried 233
Severe political Persecution ib.
Numerous Dismissals from Place 234
1763. Jan. 2nd. Death of John Earl Granville 236
Attack on Patent Places 239
Triumph of the Court 241
Favour shown to the Friends of the Stuarts 242
Observance of the Jacobite Fast ib.
Committee to inspect Madhouses 244
Accounts of the Navy 245
The Standing Army 246
1763. Address to the King 248
Sir Francis Dashwood’s Budget 250
Tax on Cider 251
Discussion on Ways and Means ib.
Ardent Opposition to the Cider Tax ib.
Petition from Newfoundland 252
March 28th. Debate in the House of Lords on the Cider-bill 253
March 30th. Passing of the Bill ib.
April 8th. George Grenville first Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer 258
Removal of Sir Francis Dashwood ib.
Ministerial Changes and Promotions 259
1763. The Bedford Faction 260
Ambition of the Duchess of Bedford 261
Reversions granted by Lord Bute before his resignation 265
Walpole’s Feelings towards that Minister ib.
His Political Acts 266
April 8th. Death of Lord Waldegrave 267
1763. April 19th. Lord Bute’s pretended Abdication of Business 270
The “Triumvirate” who succeeded him 271
Grenville’s Ingratitude to Lord Bute 273
April 23rd. The memorable Forty-fifth Number of the “North Briton.” 274
April 30th. Wilkes apprehended on a General Warrant 276
Committed close Prisoner to the Tower 277
May 3rd. He is taken by Habeas Corpus to the Court of Common Pleas 278
He is discharged from Confinement 279
Triumph of Wilkes ib.
His Endeavour to obtain Warrants against the Secretaries of State 280
Discontent in the Cider Counties ib.
Mortifications of the Court 281
Wilkes challenged by Forbes 282
Aug. 21st. Sudden Death of Lord Egremont 283
1763. Perplexity of the “Triumvirate” 284
Lord Bute’s unsuccessful Manœuvres 285
Aug. 25th. Lord Halifax and Mr. Grenville remonstrate with the King 286
Schemes of the Bedford Faction ib.
Aug. 28th. Mr. Pitt sent for by the King 288
Negotiation with the former ib.
The Treaty broken off 289
Causes of the Rupture 290
The King’s Account of his Interviews with Pitt 291
Ministerial Arrangements 295
1763. Secret Power of Lord Bute 298
His Rupture with Pitt 299
Unanimous Attempt to destroy Wilkes 301
Death of Augustus the Third, of Saxony 306
The Pope invites the Duke of York to Rome 307
Humiliation of the helpless Line of Stuart ib.
Nov. 3rd. Charles Yorke resigns the Attorney-Generalship ib.
Unfavourable Commencement of the new Lord-Lieutenant’s Power in Ireland 308
1763. Nov. 15th. Opening of Parliament 309
Wilkes’s “Essay on Woman” laid before the House of Lords 310
Persecution of Wilkes 313
He complains in the House of a Breach of Privilege 314
Warm Debate on the Question ib.
Wilkes wounded in a Duel by Martin 317
Nov. 16th. The King’s Speech read to the Commons 318
Postponement of the farther Hearing on Wilkes 319
Bestowal of the Bishoprick of Osnabrugh 320
1763. Nov. 23rd. Important Question as to the Privilege of Parliament 321
Abandonment of General Warrants 323
Debate on the Proceedings against Wilkes 324
“The Moderator,” a new scurrilous Paper 329
Dec. 3rd. Riot on the attempt to burn “The North Briton.” 330
Dec. 6th. Debate on this subject in the House of Lords 331
Triumph of Wilkes 333
Attempt to assassinate Wilkes ib.
The East India Company and Lord Clive 334
Outlawry against Wilkes 335
1763. Lord Sandwich offers himself for the High Stewardship of Cambridge 339
His “Flying Pension” 337
Disgraceful Grant to Count Virri ib.
Dismissal of General A’Court ib.
Negotiation between Grenville, Conway, and Walpole 338
1764. Jan 16th. Marriage of the Princess Augusta with the Hereditary Duke of Brunswick 348
His marked Opposition to the Wishes of the King ib.
Jan. 19th. Debates on Wilkes’s Complaint of Breach of Privilege 349
Jan. 20th. Sir William Meredith and Sir George Saville 350
The “Essay on Woman” 354
Feb. 9th. The Marriage Bill 359
Feb. 13th. Debate on Breach of Privilege ib.
Cases of Carteret Webbe and Wood 361
1764. Feb. 17th. Debates on the Legality of General Warrants, and the Conduct of Wilkes, continued 368
Feb. 21st. Treatise entitled “Droit le Roi,” condemned by the Lords 383
1764. The Earl of Egmont 387
March 9th. The Budget 388
Taxation of the American Colonies 389
March 23rd. Appearance of the “Lettres, Mémoires, et Négotiations du Chevalier d’Eon,” &c. 392
Contest at Cambridge 395
April 12th. Lord Clive appointed Governor-General of India 397
1764. April 19th. Prorogation of the Parliament 401
Walpole’s Conduct on the Dismissal of General Conway 402
May 9th. Mr. Conway’s regiment given to the Earl of Pembroke 415
May 22nd. Trial of Carteret Webbe for Perjury 417
The Earl of Northumberland Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland 418




Page 42, line 3 from bottom, omit the sentence beginning “His Lordship’s mother.”  

”   60, line 14 from bottom, for by the aversion read by aversion.

”   352, line 3 from bottom, for the illustrious line of the family read the last line of the illustrious family.

”   311, line 3 from bottom, for deshonorer jamais read deshonorer à jamais.


Page 89, line 2 from bottom, for Minister at Tunis, &c., in 1802, read Minister at Turin. He died in 1801.

”   316, line 3 from bottom, for l. read lbs.

”   399, line 3 from bottom, for Burton Veyncourt read Burton Pynsent.

*** The names Dowdeswell and Mackenzie have been printed in the text as Walpole wrote them, Dowdswell and Mackinsy.




Motives for writing these Memoirs.—Their assistance to History.—Causes of contradictory Opinions in the Writer.—Career of George II.—Auspicious circumstances under which George III. ascended the Throne.—Firmness of the Administration.—Our Glory and Fortune in War.—Precipitate Peace.—Communication to the Prince of Wales of the death of George II.—Mr. Pitt and the Princess Amalie.—Anecdotes of the Accession of the new King.—His conduct to the Duke of Cumberland.—The first Council.—George the Second’s Will.—Anecdotes.—The King’s Speech to his Council.—Mr. Pitt and Lord Bute.—Duke of Newcastle.—Duke of Devonshire.—The King’s Mother.—Earl of Bute.—Views of other Ministers.—Union of Pitt and Newcastle.—City Politics.—Inscription on Blackfriars Bridge.—Jacobites at St. James’s.

Whoever has taken the trouble of reading my Memoirs, which relate the transactions during the last ten years of King George the Second, will have seen, that I had taken a resolution of interfering no more in public affairs. It was no ambition, or spirit of faction, that engaged me in them again. Inconstancy, or weariness of retirement, were as little the motives of2 my return to action. I am going to set forth the true causes; and if I am obliged to make more frequent mention of myself than I should wish to do, it will be from the necessity I am under of unfolding the secret springs of many events in which I was unwillingly a considerable actor. It is to gratify no vanity that I relate them: my portion was not brilliant. And though my counsels might have been more serviceable to my country and to my friends, if they had been more followed, they were calculated to produce neither glory nor profit to myself, and were much oftener neglected than listened to. Nor should they be remembered here, if many miscarriages had not accrued from the neglect of them, as was felt and confessed by those to whom they had been suggested.

How far I have been in the right or in the wrong, I leave to the judgment of posterity, who shall be impartially informed; and who may draw some benefit from the knowledge of what I have seen; though few persons, I believe, profit much from history. Times seldom resemble one another enough to be very applicable; and if they do, the characters of the actors are very different. They, too, who read history most, are seldom performers in the political drama. Yet they who have performed any part in it, are at least able to give the best account of it, though still an imperfect one. No man is acquainted with the whole plot; as no man knows all the secret springs of the actions of others. His passions and prejudices warp his judgment, and cast a mist before the most penetrating sagacity. Yet, partial as the narratives of the actors must be, they will certainly approach nearer to truth3 than those of spectators, who, beholding nothing but events, pretend to account for them from causes which they can but suppose, and which frequently never existed. It is this assistance to history which I now offer, and by which I may explain some passages, which might otherwise never be cleared up.

I have a new reason for repeating here, what I have said in former pages, that these are memoirs, not history. The inequality, and perhaps even the contradictory opinions which may appear in them from being written at different periods, forbid this work to aim at the regular march of history. As I knew men more, I may have altered my sentiments of them;—they themselves may have changed. If I had any personal causes for changing my opinion, I have told them fairly, that the fault may be imputed to my passions, rather than to those I speak of. The actions of the persons must determine whether they altered, or I was prejudiced. But, though this dissonance may cast unequal colours on my work, I choose to leave it as I wrote it, having at each period spoken truth as it appeared to me. I might have made it more uniform by correction; but the natural colouring would have been lost; and I should rather have composed than written a history. As it stands an original sketch, it is at least a picture of my own mind and opinions. That sketch may be valuable to a few, who study human nature even in a single character.

But I will make no farther apology for a work which I am sensible has many faults; which I again declare I do not give as a history; and to which, if it has not merits sufficient to atone for its blemishes, I4 desire no quarter may be given. Remember, reader, I offer you no more than the memoirs of men who had many faults, written by a man who had many himself; and who writes to inform you, not to engross your admiration. Had he given you a perfect history, and a flattering picture of himself, his work would have been a romance, and he an impostor. He lived with a contempt of hypocrisy; and writes as he lived.

George the Second, contradicting the silly presages drawn from parallels, which had furnished opposition with names of unfortunate Princes, who were the second of their name, as Edward, Richard, Charles, and James, terminated his career with glory both to himself and his people. He died, crowned with years and honours, and respected from success; which with the multitude is the same as being beloved. He left a successor in the vigour of youth, ready to take the reins, and a ministry universally applauded, united, and unembarrassed by opponents.

No British monarch had ascended the throne with so many advantages as George the Third. Being the first of his line born in England, the prejudice against his family as foreigners ceased in his person—Hanover was no longer the native soil of our Princes; consequently, attachment to the Electorate was not likely to govern our councils, as it had done in the last two reigns. This circumstance, too, of his birth, shifted the unpopularity of foreign extraction from the House of Brunswick to the Stuarts. In the flower and bloom of youth, George had a handsome, open, and honest countenance; and with the favour that attends the outward accomplishments of his age, he had none of5 the vices that fall under the censure of those who are past enjoying them themselves.

The moment of his accession was fortunate beyond example. The extinction of parties had not waited for, but preceded the dawn of his reign. Thus it was not a race of factions running to offer themselves, as is common, to a new Prince, bidding for his favour, and ready each to be disgusted, if their antagonists were received with more grace; but a natural devolution of duty from all men to the uncontroverted heir of the Crown, who had no occasion to court the love of his subjects, nor could fear interrupting established harmony, but by making any change in a system so well compacted. The administration was firm, in good harmony with one another, and headed by the most successful genius that ever presided over our councils. Conquest had crowned our arms with wonderful circumstances of glory and fortune; and the young King seemed to have the option of extending our victories and acquisitions, or of giving peace to the world, by finding himself in a situation so favourable, that neither his ambition nor moderation could have been equitably reprehended. The designs and offences of France would have justified a fuller measure of revenge; moderation could want no excuse.

A passionate, domineering woman, and a Favourite, without talents, soon drew a cloud over this shining prospect.

Without anticipating events too hastily, let it suffice to say, that the measure of war was pushed, without even a desire that it should be successful; and that, although successful, it was unnaturally checked6 by a peace, too precipitate, too indigested, and too shameful, to merit the coldest eulogy of moderation.

The first moment of the new reign afforded a symptom of the Prince’s character; of that cool dissimulation in which he had been so well initiated by his mother, and which comprehended almost the whole of what she had taught him. Princess Amalie, as soon as she was certain of her father’s death, sent an account of it to the Prince of Wales; but he had already been apprised of it. He was riding, and received a note from a German valet-de-chambre, attendant on the late King, with a private mark agreed upon between them, which certified him of the event. Without surprise or emotion, without dropping a word that indicated what had happened, he said his horse was lame, and turned back to Kew. At dismounting he said to the groom, “I have said this horse is lame; I forbid you to say the contrary.”

Mr. Pitt was the first who arrived at Kensington, and went to Princess Amalie for her orders. She told him nobody could give him better counsel than his own. He asked if he ought not to go to the Prince? she replied, she could not advise him; but thought it would be right. He went. I mention these little circumstances, because they show from Mr. Pitt’s uncertainty, that he was possessed with none of the confidence and ardour of a man who thinks himself a favourite.

From Kew the new King went directly to Carleton House, which belonged to the Princess Dowager; ordering his servants and the Privy Council to wait for him at Saville House, then his own residence; and7 adjoining to Leicester House, where the Princess usually lived. The Duke of Cumberland went to Leicester House, and waited two hours; but was sent for, as soon as the King knew it, to Carleton House, where he determined to stay, and avoid the parade and acclamation of passing through the streets: at the same time dismissing the guards, and ordering them to attend the body of his grandfather.

To the Duke of Cumberland he marked great kindness, and told him it had not been common in their family to live well together; but he was determined to live well with all his family. And he carried this attention so far, as to take notice to the Duke after council, that his friend Mr. Fox looked in great health. And again, when the Privy Council had made their address to his Majesty by the mouth of the Archbishop, it not being thought decent that the compliment on the death of his father should be uttered by the Duke, the King remarked it, and expressed an apprehension that they had put a slight upon his uncle. Nor would he suffer the name of his brother, the Duke of York, to be mentioned in the public prayers, because it must have taken place of that of the Duke of Cumberland.

At that first council the King spoke to nobody in particular but his former governor, Lord Waldegrave. His speech to them he made with dignity and propriety. In whatever related to his predecessor, he behaved with singular attention and decency, refusing at first to give the word to the guard; and then only renewing what the late King had given. He sent to Princess Amalie to know where her father’s will was8 deposited. She said, one copy had been entrusted to her eight or nine years before; but thinking the King had forgotten it, she had lately put him in mind of it. He had replied, “Did not she know, that when a new will was made, it cancelled all preceding?” No curiosity, no eagerness, no haste was expressed by the new King on that head; nor the smallest impediment thrown in the way of his grandfather’s intentions. A Gentleman5 of the Bedchamber was immediately dismissed, who refused to sit up with the body, as is usual. Wilmot6 and Ranby,7 the late King’s physician and surgeon, acquainted the King with two requests of their master, which were punctually complied with. They were, that his body might be embalmed as soon as possible, and a double quantity of perfumes used; and that the side of the late Queen’s coffin, left loose on purpose, might be taken away, and his body laid close to hers.

In his first council the King named his brother the Duke of York, and Lord Bute,8 of the Cabinet. As no notice was taken of Lord Huntingdon, it indicated an9 uncertainty, whether he, who had been Master of the Horse to the King when Prince, or Lord Gower, who had held that office under the late King, should fill the post. To the Speaker of the House of Commons the King said, it should not be his fault if that assembly did not go upon business earlier in the day than they had done of late: a flattering speech to an old man attached to old forms.

The King’s speech to his council afforded matter of remark, and gave early specimen of who was to be the confidential minister, and what measures were to be pursued: for it was drawn by Lord Bute, and communicated to none of the King’s servants. It talked of a bloody and expensive war, and of obtaining an honourable and lasting peace. Thus was it delivered; but Mr. Pitt went to Lord Bute that evening, and after an altercation of three hours, prevailed that in the printed copy the words should be changed to an expensive but just and necessary war; and that after the words honourable peace should be inserted, in concert with our allies. Lord Mansfield and others counselled these palliatives too; but it was two o’clock of the following afternoon before the King would yield to the alteration. Whether, that the private Junto could not digest the correction, or whether to give an idea of his Majesty’s firmness, I know not: but great pains were taken to imprint an idea of the latter, as characteristic of the new reign; and it was sedulously whispered by the creatures of the Favourite and the mother, that it was the plan to retain all the late King’s ministers, but that his Majesty would not be governed by them, as his grandfather had been. In confirmation of part of10 this advertisement, the King told the Duke of Newcastle and Mr. Pitt, that he knew their attachment to the Crown, and should expect theirs, and the assistance of all honest men.

Mr. Pitt was too quicksighted not to perceive what would be the complexion of the new reign. His favourite war was already struck at. He himself had for some time been on the coldest terms with Lord Bute; for possession of power, and reversion of power, could not fail to make two natures so haughty, incompatible. It was said, and I believe with truth, that an outset so unpromising to his darling measures, made Mr. Pitt propose to the Duke of Newcastle a firm union against the Favourite; but the Duke loved intrigues and new allies too well to embrace it. And from that refusal has been dated Mr. Pitt’s animosity to Newcastle; though the part the latter took more openly and more hostilely against him afterwards was sufficient cause for that resentment. Whether these two men, so powerful in parliament and in the nation, could have balanced the headlong affection that attends every new young Prince, is uncertain,—I think they could. A war so triumphant had captivated the whole country. The Favourite was unknown, ungracious, and a Scot: his connexion with the Princess, an object of scandal. He had no declared party; and what he had, was insignificant. Nor would he probably have dared to stem such a body of force as would have appeared against him. At least the union of Pitt and Newcastle would have checked the torrent, which soon carried everything in favour of Prerogative. Newcastle’s time-serving undermined Mr.11 Pitt, was destructive to himself, threw away all the advantages of the war, and brought the country to the brink of ruin.

Yet this veteran, so busy, so selfish, and still so fond of power, for a few days acted the part he ought to have adopted in earnest. He waited on the King, pleaded his age, and begged to be excused from entering on a new reign. The King told him he could not part with him. Fortified with this gracious and comfortable command, he next consulted his friends. It was not their interest to point out to him the ridicule of thinking to rule in the Cabinet of a third George, almost a boy. Four days more determined the Duke to take a new court-lease of folly.9

The Duke of Devonshire,10 though greatly younger, might not have been without difficulties too, if he had pleased to remember them. He had been ill-treated in the late reign by the Prince and the Princess Dowager, hated the Favourite, and had declared he would quit, whenever the new reign should commence; but he thought better of it.

The Princess, whose ambition yielded to none, was desirous to figure in the new era, and demanded to be declared Princess-Mother. Precedents were searched12 for in vain; and she missed even this shadow of compensation for the loss of the appellation of Queen—a loss which she showed a little afterwards she could not digest.

The Earl of Bute seemed to act with more moderation. His credit was manifest; but he allotted himself no ministerial office, contenting himself for the present with the post of Groom of the Stole, which he had filled under the Prince, and for which room was prepared, by removing the Earl of Rochford11 with a large pension. Lord Bute’s agents gave out, that he would upon no account interfere or break with Mr. Pitt. The latter, however, did not trust to these vague assurances, but endeavoured to maintain the preceding system: talked to the King of the Duke of Newcastle as first minister, and as wishing him to continue so; and said he had never chosen any other channel for his addresses or demands to the late King—an intimation that he would make none through Lord Bute. For himself, he had meddled with nothing but the war, and he wished his Majesty to give some mark that he approved the measures of the late reign.

The other ministers were not less attentive to their13 own views. The Duke of Bedford12 insisted on returning to the Government of Ireland, and that Lord Gower13 should remain Master of the Horse; but the latter point was accommodated by the removal of Sir Thomas Robinson (with a pension) from the Great Wardrobe, which was bestowed on Lord Gower; and Lord Huntingdon continued in the post he had enjoyed under the Prince. Mr. Mackenzie, the Favourite’s brother, was destined to be Master of the Robes, but was forced to give way to the Duke of Newcastle, who obtained it for Mr. Brudenel;14 for though bent on making his court, his Grace as often marred his own policy as promoted it.

Yet this seeming union of Pitt and Newcastle, on which the influence of the former in some measure depended, disgusted the City. They said, that Mr. Pitt had temporized with Newcastle before from necessity, but now it was matter of election. Yet by the intervention of Mr. Pitt’s agents, the City of London recommended to the King to be advised by his grandfather’s ministers; and they even hinted at the loss the King of Prussia would suffer by the death of his uncle. Their attachment to their idol did not14 stop there. The first stone of the new bridge at Blackfriars was laid by the Lord Mayor a few days after the King’s accession, and on it was engraved so bombast an inscription in honour of Mr. Pitt, and drawn up in such bad Latin, that it furnished ample matter of ridicule to his enemies.

The Favourite, though traversed in his views by the power of these two predominant men, had not patience to be wholly a cypher, but gave many lesser and indirect marks of his designs. A separate standard was to be erected. Lord George Sackville had leave to pay his duty to the King, and was well received; which gave such offence to Mr. Pitt, that Lord George was privately instructed to discontinue his attendance. Lady Mary Stuart,15 daughter of the Favourite, and Lady Susan Stuart,16 daughter of the Earl of Galloway, a notorious and intemperate Jacobite, were named of the Bedchamber to the Lady Augusta, the King’s eldest sister; and Sir Henry Erskine17 was restored to his rank, and gratified with an old regiment. The Earl of Litchfield, Sir Walter Bagot, and the principal Jacobites, went to Court, which George Selwyn, a celebrated wit, accounted for, from the number of Stuarts that were now at St. James’s.



Countenance shown to Tories.—Effect of Tory Politics on the Nation.—Plan to carry the Prerogative to an unusual height.—Unpopularity and Seclusion of the Princess of Wales.—Difficulty of access to the King.—Manœuvres of his Mother.—Character of Lord Bute, and his Schemes to conciliate the King.—Archbishop Secker.—Character of George III.—Intended Duel between the Earl of Albemarle and General Townshend.—Cause of the Quarrel.—The King’s Speech.—Pitt and Beckford.—Increase of the Court Establishment.—The Dukes of Richmond and Grafton.—Interview between Lord Bute and the Duke of Richmond.—Advice to the latter by the Duke of Cumberland.—The King’s Revenue.—The Princess Dowager’s Passion for Money.—The Earl of Lichfield.—Viscount Middleton.—Partiality to the Tories.—Inconsistency of the Duke of Newcastle.—Irish Disputes.—The King of Prussia’s Victory over Marshal Daun.—Mauduit’s Pamphlet on the German War.—Ways and Means for the ensuing Year.

The countenance shown to the Tories, and to their citadel, the University of Oxford, was at first supposed by those who stood at distance from the penetralia, the measure of Mr. Pitt, as consonant to his known desire of uniting, that was, breaking all parties. But the Tories, who were qualified for nothing above a secret, could not keep even that. They came to Court, it is true; but they came with all their old prejudices. They abjured their ancient master, but retained their principles; and seemed to have exchanged nothing but their badge, the White Rose for the White Horse.16 Prerogative became a fashionable word; and the language of the times was altered, before the Favourite dared to make any variation in the Ministry.

These steps did not pass unnoticed: nor was the nation without jealousy, even in the first dawn of the reign. Papers were stuck up at the Royal Exchange and in Westminster-hall, with these words, no Petticoat Government, no Scotch Favourite. An intemperance which proceeded so far afterwards, that, as the King passed in his chair to visit his mother in an evening, the mob asked him if he was going to suck? The Princess herself was obliged to discontinue frequenting the theatres, so gross and insulting were the apostrophes with which she was saluted from the galleries.

The views of the Court were so fully manifested afterwards, that no doubt can be entertained but a plan had been early formed of carrying the prerogative to very unusual heights. The Princess was ardently fond of power, and all its appanages of observance, rank and wealth. The deepest secrecy and dissimulation guarded every avenue of her passions; and close retirement was adapted to these purposes. She could not appear in public (after the arrival of the Queen) as the first woman of the kingdom: her unpopularity made her pride tremble; and privacy shrouded such hours as were not calculated to draw esteem; and it contracted her expenses. After the King’s marriage she appeared seldom or never at St. James’s, nor deigned to accompany the ceremony of the coronation. The attendance of her ladies was dispensed with except on drawing-room days; and by degrees even her maids of honour and17 women of the bedchamber were removed from her palace, where she lived in a solitude that would have passed for the perfection of Christian humility in the ages of monkish ignorance. Jealousy of her credit over her son made her impose almost as strict laws of retirement on him. He was accessible to none of his Court but at the stated hours of business and ceremony: nor was any man but the Favourite, and the creatures with whom he had garrisoned the palace, allowed to converse with the King. Affection had no share in this management.

The Princess, who was never supposed to disclose her mind with freedom,18 but on the single topic of her own children, had often mentioned her eldest son with contempt; and during the life of her husband, had given in to all his partiality for the Duke of York. When her views of governing by her husband were cut off, she applied to the untutored inexperience of his heir: and the first step towards the influence she meditated, was by filling his mind with suspicions and ill impressions of all mankind. His uncle, the Duke of Cumberland, was made another instrument. The young Prince had a great appetite: he was asked if he wished to be as gross as his uncle? Every vice, every condescension was imputed to the Duke, that the Prince might be stimulated to avoid them.

The Favourite, who had notions of honour, and was18 ostentatious, endeavoured to give a loftier cast to the disposition of his pupil, though not to the disparagement of the vassalage in which he was to be kept. Lord Bute had a little reading,19 and affected learning. Men of genius, the arts and artists were to be countenanced. The arts might amuse the young King’s solitary hours: authors might defend the measures of government, and were sure to pay for their pensions with incense, both to their passive and active protectors. The pedantry and artifice of these shallow views served but to produce ridicule. Augustus fell asleep over drawings and medals, which were pushed before him every evening; and Mæcenas had so little knowledge, and so little taste, that his own letters grew a proverb for want of orthography; and the scribblers he countenanced, were too destitute of talents to raise his character or their own. The coins of the King were the worst that had appeared for above a century; and the revenues of the Crown were so soon squandered in purchasing dependents, that architecture, the darling art of Lord Bute, was contracted from the erection of19 a new palace, to altering a single door-case in the drawing-room at St. James’s. Yet, his emissaries the Scotch were indefatigable in coining popular sayings and sentences for the King. It was given out that he would suffer no money to be spent on elections. Circumstances that recoiled with force, when every one of those aphorisms were contradicted by practice.

But the chief engine to conciliate favour was the King’s piety. The Princess, no doubt, intended it should be real, for she lived in dread of a mistress. But mankind was not inclined to think that her morals could have imprinted much devotion on the mind of her son: nor was any man the dupe of those professions but Secker, the Archbishop, who for the first days of the reign flattered himself with the idea of becoming first minister in a Court that hoisted the standard of religion. He was unwearied in attendance at St. James’s,20 and in presenting bodies of clergy; and his assiduity was so bustling and assuming, that having pushed aside the Duke of Cumberland to get at the King, his Royal Highness reprimanded him with a bitter taunt. The prelate soon discovered his mistake. Nor were the Princess or the Favourite inclined to trust the King in the hands of a Churchman, whom they knew so well, and whose sanctity was as equivocal as their own.

20 As far as could be discerned of the King’s natural disposition, it was humane and benevolent. If flowing courtesy to all men was the habit of his dissimulation, at least, it was so suited to his temper, that no gust of passion, no words of bitterness were ever known to break from him. He accepted services with grace and appearance of feeling: and if he forgot them with an unrestrained facility, yet he never marked his displeasure with harshness. Silence served him to bear with unwelcome ministers, or to part with them. His childhood was tinctured with obstinacy: it was adopted at the beginning of his reign, and called firmness; but did not prove to be his complexion. In truth, it would be difficult to draw his character in positive colours. He had neither passions nor activity. He resigned himself obsequiously to the government of his mother and Lord Bute: learned, and even entered with art into the lessons they inspired, but added nothing of his own. When the task was done, he relapsed into indifference and indolence, till roused to the next day’s part.21

The first gust of faction that threatened the new era, was an intended duel between the Earl of Albemarle22 and General George Townshend.23 A pamphlet21 was published against the latter,24 reflecting bitterly on the vanity with which he had assumed a principal share22 in the conquest of Quebec, though the honour of signing the capitulation had only fallen to him by the death of Wolfe and the wounds of Monckton; an23 honour so little merited, that he had done his utmost to traverse Wolfe’s plans. The pamphlet, too, set forth the justice of taking such freedom with a man whose ill-nature had seized every opportunity of ridiculing24 those he disliked by exhibiting their personal defects in caricatures, which he had been the first to apply to politics. His uncle the Duke of Newcastle, the Duke of Cumberland, and Mr. Fox, had been the chief objects of those buffoon satires. The pamphlet was certainly written under the direction of the last, and could not fail to be agreeable to the partizans of the second. It wounded so deeply, that Townshend, in the first blindness of his rage, concluded it came from the person he hated most and had most offended: that was the Duke of Cumberland: and as Lord Albemarle was the first favourite of his Royal Highness, thither Townshend addressed his resentment, though no man was less an author than the Earl. A challenge passed, was accepted, and prevented in time by Townshend’s want of caution.

On the 18th of November the Parliament met. Many Tories, though they had received no formal invitation, appeared at the Cockpit to hear the King’s speech read. It was composed, as usual, by Lord Hardwicke, was long and dull, and had received additions from Pitt. On the Address Beckford proposed to push the war with more vigour, the end of the last campaign having, he said, been languid. Pitt fired at this reproach from his friend, though certainly not levelled at him, and asked Beckford what new species of extravagance he wished for? The Address from Oxford had other objects in view. They boasted openly of their attachment to Monarchy. As all places were already filled with Whigs, the Court was forced to increase the establishment, in order to admit their devotees. The King’s Bedchamber received six or25 eight additional Grooms and seven Gentlemen. Most of the late King’s were continued; the King’s own were joined with them; the rest were taken from the Tories.

The Duke of Richmond,25 haughty and young, was offended that his cousin, Colonel Keppel,26 was removed from Gentleman of the Horse, which the King destined for one of his own servants. The Duke asked an audience; but began it with objecting to the distinction paid to Sir Henry Erskine.27 This so much disgusted, that the King would not hear the Duke on the subject of Keppel. On cooler thoughts, Lord Bute was sent to the Duke, to offer him to be of the King’s Bedchamber. He accepted it, on condition that Keppel should remain Gentleman of the Horse, which was likewise granted. But this pacification lasted few days. Lord Fitzmaurice,28 a favourite of Lord Bute, was made Equerry to the King; though inferior in military rank to Lord George Lenox29 and26 Charles Fitzroy,30 brothers of the Dukes of Richmond and Grafton. The latter31 had been of the Bedchamber to the King, when Prince, but had quitted it, from dislike of Court attendance, and disgusted with the haughty stateliness affected by Lord Bute. Richmond and Grafton were much of an age; each regarded himself as Prince of the Blood; and emulation soon created a sort of rivalship between them. The Duke of Richmond’s figure was noble, and his countenance singularly handsome. The Duke of Grafton was low, but manly, and with much grace in his address. The passions of both were strong, but of the first, ardent; of the latter, slow and inflexible. His temper was not happy; but the Duke of Richmond’s, which was thought worse, because more impetuous, was pliant, and uncommonly easy and accommodating in his family and society. Both were thought avaricious; but the latter very unjustly, generally approaching nearer to the opposite extreme of profusion. His parts, too, were quicker and more subtle than Grafton’s and more capable of application, though his elocution was much inferior. The Duke of Grafton had a grace and dignity in his utterance that commanded attention, and dazzled in lieu of matter; and his temper being shy and reserved, he was supposed27 to be endued with more steadiness than his subsequent conduct displayed. Neither of them wanted obstinacy; but their obstinacy not flowing from system, it was in both a torrent more impetuous in its course than in its duration.

The Duke of Grafton made a decent representation to the King, on the wrong done to his brother, and demanded rank for him. The other Duke carried a violent memorial, and commented on it in a manner, which some years afterwards he found had never been forgotten or forgiven. The next day he resigned the Bedchamber, but not his regiment. In a few days he repented this step, and went to Lord Bute to explain away his resignation, which, he said, might not be known. Lord Bute replied, all the world knew it. The Duke, thinking this coldness proceeded from a suspicion that he was influenced by Fox,32 his brother-in-law, disclaimed all connexion with him, and said, he had never approved his sister’s marriage. Lord Bute, who even then probably had views of Fox’s support, as a counterbalance to Pitt, replied, that Mr. Fox’s alliance could be a disgrace to no man; as he must always be of great use and weight in this country. Yet the Duke’s youth and frankness made him avow what he had said to Fox himself, in the presence of Lord Albemarle, who, though not much older, had far more worldly cunning, and no doubt reported the conversation to his master, the Duke of Cumberland;28 for Richmond and Albemarle, though first cousins, were no friends; and the latter possessed all the arts of a Court. The Duke, rebuffed by the Favourite, next consulted the Duke of Cumberland, who told him prudently, that he was sorry the Duke of Richmond, at twenty-three, had quarrelled with the King, at twenty-two; and advised him to retire into the country, which he did. The effects of these squabbles will appear hereafter, which made it proper to state them here.

The King’s revenue was settled and fixed to eight hundred thousand pounds a year, certain. In the late reign any overplus was to accrue to the Crown, but had ever produced so trifling an augmentation, that the present boasted restriction, which was often quoted as one great merit of the new Government, was not worth mentioning. It is true, this revenue was by no means ample, considering the large incumbrances with which it was loaded. The Duke of Cumberland’s annuity (exclusive of the parliamentary grant of twenty-five thousand pounds a year) was fifteen thousand pounds; Princess Amalie’s, twelve thousand. The King’s brothers were to be provided for out of it; so was a future Queen; and the Princess Dowager’s jointure was of fifty thousand pounds a year from the same fund. Yet, though her dower was so great—though she reduced her family, and lived in a privacy that exceeded economy, and though she had a third of the Dutchy of Cornwall, which produced four thousand pounds a year more, her passion for money was so great, that she obtained an additional annuity of29 ten thousand pounds a year from her son.33 The Electorate suffered for these exigences of the Crown. Whatever money could be drawn from thence was sunk in the privy purse, which was entirely under the direction of Lord Bute.

The Earl of Litchfield,34 a leader of the Tories, was added to the King’s Bedchamber, as the Earl of30 Oxford35 and Lord Bruce36 had been before, with the Scotch Earls of March37 and Eglinton.38 The Lord Viscount Middleton,39 an Irish Peer, was the first who in the House of Commons here broached a hint of jealousy against the channel in which Court favour seemed to flow. He was ridiculed for it by Charles Townshend; but the spirit of dissatisfaction had been infused into the former by the Duke of31 Newcastle, who openly censured the new partiality to the Tories. Partiality there was, but the grievance came with an ill grace from Newcastle, Stone,40 suspected for more than a Tory, had been placed by him as preceptor to the King; Lord Mansfield had been his bosom favourite; and to gratify that favourite, the extension of the Habeas Corpus had been prevented. To gain the Tories had been a prudent measure, but their principles were still more welcome to the Court than their votes. Having only votes to offer, and neither numbers nor abilities, they brought much discredit on their patron, and little strength to his assistance.

In Ireland the prospect was not more promising. By Poyning’s law the Privy Council of Ireland are to transmit hither all heads of bills, particularly of money-bills. This latter was omitted by the intrigues of the Primate, courting popularity. The bills were sent back, with a severe reprimand for the omission of a money-bill. Mr. Pitt alone took up the defence of the Irish Commons, and would not sign the message, which thirty-four others of the English Privy Council who were present signed. The King thanked the Duke of Bedford for supporting his prerogative, but the Privy Council of Ireland wrote angry letters to the Duke and his minister Rigby, telling them that they must not come into that Kingdom again. The Duke, a little before, had been challenged even in print by a mad Lord Clanrickard,41 whose letter being complained of by his Grace, the Council here ordered32 the Attorney-General to prosecute the Earl: Rigby,42 too, sent him a challenge, which he did not accept. The Lords Justices sent over a strong remonstrance in vindication of their conduct, and there the matter ended for the present; but in the beginning of the next year the Lords Justices renewed the attack on their Governor, and he and Rigby were burned in effigy. Mr. Pitt interposed, and prevailed to have a temperate memorial sent to the Justices, arguing the point with them, and to that he offered to set his little name, which was done. The Lords Justices submitted, but with threats from the Primate of resigning his part of the government. Nor yet did they send a new bill, but a plan for raising the money already voted. Lord Clanrickard, in answer to Rigby’s challenge, which had been printed and dispersed in Ireland, replied in print likewise, excusing his not appearing at Holyhead, the appointed rendezvous, on account of the prosecution directed against him, though the prosecution in date was subsequent to the challenge by two months. The Earl affirmed that he had proposed to Mr. Rigby a new place of meeting; but a year or two afterwards, on an accidental journey of Rigby to Ireland, the Earl seemed very glad that an interposition was made, and the quarrel accommodated. The ill-humour of the country, however, determined the Duke of Bedford to quit the Government, after having amply gratified his family and dependents with pensions. The Earl of Kildare, for taking no part in these divisions, was rewarded with a marquisate.

33 Foreign affairs fluctuated with their old vicissitude. The Russians and Austrians made themselves masters of Berlin, and treated it with more lenity than could be expected from such barbarians and incensed enemies. But they relinquished it in a few days; and before the close of the year the King’s fortune and arms recovered their lustre by a signal victory, which he gained in person near Torgau, over his great competitor in glory, Marshal Daun, who was wounded in the thigh, and carried from the field; a circumstance that did not impeach his fame, as the loss of the day was attributed to his absence.

Yet this victory, shining as it was, could not counterbalance the new spirit that was gone forth in England to the disparagement of the war. Lord Hardwicke had long distasted it; and under his countenance had been published a Tract, setting forth the burthen and ill-policy of our German measures. It was called Considerations on the German War; was shrewdly and ably written, and had more operation in working a change on the minds of men, than perhaps ever fell to the lot of a pamphlet.43 The author was34 one Mauduit, formerly a Dissenting teacher, and at that time a factor at Blackwell-hall. How agreeable his politics were to the interior of the Court, soon appeared by a place being bestowed on him by Lord Bute. Still, however, the Favourite left the contest to be managed by other hands; and he had acted wisely to have adhered to that plan. A new and formidable expedition had been preparing. Newcastle and Hardwicke had quitted the Council, because they could not prevail to have it laid aside. Yet it was postponed for some time. Pitt, in the House of Commons, taking notice of the pacific spirit that he saw arising, said, “Some are for keeping Canada; some, Guadaloupe; who will tell me which I shall be hanged for not keeping?”

On opening the ways and means for the ensuing year, George Grenville opposed the intended tax on ale and beer; the first overt act of his disagreement with Mr. Pitt.



New Promotions.—Pitt and Grenville.—Aggrandizement of Lord Bute.—His haughtiness.—Sir Henry Erskine, Home, and Worseley.—Debt to the Chancery of Hanover.—Secret Article in the Treaty with the Landgrave of Hesse.—Extravagance of the War.—New Tenure of the Judges.—Approaching general Election.—Flagrant Corruption.—Lord Bute appears more ostensibly in the character of Minister.—Mr. Pitt and Lord Holderness.—Injudicious Conduct of Lord Bute.—Ministerial Changes.—A strange Exaltation.—The Duke of Rutland.—Mr. Legge and the King.—General Conway.—Overtures by France for Peace.

The new year opened with promotions. The Lord Keeper Henley was made Lord Chancellor. Lord Denbigh,44 a creature of the Favourite, Master of the Harriers; and George Grenville45 was called to the Cabinet Council. Pitt had ever treated him with contempt, and little expected to find him vain or daring enough to enter the lists against him. Grenville’s conceit of himself was by no means measured by the standard of modesty. His ambition was equal to36 Pitt’s; and his plodding, methodic genius made him take the spirit of detail for ability. Avarice, which he possessed in no less proportion than his other passions, concurred to lead him from a master, who browbeat and treated him superciliously, to worship the rising sun. Lord Bute was in want of tools; and it was a double prize to acquire them from his rival’s shop.

But Fortune, had he known how to use her gifts, was kinder to the Favourite than his own politics. His wife’s father, old Wortley Montagu, died at this time, and left to her and her second son a fortune, that, at four per cent., was estimated at one million three hundred and forty thousand pounds. This was the third death within twelve months that happened to aggrandize Lord Bute. The decease of his uncle, the Duke of Argyle,46 left Scotland open to his power; and that of the late King put the Crown itself into his hands. The estate of his father-in-law was all he37 was qualified to enjoy. What could be expected from a boy47 locked up from the converse of mankind, governed by a mother still more retired, who was under the influence of a man that had passed his life in solitude, and was too haughty to admit to his familiarity but half a dozen silly authors and flatterers? Sir Henry Erskine,48 a military poet, Home,49 a tragedy-38writing parson, and Worseley,50 a rider of the great horse and architect, were his principal confidents. The nation was soon governed accordingly. And yet it was not the nation’s fault, if it did not receive the yoke even from this Junto!

No trouble was given to the Government by the old Parliament, which still subsisted, and continued to lend all facilities to the progress of the war. An estimate of three hundred thousand pounds due to the Chancery of Hanover, for forage for the use of Hanoverians, Prussians, and Hessians, was voted to be paid, without a division, though not without some comments. Sir Francis Dashwood, Cooke,51 Coventry,52 and Beckford53 opposed it. Coventry said with a sneer, he was glad so just a debt was demanded before the nation was bankrupt, and unable to discharge it. Beckford imputed the extravagance of the war (which indeed was notorious) to the Duke of Newcastle, who, he supposed, intended to overturn Mr. Pitt’s system, and prevent the continuation of the war, by the excess of the expense; and he commended the management of the Treasury during the short time in which it had39 been in the Duke of Devonshire’s hands. Legge54 defended the measure, and both Newcastle’s and Devonshire’s administrations. Pitt was confined with the gout, and not present.

In the last treaty with the Landgrave of Hesse, had been stipulated a secret article of indemnification to that country. Many sums had been allowed to them, to avoid the appearance in public of the article itself.40 Mr. Pitt had at once granted them sixty thousand pounds on that score. Yet now at last was Administration forced to lay before Parliament a demand of four hundred thousand pounds for indemnification to the Landgravate. Legge, who knew himself fallen into disgrace with Lord Bute, refused to make the motion, on which he received intimation that he must resign. Lord Winchelsea55 said, Legge had had more41 masters than any man in England, and had never left one with a character. Lord Barrington,56 therefore, made the demand. Beckford again declaimed on the extravagance of the war. Sir Francis Dashwood said, he had always disapproved the continental war, but would agree to vote the money, (which was a sum of two hundred and sixty thousand pounds for three years,) as we were bound by treaty to pay it; and he found fault with more authorities not being laid before Parliament. This money too was granted on March 6.

Three days before, the King had gone to Parliament, to desire that the places of the judges, which were held during the life of the Prince on the Throne, might be fixed to them for their own lives. This was one of Lord Bute’s strokes of pedantry. The tenure of the judges had formerly been a popular topic; and had been secured as far as was necessary. He thought this trifling addition would be popular now, when nobody thought or cared about it. When, not long afterwards, the advocates for the Court were puzzled to produce instances of favour to the constitution or to the cause of liberty, this boon to the judges was sounded high, and repeated in every panegyric.

Nothing more of note occurred in this session. All attention was engrossed by the approaching general election of a new Parliament. It had been propagated that the King had forbidden any money to be issued from42 the Treasury. Nothing was less true in fact, or proved less true in effect. Both the Court and particulars went greater lengths than in any preceding times. In truth, the corruption of electors met, if not exceeded, that of candidates. The borough of Sudbury was so shameless, as to advertise itself to the highest bidder.

But, preparatory to a new Parliament, and as an intimation to men under whom they should list, the Favourite determined to appear more ostensibly in the character of Minister. Accordingly, on the 12th of March, orders were suddenly sent to Lord Holderness to give up the seals of Secretary of State: the King adding, in discourse, that he had two secretaries, one (Mr. Pitt) who would do nothing, and the other (Lord Holderness) who could do nothing;57 he would have43 one, who both could and would. This was Lord Bute, to whom the Seals were immediately delivered. Subduing Europe was reckoned nothing, as the service was ungracious: and however low the talents of Lord Holderness deserved to be estimated, they did not suffer by comparison with those of his successor. Mr. Pitt resented the fall of his creature, but was sweetened by the offer of cofferer to James Grenville.58 Newcastle rejoiced, having been deserted by Holderness; but affected to be concerned: yet was not struck with the warning that this measure ought to have been to himself. Mr. Pitt felt it more sensibly, and would not part with Lord Temple, who might have been Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, but was necessary to him in the House of Lords, where his measures had no other champion. Lord Halifax was named to that great office; the Duke of Bedford refused to accept any post; but it was supposed had his eye on the Seals, which everybody expected disgust would soon oblige Mr. Pitt to resign.

Nothing could be more injudicious than this step taken by the Favourite. The conduct he ought to have pursued was obvious; which was, lying quiet, till some or all of a few events, most probable to happen, should have paved the way to his taking the reins. Newcastle was old, Mr. Pitt very infirm. Their deaths, or at least a rupture between them, would44 have delivered him from them; at least have constituted him umpire between them. Any sinister event of the war might have demolished Mr. Pitt’s popularity. Prudence, at least, should have dictated to Lord Bute to await the conclusion of the peace, which, however good, would have given a shock to Mr. Pitt’s credit, from the impossibility of contenting all mankind. But the Favourite was as impatient to have the honour of making that peace, as if he had intended to make it an honourable one. His thrusting himself into administration at the moment he did, was so preposterous, that most men thought him betrayed into it by malicious advice. The Duke of Bedford, to pay his court, and from desire of peace, certainly counselled it; but Newcastle, and Hardwicke too, were generally believed to have infused the same advice, with a view to his destruction; for while only Groom of the Stole, Lord Bute stood in no responsible place. This was the more likely, as what emoluments they obtained for their friends in the new shuffling of the cards, by no means compensated for the credit they lost by the appearance of this new star in the horizon of power.

The Duke of Rutland59 was named Groom of the Stole; Lord Sandys,60 First Lord of Trade, but upon the ancient footing; the West Indies, to please Mr. Pitt, being again put under the province of the Secretary45 of State. The Duke of Leeds61 was turned back to his old place of Justice in Eyre, in the room of Lord Sandys, but with an additional salary of a thousand pounds a year. Legge, who refused to resign, was dismissed; and Lord Barrington made Chancellor of the Exchequer; being succeeded by Charles Townshend62 as Secretary at War. Sir Francis Dashwood was made Treasurer of the Chambers. Elliot,63 another of Lord Bute’s court, succeeded James Grenville at the Board of Treasury. Lord Villiers64 and Thomas Pelham65 were placed in the Admiralty, as John Yorke, Lord Hardwicke’s fourth son, Rice,66 son-in-law of Lord Talbot, and Sir Edmund Thomas were at the Board of Trade. Mr. Spencer67 and Sir Richard Grosvenor (at46 the recommendation of Mr. Pitt) were created Viscounts; Sir Thomas Robinson,68 Sir Nathaniel Curzon,69 a rich Tory, Sir William Irby,70 chamberlain to the Princess, were made barons, along with Dodington,71 whose ambition still hovered about the Court, in which he was at last likely to have some lead, by his connexion with the Favourite. Nor did Lord Bath72 himself quit sight of the back-stairs, by which he obtained leave to hobble up to the King whenever he pleased.

But a phenomenon, that for some time occasioned more speculation than even the credit of the Favourite, was the staff of Lord Steward being put into the47 hands of Lord Talbot,73 with the addition of an earldom. As neither gravity, rank, interest, abilities, nor morals could be adduced to countenance this strange exaltation, no wonder it caused very unfavourable comments. This Lord had long affected a very free-spoken kind of patriotism on all occasions. He had some wit, and a little tincture of a disordered understanding; but was better known as a boxer and man of pleasure, than in the light of a statesman. The Duchess of——had been publicly divorced from her lord on his account; and was not the only woman of fashion who had lived with him openly as his mistress. He was strong, well made, and very comely; but with no air, nor with the manners of a man of quality. No wonder the promotion of such a minister, in a reign that advertised piety, strengthened the suspicions already entertained of the sincerity of the Court. It grew more comic still, when the new statesman appeared to be a reformer too. As the Court knew that the measures it had in contemplation could only be carried by money, every stratagem was48 invented to curtail the common expenses of the Palace. As these fell under the province of the Lord Steward, nothing was heard of but cooks cashiered, and kitchens shut up. Even the Maids of Honour, who did not expect rigours from a great officer of Lord Talbot’s complexion, were reduced to complain of the abridgement of their allowance for breakfast. The public joined in the cry, and the shops teemed with scandalous prints against the reformer and his patroness.

The Duke of Rutland was not pleased with the office of Groom of the Stole, which had fewer employments in its disposal, and which was therefore given to Lord Holderness; but the very next day the Duke was appointed Master of the Horse, from whence Lord Huntingdon74 was removed to be Groom of the Stole; and Lord Holderness was laid aside with a large pension, and the reversion of the Cinque Ports after the Duke of Dorset. Lady Bute was created a baroness, that her son might inherit an English peerage.

When Legge resigned his Seal, he lamented being under his Majesty’s displeasure, but said his future life49 should testify his zeal. The King replied, he was glad to hear him say so; nothing but his future life could eradicate the ill impressions he had received of him. His disgrace was owing to his not having seconded the Favourite’s views in the late reign, when Lord Bute had been desirous of bringing a Jacobite friend into Parliament for Hampshire, of which more will be said hereafter.75

General Conway76 was sent to command in Germany under Lord Granby. The Bedford faction opposed it, in favour of General Waldegrave,77 who had served there during the whole war, upon the supposition that Lord Granby would come to England, and that Waldegrave might succeed him, Mostyn78 not being equal50 to the charge. Conway obtained to be sent, but without a certain promise of replacing Lord Granby,79 though the King said Conway was a man of abilities, character, sense, and prudence, such as was greatly wanted there. France at this time made earnest overtures for peace.



Thanks of the House of Commons to Mr. Onslow, their Speaker.—His Character.—Sir John Philipps.—Mr. Legge.—Mr. More, of Shrewsbury.—Mr. Onslow’s retirement.—His last address to the House.—Lord Bath’s Pamphlet.—Solicitations by France for Peace.—Mr. Pitt disinclined to negotiate.—Expedition against Belleisle.—Mr. Pitt’s obstinacy.—Lord Bute’s Faction.—Mr. Pitt and the Duke of Bedford.—Negotiation for Peace.—Monsieur de Bussy.—Mr. Stanley.—Death of Archibald Duke of Argyle, and of Hoadley, Bishop of Winchester.—Character of those Personages.—Their Successors.

The last day of the session, March 18th, was fixed for returning the thanks of the House of Commons to Mr. Onslow, their Speaker, who had filled the chair with unblemished integrity during the whole long reign of George the Second, and who had the prudence to quit the scene before his years and growing infirmities made him a burthen to himself and the public.80 No man had ever supported with more firmness the privileges of the House, nor sustained the dignity of his office with more authority. His knowledge of the Constitution equalled his attachment to it. To the Crown he behaved with all the decorum of respect, without sacrificing his freedom of speech. Against encroachments of the House of52 Peers he was an inflexible champion. His disinterested virtue supported him through all his pretensions; and though to conciliate popular favour he affected an impartiality that by turns led him to the borders of insincerity and contradiction—and though he was so minutely attached to forms, that it often made him troublesome in affairs of higher moment, it will be difficult to find a subject whom gravity will so well become, whose knowledge will be so useful and so accurate, and whose fidelity to his trust will prove so unshaken.

Sir John Philipps81 moved the address of thanks to him for his great services, but so wretchedly, that the sensibility the House showed on the occasion flowed only from their hearts, not from any impression made on them by the eloquence of their spokesman. Legge seconded the motion with his usual propriety and brevity, and commended retreat, God knows with what sincerity! Others threw in their word of panegyric; and Mr. More, of Shrewsbury, an old and acute member, proposed to erect a statue to the Speaker’s memory, with great encomiums on the authority with which he had formerly kept in order such men as then filled the Treasury-bench and composed the Opposition, naming among the former Sir Robert Walpole and Mr. Pelham, the latter of whom, he said, had53 the honour of dying a Commoner. More was a Whig of the primitive stamp, and though attached to Sir Robert Walpole, had withstood, and by the force of his honest abilities had defeated, the intended clemency of that Minister to some attainted Jacobite families with respect to their estates. He had long abstained from Parliament, returned to it without his former success, and now appeared there for the last time.

Henry Archer82 proposed to address the Crown to bestow a pecuniary reward on the Speaker’s services. Sir John Philipps replied, he knew that was intended; as it was; an annuity of two thousand pounds a year to him and his son. Sir George Saville approved the reward, but desired the Commons, not the Crown, might have the merit of bestowing it. Velters Cornwall made one of his absurd, ill-natured speeches, which the House was always so kind as to take for humour, teazing the Speaker under pretence of complimenting him; while the good old man sat overpowered with gratitude, and weeping over the testimonies borne to his virtue. He rose at last, and closed his public life in the most becoming manner; neither over-acting modesty, nor checking the tender sensibility which he necessarily felt at quitting the darling occupation of his life. His thanks to the House for their patient sufferance of his errors, and for their gracious acceptance of his endeavours to serve them, were shortly, but cogently, expressed; and his voice, and the tears he could not restrain, spoke still more forcibly how much his soul was agitated by54 laudable emotions. He begged to have the address spared, as he would accept nothing for himself, though he would not prejudice his family. He was going, he said, into the most close and obscure retreat, where he should want little; and he concluded with a pathetic prayer for the perpetuity of the Constitution. Sir John Philipps desired that what he had uttered might be inserted in the votes. The Speaker protested he could not remember his own words, but the House insisted, as Cornwall and Sir George Saville did on the address, to which the Speaker at last acquiesced, and it was voted. He ended with saying this was the greatest day and the greatest honours ever known, for they could only be conferred by a free nation.83

The next day the Parliament was prorogued, then dissolved, and a new one chosen.

In this month was published a pamphlet called “Seasonable Hints from an Honest Man on the present Crisis.” The author, and some of the doctrines it broached—not any merit in the composition—make it memorable. It was written by Lord Bath,84 who having surprised the King into a promise of the Lord-Lieutenancy of Shropshire, was opposed by the Duke of Newcastle, who supported Lord Powis.85 The pamphlet, therefore, warmly attacked his Grace, taxed him with his cabals and resignation in the last rebellion, and it defended the measure of admitting the Tories to a participation of power. In general, the55 language of the pamphlet was that of the Court, who conducted themselves by the advice bequeathed by Lord Bolingbroke, who had, and with truth, assured the late Prince of Wales, that the Tories would be the heartiest in the support of prerogative. The censure passed on pensions was not equally flattering to the Court, the new reign having already bestowed them profusely. Yet much the book vaunted the King’s declaration against corruption in elections, which had gone no farther than to undermine the Duke of Newcastle’s influence. The private Junto was impatient to conclude the peace, that they might prosecute the intended war on the old ministry at home, the established harmony being solely produced by the war, as had often been the case at Rome. A few pedantic examples were the sum of Lord Bute’s knowledge; yet his partizans affected to celebrate the care he had taken of the King’s education. A well-founded panegyric on a man who was deficient in the orthography of his own language! The King had had able preceptors: the Bishop of Norwich86 was a scholar; the Bishop of Salisbury87 not deficient. Stone and Scott had taste and knowledge. Lord Waldegrave, for forming a King, was not to be matched. It proved, indeed, that his Majesty had learned nothing, but what a man, who knew nothing, could teach him.

About the end of March, France renewed the most pressing solicitations for peace. They frankly avowed the distress of their affairs; for they did not apprehend56 hard-heartedness in the new Court. Augsburgh they proposed for the place of congress, or any other town the King should name, professing they would treat vis-à-vis du Roi de la Grande Brétagne; for which purpose they offered to send a minister hither, where, too, might be one from the King of Prussia: the ministers of their allies should assemble at Paris. The two Empresses, they said, were grown more moderate in their demands; and for their own part, they talked of yielding to us all Canada. So much ear was given to these overtures, that the Earl of Egremont88 and Sir Joseph Yorke89 were named to go to the Congress. But so little was this measure to the inclination of Mr. Pitt, that he prosecuted with unusual warmth an expedition he had meditated against Belleisle; a conquest of so little value, and so inadequate to the expense with which it was attended, that the plan was by many believed calculated solely to provoke the Court of France, and break off the negotiation. France was more surprised than concerned at this attack. Sir Edward Hawke had lain before it for two years, when there were not five hundred men on the island, without57 attempting it. Now they had had time to fortify it, we persisted in the conquest. Both Hawke and Boscawen90 earnestly dissuaded the enterprise. Yet Pitt was obdurate; and the island was taken at last by the beginning of June, after an enormous waste of money, and the loss of some men. There fell Sir William Williams, a gallant and ambitious young man, who had devoted himself both to war and politics. The island is a barren rock; and it was only to humour Mr. Pitt, that France, in the succeeding negotiations, condescended to treat it as an object of the smallest importance.

The indecent and injudicious precipitation with which the Favourite’s faction hurried towards peace, justified any steadiness Mr. Pitt could exert to keep the balance where he had placed it, in our own hands. Newcastle and Hardwicke, either not perceiving the symptoms of their own fall, or hoping to ward off the evil hour, truckled to the Favourite’s views. The Duke of Bedford (who in his heart admired Pitt, but was made to hate him by Rigby, at the instigation of Fox, and inflamed by the coldness with which Pitt had listened to the representations made by his Grace, on the opposition to him in Ireland) was, avowedly, pacific; and all of them seemed united against the warlike minister. Lord Talbot went so far as to press the dismission of him. But it was Lord Bute’s nature to provoke first, before he offended. Gallitzin, the Russian minister, was reprimanded by him for carrying58 the proposition of peace to Mr. Pitt, instead of to him; though it had been usual, while Lord Holderness held the Seals, for the foreign ministers in his department to address themselves to the effective minister. Mr. Pitt’s temper, soured by these associations and contradictions, broke out first against the Duke of Newcastle. At a great council held on the 23rd of April, Mr. Pitt, who had been wont to affirm, that too much could not be spent on the war in Germany, made severe complaint of the extravagance in the management of it; and imputed it to the fault of our commissaries, that Prince Ferdinand had been disabled from making greater progress there. Himself, he said, within six months, would move for an inquiry into the conduct of the war. The Duke of Bedford took up the contrary side with warmth, and made a speech that was much admired; and so little attention was paid to the views of Mr. Pitt, that it was settled Mr. Stanley91 and Monsieur de Bussy should be exchanged to conduct the negotiation. Bussy was an Abbé of parts, who had formerly resided here as minister,92 and had given much offence to the late King whom he treated59 so impertinently, that the King, asking him one day in the circle, “Ce qu’il y avoit de nouveau à Paris?” Bussy replied with contemptuous familiarity, “Sire, il y gêle.” He had again been imposed on that Prince, when the French dictated to him a neutrality for Hanover. Bussy was not likely to be so presumptuous now. Yet France, trusting to our pusillanimous impatience for peace, had the confidence to demand, that the man-of-war that carried over Stanley should bring back Bussy. But Mr. Pitt was yet minister; the proposal was rejected; and it was settled that Stanley and Bussy should be at Dover and Calais on the 22nd.

Before the departure of Stanley, it was agitated in Council, whether he should be entrusted with full powers. Mr. Pitt, who had named Stanley from opinion of his abilities, though at that time disunited from him and gone over to Newcastle, confided in this nomination, and thought it would leave himself master of the negotiation, if Stanley, who by being at Paris was in his department, were charged with conclusive powers; for which, therefore, Pitt and Lord Temple pleaded. But Bute, and the rest of the Council, who chose not to let the negotiation pass out of their own hands, prevailed to have Stanley’s instructions limited.

During these discussions died two considerable men, Archibald Duke of Argyle, and Hoadley Bishop of Winchester. The character of the former93 has60 been sufficiently set forth in my preceding Memoirs. The last will be known by his writings, and as long as a Churchman, combating for the liberties of mankind, shall be an unusual phenomenon.94 Argyle had the lowest opinion of his nephew, Lord Bute, who he had foretold would rush into power without having formed a plan. The nephew had in truth too little capacity, and too much presumption, to let himself be guided by so shrewd a relation, though the uncle would not have been obdurate if proper deference had been paid to his oracle. The last effort of this great Lord’s power in Scotland had miscarried. The city of Edinburgh had recurred, as usual, to his nomination for the election of their representative; that is, of thirty-three electors, twenty-two still acknowledged their ancient61 dictator. He named Forester, an able Scottish counsellor, but always resident in England. Six days before the election such violent papers were dispersed against Forester, as too much an Englishman, that the City did not dare to put him in nomination, but were forced to choose their own Provost. How much did Scotland afterwards resent parallel nationalities, when exercised against them!

The Marquis of Tweedale95 succeeded the Duke of Argyle, as Chief Justiciary; and Bishop Thomas, of Salisbury, the King’s former preceptor, was made Bishop of Winchester. Drummond,96 of St. Asaph, whom Newcastle had destined to Winchester, succeeded. Thomas Earl Powis was made Comptroller of the Household on the death of Lord Edgcumbe.97



Solemn and unusual Summons of the Council.—Announcement of the King’s intended Marriage with the Princess of Mecklenberg Strelitz.—The Princess Dowager’s aversion to her Son’s Marriage.—The King’s attachment to Lady Sarah Lenox.—Schemes of Mr. Fox.—Remarkable Speech of the King to Lady Susan Strangways.—Frustration of Fox’s Intrigues.—Colonel Graeme despatched to Germany to select a Queen.—The King’s deference to his mother, and acceptance of the Bride she had chosen.—Lady Sarah Lenox.—Serious Crisis in the Cabinet.—Lofty Conduct of Mr. Pitt.—His Draught for a Treaty with France.—Reception of this by the other Ministers.—Arrival of the new Queen.—Her mental and personal Characteristics.—Anecdotes.—Disposal of the vacant Bishopricks.—Lord Talbot.—Coronation Squabbles.—Sir William Stanhope’s bitter Speech against the Scotch.—Lord Talbot and the Barons of the Cinque Ports.

While the attention of mankind hung on the negotiation, the King’s messengers were suddenly sent forth to all Privy Councillors to meet at one o’clock, at St. James’s, July 8th, on urgent and important business. The business itself was an absolute secret. Every body concluded that so solemn and unusual a summons of the Council was to give fuller sanction to peace. How great was the general surprise when they heard his Majesty had convened this assembly to notify his intended marriage with the Princess of Mecklenberg Strelitz! A resolution taken and conducted with so much mystery, that till that hour perhaps63 not six men in England knew such a princess existed.

It has been mentioned with what aversion the Princess Dowager had opposed a marriage projected by the late King between his heir apparent and a very accomplished Princess of Brunswick. A wife for her son, not chosen by herself nor obliged to her, by no means suited the views of the Princess. Could she have chained up his body, as she fettered his mind, it is probable she would have preferred his remaining single. A mistress would have been more tremendous than a wife. The next brother, the Duke of York, was not equally tractable, had expressed little reverence for his mother, and much antipathy to her favourite. If the King should die and leave even an infant, a minority did not deprive the Princess of all prospect of protracting her rule.

But there had happened circumstances still more pressing, more alarming. The King was fallen in love with Lady Sarah Lenox, sister of the Duke of Richmond; a very young lady of the most blooming beauty, and shining with all the graces of unaffected, but animated nature. What concurred to make her formidable to the mother and Favourite, was, her being under the tutorage of Mr. Fox, her eldest sister’s98 husband; and in truth, she and her family spared no assiduity to fix the young monarch’s heart. And though Fox would probably not have been scrupulous or delicate on the terms of cementing that union, the King’s overtures were so encouraging, that Fox’s64 views extended even to placing the young lady on the throne. Early in the winter, the King told Lady Susan Strangways,99 Mr. Fox’s niece, and the confidant of Lady Sarah, that he hoped she (Lady Susan) would not go out of town soon. She said, she should. “But,” replied the King, “you will return in summer, for the coronation?” Lady Susan answered, “I do not know; I hope so.” “But,” said the King again, “they talk of a wedding. There have been many proposals; but I think an English match would do better than a foreign one. Pray, tell Lady Sarah Lenox I say so.” The next time Lady Sarah went to Court (and her family took care that should not be seldom) the King said, “he hoped Lady Susan had told her his last conversation.”

The Junto was not blind to these whispers and dialogues. Lady Bute was instructed to endeavour to place herself in the circle, and prevent them. And the Princess Augusta marked her observation of what was going forward to Lady Sarah herself, laughing in her face, and trying to affront her. But Fox was not to be so rebuffed. Though he went himself to bathe in the sea (possibly to disguise his intrigues), he left Lady Sarah at Holland House,100 where she appeared every morning in a field close to the great road (where the King passed on horseback) in a fancied habit, making hay.

Such mutual propensity fixed the resolution of the Princess. One Colonel Graeme was despatched in the65 most private manner as a traveller, and vested with no character, to visit various little Protestant Courts, and make report of the qualifications of the several unmarried Princesses. Beauty, and still less, talents, were not, it is likely, the first object of his instructions. On the testimony of this man, the golden apple was given to the Princess of Mecklenburg; and the marriage precipitately concluded. The ambassador was too remarkable not to be farther mentioned. This Graeme, then, was a notorious Jacobite, and had been engaged in the late rebellion. On a visit he made to Scotland, his native country, after this embassy, David Hume, the historian, said to him, “Colonel Graeme, I congratulate you on having exchanged the dangerous employment of making Kings, for the more lucrative province of making Queens.”

So complete was the King’s deference to the will of his mother, that he blindly accepted the bride she had chosen for him; though, to the very day of the council, he carried on his courtship to Lady Sarah; and she did not doubt of receiving the crown from him, till she heard the public declaration of its being designed for another. Yet, in confirmation of the trust he had reposed in Lady Susan Strangways, himself appointed Lady Sarah to be one of the bridemaids to the Queen. Yet Lord Bute’s friends affected to give another turn to the story; and insisted that the King had never thought of Lady Sarah but for his mistress. All, they affirmed, he had said to Lady Susan was, to bid her ask Lady Sarah if she should like a place in the family of the new Queen; that she had accepted it; and that the King had destined her to be Mistress66 of the Robes. Her surprise and disappointment, however, were too strongly marked to make this legend credible. Lady Susan adhered to the truth of what she had reported, in various examinations by her father and uncle. And the resentment Lady Sarah expressed, and which caused, as the Court said, her not being placed about the new Queen, was proof enough on which side the truth lay. The Junto persuaded the King she was a bad young woman; but if she was, what hindered her becoming his mistress? Was it criminal to propose being his wife rather than his mistress? And what became of the King’s boasted piety, if he intended to place his mistress about his wife? Some coquet attempts, which Lady Sarah afterwards made to recover his notice, and her stooping to bear the Queen’s train as bridemaid, did her more prejudice than all that was invented against her. Pique and extreme youth might excuse both; and her soon after preferring a clergyman’s son to several great matches, gave evidence that ambition was not a rooted passion in her.

In my own opinion, the King had thoughts of her as a wife; but wanted resolution to oppose his mother and Lord Bute. Fortunately, no doubt, in this instance; for the daughter of a subject, and the sister-in-law of so ambitious and exceptionable a man as Fox, would probably have been productive of most serious consequences. To avoid returning to this topic, I will only remember, that during the wedding-service, on mention of Abraham and Sarah, the King could not conceal his confusion. And the day following, when everybody was presented to the Queen, Lord Westmoreland,10167 old and dimsighted, seeing Lady Sarah in the rich habit of bridemaid, mistook her for Queen, and was going to kneel and kiss her hand.

But while the arrival of the Queen was expected, and the approaching ceremonies of the wedding and coronation engrossed the attention of the public, affairs grew towards a serious crisis in the Cabinet. Prince Ferdinand had opened the campaign with vivacity and advantage, driving the French before him, and seizing, or reducing them to destroy great part of their magazines; a success that enabled him to form the sieges of Ziegenhayn and Cassel. Marshal Broglio was not disheartened or inactive; but re-assembling his dispersed troops, he attacked the Hereditary Prince, and routed the body under his command; in consequence of which the sieges were raised, and Prince Ferdinand retired, abandoning the whole country of Hesse to the enemy. This advantage, it was apprehended, would make France less eager for peace.68 Yet she continued the negotiation with much appearance of warmth; and though she was far from bringing all the facilities our Court wished for, the conclusion of the treaty seemed to be rather impeded by the loftiness and firmness of Mr. Pitt, than by the insincerity of France. Still, as it afterwards appeared, she had secret resources in reserve; nor could she fail to hope but Mr. Pitt might be displaced, and her condition mended, when the administration should fall into the hands of men whose honour was not so much concerned in the event of the war, and who had national honour much less at heart. The transactions have been printed, and will appear in every common history. My part is to relate by what steps and intrigues the negotiation was broken off.

In the end of August, the council had ordered their ultimate concessions to be drawn and sent to France. Mr. Pitt made the draught and carried it to Council. The other ministers thought it spoke his sense, not theirs; or rather, contained more of an ultimatum than they were disposed to adhere to. In defence of his own inflexibility, Mr. Pitt spoke largely on the haughtiness of France.

Lord Hardwicke102 said he approved our not submitting to their haughtiness, and congratulated his country in not having been behind hand with them in that respect. Lord Granville103 took the draught, and applauded it exceedingly; said it deserved to be inserted in the Acta Regia; but for his part he did not love fine69 letters on business. He thought even bad Latin preferable to good in negotiations.

These speeches raised Pitt’s choler; and with reason. He had vindicated the honour of his country; and now was supporting it with a dignity it had never known since the days of Cromwell. He saw himself abandoned and ridiculed by his master’s ministers; but he was not a man to recoil before such adversaries. If he had assumed an unwarrantable tone, his situation might well justify it. He broke out with great asperity, and told them dictatorially, they should not alter an iota of the letter. Rhodomontade had been too favourite a figure with Lord Granville to leave him the dupe of it in another man. He himself had made glory but a step to ambition, instead of making ambition a footstool to glory. He neither admired Pitt’s exalted diction, nor exalted views; and continuing to canvass the point with him, said, he had understood from Bussy—“From Bussy,” interrupted Pitt; “nor you, nor any of you shall treat with Bussy: nobody shall but myself.”

The Duke of Bedford, whom the rest always summoned when they wanted to combat Pitt and did not dare, said, “he did not know why he was called to council, if he was not at liberty to debate; and since he was told they were not to be permitted to alter an iota, he would come thither no more,” and retired. Some of the others were less stout. Lord Bute said little, but that he thought the King’s honour was concerned in sticking to our own terms; and therefore he should be for adhering to them. This short turn in the Favourite produced a like sentiment in some70 who waited on his nod. Besides Mr. Pitt and Lord Temple, the Chancellor, Lord Halifax, and Lord Ligonier assented to the Favourite’s opinion; Hardwicke, Newcastle, Mansfield, and Granville adhered to the softer method. The Duke of Devonshire remained, who had uttered no opinion. At last he said, if they were not permitted to alter the draught of the letter (which implied his inclination to have it altered), he should give no opinion. Mr. Pitt asked what he should report to the King as his Grace’s advice? He replied as he had said before, “he would give no opinion.”

Newcastle was alarmed, and jealous of the sudden and unexpected turn Lord Bute had taken, but was soon satisfied by his Lordship that he was in no connection with Mr. Pitt; and, indeed, it is probable that he had only been overawed, and had apprehended being taxed by Pitt with any unpopular measure. On the 25th, another council was held, to which, notwithstanding his declaration, the Duke of Bedford returned. He and Devonshire seemed to have no concern but lest any wayward humour of Newcastle should be crossed. Pitt at this council was more temperate, and submitted to some small concessions.

On the 7th of September, the new Queen landed at Harwich. Lord Harcourt,104 whose peace had been made by Lord Talbot, had been sent to fetch her, with the Duchesses of Ancaster105 and Hamilton;106 but71 as an earnest of the prison prepared for her, and to keep her in that state of ignorance which was essential to the views of the Princess, they were forbidden to see her alone. Her mother, who died during the treaty of marriage, ordered her to put herself entirely into the hands of the Princess. Mrs. Katherine Dashwood,107 of a Jacobite family, and intimate of Lady Bute, was destined to live in the palace. No privy purse was allowed to the Queen, but Mr. Stone108 received twenty thousand pounds a year to pay her servants.

She had been educated in that strict course of piety, which in Germany reaches to superstition; a habit in which she was encouraged to such a degree, that when the King visited his mother, which he soon, at the desire of the Princess, began to do, without the Queen, she was afraid of staying alone, and retired to her two German women; her English ladies not being72 suffered to keep her company. Yet this weakness seemed solely the result of a bad education. Her temper appeared to be lively, and her understanding sensible and quick. Great good-nature, set off by much grace in her manner, recommended all she said. Her person was small, and very lean, but well made. Her face pale and homely, her nose something flat, her mouth very large. Her hair was of a fine brown, and her countenance pleasing.

When first she saw the palace she trembled. The Duchess of Hamilton smiled. The Queen said, “You may laugh; you have been married twice; but it is no joke to me.” The King received her in the garden of St. James’s; she would have kneeled, but he raised and embraced her, and led her to the Princess, where they and Lady Augusta dined together. Between nine and ten at night they went to chapel. The Duke of Cumberland gave her away; and after the ceremony they appeared for a few minutes in the drawing-room, and then went to supper. She played and sung, for music was her passion, but she loved other amusements too, and had been accustomed to them; but excepting her music, all the rest were retrenched; nor was she109 ever suffered to play at cards, which she loved. While she was dressing, she was told the King liked some particular manner of dress. She said, “Let him dress himself; I shall dress as I please.” They told her he liked early hours; she replied, she did not, and “qu’elle ne voulait pas se coucher avec les poules.” A few weeks taught her73 how little power she had acquired with a Crown. The affection she conceived for the King softened the rigour of her captivity. Yet now and then a sigh stole out, and now and then she attempted, though in vain, to enlarge her restraint. What must have penetrated deeper, was, that policy did not seem to be the sole motive of the mortifications she endured. At times there entered a little wantonness of power into the Princess’s treatment of her. The King made her frequent presents of magnificent jewels; and as if diamonds were empire, she was never allowed to appear in public without them. The first time she received the sacrament, she begged not to wear them, one pious command of her mother having been, not to use jewels at her first communion. The King indulged her; but Lady Augusta carrying this tale to her mother, the Princess obliged the King to insist on the jewels, and the poor young Queen’s tears and terrors could not dispense with her obedience.

Previous to the Coronation the vacant Bishopricks were bestowed. The Archbishoprick of York was given to Dr. Drummond;110 and Hayter111 of Norwich,74 who had been disgraced with Lord Harcourt, was, by the interest of the same patron, Lord Talbot, promoted to the See of London. Newcastle vehemently opposed it, and solicited for Thomas of Lincoln,112 but received this thundering sentence from Lord Bute:—“If Thomas is such a favourite with your Grace, why did not you prefer him when you had the power?” The Duke, however, obtained the mitre of Norwich for Dr. Yonge; and being bidden to observe that the King’s answer to the address of Oxford on his marriage was kinder than that to Cambridge, he replied, it is true; but two of the new Bishops are Cambridge men—so easily did he comfort himself even with the shadow of power!

Here ended, almost as soon as it began, the credit of Lord Talbot. He was sometimes well, sometimes ill with Lord Bute, and though remaining in favour at Court, never seemed to have any influence there. A trifling circumstance, because it occasioned an event that made much noise afterwards, must be mentioned.75 As Lord Steward, Lord Talbot composed part of that ridiculous pageant at the coronation, the entry of the Champion. So fond was Lord Talbot of his share in this mummery, that he rehearsed his part on his steed in Westminster-hall, and carried his new Bishop of London to be witness of his feats. The Duke of York calling Hayter, who was lame, up to the haut pas, which he ascended with difficulty, the Bishop said, “You see, sir, how hard it is for me to get a step.” When the day came, Lord Talbot piqued himself on not turning his back to the King, and produced a strange hubbub of laughter by trying to force his horse to retire backwards out of the hall. With the City, with the Knights of the Bath, and the Barons of the Cinque Ports, Lord Talbot had various squabbles, by retrenching their tables at the coronation. Beckford told him it was hard if the citizens should have no dinner, when they were to give the King one, which would cost them ten thousand pounds. This menace prevailed. Sir William Stanhope, brother of Lord Chesterfield, a man of not less wit, and of more ill-nature than his elder, said, “It was an affront to the Knights of the Bath; for some of us,” added he, “are gentlemen.” It was a more bitter speech he made against the Scotch and their Protectress. “He would not go to Court,” he said, “for fear of the itch, which would reduce him to go to the Princess’s Court for brimstone.” To the Barons of the Cinque Ports Lord Talbot said, “If they came to him as Lord Steward, their request could not be granted; if, as Lord Talbot, he was a match for any of them.” This boisterous76 and absurd behaviour drew aside much odium from the Favourite; but as puppet-shows were not exhibited every day, the zany was forgotten, and the hisses of the mob soon fastened on the principal performer.



Interposition of Spain in behalf of France.—The Duke of Bedford and Bussy.—Mr. Pitt’s indignation at the demands of Spain.—Resignation of Mr. Pitt and Lord Temple.—Exultation of Lord Bute and other Ministers.—Lord Talbot’s advice to the Duke of Newcastle.—Effect on the Nation of Mr. Pitt’s Secession from the Cabinet.—His acceptance of a Peerage for his wife, and of a pension.—Insidious conduct of the Court.—Mr. Pitt’s Successors in Office.—George Grenville.—Injudicious Conduct of Mr. Pitt.—Address to him from the Common Council of London, and from Provincial Towns.—Mrs. Anne Pitt’s sarcasm against her brother.—Meeting of Parliament.—Choice of a Speaker.—Sir John Cust.—The King’s Speech.—The Address.—Lord Temple’s Speech.—The King and Royal Family dine in the City with the Lord Mayor.—Mr. Pitt’s reception in Guildhall.—Riots.

It was not without reason that the nation took an alarm, when almost all who conducted our affairs were determined to take none. Spain for some time had interposed officiously in behalf of France, which, said the Spaniards, was sufficiently humbled, and must not be ruined. It was known that they had furnished her with money; and, as if they sought an open breach with us, they demanded for all Spain the same privilege as Biscay and two other provinces enjoyed, of fishing on the coasts of Newfoundland. This was peremptorily refused; and had Mr. Pitt’s influence been equal to his spirit, Lord Bristol113 had been immediately78 recalled from Madrid. But the other ministers, who desired nothing better than an excuse for their pusillanimity, begged to temporize. They pretended to dread being overpowered, but were more afraid of a new field being opened to success. The Spanish ministers of the French faction had blown up their opinionative and ignorant Prince114 with ideas of holding the balance between England and France: but the old Spaniards lamented a system so abhorrent from the true interest of their country. The King of Spain was possessed with a notion that his lights were equal to his grandeur. He listened, or thought he listened, to no advice: but if anything is more fatal to a nation than a foolish indolent Prince, it is a foolish one that is active and obstinate. Our ministers cried out against a war with Spain as unnatural; but when the interest of Spain did not direct Spain, were we to act as if it did? The Duke of Bedford, who, like Don Carlos, could be made to take half of what he meant for the whole, was clamorous against a Spanish war; and as he always compensated for the arguments he leaped over, by excess on the other side, he told Bussy he was sorry for his departure, as we were no longer in a situation to make war.115

Bussy, however, still lingered, and invented frivolous excuses to palliate his delay. Lord Hardwicke, considering a treaty in the light of a bill in Chancery, begged some binding words might be inserted in the79 treaty. But Mr. Pitt had fixed his resolution. It was by one bold stroke to assert the honour of his country, or to quit the rudder. He insisted that a fleet of twelve or fourteen men-of-war should be instantly sent to Cadiz; and that Lord Bristol should be ordered to demand a sight of the treaty between Spain and France; and if not accorded, to leave Madrid without delay. When Spain had given such indications of her partiality to France, nothing could be more justifiable than this measure. But Spain had not restrained herself within the bounds of favour. In the midst of the negotiation between us and France, to which Spain pretended to offer herself as guarantee, she had committed a most flagrant and unheard-of instance of taking part, nay, of adding herself as a party to the grievances complained of. Bussy, tolerated here as a negotiator, and without even a character from his own Court, presented to Mr. Pitt a cavalier note in the name of Spain, demanding restitution of some prizes we had made on Spain during the war, satisfaction for the violation of their territory by the navy of England, liberty of fishery on Newfoundland, and destruction of our settlements on the Spanish territory, in the bay of Honduras. A power in amity with us, and affecting to act as mediator, selects our enemy’s agent to convey their complaints!—what could surpass this insult?—the patience of our ministers under such indignity—not of Mr. Pitt. He replied with the majesty of the Crown he served,—the vengeance of that Crown slept in other hands.

His hands tied, the nation affronted, and duped by the partial breaking off of the treaty with France, no80 proper resentment permitted against Spain, Mr. Pitt found he could do no farther good. His character had been lost by acquiescence; and nothing could rouse the nation, but his quitting the sphere of business, where he was so treacherously controlled. He had desired to enter his protest in the council books against the temporizing advice of his colleagues. He and Lord Temple delivered to the King their reasons and advice for a war with Spain; and October 2nd Mr. Pitt took leave of the Council, thanking the ministers of the late King for the support they had given to the war; and on the fifth he resigned the Seals. Lord Temple quitted on the ninth following.

It is difficult to say which exulted most on this occasion, France, Spain, or Lord Bute, for Mr. Pitt was the common enemy of all three. Newcastle, Hardwicke, Bedford, Devonshire, Mansfield and Fox were not less pleased,116 for they had all concurred to81 thwart his plan. Lord Talbot alone, though of the same faction, seemed to see farther than any of them.82 He advised the Duke of Newcastle, “not to die for joy on the Monday, nor for fear on the Tuesday.”

The nation was thunderstruck, alarmed, and indignant. The City of London proposed to address the King to know why Mr. Pitt was dismissed? but it being replied, that the King would tell them he had not dismissed Mr. Pitt, but had wished him to continue in employment, the motion dropped. Some proposed a general mourning; others, more reasonable, to thank Mr. Pitt for his services; but this too was damped; for the Favourite’s agents were not idle, and insinuated that Mr. Pitt had acted with mischievous views; for they who were incapable of great views, were excellent in undermining. The King was advised to heap rewards on his late minister. The Princess pressed it eagerly. A peerage, a vast pension, the government of Canada (as a mark that it was not to be restored at the peace), were offered to him. He had the frailty to accept a peerage for his wife, and a pension of three thousand a year for three lives!

83 The Court, impatient to notify their triumph, and to blast his popularity at once, could not resist the impulse of publishing in the very next night’s Gazette, Mr. Pitt’s acceptance of their boons117—the first instance, I believe, of a pension ever specified in that paper.118 At the same time, to decry his councils, and to stigmatize them with rashness, they added an article from Spain, setting forth the pacific intentions of that Court. But in this instance their ardour outran their discretion, for the article published was dated September 4th. Other letters had been received from thence of the 8th, which not being divulged, implied that the letters of the 8th were of a hostile cast, and consequently justified Mr. Pitt’s sentiments. Subsequent events were a still clearer vindication of his conduct.

The Seals, which Mr. Pitt had resigned, were given84 to Lord Egremont; and his brother-in-law, George Grenville, was entrusted with the management of the House of Commons. Grenville had been destined for Speaker; an office to which his drudgery was suited; and which being properly the most neutral place in government, would have excused him from entering into the contest between Mr. Pitt and the Favourite. But Grenville’s temper, though plodding and laborious, had not the usual concomitant, prudence. He lent himself to the views of Lord Bute, to promote his own. Lord Temple, who had as little decency as his brother George had judgment, was exasperated beyond measure; broke out in bitter invectives against him, and threatened to leave from him the paternal estate and give it to James, the third brother, who had resigned with him and Mr. Pitt.

The public, though staggered by the pension, did not abandon their idol. At first the Common Council, which had been summoned to thank him for his services, dropped the intention, and separated, after voting an address to Parliament for widening the streets. But on one hand, Lord Temple’s zeal kept alive the flame; and on the other, the rancour with which Lord Bute’s and Fox’s partisans pursued Mr. Pitt, only served to alarm the nation, and to endear the man to them who they saw suffered for his patriotism. Yet his own conduct was not judicious. Incensed at the abuse thrown on him, he wrote a letter into the City to explain his resignation, pleading that he had no longer been allowed to guide. A term so engrossing gave offence, and handle to ridicule. Fox’s agents did not overlook it, but published some cutting pamphlets on Pitt’s arrogance. Yet his condescending85 to appeal to the City against the Court bore down all opposition. The Common Council agreed to thank him, and to instruct their members; and though Paterson, an agent of Fox, opposed the motion, it was carried by 109 to 15. The contagion soon spread, even to part of Scotland. Stirling, Exeter, York, Chester, and other cities and towns, complimented Mr. Pitt on his conduct.

His own sister, Mrs. Anne Pitt, who was of the opposite faction, furnished his enemies with a severe sarcasm. She had been Maid of Honour to Queen Caroline, and was warmly attached to her brother, with whom she lived. On his promotion to the Pay-office, he had shaken her off in an unbecoming manner. She had excellent parts and strong passions. Lord Bolingbroke had recommended her to the late Prince, on whose death she had been made Privy-purse to the Princess: but being of an intriguing and most ambitious nature, she soon destroyed her own prospect by an impetuosity to govern her mistress, and by embarking in other Cabals at that Court. Her disgrace followed, but without dismission; on which she had retired to France. On her return, though she could never recover the favour of the Princess, she so successfully cultivated the patronage of Lord and Lady Bute, that she kept her ground at Leicester Fields, and obtained a large pension. This she had notified by letter to her brother. He had coldly replied, that he congratulated her on the addition to her fortune, but was grieved to see the name of Pitt in a list of pensions.119 On his86 accepting one, she copied his own letter, turning it against himself; and though restrained by her friends from sending it to him, she repeated what she had done, till it became the common talk of the town.

On the 3rd of November the Parliament met. George Grenville made a very handsome panegyric on the late Speaker; and then the House proceeded to the election of his successor. The choice had been very difficult: not from the number of competitors, but from a total deficiency of proper subjects. Grenville, who would have filled the chair with spirit and knowledge, had been taken off to a province, for which he was far less qualified. Lord Bute had solicited87 Prowse120 to accept the office, who was the most knowing and the most moderate of the Tories, but he had declined from bad health. The Duke of Newcastle had proposed Bacon,121 who had more Whiggism than abilities; but the Favourite determined on Sir John Cust,122 who was a Tory, and had nothing but industry; he was indeed a very poor creature. Lord Barrington named him, his friend Lord Egmont praised him, and he was chosen.

Two nights before, at a meeting of the principal men in the House of Commons, to hear the King’s Speech, and the respondent Address, read, Charles Townshend, who was offended at the lead being assigned88 to Grenville, found fault that there was no mention of the militia. Grenville said, it was not usual to insert anything in the Address which was not touched upon in the Speech; and added, that he found there were very different opinions in members of Parliament on the usefulness of the militia. Lord Barrington and Charles Yorke supported Grenville: Stanley agreed with Townshend, who again debated the point with much warmth. The next night, at a larger meeting at the Cockpit, Townshend recanted to Grenville all he had said, professed he believed he had been infatuated, begged it might be forgotten, and that Grenville would not take it to himself. Grenville replied, he had not: that for himself he forgot it; as the King’s servant, he could not forget it.

On the 6th, the King made his speech. Lord Northumberland123 and Lord Berkeley124 of Stratton moved and seconded the Address. Lord Temple rose, and opened on his own and Mr. Pitt’s resignations, the motives to which he explained; found fault that no mention was made of the militia, and that the Parliament had not been thanked for establishing it. He talked on Court favour, and on those who disposed of all things; endeavouring to provoke Lord Bute to rise. He said, the crisis for a war with Spain had been most advantageously held out to this country, and complained of those who had betrayed the secrets of our situation to Bussy. It was a time, he said,89 when a first minister was necessary; but now, who remained fit for that office? Who thought himself capable of guiding? He uttered this in his usual languid manner, though the matter was not ill conceived; nor, though indiscreet, was he so intemperate as had been expected. The Duke of Bedford replied with much applause, and said, he did not know why the militia deserved more thanks than the grant of regular troops. He declared,125 upon his honour, that he had told no such thing, as had been hinted at, to Bussy; and concluded with hoping never to see a first minister. Lord Shelburne, attached to Fox, and profuse of application to Lord Bute, spoke against the German war. The Duke of Marlborough126 and Earl Gower moved the congratulation to the Queen.

The decency of Lord Temple’s prelude to new opposition soon changed its hue in a manner more suited to his factious turbulence. On the 9th, the King and all the Royal family dined in the City with the Lord Mayor. Thither, too, went Mr. Pitt and Lord Temple in a chariot together,—a step justly censured, and very nearly productive of fatal consequences. To them all acclamations were addressed; and the distinctions paid in the Guildhall to Mr. Pitt, to the total neglect of the King, bestowed all the honour of the triumph on the former. Little was wanting to turn the pageant into a tragedy. Riots ensued, and many persons were90 insulted. The Favourite had taken the precaution of having a guard of butchers and bruisers; and by the defence of that convoy alone, escaped mischief. Sir Samuel Fludyer, the Lord Mayor, caused diligent inquiry to be made into the proceedings of the day, and learned that Beckford himself had visited several public-houses over night, and had appointed ringleaders to different stations, and had been the first to raise the huzza in the hall on the entrance of Mr. Pitt. His joining himself to a pomp, dedicated to a Court that he had just quitted, was not decent. The ambition of drawing to himself the homage of the people was not modest. To offer himself as an incentive to civil tumult, and to how dangerous consequences he could not tell, was not a symptom of very innocent intentions.



Mr. Wilkes’s censures on the King’s Speech, seconded by Dempster.—The Debate on continuing the War.—Speeches of Beckford, Cust, Harvey, Forester, Pitt, and George Grenville.—The Queen’s Dowry voted.—Ministerial Manœuvres on the secession of Mr. Pitt.—Meeting at the St. Alban’s Tavern.—Discussion on the Militia Act.—Speech, in the House of Commons, of Charles Townshend, Secretary at War.—Policy of the Court.—Fox’s Faction.—Debate on the War in Germany.—George Grenville’s desertion of Pitt.—Pitt’s Reply.—Walpole’s Reflections on that Statesman.

On the 13th of November the Address to the King was moved in the House of Commons by the Lords Middleton and Parker.127 Mr. Wilkes,128 a man of whom much will be said hereafter, passed some censures on the King’s speech, which, in the language of Parliament, he said, he was authorized to call the speech of the minister; though of what minister he could not tell. The extraordinary Gazette, he said, which had vaunted the pacific disposition of Spain, had been contradicted by facts: it had appeared that92 we were rather in a state of war with that Crown. Yet no notice had been taken of those transactions in the speech, though all mankind was apprised of their notorious insults. He himself had seen a Spanish memorial, that had been delivered by a French agent. Unless some communication was made to Parliament, how could Parliament lay the state of the nation before his Majesty? As little mention, he observed, was made of the militia, though the ground on which the war had stood. Dempster,129 a young Scotch member, seconded Wilkes, though less peremptory in opposition; for though he pleaded for the extension of the militia to Scotland, and said the militia had felt the heavy hand of administration, yet he censured the German war, as having neither object nor end; condemned faction, and said, he was pleased to see that his Majesty had emancipated himself from the chains that had been prepared for him.

Beckford, with his usual rhodomontade, said, our situation had never been so comfortable, nor the national union ever so complete. It was not the mob, nor two hundred great Lords (who received more from Government than they paid to it), that made us so firm: the middling rank of men it was in which our93 strength consisted, and who called upon us to demand peace sword in hand. Nor had our abilities ever been so great. He was astonished our ministers—who they were he knew not, nor did he look on Grenville and those in the House of Commons but as subalterns—were afraid of any power upon earth: he was amazed they could suffer such memorials from Spain, so derogatory to our honour. The answer should have been made by the mouth of cannon. The revenues of Spain were pitiful, were foreign: must be brought home,—and that we might have prevented. You are near shore, continued he; will you go back? and without a pilot? A King should not govern by a faction: the late King had been governed by one, who resigned in the midst of rebellion, and flung an empty purse in his face; but we had now no Earl of Warwick, no king-makers. Hope must come from the rising generation: we had tried the old in vain. The war in Germany had an object, and had almost obtained it. The French ought to be kept there. He did not desire to see France and England engaged single-handed. France said, let us both get out of Germany, for she felt the mischief of warring there. The manner indeed in which we had conducted our affairs there, had been too expensive; of which he produced instances: but speak out, cried he; will you quit all your allies? Two points must be obtained, the security of America and of our fisheries. We had already conceded too much: he was sorry for it—was sorry Mr. Pitt had softened at all. He would be ready to second Mr. Wilkes in moving for the Spanish papers, and to know if they avowed Bussy.

94 Beckford was answered by Cust130 (the Speaker’s brother), and by Harvey;131 the last, a lawyer; both of Tory families, and the latter very sensible. The former spoke on the burthen of the war, and said, that to raise six millions, we ran in debt two: this year would cost us between nine and ten. He would appeal to our very successes for the impropriety of continuing the war. The King had told us he would never depart from our true interest: if we never had departed from it, we should not be debating now. Harvey condemned the war in Germany, and justified the intentions of Spain. Fuentes had declared, that if his Court had had any hostile designs, it would itself have made the demands; but the other end of the town, said he, will always promote a Spanish war: had done so in the last reign; had driven it on by the feigned cruelties exercised on Captain Jenkins,132 who, however, died with his ears on his head. Forester, another and still shrewder lawyer, endeavoured to ward off the rising spirit by showing there was no such question before the House as what was then in debate, Wilkes not having made any motion; (this was an usual art in old members, and often served the purpose;) nor was the militia more the subject of the debate, nor as yet to come on. Thus was the House free from any influence but of gratitude to the militia, as they had95 been encamped without law, and only because we had a greater war abroad than we could bear. He hoped that night’s mail would not carry to the Continent news of disunion in the new Parliament.

Mr. Pitt, on whom all eyes were fixed, rose; and said, he wished the turn of the debate had permitted him to sit still; but he found himself called upon. He professed great zeal for his Majesty and for the administration, when it should be settled; and was desirous to leave his own justification to his past conduct. For the militia, he should have been glad it had been mentioned in the speech. He had advised that measure last year against the greater part of the Cabinet Council. For a war with Spain, the motives for it were not founded on the French papers: those, he concluded, would be published here: the silence of the ministers made him conclude so, or it would be unfair dealing with the Parliament. When those papers should appear, he would as a member of Parliament speak his opinion: did not desire on that question that any man should think with him, but form his judgment on the fact itself. As the contrary sentiment had been adopted by his Majesty, he hoped not to have the bulk of the nation on his side. God alone knew what the opinion would be, when the whole should come out. The probability was, that himself had been erroneous. His own situation was awful; he stood there to be examined—hoped the ministers would produce the advice, signed by Lord Temple and him, and delivered to his Majesty. He would conceal nothing as far as was consistent with his oath of Privy Councillor. Nor would he inflame—how could he—he,96 who stood so unsupported? He had been taxed with assuming to guide. He declared he had never abetted the publication of his letter to Hodges—never had consented to its publication; but now published, he did avow it. Early he had contracted an indifference to party-papers, and had rather read two passages in Virgil or Horace. He had resigned the Seals, in order not to be responsible for measures he was no longer suffered to guide, and from seeing the question of Spain in the light he saw it. He had acted from conviction, as he supposed the great Lords, who had opposed him, had done likewise. He blessed himself that no question had been moved that day to bar unanimity. All vigour was recommended from the Throne: he would not have the post depart with many arraignments of the German war, and without any minister saying a word in its behalf. In their situation he would have lain by: did they advise a speech of vigour, and yet hold their peace, when vigorous measures were condemned? Himself was never stopped by popularity, or by the turn of the tide. He would speak though a private man: hoped never to be a public man again. He never would come into place again; he never could; for he never could but by his own accord. He had been nursed in the lap of fortune, but now had not weight enough to make but one Lord, with whom he would live and die, of his opinion. Hoped his Majesty’s rest would not be disturbed, as his had been: he had been robbed of his sleep for many days, and now should be robbed of his honour, if our troops were recalled from Germany. Nothing but that spectre of an invasion, which the97 Ministry had not had constancy enough to look at, had frightened us out of Mahon. So would it be again, if the troops of France found themselves at liberty to quit Germany. He had known five thousand French occasion our recalling seventy or fourscore thousand men to look them in the face. He paid a handsome compliment to Admiral Hawke and the navy; but said, ask the French whether they could not engage you hand to hand, if delivered from the war in Germany. The way to peace was not by lessening our efforts. England was equal to both wars, the American and the German; and if continued, nothing but conquest would follow—all owing to the German war. If we abandoned our allies, God would abandon us. When we had spent a hundred millions, should we throw away the fruit, rather than spend twelve more? Let a man so narrow-minded stand behind a counter, and not govern a kingdom. [This was pointed at Cust, who was a director of the African Company.] America had been conquered in Germany.133 Prince Ferdinand had been the saviour of Europe, and had shattered the whole military power of that military monarchy, France. It was not from what young members had said against the German war, but from what had not been said for it, that he augured ill for this country. He hoped so insignificant a name as his would be sent to every hostile Court; though every other man in the House should be against the German war, he would stand single, and undergo the shame. Government, he hoped,98 would in due time lay open the proceedings of Spain, lest gentlemen might be misled from not knowing the precise time of the arrival of Fuentes.134 Harvey was sure Spain could not have acted as alleged, yet owned he knew nothing of the matter. But were people to go away, thinking he himself had courted a war with Spain? He might have declared his private opinion in council; but let Parliament see the whole of the negotiation: let them know his patience and long-suffering, till he was afraid he should be answerable for it. He gave a flat contradiction to the notion of his having courted a war with Spain, and protested he had done all he could to avoid it. He had stated his opinion in writing, lest false whispers from those who ought to be above such underhand machinations, should prejudice him in the eyes of his countrymen. In delicacy, not in obligation, he would sit down rather than divulge what had passed. Yet altercation, opposition would have ensued, had there not been a determination to preserve unanimity. He would even persuade gentlemen not to be too fastidious in their criticisms on the Treasury and the budget. For his relaxing on the article of the fisheries, with which his friend Beckford had taxed him, he said, it was best to own the truth; he had been overborne by numbers. He and Lord Temple would have made exclusive fisheries the sine quâ non of the peace. Were the negotiation to recommence, provided circumstances concurred, he would stand for exclusive fisheries; nor sheath the sword till they were given up, even at the expense of another campaign. He was99 going to sit down, but added a few words on the note of Fuentes, which, said he, that minister knows was never remitted to me. He did read me an extract; it was to the effect alleged. I did not much attend to it; said I had written to Lord Bristol, and would let it rest there. He did read something like it, but did not deliver it.

This guarded, artful, and inflammatory speech remained unanswered. George Grenville, indeed, said a few words on the form of proceeding; as, that it would be precluding those great questions, to insert them either in the Speech or Address: and to justify Spain, he read a letter in which they ordered one of our cutters to be restored. As a rising minister he spoke more largely on himself, disclaimed any ambition, and professed he would do his duty without fear. The Address passed without a negative. The next day Lord Thomond135 and Lord Villiers moved the Address to the Queen, and on the 19th her dowry was voted.

The secession of Pitt, and his popularity, that still kept its ground, warned the administration to a closer union. At least, the old ministers, who had separated from him, thought it prudent to draw nigher to the Favourite. The Duke of Devonshire, governed by Fox, who hated Pitt, and aspired to be lieutenant to Lord Bute, meditated a coalition of the latter with Newcastle. The house of Bedford were already devoted to the Favourite, and concurred in that connection.100 In consequence of this conjunction, the Privy Seal was delivered to the Duke of Bedford; great promises were made to Rigby. Lord Thomond, brother-in-law of Grenville, was appointed Cofferer; Lord Powis,136 Treasurer of the Household, and Lord George Cavendish,137 Comptroller.

On the 25th, at night, some forty persons, or fewer, met at the St. Alban’s tavern, in Pall Mall. The Act that had granted the militia was within a year of expiring. It was become irksome to many of the country gentlemen, was much disliked by the chief ministers, and by great part of the House of Commons. The friends of the measure had wished to get it renewed for five years more. Some desired it perpetual. Pitt, while minister, had staved off even the shorter term. He now went to this meeting, spoke four times warmly for the perpetuity, and said, this was the moment to push it. Charles Townshend, who attended the meeting too, spoke earnestly, but only for the term of five years. The company signed a paper, engaging to stand by one another in the measure; and they who held commissions in the militia promised to throw them up, if the perpetuity should not be carried, agreeing only to await the arrival of General Townshend, the patron of the plan, who was expected from101 the army. The Court was as much set against the militia. The Duke of Devonshire told George Grenville, he believed he could not induce his own brothers to vote for it. The very same day intelligence had been received of an intended invasion from France. Grenville, told the Duke he could not come into any measure that would disband seven and twenty thousand men, when we should have so much occasion for them: it would be better to grant the perpetuity, and repeal it afterwards.

The same morning, Charles Townshend,138 now Secretary at War, moved for the land forces, which were granted without opposition. His new office gave him an opportunity of venting his vanity. He assumed much, and called himself trustee for the honest claims of the officers. On December 9th, he opened to the House the state of the foreign troops in our pay, the expense of which came to near a million. Townshend pleaded the inconsiderable loss we had sustained in the last campaign, not above two thousand men, which would easily be recruited; and that next year, as in the last four, we should cover our allies against any force France could bring against us. Should we for next year continue the same army, or break off abruptly? The Parliament had been called upon day after day to disapprove or ratify the measure; and had ratified it. The totality of the war had been one of the great causes of its success. Had we neglected any other part for Germany, it had been fatal: but a mixed system, and attention to the whole, had given us victory in every quarter. France had resisted every where,102 had been disgraced every where. Their navy, the last sanguine promise of still another minister, was annihilated. We ought not to desist but from inability to pursue up the blow. It ought to be manifest that we were disabled. But where was a symptom of decay? In our trade, credit, agriculture, where was a failure? Yet he thought our situation nor comfortable, nor desperate. Five millions he allowed would be expended this year on the war in Germany. He concluded with high encomiums on what he called Mr. Pitt’s divine plan; but added, that a larger portion of fame remained for those who should take up the plan and terminate it by a good peace.

The Court, who wished to veil their eagerness for peace, and who, instead of attaining that peace, were on the brink of a war with Spain, took great pains to prevent their creatures from openly attacking the German war. Lord Egmont was persuaded to be absent from the House; but Fox’s faction was more intent on discrediting Pitt than even on paying their court—and perhaps knew how easily they should be forgiven. Rigby said he had voted for all very large sums; was sorry he began to have a doubt; wished an end was put—had been put to the whole war. The Germans were entitled to the protection of the House, but ours was no protection. They were in a worse condition than if conquered. The treaty with Prussia would expire on the 12th of the month; he hoped we should make no more such with that little power. Not to quit the alliance, ought only to be a condition on the party subsidized. In no one treaty did there exist an article that obliged us to continue our national troops103 in Germany. Nor could we supply our army with men; since 1758, we had sent over twenty-nine thousand men. We had but thirteen thousand remaining. Could this country furnish four thousand men a year to Germany? Marshal Ligonier had ordered the old corps to be recruited at any rate. We had three thousand sick in hospitals, and were reduced to send boys of ten years old—a good way to make the war last! He spoke, he said, neither from fickleness nor discontent; was very well contented; had tried to swallow the measure, but found it would not do. If these troops had been brought home, we might have disbanded the militia. Wished he could see the negotiation for peace renewed; wished even a bad peace was offered. He concluded the French account of the rupture was authentic, or would have been contradicted. He spoke, he said, to the country gentlemen; they were not included in the picture of our comfortable situation. If so much was given to glory, their cups of comfort would not be drunk so often as they used to be. Sir Robert Walpole, whom he thought the greatest minister that this country had known, had always declared the nation could not stand under a debt exceeding an hundred millions.

Stanley defended the measure of pursuing the German war, and said it was evident from every page of the printed negotiation that France wished to get out of Germany; that she was not equal to both wars, and had therefore neglected everything to make her push there, hoping it would exasperate the people of England against Hanover. That none of our allies were in a situation to make conquests, and therefore104 we must part with some of ours, to obtain tolerable conditions for them.

George Grenville supported the question solely on the foot of treaties, which he recapitulated, but took care to assert that he had neither advised nor approved them; he had not been able, he said, to stop a torrent; let those who had given the advice drink the dregs! he did not desire to steal the fame due to another. It had not been the German war, but the want of seamen, that had disabled France from prosecuting the war in America and from invading England. Let us know what had been the obstacle that had broken off the treaty. An immense load of debt had been laid upon us; he would not call on any light of Government, who had brought us into these distresses, to help us out of them. If they had overlooked these things, he must be sorry. But our honour was pledged, and he would not be for an ignominious peace; nor, on the other hand, would he intoxicate the people with unattainable objects. He would not hang out our distresses; to know them was the first point; to conceal them, the second.

Thus were hostilities openly commenced by Grenville. He had during the last reign avowedly or silently supported every one of Pitt’s expensive German measures. Indeed he had held by Pitt’s favour one of the most lucrative places under the Government, the Treasurer of the Navy. The scene was changed, and Grenville with it.

Pitt replied in a long speech, but with much temper, which he professed he would keep, though so marked out; but in contempt of Grenville, he affected105 chiefly to answer Rigby, falling into the familiar, and not in a masterly style; desiring to expostulate, not to altercate on who was in or out of place; but considering himself as in a council of state, engaged to find out the point of truth, and how to wind up the war. He complimented our troops, whom he called the glory of human nature, and Charles Townshend on his moderation and clear method of stating the question. If Rigby, he said, had had communication of papers, he must have seen the distresses of France, but would advise him to reconsider his positions, before he published his political code, before he should come to guide—but begged pardon for his levity; he chose to be in good humour, for fear of being in bad. He would not enter into the wretched consideration of what himself had done. Grenville had treated his counsels as pernicious—nobody indeed had asserted it—somebody did shrewdly convey it—for his part he liked better a man that affirmed. Grenville, however, would not entirely take away the lustre of this measure, already more than half exploded by the King’s servants. Himself, an individual, had been called, compelled to the service; he had found this measure bound on upon the nation, both by the concluding and breaking the treaty of Closter Severn. It was an electoral measure, not advised, but submitted to in silence by the piety of the Duke of Cumberland. The subsidy to Prussia had been dictated by Hanover, not by Great Britain. Little Princes are subsidized, when not worthy of reciprocation; but necessity had driven that great Prince to accept our money; yet his Prussian Majesty did not think that he thereby lost his106 equality of not being deserted. Both the Empresses had received subsidies from us. He himself, he said, had resisted the measures of the closet, nor would subscribe to them till qualified. His late gracious master had suffered his representations; and he had boldly urged them, fearing our own defence and America would be neglected; nor would he agree to the German war till every other service had been provided for. Was it candid, was it just, to throw the whole burthen on him, who had been but an acceder to a plan settled? an acceder to a ministry that had wanted vigour. He had borrowed their majority to carry on their own plan. He had seen where they had been right, where wrong. He had brought the American war, and taken up the German; had seen that we must be strong enough to baffle France, or should do nothing. France had been dedecorum pretiosus emptor. It was true our expense had been great, and he offered himself confitentem reum, if he had not thereby annihilated their power both in East and West Indies. Perhaps he had done it the wrong way; and Mr. Grenville could have done it some other way. The business, however, was done, by whatever way done; and he would now divide the House alone against abandoning our allies. Relaxation could only invite inflexibility in our enemies; nor ought we to give the money, and at the same time blast the measure. As Germany had formerly been managed, it had been a millstone about our necks; as managed now, about that of France. Let a man get possession of the Government, and act as late ministers had acted, and he would endeavour to make his heart ache. Now we were leagued with107 the King of Prussia, who was born to administer military wonders to the world; his motto should be adversis rerum immersabilis undis. To him was added Prince Ferdinand, for whom he could not find adequate words. That great Prince had stood like a rampart to cover Germany—and at last, comperit invidiam supremo fine domari.

Legge spoke a few words in praise of the measure, and against abandoning our allies; and the debate ended without a division.

The recapitulation of many speeches may perhaps weary the reader, but, in equity, he must remember that at this period at least it was essential to detail them. When Mr. Pitt was driven from the management of the war, he existed as a public man; but in his speeches and past services, his own defence of his measures was necessary from his own mouth. Libels on libels were published against him, and he wrote none. I am sensible that I do not do justice to his arguments, and less to his eloquence; but what I give was faithfully taken from his own mouth in the House of Commons; and unless better transcripts appear, this rude sketch may be welcome to posterity. No flattery is intended to him. When I thought him blameable, I have marked it, as will appear hereafter, with the same impartiality. The debates, too, of a free nation, arrived at the summit of its glory, may be worthy the attention of future times. Our descendants will see what their ancestors were in arms and eloquence, and what liberty they enjoyed of discussing their own interests. Grant, Heaven, they may not read it with a sigh; reading it in bondage and ignominy!



Mr. Pitt’s Enemies.—Debates in Parliament on the German war, and on our Affairs with Spain.—Speeches of the leading Members.—Mr. Pitt’s Defence of himself.—Colonel Barré’s insulting conduct to Mr. Pitt.—Libellous Pamphlets against that Statesman, by the Rev. Philip Francis.—Justification of Mr. Pitt’s Measures.—Family compact between France and Spain.—Portugal invaded by Charles the Third of Spain.—The Queen’s desire that her Brother should come to England.—Pratt compelled to be Chief Justice of the Common Pleas.—Lord Hardwicke and his Son.

Mr. Pitt’s enemies did not content themselves with traducing him in pamphlets and satires. A deeper blow was meditated, which, though not carried to the extent which the projectors hoped, could not but wound his mind, and did to a degree lower him in the opinion of some men, though the brutality with which it was conceived and executed, raised almost general indignation. I will just touch the surprize it wrought on me, which may convey some idea of what effect it must have had on others.

The report on the foreign troops was made the day after they had been removed. Mr. Bunbury,139 who109 married Lady Sarah Lenox, had spoken, for the first time in Parliament, against the German war. Lord George Sackville, with more caution, but no less hostile intention to Pitt, had declared for the measure, as no alternative was proposed, though he hoped ministers would concert with our allies how to draw us out of this scrape. He did not believe that France was in a worse situation than she had been at Gertruydenburg,140 when she rejected insolent terms. She could, besides, subsist her troops on easier terms than we could. She brought to account the contributions raised by her armies; he did not know that we did. Lord George was finishing his speech as I came into the House. My ear was struck with sounds I had little been accustomed to of late, virulent abuse on the last reign, and from a voice unknown to me. I turned, and saw a face equally new; a black, robust man, of a military figure, rather hard-favoured than not young, with a peculiar distortion on one side of his face, which it seems was owing to a bullet lodged loosely in his cheek, and which gave a savage glare to one eye. What I less expected from his appearance, was very classic and eloquent diction, and as determined boldness as if accustomed to harangue in that place. He told the House that in the late King’s reign we had been governed solely by Hanoverian measures and councils; and though called to order (in truth unparliamentarily), he proceeded with the same vociferous spirit to censure all ministers but Lord Bute; and for Mr. Pitt, who was not present, he received the appellation of a profligate minister,110 who had thrust himself into power on the shoulders of the mob. The present King, said this new Court-tribune, was so English, that he did not believe he had looked into the map for Hanover;141 and he commiserated the present ministers, who were labouring through the dregs of German councils.

The reader must imagine the astonishment occasioned by this martial censor. He was a Colonel Barré, of French extraction, born at Dublin, and had served for some years in the war in America with reputation, prosecuting his studies with assiduity in the intervals of duty. With General Wolfe he had been intimately connected, both as an officer and penman; but had thought himself ill-used by Mr. Pitt, though the friends of the latter, and Lord Barrington, lately Secretary at War, bore witness that Mr. Pitt had made it a point to serve him. In his younger years he had acted plays with so much applause, that, it was said, Garrick had offered him a thousand pounds a year to come upon the stage.142

This man, therefore, had been selected by Lord Fitzmaurice (become Earl of Shelburne by the death of his father) as a bravo to run down Mr. Pitt. Lord Shelburne held a little knot of young orators at his house; but Barré soon overtopped them; and Fox had pushed on the project of employing him to insult Pitt—to what extent was surmised by all the world. The consequences will appear in the next debate.

111 Glover,143 the author of “Leonidas,” uttered a speech in most heroic fustian, but not without good argument, to show that all our great advantages had been obtained before we went deeply into the German war. Charles Yorke, Attorney-General, defended the measures of the late King against Barré and his own friend Mauduit’s pamphlet, urging that his Majesty had reduced himself to poverty to support the war in Germany. Elliot made an admirable oration to reconcile himself to consistence: owned he had opposed the treaties in 1755; and was then told they were calculated to prevent a war in Germany. He had since been dazzled with the national enthusiasm on the King of Prussia’s victories, and confessed that on the112 like appearances he should again be led to approve the German war. It was true that war had its object, collateral division; but would the House wish to Germanize this young King, and make him turn his thoughts thither more than he did? He concluded with a pathetic ejaculatory wish that the peace had succeeded.

Oswald144 took the same turn of endeavouring to palliate his inconsistencies; but though his parts were still shrewder and quicker than Elliot’s, he did it much worse. Dr. Hay145 attempted, too, an apology for himself, but with the worst success of the three; and the necessity which the principal men in Parliament found themselves under of justifying their abandoned corruption and versatility, stamped disgrace on this Parliament itself, which it did but increase by fresh and repeated instances of servility in ensuing sessions on every change of Administration.

The next day, Dec. 11th, Mr. Cooke146 moved for all memorials relating to our fisheries, &c., which he introduced by saying, he wished to know what was the state of our affairs with regard to Spain—he hoped peaceable; but desired to see the papers relating to their claims, and to know if they had treated us with contempt and disdain. Beckford seconded him, urging that the Gazette and Bussy’s memorial contradicted one another. The King had asked advice of Parliament: if ministers should refuse these papers, they113 refused to comply with the King’s request. He did not know who were the ministers, nor whether we had a single minister, or a minister depute. It was necessary to have one minister.

Grenville replied, that though he had heard of this motion, he could not believe it would be made. It was our right to have papers, when essentially necessary; but power of negotiation belonged to the Crown; and negotiations ought not to be made public, when real mischief might be the consequence. Had his Majesty asked advice as to Spain? would you ground advice on those papers? or were they wanted to answer newspapers? Should a minister or minister depute make that answer? He had heard with surprise that one man ought to direct. What had been the constant charge against Sir Robert Walpole, but his acting as sole minister? Yet his modesty had declined the appellation. Prime Minister was an odious title: he was sorry it was now thought an essential part of the constitution. He did believe the Gazette had contained, word for word, the sense of the dispatch. The assurances of a peaceable disposition had been given, but who could answer that they were to be depended upon? It would be breach of trust to communicate the papers demanded without particular leave; nor, should they be communicated, would they be sufficient ground for advice. Would the House, if they contained offensive words, lay them before the public to inflame the people? The subject was not fit at that hour for the intervention of Parliament. If ministers are called upon, and tell our distresses, they are repeated abroad: if silent, are supposed114 to allow them. There was no reason to suspect the King of exercising his power improperly.

Lord Strange said, he had not believed that any men would be so hardy as to bring on this affair, and thought they could not word it so as to obtain his assent: but the motion was now so unexceptionable, that he could not object to it. No letters of a private nature were demanded. The House had a right to tender its advice, even unasked. Who doubted but Spain had communicated all those papers to France? Yet ministers would not produce them to Parliament. They were divided amongst themselves; therefore the people ought to interpose. By showing no confidence to the people, the administration would destroy their zealous attachment to the Crown.

Wilkes maintained that Spain ought to be considered as hostile. Sir Francis Dashwood said he would agree to the motion, if he saw either utility or meaning in it, but such as he would not express. Parliament, he owned, had a right to all papers, yet Parliament had a right too to consider if there were any use in asking for them. He saw a proper answer had been made to the memorial, and the Spanish minister had been desired to recant—(Mr. Pitt cried out, “Where?”) Spain said to France, you are making peace, try if you cannot obtain something for me. He had heard, he said, of no faction in the administration: he hoped there was none any where else. Why should not confidence be placed in the King and administration, till it was abused? There might be something in the papers which Spain would not like the City of London should know—yet he supposed there was not115 more than appeared. Was it wished to address the Crown to declare war? But that was the prerogative of the Crown. Spain, too, would probably think twice before she embarked in hostilities. There might be different opinions in the council of Spain. That secret we were bound in honour to keep.

Lord Frederick Campbell147 said, he did not believe there were any factions in the ministry; if there were, the King would put an end to them: but if the administration were distracted, this measure would distract them much more. He had great hopes that these ill appearances would end in peace. Nugent148 lamented there being any divisions, as unanimity was never more necessary. Bamber Gascoyne said, if any of the papers were of too secret a nature, a secret committee might be appointed to examine them. By destroying parties, we had created factions.149 He himself had never been in a minister’s house, nor ever intended it.150 The conduct of this patriot will appear hereafter.

116 Sir John Glynn said, that that time twenty years had been famous for calling for papers; with intention then to condemn a minister; now it was with a view to applauding one. A paper had been produced at that time which the King of Prussia never forgave. Himself had never seen any benefit arise from motions of that sort. Rigby said, he should be sorry if that motion were likely to be complied with; but that did not seem very probable. But what? had the City instructed its representatives to demand a First Minister? He had heard the Excise adopted by a sort of First Minister. He would tell the House who were the Administration; the two Secretaries of State, the Chancellor, the President, &c., and in their deliberations there had been twelve against two; proof enough of union. The other House had a right to judge as well as the Commons; and was the natural barrier between the Crown and people. Whoever sought the Administration, might find them in the Duke of Cumberland’s late lodgings at St. James’s (where the councils were held). At a time when not a man whispered to his friend, but in commendation of the King, would the House wish to set a First Minister over him?

Mr. Pitt expressed much concern at the flame that had arisen, and that the House, by losing its temper, had lost its reason, and degenerated into barbarism. His friend Beckford, he feared had thought more of him than he had done of himself; but the word guide, commented as it had been, had misled him. If the present question tended to make one individual minister, he should be against it; but when he looked at117 the complexion of the House, he had no such apprehension. Censured as he had been for using an expression so much condemned, he could not find reason to retract it. Lord Egremont, he believed, would not hold the Seals an hour, if not permitted to guide his own correspondence. Thus, he himself, who he hoped had not lessened his country, had insisted on the same right. In the Treasury, in the Military, in the Navy, he had never assumed or claimed any direction: had never spoken to the King on those heads, but had always applied to the ministers of those several departments; had transmitted everything through the channels of each office. He hoped, he said, to have these egotisms pardoned; he would now come to the question in agitation with a temper that nothing could ruffle. Even the virtues of the King, on which the House had been so much advised to rely, must be a little the fruit of time; hoped his Majesty would be aided by wholesome and deep-sighted advice. From the present motion what mischief could arise? he wished some necessity had made him absent—but would it be decorous in him to be shy? in a House where, he believed, he did not stand too well? He believed the bottom of the bottom of this affair would be dangerous; not so, while confined to memorials. Spain had made three demands in a most extensive manner; the right of fishery, which he had said he would as soon give up the Tower of London, as grant; nor would the King, he was sure, accord it; himself had never been ordered to hold any other language. But why, might it be said, call for these papers? because, if you temporized, or let Spain think you temporized,118 she would more assuredly push her claims. Suspense might be wholesome, if they were prepared, and you were not. The contrary being true, contrary measures should be pursued. Himself would not press the motion, if told by authority that it was premature; but then let the ministers say so, and mark the era, without moulting a feather of England’s crest. The note in the memorial, said to be delivered, was no departure from their demands. Did they even say they would not impede the peace on the consideration of these demands? Let ministers declare this, and he would second to withdraw the motion—but he saw, he said, he should not be told so. Or had France given up her insulting menace, that she would stand by the demands of Spain? This was the Gordian knot, that he himself had not been able to cut; had feared it would rise in judgment against him; hoped it would not against any other man. Divisions had always existed; when were twelve men cast in the same mould? Divisions were sometimes salutary. Queen Elizabeth had promoted them in her Councils. When he left administration, had never seen such unanimity; he had said in high place, that his consolation was, to leave such men in power; and had declared that he would only oppose what he would have opposed with the Seals in his hand—but to have stayed and have done that, would only have been prejudicial. It was the extent of Spain’s claims that had shocked him, not her lofty idioms, the most insignificant of all things. Whoever should cede to them but a cockboat, ceded all. But the very present debate would strengthen the King’s hands. He then made119 an encomium on the diligence, activity, and punctuality of the Earl of Bristol. Should the fisheries not be settled, the man who should give them up would one day or other be impeached. For himself he wished he had not been so much in the right; wished he had not known so much as he did. What he did know was buried in the centre of the earth. France had told us with good faith, that if we did not make up with Spain, they would break off the Treaty with us. If Spain declared war, he should think her felo de se. It would not be equal imprudence in her to abet France. Could the House proportion its supplies without knowing in what predicament Spain stood with France? Should the former declare war, she could lend money to the latter. The revenues of Spain were under five millions, and she employed seventy thousand men to collect them, besides twenty thousand that were engaged in the affair of tobacco. Was this a formidable enemy? To him it was indifferent to derive justification from this situation of things; should he prove to have been in the wrong, he should comfort himself with having thought he was right. All foreign Courts, especially Spain, would think the present motion wise. Were he not limited, or self-limited, he could enforce his arguments with more strength. The Gazette had been printed to persuade eight millions of people that Spain was amicable; but if there were indisputable proofs to the contrary, it was deceiving all the world. It was of no consequence to establish on which side lay truth; Bussy’s memorial had proved the connection between the two houses of Bourbon. Should the event end in a rupture, we had lost our opportunity—if affairs were in accommodation,120 would the honour of England be preserved? Would Spain be obliged to England who bowed, or to France, who should extort from us, in the height of our conquests, advantages for Spain?

Colonel Barré, whether (as he gave out afterwards) to show that he had not taken advantage of Mr. Pitt’s absence to abuse him the day before, or whether (as is more probable) to pursue the point to which he had been instigated, rose, and renewed the attack with redoubled acrimony. Insult of language, terms, manner, were addressed, and personally addressed, to Mr. Pitt, by that bravo. His variations, inconsistencies, arts, popularity, ambition, were all pressed upon Pitt with energy and bitterness, and the whole apostrophe wore the air of an affront more than of a philippic. He told the House he could not amuse, but he would not deceive them. That the disagreeable posture of our affairs with Spain was solely owing to the late resignation, which had thrown our councils and the nation itself into distraction. That Mr. Pitt, though professing it, had no confidence in the King himself. Here Pitt, who had remained in astonishment at so bold and novel an attack from a new speaker, called him to order, declaring that no word guilty of so foul a crime as want of confidence in the King had fallen from him, and sat down, leaving Barré to proceed in his invective; but the latter was interrupted by Fox, who said the King’s name was never to be mentioned in a debate; that the House had listened with pleasure while justice was done to his Majesty’s virtues; that Colonel Barré had a right to show to what he thought Mr. Pitt’s arguments had tended; and that he chose121 to give the former this hint, because he seemed so able and willing to make use of his right. Charles Yorke said the King’s name could not be used to influence debate. Pitt said he had referred to the King’s speech, because it asked advice of the House. Fox, still fearing lest the interruption and ignorance of the forms of the House should disconcert Barré, replied, that the speech might be quoted, because it is always understood as the speech of the minister. Barré went on, saying, that if any man opposed, and not from the truest reasons, he would wish him to be silent. Should there be a man whose whole life had been a contradiction and a series of popular arts, he would judge him from his actions, not from his words. Beckford called to have the question read, to prevent such deviation into personality. Rigby insisted that Beckford always deviated more than Barré had done. Barré added, that he had less reason to deviate than Beckford, not allowing himself to be so distracted; and that his front was not broad enough to write contradiction on; nor would he desert the King’s service when most wanted.

Pitt made no manner of reply; only turning to Beckford, and asking pretty loud, “how far the scalping Indians cast their tomahawks?” It seemed to some a want of spirit, but it was evident by the indignation of the House, that such savage war was detested: and Pitt perhaps did not care to put them in mind how far himself had often pushed invective; nor chose to risk their preferring the new master of abuse to the old. It had not been unwise, it should seem, to have uttered a few words, stating to Barré122 the indecence of treating an infirm and much older man with such licence, showing him that insult could not be resented when offered in a public assembly, who always interpose, and putting both him and the audience in mind, that a man, who had gained the hearts of his countrymen by his services, could only forfeit them by his own conduct, and not by the railing of a private individual. With the public this outrage did Mr. Pitt no injury. Barré was abhorred as a barbarian irregular, and Fox, who had lent such kind assistance to a ruffian, drew the chief odium on himself. Charles Townshend, being asked soon after, when the House would rise for the holidays, replied,151 “I do not know; but when it does, the roads will be as dangerous as if the army were disbanded.” And Barré having said that he would not answer for his head, but would for his heart, “Yes,” said George Selwyn,152 “if he could not, the former would have been broken long ago.”

The debate was terminated by Lord George Sackville and Elliot; the latter pleading against producing papers in the height of a negotiation; and adding, “perhaps an express is now on the road from Spain determined for war.” The motion was rejected without a division, scarcely six voices being given for the question. Not one Tory spoke in the debate but Sir John Glynn, and he declared against Pitt. The next time Barré went to Court, the King took most gracious notice of him.

123 The City of Dublin addressed Mr. Pitt on his resignation. The same was proposed at Lynn, and rejected; and at Leicester such a motion was stopped by a person producing and reading a libel called Mr. Pitt’s Letter versified. It was done by Francis,153 a clergyman attached to Lord Holland, who supplied the notes. Another, by the same hand, called A Letter from the anonymous Author of the Letters versified, was published, reviling Mr. Pitt on bearing Barré’s ill-usage. Lord Melcomb, at Lord Bute’s table, constantly held the same language.

These specks were soon effaced in the confusion that fell on the ministers themselves, and by the justification, which, in spite of them, burst forth of Mr. Pitt’s measures. The war which they had so poorly attempted to ward off, broke upon them, when they had no longer his assistance. A courier arrived on the 24th from Spain, with a refusal of showing us their treaty with France. This treaty was the famous Family Compact, to which even the House of Austria had acceded, of which Mr. Pitt, by a masterpiece of intelligence, had got notice,154 and of which our dastardly124 ministers had hoped to deprecate the effects by pusillanimous palliatives and submission: a compact formed because we were become so formidable, and the very signature of which had terrified Lord Bute and his associates into departing at once from our superiority. This was the secret at which Mr. Pitt had so often hinted, and which he had now the satisfaction of hearing published by the mouths of his enemies. We had avoided the interception of the Spanish fleet, as Mr. Pitt had earnestly recommended. It was now arrived, and they temporized no longer. Fuentes was recalled, and Lord Bristol was consequently forced to return. Previous to his departure Fuentes delivered a memorial to the foreign ministers, in which Mr. Pitt was arraigned by name; an honour almost unheard of. Alberoni had been accused by George the First; but though that precedent was not flattering, Mr. Pitt could want no vindication, when the Court of Spain, and Barré, the tool of Lord Bute, conspired to charge him with being author of the war.

We had been the willing dupes of the Spanish House of Bourbon. It was a more horrid insult on all good125 faith—on humanity—on ties of blood, that Spain summoned Portugal to declare against us. The ruins of Lisbon were almost smoking yet! The Queen of Portugal was the Spanish Monarch’s sister; her husband and children were dwelling in tents at a distance from their late capital. Assassination and conspiracies had beset the Throne. This was the moment that Charles the Third selected to invade their kingdom! France, it was said, in vain dissuaded this perfidy—not from delicacy; but the meditated conquest of Portugal was likely to engross the whole attention of the Court of Madrid. If we should support Portugal, it might be a division of our forces; but France needed all the assistance Spain could lend. Timber was wholly exhausted in France. She had sent even to Dalmatia, and to little purpose. The expense of ship-building is far greater in France than in England. Her cities and trading companies set themselves to building ships and presenting them to the King, but this was a distant and slow resource.

The Queen, who bore great affection to her brothers, was desirous that the second, Prince Charles of Mecklenburgh, should come over. The King would not venture to propose it to Lord Bute, but wrote to him, and after a reluctance of a fortnight on the part of the Favourite, the boon was granted.

The ministers were solicitous to remove Pratt155 from126 the House of Commons, and offered him the dignity of Chief Justice of the Common Pleas. He demurred; but was forced to accept it, for they would not only have removed him from being Attorney-General, a post that required a more pliant officer, and which he was willing to give up; but they had the injustice to refuse him his gown as King’s counsel, and he must have pleaded below the bar, or have quitted his profession. Mr. Yorke was made Attorney, and Norton, Solicitor Generals. This enforced destination of Pratt to be Chief Justice, preserved the Constitution afterwards from the same men, whose policy exerted such rigour against him. Mr. Yorke had lost the precedence over Pratt when the latter was made Attorney-General. It was on the coalition of Mr. Pitt, after the affair of Minorca, with the Duke of Newcastle and Lord Hardwicke. Pitt then offered to restore Lord Anson to the lead at the Admiralty, or to make Yorke Attorney, but would not grant both. Lord Hardwicke preferred his son-in-law to his son; a partiality which the latter, whose eye was fixed on the Great Seal, and which, by these means, Pratt afterwards obtained to his prejudice, never forgave to his father.



Fuentes, the Spanish Ambassador, quits England.—Return of Lord Bristol from Madrid.—War declared against Spain.—Projects of Lord Bute, Mr. Fox, and the Duke of Cumberland.—The Duke of Bedford.—Mr. Pitt’s influence with the Nation.—Divisions in the Council respecting the War with Spain.—Expedition to the Havannah.—Meeting of Parliament.—Lord Bute’s harangue.—Mr. Pitt’s Speech in the House of Commons.—Rigby’s attempt to show the inutility of our Conquests.—Other Speakers in the Debate.—Pacific Disposition of the new Czar.—Court Intrigues in France against Marshal Broglio and his Brother.—Prejudices and resentments of the Tories.—Preponderating Influence and Haughtiness of Lord Bute.—The Duke of York’s contempt of Lord Bute and the Scotch.—Proceedings in the Parliament of Ireland.—Lord Halifax.—William Gerard Hamilton.—Bill for continuing the Militia.

On the first day of the year Fuentes, the Spanish ambassador, quitted England, and was received at Calais, and all the way to Paris, with distinguished honours, as the saviour of France. He was a dull cold man, and wedded to all the weakness of his religion.156128 Lord Bristol,157 a very Spaniard too in formality and pride, was recalled at the same time. His abilities had never been esteemed, and were now much called in question; but the publication of his negotiations did him much honour. Though he stooped to be the tool of Mr. Pitt, he had not disliked to receive instructions that authorized him to be imperious. His very parsimony gave way to any ostentation about his own person.

On the second, the King, in full council, declared his resolution of making war on Spain: for the ministers, who had driven out Mr. Pitt, rather than embrace this necessary measure, were reduced to adopt it at the expense of vindicating him and condemning themselves; and, what was worse to the nation than their shame, had not him, nor his spirit, to conduct them.129 Nor yet were they unanimous on this point, or on any other part of the war. Lord Bute’s object was, peace at any rate, that he might pursue his plans of power at home. Fox aimed at the destruction of Pitt, and at favour with and through the Favourite, to which he sacrificed his views of wealth, as Paymaster, in the German war. The Duke of Cumberland, who was now rather openly, than confidentially, consulted, was inclined to support the German war; either from partiality to the Electorate, or hoping to command there in the room of Prince Ferdinand. His Royal Highness was reconciled to the Duke of Newcastle, who, to please the Duke and Lady Yarmouth,158 fluctuated again towards the war in Germany, though he could not lead back his friend Lord Hardwicke159 to that side. The bias too had been too strongly given to the Duke of Bedford, who declared he would move in Parliament to recall our troops from Germany. Lord Bute, fearing the Duke would gain too great popularity by this conduct, and inclined enough to heap any mortifications on the King of Prussia and the House of Brunswick, took the same side; but was persuaded, as the money was already voted and the contracts made, to suffer the troops to make one more campaign there. The Duke of Bedford was assured by the King, that measures would be taken for recalling the troops, without recurring to the authority of Parliament. Yet so much did they dread the effects of Mr. Pitt’s130 influence with the nation, and of their own unpopular measures, that they agreed to give the King of Prussia his subsidy for another year, but would not renew the treaty with him, which now expired.

They were still more divided and embarrassed on the war with Spain. Unavoidable as it was, the Dukes of Newcastle and Bedford, Lord Hardwicke and Lord Mansfield,160 were against engaging in it; and Hardwicke, when the affirmative was decided, declared he would return no more to Council. But Lord Bute, Lord Granville,161 Lord Egremont, George Grenville, and, I think, Lord Ligonier, prevailed for the declaration of war. Lord Anson162 was ill, and the Duke of Devonshire out of town.

Yet, though the war with Spain was a popular measure, the City and the country had so mean an opinion of those who were to direct it, that the stocks immediately fell to 66½, though in the Rebellion they had never been lower than 72. The declaration from Spain luckily arrived three days after the first subscription on the new loan had been paid—yet it sunk four per cent.—three days sooner, and it would not have been paid at all.

On the 4th, war was declared. The next day came news of the reduction of Colberg, almost the last hope of the King of Prussia. Nor yet were the Ministers ready to decide, whether they would blow up the fortifications of Belleisle and abandon it, or whether131 they should undertake to support Portugal. They determined first to send Lord Tyrawley163 thither, while Lord Albemarle164 kissed the King’s hand for the command of the expedition, which was so often set forth and so often countermanded, and which at last laboured to sea. It was to take up troops at Martinico, and thence sail to attack the Havannah.

On the 19th the Parliament met, and the King acquainted both Houses with the new war he had undertaken; a ceremonial decorated by the Favourite himself, who, as if he had wrenched the thunderbolt out of Mr. Pitt’s hands only to wield it himself with mightier vigour, now harangued the Parliament for the first time. Every preparative of pomp, attitude, and lofty language were called in to make him worthy of himself. His admirers were in ecstacies; the few that dared to sneer at his theatric fustian, did not find it quite so ridiculous as they wished. It was enough for the former that their god was not dumb, and there was no danger that he would familiarize himself too often with the multitude. He affected to adopt parliamentary measures, and to wish that all the negotiations with Spain might be laid before them; graciously promising to beseech the King that not only papers might be produced, but that the Cabinet-councillors themselves might be permitted to divulge the opinions they had given. This was a puny piece of chicane, the Ministers endeavouring to prove that the132 hostilities of Spain were subsequent in date to the period in which Mr. Pitt found it advisable from their conduct to attack the Spaniards. He had early detected their league with France, and was not of a humour to weigh dates against facts, or memorials against combinations. Nor Hardwicke’s forms nor Mansfield’s subtleties could persuade the seeing part of mankind that a war at our doors ought to be treated with the same literal circumspection as an action of trespass or battery at common law.

Mr. Pitt himself, in the House of Commons, with much seeming modesty, assumed the honour that was due to his intelligence and foresight; and by disclaiming any triumph on the necessity into which the ministers had fallen of making war, asserted the right, to which his counsels had entitled him, of having pointed out the moment when the war ought to have commenced—a moment, lost by his enemies, without the benefit of having warded off the war with Spain. Lord North,165 who seconded the address of thanks for the King’s speech, had injudiciously furnished Pitt with an opportunity of vindicating his measures, calling him an abdicated minister, and violently taxing him with a fondness for new hostilities. Nothing could be more cool or artful than Pitt’s reply. It was all panegyric; all gratitude for his Majesty’s resentment of Spain’s provoking conduct, and for the caution with which he promised to engage in so large a war. In his own particular situation, he might be supposed not to like such firm, and yet such cautious measures—but he did; he heartily thanked the ministers133 for their caution; and meaned to conciliate unanimity, which he hoped would spread from one end of the island to the other. Himself for five years had laboured successfully—but he did not mean to pride himself that way—yet he had proved not to have been so much in the wrong as his enemies had thought; and, however Lord North had disparaged his intelligence, activity, and discernment, he hoped his successors would not be endowed with worse or less; and that the people would place confidence in the administration, whose large and wide-spread connections must be followed by confidence and favour. A poor individual like himself could have no such favour and following! He should easily have been blamed, if any slip had appeared in his conduct. Now it must be the King—it must be the Administration, the Parliament, nation, army, and navy, who were to carry on the war; and he prayed to God it might all be enough! Yet he thought us equal to the whole. However, he had not sought the Spanish war; and if it were not too much for a poor individual, for an abdicated Minister, to say, he hoped it would appear, that for five years together he had made much political court to Spain, and great persons had concurred with him in those counsels. The sacrifices he had offered would show how much he and they had been in the right; and that he had not been so haughty as was represented in rejecting Bussy’s memorial. He would never call for the papers which would exemplify the temper he had used towards Spain. If his Majesty should think they would satisfy the nation, would satisfy Europe, he knew he should appear to have had the134 unanimous approbation of the whole Cabinet to several of the papers he had sent to Spain. But what imported it what one man or another had thought three months before? Since that era he had received such public marks of Royal approbation, together with a pension and peerage (for his wife), as few individuals could boast. The moment was come when every man ought to show himself for the whole. I do, said he, cruelly as I have been treated in pamphlets and libels. Arm the whole! Be one people! This war, though it has cut deep into our pecuniary, had augmented our military faculties. Set that against the debt, that spirit which has made us what we are. Forget everything but the public!—for the public I forget both my wrongs and my infirmities.

Grenville told him he would have his wish: orders were given for laying before the House all the papers from the time of Bussy’s memorial. “I have no wish for their coming,” replied Pitt, “If for the benefit of his Majesty’s affairs, let them come; and if they do come, shall it be with no farther retrospect than Bussy’s memorial? How condescending is the boon! how futile! how unsatisfactory!”

Yet notwithstanding their affected alacrity for war on this occasion, the new Ministers took every opportunity of raising disgust in the nation against the late measures. Rigby, at the instigation of Fox, moved that Colonel Boyd should lay before the House of Commons the muster-roll of the Hessians, on whom he threw out many reflections, and affirmed that 9000 men were wanting out of the 22,000 which they ought to furnish. He said the muster-rolls of our135 mercenaries were not returned to the office of the Secretary at War; and complained that not a single order was gone to recruit the army in Germany, which ought to amount to 96,000 men. He hoped Prince Ferdinand would be allowed to give no more orders to British troops. He pretended to approve the declaration against Spain, but then endeavoured to show that we were unequal to a new war. It required, he said, 38,000 men to garrison our conquests; and yet those garrisons fell short by 11,000 men. Belleisle alone had cost near half a million; yet what did it furnish but sprats and little cows? Canada gave us only furs; yet hats were not become cheaper; nor were sugar or rum fallen by the acquisition of opulent Guadaloupe; nor negroes by the conquest of Goree; gum was the only commodity reduced. For Louisbourg, he hoped the fortifications would be blown up. The enemy was hurt, but were we enriched, except from the successes in the East Indies? He wished, in short, not to keep our conquests, and to put an end to a ruinous war, in which we had no allies but mercenaries.

Charles Townshend took the same key, and said it had been fortunate, if our apprehension of Spain had driven us to make peace with France. He feared we should sink from a dream of ambition to a state of bankruptcy.

Stanley maintained that France had been in earnest in the negotiation, but had been buoyed up by the ambition and revenge of Spain. Was France so weak, and yet not in earnest? The object of his own labours had been to keep France divided from Spain, and with136 that view England had offered to yield more than she had asked in return. This was a strong vindication of Mr. Pitt’s conduct, and from a competent witness.

Grenville, in answer to Beckford, said, he would pawn his life that no assurances had been given to the City that there would be no Spanish war. Thomas Walpole166 replied, that he had never been told from the Treasury that there would not be war with Spain; yet he would say, that had the City apprehended it, they would not have lent their money so easily. The Hessian papers were ordered to lie on the table.

In prosecution of the same hostilities to Pitt, the Duke of Bedford, resisting the most earnest entreaties of the Duke of Cumberland, and even without the approbation of the Court, determined to make his motion, which, however, he softened from a proposal of recalling the troops from Germany, into a resolution of the ruinous impracticability of carrying on the war. He might as decently have termed it an exhortation to Spain not to dread our arms. Lord Bute, to show the Court did not countenance so gross a measure, moved the previous question, and was supported by Newcastle, Melcomb, and Denbigh. Lord Temple of course opposed the Duke of Bedford. The Lords Shelburne, Pomfret, and Talbot spoke for the motion; but the previous question was carried by 105 to 16, which latter were the friends of Bedford and Fox. Six or seven even protested.

137 In the course of the debate Lord Bute dropped hints of important good news, which he had received that very morning. It was supposed to mean the pacific disposition of the new Czar. Elizabeth, his aunt, was just dead, and Peter the Third had mounted the Russian throne. So far from inheriting her animosity to the King of Prussia, the young Emperor was his enthusiastic admirer, and more likely to war under his banners than to continue to overwhelm him with torrents of barbarians.

The Duke of Bedford receiving such a rebuff from the Lords, the faction dropped the design of renewing the motion in the Commons, the consequence having been a side-wind of approbation to Mr. Pitt, and almost applause to Lord Bute for taking up the military spirit—an approbation the latter did not wish to receive, nor intend to merit. However, 5000 men were ordered for Portugal, and the command destined to Lord Tyrawley. Lord Albemarle too, and his brothers, Commodore and Colonel Keppel,167 set out for Portsmouth on the expedition to the Havannah; but they did not sail till the beginning of March. Lord Tyrawley went to Lisbon at the same time, whither M. Dunn, or Odunn, who had married a daughter of Parsons,168 a famous Jacobite alderman in the last reign, was dispatched from Versailles to traverse his negotiations.

138 Dr. Osbaldiston,169 the aged Bishop of Carlisle, was translated to the See of London, on the death of Bishop Hayter; and was succeeded by Lyttelton,170 Dean of Exeter.

In France, Marshal Broglio, and his brother, the Count, were disgraced by Court intrigues. They were the best, and almost only successful officers in the French service. The marshal171 was a mere disciplinarian, of no parts. The Count172 was lively, and earnest to inform himself; and by being quicker than his brother, with not much better parts, was only more likely to be in the wrong: but they were both men of strict honour. Having presented a memorial against the Prince of Soubize, in which they attacked Stainville,139 brother of the Duke of Choiseul, the latter, who possessed the favour of Madame de Pompadour, procured the marshal and his brother to be banished to their country-seats.

The Tories, triumphing in the partiality of the Court, and rather offended than alarmed at the jealousy with which they were beheld by the Whigs, who in power, property, and credit were beyond comparison the preponderating part of the nation, took every occasion of displaying their old prejudices and resentments. On every contested election they acted in a body against the old Whigs, or later converts, however attached to the Court. Thus they exerted all their interest against Lord Gower173 and Lord Orford174 on election-causes, and against the Duke of Bridgwater175 and Lord Strange, on a bill for a new northern navigation—points, on every one of which the Tories were rancorous and unsuccessful. Nor was Scotland wiser. One Haldane had stood for Bridport, lost it, and petitioned. Sir Henry Erskine, a creature of the Favourite, had the indecency and folly to call the English party in the140 House of Commons a profligate majority; an offence not forgotten, though the Scots were beaten by three to one. The inconsiderable number that in either House of Parliament adhered to Mr. Pitt, and the almost universal acquiescence to the Favourite’s influence, persuaded both him and his dependents, that they had but to give the tone, and prerogative would master all opposition. Nor did his partisans do more than was practised by the Favourite himself. If they insulted the nation, he ruled the Court with a rod of iron. The Queen, her brother, and the brothers of the King, were taught to feel their total want of credit. The Duke of York, as Lord Anson was dying, ambitioned the post of Lord High Admiral, but did not dare even to ask it. Prince William,176 the favourite brother of the King, wished also to be employed abroad, and ordered Legrand,177 his governor, to solicit Lord Bute for a command. The haughty Earl treated Legrand with scurrilous language for putting such things into the Prince’s head. The Duke of York, who, though the elder, was by far the more indiscreet of the brothers, openly expressed his resentment and contempt of Lord Bute and the Scotch; and as a mark of disobedience, went to a hunting party at the Duke of Richmond’s, to which he had been invited with the Prince of Mecklenburg; but the latter was not suffered to go to a disaffected house in disaffected company.

But while inactivity reigned in the Parliament of141 England, that of Ireland was not idle. Lord Halifax,178 their new Lord-Lieutenant, was, like most of his predecessors very popular at first. They voted him an additional salary of four thousand pounds a year. He had the decency, though very necessitous, not to accept it for himself, but desired it might be settled on his successors. The House of Commons, however, would not wait till it should take place, to pay themselves, but passed a vote to make their Parliaments, which existed during the life of each King, septennial. The party attached to the Castle179 voted for it, concluding it would be thrown out by the Lords. The Lords, as provident for their popularity, thinking it would be rejected in England, passed it likewise. It was rejected here, but not without much disposition in some of the Council to have it granted. Lord Hilsborough,180 who had great weight with Lord Halifax, stayed with him in Dublin, and openly made war on the Primate;181 while William Gerard Hamilton,182 the142 Secretary, gained such applause in that Parliament, that a motion for augmenting the troops was carried by the sole power of his eloquence.

March 19th, the bill for continuing the militia for seven years was passed by the House of Commons in England; and the counties, that had not raised theirs, were ordered to pay five pounds a man. This was settled by a compromise, lest a longer term should be insisted on. Its own friends were sick of it, and had clogged it with many clauses, in hopes it would be rejected by their opponents. But the Ministers would not risk the unpopularity of a negative, and were even afraid to part with so large a body of men.



Conquest of Martinico.—War in Portugal.—Lord Tyrawley.—Count la Lippe.—The Cock-Lane Ghost.—Pacific disposition of the new Czar.—His Popular Measures.—Count Schouvalow.—Meditated War with Denmark by the Czar and the King of Prussia.—Insurrections in Ireland, quelled by the Earl of Hertford.—Lord Bute’s Ambition.—The Duke of Newcastle.—His friends.—The Portuguese War, and the War in Germany.—The Duke of Bedford.—Fox’s Observation to Walpole.—Lords Mansfield, Hardwicke, and Lincoln.—Newcastle’s tenacity of Power.—Creation of seven new Peers.—Private negotiation with the Court of Vienna.—The new Peers.—Buckingham House purchased by the Queen.—Seclusion of the King and Queen.—the King’s younger Brothers.

On the 22nd of March arrived news of the conquest of Martinico by General Monckton183 and Admiral Rodney:184 a plan ascribed by the people to Mr. Pitt, though executed under the auspices of the Favourite. In truth, the valour of the nation had taken such a bent, that Lord Bute could not check it: nothing but a peace could chain it up. If the Earl did favour any part of the war, it was that in Portugal. Colonel Burgoyne185 was ordered thither with five thousand foot144 and six hundred horse; and there was a plan for regimenting twenty-five thousand papists in Ireland for the same service; but the Irish Government did not approve of giving discipline and arms to such dangerous inmates. For General-in-Chief, it was proposed to send to Lisbon the Prince of Bevern. He had been suspected of infidelity by the King of Prussia,186—had been disgraced, and his intellects were not reckoned sound. Lord Tyrawley sent home his aides-de-camp, affecting to wonder that we expected any invasion of Portugal. This was imputed to his disgust at not obtaining the command himself; he who was a brave and old general, and who was perfectly acquainted with the country.187 The Prince of Bevern declined the offer; and Count la Lippe accepted it. He was born in England, had distinguished himself in every hussar-kind of service, and in his dress and manners copied Charles XII. of Sweden, though with more politeness. He found the Portuguese troops in the most deplorable state of cowardice and want of discipline. The English could not, and did not disguise145 their contempt of them. The Spanish army might have marched to Lisbon, had they met with no obstruction but from the natives. The English troops saved that country; and Count La Lippe, before he left Portugal, formed a regular army there.188

The facility which the Favourite found of mastering so great and victorious a kingdom, and of removing the man who had carried the glory of his country so high, was not the only evidence, that however enlightened an age may be, knavery and folly need never despair. The tares they sow will shoot amidst any harvest. Will it be credited that, while the Romish superstition was crumbling away even in Spain and Portugal, a set of enthusiastic rogues dared to exhibit in the very heart of London, a pantomime of146 imposture, which would hardly have been swallowed in a paltry village of Castile? The methodists had endeavoured to establish in Warwickshire, not only the belief, but the actual existence of ghosts. Being detected, they struck a bold stroke, and attempted to erect their system in the metropolis itself. A methodist family, at first out of revenge, endeavoured to fasten on one Parsons the imputation of having debauched and murdered his wife’s sister. A young girl was reported to be visited by the deceased, whom she called Fanny, and with whom she established a correspondence of question and answer—not by words, but by scratching. A certain number of scratches signified “yes;” another number, “no.” At first this147 farce, which was acted in Cock-lane, in the city, was confined to the mob of the neighbourhood. As the rumour spread, persons of all ranks thronged to the house. Two methodist clergymen constantly attended the child, who lay in bed in a wretched chamber, with only a dim rushlight at one end. These worthy divines affected to cast an air of most serious import on the whole transaction, and by their interposition prompted Fanny and the girl on any dilemma. A servant wench commented and explained Fanny’s oracle. The father would accept no money from the various visitants, for which he was promised an adequate recompense by the chiefs of the sect. When the story had gained a requisite footing, Fanny had the indiscreet confidence to declare that her body was148 not in the vault where it had been interred. Samuel Johnson, author of the Dictionary, was in the number of the deluded, and with some others as wise as himself, visited the vault, where, to the disappointment of their credulity, they found the body.189 Had the precaution been taken of conveying it away, the fury of the people might have been actuated to strange lengths; for so much credit had the story gained, that Parsons, the accused, fearing a prosecution, began first. A regular trial190 instantly unravelled the cheat:149 the girl was detected of performing the scratchings herself, and one of the clergymen proved to be her abettor. Lord Chief Justice Mansfield tried the cause: the divine had the impudence to present a letter to him on the bench from the Archbishop of Canterbury,191 interceding on his behalf, for Secker had a fellow feeling for hypocritical enthusiasm. The Chief Justice put the letter into his pocket unopened, saying it was impossible it could relate to the cause in question. Yet the punishment of these impostors was very moderate: whereas the same judge inflicted most severe penalties on one Anett, who published weekly papers against the book of Genesis. The methodists did not take shame. They turned informers against profaners of the Sabbath, tried to establish great rigour on Good Friday and the fast-days, and to revive the superstition of holidays, when even the late Pope himself, Benedict XIV.,192 had struck several out of the calendar. But the ritual of the Church of Rome was too rich in materials not to be copied by new zealots. They introduced into their service hymns sung in parts by children, as very captivating150 to the multitude; and the Countess of Huntingdon,193 the patroness of the rising Church, erected a chapel at Bath, and at other places of drinking waters, the sick and diseased being an obvious prey to Reformers. Hogarth exerted his last stroke of genius on the occasion above mentioned: the print he published on the Cock-lane Ghost had a mixture of humorous and sublime satire, that not only surpassed all his other performances, but which would alone immortalize his unequalled talents.

The expectations conceived of the new Czar were now verified. He declared to the Empress Queen, to France, and to Sweden, that he was ready to abandon his conquests for peace, and hoped they were in the same disposition—not at the same price. France, indeed, had many losses to regain, few acquisitions to restore—but her hopes were placed on Spain. Sweden had made no conquests, and must obey the dictates of so powerful a mediator; but the Empress Queen was far from being equally tractable. Peter, however, having sacrificed the first moments to decency, gave the next to the gratification of his will; and without stipulating for his allies, whose politics and procrastination were incompatible with his ardour, he not only made peace with his favourite monarch,194 but promised the same troops, which under the late151 Czarina had almost crushed him. Nor was this a bare promise, but faithfully executed. Such admiration of a hero was not likely to content itself with merely becoming his ally. Few men idolize heroism but they who feel the passion in their own breasts. Having obliged Sweden to make peace too, the young Czar turned his eye towards military exploits in a new field, and determined to attempt the conquest of the duchy of Sleswick from Denmark. Yet if he was dazzled by the martial talents of the King of Prussia, Peter had a heart susceptible of the most extensive humanity. One of his first acts on his accession was to bestow liberty on the Russian nobility. For the poor he lessened the tax on salt, and for the relief of all, abolished the Inquisition of the State. All the exiles were recalled, or received great mitigation of their punishments. There was one man to whom the Czar, though not so bountiful as he ought to have been, was very kind. This was Count Schouvalow, the favourite and supposed husband of the late Czarina. A man, who in twelve years of absolute power had never made an enemy; and who, had he ambitioned a crown as much as he deserved one, might have reigned. This upright man told the Czar that he had in his possession a very large sum of money, which he believed the Empress, his late mistress, had intended he should take for his own use, but not having been a specific gift, he thought it his duty to surrender it to his Majesty. The Emperor said he was in great want of money, took it, but ordered him to choose two thousand pounds a year in land wherever he pleased. I knew this amiable person afterwards, wandering152 about Europe,195 possessed of nothing beyond that revenue, and sighing after a country to which it had been imprudent to return.

The Czar and the King of Prussia wished to engage us in the war with Denmark; but though the Council was divided on the measure, Denmark was too intimately connected with us, and as a maritime power, was too near a neighbour to Scotland. In this exigence the King of Denmark marched with a considerable force to Hamburgh, and obliged that opulent city to furnish him with a million of rix-dollars.

In Ireland seemed approaching a scene of a new kind. The jealousy of commerce had ever swayed England to keep that kingdom in a state of humiliation and restraint; consequently of poverty. The lowest class of people in no country less enjoyed the sweets of being; and in no country sought less to emerge from their state of barbarism. Proud and slothful, they created a kind of dignity to themselves from inactivity. To labour no more than noblemen, was a sort of nobility; and ignorance of a happier fate was happiness. They preserved their ancient poetry and traditional genealogies; hated the English settled amongst them as invaders, and necessarily were bigoted to their old superstitions in opposition to the religion of their masters. In short, they wanted but luxury, to have all the passions and prejudices of great lords. A considerable part of the island was plunged in this dismal darkness and misery. As a spirit of opposition and independence had spread amongst the153 Protestant inhabitants, a spirit of improvement had gone forth too. Manufactures were established, roads and bridges made, and rivers rendered navigable. Inclosures for cultivation of lands had followed. Occupation of commons seemed usurpation to a race of lazy savages; and the first murmurs were carefully blown up to rage by their priests. A massacre had been the last instance in which the Catholics of Ireland had had any superiority; and Popish priests are historians enough to be ignorant of no such era. It was the cause of property to throw down inclosures; of heaven, to cut the throats of inclosers—and of France and Spain, to promote the good work. The tumults, however, began upon the single foot of their grievances. Great insurrections appeared in Waterford, the chief improvements having been made upon the Burlington estate. The rabble soon distinguished itself by the name of White Boys; and their instructors, to veil one nonsense under a greater, taught them to give out that they were subject to the Queen of the Fairies, whom they called Sieve Oltugh, in whose name their manifestoes were signed. It appeared afterwards on the trials of some of their chiefs, that this fairy sovereign resided at Versailles. French officers were discovered among them; and during the Duke of Bedford’s regency, a rising had actually been made in the same quarter just as Thurot landed. After many outrages, they proceeded to cruelty, and buried three persons up to their chins, who had declared they knew the ringleaders. As their numbers and impunity increased, so did their insolence. They obliged the town of Lismore to hang out lights, and forced a154 justice of peace to fix up a proclamation by which they regulated the price of provisions, and forbad any cheese to be made till after Lent, that the poor might have the milk—a proof that the devotees of the Queen of the Fairies, and of the Virgin Mary, were equally attached to the observation of the Fast.

For six weeks this insurrection was neglected; and two regiments of dragoons, that were sent against them, proved unequal to the work. At last the House of Commons took up the affair, and foot being ordered out against the seditious, the matter was quashed, though not entirely suppressed, till the Earl of Hertford196 was Lord Lieutenant, who refusing to pardon some of the chiefs, notwithstanding very considerable intercession, an end was put to the affair—but unless that country is more civilized and reclaimed from barbarism, or better guarded before another war breaks out, it will probably be selected by France and Spain for the first scene of their operations. At the time of which I have been speaking, France was more earnest to make a general peace, than to incense us by opening a war within our very gates,197 and which might have made it dangerous for the Favourite to second their views.

He was hotly pushing his schemes to projection;155 and resolved not only to make the peace, but to be indisputably first minister when it should be made. Mr. Pitt was removed, who could have obstructed the first object; but while the Duke of Newcastle held the Treasury, there was a division of power, which all the lustre of favour could not entirely surmount. They who looked forward, bowed to the idol; but they who held by gratifications to the Treasury, could not but kiss the hand that dealt the bribe. At first it was designed by disgusts to drive the Duke to resign. Elliot and Oswald198 were instructed to treat him rudely at his own board: but an old minister or an old mistress endure many shocks before they can be shaken off:199 nor could all his own treacheries persuade the Duke of Newcastle that Lord Bute could so soon forget how instrumental his Grace had been in undermining Mr. Pitt. He still had a mind to be of the plot, though himself was become the object of it.

Newcastle’s friends were quicker sighted; and foreseeing that they must again range under Mr. Pitt, if cast off by the Court, they began to have doubts and difficulties—and did but hasten their fall, by daring to resume a right of opinion. The expense of the Portuguese war administered their first pretence of complaint, and the protection given to the King of Prussia by the Czar, changed the posture of his affairs so advantageously, that it had no gross appearance, when156 the Dukes of Cumberland, Newcastle, Devonshire, and their faction grew earnest for the continuance of the war in Germany. The Duke of Bedford, who was more than half-gained to the Court, but who always added some contradiction of his own, was averse to both wars, Portuguese and German; and Fox, who was willing to preserve an interest in the Duke of Cumberland, had a difficult part to act. He said to me, “The Duke of Devonshire says it is a Tory measure to abandon the Continent; for my part I do not know who are Whigs; they bore the partiality of the Pelhams200 to the Tories, and Mr. Pitt’s declaration in their favour, who had complained that they enjoyed none of the favours of Government.” Lord Mansfield would have preserved Newcastle to the Court, but Lord Hardwicke pulled the other way. Lord Lincoln201 was devoted to Pitt, and wished to unite him and his uncle Newcastle. The Duke of Devonshire advised the latter to resign; but so great was his inclination to keep even the dregs of power with the dregs of life, and so great his fear of being called to account for the waste of money on the German war, that though the King, as a fresh affront, declared seven new peers, without acquainting him, he not only overlooked it, but begged his cousin, Mr. Pelham,202 might be added to the number, and got the barony of Pelham bestowed on himself, with reversion to that relation.

I am forced to detail these intrigues, because the moment was critical, and because it gave birth to a157 new party, and to many subsequent events. The Court was the more stiff, because they had conveyed a message through Count Virri,203 the Sardinian minister in England, to the Bailli de Solar,204 the Sardinian minister at Paris, desiring to renew the negotiation where it had been broken off. Lord Bute had gone farther: he had ordered Sir Joseph Yorke to treat privately with the Court of Vienna, without the knowledge of the King of Prussia. For some time the Court of Vienna did not vouchsafe an answer. To the confusion of the Favourite, the first news he had of any answer to come, was from the Baron de Knyphausen, the King of Prussia’s minister here.205

April 28th, the new peers kissed hands. Lord206158 Wentworth and Sir William Courtenay,207 Tories, were made Viscounts. Lord Egmont,208 Lord Milton,209 Lord Brudenel, the Duke of Newcastle, Sir Edward Hussy Montagu,210 Mr. Vernon,211 of Sudbury, and Mr. Lane,212159 the two latter Tories, were made Barons, and Lady Caroline Fox, a Baroness. Lord Ligonier’s Irish peerage was entailed on his nephew. Mr. Vernon,213 clerk of the Council, and Mr. Olmius,214 were created Irish Barons. The Prince of Mecklenburg,215 brother of the Queen, was made a Major-General. Lord Bute had often waved her request. She was advised to apply to the Princess, and the favour was immediately granted. Soon after, Buckingham House216 was purchased and bestowed on her Majesty, St. James’s not seeming a prison strait enough. There the King and Queen lived in the strictest privacy, attended absolutely by none but menial servants; and never came to the palace but for the hours of levies and drawing-rooms. The King’s younger brothers were kept, till they came of age, in as rigid durance. Prince Henry, the third, a very lively lad, being asked if he had been confined with the epidemic cold, replied, “Confined! that I am, without any cold;” and soon after, when160 the Garter was bestowed on Prince William and Lord Bute, Prince Henry said, “I suppose Mr. Mackenzie217 and I shall have the green ribands.”



Debate in the House of Commons on a Vote of Credit and the Support of Portugal.—The German War.—Pitt’s Speech.—Colonel Barré’s Reply to Mr. Pitt.—Lord Bute’s Ambition.—The Duke of Newcastle’s Resignation.—Fox and the Duke of Devonshire.—Ingratitude of the Clergy to Newcastle.—Unwise conduct of Lord Bute.—He is declared First Lord of the Treasury.—Sir Francis Dashwood, Chancellor of the Exchequer.—His unfitness for that Office.—His general Character.—His establishment of a Society of Young Travellers.

May 12th. The House of Commons debated on a vote of credit, and the support of Portugal. Glover the poet pleaded against Portugal’s claim to our assistance, from their many infractions of treaties, from their cramping our trade, and from the impossibilities our merchants had found of obtaining redress; a complaint that seemed to bear hard on the late ministry: to which he added reflections on the extravagance of the German war, which, contrary to the professions of ministers, had grown from £200,000 to six or seven millions. Pitt was offended, and corrected Glover, who threw his information on some nameless merchants, by whom he had been told that their remonstrances on the difficulties of the Portuguese trade had not been read by the ministers. Wilkes censured the weakness and irresolution of the ministry; their abandoning Belleisle, and neglecting to send over162 the officers to Germany. It was even said, he affirmed, that they had been humiliating themselves at the Court of Vienna. Legge more gently, and Beckford with more rhodomontade, pressed the same accusations. The latter was for invading Spain by sea; declared that the City suspected the ministry of wavering, and demanded to have their old minister again. Grenville answered finely, and compared the smallness of the sum demanded, £300,000, with the expense in Germany. Belleisle had cost more than what was now asked for Portugal. That Court knew how we were embarrassed, and asked not more than she knew we could give. What proof was there of irresolution? was not Martinico conquered? was not the Havannah likely to follow? or did Beckford think that great words, blustered in Parliament, constituted resolution? Fluctuating reports were rather owing to stockjobbers than to fluctuation in the measures of Government. He affirmed that not one step had been taken at Vienna derogatory to any of our connections. We had only tried to feel how they relished the family-compact among the Bourbons. But whether the resolution was taken to recall our troops from Germany, or at all events to go on, would it be prudent to declare which was to be the measure?

Lord George Sackville was liberal in blaming the expense of the German war, which he compared with that of Queen Anne; the whole of which, he maintained, except in 1711 and 1712, did not amount to what this German war had cost alone, though we had then employed more British and other troops than at present. Queen Anne’s war had never exceeded eight163 millions, including garrisons, fleet, &c. The expense of 172,000 men from 1709 to 1711 had not gone beyond what one year had recently cost in Germany. If there had not been new inventions for expense, we should not now be ready to beg peace.

Pitt, in a very capital style, took up the cause of Portugal: he did not stoop to that little hackneyed practice of party, opposing whatever was the measure of the adversary. He had stood forth for general war, and for reduction of the House of Bourbon. To advise still larger war was constancy to the same plan; and it was still safer to advise it, when he was no longer answerable for the event. To oppose vigorous steps would have been more truly lending aid to the Court, who wanted to get clear of the war.

As having been a public minister, he must not, he said, intrench himself within his present private situation, but speak his opinion. He should not wait for events, but speak boldly as a counsellor. If he voted for this measure, it was giving the Crown his advice, as if he was called to Council. He did think we ought to support Portugal, both for commercial and political reasons. Portugal is in the immediate predicament of nearness to us after Ireland and our Colonies. It assists, without draining us. Assistance was a matter of justice due from us to an oppressed, insulted ally. There had not been such an infraction of treaties as would release us from the ties of treaties. Should we sit with folded arms while the two branches of Bourbon, those proudest of the proud, would exclude us from neutral ports? We must set Portugal on its legs, not take it on our shoulders. He then expatiated164 on the character of Carvalho, the prime minister of Portugal, his inflexibility to danger, his intrepidity; and drew a picture that might almost have passed for his own, as he seemed to mean it should. Would there be danger in this measure? he was a co-operator in it. If you, as a maritime power, cannot protect Portugal, Genoa will next be shut against you; and then the ports of Sardinia:—what! ports shut against the first maritime power in the world! He then turned Glover into ridicule; said he admired his poetry, but quanto optimus omnium poeta, tanto—he would not, he said, go on. For the sum demanded, it might easily be raised, or a million more: and he would give the same opinion, whether the Duke of Newcastle continued minister, or should be succeeded by Mr. Fox, as was generally said to be the intention. The only difficulty was to find funds. It had been predicated for three years that we could not raise more money; therefore it was plain we could. Lord George should have put into the scale what our enemies had lost; they had been losing, we acquiring. He hoped we should keep up our officers and our marine, and not decrease the latter, as we had done after the last peace. France had last year spent eight millions in Germany. To outlast an enemy was worth perseverance. But we would not distinguish between contracting our expenses and contracting our operations. He paid great compliments to the officers of land and sea, and pleaded earnestly against relinquishing Germany. It would be turning loose an hundred and forty thousand French to overrun the Low Countries and Portugal. If there was any odium from the165 German war, he begged it might fall on him; though he had never seen a contractor, yet he would not disculpate himself by censuring others; and he spoke in mitigation of the blame thrown on the Treasury, owning he thought some little might have been saved, but not suspecting them of dishonesty. Yet, were an inquiry moved, he would second it; he would screen nobody. After the King of Prussia had been so ill-treated on our account, would we throw such a power out of our alliance, only to save three or four hundred thousand pounds? But he thought he had heard the army was not to be recalled—was transported to find Lord Granby was going to it. Himself was the only man that agreed with the whole administration, for he approved both of war in Germany and war in Portugal; and he was so far from meditating opposition, that he should regard the man who would revive parties as an enemy to his country. Himself had contributed to annihilate party, but it had not been to pave the way for those who only intended to substitute one party to another.218 Should the least cloud arise between London and Berlin, he prayed for temper and reconciliation. He wished to move that the continuation of the subsidy to Prussia might be added to the vote of credit; but it did not become him to move for more than was asked by the King’s servants: yet he wished the vote of credit had been greater, and knew the Duke of Newcastle wished so too. He should rejoice to see the session closed with the grant of a large sum of money, because England could not well166 treat but at the head of all her force. Russia had acceded to Prussia—how much wiser to give money to that monarch now, when he is in a better situation, than, as you would do, if he were still more distressed! Nay, that little teazing incident, Sweden, was removed by dread of the Czar. Sweden is a free nation, but factions and a corrupted senate have lowered it from the great figure it made an hundred years ago. Act now, continued he, upon a great system, while it is in your power! A million more would be a pittance to place you at the head of Europe, and enable you to treat with efficacy and dignity. Save it not in this last critical year! Give the million to the war at large, and add three, four, or five hundred thousand pounds more to Portugal; or avow to the House of Bourbon that you are not able to treat at the head of your allies.

This speech, so artful, elevated, so much in character, and so distressful to the Junto that were endeavouring to steal disgrace upon themselves and their country in the face of the world, by setting up one war against another, and dividing the attention of the public, till impotence and mismanagement should render peace welcome,—this speech did Colonel Barré attempt to answer; and did answer it, only in length. He was sensible that he had disgusted mankind by his indecent brutality to so great a statesman: his friends had told him that his invectives, illiberal as they had been, were reckoned the produce of study; and that he must shine in cool argument, lest he should be thought a bully rather than an orator. If they apprehended this, the result of their lessons was a proof167 that their apprehensions had not been ill-founded. Nothing could be more cold and dull than Barré’s reply to Mr. Pitt. It revenged the latter for the former insult. Calvert,219 a mad volunteer, who always spoke what he thought, and sometimes thought justly, was so struck with Barré’s phlegmatic impropriety, that he told the House it had put him in mind of a poet, who being at sea in a tempest, and being missed while all hands were on deck, was found half asleep in the cabin; and, being asked why he did not assist to save the ship, replied, he was thinking how to describe the storm?220 The money was voted, and nothing more of consequence passed that session in Parliament.

Both Houses thus complaisant and submissive, there wanted but the office of prime minister to glut the Favourite’s ambition: and no wonder that he, who had dared to strike the name of the first monarch in military glory in Europe from the list of Great Britain’s pensioners, only to gratify the feminine piques of the backstairs; and who had ventured successfully to remove Mr. Pitt from the command of that country which he had saved, restored, exalted;—no wonder such a Phaëton should drive over a ridiculous old168 dotard, who had ever been in everybody’s way, and whose feeble hands were still struggling for power, when the most he ought to have expected, was, that his flattery and obsequiousness might have moved charity to leave him an appearance of credit. It was absurd for him to stay in place; insolent to attempt to stay there by force, and impudent to pretend to patriotism when driven out with contempt. Against his will he was preserved from having a share in the infamy of the ensuing peace.

May 14th, the Duke221 acquainted the King that he would resign, who answered coldly, “Then, my Lord, I must fill up your place as well as I can.” Still Newcastle lingered; and, as he owned afterwards to the Duke of Cumberland, his friends had laboured to prevent the fatal blow. Lord Mansfield, he said, had pleaded with Lord Bute for above an hour, and could not extract from him a wish that the Duke should continue in the Treasury. Fox asked Lord Mansfield if this was true? He replied, “Not an hour, for I soon saw it was to no purpose.”

Thus disgraced, and disgracing himself, on the 26th the Duke of Newcastle resigned: and he, who had begun the world with heading mobs against the ministers of Queen Anne; who had braved the Heir-apparent222 of the new family, and forced himself upon him as godfather to his son; who had recovered that Prince’s favour, and preserved power under him at the expense of every minister whom that Prince preferred; and who had been a victorious rival of another Prince169 of Wales;223 was now buffeted from a fourth Court224 by a very suitable competitor, and was reduced in his tottering old age to have recourse to those mobs and that popularity which had raised him fifty years before; and as almost the individual crisis was revolved, with a scandalous treaty and a new prospect of arbitrary power, it looked as if Newcastle thought himself young again, because the times of his youth were returned, and he was obliged to act with boys!

Such pains, however, had been taken to disjoint his faction, that his exit from power was by no means attended with consolatory circumstances. The Duke of Devonshire would not resign, though he declared he would seldom or never go to council. Fox had warned him not to be too hasty in embarking in a party in which Pitt must be a principal actor; and remembering his Grace how large a share Pitt had had in planting the Tories at Court, and that, speaking of Legge, Pitt had said, “I will have no more ear for Whig grievances.” The rest of Newcastle’s friends were as little disposed to follow him: but that he might taste the full mortification of being deserted by those whom he had most obliged, whom he had most courted and most patronized, the clergy gave the most conspicuous example of ingratitude. For thirty years Newcastle had had the almost sole disposal of ecclesiastic preferments,170 and consequently had raised numbers of men from penury and the meanest birth to the highest honours and amplest incomes in their profession. At this very period there were not three bishops on the bench who did not owe their mitres to him. His first levée after his fall was attended but by one bishop,225 Cornwallis of Lichfield; who being a man of quality, and by his birth entitled to expect a greater rise, did but reflect the more shame on those who owed everything to favour, and scarce one of them anything to abilities.

The conduct of Lord Bute was not more wise than that of Newcastle. Instead of sheltering himself under that old man’s name from whatever danger there might be in making peace, the Earl was driving together all those whom he ought to have kept divided, and really seemed jealous lest himself should not have the whole odium of sacrificing the glories and conquests of the war; an infatuation that so far excuses him, as he must have thought he did a service to his country in restoring peace: but what must his understanding have been if he could think that peace would be a benefit, let the terms be what they would? He supposed, too, that Newcastle, having in opposition to Pitt declared for peace, could not retract, and be against the peace. This was not knowing Newcastle or mankind. The situation, too, was materially changed: the weight of Russia was transferred from the hostile to the friendly scale; Martinico was fallen;171 and Europe could scarce amass the symptom of a fleet. A mind less versatile than Newcastle’s could not want arguments against a precipitate treaty. Yet was it not Newcastle, nor a scandalous treaty that shook the Favourite’s power. It was his ignorance of the world; it was a head unadapted to government, and rendered still less proper for it by morose and recluse pride, and a heart that was not formed to bear up a weak head, that made him embark imprudently, and retreat as unadvisedly.

Lord Bute, on the resignation of the Duke of Newcastle, was immediately declared First Lord of the Treasury. George Grenville succeeded him as Secretary of State, and Sir Francis Dashwood was made his Chancellor of the Exchequer; a system that all the lustre of the Favourite’s power could not guard from being ridiculous, though to himself mankind bowed with obsequious devotion. Grenville was ignorant of foreign affairs, and, though capable of out-talking the whole corps diplomatique, had no address, no manner, no insinuation, and had, least of all, the faculty of listening. The Favourite himself had never been in a single office of business, but for the few months that he had held the seals: of the revenue he was in perfect ignorance, knew nothing of figures, and was a stranger to those Magi to the east of Temple-Bar, who, though they flock to a new star, expect to be talked to in a more intelligible language than that of inspiration. When a Lord Treasurer or a First Lord of the Treasury is not master of his own province, it suffices if the Chancellor of the Exchequer is a man of business, and capable of conducting the revenue, of172 planning supplies, and of executing the mechanic duties of that high post. But in the new dispensation it was difficult to say which was the worst suited to his office, the minister or his substitute. While the former shrouded his ignorance from vulgar eyes, and dropped but now and then from a cloud an oracular sentence; the deputy, with the familiarity and phrase of a fish-wife, introduced the humours of Wapping behind the veil of the Treasury. He had a coarse, blunt manner of speaking, that, looking like honesty, inclined men to hold his common sense in higher esteem than it deserved; but, having neither knowledge226 nor dignity, his style, when he was to act as173 minister, appeared naked, vulgar, and irreverent to an assembly that expects to be informed, and that generally chooses to reprehend, not to be reprehended. When a statesman ventures to be familiar, he must captivate his audience by uncommon graces, or win their good-will by a humane pleasantry that seems to flow from the heart, and to be the effusion of universal benevolence. This was the secret as well as character of Henry the Fourth of France: even the semblance of it stood his grandson, our Charles the Second, in signal stead, and veiled his unfeeling heart, and selfish and remorseless insensibility.

Men were puzzled to guess at the motive of so improper a choice as this of Sir Francis Dashwood. The banner of religion was displayed at Court, and yet all the centurions were culled from the most profligate societies. Sir Francis had long been known by his174 singularities and some humour. In his early youth, accoutred like Charles the Twelfth, he had travelled to Russia in hopes of captivating the Czarina; but neither the character nor dress of Charles were well imagined to catch a woman’s heart. In Italy, Sir Francis had given in to the most open profaneness; and, at his return, had assembled a society227 of Young Travellers, to which a taste for the arts and antiquity, or merely having travelled, were the recommendatory ingredients. Their pictures were drawn, ornamented with symbols and devices; and the founder, in the habit of St. Francis, and with a chalice in his hand, was represented at his devotions before a statue of the Venus of Medicis, a stream of glory beaming on him from behind her lower hand. These pictures were long exhibited in their club-room at a tavern in Palace Yard; but of later years Saint Francis had instituted a more select order. He and some chosen friends had hired the ruins of Medmenham Abbey, near Marlow, and refitted it in a conventual style. Thither at stated seasons they adjourned; had each their cell, a proper habit, a monastic name, and a refectory in common—besides a chapel, the decorations of which may well be supposed to have contained the quintessence of their mysteries, since it was impenetrable to any but the initiated. Whatever their doctrines were, their practice was rigorously pagan: Bacchus and Venus were the deities to whom they almost publicly sacrificed. The old Lord Melcomb was one175 of the brotherhood. Yet their follies would have escaped the eye of the public, if Lord Bute from this seminary of piety and wisdom had not selected a Chancellor of the Exchequer. But politics had no sooner infused themselves amongst these rosy anchorites, than dissensions were kindled, and a false brother arose, who divulged the arcana, and exposed the good Prior, in order to ridicule him as Minister of the Finances. But, of this, more hereafter.



Honours heaped on Lord Bute.—His first Levée.—Archbishop Secker.—Lord Halifax appointed to the Admiralty.—Lord Melcomb a Cabinet Councillor.—Lord Bute’s Haughtiness.—First appearance of “The North Briton.“—Its excessive Audacity.—Sketch of its Author, John Wilkes.—Churchill, Wilkes’s Associate.—Earl Temple.—Capture and recapture of Newfoundland.—The French camp surprised by Prince Ferdinand.—Propensity of the Court for Peace.—General Conway—Peter the Third.—The Czarina Elizabeth.—The Empress Catherine.—Horrible Conspiracy against Peter.—Catherine raised to the Throne.—Murder of Peter.—Effect of the Russian Revolution on the King of Prussia.

Every honour the Crown could bestow was now to be heaped on the Favourite. He was fond of his own person, and obtained the Garter in company with Prince William.228 His first levée was crowded like a triumph. Archbishop Secker, who waited at it, pretended that, seeing a great concourse as he came from Lambeth,229 he had inquired the occasion, and had gone in. Lincoln’s-inn-fields, where the Duke of Newcastle lived, was not now in the way to Lambeth. About177 the same time died Lord Anson, and left the Admiralty too at the disposal of the Favourite. He wished to bestow it on Lord Sandwich, to make room for Rigby, as Vice-Treasurer of Ireland; but the shyness of the Duke of Cumberland, whose creature Sandwich was, made that measure impracticable; and the Admiralty was bestowed on Lord Halifax, with permission to retain Ireland for a year. Elliot,230 a chief confident of the Favourite, was appointed Treasurer of the Chambers; and Lord Melcombe a cabinet councillor: but there ended all the ambition of the latter, he dying of a dropsy in his stomach a few weeks afterwards.

These successes and the tide of power swelled the weak bladder of the Favourite’s mind to the highest pitch. His own style was haughty and distant; that of his creatures insolent. Many persons who had absented themselves from his levée were threatened with the loss of their own, or the places of their relations, and were obliged to bow the knee. But this sunshine drew up very malignant vapours. Scarce was the Earl seated but one step below the throne, when a most virulent weekly paper appeared, called the North Briton. Unawed by the prosecution of the Monitor (another opponent periodic satire, the author of which had been taken up for abusing favourites), and though178 combated by two Court papers called the Briton and the Auditor (the former written by Smollet,231 and the latter by Murphy,232 and both which the new champion179 fairly silenced in a few weeks), the North Briton proceeded with an acrimony, a spirit, and a licentiousness unheard of before even in this country. The highest names, whether of statesmen or magistrates, were printed at length, and the insinuations went still higher. In general, favouritism was the topic, and the partiality of the Court to the Scots. Every obsolete anecdote, every illiberal invective, was raked up and set forth in strong and witty colours against Scotland. One of the first numbers was one of the most outrageous, the theme taken from the loves of Queen Isabella and Mortimer. No doubt but it lay open enough to prosecution, and the intention was to seize the author. But on reflection it was not thought advisable to enter on the discussion of such a subject in Westminster Hall; and, as the daring audaciousness of the writer promised little decorum, it was held prudent to wait till he should furnish a less delicate handle to vengeance: a circumspection that deceived and fell heavy on the author, who, being advised to more caution in his compositions, replied, he had tried the temper of the Court by the paper on Mortimer, and found they did not dare to touch him.

This author, who must be so often mentioned in the following pages, was John Wilkes, member of Parliament for Ailesbury. He was of a plebeian family,233 but inherited a tolerable fortune in Buckinghamshire, and had been bred at Oxford, where he distinguished himself by humorous attacks on whatever was esteemed most holy and respectable. Unrestrained either in his conduct or conversation, he was allowed to have180 more wit than in truth he possessed; and, living with rakes and second-rate authors, he had acquired fame such as it was, in the middling sphere of life, before his name was so much as known to the public. His appearance as an orator had by no means conspired to make him more noticed. He spoke coldly and insipidly, though with impertinence; his manner was poor, and his countenance horrid. When his pen, which possessed an easy impudent style, had drawn the attention of mankind towards him, and it was asked, who this saucy writer was? Fame, that had adopted him, could furnish but scurvy anecdotes of his private life. He had married a woman of fortune, used her ill, and at last cruelly, to extort from her the provision he had made for her separate maintenance; he had debauched a maiden of family by an informal promise of marriage, and had been guilty of other frauds and breaches of trust. Yet the man, bitter as he was in his political writings, was commonly not ill-natured or acrimonious. Wantonness, rather than ambition or vengeance, guided his hand; and, though he became the martyr of the best cause, there was nothing in his principles or morals that led him to care under what government he lived. To laugh and riot and scatter firebrands, with him was liberty. Despotism will for ever reproach Freedom with the profligacy of such a saint!

Associated with Wilkes in pleasure and in the composition of the North Briton was a clergyman named Churchill, who stepped out of obscurity about the same period, and was as open a contemner of decency as Wilkes himself, but far his superior in181 the endowments of his mind. Adapted to the bear-garden by his athletic mould, Churchill had frequented no school so much as the theatres. He had existed by the lowest drudgery of his function, while poetry amused what leisure he could spare, or rather what leisure he would enjoy; for his Muse, and his mistress, and his bottle were so essential to his existence, that they engrossed all but the refuse of his time. Yet for some years his poetry had proved as indifferent as his sermons, till a cruel and ill-natured satire on the actors had, in the first year of this reign, handed him up to public regard. Having caught the taste of the town, he proceeded rapidly, and in a few more publications started forth a giant in numbers, approaching as nearly as possible to his model Dryden, and flinging again on the wild neck of Pegasus the reins which Pope had held with so tight and cautious a hand. Imagination, harmony, wit, satire, strength, fire, and sense crowded on his compositions; and they were welcome for him—he neither sought nor invited their company. Careless of matter and manner, he added grace to sense, or beauty to nonsense, just as they came in his way; and he could not help being sonorous, even when he was unintelligible. He advertised the titles of his poems, but neither planned nor began them till his booksellers, or his own want of money, forced him to thrust out the crude but glorious sallies of his uncorrected fancy. This bacchanalian priest, now mouthing patriotism, and now venting libertinism, the scourge of bad men, and scarce better than the worst, debauching wives, and protecting his gown182 by the weight of his fist, engaged with Wilkes in his war on the Scots; and sometimes learning, and as often not knowing, the characters he attacked,234 set himself up as the Hercules that was to cleanse the State, and punish its oppressors: and, true it is, the storm that saved us was raised in taverns and night-cellars; so much more effectual were the orgies of Churchill and Wilkes than the daggers of Cato and Brutus. The two former saved their country, while Catiline could not ruin his,—a work to which such worthies seemed much better adapted.

But while the wit and revelry of Wilkes and Churchill ran riot, and were diverted by their dissipation to other subjects of pleasantry or satire, they had a familiar at their ear, whose venom was never distilled at random, but each drop administered to some precious work of mischief. This was Earl Temple, who whispered them where they might find torches, but took care never to be seen to light one himself. Characters so rash and imprudent were proper vehicles of his spite; and he enjoyed the two points he preferred even to power,—vengeance, and a whole skin.

This triumvirate has made me often reflect that nations are most commonly saved by the worst men183 in them. The virtuous are too scrupulous to go the lengths that are necessary to rouse the people against their tyrants.

While Wilkes and Churchill attacked the plenitude of the Favourite’s power, another cloud overcast it, which, though inconsiderable and of short duration, contributed to lower him in the estimation of the people. An account arrived of the French having surprised and made themselves masters of Newfoundland. General Amherst235 did not wait for orders from hence, but, detaching his brother with a body of forces, recovered the island, and made the French commander prisoner.

Prince Ferdinand, not less active and vigilant, had surprised the French camp, desirous of embarking us farther in the war, and hoping that new successes would animate the nation to resist the propensity of the Court for peace. General Conway took the castle of Waldeck by stratagem; and the Hessians triumphed in other attempts.236 The Prince told Mr. Conway that we might be joined by a body of Russians for a trait de plume, but neither miscarriage184 nor success could beat the Favourite from his plan of pacification; though, had we been inclined to listen to that overture, a second change of scene in Russia would have disconcerted our treating with that nation.

Peter the Third, with a humane heart, had neither judgment nor patience. He meant to do right, and thought absolute power could not be better employed than in doing right without delay. His approbation and contempt were prompt and strongly marked; and, as his understanding was incapable of embracing many objects, his few ideas took the larger possession of him. Being educated a Lutheran, he despised the clergy of his empire, and had offended the soldiery by enforcing discipline, by restoring the conquests of the preceding reign, by manifesting indiscreet predilection for a regiment of Holstein, his native country, and by so blind a devotion to the King of Prussia, that himself wore that Prince’s uniform. Indolence and drunkenness were added to this want of conduct; but he had to struggle with a yet more dangerous evil. The late Czarina, his aunt, finding no issue arise from his marriage with the Princess of Anhalt Zerbst, questioned the latter; and, it is said, was informed by her that she must not expect any lineage from her nephew. Elizabeth replied, the State demanded successors, and left the Grand Duchess at liberty to procure them by whose assistance she pleased. A son and daughter were the fruits of her obedience. But, though her politics were satisfied, it is said the mind of Elizabeth was not, and that she privately saw her cousin, the dethroned185 Czar Yvan. The opinion is general, though at what time it happened is uncertain, that drugs to destroy his understanding had been administered to that poor Prince. Peter, though on obtaining the diadem he openly exhibited a mistress, could not but know that if his wife had spoken truth, he could have no claim to be father of her children: thence he had the same curiosity as his aunt, visited the Czar Yvan, and, as the rumour went, intended to name him his successor. Such rumours were sufficient to alarm the Empress, who was slighted by Peter, and had reason to think he meant to divorce her. That bold bad woman, who had all the talents for empire that her husband wanted, and who had been educated by a most artful and intriguing mother, and who, with a commanding person, had a heart susceptible of warm impressions, was then under the influence of Orloff, her lover, and her confident the Princess Daskau, a young woman little above twenty years of age, but of an adventurous spirit, and, what made her situation singular, sister of the Emperor’s mistress.

This junto agreed to believe that Peter would not limit his aversion for the Empress to mere divorce, but intended to put her to death; a charge most improbable, and inconsistent with the Emperor’s humane and unsuspecting nature. How early a conspiracy was formed, I pretend not to say; nor, in relating the events of so distant a country, and whence truth is so difficult to be procured, do I pretend to give more than the outlines of their general story, collected from the most credible186 authority. But, however dark and secret the measures were, the facts resulting from them were so glaring, so horrid, so impious, that neither the lying palliatives set forth by the criminals themselves, nor the mercenary flattery of the learned, will be able to wash off from the Empress the foul stains of treason, murder, and usurpation.

The Emperor had not reigned above six months, when the plan for dethroning him was formed, and ready to break forth. One of the conspirators being arrested for another crime, the rest concluded the whole was discovered; but, instead of dispersing or seeking safety by flight, the chiefs trusted to rashness for impunity. Orloff galloped off to the Czarina, who was absent from the capital at a separate villa from the Emperor, and told her she had not a moment to lose. That virago having ordered her women to report she was confined by sickness, and placing guards upon the road to prevent notice of her march being sent to the Czar, rode directly to the army and demanded their protection. One only regiment, that of Holstein, refused their support. All the rest saluted her Empress; and the clergy who trembled for their idols, and resented the loss of their beards, ran headlong into rebellion. The senate, the nobility, the people, all concurred to raise to the throne in her own name a woman who had no one claim of any sort to be their sovereign.

Nariskin, master of the horse, was the sole subject who had fidelity enough to make his escape and inform the Emperor of the catastrophe that awaited him. That poor prince was at Oraniebaum,187 a villa. Thunderstruck with the news, he had not presence of mind to prepare himself to save either his empire or his life. He lost both by losing a day, which he wasted in drinking and vain consultation, after having fruitlessly sent to Peterhoff to secure the Empress. Next morning he heard that his wife at the head of fourteen thousand men was marching to seize him. He then attempted to make his escape to Holstein, and embarked for Cronstadt—but it was too late! The garrison had received orders to fire on him. Exhausted with perturbation of mind, with drink and fatigue, he sunk under his misfortunes, surrendered himself, and desired to see his wife, now his sovereign. As incapable of pity as of remorse, she refused to admit him, ordering him to sign a renunciation of his crown, and a most humiliating recapitulation of his errors. Nor did this avail: within very few days he was murdered.

Thus far Catherine had acted like other monsters of both sexes. Her next measures were as weak towards men as they were profane in the face of Heaven. In very silly manifestoes she endeavoured to justify her crimes; and dared even to call on the Most High as the instigator of her abominations, speaking of her husband but as her neighbour, and of his death as a judgment. Vain and contemptible was this attempt: it could blind none but those who would be willing to acquit her without it.

The Princess Daskau soon lost the favour she had so blackly merited; and Rosamouski, Hetman of the Tartars, whom many accused as the very assassin of188 his master, but who, as his friends urged, was forced into the conspiracy, went into a voluntary exile. Orloff had gained deeper hold on his mistress, and kept her in subjection. Panin, governor of her son, was another of the principal conspirators. Bestucheff, the late chancellor, was recalled; and thus he, Count Munich, Biron, once Duke of Courland, and master of the empire, with the various exiles of the late reigns, found themselves again together at Petersburgh.237

After the murdered Prince himself, no man was likely to be more affected by this revolution than the King of Prussia. The Russians, so lately his enemies, had not been pleased to become his allies. But, though the new Empress was necessitated to comply with the wishes of her subjects in withdrawing them from that service, she was not disposed in so critical a situation to renew the war, or to add provocation to a man whom she had deprived of so useful and essential a friend. She therefore only made the requisition of the thirty thousand Russians in his service, but189 allowed him for a few days to profit by their assistance, and extricate himself out of this new difficulty. He returned for answer, that he would only drive Marshal Daun from the hills before him, and her troops should return. He did so. This was taking his part with admirable presence of mind. He knew that Daun must in a day or two learn the departure of the Russian troops, and would attack him when weakened.



Birth of the Prince of Wales.—Treasure of the Hermione.—Conquest of the Havannah.—Indifference of the Court on that event.—Negotiations for Peace.—Not popular in England.—Reception in France of the Duke of Bedford.—The Duc de Nivernois.—Beckford elected Lord Mayor.—Duel between Lord Talbot and Wilkes.—Lord Bute’s Delegates in the House of Commons.—Grenville and Lord Bute.—Union of Lord Bute and Fox.—The latter reproached by the Duke of Cumberland.—Lord Waldegrave and the Duke of Devonshire decline the proposal of Fox.—Disgust at the union of Bute and Fox.—Purchase of a majority to approve the Peace.—Fox’s revenge against the Duke of Devonshire.—The King and the Marquis of Rockingham.—Further severity to the Duke of Devonshire.

On the 12th of August, the Queen was delivered of a Prince of Wales; and the same morning the treasure of that capital prize, the Hermione, arrived in town in many waggons, and passed through the City to the Tower. The sum taken amounted to near eight hundred thousand pounds.

In the beginning of the following month came the first news from the Havannah; and before the end of it we learned the entire conquest of that important place by the three Keppels,238—the Earl of Albemarle,191 the Commodore and the Colonel his brothers. The honour they won was a little soiled by their rapaciousness and by our great loss of men: but to Spain the blow was of the deepest consequence, and the place irrecoverable by any force they could exert. Yet such a victory seemed to infuse as little joy into the Court of St. James’s as into that of Madrid. The Favourite and his creatures took no part in the transports of the nation; and, when he declined availing himself of any merit from the conquest, it was plain he was grieved either to have more to restore at the peace, or less reason for making that peace but on the most advantageous terms: but he was infatuated, and, breaking through all the barriers of glory, he sent the Duke of Bedford to Paris to settle the preliminaries, whence the Duc de Nivernois arrived for the same purpose.

Sullen and silent as Mr. Pitt was, and feeble and impotent as the faction of Newcastle, still the City and merchants showed some symptoms of indignation at this obstinate alacrity for treating. The Duke of Bedford was hissed as he passed through the principal streets; and treasonable papers were dispersed in the villages round London. But in France the Duke was received as their guardian angel. The most distinguished and unusual honours were paid to him; and the principal magistrate of Calais, thinking him descended from the other John Duke of Bedford, brother of Henry the Fifth, complimented his Grace (and no doubt felicitated himself on the comparison) on seeing him arrive with as salutary and pacific, as his great ancestor had formerly landed there with hostile intentions.

192 His counterpart, the Duc de Nivernois, had been long employed in negotiations at Rome and Berlin, but had not the good fortune to please at the latter Court, where the King even turned into ridicule his puny and emaciated little figure. His ill-health, the titles that had centred in his person, and had filled him with vanity (for he was Peer of France, Prince of the Empire, Grandee of Spain, and a Roman Baron), and his affection for polite learning, had disposed him to live in a retired circle of humble admirers, to whom he almost daily repeated his works both in prose and verse; but not without having attempted to soar higher. He had assumed devotion, in hopes of being Governor to the Dauphin: but, except in concluding the peace, which, considering our eagerness, he could not avoid concluding, he had never met with brilliant success in any of his pursuits; being, as the celebrated Madame Geoffrin239 said of him, “Guerrier manqué, politique manqué, bel esprit manqué, enfin manqué partout.” To England he bore no good-will: and though, till the treaty was signed, he concealed, as much as peevishness would let him, the disgust he took to this country, and was profuse in attentions to all, and in assiduity of court to the Favourite and his faction, yet, though he remained here a very little time after the signature, his nature broke forth, and scarce was193 enough good-breeding left to skin over the sore reluctance of a momentary stay.240

The nation was far less impatient than the Court for peace; and, though no great burst of spirit appeared against it, there were sufficient symptoms of ill-humour to warn the prime minister, that, without redoubling his industry and taking more solid measures, he might still be foiled in the attempt of forcing an inglorious peace on the nation. Beckford, who had been desirous of resigning his alderman’s gown, was, against his will, elected Lord Mayor; a mark of their good-will to his friend, Mr. Pitt. The North Briton spread the alarm as much as possible; but the flippancy of the author began to draw storms on his own head. Wilkes having in one of those papers ridiculed the flattery of Lord Talbot, who, officiating as Lord High Constable at the Coronation, had endeavoured to back his horse to the gate of Westminster Hall,194 that he might not turn his own back on the King, was challenged by Lord Talbot; and after a series of letters, which had more the air of a treaty than a defiance, and consequently reflected no great honour on either, they fought a bloodless duel on Bagshot Heath.

These little rubs having alarmed the Favourite, he began to consider how ill-qualified his delegates would be to support his treaty in the House of Commons, if either warmly or wittily attacked. It was too precious a cause to trust to Sir Francis Dashwood. Grenville had not much more credit, though more sense and gravity; but was tedious and ill-heard, and had been trained to such obsequious deference for Mr. Pitt, that at that time no man thought him likely or proper to be opposed to so capital a master. Grenville was besides unsatisfied; and, aiming higher, had been unwilling to risk an appearance of honesty when it was not in his own cause. He had neglected to traffic with the members of the House of Commons; had secured none of them; and, being pressed by Lord Bute on that head, fairly owned he would not deal with them, unless the power was his own, and their dependence rested on him. Lord Bute was startled, and would have compromised, as himself was unacquainted with the men, that the recommendation of members to favour,—that is, to places and pensions,—should be made through Grenville to himself. But Grenville was obstinate, and soon had cause to repent both his frankness and perverse ambition. It was instilled too into Lord Bute, that Grenville was not so much at variance with his family as he wished to be thought—an195 imputation of which he soon appeared to be guiltless: but the die was cast; and he heard with unspeakable astonishment, and with a rage not to be described, that he must exchange with Lord Halifax, that is, return to be First Lord of the Admiralty, and quit the seals, and with them the management of the House of Commons, which Mr. Fox had consented to undertake. The blow to Grenville was grievous, but could not be avoided or resented—then. No retreat towards his brothers Pitt and Temple was left him. Avarice decided the conflict, and he submitted to accept the Admiralty.

When Fox thus stooped to be the Favourite’s agent, he gratified many more passions than he could be supposed to mortify. In truth, except his pride, which had seldom restrained him, what views could he have but this step would gratify? To ravish the glories of the war from his rival Mr. Pitt, to sacrifice them, and to be selected to defend that sacrifice, glutted his spirit of competition. Favourite he could not be, for the Princess241 hated, and Lord Bute feared him: but to be necessary to both was worth ambition, and the surest means of gratifying it; and to be master of the secret of the negotiation promised that superabundance of wealth, which by that secret he acquired. Should he succeed in carrying through the peace, he196 would have the first weight in the House of Commons (for what harmony there was between these rival friends may readily be conjectured); should he fail, it were but the loss of the Paymaster’s place, inconsiderable in peace compared with its produce in time of war: for it must be noted that he would not accept the seals, and thus stood in no responsible light; a strain of prudence that might have administered alarm to the Favourite himself!

Thus in the space of four months were the Princess and Lord Bute by their rash and ill-digested measures reduced to lean for support on Fox, whom they had most dreaded as the minister of the Duke of Cumberland; and who would add his own unpopularity to that of Lord Bute, and would necessarily determine Pitt to oppose with increased resentment.

Fox had embraced this invitation with such alacrity that he had signed the treaty with Lord Bute without consulting any of his friends; concluding, as over-refined politicians are apt to do, that he could bring them to his lure, and, while he paid too high compliments to his own abilities, setting too slight estimation on theirs. His first application was to the Duke of Cumberland. That haughty and sensible Prince received him with scorn, reproached him warmly with lending himself to support a tottering administration, and bitterly with his former declarations of having given up all ambitious views. The next trial made by Fox was on Lord Waldegrave,242 to whom he urged that his Lordship had so much ridiculed the Princess197 and Lord Bute, that they had more to complain of than he had; and he endeavoured to enclose the Earl in his treaty with the Court, by asking him, if it should be proposed to call his Lordship to the Cabinet Council, whether he should like it? The Earl, who had been bred a courtier, who was of too gentle manners for opposition, and too shrewd not to see that the power of the Crown was predominant, desired time to consider, and went to Windsor to consult the Duke of Cumberland. His Royal Highness acknowledged the attention with many thanks, but would give no advice. The Earl, who wanted not to be told, that not advising him to make his court when he was disposed to do it, was advising him against it, was not courtier enough to quit a Prince, his friend, for a Court that he himself despised and hated; and immediately wrote to Fox to desire the proposal might not be made to him. The Duke of Devonshire243 was in like manner endeavoured to be softened by Fox, who wished to wear the credit of reconciling his own friends to the peace, and bringing their support to the administration. But here again he was foiled. The Duke gave him a civil answer, assured him of his personal good wishes, but declined any connection with him as minister.

Abandoned by his highest and most showy friends, Fox felt the mortification of discredit both with his patron and the public, and the keenest appetite for revenge. As a politician, his credit was saved by his industry and success; and by his arts his vengeance198 was soon gratified on two of those that thus cast him off. But now were the seeds sown, which, though slowly, produced such bitter crops in subsequent years. Detested by the public, Fox could never recover from the stain contracted at this period:—but first we must relate his triumph, and the temporary victory he gained for the Court.

Nothing was so unpromising as the prospect of the new system at first. All the devotion of the Tories to the Court could not reconcile them to the nomination of Fox. They knew the mischief he had done them, and had not the quickness to see that a renegade is tied to make satisfaction by greater benefits. Lord Mansfield, not trusted, as he had expected to be, by Lord Bute, had blown up discontents against the peace. Lord Egremont and George Grenville had adopted those doubts; and doubts from men in high place convey extensive influence. Had the peace been instantaneously proposed to the House of Commons, there is no question but it would have been rejected; so strong a disgust was taken at the union of Bute and Fox, and so numerous were their several personal enemies. Yet in one respect Bute had chosen judiciously: Fox was not to be daunted, but set himself to work at the root. He even made applications to Newcastle; but the Duke of Cumberland244 had inspired199 even Newcastle and Devonshire with resolution! This, however, was the last miscarriage of moment that Fox experienced. Leaving the grandees to their ill-humour, he directly attacked the separate members of the House of Commons; and with so little decorum on the part of either buyer or seller, that a shop was publicly opened at the Pay-office, whither the members flocked, and received the wages of their venality in bank-bills, even to so low a sum as two hundred pounds for their votes on the treaty. Twenty-five thousand pounds, as Martin,245 Secretary of the Treasury, afterwards owned, were issued in one morning; and in a single fortnight a vast majority was purchased to approve the peace!

Bad as that peace proved, it was near being concluded on terms still more disadvantageous; for France, receiving earlier intelligence than we did of the capture of the Havannah, had near prevailed on the Duke of Bedford to sign the treaty,—but Aldworth,246 his200 secretary, had the prudence or foresight to prevent that precipitate step.247

The Court having secured the obedience of Parliament, it was determined to assume a high tone of authority; to awe, and even to punish the refractory. “The King, it was given out, would be King,—would not be dictated to by his ministers, as his grandfather had been. The prerogative was to shine out: great lords must be humbled.” Fox—whose language ever was, that the Crown must predominate whenever it would exert its influence—warmly upheld the doctrine of rewards and punishments; and, having employed the former with so much success, he was rejoiced to inflict the latter to glut his own vengeance. The first fruit of these councils struck mankind with astonishment. The Duke of Devonshire, who had kept himself in the country, coming to town on the 28th of October, went to pay his duty to the King, and, as is customary with the great officers, went to the backstairs,201 whence he sent the page in waiting to acquaint his Majesty with his attendance. “Tell him,” said the King angrily, “I will not see him.” The page, amazed, hesitated. The King ordered him to go and deliver those very words. If the page had been thunderstruck, it may be imagined what the Duke felt. He had, however, the presence of mind to send in the page again to ask what he should do with his key of Lord Chamberlain. The reply was, “Orders will be given for that.” The Duke went home with a heart full of rage, and tore off his key, which immediately after he carried to Lord Egremont, the Secretary of State; and the next morning his brother Lord George Cavendish, and Lord Besborough248 his brother-in-law, resigned their places. As the Court urged that the Duke’s disgrace was owing to his refusal of attending Councils, his Grace’s friends pleaded that he had asked and obtained the King’s leave not to attend them, as he seldom had attended them even in the late reign; and that, his summons having been made by a commis in Lord Egremont’s office, the Duke did not think that such a message interfered with his dispensation. Some said there had been no intention to dismiss the Duke; attributing the affront to a sudden start of passion in the King, who, coming from Richmond that morning, had met the Dukes of Devonshire and Newcastle together in a chariot, whence suspecting a Cabal, he had gone home in anger, and, at the moment the Duke arrived at St. James’s, was writing to Lord202 Bute that now was the time; words which proved at least that the Duke’s disgrace had been meditated, and which in truth nobody doubted. The Princess had more than once termed him ironically the Prince of the Whigs; and his Grace having dared to desert from Fox’s banner, left no doubt of the latter having contributed to irritate the prejudice already conceived. Nor could Fox wipe off the suspicion: though, as soon as the affront was known, he had hurried to Devonshire House,249 and protested his utter ignorance of any such design. The Duke received him coolly, did not pretend to believe him; and his family never forgave it.

The fairness of the Duke’s character, his decent and timid caution, and the high rank in which he stood with the party, made the measure much wondered at; yet it was far from producing such open offence as might have been expected, nor did the consequences spread. The Marquis of Rockingham, five days afterwards, resigned the Bedchamber; but, offering to explain his disgusts, the King with much haughtiness refused to hear him—another strain of authority much vaunted, and not without effect. The Peerage itself kissed the rod, which was declared to be held out to humble them. Nor did they take the alarm, though the rigour towards the Duke of Devonshire was prosecuted farther; for, a Privy Council being summoned November203 the 3rd, the King ordered the Duke’s name to be struck out of the Council-book: a severity of which there had been no precedent in the last reign but in the cases of Lord Bath and Lord George Sackville; the first, in open and virulent opposition; the second on his ignominious sentence after the battle of Minden. John Duke of Argyle,250 when his regiment was taken from him, was not thus affronted; nor had George the First refused to admit Lord Oxford251 to kiss his hand on the Queen’s death, nor denied an audience to the Earl Marichal252 involved in Jacobitism.



Preliminaries of Peace with France and Spain.—Secret springs of Political actions.—Embassy to the Court of Spain offered to Lord Sandwich.—Insult to the Duke of Cumberland.—Honours and Preferments.—Resignation of Lords Ashburnham and Kinnoul.—Lord Lincoln’s ingratitude to the Duke of Newcastle.—Bait offered to Lord Granby.—Mr. Conway.—The Duke of York obliged to go to Italy.—Profusion exercised by the Court.—Charles Townshend’s want of judgment.—His bons mots.—Attempt to propitiate Walpole.—Correspondence between him and Fox respecting the Rangership of the Parks offered to Lord Orford.—Conduct of the latter.

On the 8th of the month a courier arrived with the preliminaries signed by France and Spain. I shall not detail those preliminaries, too well known, and to be found in all common histories. It is my part to explain, as far as I could know them, the leading motives of actions and events; and, though the secret springs are often unfathomable, I had acquaintance enough with the actors to judge with better probability than the common of mankind; and where these memoirs are defective or mistaken, still they may direct to the inquiry after sounder materials, and prove a key to original papers that may appear hereafter.

The peace with Spain, as it opened a door for an embassy to that Court, afforded Mr. Fox a new opportunity of revenge; and as this measure at least he could not waive the honour of having suggested, so did205 it corroborate the belief of his being the author of the other too.253 He immediately offered that embassy to Lord Sandwich,254 who as greedily accepted it. Sandwich, rejected and exploded by all mankind, had been adopted, fostered, patronized in the most kind and intimate manner by the Duke of Cumberland; nor had he the confidence now to consult his Royal Highness, or to venture in person to notify to him his desertion. He wrote. The insult was too glaring, and could not be pardoned to either Fox or Sandwich, both of whom were for ever excluded from the Duke’s presence but at his public levées, and there underwent the most mortifying neglect from him; though Fox often sued in most abject manner to be forgiven.

Severity gratified, honours and preferments were amply proffered, and but few rejected. The Duke of Manchester255 had been named to the Bedchamber the instant Lord Rockingham had quitted it. The Duke of Marlborough256 and the Earl of Northumberland257 were made Lords Chamberlains to the King and Queen; the latter of which posts Lord Bristol had refused to accept, from attachment to Mr. Pitt. Lord Egmont was made Postmaster in the room of Lord Besborough. The seals of Secretary of State, with the feuille de bénéfices, were once more offered to the Duke of Newcastle; but he replied, it would be time enough206 to talk of business when the Parliament met. His friend, Lord Ashburnham,258 resigned: and so did his other friend, Lord Kinnoul,259 who, though his bosom-confident, dwelling in his very house, had borne his disgrace, and now affected to forget him, and to plead obligations to the Duke of Devonshire, at the same time declaring his reluctance to break with the Court; a reluctance so decisive, that he retired into Scotland, and came no more to London till the year 1770.

Lord Lincoln,260 Newcastle’s favourite nephew and207 heir, displayed more open ingratitude. He asked an audience of the King, called his uncle a factious old fool, and said he could not forget a message which himself had brought from his uncle to his Majesty in the year 1757, in which the Duke had signified to his then Royal Highness, that, if he would not disturb the tranquillity of the rest of his grandfather’s reign, the Duke, in or out of place, though he hoped the latter, would support his measures to the utmost. It was justice, to recollect this promise; but Lincoln’s subsequent conduct, at the same time that it was inconsistent, was honourable neither towards the King nor his uncle. He had a second audience, in which he told the King that the Duke insisted on his resigning; “but if I must,” said he, “I will show but the more warmly the next day that I remember the message, of which I have kept a copy in writing.” The third time, when he went to resign, he said he must oppose. The King told him his tone was much changed since his first audience. But the Court never had much reason to complain of Lord Lincoln’s hostilities. His exceeding pride kept him secluded from the world, and rarely did he appear either at Court or in Parliament. For some time he fluctuated between Lord Bute and Mr. Pitt, to the latter of whom he at last attached himself; but with constant derision of, and insult to, his uncle, and, whatever were the Duke of Newcastle’s faults, cruel and unmerited. The truth was, Lord Lincoln’s avarice was as unbounded as his haughtiness. Though possessed of two places for life, and one of them the most lucrative in England, the auditorship of the Exchequer, which never produces208 less than eight thousand pounds a year, and during the war had brought in at least twenty, he had resented the Duke’s not bestowing on him two more places for the lives of his younger sons.

As every door was to be opened or barricaded that could admit or exclude friends or enemies to the preliminaries, messengers were stationed at the sea-ports to waylay Lord Granby on his return from the army, with the most advantageous offers, as the Ordnance and command of the army, setting aside the worthy old Marshal Ligonier261 with a large pension; a bait209 gulped by the former without scruple. Mr. Conway, to whom they did the honour of thinking they could not bribe him, (and whoever they could not bribe, they concluded, could not approve their treaty,) was decorated with the empty honour of conducting home the army; which would and did prevent his return before the discussion of the preliminaries in Parliament. And the Duke of York, whom they would not silence by favours, they obliged to go on an idle expedition to Italy.

The profusion exercised on this occasion, and which reduced the Court to stop even the payments of the King’s bedchamber, made men recall severely to mind the King’s declaration on the choice of the Parliament, that he would not permit any money to be spent on elections.

Their greatest difficulty was with Charles Townshend, who slipped through their fingers at every turn,210 and could be held down to no decision. He refused to be First Lord of Trade with the same power over the colonies as had been granted to Lord Halifax. At the same time he was loth to resign, though in that quarter the needle rested at last,—a mark of that want of judgment that was conspicuous in all his actions; for, having fluctuated from uncertainty of the issue, he chose the losing side but the very day before the great victory of the Court on the preliminaries. His post of Secretary at War was soon after given to Ellis.262 Townshend’s bons mots wounded where his conduct could not. It being reported, to justify the treatment of the Duke of Devonshire, that the King complained he had been kept prisoner; “True,” said Townshend, “he is a prisoner, but he mistakes his jailor.” Another of his sayings had not only proved a prophecy, but was often applied in the following years. He had said of the last arrangement before Fox was set at the head, that “it was a pretty lutestring administration, which would do very well for summer wear.”

After so many considerable names, it will look, perhaps, like vain presumption in me to name myself as one whom it was thought necessary to manage. But, as it proves how low the arts and attention of Fox could descend, and as my answer (at least, I have always suspected so) contributed to an event of much consequence afterwards, I shall be excused by the candid for giving some account of it. I had, soon after my appearance in the world, lived in much intimacy211 with Fox, had warmly espoused his side when persecuted by the Duke and Duchess of Richmond,263 and had happened to have conferred some other little favours on him. I had carefully avoided receiving the smallest or the greatest from him. As his character opened more to the world, I declined any connection with him in politics, though determining never to have a quarrel with him, as I well knew his vindictive nature. When he united with the Duke of Newcastle, he had offered in truth slightly enough to procure the reversion of a considerable place, which I hold only for my brother’s life, to be confirmed for my own, provided I would be upon good terms with the Duke. I had ever, in the most open manner, spoken of that minister with contempt; and having never to this hour received a favour from any minister, I shall be believed that I never would accept one from Fox. I answered accordingly with much scorn, “I will not accept that reversion from the Duke.” Fox, knowing this spirit, and knowing, too, that I had declared to Lord Bute that I would receive no favour from the Court, had no hope of fixing me to his measures by any offers he could make. Nor yet had he had reason to know I was averse to the preliminaries, on which I had kept silent. The truth was, I had been civilly treated on the King’s accession, and had so much disliked Newcastle and Hardwicke, that few men were better pleased than myself to see a new administration; and had not the212 standard of Prerogative been hoisted, and disgrace brought on this triumphant country, I should probably have remained a satisfied spectator. Yet was I not so steeled by the glories of the war as to be insensible to the yearnings of humanity; and therefore, ignominious as the articles were, my conscience would not suffer me to speak against a treaty that would stop such effusion of blood. Sentiments, I confess, most heroic: yet I blush not to own that they divided my sensations, and forbad my voting against the preliminaries, though I was too much an Englishman to vote for them, and accordingly left the House before the putting of the question.

As doubtless I did not trust Fox with this situation of my breast, nor made my court on his new dignity, he concluded I was in the number of the disapprovers. Direct offers, or direct threats, would be vain: but to put me in mind of my dependence on my nephew, by whose interest I was chosen into Parliament,264 and which dependence Fox ought to have remembered I had braved265 for his sake; or of my dependence on the Treasury, which could hurt me severely266 by stopping the payments of my place in the Treasury; he wrote me the following letter:—


Nov. 21, 1762.

Dear Sir,

As soon as I heard that the Parks,267 which Lord Ashburnham had quitted, were worth 2200l. a year (as they certainly are), I thought such an income might, if not prevent, at least procrastinate your nephew’s ruin.268 I find nobody knows his Lordship’s269 thoughts on the present state of politics.

Perhaps he has none. Now, are you willing, and are you the proper person, to tell Lord Orford that I will do my best to procure this employment for him, if I can soon learn that he desires it? If he does choose it, I doubt not of his and his friend Boone’s270 hearty assistance, and believe I shall see you too, much oftener in the House of Commons. This is offering you a bribe, but ’tis such a one as one honest good-natured man may without offence offer to another.

If you undertake this, do it immediately, and have214 attention to my part in it, which is delicate. If you do not undertake it, let me know your thoughts of the proposal, whether I had better drop it entirely, or put it into other hands, and whose.

You’ll believe me when I tell you that goodness of heart has as much share in this to the full as policy.

Yours ever,
H. Fox.

This artful and disingenuous letter the messenger was ordered to desire I would answer immediately. I determined at once to guard my expressions in such a manner, that, under the appearance of the same insincere cordiality which Fox affected to wear, it should not be possible to fix either declaration or engagement upon me; showing him at the same time that I would neither accept favour from him, nor be indirectly obliged to him through my nephew. I was aware that, if I refused to notify the offer to Lord Orford, he or his friends, and the Court too, would raise a clamour against me for preventing his receiving a favour that he wanted so much: and, as he was already Lord of the Bedchamber, there could be no reason in honour why he should not accept an addition of income; nor was there anything in his principles that would make him difficult to be farther bound. With these views I returned the following answer:—

Nov. 21, 1762.

Dear Sir,

After having done271 what the world knows I have215 done, to try to retrieve the affairs of my family, and to save my nephew from ruin, I can have little hopes that any interposition of mine will tend to an end I wish so much. I cannot even flatter myself with having the least weight with my Lord Orford. In the present case I can still less indulge myself in any such hopes. You remember in the case of the St. Michael election, how hardly he used me on your account. I know how much he resented last year his thinking you concerned in the contest about the borough272 where he set up Mr. Thomas Walpole; and, as he has not even now deigned to answer Mr. Boone’s letter,273 I can little expect that he will behave with more politeness to me. Yet, I think it so much my duty to lay before him anything for his advantage, and what is by no means incompatible with his honour, that I will certainly acquaint him immediately with the offer you are so good as to make him.

You see I write to you with my usual frankness and sincerity; and you will, I am sure, be so good as to keep to yourself the freedom with which I mention very nice family affairs. You must excuse me if I add one word more on myself. My wish is, that216 Lord Orford should accept this offer; yet, I tell you truly, I shall state it to him plainly and simply, without giving any advice, not only for the reasons I have expressed above, but because I do not mean to be involved in this affair any otherwise than as a messenger. A man, who is so scrupulous as not to accept any obligation for himself, cannot be allowed to accept one for another without thinking himself bound in gratitude as much as if done to himself. The very little share I ever mean to take more in public affairs shall and must be dictated by disinterested motives. I have no one virtue to support me but that disinterestedness; and, if I act with you, no man living shall have it to say that it was not by choice and by principle.

I am, dear sir,
Your sincere humble servant,
Horace Walpole.

There were truths enough to displease, and they did not escape Fox. The consequence to me was, that by his influence with Martin, Secretary of the Treasury, my payments were stopped for some months, nor made but on my writing to Lord Bute himself; which, as, notwithstanding this persecution, I would take no part with the administration, proved that the delay had not flowed from the minister himself, but from his associate, my good friend: nor did it stop there. In the meantime I had written thus to Lord Orford:—

Arlington-street, Nov. 22, 1762.

My dear Lord,

I must preface what I am going to say, with desiring you to believe that I by no means take the217 liberty of giving you any advice; and should the proposal I have to make to you be disagreeable, I beg you to excuse it, as I thought it my duty to lay before you anything that is for your advantage, and as you would have reason to blame me if I declined communicating to you a lucrative offer.

I last night received a letter from Mr. Fox, in which he tells me, that, hearing the Parks, vacant by Lord Ashburnham’s resignation, are worth 2200l. a year, he will, if you desire to succeed him, do his best to procure that employment for you, if he can soon learn that it is your wish.

If you will be so good as to send me your answer, I will acquaint him with it; or, if you think it more polite to thank Mr. Fox himself for his obliging offer, I shall be very well content to be, as I am in everything else, a cypher, except when I can show myself,

My dear Lord,
Your very affectionate humble servant,
Horace Walpole.

To this letter, nor to the offer, did Lord Orford give himself the trouble of making the least reply; but, arriving in town on the very day the Parliament met, he came to me, and asked what he was to do? I replied very coldly, I did not know what he intended to do; but, if his meaning was to accept, I supposed he ought to go to Mr. Fox, and tell him so, I having nothing farther to do with it than barely to acquaint him with the offer. Without preface or apology, without recollecting his long enmity to Fox (it is true, he did not know why he was Fox’s enemy), and without218 a hint of reconciliation, to Fox he went, accepted the place, and never gave that ministry one vote afterwards; continuing in the country, as he would have done if they had given him nothing. I return from this digression.



Conference between the Duke of Cumberland and Mr. Pitt.—Pitt’s lofty style and inconclusive manner.—Want of union in the Opposition.—Anxiety of the Ministers.—Debates in both Houses on the Preliminaries of Peace.—Sudden and unexpected appearance of Mr. Pitt.—Legge, Fox, and Beckford.—Prerogative.—Pitt’s Speech.—His retirement from the House when Fox rose to speak.—Speech of the latter.—Charles Townshend’s versatility.—The Minority on the Division.—Exultation of the Princess of Wales on the Preliminaries being carried.—Severe political persecution.—Numerous dismissals from place.

The rupture between the Duke of Cumberland and Fox seemed naturally to pave the way for a connection between that Prince and Mr. Pitt. They accordingly met, and had a conference of four hours; but there their amity commenced and ended. The good sense of his Royal Highness could, in spite of all his haughtiness, make him bend properly. Pitt, having less good sense than parts, and affecting more haughtiness even than he possessed, and being full of schemes rather than plans, could not be brought to any rational system. Meaning to make use of the Prince but to a certain degree,—that is, to thwart the Court, or to give it jealousy, not to erect the Duke as head of a party,—he talked in his usual vague and inconclusive manner; his nearest friends having often said, that between the uncommunicativeness of his temper and the want of220 suite in his reasoning faculties, it was ever impossible to pin him down to any chain of definite propositions.

This the Duke experienced, and combated in vain. All he could draw from Pitt was, a positive demand that the peace should be opposed by the now forming party. Yet would he not submit to see the Duke of Newcastle; though, in his lofty style, he said he would accept of the Duke of Cumberland’s guarantee of Newcastle’s fidelity. It was difficult for the chiefs to coalesce: Lord Hardwicke had publicly commended the preliminaries; and though he had rejected large offers made to his son, Charles Yorke, he and his friends knew not decently how to fly to Mr. Pitt’s banner, which they had so lately levelled. This want of union in the Opposition gave all the remaining advantage to the administration that they yet wanted. Mr. Pitt affected to be a chief without a party, and the party without him had no other chief; for Newcastle was worse than none, and the Duke of Cumberland had too much deference for the Crown, and was too much above courting the people, to be fit to figure as a ringleader.

In this temper of things did the Parliament meet November 25th. Lord Egmont and Lord Weymouth274 moved the Address in the Lords, where there was no opposition: Lord Carysfort275 and Lord Charles Spencer in the Commons. Nicholson Calvert made221 a warm speech against the peace, and was answered by Birt, who gave Mr. Pitt the honour of the first plan for taking Martinico. Beckford was yet more violent against the treaty; and compared Florida, which was to be ceded to us, for barrenness to Bagshot Heath. Charles Townshend made a trimming speech, though very personal against Beckford, and the day ended without a division; Mr. Pitt being confined at home with the gout. Without doors the scene was more turbulent: the Favourite was assaulted in his chair by a formidable mob, and had not the Guards arrived opportunely, would hardly have escaped with life.

On the 30th of the month the preliminaries were laid before both Houses, who were acquainted that the King had ordered them to be printed and distributed to the members on the morrow. The Duke of Grafton in the Lords, Calvert and Bamber Gascoyne in the Commons, objected to this; it being usual for the two Houses to give the orders for printing papers communicated to them; but the first method was acquiesced in, and the Lords resolved to take the papers into consideration on the Thursday sevennight following. Lord Pomfret276 moved to order the high bailiff of Westminster to attend, to give an account why he had taken no measures to disperse the mob on the first day of the session. At the same time the ministers endeavoured, by money and threats, to silence or222 intimidate the printers of newspapers, libels, and satiric prints, and succeeded with a great number.

On the 1st of December, Calvert moved to defer considering the preliminaries till the Thursday sevennight following, as Mr. Pitt was not able to attend; but the ministers, and for that very reason, insisted on bringing them on upon the same day with the Lords, and carried their motion by 213 to 74; so unpromising was this outset of the new Opposition, in which appeared the families of Cavendish, Fitzroy, and Townshend.

The memorable day, December 9th, being arrived, both Houses sat on the preliminaries. Lord Shelburne and Lord Grosvenor moved to approve them. The Duke of Grafton, with great weight and greater warmth, attacked them severely, and, looking full on Lord Bute, imputed to him corruption and worse arts. The Duke was answered by the Earl of Suffolk; and then Lord Temple spoke with less than usual warmth. The Favourite rose next, and defended himself with applause, having laid aside much of his former pomp. He treated the Duke of Grafton as a juvenile member, whose imputations he despised; and, for the Peace, he desired to have written on his tomb, “Here lies the Earl of Bute, who, in concert with the King’s ministers, made the Peace.” A sentence often re-echoed with the ridicule it deserved, and more likely to be engraven on his monument with ignominy than approbation. The Duke of Newcastle and Lord Hardwicke censured the preliminaries, which the latter said were worse than could have been obtained the last year; and he reflected on the assiduity with which prerogative was cried up, more than it had been223 by the most ductile Parliaments. Henley the Chancellor abused them both: but the fine defence of the treaty was made by Lord Mansfield, which, he said, though he had concurred to make, he should still retain his old connections and attachments; a promise he soon violated, with as little decency as his late friends had censured prerogative. At ten at night the preliminaries were approved by the Lords without a division.

But it was the other House on which expectation hung. The very uncertainty whether Mr. Pitt’s health would allow him to attend, concurred to augment the impatience of the public on so serious a crisis. The Court, it was true, had purchased an effective number of votes to ratify their treaty; but, could Mr. Pitt appear, he might so expose the negotiation, and give breath to such a flame, that the ministers could not but be anxious till the day was decided, and they knew all that they had to apprehend from Mr. Pitt. Their hopes grew brighter as the debate began, and he did not appear. The probability of his absence augmented as Beckford proposed to refer the preliminaries to a committee of the whole House; a measure that seemed calculated to gain time, and that was seconded by James Grenville, who told the courtiers that it did not look as if they were very desirous of praise, so eager were they to hurry through the question. The demand was opposed by Ellis, Sir Francis Dashwood, and Harris of Salisbury, when the House was alarmed by a shout from without! The doors opened, and at the head of a large acclaiming concourse was seen Mr. Pitt, borne in the arms of his servants, who, setting him down within the bar, he crawled by the help of a224 crutch, and with the assistance of some few friends, to his seat; not without the sneers of some of Fox’s party. In truth, there was a mixture of the very solemn and the theatric in this apparition. The moment was so well timed, the importance of the man and his services, the languor of his emaciated countenance, and the study bestowed on his dress, were circumstances that struck solemnity into a patriot mind, and did a little furnish ridicule to the hardened and insensible. He was dressed in black velvet, his legs and thighs wrapped in flannel, his feet covered with buskins of black cloth, and his hands with thick gloves. He said a few words in support of the motion for sending the preliminaries to a committee; not in order to give time for raising animosities, but as it was for the dignity of the King and the country to weigh them maturely. Parts of the treaty, he confessed were, beyond his expectation, good; but his mind was wounded by what regarded our trade and our allies. He wished for a committee, that he might call merchants to the bar to state the importance of what we were to keep, of what we were to give away. He would be convinced we were doing right, or he would inflexibly arraign. Legge said, he should cavil less than most men, but could not bestow approbation in the lump. Fox answered as briefly, that nothing could ever be finished, if perfection was insisted on. Beckford replied, that the House was as insignificant as a parliament of Paris, if treaties were not laid before them for advice, but only for approbation; and he and Calvert laid themselves out on the defence made by the ministers, that it was the King’s prerogative to225 conclude peace or war; and, indeed, no occasion was lost of sounding high any branch of prerogative.

The Opposition not choosing to risk a division on the Committee, Harris, mentioned above, who was afterwards made one of the Lords of the Treasury, moved roundly to approve the preliminaries, with the addition of words acknowledging the prerogative in question. Had the treaty been glorious or salutary, there is no doubt but the prerogative would not have been called in aid; a proof how distinct are prerogative and the welfare of the nation. This Harris had written some abstruse books on language, and possessed a good share of reputation within a certain sphere. Lord Ilchester and Fox had brought him forth, and thought to make him a man of business, but he made only a very pliant courtier and wretched orator; and in the end, attaching himself to George Grenville, closed with all his arbitrary measures, and fell with him, with no other blemish on his character than of having thought too much as a scholar, and too little as a senator.277 In his motion of approbation he said, “Peace was not made for the emolument of one country, but of many;” a truth so home, and that226 recoiled so forcibly on him, that it was the very reason why this country, for whose emolument it was not made, ought not to have honoured it with its acceptance.

Stanley spoke well and handsomely in defence of the treaty; and then Mr. Pitt rose. His speech it would be difficult to detail; it lasted three hours and twenty-five minutes, and was uttered in so low and faint a voice that it was almost impossible to hear him. At intervals he obtained the permission of the House to speak sitting, a permission he did not abuse; supporting himself with cordials, and having the appearance of a man determined to die in that cause and at that hour. This faintness and the prolixity with which he dwelt on the article of the fisheries, gave a handle to the courtiers to represent his speech as unmeasurably dull, tedious, and uninteresting. But it contained considerable matter, much reason, and some parts of great beauty:—but thunder was wanting to blast such a treaty, and this was not a day on which his genius thundered! His health or his choice had led him to present himself as a subject of affliction to his country, and his ungrateful country was not afflicted.

Some passages of his speech I shall mention, though, for the reasons I have hinted at, and for that I sat at a great distance, I could but very imperfectly collect what he said. He allowed the prerogative of the Crown in making peace or war, though something he saw squint at what would subvert the liberties of this country; and, although such prerogative there was, still was it gracious227 to lay the Treaty before Parliament. The Crown might finally sign the Treaty; but at the same time it was a fundamental right of the House of Commons to offer their opinion. If this was not the question confessed, he would stop the debate to insert in these words, as it is also the indubitable and fundamental right of Parliament to offer advice. From this he launched out on this venerable, this lovely Constitution, and referred to the journals to show what answers were made by Parliament to James the First and Charles the Second; particularly to the unkingly and unconstitutional messages of the former, as when he bade them not meddle beyond their province, with a ne sutor ultra crepidam. He hoped we had no new cobbler of this old Constitution, and (looking at Fox) if we had, that man should not stand unaccused, unarraigned. With regard to the peace, it could not be called a question of humanity, for one campaign more might have prevented seven hereafter. In all other wars our commerce had been interrupted; in this alone, increased; and in respect of commerce, four of the best provinces in old France were not worth the acquisitions we had made. Those France might have reconquered; Guadaloupe she could not retake. We had got possession of their four trades of the world. Thanks to God, General Amherst had recovered Newfoundland! Thanks to Providence, Amherst’s brother had behaved like his brother! Thus had we secured two of those trades, the fisheries and the sugar, all but at St. Domingo, and that we must have taken the next campaign. Our conquests in Africa228 gave us the Slave Trade; and those in India the exclusive trade of the Indies. These depended no longer on the chance of war! He believed there was no disunion between France and Spain; this treaty would manifestly increase their weight: the Havannah would add to it—the Havannah! that would have enabled you to supply Spanish America with British manufactures and implements! He then pronounced the preliminaries inadmissible; declared he had thought it right to make peace when Mr. Stanley went to France, and had been for the King not abusing his prosperity. But he had proved that France was not in earnest then; had only meant to cajole us, and deserved no management from us, after forcing us to the expense of this war, particularly by her iniquitous behaviour in the two Courts of Madrid and Naples, a conduct never paralleled in the unbridled behaviour of Louis the Fourteenth. Yet why talk of Naples, which was Bourbon weakness coupled with Bourbon weakness! Obstinate, however, as himself had been in pushing forward the war with Spain, he supposed he had been in the wrong, as nobody had joined in sentiment with him but Lord Temple. They two were for making the entire maintenance of the fisheries the sine quâ non; but all the rest had been against them, both the old Ministers and the favoured Minister of this King. Soon had it been known to France that the exclusive fisheries would not be made a sine quâ non. He had not thought that France would at once give them up, but he had held them worth trying for for another campaign or two.229 Before the death of the Czarina—before the acquisition of Guadaloupe, the Havannah, and Pondicherry, the Duc de Choiseul had asked but for one rock at Newfoundland; he wished he had made his stand there, and refused, though overwhelmed with most illiberal calumny and scurrility! He took notice of the thousands of lives thrown away at the Havannah by their being sent out at so untimely a season, when the work might have been done in the month of April; but he had retired first, when he found he was not permitted to have the least weight. Yes, said he again, the French had cried Donnez nous un rocher simplement.—I replied, I did not intend to give them the garden of Eden. But what they asked for their batiments pêcheurs extended to much more than a rock. They asked for fishing vessels, now had been given them a fishery—en toute propriété, in full right; I never would have granted it. Then, after expatiating on the fisheries, he drew attention to himself, by seeming to bid adieu to politics, and to despair of his own health. He might never come to the House again. He was unconnected, followed no party, respected the King’s administration, though he must remonstrate when he saw them going on fatal ground. He prayed for the House of Brunswick; stood on revolution principles alone against France; had a deep-rooted alienation from France; acted on the spirit of King William, on whose maxims, and on the maxims on which they came thither, the House of Brunswick must rest, or could never be secure. He had seen the day on which every unsound230 maxim had been disclaimed; now saw unhappy clouds darkening our prospect; wished the Ministers would think of these important matters before it was too late!

He then went through the points to be ceded in America and Africa; and declared he would not have agreed to any terms approaching to these preliminaries. He inveighed against the bad faith of France, and showed from their losses how much they had lain at our mercy. In the campaign of Crevelt alone they had lost forty thousand men. Every year had cost them twenty thousand more. Would you still treat on the same terms you would have treated, after they had put you to the expense of fourteen additional millions, and after your arms had been crowned with such advantages? It could not be for the sake of Portugal; for you had been told from the throne that a stop had been put to the progress of the Spaniards in that country. We must, say the French, have St. Lucia, for cela bouche Martinique; is that a reason to be given to a British Parliament? France should have given you Guadaloupe, or she and Spain, Hispaniola. She had given you more in Canada than she knew you could use, and more than he had contended for; but then she had got the fisheries. On the coast of Bengal we should never have suffered her to come; yet did she affect to cede all her conquests, where she had made none; but, alas! no nation had ever lost an opportunity so happy, so almost accomplished, of fixing its ascendant and commerce! He applauded the drawing of the article of Canada, infinitely better executed than he could have done it. Spain, too, he231 owned, had acknowledged our right of cutting log-wood as fully as he could find any authority in our records to contend for; but the negotiators had not been equally able, in fixing Spain, to acknowledge our right of fishery in Newfoundland. Spain does not renounce her right of fishing there, but desists. For the King of Prussia he was disavowed! given up! sacrificed! so melancholy was the effect of the coldness that was grown between the two crowns! The branches of Bourbon were united; we and our allies disunited! He had seen nothing he envied in French councils till now. They had indulged a noble delicacy of honour, and obtained everything for Spain; nay, had treated Austria with punctilio. We did not so remember those who had served us! The moment the battle of Culloden should be forgotten, this country would be undone! We ought to have made a family compact with the King of Prussia.

Stanley said a few words on his own part in the negotiation; and then Mr. Fox rising to speak, Pitt, in contempt or exhausted, retired out of the house, attended by redoubled huzzas! the mob re-echoing the duration of his speech, “Three hours and a half! three hours and a half!”

The secession of Pitt struck such a damp on Opposition, that Fox had but little to do but to chant Te Deum for victory. He said little, very little, in behalf of the treaty, to which success was now ensured. He rather painted his own situation, and that of parties, ranking himself with the Whigs, but affecting to believe a general union of all factions under the King. He had been called out, he said, when men would232 have revived those distinctions, and torn the Tories from the support of the Crown. No desire did he know of extending prerogative; if it had been exerted unduly in signing the preliminaries, Ministers were answerable; but he vowed to God he did not know that it was in the mind of any man to enlarge the prerogative. Mr. Pitt had thought we could have gone on much longer, and that France could not; he himself thought we could not have gone on much longer: but what had Mr. Pitt given, except assertions in support of his persuasion? He himself had been told that our commerce was declined. If England would apply itself to improve this peace, it would turn out the greatest that ever had been made.

Charles Townshend, discontent, expecting much severe animadversion on the treaty, and dreading to differ with Mr. Pitt when the latter was likely to exert all his powers, had come to the House prepared to arraign the preliminaries. Finding his mistake, and secure by the retreat of Pitt, he changed his battery, defended the peace as well as it could be defended, burned incense on the altar of prerogative, and sang almost hosannahs to the praise of the King. It happened the next day that Dempster, commending Mr. Pitt, and calling him the arch-patriot, Rigby said, Mr. Pitt, it was true, had spoken three hours and a half, but an archer-patriot had said more to the purpose in twenty-five minutes.

The Duke of Newcastle had sent to his friends not to divide; on which they retired. This not being known to the Duke of Cumberland, his adherents233 stayed, and two of his own servants, Lord Ancram278 and General Fitzwilliam,279 were in the minority—which were but sixty-five against three hundred and nineteen. The Duke was angry that his people had been left alone: on which it was resolved to rally on the Report, but with no better success; the Court were still two hundred and twenty-seven to sixty-three, Lord Royston, Lord Hardwicke’s son, being of the majority.

Nothing can paint the importance of this victory to the Court so strongly as what the Princess of Wales said, on the news of the preliminaries being carried: “Now,” said she, “my son is King of England.” The ministers ordered that the numbers on the question should be printed—had they printed the names too, the world would have known the names of the sixty-five that were not bribed.

Fox having thus successfully employed rewards, thought the time was come for making use of the other weapon of government—punishment. A more severe political persecution never raged. Whoever, holding a place, had voted against the preliminaries, was instantly dismissed. The friends280 and dependents234 of the Duke of Newcastle were particularly cashiered; and this cruelty was extended so far, that old servants, who had retired and been preferred to very small places, were rigorously hunted out and deprived of their livelihood. An inquisition was held at Fox’s house; and a despotic spirit prevailed so rudely, that Lady Elizabeth Waldegrave,281 sister of the Duchess of Bedford, and a notable politician, desired to be admitted to the junto of proscription.

In particular, Mr. Wilkinson and Mr. Earle282 were dismissed from the Board of Ordnance for their votes; as was the younger Thomas Townshend283 from the green cloth, without the smallest notification. Some were even sacrificed who had given no offence, as the worthy Admiral Forbes,284 who was removed from the Admiralty to make room for Cotes, of the same profession and a friend of Fox. Schutz, who had been seven years of the King’s bedchamber, was turned out, for no reason but that he had not a seat in Parliament, and could be of no use there.285

235 But to wind up the year with more dignified rigour, the Dukes of Newcastle and Grafton and the Marquis of Rockingham were dismissed from the Lieutenancies of their several counties.286 The same affront being designed for the Duke of Devonshire, Fox affected to make a point of saving him; but the Duke, with proper spirit, scorned to be obliged to him, and resigned to accompany his friends.



Death of John Earl Granville.—His character.—Political persecution originating in Fox.—Want of cordiality in the Ministerial League between him and Bute.—Attack on Patent Places.—Lord Northington and Sir Fletcher Norton.—The Duke of Cumberland’s remark on the harsh proceedings of Fox.—Triumph of the Court.—Wilkes and Churchill.—Favour shown to the friends of the Stuarts.—Observance of the Jacobite fast.—Calvert’s extraordinary Speech.—Sir John Philipps’s Motion for the Accounts of the Nation.—Folly of the Tories.—Committee to inspect Madhouses.—Accounts of the Navy.—Calamities of War.—No famous native Generals except Wolfe and Lord Clive.—Charles Townshend’s fickle Politics.—The Standing Army.

John Earl Granville, the antagonist of one Prime Minister, Prime Minister himself, and then assistant to every succeeding Prime Minister, died on the second day of the new year. The rhodomontade, to which he was addicted, was set off by parts and wit, or forgiven to his good-humour. It was very unlike the presumptuous ascendant of Pitt, or the lofty ignorance of Lord Bute. Pitt, unsociable and muffled in clouds, was adored from the terror imprinted by his lightnings. Bute thought distance and obscurity sufficient characteristics of divinity; but Granville, like Bacchus, rattled his car among men, and was but the more admired the more he familiarized himself with mortals. He had fallen unpitied, but unhated; and sank in rank without sinking in237 esteem, his fall having lessened him less than his exaltation. He seemed so proper for every part, that in him it did not seem mean to be second, after commanding.287

The persecution, set on foot at the end of the last year, was kept up with unrelaxed severity.288 A place238 of 200l. a year was taken from Mr. Legge’s nephew,289 a boy at school: and another of the same value from a man in Sussex, who had been rewarded with it for service done against an inhuman set of smugglers, by the interest of the late Duke of Grafton, whom Fox had hated. In truth, these hardships were not only suggested by Fox, but now and then executed without the knowledge of the Favourite, who often disclaimed290 them, and sometimes, to load his associate, made recompense to the parties aggrieved; for though they became heartier friends afterwards, and though the Favourite bore testimony, in a subsequent period, that239 Fox was the only man who had not deceived him, it is pretty sure that their ministerial league was far from cordial; not quite sure that Bute did not deceive Fox; and certain, that the King betrayed symptoms of satisfaction on hearing that the blame of all this violence fell on Fox.

He had meditated going still greater lengths. Lord Lincoln, whom he particularly hated, was Auditor of the Exchequer for life, the amplest sinecure in England, except the Archbishoprick of Canterbury. Some other great patent-places were held by men then in Opposition. Fox himself enjoyed a very considerable240 one in Ireland; yet so much did his thirst of vengeance surmount his interest, that a question was put to the Chancellor, whether the King could not take away patents bestowed in former reigns, and whether the case might not be laid before the twelve Judges. The Chancellor, who had fits of bluntness and honesty, or prophetically affectionate to grants for life, so profusely heaped on him afterwards, replied, “Yes, they might lay the idea before the Judges, and then refer Magna Charta to them afterwards, to decide on that too.” Norton, Solicitor-General, as bold and as blunt, but never as honest as Lord Northington, being consulted to the same point, advised to take away the places, and then see if the law would restore them. This man now rose from obscure infamy to that infamous fame which long will stick to him. It was known that in private causes he took money from both parties, and availed himself against one or other of them of the lights they had communicated to him.291241 Yet his abilities were so good, and his knowledge so great, that no man had more extensive practice in Westminster Hall. In Parliament he had for some years been disregarded; but his foul tongue and causidical boldness, his clearness in argument or facility in assertion, his attachment to Lord Mansfield, and his total alienation from all principle, offered him as a proper tool to a Court that was to wade through the letter of the law to the demolition of the spirit. Yet his authority alone could not encourage such a violation of justice as had now been in agitation. The Favourite, too, and the Favourite’s favourites, might think it more eligible to leave patent places unmolested; they must have coveted them more than they could wish, to render them precarious.

The Duke of Cumberland, on these harsh proceedings, said to Lord Waldegrave, “Fox has deceived me grossly—not, as you think, by giving me up; he might be as angry with me for talking to Newcastle and Pitt—but he has deceived me, for I thought him good-natured; but in all these transactions he has shown the bitterest revenge and inhumanity.”

When the Houses met after Christmas, the Court was so thoroughly the master, that scarce an attempt was made at opposition. Yet Wilkes and Churchill wrote with as much intemperance as if the nation had been overspread with the flame of faction. The latter now published his “Prophecy of Famine,” one of the severest and least irregular of his works. Their poems242 and libels seemed to have little effect, but the seeds sown by them took deep root. Nor did the Court trouble itself to deny what was charged on it. The measures of the House of Stuart were so thoroughly copied, that even the rankest friends of that family were adopted at St. James’s. Sir John Philipps himself was made a privy councillor.

It happened that Lord Strange,292 moving a common adjournment to the following Monday, the Speaker said the House must adjourn till Tuesday, for Monday would be the 30th of January. Lord Strange laughed at such a Saint’s day, and divided the House, but found only thirty-six persons of his opinion; one hundred and three were for observing the ridiculous fast. Fox was of the majority, who, very few years before, had been for putting an end to that Jacobite holiday—a clear indication of the principles of the new Court. Lord Strange causing that part of the act of Parliament, which ordains observance of the day, to be read, and affirming that the words Neither Parliament nor People can judge the King, were contrary to the constitution; Fox denied it, and maintained that the constitution had always held that language. Rose Fuller and Lord Strange moved another day, to abolish the observation of the pretended martyrdom, but it was overruled by the House: however, it produced a very bold and extraordinary speech from Calvert; he drew a picture of a fictitious family in Surrey, whom he called the Steadys, describing two old Steadys and a young one; with a very particular account of young243 Steady’s mother, and of her improper intimacy with a Scotch gardener—he hoped the true friends of young Steady would advise him to recall his old friends, and turn away the Scotch gardener. No reply was made, for none could be made, without carrying the application too home.

Most of the other transactions of this session were as trifling, and deserve but little notice. Sir John Philipps, to preserve a semblance of patriotism, or instigated by Bute to intimidate Newcastle, moved for the accounts of the nation. Fox, who did not like any clue that might lead to the mysteries of the Pay-Office, opposed it; and Lord Granby, though sold to the Court, warmly defended the Duke of Newcastle’s integrity. Legge objected, too, and said he saw no end such a motion tended to; it was like asking a country fellow the way—he always asks you whence you came! Aislabie293 reflected on Fox for not passing his accounts, and the attack was received with loud marks of approbation; but when neither the late nor actual ministers encouraged the inquiry, it was not likely to be very successful. Sir John Philipps accordingly desisted, and Sir Francis Dashwood proposed to name a select committee to examine any accounts that had been brought in, which was agreed to; and lists were given out, from whence an equal number being chosen of the Court’s and of Newcastle’s friends, no more came of this, than of twenty such intended inquiries. Nor was anything memorable in the outset, but that the Tories, meeting in a body to consider the244 proposed lists, erased the names of Fox’s four chief friends; still, so blind were those dull men to their real interest, and still so much addicted to be led by mere names, they even objected to the large army proposed to be maintained; proof that they had not one sensible man of their body. What should a large army achieve but the work of monarchy? Or say the Tories were honest men and lovers of liberty? Could they love liberty and slavery both? or did they call themselves by a disgraceful name when they deserved to wear an honourable one? In truth, all the sensible Tories I ever knew were either Jacobites or became Whigs; those that remained Tories remained fools.

A scheme more laudable, more necessary, and founded on a crying evil, met with no fairer success than the committee of accounts. I mean the committee to inspect and redress the grievous abuses of madhouses.294 Charles Townshend took great pains in that business, distinguished himself, was content and dropped it. The lawyers raised many objections, and removed none. Poor humanity! how ill art thou treated by the human race! We fire at the relation of calamities, denounce vengeance on the perpetrators, cry out for, set about, reformation, and in England, give us our due, lavish our money towards it; then grow cool, and never think of the woe afterwards. Lawyers never suffer correction of abuses; they defend them even where they do not commit them.

245 When the accounts of the navy were brought into the House, it appeared that one hundred and eighty-four thousand seamen had been raised during the war. Of these, one hundred and thirty thousand had been lost to the nation; and yet, scarce will it be believed, sixteen hundred only had been killed!295 Many had deserted, and had enlisted again; others went into other services. Most of the rest died of distempers, climates, hardships, &c. But with the loss of sixteen hundred men, we had destroyed the navies of France and Spain. Glorious consideration! could it be unmixed with the remembrance of the other hundred and twenty-eight thousand! But Glory must shed more tears of anguish than of joy, whenever she turns accomptant. What if returns were made of all the other lives lost in that war all over the face of the globe! What did the peasants in Germany suffer? even heroism had its pangs. Did not the King of Prussia see every general with whom he commenced that short war perish before his eyes? I said he felt a pang—I hope he did. It is an observation a little foreign to the reflection with which I set out, but extensively victorious as that war was to Britain, she did not see one famous native general arise out of that war, except Wolfe, who died in the cradle of his celebrity; and unless we name Lord Clive, who was more a statesman than general, and in both respects not matched against equal rivals. I do not mean to detract from his merits; he was born to shine in the Indies: at home he never stepped beyond the common of mankind.

246 Charles Townshend, who had but just resigned, and who had no sooner resigned than he opposed the opposition, perceiving the weakness of that opposition, that Pitt would not lead it, and afraid to lead it himself, struck in again with the tide, and at the end of February kissed hands for first Lord of Trade, with a nominal rank of Cabinet Councillor, but without being permitted to go in to the King with state papers, except with those relating to the Board of Trade. He had boasted of far greater offers. Lord Sandys was removed to make room for him. A promiscuous meeting being held at Sir Francis Dashwood’s, to consider what proportion of army should be kept up, Ellis, Secretary at War, proposed eighteen thousand men for England, ten for America, and the usual twelve thousand for Ireland; but hinted at raising six thousand more for the latter kingdom; which Fox said the King desired. Sir Charles Mordaunt, a chief Tory, said he had great duty for the King, but could not consent to that augmentation. Charles Townshend seconded his refusal, and it was given up.

Lord Strange said the King must know what force was wanting, and if necessary it must be granted; but if the King would give it up, it showed it was not necessary; and therefore himself should be for the lesser number. Sir John Philipps, Lord George Sackville, and Rigby tried in Parliament to obtain the additional six thousand, but could not carry the point, though they endeavoured to prove that the King was not limited by the act of King William to but twelve thousand men in Ireland.



Mr. Pitt’s opinion on the Army Reductions.—Address to the King.—Symptoms of disunion among Ministers.—Fox’s rage.—Apprehensive of treachery, he seeks to propitiate his old connections.—Sir Francis Dashwood’s Budget.—Tax on Cider.—Discussion on Ways and Means.—Pitt and George Grenville.—Ardent opposition to the Cider-tax.—Petition from Newfoundland.—Humiliation of Fox.—Debate in the House of Lords on the Cider-bill.—Passing of the Bill.—Lord Bute’s alarm.—His resignation.—Its effect on Fox.—George Grenville first Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer.—Removal of Sir Francis Dashwood.—Ministerial changes and promotions.

When the day came for voting the army, Mr. Pitt attended. He approved the measure, he said, as far as it went, but wished more troops were allotted to America. That he had a very different opinion from many of the peace: thought it hollow and insecure, and that it would not last ten years. He showed no acrimony to Fox, he and Lord Temple both seeming more hostile to Lord Bute; but he dropped, that if any body would point out the right way to inquire what was the cause of so many dismissions, he would second the motion. Beckford having wished the army more reduced, Pitt said, such reductions had hurt us formerly. After the peace of Ryswick the army was lessened to seven thousand; but war followed in three years. After the treaty of Utrecht, but eight thousand men were kept up, but that reduction produced248 a rebellion and an army of fifteen thousand. Charles Townshend, dreading the lash of Pitt on his late inconsistencies, retired early in the debate; but the General, his brother, just arrived from Portugal, was lavish in encomiums on the peace and peacemakers.

In a few days after, Beckford, seconded by Pitt, moved to address the King to prefer officers on half-pay to those whose commissions were fresher; and though Fox and the ministers objected, it was suffered to pass. Sir Henry Erskine in the course of the debate frequently sounding the King’s name, Mr. Pitt severely reprimanded the Speaker for not stopping him.

In the progress of these debates, it was observed, that at least the Favourite’s faction, if not himself, were hostile to Fox. On the committee of accounts, Elliot and Lord North had been so personal to him, that he lost his temper; and Beckford desiring him to save appearances, he replied, he never minded appearances, but—he was going to say, realities, when a loud burst of laughter from the whole House interrupted him. His rage was so great, that, sitting down, he said to Onslow,296 though an enemy, “Did you ever see a man so treated in my situation? but, by G—, I will have an explanation and ample submission, or I will never set my foot in this House again.” Another symptom of disunion was, that Lord Ravensworth297 having moved for the whole accounts of the war, Lord249 Hardwicke said it was impossible to produce them yet; the paymaster had a deputy abroad who could not have made them up. This being understood as a reflection on Fox, Lord Hardwicke said, on the contrary, he had meant to vindicate him. Lord Talbot concurred with this explanation; adding, “Nobody can imagine that I want to screen Mr. Fox;” an expression warmly taken up by Lord Hilsborough, one of Fox’s friends.

If Lord Bute countenanced these hostilities, it was but consonant to the folly of his character. Fox had boldness and wickedness enough to undertake whatever the Court wished to compass. Fox seemed so apprehensive of treachery, that he cast about to recover his old connections. By Lord Albemarle, Lord Frederick Cavendish,298 and Lord Waldegrave, he laboured to be reconciled to the Duke of Cumberland and the Duke of Devonshire. He asked Lord Waldegrave if the former was still incensed against him. The other replied, he had not heard the Duke mention him of late, but supposed his Royal Highness could not be ignorant how much he had been abused by Murphy, known to write under Fox’s direction. “Formerly he did so,” said Fox, “but I had not seen him in a year and a half, till hearing how violent the ‘Auditors’ were, I sent for him and stopped them;”—an excuse too weak for a250 sensible man to make to a sensible man through a sensible man. Lord Waldegrave suspected that Fox’s views went deeper than reconciliation; for shortly after this conversation Rigby came to the Earl, and sounded him whether he would not take the Treasury, Lord Bute, he said, not being able to stand his ground. As Lord Waldegrave had married my niece,299 I knew all these intrigues from him, and was actually in his house at the time of this overture, of which he immediately told me with an expressive smile, which in him, who never uttered a bitter word, conveyed the essence of sense and satire.

We must now quit Fox, to make room for a doughty hero of more comic cast, the Chancellor of the Exchequer.300 Hitherto he had but just acted enough as minister, to show that he neither was one nor was fit to be one. The time was now come for opening the budget, when it was incumbent on him to state the finances, debts, and calls of Government; and to chalk out a plan of proper supplies. All this he performed so awkwardly, with so little intelligence or clearness, in so vulgar a tone, and in such mean language, that he, who had been esteemed a plain country gentleman of good sense, said himself afterwards, “People will point at me, and cry, there goes the worst Chancellor of the Exchequer that ever appeared!” His famous measure was the tax on cider; and whoever would know more of his ability in conducting that business, will find it amply detailed in the North-Britons; a coarse and satiric picture, yet but little exaggerated. The251 tax itself deserves far more than the author of it to live in the memory of English history, for the crisis it occasioned or drove on.

In the discussion of these ways and means, George Grenville complained that men objected to laying burthens on the sinking fund, and called rather for new taxes. He wished gentlemen would show him where to lay them. Repeating this question in his querulous, languid, fatiguing tone, Pitt, who sat opposite to him, mimicking his accent aloud, repeated these words of an old ditty—Gentle shepherd, tell me where! and then rising, abused Grenville bitterly. He had no sooner finished than Grenville started up in a transport of rage, and said, if gentlemen were to be treated with that contempt—Pitt was walking out of the House, but at that word turned round, made a sneering bow to Grenville and departed. The latter had provoked him by stating the profusions of the war. There is use in recording this anecdote: the appellation of The Gentle Shepherd long stuck by Grenville; he is mentioned by it in many of the writings on the stamp act, and in other pamphlets and political prints of the time.

The tax on cider raised a great flame in the western counties, and by management, that flame was transported to the metropolis. All the western members, however, attached to the Court, could not avoid defending the interests of their constituents; and thus joining what standing Opposition there was, the minority often divided near 120: and as every step of the bill was ardently fought, divisions happened frequently, and threw a kind of vivacity into the252 session. In the city Sir William Baker acted strenuously against the Court, and Wilkes’s pen was never idle.

In the meantime Fox received another humiliation. He had received a petition for relief from the sufferers at Newfoundland. It was objected to from all quarters of the House: general indemnification could not be made to all the sufferers by the war, why then partial? Sir Francis Dashwood, Lord Barrington, and Nugent supported Fox faintly; Ellis and Rigby warmly; Lord George Sackville with panegyric, for which he was reproved by Lord Strange, who, with G. Grenville, Stanley, and Lord Frederick Campbell, treated Fox and his petition harshly. During this altercation Lord Middleton, casting his eye over the paper, observed that all the names to the petition were signed by the same hand. This occasioned such an uproar, that Fox was obliged to ask pardon, and withdraw the petition, pleading, that the paper had been written out fair from the original, which had really been signed by the petitioners. In private, he said that there had been a paragraph not worded with sufficient respect to the House, which occasioned his having the petition copied out by a clerk, and there had not been time to get it signed again; but he stood so ill in the public eye, that whatever he did received the worst construction.

March 28th. The Cider-bill had now laboured through the Commons, and was read for the second time by the Lords. Lord Hardwicke spoke and voted against it; but was answered well, and with severity,253 by Lord Marchmont.301 Lord Mansfield made a bad trimming speech, but voted for the bill. Lord Lyttelton302 spoke well against it. Lord Pomfret heaped panegyrics on the Favourite, whose own speech was languid and unargumentative. The Tory Lords who belong chiefly to the western counties were most of them against the bill, as were nine of the Bishops; but the bill was committed by a majority of 71 to 39.

It was read the third time on the 30th, and was attacked with energy by the Duke of Grafton; by Lord Dartmouth303 with decency and propriety; by Lord Lyttelton, though with censures on the political pamphlets of the time; and by the Duke of Newcastle, who complimented the rising generation. It having been reported that, on hearing the City would petition the King against the bill, as they had both Houses, on the ground of the bill being calculated to extend the excise, Lord Bute had sent word to the leading men of the City, that if they would drop their254 petition, the bill should be repealed the next session, he thought it necessary to explain the foundation of that report; he had only sent word, he said, that if the bill proved a bad one, which he did not believe it would, he would try to get it repealed. This was one of his best speeches, though not divested of pomp, and with much affected contempt of popularity. Lord Ravensworth expressed great scorn of the City assuming the dictatorial tone. Lord Denbigh was still more bitter, and spoke with so much wit and applause that in very few days he was made a Lord of the Bedchamber. Lord Temple having in both debates been very personal to the Favourite, and having declared in favour of excise, as Lord Bute had against it, Lord Denbigh said he hoped the King, to please the City, would remove the Minister who was against excise, and place that Lord who was for it at the head of the Treasury. The bill was passed, sixty-two lords being for it, thirty-eight against it. After the first debate, the Lords Oxford, Foley, and Willoughby protested; the first and last of the King’s bedchamber. After the second debate, the Duke of Bolton,304 Earl Temple, and Lord Fortescue protested.

Immediately after the House rose the Sheriffs hurried to St. James’s; and, though at so unusual an hour, and without having previously asked leave, presented to the King a petition not to pass the bill; but he passed it the very next morning.

Few political clouds seemed less big with mischief than this storm, unnaturally conjured up, and little255 likely to last; for what principle of union could there be in common between the City of London and two or three distant counties whose apples were to be taxed? The spell, excise, was pronounced, but had lost its terrors. They who sounded loudest the alarm, neither were alarmed, nor expected to breathe much dread into others. But there was a frame of nerves more easily thrown into disorder; fear seized on the Favourite; he said, “We shall have thirty thousand men come down to St. James’s!” The assault that had been made on him the first day of the session had left a lasting impression; and he had showed, early in the reign, that fortitude was not a ruling ingredient in his composition. He had appointed himself a guard of bruisers the day of his attending the King into the City in 1761, when Mr. Pitt made his insolent parade thither at the same time. Now, bating the slight distemperature occasioned by the cider-tax, England seemed to be willingly, and submissively, prostrate at the Favourite’s feet. Would she have rebelled for a partial tax, after acquiescing in the peace? Fear does not calculate, but lumps apprehensions in the gross. The panic was taken, and on the 7th of April, to the surprise of mankind, it was notified that Lord Bute intended to resign the next day, and to retire for his health, not being able to go through the fatigue of business.

It is true, that he had at times declared, that as soon as he had made the peace, he would quit his post; but few had heard the declaration, and fewer believed it. The Ministers knew nothing of256 his intention till the day before it was publicly notified; and Fox was so entirely out of the secret, that he reproached the Earl bitterly for leaving him in that ignorance and dilemma. The Favourite’s own speeches in Parliament expressing a wish of retirement had rather confirmed men in the opinion that he had no thoughts of it. No one act had had the least air of his giving up his power, nor had any measures been taken to replace him or carry on the present system; but the best comment on his behaviour at that moment was his subsequent conduct. The fondness he retained for power, his intrigues to preserve it, the confusion he helped to throw into almost every succeeding system, and his impotent and dark attempts to hang on the wheels of Government, which he only clogged, and to which he dreaded even being suspected of recommending drivers, all proved that neither virtue nor philosophy had the honour of dictating his retreat; but that fear, and fear only, was the immediate, inconsiderate, and precipitate cause of his resignation.305

Yet let me not be thought to lament this weak man’s pusillanimity. I am condemning his want of policy, but rejoice at it. Had he been257 firm to himself, there was an end of the constitution! The hearts of Englishmen were corrupt and sold, and the best heads amongst them toiled in the cause of Despotism. A happy panic blew up the system of absolute power when it had lasted but five months; and a trifling Opposition overturned in a fortnight the work of that majority which a fortnight had purchased. Yet the struggle was not over. The rod fell into abler and more resolute hands; the mercenaries were not disbanded, though the commander-in-chief ran away. Fortunately he became incompatible with his successors; and liberty owed its salvation, not to its friends, but to discord among the conspirators.

I have mentioned how utterly Fox was disconcerted at this unexpected resignation. His first movement was to press Lord Bute to retain the Treasury, at least for six months. That attempt was fruitless. His next step was to secure his own peerage. Again was he astonished to be told that he had agreed to cede the Pay-office on going into the House of Lords. This he peremptorily denied. But he had dealt with a worthy pupil of his own. Lord Shelburne, who had negotiated between him and Lord Bute, when Fox undertook the conduct of the House of Commons, had told the Earl that Fox would quit the Pay-office for a peerage; but Fox had only stipulated to give his support for that reward. He now broke out against his scholar, reproached him for concealing Lord Bute’s intention of retiring, and spoke of Shelburne to everybody as a perfidious and infamous liar; those were his usual words. The probability was, that Shelburne258 intended to slip into the Pay-office himself. The Favourite, who would have declared Fox his successor, excused Lord Shelburne to him, and, in his pedantic style, called the secrecy he had observed a pious fraud; for Fox, he said, he knew would not have engaged in the management of the Parliament, had he been apprized that he (Bute) intended to retire, and it had been necessary to the King’s affairs that Fox should carry them through the session. This very offer of the Treasury to Fox showed how little the Favourite had taken any measures for carrying on his master’s business for the future, and corroborates the presumption that a sudden panic was the immediate cause of his retreat.

Fox refusing to accept them, the post of First Lord of the Treasury and the Seals of Chancellor of the Exchequer were, on April 8, the very day on which the Favourite resigned, bestowed on George Grenville. Sir Francis Dashwood was removed to the Great Wardrobe; and the barony of Despencer, then in abeyance between him and his nephew, Sir Thomas Stapleton, was granted to him: the one to repair, the other to decorate his fall.

Some other promotions were made of the Favourite’s and Fox’s adherents; and, to strengthen the new system, many favours were heaped on the Duke of Bedford’s dependents. Of the first sorts was the preferment of Oswald to be Vice-Treasurer of Ireland; of Hunter306 and Harris to the Treasury; of Lord Digby307 to the Admiralty; to which board were added, by259 Grenville, Lord Howe308 and young Thomas Pitt.309 The Earl of Northumberland was named to the chief government of Ireland, which had been offered to, and refused by, Lord Granby, who, as I hinted before, was now appointed Master of the Ordnance; from which old Marshal Ligonier was by force removed, but softened with a pension, which he refused to accept till accompanied with an English peerage. General Townshend,310 though only a Major-General, was made Lieutenant-General of the Ordnance; Lord Harcourt311 replaced Lord Northumberland as Chamberlain to the Queen; and, in the room of the former, Lord Weymouth was made her Master of the Horse. The Duke of Queensberry312 succeeded the deceased Lord Tweedale as Justice-General of Scotland: the Seal was given to the Duke of Athol,313 and the Privy Seal to Mr. Mackenzie, the Favourite’s brother. John Pitt314 was turned out to make room for Sir Edmund Thomas.315 Lord March316 and Lord Cathcart317 obtained green ribands.



The Bedford Faction.—Ambition of the Duchess of Bedford.—The Dukes of Marlborough and Rutland.—Lord Gower.—Fox raised to the Peerage.—Ingratitude of his friends, particularly of Calcraft and Rigby.—Mr. (afterwards Sir Charles) Bunbury.—Lord Hertford and Mr. Conway.—Charles Townshend’s presumption.—Reversions granted by Lord Bute.—Walpole’s feelings towards that Minister.—His Political acts.—Death of Lord Waldegrave.—His character.

The Bedford faction were not to be contented with empty honours or slight emoluments. They sent for their Duke from France, who, to grasp the more by seeming moderation, resigned the Privy Seal, as most men thought, with views on the Treasury itself; at least, his squadron vaunted that they had two or three administrations in readiness before the King should be obliged to employ the Opposition. The Favourite, from the first moment of his power, had made it a point to gratify, nay, to outrun, the Duke of Bedford’s largest wishes. Nothing he had asked, nothing his creatures were immodest enough to demand, had been denied; yet Lord Bute was balked in his hopes of purchasing the attachment of that connection—not from their usual perfidy; he had lost them before they suspected the smallest diminution of his omnipotence. He had not gratified the ambition of the Duchess.318 She had marked for herself the first post261 in the Queen’s family; but with more attention to her pride than to her interest, had forborne to ask it, concluding it must be offered to her. The Princess and Lord Bute, either not suspecting, or glad to be ignorant of her views, were far enough from seeking to place so dangerous a woman in the very heart of the palace. This neglect the Duchess deeply resented, and never forgave. She was even so weak as to declare that inveteracy in a letter to her sister, Lady Elizabeth Waldegrave, from Paris; which Lord Bute intercepting, there first learned what an aspic was lodged near his bosom.

But though the Favourite, persuaded of the Duchess’s implacability, dropped all correspondence with that faction, he was far from checking the stream of the Crown’s graces towards them. The King begged the support of the Duke of Marlborough,319 and offered to make him Master of the Horse, if the Duke of Rutland320 could be induced to part with it. The latter consented to exchange it for Lord Chamberlain; but that post the Duke of Bedford insisted upon for Lord Gower.321 After a warm struggle, Lord Gower obtained the Chamberlain’s staff; the Duke of Rutland remained in his old situation; and the Duke of Marlborough, though so very young, was appointed Lord Privy Seal; and his brother, Lord Charles Spencer, was made Comptroller of the Household.

Fox obtained his barony, and retained his place, but262 not without experiencing such a scene of ingratitude as could scarce happen but to a man who had selected his friends more for their utility than their merit. In the discussion, and during the defending and proving what he had or had not said relative to the cession of the Paymaster’s place, Calcraft,322 his own creature, his cousin, raised from extreme indigence and obscurity to enormous wealth, to opulence so excessive that the vast number of regiments to which he was agent, and the outrageous plurality of places he held, were universally believed to be deposited with him only for Fox’s use,323 took part with Lord Shelburne, and witnessed to the latter’s tale. Fox ordered Calcraft to make up his accounts, dismissed him worth near 300,000l., and, though so rich himself, grew almost justified; and, though so hated, grew almost pitied; but this was not all. The man he most loved was Rigby; and though Fox had not crammed him with wealth in the same lavish guise with which he had enriched Calcraft, he had assisted in Rigby’s promotions, and wished to push him forwards, and to be strictly connected with him in every political walk. In the height of his quarrel with Shelburne and Calcraft, Fox, walking along St. James’s Street, met and stopped Rigby’s chariot, and, leaning on the door of it, began to vent his complaints; when the other, unprovoked263 and unconcerned in the dispute, interrupted him with these stunning sounds, “You tell your story of Shelburne; he has a damned one to tell of you; I do not trouble myself which is the truth;”—and pushing him aside, ordered his coachman to drive away. From that moment Rigby became the enemy of Fox.324 The necessity of relating this story will appear hereafter.

The Earl of Hertford was named to succeed the Duke of Bedford at Paris. Fox, in the midst of his quarrels and mortifications, found leisure to think of his friends, and to think of gratifying his hatred. He procured his wife’s brother-in-law, Mr. Bunbury, to be imposed on Lord Hertford as secretary of the embassy; an affront Lord Hertford was advised not to digest: but, though he acquiesced in it, he treated Bunbury with such obstinate coldness, that the latter was glad to quit the employment. I never knew why Fox was on all occasions the personal enemy of Lord Hertford and Mr. Conway; neither of them being hostile to him, and both most inoffensive men. The elder brother was even a good courtier, and never in union with Fox’s enemies.264 Mr. Conway’s character was indeed a reproach to that of Fox, and antipathy is as often the cause of enmity as offence is. The decorum and piety of Lord Hertford occasioned men to wonder, when, in the room of Bunbury, he chose for his secretary the celebrated free-thinker David Hume, totally unknown to him; but this was the effect of recommendations from other Scots, who had much weight with both Lord and Lady Hertford.325

While the arrangement of the new drama was thus settling, there was an important actor to be made easy; but it was one who, whenever he appeared of most consequence, was sure of rendering himself insignificant. This was Charles Townshend. After his usual fluctuation, he accepted the post of First Lord of the Admiralty, and actually went to St. James’s to kiss hands for it. Presuming that nothing would or could be refused to him, without asking it, without even naming it to any minister, and as if the seats of his colleagues at that Board were in the nomination of the First Commissioner, he carried to court with him a Mr. Burrel, one of his followers, intending the latter should kiss hands along with himself as another Lord of the Admiralty. Thinking his honour engaged to carry through this absurdity, he would not kiss the King’s hand unless Burrel was admitted too. It was flatly refused, and Townshend was told that the King had no further occasion for his service. Lord Shelburne was immediately named to succeed him at the head265 of the Board of Trade, and Lord Sandwich to fill up the place destined to Townshend at the head of the Admiralty.

These were all the public promotions calculated to oil the new springs of Government. But the Favourite did not close the scene of his administration without conferring still more solid marks of his power and friendship on his family and intimate dependents. The reversion of Auditor326 of the Imprest was obtained for his own son Lord Mount-Stewart. My place of Usher of the Exchequer was granted in reversion to Samuel Martin;327 and a place328 in the Custom-house, held by my brother, but the far greater share of which had been bequeathed to me by my father for my brother’s life, was also granted in reversion to Jenkinson.329 I was, I confess, much provoked at this last grant, and took occasion of fomenting the ill-humour against the Favourite, who thus excluded me from the possibility of obtaining the continuance of that place to myself in case of my brother’s death; but in truth, except in the want of that attention, I had no reason to complain. I had refused to accept the grant330 from Fox, and I had in terms told Lord Bute that I would accept no favour from him,266 though with great civility, and without acting in any shape as hostile to him. Thus my resentment kept no deep root: and I can say with the utmost truth, that as I afterwards, though never connected with him, was on many occasions friendly to that great favourite, so no word in these Memoirs to his prejudice has been dictated by a vindictive spirit, but the whole narrative is faithfully the representation of what I knew and heard of him. Infinite ill has he occasioned to this country, in which light only it is my intention to pass sentence on his character. In other respects, the meanness of his abilities and the poorness of his spirit place him below resentment. His private virtues, the long and bitter persecution he has undergone, and many domestic misfortunes, would extract every sting which exact or necessary justice did not sharpen. The last transaction I am going to mention flowing notoriously from his dispensation, was of a nature not to be palliated or forgotten. To see it in its full force of indignity offered to so mighty a country, the reader must place himself at the moment when England, triumphant over France and Spain, had annihilated their navies, and sat sole arbitress of peace and war, absolutely secure that Europe combined could not wrench her conquests from her, and sure of proving her moderation by consenting to peace on almost whatever terms she should please to dictate.

At that moment did a pusillanimous favourite not only make peace, relinquishing the greater and most valuable part of our acquisitions, but (what never entered into the imagination of distress and slavery itself) he purchased that scandalous peace of the267 envoy of a little prince, who was not even a party in the war! In short, it now came out, that a pension on Ireland of one thousand pounds a year for thirty-one years to Count Virri,331 the Sardinian Minister, through whose hands the real negotiation332 had passed, was the price and tribute of that shame which Lord Bute, by the treaty of Paris, heaped on Great Britain!

The very day on which the Favourite resigned the reins of government died the man who, of all England, would perhaps have rejoiced the most to behold that event. James Earl Waldegrave was carried off by the small-pox, April 8th. With unbounded benevolence, and of the most flowing courtesy to all men, Lord Waldegrave, whose penetration no weakness could escape, nor art impose upon, though vice he overlooked, and only abstained sometimes from connecting with black and bad men,—Lord Waldegrave, I say, had been so thoroughly fatigued with the insipidity of his pupil the King, and so harassed and268 unworthily treated by the Princess and Lord Bute, that no one of the most inflammable vengeance, or of the coolest resentment, could harbour more bitter hatred and contempt than he did for the King’s mother and favourite. This aversion carried him to what I scarce believed my eyes when he first showed me—severe satires against them. He has left behind him, too, some Memoirs333 of the few years in which he was governor to the Prince, that will corroborate many things I have asserted, and will not tend to make these Anecdotes be reckoned unjust and unmerciful.

Lord Waldegrave died most unseasonably for his own honour. He stood so high in the esteem of mankind for probity, abilities, and temper, that, if any man could, he might have accomplished a coalition of parties, or thrown sense into that party, which, though acting for the cause of liberty, rather wounded than served it, so ill were they formed for counsel or conduct. Had he lived still longer, he must, by the deaths of the chiefs, been placed incontestably at the head of that party himself. Indeed, but just before his illness, he was much looked up to by very different sets. Lord Bute himself had thought of him for a269 considerable share on his own retreat; and, but the day before Lord Waldegrave was seized with the small-pox, he had been offered the Embassy to France or Lord-Lieutenancy of Ireland, both which he peremptorily declined. And yet after his death the Court boasted they had gained him,—a report much resented, and eagerly contradicted by his friend the Duke of Cumberland. But let us now turn to the opening of the new Administration.



Lord Bute’s pretended abdication of business.—The “Triumvirate” (Mr. Grenville, Lord Egremont, and Lord Halifax) who succeeded him.—Character of those personages.—Grenville’s ingratitude to Lord Bute.—The memorable Forty-fifth Number of the “North Briton.”—Wilkes apprehended on a General Warrant.—Committed close prisoner to the Tower.—His spirit and wit.—His bad character.—He is taken by Habeas Corpus to the Court of Common Pleas.—His Speech.—He is discharged from confinement.—Chief Justice Pratt.—Triumph of Wilkes.—His endeavour to obtain Warrants against the Secretaries of State.—Lord Temple.—Discontent in the Cider counties.—Mortifications of the Court.—Wilkes challenged by Forbes.—Sudden Death of Lord Egremont.

The Parliament had risen on April 19th, everything being then outwardly settled. The Favourite, to give some colour to his pretended illness, and to his still more pretended abdication of business, went to drink the waters at Harrowgate; having first protested that he would neither meddle, nor offer to intercept or direct the channel of the King’s favours. Trusting to this declaration, there started up a triumvirate, who not only seemed to be, but who really thought themselves, possessed of the whole power of government. They seemed, too, to have divided amongst themselves the whole portion of the Favourite’s pride. These were Mr. Grenville, his brother-in-law, Lord Egremont, and Lord Halifax: the two latter, Secretaries of State.

271 Mr. Grenville334 had hitherto been known but as a fatiguing orator and indefatigable drudge, more likely to disgust than to offend. Beneath this useful unpromising outside lay lurking great abilities: courage so confounded with obstinacy that there was no drawing the line betwixt them; good intentions to the public, without one great view; much economy for that public, which in truth was the whole amount of his good intentions; excessive rapaciousness and parsimony in himself; infinite self-conceit, which produced impossibility of instructing, convincing, or setting him right; implacability in his temper; and a total want of principles in his political conduct; for, having long professed himself uncommonly bigoted to the doctrines of liberty, he became the staunchest champion of unwarrantable power. As all his passions were expressed by one livid smile, he never blushed at the variations in his behaviour. His ingratitude to his benefactor, Lord Bute, and his reproaching Mr. Pitt with the profusion of a war which he had sometimes actively supported, and always tacitly approved, while holding a beneficial place,335 were but too often paralleled by the crimes of other men; but scarce any man ever wore in his face such outward and visible marks of the hollow, cruel, and rotten heart within.

272 Lord Egremont336 was a composition of pride, ill-nature, avarice, and strict good-breeding; with such infirmity in his frame, that he could not speak truth on the most trivial occasion. He had humour, and did not want sense; but had neither knowledge of business, nor the smallest share of parliamentary abilities.337

Of the three, Lord Halifax338 was by far the weakest,273 and at the same time the most amiable man. His pride, like Lord Egremont’s, taught him much civility. He spoke readily and agreeably, and only wanted matter and argument. His profusion in building, planting, and on a favourite mistress, had brought him into great straits, from which he sought to extricate himself by discreditable means. He aimed at virtues he could not support, and was rather carried away by his vices than sensible of them.

I have mentioned Mr. Grenville’s ingratitude to Lord Bute, which implies preceding obligation. He had owed solely and entirely to Lord Bute the rich reversion of a Tellership of the Exchequer for his son. Lord Bute perhaps thought it was no light additional favour to have made over his power into Mr. Grenville’s hands. But the latter had not forgotten how contemptuously he had been set aside the last year; and, as Lord Bute by no means observed his promise of abstaining from exerting his influence at Court, it is but candid to allow that Lord Bute diminished the favour by not adhering274 to the terms on which he bestowed it. Be that how it would, Grenville had not sat a month at the Treasury, before, remembering the affront and forgetting the reversion, he set himself by all manner of means to lessen the profits of the other reversion which Lord Bute had procured for his own son. Thus auspiciously commenced the new administration!

As soon as it was known that Lord Bute intended to quit, Wilkes had forborne to publish his North Britons; waiting to see the consequences of the change. The tone he had given did not, however, stop. In the City they toasted to Wit, Beauty, Virtue, and Honour, ironic designations of the King, Queen, Princess Dowager, and Lord Bute. The North Briton too was soon resumed, and on the 23rd of April was published the memorable forty-fifth number, which occasioned so much trouble to the author, procured so essential a correction of loose and till then undefined power, and produced so many silly conundrums and wretched witticisms on the number itself.339 This famous paper gave a flat lie to the King himself, for having, by the Favourite’s suggestion, assumed the honour of obtaining peace for the King of Prussia.340

Nothing could be more just than the satire, nothing more bold than the unmeasured liberty275 with which it was uttered.341 The Prussian monarch must have read with scorn, and Europe with laughter, so absurd a boast as our vaunting to have saved an ally whom we had betrayed and abandoned. Ridicule might have handled this vain-glorious falsehood with full severity and full security, without passing the bounds which law allows. But when Parliament had connived at the treachery, could it be supposed276 that it would suffer a private hand to wield the bolt which had slept in the custody of so many corrupt representatives? The lie given in print to the Crown, by an obscure man, was an unparalleled license. If the King had a particle of power left, or his servants, or his magistrates, of spirit, such an insult could not be passed over. The rashness of his servants contrived to involve the Crown and themselves in inextricable difficulties, and to make the unwarrantable behaviour of Wilkes appear innocent, when compared with the excesses they committed themselves.

I do not mean to lead the reader through the maze of vague and barbarous law-proceedings, which sprang out of this transaction. It did but lay open the undefined or unmeaning magazine of terms which the chicanery or contradictions of ages had heaped together, and it proved that the Crown and the subject might be justified in almost any excesses. The right hand of Nonsense armed the King, and her left defended the subject. The lawyers on either side were employed in discovering springes or loop-holes.

After a week’s deliberation Wilkes was seized, April 30th, by three messengers, on a general warrant, signed by Lord Halifax. They had been ordered to apprehend him at midnight, but abstained till noon of the 30th. Churchill, his friend, then with him, slipped out of the house, either to secure himself or to give the alarm. Mr. Wood,342 the Under-Secretary, and277 Philip Carteret Webbe,343 a most villanous tool and agent in any iniquity, seized his papers, though he had received intimation time enough to convey away the most material. He was conducted to Lord Halifax’s, where he behaved with much firmness and confidence, and grievously wounded the haughty dignity attempted to be assumed by Lord Egremont. They committed him close prisoner to the Tower; a severity rarely, and never fit to be practised but in cases of most dangerous treason. This treatment served but to increase Wilkes’s spirit and wit. He desired to be confined in the same room where Sir William Windham, Lord Egremont’s father, had been kept on a charge of Jacobitism; and said he hoped, if there could be found such a chamber in the Tower, that he might not be lodged where any Scotchman had been prisoner.

About the same time, being told of the reasons alleged by the King of Spain344 for setting aside his eldest son, two of which were, that the Prince squinted, and did not believe the mysteries of our278 holy religion; then said Wilkes, “I can never be King of Spain, for I squint, and believe none of those mysteries.”

The rigour of the commitment gave serious alarm; but, the very day on which it happened, Wilkes’s friends applied to the Court of Common Pleas for his habeas corpus, expecting it from Lord Chief Justice Pratt, and scorning or despairing of it from Lord Mansfield.

Lord Temple instantly resorted to the Tower, but was denied admittance to the prisoner; a restraint the ministers found the very next day they must take off. Lord Temple then returned to visit Wilkes, as did the Duke of Grafton and some few others of rank; but, in general, the prisoner’s character was so bad, and his conduct so rash and unguarded, that few who were either decent or cautious cared to be concerned with him.

The habeas corpus being granted, Wilkes was carried to the Court of Common Pleas, May 3rd. He spoke for an hour, said “attempts had been made to corrupt him, now to persecute him; he had been worse treated than any rebel Scot.” The crowd in Westminster-hall gave a great shout; the Chief Justice, with great dignity, reproved them. The judges took time to deliberate. The people were profuse of their acclamations to the sufferer.

On the 5th, he wrote a letter to his daughter (a child whom he had placed in a convent in France for her education), and sent it open to Lord Halifax; it congratulated her on living in a free country. He was the same day turned out of his commission in the militia.

279 On the 6th, being again conveyed from the Tower to Westminster-hall, Pratt and the other judges of the Common Pleas unanimously discharged him from his confinement; the Chief Justice delivering their opinions, and dismissing him on his parliamentary privilege, “because, though privilege of Parliament does not hold against a breach of the peace, it does against what only tends to a breach of the peace. The case of the seven bishops was quoted; the judges Wright, Holloway, and Allibone had been against them. Allibone, said Pratt, was a Papist; Wright and Holloway had been appointed for the occasion; but Powel, an honest man, had declared for the bishops. On the other hand, he quoted a recent case of Lord Tankerville, who having been arrested on a prosecution for bribery in the election for Windsor, the Lords had declared it a breach of privilege”—we shall find how much less tender the Commons were of their privileges.

The Chief Justice had no sooner granted the enlargement of Wilkes, than two of the King’s serjeants presented letters to the Court, from the Attorney and Solicitor Generals, demanding to be admitted into the Court, as the case concerned the King’s interest. The Attorney, it is said, has a right of interfering in any Court where the King’s interest is agitated; it is doubted whether the Solicitor has the same prerogative. To both Pratt answered, that they had applied too late. Now did the Court feel the consequence of having forced Pratt to be Chief Justice against his will.

This triumph quite overset the little discretion of which Wilkes had been master. He seemed to280 put himself into the situation of a King, who, not content with the outworks with which the law has surrounded his person, attempts to employ the law as offensive artillery. Affecting to have been robbed of moveables when his papers were seized, Wilkes entered into a virulent controversy, by letter, with the Secretaries of State; and even endeavoured, though in vain, to obtain warrants for searching their houses. This wild conduct did not help his cause. His next step fell more perniciously on his own head. He erected a printing-press in his own house; and, against the remonstrances of Lord Temple, who never wanted fear where there was room for it, and who had no taste for anything that did not lead directly home to faction, indulged himself in realizing those sallies of his humour and intemperance, which are scarcely excusable when transient and confined to the jollity of intoxicated moments at table. The Court regarding Lord Temple as the instigator, not as the Socrates, of this Alcibiades, removed him from the lord-lieutenancy of the county of Buckingham. The printers, who had been vexed in their business by the orders of the Secretaries of State, and encouraged by the victory of Wilkes, prosecuted the messengers, and obtained damages to the value of 300l.

The same spirit spread into the west. In the cider counties they dressed up a figure in Scotch plaid, with a blue riband, to represent the Favourite, and this figure seemed to lead by the nose an ass royally crowned. At the same time they voted instructions to their members to try to obtain a repeal of the act. The circumstance of the act being passed under so281 unpopular an administration was most unfortunate. It had taken thirty years to open the eyes of mankind to the benefits of excise: the only, at least the best, method of improving the revenue without imposing new burthens. Being started at so ungracious a moment, the old prejudices were industriously revived.

The Court at the same time met with some mortifications in their pursuit of congratulatory addresses on the peace, which they sedulously promoted. One Judge Perrot345 was so servile as to recommend it from the bench on the circuit. The Duke of Newcastle and Lord Hardwicke, the one Chancellor, the other High Steward of the University of Cambridge, refused to go to St. James’s with the address of that body. Allen,346 the ostentatious patron of Pope and Warburton, the latter of whom had married his natural daughter, prevailed on the city of Bath to thank the King for the adequate347 peace, and had himself the insolence282 or folly to send that address, so profligately worded, to Mr. Pitt, with whom he had maintained a mutual intercourse of flattery. Mr. Pitt disdained to present their compliment to the King, and even declared he would represent their city no more.

Wilkes, in the meantime, had gone to France to visit his daughter. There he received a challenge from one Forbes348 an outlawed Scot in the French service, who could not digest the torrents of abuse which Wilkes had poured forth on his country. Alexander Murray, brother of Lord Elibank, and an outlaw too since the Westminster Election in 1751,349 was the go-between in this quarrel, not without being suspected of inflaming it. Wilkes accepted the defiance for the next morning, but, when Forbes called on him, affected to laugh it off, saying, he was bound to fight Lord Egremont by preference before any other man. When that excuse availed not, he asked Forbes if he had provided a second; to which the283 other replied, such preparation was too dangerous in France. Altercations thickened, till at last the lieutenant de police was sent for, who obliged Forbes to promise not to proceed any farther.

Had the duel with Lord Egremont been seriously intended, from that too would Wilkes have been delivered; for the earl, who was of a sanguine and apoplectic complexion, of which he had felt attacks, and though warned in vain to moderate the indulgence of his palate, to which he was ungovernably prone, died suddenly on the 21st of August, and put an end to a triumvirate which had involved their master and themselves in such a labyrinth of knotty and undecided questions.



Perplexity of the “Triumvirate.”—Lord Bute’s unsuccessful Manœuvres.—Lord Halifax and Mr. Grenville remonstrate with the King.—The Duchess of Bedford’s animosity to Lord Bute and the Princess of Wales.—Schemes of the Bedford Faction.—Mr. Pitt sent for by the King.—Negotiation with the former.—The Treaty broken off.—Causes of the Rupture.—The King’s Account of his Interviews with Pitt.—Pitt’s Proposals.—Proscriptions.—Machinations of Lord Sandwich.—Ministerial Arrangements.—Grenville’s Power.—Lord Temple’s Conduct.

But it was not the affair of Wilkes which had alone perplexed the Triumvirate. They found they were by no means in the confidence of the King. He was continually suggesting new measures to them, which plainly came from a hidden quarter. A fortnight before the death of Lord Egremont, his Majesty had hinted to Grenville that he wished to prevail on Lord Hardwicke to return, if not to his service, at least to his councils. Whether the blow received from the Common Pleas had alarmed the Favourite (who had made but a very short stay at Harrowgate), and had warned him to look out for more support; or whether he thought the three ministers insufficient; or whether, which is most likely, he wished already to get rid of them, especially having detected the underhand practices of Grenville against his son’s patent;—in short, whatever was the motive, Grenville could not be ignorant285 who was author of the advice, and only replied, it would not do. The King insisted, and the overture was made; Hardwicke rejected it, and said he would not abandon Newcastle. The King then commanded the same trial to be made on Newcastle, but with exclusion of Mr. Pitt; an early proof of those crooked councils of division with which the Favourite was afterwards so often charged, and which were so agreeable to the King’s natural insincerity. Newcastle haughtily refused the offers made to him. Still were the King’s discourses dark and ambiguous; and, though affecting to call out for new strength by extending preferments, he had refused, at Grenville’s recommendation, to make the Duke of Leeds350 President of the Council, and Lord Hyde351 Chief Justice in Eyre.

On this behaviour the three ministers had determined to bring his Majesty to an explanation. Lord Halifax broke the ice; complained of their not having his countenance, and concluded with telling him that he had but three options: to support them; to try a coalition of parties, which was impracticable; or to surrender himself, bound hand and foot, to Mr. Pitt.286 Mr. Grenville went much farther; reproached him with violating the assurances he had given them that Lord Bute should meddle no more, and with abandoning the ministers he had himself chosen. The King renewed his professions, and promised to be firm to them. Grenville said he should go into the country for a fortnight, and begged the King to take his final resolution against that time. At Grenville’s return the King had renewed his protestations, and, the very day before Lord Egremont died, Grenville had been to assure him of the King’s promise to be true to them; but, on the 25th, Grenville, through great professions to him, perceived that his Majesty was not without a disposition of recalling Pitt, against which Grenville made a warm, not to say indecent, remonstrance and protest.

The Bedfords in the interim had totally renounced Bute. The Duchess had carried her animosity still higher, and would not, on her return from the French embassy, be prevailed on to pay her duty to the Princess of Wales. Casting about for allies (for Grenville and Lord Halifax they despised), the Bedford faction had not been without views of connecting with the Duke of Cumberland and Newcastle; and his Royal Highness had at this very juncture been invited to Woburn. The death of Lord Egremont seeming to dissolve that ministry, a bolder stroke was struck; and the Bedfords, hoping under him to get possession of the government, determined to attempt making Mr. Pitt minister. With this view Rigby, in the most private and mysterious manner, went down to Woodstock, and sent for the Duke of Bedford, who was287 then at Blenheim, and persuaded him to go directly to town to the King, and advise him to send for Mr. Pitt.352 Lord Shelburne, who in his separate department had affected to act minister too, had assured them that this would not be opposed by Lord Bute; but had not trusted them, or was not trusted himself, with Lord Bute’s real disposition that way. Rigby had no sooner lighted the match than he left the mine to take fire, and retired to his own house in the country; while the Duke of Bedford posted to the King, and told him, that, as he had made peace abroad, he must now make it at home, and that could only be effected by sending for Mr. Pitt.

Lord Bute, hearing this measure had been prescribed by the Duke of Bedford, thought it wiser to have the merit of it himself. Mr. Pitt, though trusting to the clamour of party for support, had seldom openly courted it; and, since he had had such eminent services to boast, had affected to despise it. He had kept clear of all transactions with Wilkes, and had condemned Lord Temple’s connection with him, and, yet more, his visits to that incendiary in the Tower. Mr. Pitt’s amity might reconcile the people, and no man was so accommodating a partner in power; Pitt having few or no dependents, and scorning to meddle in the distribution of common places and preferments. On these grounds the Favourite, through the intervention of Alderman Beckford, entered into a negotiation288 with Mr. Pitt, and, finding facilities there beyond his most sanguine hopes, induced the King to send for that formidable dictator.

It was on the 28th of August that Mr. Grenville, arriving at Buckingham House, was struck with the apparition of Mr. Pitt’s chair and servants in the Court. This was the first notice he or the public received of a phenomenon so little expected, at least by the latter.

Let it be remarked here, that I do not pretend to give a perfect and entire account of the following negotiation. No transaction was ever involved in more contradictions and mystery; for, though the retainers of both sides spoke out, and amply, their narratives disagreed materially, and the exact truth was never fully known. From all I could collect then or since, and from explanations which I have gathered by commenting on the subsequent behaviour of the actors, I believe the ensuing relation is pretty near the truth.

The Bedfords had sent Calcraft to Hayes353 to sound how Mr. Pitt stood affected to them, and Calcraft returned with a most favourable account. On this assurance had the Duke of Bedford been pushed on the measure of advising the recall of Mr. Pitt. Lord Bute had not been less encouraged by the report of Alderman Beckford, for Mr. Pitt had determined, if ever he should return to Court, not to make himself unwelcome there. The Favourite, therefore, saw him privately at his house in Jermyn-street before he saw the King, and advised him not to propose Lord Temple289 for the Treasury, which would break off the negotiation. Pitt thanked him, but did not take his advice,—and on this rock undoubtedly did the treaty split; for all the variations I have hinted at, were but circumstances artfully seized or feigned to colour the rupture, or misrepresent it.

The Favourite deceived, or deceiving himself, brought about the interview, as I have said, between the King and Mr. Pitt. It lasted three hours, and the bargain was universally thought concluded. But the King had not only been revolted at Mr. Pitt’s terms, though without owning it, but Mr. Pitt had had the sagacity to discover his Majesty’s repugnance; and therefore not only carried on the farce of returning to Court the next day, but was so dexterous as to see the Duke of Newcastle, with whose interests he had by no means clogged his first demands; and assuring his Grace of his zeal for his service, went back to the King with a schedule of terms extremely enlarged. These were peremptorily rejected, and the treaty broke off, on pretences which the one had not meaned to ask, nor the other cared whether he granted or refused. The Treasury for Lord Temple was the real stone of offence.354

290 But no sooner was the rupture known, than all tongues were let loose to inquire, guess, invent, or assign causes. The King detailed his conversation with Mr. Pitt to all that came about him—and almost all added to it, as their interest or malice suggested. Mr. Pitt saw very few, and to fewer would disclose any circumstances. He soon found that he could not speak without flatly contradicting what his Majesty had said, or was reported to have said. No wonder the transaction came forth loaded with uncertainties and inconsistence!

The substance reported was, that Mr. Pitt had proscribed almost all the ministry then existing, and yet had been very cool in recommendations of the Opposition. The first part was not very credible, for though his haughtiness rendered him indifferent to those who affected to call themselves his party, his nature, on the other hand, was not vindictive: and it was true, that he had not been worse treated by the one set than by the other. On his second audience, I believe it might be true to a good degree that he had been dictatorial; but at first he had been far more moderate. However, it was given out that he proscribed all who had made, or had voted for the peace: whereas he had spoken tenderly of some of the negotiators; and had said of the treaty itself, that he would take it, and make the best he could of it.

291 The King himself relating the two conversations, took care to dwell on any circumstances that would most affect the persons to whom he made the confidence. Thus, to Lord Hertford, at that time Lord of the Bedchamber in waiting, the King said, “Mr. Pitt proscribed several, particularly your friend Lord Powis:355 I told him, continued his Majesty, that he might restore Lord George Cavendish;356 but Lord Powis had stuck by me, and I never would abandon him.357 I will stand by those who have stood by me. He said little,” continued the King, “of Legge (another of Lord Hertford’s friends, consequently the King intended Legge should be informed), only, having recommended Lord Temple for the Treasury, Mr. Pitt said, Mr. Legge may be his Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he pleases—if not, Lord Temple will name another. He surprised me,” pursued the King to Lord Hertford, “with saying still less of your relation the Duke of Grafton; and more, with crying up to me for one of the first men of business in the kingdom, Lord Rockingham,358 whom he intended for First Lord of the Admiralty. I thought,” said his Majesty, “I had not two men in my bedchamber of less parts than Lord Rockingham.” The King spoke handsomely of both the Dukes of Grafton and Devonshire, and laid his treatment of the latter on passion, that Duke not292 having made the least excuse for not coming to council when he had been summoned. Knowing that Lord Hertford was not well with Fox, the King affirmed that he had taken the latter last winter against his inclination; and he told Lord Hertford that the Duke of Newcastle had urged the Duke of Bedford to make a worse peace than Mr. Pitt had projected, and had promised to defend it: and that the Duke of Devonshire had recommended to the Duke of Bedford to make any peace; and then, fearing to be reproached with that advice, always avoided conversation with that Duke. “When he took leave of me,” added the King, “Mr. Pitt said to me, Sir, the House of Commons will not force me upon your Majesty, and I will never come into your service against your consent.” “You see,” said Lord Hertford, when he repeated this conversation to me, “that if they did not shut the King up, he would talk enough to any body!”—but if they sometimes debarred him from talking, he was now instructed to talk—and every grain he sowed brought forth an hundred-fold.

I must observe that his Majesty had told Lady Holland, in the drawing-room, that he should never forget Mr. Fox’s undertaking the House of Commons and the Peace in the last winter. It is certain that in this interview with Mr. Pitt, the King proposed to take the Paymaster’s place from Fox, and bestow it on George Grenville.

Of the persons really proscribed, the chief was Lord Mansfield. “He is a Jacobite,” said Pitt, “and means sir, to ruin your family.” He recommended Pratt for a peerage, and in future for the Chancellor’s Seals;293 would have saved the Duke of Marlborough, as a young man misled; Elliot, for having tried to preserve union between him and Lord Bute; and of Lord Halifax he had said, “that he was a pretty man, and, as in bad circumstances, might be Groom of the Stole or Paymaster.” “The Duke of Newcastle,” he said, “would take any place not of business.” Charles Townshend he proposed for Secretary of State with himself. The Secretary at War should not be of consequence, as it was now under Ellis,359 that clerk of Fox the Paymaster, but should depend on him whom his Majesty should think proper to command his army. “Then,” said the King, “we shall agree in Lord Granby;” “or,” said Pitt, “in Lord Albemarle.”360 This was the sole approach he seemed to make towards the Duke of Cumberland; but never would his Majesty have trusted his army with a creature of his uncle.

Of Lord Gower Pitt spoke not favourably, having probably discovered that it was the way to make his court to the Favourite, who, having perceived that that Lord aimed at being a favourite himself, had taken care to alienate the King’s mind from him. Rigby was not excepted for mercy,361 and Lord Sandwich much less. Of the Duke of Bedford Mr. Pitt spoke properly, as of a man well-intentioned, but shamefully misguided,294 and who might hereafter, if in proper hands, be useful to Government. But nothing harsh did Pitt utter against the peace: he would try to meliorate it. Should a national spirit of inquiry arise, he would not resist it. He had held the same language formerly on the loss of Minorca: they were specious words then and now, but with no sanguinary intentions.

When Calcraft was reproached by the Bedford faction with having deceived them on Pitt’s disposition towards them, he could not evade the charge. A breach ensued, and he remained attached to Mr. Pitt.

Sandwich, finding himself proscribed by Pitt, made advantage of the moment, and exerting all his invention and industry, of which no man possessed a larger receipt, he set himself to persuade men of all denominations that they had been marked in black letters in the dictator’s catalogue of pains and penalties. He even drew every man’s character to himself, and selecting their faults or deficiencies, ascribed to Mr. Pitt both the recapitulation and imaginary sentence that followed it. Grenville and Lord Halifax caught the righteous flame, and diffused it: Grenville even assembling the Commissioners of the several boards, and assuring them, one and all, that they had been condemned by Mr. Pitt to be cashiered. To Woburn, where the Duke of Bedford was at this anxious moment detained by his royal visitor, the Duke of Cumberland, Lord Sandwich wrote inflammatory letters, telling Bedford that he was proscribed, and his peace to be attacked. The warm little Duke caught fire; but Rigby, to whom Sandwich had made the same report, doubted, and came to town, where he295 was either duped into, or persuaded to join in the imposition.

Grenville was pressed by the King to remain minister, and did not want to be pressed. The Duke of Bedford, in the hot fit of zeal and resentment, accepted the post of President; and Shelburne, who had shuffled round the compass with so ill success, and lost the favour of Lord Bute, choosing now to adhere to Pitt, and resigning the seals, they were bestowed on the only man who could replace, or excel him, Lord Sandwich. It was fortunate for Grenville and union, that the faction did not wish to place the Duke of Bedford at the head of the Treasury,—but they could not trust his warmth and absurdities. In Ireland he had disgusted everybody, and had gone so far as to tell the Irish themselves that theirs was no Parliament. The Court had wished to have Charles Townshend Secretary of State with Lord Halifax; but he too, for that time, stuck to Mr. Pitt, and refused.

Thus, from a strange concurrence of jarring causes, there sprung up out of great weakness a strong and cemented ministry, who all acquiesced in the predominant power of Grenville. The Favourite hated, had tried to shake him off, and he knew it. How much must his brother Temple have been detested at Court, when, under all these humiliating aspects, it was thought preferable to retain Grenville!

In truth, nothing could be more offensive than Lord Temple’s conduct, whether considered in a public or private light. Opposition to his factious views seemed to let him loose from all ties, all restraint of principles.296 Of the truth of this assertion he, at the time I am describing, gave a convincing proof. His brother George was at that moment the object of his jealousy and resentment. He had, however, been prevailed upon by his family, or rather by considerations of family, to suffer Mr. Grenville to be rechosen for Buckingham; but on this sole condition, that Mr. Grenville should give up a paper formerly received from him. When Dr. Lyttelton, Bishop of Carlisle,362 who had negotiated this treaty, gave him the paper, he said, after reading it, “It is true, I am bound in honour and by promise to make a firm entail of my estate,—I will; but it shall be on my brother James.”363 The case was this: it had been discovered during the life of their uncle, the late Lord Cobham, that he had made a flaw in the settlement of his estate. A meeting of his nephews was held in the presence of his sister,364 and their mother, the late Lady Temple. She said, “My son Richard is ill with my brother; if we tell my brother of this flaw, he may make a new settlement, and give his fortune from my297 eldest son.” George Grenville consented to keep the secret, provided his brother gave him the most solemn promise in writing to resettle the estate when he should come to it. Insensible to such a tie, and filled with rancour, he had the mortification of seeing that very brother preserved in power merely to his exclusion.

Other persons preferred on the new settlement were Lord Egmont to the head of the Admiralty, and Lord Hyde to be joint-Postmaster.



Secret power of Lord Bute.—His rupture with Pitt.—The late Prince of Wales’s character of Bute.—Extraordinary Anecdote.—Mr. Legge’s imprudent Manœuvre.—Unanimous attempt to destroy Wilkes.—Governor Johnstone.—General Wall.—The Comte de Guerchy.—His character.—Madame de Guerchy.—The Duke de Nivernois, and the Chevalier d’Eon.—Death of Augustus the Third, of Saxony.—The Pope invites the Duke of York to Rome.—Humiliation of the helpless Line of Stuart.—Charles Yorke resigns the Attorney-Generalship.—Trimming conduct of the Yorke Family.—Unfavourable Commencement of the new Lord-Lieutenant’s power in Ireland.

Still did the same grievance remain, the favour and secret power of Lord Bute. Grenville and Lord Halifax insisted that he should go abroad; and it was said to be promised. At least his refusal, or breach of promise, was made the pretence for depriving him of the custody of the King’s Privy-purse, an office he yet retained. The nomination of a successor showed how little the ministers had gained, and how vainly they endeavoured to destroy his credit, the Purse being immediately given to Sir William Breton, who was Groom of the Bedchamber to the King, as he had been to the King’s father, and who was a most devoted tool of the Princess and her favourite. A stronger proof of the latter’s confidence in his own power was given by himself. George Grenville having written a very voluminous letter to Sir John Phillips, giving an account of299 the negotiation with Mr. Pitt and its miscarriage, of which letter the King had seen and approved every paragraph, Sir John wrote a warm expostulation to Lord Bute (who he did not know had been concerned in that treaty), blaming the timidity of sending for Mr. Pitt. Lord Bute returned a haughty answer, in which he said, whatever the ministers might think, they should find he himself was minister still. A memorable sentence, confirmed by facts, and of which the contrary assertion was vainly attempted afterwards to be imposed upon the world.

The mysteries of this man’s conduct, and the reserve and eccentric starts of Mr. Pitt, have made any lights valuable that can be thrown on this part of our history. Mr. Pitt’s was the character suited to support and colour over the pusillanimity of the Favourite, but his jealousy and their mutual pride threw them at a distance. The affair of Lord George Sackville, who was attached to Lord Bute, and proscribed by Pitt in compliment to Prince Ferdinand, had given the finishing stroke to their rupture; hastened too, by that very attachment of Mr. Pitt to the foreign house of Brunswick. Nor, with all the disposition of Pitt to forgive the Favourite’s offences, could they meet again, while Lord Temple hung upon his brother-in-law, and was the sine quâ non of Mr. Pitt’s return to Court. On every occasion of moment appeared the justness of the character drawn of Lord Bute by the late Prince of Wales, who did not want parts, nor ill-nature to sharpen those parts, nor insolence to utter what either of them dictated. Growing tired of Lord Bute a little before his death, he said to him, “Bute, you would300 make an excellent ambassador in some proud little Court where there is nothing to do.” It had been happy for England, and for Lord Bute too, if the Prince could have made that destination of him—I mean, without living to execute it himself.

I shall relate another very extraordinary anecdote, which will not be mentioned improperly in this place, though I do not know the precise time in which it happened. The Princess Dowager dreamed that she was in the palace of Saxe Gotha: the window was open, and the moon, level to it, shook with a tremulous motion before her eyes, to her great disquiet. She bade Lord Bute try to fix it. Extending his arms to stop its motion, it burst in his hand into ten thousand fiery splinters; on which, turning to the Princess, he said reproachfully, “See, Madam, to what you have brought me!” This dream was the Princess so weak as to repeat the next morning to some of her women; one of whom, I guess the wife of Velters Cornwall, told it to Lady Suffolk,365 who trusted it to me. She did not name her authority, but said she heard it from one of the Princess’s bedchamber; and Mrs. Cornwall I know was the one with whom Lady Suffolk was the301 most connected. I repeat this vision, not as prophetic or divine, but as a strong picture of what passed in the mind on which it painted itself.

Before I close this account of the negotiation, I ought to assign the reason why Mr. Pitt had so slightingly or offensively mentioned Mr. Legge, the second in Opposition, and long the second to Mr. Pitt himself. With all his abilities, Legge was of a creeping underhand nature, and aspired to the lion’s place by the manœuvre of the mole. While yet connected with Mr. Pitt, and before he had lost favour at Leicester House,366 he had, before the late King’s death, brought about a secret interview with Newcastle; but with so much circumspection, that meeting him at Lord Duplin’s, Legge had insisted the conversation should pass without candles and in the dark. The Duke was charmed with the mystery, and with the pleasure of betraying it to Mr. Pitt. Mr. Elliot, as he told me himself, discovered it too, and acquainted Lord Bute—and thus with both was Legge ruined. I now return to the common occurrences of the year.

In one point the Favourite and his rivals agreed; that is, in the destruction of Wilkes. The rashness and despotic conduct of the triumvirate had made them parties in the same cause; they pursuing him with what they called Law, and the Scotch without302 attention to any law. Johnstone, one of Lord Bute’s American governors,367 had the same view with Forbes, but took a looser plan. Having been reflected on in a North Briton, I think then no longer written by Wilkes, he challenged the author, whoever it was; and, to be sure of provoking at least one person, threw out in his challenge printed in the newspapers, severe sarcasms on Lord Temple’s want of spirit.

About this time General Wall,368 a true friend to the union of England and Spain, finding the French interest daily making greater progress at Madrid, desired leave to resign on pretence of failure of his eyesight. Grimaldi369 was immediately ordered home from Paris303 to succeed him; a man devoted to France. To that Court Lord Hertford set out on the 13th of October, and Monsieur de Guerchy arrived thence. The Comte de Guerchy370 was an amiable soldier; not to be named for parts, but far better qualified for his situation than his own Court believed, having a good knowledge of the world, a perpetual attention to his employment, consummate discretion, much natural ease in his behaviour, with either no impertinence, or with thorough mastery of it, and a complaisance so properly applied that he was agreeable to all parties, and yet always well with the reigning ministry here. It gave him a ridicule at home, that he was enslaved to a penurious and deformed wife; but that dominion of Madame de Guerchy was his greatest felicity. She had an excellent understanding, and a talent for learning the tempers, humours, and connections of England; her constant304 application to which, and the necessary curiosity in consequence, were concealed by the natural coldness and reserve of her disposition. Nor did her attention to their fortune ever disgrace her husband, nor throw even an air of economy on his table. At Paris her devotion and domestic retirement had passed for insipid virtues that prevented her good sense from being so much as suspected. At the Count’s first audience he told the King, with pleasant candour, that it was a proof of his master’s intentions to preserve the peace, that he was sent over, who was no man of talents or intrigue.

Thus formed to succeed and never to offend, no man was more unfortunate than this ambassador; and it required not only dexterity, but the simplicity of his conduct, to surmount the most cruel and disagreeable ideas, first carelessly dropped, and then maliciously dispersed to his prejudice. The Duc de Nivernois had brought over and left here, to manage the affairs of their Court till M. de Guerchy’s arrival, the Chevalier D’Eon,371 a military man, but who had been much employed in secret negotiations in Russia, for which he had been largely praised and very ill paid. The man had notable parts, great appearance of bashful merit, and learning enough to charm the superficial pedantry of the Duke, who had treated him with a fondness and intimacy that was ridiculous; and that, by being over kind, proved cruel: for having to serve him made D’Eon the courier of the peace, the Duke went farther, and procured him to be styled plenipotentiary during the absence of the ambassador. Vigils305 and vanity turned the poor young man’s head, which was by no means ballasted by a good heart. He mistook the road of fortune for fortune itself, and thought that highsounding titles lifted him to a level with those that conferred them. He forgot his modesty, and learned to talk loftily, or, as his masters thought, arrogantly. Under this unhappy intoxication he was thunderstruck with a declaration from the Duc de Nivernois, that on the ambassador’s arrival he was to sink into his pristine insignificance. To laugh this off, the Duke had familiarly pictured him to himself as sometimes a plenipotentiary and sometimes a tool of office. Other accidents concurred to aggravate this mortifying notice. He could obtain no arrears; and having made free with the remittances of his new master to give dignity to his own mission, he received a very humiliating reprimand from Monsieur de Guerchy. To crown all, Wilkes’s writings had breathed a spirit of independence into a poor brain born to crouch at a desk or to rise by servility. The ambassador was no sooner arrived, than the Chevalier behaved in a manner to which French ministers are little accustomed from their inferiors. At the same time D’Eon took it into his fancy that one Treyssac de Vergy,372 an adventurer, was brought over to assassinate him; and on this belief broke out so outrageously against the Count after dinner at Lord Halifax’s, that the Earl, at306 M. de Guerchy’s desire, was obliged to send for Justice Fielding, and put D’Eon under arrest; and next day Vergy swore the peace373 against him. The consequences of this adventure will be related hereafter.

Augustus the Third374 having enjoyed but for few months the cessation of war, and of those misfortunes which a vain and impertinent favourite375 had drawn down upon him, died about this time, leaving Poland at liberty to get rid of a family who had sacrificed their religion for a crown, without obtaining essential benefits for themselves, or conferring any on subjects so dearly purchased. The new Elector of Saxony, his son, was infirm in mind and body, and survived his father not a year.

We, on whom an empty favourite had heaped little less disgrace by peace than Count Bruhl had inflicted on Saxony by war, had occasion to feel how wide the terror of our arms had extended our influence. The Duke of York, making the tour of the Mediterranean, and being expected at Florence, the Pope376 ordered307 Cardinal Albani to inform Sir Horace Mann, the King’s minister in Tuscany, that his Royal Highness, if he pleased to visit Rome, would be received there with all the honours due to his birth. The nuncio at Florence was commanded too to wait on the Prince, and repeat the same; to invite him to Rome, and to assure him of all safety, honours, and amusements. His Royal Highness accepted the invitation; and the son of James the Second, and his grandson, a cardinal of that very church, had the mortification of being forced to retire to Albano, where they had a villa, lest they should see a heretic Duke of York courted and treated in that holy city whence the thunders of the Vatican had been hurled against the great Elizabeth. But this was not the last nor least humiliation which the wretched and helpless line of Stuart received from the hands of their Pontiff, and from that church for which they had sacrificed themselves, their crowns, and their posterity.

On the 3rd of November Charles Yorke resigned the post of Attorney-General, alleging to Mr. Grenville that his father and the Duke of Newcastle had insisted upon it. Yorke, on the trial of the printers, had made a warm speech against Wilkes, and was to carry on the prosecution. The father and the sons were certainly in their hearts inclined to prerogative; but interest so swayed their actions, and it was so much the point of the whole family that Charles Yorke should be Chancellor, that we shall find one308 perpetual stream of dubitation and trimming run through their conduct. The father, indeed, more soured, and with pride more affronted, towards this close of his life, grew more settled in his asperity towards the Court. Nor was he the only instrument of prerogative whom the Court lost because it could not reward all its devotees up to their ambition.

In Ireland the scene commenced unfavourably. The new Lord Lieutenant, the Earl of Northumberland,377 lost a question the first day in the House of Commons there by so considerable a number as forty, who would not suffer the word adequate to be applied to the Peace in the address.



Opening of Parliament.—Lord Gower and Lord Temple.—Wilkes’s “Essay on Woman” laid before the House of Lords.—Hypocrisy of Lord Sandwich.—Bishop Warburton.—Kidgell.—Persecution of Wilkes.—He complains in the House of Commons of a breach of privilege in the seizure of himself and his papers.—Warm Debate on the question.—Mr. Pitt’s Speech.—Arguments of Lord North and others.—Wilkes wounded in a duel by Martin.—The King’s Speech read to the Commons.—Pitt’s obscure Speech.—Speech of Grenville.—Postponement of the farther hearing on Wilkes.—Bestowal of the Bishoprick of Osnabrugh.

But in the Parliament of England lay the chief seat of the war; and with very extraordinary scenes did the campaign open. The Houses met November 15th, Lord Hilsborough and Lord Suffolk moved the Address of the Peers. Lord Temple censured the Peace; and the Duke of Bedford defended it with temper. Lord Gower attacked Lord Temple for his disrespect to the King. He denied that he had ever shown any disrespect; and said that he and his family had been attached to this royal family full as long as his lordship’s family had (who were very recent converts from Jacobitism).

As soon as the Address was voted, Lord Sandwich produced a poem, called an Essay on Woman, with notes pretended to be written by Bishop Warburton.310 It was a performance bawdy and blasphemous to the last degree, being a parody of Pope’s Essay on Man, and of other pieces, adapted to the grossest ideas, or to the most profane. Wilkes and Potter,378 son of the late Archbishop of Canterbury, had formerly composed this indecent patchwork in some of their bacchanalian hours; and Wilkes, not content with provoking the vengeance of the King, of the Princess, of the Favourite, of twenty subaltern ministers, and of the whole Scottish nation, had, for the amusement of his idle hours, consigned this innocent rhapsody to his own printing-press—a folly unparalleled, though he had intended to restrain the edition to twelve copies. However, as he could not commit a wanton imprudence without giving birth to some villainy or tyranny in others, this very poem was now laid before the House of Lords in consequence of a train of both kinds. One of the copies had been seized among his papers by Philip Carteret Webbe. Still was even that ministry ashamed to accuse Wilkes on evidence which311 had fallen into their hands by such illegal means—unanswerable proof that they were conscious of their guilt, and knew they could not justify their proceedings. But the blood-hounds having thus fallen on the scent, were not to be turned aside by delicacies. Could they procure another copy the business would be effected—and effected it was. Carteret Webbe set his tools to work, for even hangmen have deputies. There was one Kidgell, a dainty priggish parson, much in vogue among the old ladies for his gossiping and quaint sermons, and chaplain to the Scotch379 Earl of March. This fellow got at a proof-sheet; and by the treachery of one of Wilkes’s printers, who thought himself ill-used, and by the encouragement of his patron, who consulted Lord Bute and Lord Sandwich, and was egged on by them to proceed, Kidgell and Webbe purchased the whole poem: and now did Sandwich, who had hugged this mischief for months in his breast, lay open the precious poem before his brother Lords in strains of more hypocrisy380 than would have been tolerable even in a professed Methodist. Parts of it were read, most coarsely and disgustingly blasphemous. Lord Lyttelton groaned in spirit, and begged they might312 hear no more. Bishop Warburton, who had not the luck, like Lord Lyttelton, to have his conversion believed by any one, foamed with the violence of a Saint Dominic; vaunted that he had combated infidelity, and laid it under his feet; and said, the blackest fiends in hell would not keep company with Wilkes, and then begged Satan’s pardon for comparing them together.

Lord Temple had got no intelligence of this bomb, and knew little what to say; but concluding, justly, that the piece had been found among Wilkes’s papers, condemned the means by which it was obtained. It was instantly voted blasphemous, and a breach of privilege against the person of the Bishop of Gloucester. Lord Sandwich then moved that Wilkes should be voted the author; but even Lord Mansfield condemned so hasty and arbitrary a course, and said it was previously necessary to hear the accused person in his own defence: on which the proceeding was adjourned to the next day but one. I was in a division in the lobby of the House of Commons, when I heard what was passing in the other House, and immediately informed Mr. Pitt. He replied with indignation, “Why do not they search the Bishop of Gloucester’s study for heresy?”

Events now thickened so fast, that to avoid confusion, I will here say a little more on this head. The plot so hopefully laid to blow up Wilkes, and ruin him in the estimation of all the decent and grave, had, at least in the latter respect, scarce any effect at all. The treachery was so gross and scandalous, so revengeful, and so totally unconnected with the political conduct of Wilkes, and the instruments so despicable,313 odious, or in whom any pretensions to decency, sanctimony, or faith, were so preposterous, that losing all sight of the scandal contained in the poem, the whole world almost united in crying out against the informers. Sandwich, in opening the discovery, had canted till his own friends could not keep their countenances. Sir Francis Dashwood was not more notorious for singing profane and lewd catches; and what aggravated the hypocrisy, scarce a fortnight had passed since this holy Secretary of State himself had been present with Wilkes at a weekly club to which both belonged, held at the top of Covent Garden Theatre, and composed of players and the loosest revellers of the age. Warburton’s part was only ridiculous, and was heightened by its being known that Potter, his wife’s gallant, had had the chief hand in the composition of the verses. However, an intimacy commenced between the Bishop and Sandwich, and some jovial dinners and libations of champagne cemented their friendship. Kidgell, the jackall, published so precise, affected, and hypocritic an account of the transaction, that he, who might have escaped in the gloom of the treachery, completely blasted his own reputation; and falling into debt, was, according to the fate of inferior tools, abandoned by his masters, and forced to fly his country. Though the rank and fortune of Sandwich saved him from disgrace of that kind, he had little reason to exult in his machination. He brought a stigma on himself that counterworked many of his own views and arts; and Churchill the poet has branded his name on this account with lasting colours. The public indignation went so far, that the314 Beggar’s Opera being performed at Covent Garden Theatre soon after this event, the whole audience, when Macheath says, “That Jemmy Twitcher should peach me, I own surprises me,” burst out into an applause of application; and the nick-name of Jemmy Twitcher stuck by the Earl so as almost to occasion the disuse of his title.

While the destruction of the character and fortune of Wilkes was thus prosecuted in one chamber of Parliament, a plot against his life was hatching in the other; his enemies not being satisfied with all the severities they could wring from the law to oppress him. Nor were several servants of the Crown sorry to make his outrages a handle for curtailing liberty itself. The House was no sooner met, than Wilkes rose to make his complaint of the breach of privilege in the seizure of himself and his papers. The Speaker interrupted him, and said the session was not yet open, the silly form of reading a bill not having been gone through. Grenville, too, urged that there was a message from the Crown that ought to be received before any other business. Beckford and Onslow pleaded that privilege ought to take place of every other consideration. A long and warm debate ensued. Mr. Pitt strenuously supported the precedence of privilege, though affecting to offer to take privilege and message together. Elliot moved to have a bill read. Pitt replied admirably, and said, if they were not yet a House, no member could have been sworn; nor was it necessary to have some nonsense read to which nobody would attend. Suppose it should have been forgotten, and the House had entered on some arduous business, some315 fool of form might have started up and told them,—“Lord bless us! it is all a nullity that we have been doing!” Privilege waived would really nullify the proceedings. The House would be a company of men put under force. The man who would waive privilege ought to have a question moved on him. Lord North, Nugent, and Dyson argued against privilege, and warm words passed between Pitt on one side, Grenville and Norton on the other. Yorke said, that if they did not begin regularly with a bill, Westminster Hall would not know how to date the commencement of the session, unless the two Houses started together. Pitt replied, that if the House should sit till three in the morning, it would still be deemed the 15th of November. The House divided at six in the evening, and it was carried, by 300 to 111, that a bill should first be read. Grenville then delivered the message from the Crown, acquainting the House with the imprisonment that had been made of one of their members; for which message Lord North moved the thanks of the House; together with an assurance that they would forthwith go into the consideration of the offence. Wilkes then made his complaint. Mr. Pitt approved of Lord North’s motion of thanks, but spoke against precipitation. Wilkes’s case, he said, was not to be paralleled. He desired to be tried by his peers,—and if he did not, said Pitt, I would force him. The North Briton No. 45 was then read; and two printers being examined, one said he had received it from Wilkes in his own hand-writing; the other, that Wilkes and Churchill were the authors of that periodic paper in general. Lord North, who had undertaken the conduct316 of the parliamentary prosecution against Wilkes, held forth on the sedition of those papers, and of No. 45 in particular. Wilkes replied, his Lordship, however, had not proved that it contained any falsehoods. Mr. Pitt said it was a scandalous, licentious paper, and false; but always distinguishing between the criminal and the illegal proceedings of the Ministers. The House, he said, was not a proper place for trying a libel; nor did this tend to excite traitorous insurrections. Was the motion calculated, by inserting the word traitorous, to justify what the Ministers had done? He himself could never learn exactly what was a libel. Whoever was the patron of these doctrines, fœnum habet in cornu. Norton said he did think the paper tended to excite insurrections. Scandalous reflections on private men or magistrates were a libel. Opposing law was treason. Pitt replied, a libel could not be treason. It might, said North, tend to excite treason. Pitt moved to omit the epithet traitorous, but the Ministry upholding it, the House divided at eleven at night, and the ministerial phrase was carried by 273 against 111; Sir Alexander Gilmour and Murray, two Scots, and the only two of that nation in opposition, voting with the rest of their countrymen on that occasion. Lord North then moved to have the paper burned by the hangman, which was ordered. Lord North affirmed next, that privilege did not extend to libels, nor to stay justice; which Pitt said was the boldest assertion and attempt ever made without consulting precedents or appointing a committee. He lamented the King was so ill served as to run aground on the liberties of Parliament. He would die, he said,317 if a day were not appointed for hearing Wilkes. Norton took this up hotly, and said he was called upon by insult and abuse. Pitt replied, that he had said the King had been ill served by lawyers and others; and he proposed to take the case of privilege into consideration the next day, and on the following day to hear the complaint of Wilkes; which was agreed to at one in the morning.

The next day when I went down to the House, I found all the members standing on the floor in great hubbub, questioning, hearing, and eagerly discussing I knew not what. I soon learned that Wilkes about two hours before had been dangerously wounded by Martin in a duel. In the foregoing spring, Wilkes, in one of his North Britons, had pointed out Martin by name as a low fellow, and dirty tool of power. Martin had stomached, not digested this; but in the debate on No. 45 the day before, he had risen and called the author of that paper on himself a cowardly, scandalous, and malignant scoundrel, and had repeated the words twice, trembling with rage. Wilkes took no notice; and as he did not, the House did not interfere, as is usual, when personalities happen, and seem to threaten a duel. The next morning Wilkes wrote to Martin, to ask if the words used the day before were meant to be addressed to him as the supposed author of the paper in which Martin had been abused. If Martin had thus intended to point the words, Wilkes owned he had written that paper. Martin replied, he had meant him, Wilkes; and as the latter had avowed himself the author, he should not deny, added Martin, what he had said before five hundred people, and gave318 him a challenge. About noon they went into Hyde-park; Martin alone; Wilkes, with Humphrey Cotes381 in a post-chaise, knowing if he killed Martin that he should have no chance of pardon. Cotes waited at a distance. They changed pistols, both fired, and both missed. Martin fired a second time, and lodged a ball in Wilkes’s side, who was going to fire, but dropped his pistol. The wound, though not mortal, proved a bad one.

It was thought an ill symptom of Martin’s heroism, that he had smothered the affront for so many months, nor had given vent to his resentment, till the affair with Forbes had left a doubt on Wilkes’s courage. If Martin got rid of this imputation, it was but at the expense of a worse charge. It came out, nor could he deny it, that his neighbours in the country had observed him practising to fire at a target for the whole summer. I shall not be thought to have used too hard an expression, when I called this a plot against the life of Wilkes. Churchill wrote The Duellist, one of his finest satires, on this occasion.

On the 16th, the King’s speech was read to the Commons, when Lord Caernarvon382 and Lord Frederick Campbell moved the Address. Pitt made an obscure speech, parts of which seemed to aim at explaining his conduct in the late negotiation; but all that could be gathered from it was, that he had not excommunicated the Peace-makers, nor the Tories; that he had aimed319 most at Lord Mansfield, and that he took up the Whigs, but not as enemies to prerogative.383 He could not allow, he said, the words safe and honourable Peace in the Address; he did not think it was either; it was durante bene placito of France and Spain: yet as the Address precluded nobody from speaking their sentiment afterwards, he should let the words pass. For himself, no minister could know less what to do with the Peace; nor did any man more bid adieu to the political world than he did. He was against reviving party-names; but if dissension arose on principles, he must again become a party-man. Grenville taking hold of Beckford’s objecting to the proclamation for settling America, made artful advantage of the opportunity to show the great pains taken by the Ministry to settle our conquests and colonies, and to regulate the finances at home. In one article they had struck off 250,000l. of the demands made from Germany. He then expatiated on the profusion of the war, and attacked Pitt strongly without reserve or fear. The Address was voted without a negative.

The farther hearing on Wilkes was deferred on320 account of his wound.384 After the debate Pitt had a meeting with the Dukes of Newcastle, Devonshire, and their friends, and insisted on their supporting Chief Justice Pratt’s opinion in behalf of privilege against Mr. Yorke, who had declared that Wilkes’s case was not within the pale of privilege.

During these transactions, the King, after keeping the bishoprick of Osnabrugh open near three years, contrary to the custom, which allows but six months, bestowed it on his son, a new-born child,385 before it was christened. The Duke of York386 had thought it his due, and not without reason. It could not be conferred on the Prince of Wales; nor was there much equity in reserving it for a son that might be born. The interest of the family and of the Protestant cause, too, seemed to point out the Duke, as an infant liable to so many accidents might, if born, soon fail, and then the turn would revolve to the Papists; even a minor in possession was favourable too, to that party, for of the revenue, which is about 25,000l. a year, only 2000l. belong to the Bishop till he is eighteen, and the rest is divided amongst the Popish chapter. But the Queen, who began to get weight with her husband in German affairs, prevailed to reserve for, and then to grant this great provision to, a child of her own; and the Duke of York’s little reverence for his mother, and antipathy to the Favourite, excluded him from a grace for which he had so much occasion.



Important Question as to the Privilege of Parliament.—Liberty of the Press.—Scandalous Resignation of Privilege by the House of Commons.—Abandonment of General Warrants.—Debate on the proceedings against Wilkes.—“The Moderator,” a new scurrilous paper.—Lord Clive.—Riot on the attempt to burn “The North Briton.”—Debate on this subject in the House of Lords.—Triumph of Wilkes in his prosecution against the Under-Secretary of State.—Dismissals by the Court.—The Chevalier d’Eon.—Attempt to assassinate Wilkes.—The East India Company and Lord Clive.—Wilkes and the Parliament.—Outlawry against Wilkes.

On the 23rd of November came on the important question whether the Privilege of Parliament preserved the members from being taken up for writing and publishing libels. At first sight, a disinterested person would perhaps think it strange that it should be a question whether a seat in the Legislature should not secure the Legislators from the penalty of breaking the laws, for publishing a libel is undoubtedly illegal; but to those acquainted with our Constitution, it will perhaps appear more extraordinary that a House of Commons should suffer such a question to be proposed to them, and that they should condescend to agitate it. Will our posterity believe that a House of Commons gave it up? but it was that House of Commons that had sold itself to approve the late Peace. Still it is to be admired that this cessation of their privileges should322 be wrung from them, after the Court of Common Pleas had declared that Privilege held against everything but treason, felony, and breach of the peace. A libel, at most, but tended to a breach of the peace.

The Legislature consists of the three branches of Kings, Lords, and Commons. Together they form our invaluable Constitution, and each is a check on the other two. But it must be remembered, at the same time, that while any two are checking, the third is naturally aiming at extending and aggrandizing its power. The House of Commons has not seldom made this attempt, like the rest. The Lords, as a permanent and as a proud body, more constantly aim at it: the Crown always. Of liberty, a chief and material engine is the liberty of the Press: a privilege for ever sought to be stifled and annihilated by the Crown. The ministers of the Crown and its lawyers must misrepresent the liberty of the Press before they can presume to request the suppression of it. Every grievance set forth in print is misnamed a libel; and grave laws necessarily disapprove libels. If the Crown can arrive at precluding Members of Parliament from complaining in print of grievances, no doubt the Crown could debar all other men, who are of less importance, and whose persons are guarded by no sacred privilege. Liberty of speech and liberty of writing are the two instruments by which Englishmen call on one another to defend their common rights. Liberty of speech is communicated but a little way; the Press gives wings to that voice, and all men may read what all cannot hear. Freedom of speech in Parliament is not so valuable as freedom of writing. A man may hazard323 many necessary truths in print, when he may conceal his name, which he might not venture to utter in open Parliament. If discovered, his privilege used to be his security. Nor is this a vindication of libels, properly so called; but a Court will call a libel the most just censure of tyranny. Yet could it not wrest from Members of Parliament the safety of their persons without their own consent—and in what instance did the Court ask this?—in what instance did the House of Commons yield it? Mr. Wilkes, one of their own members, had been taken up by a General Warrant, in which his name had not so much as been mentioned. Contrary to all precedent, he had been committed close prisoner to the Tower—a proceeding so arbitrary, that a Court of Law had set him free. The House of Commons sacrificed him and their own privileges, and yet shame—I mean disgrace, so soon overtook them, that General Warrants, such as that on which Wilkes was arrested, were given up, condemned, exploded—but half the wound remains, for this scandalous vote was never rescinded!

It is true, that on the debate it did appear that there were many and many precedents on both sides. Often had privilege protected a member—often it had not; but how did that happen to be the case? It happened, because there had been various cases in which the Crown was not concerned, but where the contest had lain between subject and subject; and in those instances the House had often determined different ways. But on the great case of the seven Bishops, in the reign of James the Second, Privilege of Parliament had been vindicated and secured. What would have324 become of those prelates if the Court had had this precedent of Wilkes to justify its violence? Even allowing that privilege were not inherent in members, but had been decided sometimes for, sometimes against them; was this a time—was this an instance, in which the House should have waived its pretensions? Was the blow it gave itself likely to be repaired? But let the preceding and subsequent conduct of this ductile and servile House of Commons tell its motives!

The debates were not brilliant, but serious and solemn as the occasion required. Lord North387 was the chief manager for the Court, supported by Norton, George Grenville, Morton,388 and Elliot. Lord North’s mouthing and boisterous manner, his coarse figure, and rude untempered style, contributed to make the cause into which he had unnecessarily thrust himself appear still more odious. Pitt, Beckford, Legge, Sir George Saville, Sir William Baker, and James Grenville defended the Constitution. Much was said on the danger to which every man’s private papers were now exposed, and more on the injustice of hurrying on this decision, when Wilkes could not for his wound appear to defend himself, when he was prosecuting both the Secretaries of State and the messengers, and when he was to be tried himself for the libel. What court, what judge, what jury, but must be prejudiced by a decision of the House of Commons against him? This plea was325 glaring, was crying. The lawyers themselves many of them allowed it, and the debate took that turn; the Opposition endeavouring to stave off the question on Privilege, the courtiers insisting to bring it on. Charles Yorke begged for delay, but it was a delay of a few days; Eliab Harvey, though bred a Tory, pleaded for deferring their decision. Forester, a Scot devoted to the Duke of Bedford,389 and reckoned no squeamish lawyer, spoke for procrastination, and voted against the Court. Wedderburne, another Scot, argued for farther time; and even old Wilbraham,390 the Gamaliel of the Jacobites, could not digest such indecent hurry, for which he was much commended by Pitt; yet by seven in the evening the Court bore down all obstruction, and carried their point by 243 to 166; though Sir John Philipps and Benjamin Bathurst,391 two high-prerogative men, were in the minority, with Glover, and four general officers—Conway, Sir John Griffin,392326 A’Court,393 and Honeywood.394 It being, however, too late to commence the regular debate, it was adjourned till the next day.

The 24th, a letter from Wilkes was presented, protesting against their proceedings, and promising on his honour to attend in his place as soon as possible. To this no regard was paid, Grenville moving for the orders of the day, and Rigby saying that Wilkes could not have written that letter but on misrepresentation of what had passed the day before. Hussey, the Queen’s Solicitor, a man of most fair life, unambitious, uninterested, candid in his conduct, and gracefully touching in his delivery, a great friend of Pratt, and lover of the Constitution, made an excellent speech in behalf of privilege and liberty. Charles Yorke, under the difficulties of disgusting his Whig friends and of serving a Court with which he was dissatisfied, explored all the sources of distinction and law subtleties, to defend his opinion against privilege; and spoke for two hours with great applause, as excellent in that branch of his profession. Pitt, near as long on the audaciousness of the Crown’s servants, and their contempt of Parliament; declaring that this proceeding was making a surrender from that day of every man’s liberty in the House to the discretion of the Secretary of State. Pitt was ill, and then went away. Norton indecently quoted a prosecution for perjury against Sir327 John Rushout,395 the most ancient member of the House, then sitting at the end of the same bench. The old gentleman was stout and choleric: the prosecution had been on a case of election, and he had been acquitted. He rose with warmth, but with much propriety told his story; showed the prosecution had been instigated by Norton himself, to serve an election purpose; and, looking defiance at that attorney, said, “It was all owing to that honest gentleman!—I hope I do not call him out of his name!” The shout of the House did justice on Norton.

This interlude, however, was decent and calm in comparison of what followed. Rigby, looking at Lord Temple, who was sitting at the end of the House, to hear the debate, as he constantly practised, drew a picture of that incendiary peer, described him in his blue riband encouraging mobs from windows of coffee-houses; and more particularly as the instigator of Wilkes. James Grenville rose, in amazing heat, to defend his brother, and vomited out a torrent of invectives on Rigby, telling him of his interestedness and ignorance; harangued on so illiterate a man being a Master of the Rolls;396 and painted his flying from Ireland to avoid being hanged by the enraged populace. This philippic was uttered with every vehemence328 of language and gesture; the bitterest terms flowing spontaneously from him, who had ever been the most obscure and unready speaker: and what added to the outrage of the diction was, that sitting on the bench immediately above Rigby, and dashing about his arm in the air, he seemed to aim blows at the latter, who was forced to crouch lest he should receive them. Grenville had no sooner finished, than the Speaker interposed—indeed of the latest. Rigby replied, with ease enough, that in Ireland the Mastership of the Rolls was a sinecure, and a man as ignorant as he was might execute the office. The House then insisted on their giving their words that this altercation should have no consequences. Grenville, sitting obstinate and mute, Rigby gave his word it should end there; and then Grenville in like manner.

The candour of Wilbraham and Philipps on the preceding day had satisfied their consciences, and they both now spoke, and voted with the majority. The House dividing at one in the morning, 258 voted for relinquishing their privilege; only 133 for maintaining it. Lord North then moved to communicate their resolutions to the Lords, which was agreed to.

A conference being accordingly demanded, and held next day, the Lords, though in a very thin House, and though no important business is agitated there without summoning the Peers [a respect their Lordships have often paid even to a turnpike-bill], were precipitately proceeding to pass the like votes with the Commons; but the Duke of Richmond, though acting with the Court, was struck with the indecency, and on stating it, the House did agree to summon the Lords for the329 29th. Decency thus satisfied, their Lordships on the 29th, in happy harmony with the other House, made a parallel compliment of their privilege to the Crown. One hundred and fourteen were thus loyal: the Duke of Cumberland and thirty-four more were the minority. The Duke of Newcastle defended the warrant of the Secretaries, but voted against the resolutions. The Chancellor397 was very warm; said he did not wish to see the House unanimous; unanimity had cost the nation sixty millions.398 Lord Temple disculpated himself from encouraging the general satire in the North Britons, and said he had always condemned the attack on the Scotch and on the Tories in that paper. He brought a protest, drawn, as was supposed, by Lord Chief Justice Pratt, and the longest on record, and signed it with fifteen other Lords.

At this very period that Court and Parliament were raging so hotly against libels, a new paper, called the Moderator, appeared. It was so scurrilous against the Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, that his Court took up the printer. The man owned directly that it was written by Carteret Webbe, Solicitor of the Treasury, and by Dr. Shebbeare, who, having been committed to Newgate by the King’s Bench in the late reign for abusing King William and the House of Hanover, had been gratified by a pension of 200l. a year by Lord Bute; and was a proper champion of measures so dissonant from those of King William, and from those to which the House of Hanover owed the Crown.

330 Lord Clive had last year been thrown out of his directorship of the East India Company by the intrigues of Fox; and the new directors had gone so far as to deprive him of his jaguire, a revenue of 25,000l. a year conferred on him by the Nabob. This act had driven Lord Clive, with five members brought into Parliament by him, into opposition. Grenville, to gain a man so important, promised that vast revenue should be restored to him, or an equivalent given; but Walsh, one of the five, said he could not in conscience vote with such iniquitous men, and offered to vacate his seat: Lord Clive refusing to accept it, Walsh abstained from attendance on the House.

The 3rd of December had been appointed for burning the North Briton at the Royal Exchange; but when the magistrates were assembled for that purpose, and the executioner began to perform the ceremony, a great riot ensued, the paper was forced from the hangman, the constables were pelted and beaten, and Mr. Harley,399 one of the sheriffs, had the glass of his coach broken, and himself was wounded in the face by a billet snatched from the fire that was lighted to burn the paper, and thrown at him. The cry was “Wilkes and liberty!” A jack-boot and a petticoat—the mob’s hieroglyphics for Lord Bute and the Princess, were burned with great triumph and acclamations.

On the 6th the Duke of Bedford, who had moved that the Commons might be desired to permit Mr. Harley, member for the City, to attend the House of Lords, called on him, and Blount, the other sheriff, to331 give an account of the late riot. They said the mob had been encouraged by gentlemen from windows and balconies, particularly from the Union coffee-house. One low man had been taken into custody; another had been rescued by the rioters. One witness said the mob had united two respectable names in a cry of approbation, those of the Duke of Cumberland and Lord Temple, and he had joined in that shout. The Duke of Grafton shrewdly told the marshal’sman he must have seen many mobs of party against party; had there appeared two parties on this occasion? “No,” replied the fellow, “all were of one mind.” The Duke of Bedford, sputtering with zeal and indiscretion, broke forth against Bridgen, the Lord Mayor, and the other magistrates, who, though within hearing, had taken no pains to quell the mob. “Such behaviour,” he said, “in any smaller town would have forfeited their franchises. The Common Council had long been setting themselves up against the Parliament, and last year had taken on them to advise the King to refuse his assent to a law400 that had passed through both Houses. He hoped their Lordships would resent this insult and disrespect to their orders.” The Chancellor, alarmed at this injudicious attack on the City, said it would be right to proceed without delay against the actors and abettors of the riot; but without farther proofs, he would not believe the magistrates of London guilty. He moved to vote the rioters perturbators of the peace. This was voted, and thanks to the sheriffs for their behaviour. The Duke of Richmond seconded the Duke of Bedford in his violence against the City, and in a332 proposal of offering rewards for discovery of the ringleaders, and for committees of inquiry. Lord Mansfield and Lord Lyttelton interposed to disculpate the magistrates, and obtained to adjourn; the former saying, that no doubt the magistrates were actually at that time sifting to the bottom of the commotion. The Lords then conferred with the House of Commons, where Rigby tried to propagate his master’s401 spirit, and to get the Lord Mayor censured; but, on reflection, the ministers chose to pass over the insult, rather than quarrel seriously with the City of London. They all, therefore, concurred to excuse the magistracy; and the affair was dropped in an address to the King to order the offenders to be brought to justice.402

The Common Council, neither intimidated nor imitating the moderation of Parliament, put a negative on a motion for thanking the sheriffs, and for prosecuting Franklin, the fellow apprehended in the tumult.

Wilkes, in the meantime, went on triumphantly with his prosecutions; and on the 6th of December, obtained a verdict of 1000l. damages, and costs of suit, against Mr. Wood, the Under-Secretary of State.403

The Court was exerting its authority on the other hand. Lord Shelburne was dismissed from being aide-de-camp to the King; Colonel Barré from being Adjutant-general and Governor of Stirling Castle; and Calcraft lost some little places, which served to provoke more than to hurt him.

The Chevalier d’Eon, the mimic of Wilkes, was less333 fortunate. Being recalled by his Court, and refusing to return, he was declared to be no longer employed here in a public character, and was accordingly forbidden to appear at St. James’s.404

While the world was anxiously expecting the event of Wilkes’s affair, protracted by his wound, a new alarm was given of an intention to murder him. Mr. Onslow on the 9th acquainted the House of Commons that one Alexander Dun, a Scotchman, had on false pretences got into Mr. Wilkes’s house the night before, intending to assassinate him. A person who appeared, and made oath that he had heard this Dun declare that he and twelve more had made a vow to murder Wilkes, had given notice to the latter of their design, on which he had prepared persons to seize the assassin, which they had done. A new penknife was found upon him, and he prevaricated on the time and place of buying it. The House the next day examined witnesses on this accusation; but it being proved that Dun had been discharged from a ship as a lunatic, he was dismissed out of custody. But the multitude were far from not continuing to believe the plot (nor indeed was a madman an improper subject to be set on, if there was such a design), and the animosity against the Scotch was accordingly augmented. About the same time the printers of the North Briton obtained in the Court of Common Pleas damages to the amount of four hundred pounds against the messengers of the Secretary’s office.

The East India Company were untractable, too, and334 came to an unanimous resolution of neither restoring his jaguire to Lord Clive, nor of allowing him three hundred thousand pounds, which the ministry had engaged to obtain for him in lieu of it. It occasioned much diversion that his father, an old unfashioned man, who did not understand how decently corruption was practised, and how ridiculous it is to talk of what few are ashamed of doing, being asked by the King, in the drawing-room, where his son Lord Clive was, replied, with all the honesty of bargain and sale, “He is coming to town, Sir, and then your Majesty will have another vote.”

The House of Commons having ordered that Wilkes should appear before them on the 24th, and suspecting that his delays were affected, Lord North, George Grenville, and Rigby, in a very thin House, proposed that Dr. Heberden, and Mr. Hawkins the surgeon, should be ordered to attend him. This was warmly opposed; and Charles Townshend, who knew that Pitt was provoked at his late silence, and who saw Grenville and North towering above him, and perhaps offended too that the Court seemed to despise him, broke out with much vehemence, turned Lord North into ridicule, and being told by Grenville that it would be wiser to submit to this motion, replied, he should often differ with that gentleman, and hoped he should not have more wisdom to encounter than he had met with that day. The motion was carried by 71 to 30. Wilkes, however, would not admit the parliamentary physician and surgeon; and, to add mockery to disobedience, sent for Doctors Duncan and Middleton, two Scotchmen. He had at first, at Martin’s request, who335 fled to Calais till Wilkes was out of danger consulted both Hawkins and Heberden. Being told that he must see little company for fear of augmenting his fever, he said, “I will not see so much as my own wife,”—I had mentioned that they were parted.

It was to the no small satisfaction of the Ministry that on the 26th they heard that Wilkes was privately gone off to France. It was a sort of confession of guilt, disburthened them of the odium of punishing him personally, and left them at liberty to rage against him by outlawry and forfeitures. With a proper executioner they had just provided themselves, having raised Norton to be Attorney-General. He was succeeded as Solicitor by De Grey,405 a man of a fair character and moderate principles.



Lord Sandwich’s unpopularity.—He offers himself for the High Stewardship of Cambridge.—Animosity between him and Lord Royston, the other candidate.—Lord Sandwich’s “Flying Pension.”—Disgraceful Grant to Count Virri.—Dismissal of General A’Court.—Grenville, Walpole, and General Conway.

The effects of Lord Sandwich’s conduct began already to be felt. He having, to thwart the Duke of Cumberland, who espoused Mr. Luther, taken the opposite side on the election for the county of Essex,406 the Court lost the election by dint of Sandwich’s unpopularity. He himself, foreseeing the approaching death of Lord Hardwicke, presented himself as candidate for the High Stewardship of Cambridge. Nothing could occasion greater ridicule than a character so flagitious offered to a religious and learned society. It counter-worked even his own indefatigable industry. Lord Royston,407 son of Lord Hardwicke, was the other candidate; and the animosities ran so high, that the337 two parties preached against each other. The sequel will appear hereafter. In the meantime Sandwich obtained what was called a flying pension, that is, it was to commence if he lost his place. The grant was of 3000l. a year on Ireland; but when the order went to Dublin, Lord Northumberland, having promised that no addition should be made to the pension-list during his administration, was forced to represent so strongly against what was granted to Lord Sandwich, that the Court was obliged to recall it. The Irish House of Commons had just then set itself to examine the state of pensions charged on that country, and it had been found, as they published to the world in their votes, that since the commencement of this reign, a period only of three years, 17,000l. a year had been added to that list. There likewise appeared the disgraceful grant to Count Virri, the purchase of the peace. It stood in the name of one Charles.

The year concluded with the dismission of General A’Court, whose regiment was taken from him for having voted for the Privilege of Parliament. The man was obscure and of no importance, had a large family and no fortune;408 the tyranny therefore was the more flagrant, but from those very circumstances made the less noise. Lord Sandwich had carried into the King a list of sixteen officers who had dared to act with spirit and independence against the arbitrary measures338 of the Court. The poor man in question was selected for an example of terror; but, except in his ruin, the ministers found no cause to exult. A much more considerable man had taken the same part, of which it is necessary here to give some account.

I have said that General Conway,409 under pretence of bringing home the troops, had been kept abroad till the peace was voted, the ministers apprehending that they should not be able to influence him to approve an event so ruinous and shameful to his country. At his return, no man being less factious, he had entered into no cabals, had attached himself to no party. His chief friendships were with the Duke of Devonshire, with his own brother the Earl of Hertford, and with me. The Duke, though grievously insulted and provoked, was of so decent and cautious a nature, that he was the last man on earth to think of exciting his friends to violent measures; and, indeed, after the first sally of passion, bore his affront with too much patience. Lord Hertford was a perfect courtier, and more likely to dissuade his brother from, than incite him to, Opposition. I, much more inclined to party-heat, had been very seriously alarmed at the strides I had seen made towards arbitrary power; but having beheld the cowardice of Lord Bute, and knowing that of Lord Mansfield, and finding the nation delivered from the influence of Fox, I had flattered myself the danger was over. I had been pleased, too, that Grenville was become the acting minister; having (I confess my blindness) entertained a most favourable opinion of his339 integrity. He talked nothing but reformation—which, indeed, alone, would not have duped me—I had seen too much of patriot hypocrisy! but he went beyond myself in his principles of liberty—I mean, in his discourse. I thought him a grounded Republican; had heard him harangue by the hour against the despotic doctrines of Lord Mansfield. Nor had his venal prostitution of himself to Lord Bute as yet opened my eyes. But I was again roused by the arbitrary treatment of Wilkes, committed close prisoner to the Tower by an indefinite warrant. Lord Bute, I saw, had left his cloak to his successors; yet I could not believe that my friend, Algernon Sydney, (for Grenville appeared to me as scarce a less Whig saint,) was capable of concurring in such measures. In truth, when I saw Saint Sandwich added to his rubric, I began to be startled. I saw him lean, too, on the Bedfords: them I did not love: and nothing is a more sovereign cure for blindness in friendship, than a connection between one’s friends and one’s enemies. I laboured by those most in Grenville’s confidence to detach him from so disreputable an union; but Grenville knew his interest better than I knew him. Still I had not the most distant suspicion of what his heart was capable of, nor any view of opposing his administration. Thinking him as frank and candid as myself, and thoroughly shocked at the use made of General Warrants, I desired Mr. Thomas Pitt,410 attached to Mr. Grenville, and my340 own friend, to tell him fairly in the summer, that I believed I should differ with him when the point of General Warrants should be agitated in Parliament. But not content with opposing them myself, I earnestly desired that Mr. Conway should take the same step: and in bringing that about, I by no means piqued myself on the same frankness. Should Lord Hertford conceive the least suspicion of my intentions, I knew how sedulously he would labour to prevent his brother from involving himself against the Court. He might procure Mr. Conway to be again sent aside on some honourable commission, or contrive to have his gratitude dipped in favours from the King, before he should be aware with what view they were bestowed. I waited therefore in silence and patience till Lord Hertford was set out on his embassy to Paris, before I ever named the term General Warrants in the presence341 of Mr. Conway. Then, indeed, I asked him, as by accident, how he intended to vote on that business, telling him I should wish to act as he did. I found he was disgusted at the Warrants; and thence I easily entered into agreement with him to oppose them, as we did, no other person living having any previous intimation of his intention. The Court was alarmed; and Grenville sent Mr. Thomas Pitt to me to sound me on that head; both of them believing that I had rather been influenced by Conway, than he by me.

Pitt began with Mr. Grenville’s concern at Mr. Conway’s behaviour, wished to know what had disgusted him, and was ready to obtain for him whatever his warmest wishes could aim at. I assured him he was thoroughly mistaken; that no disgust had taken possession of Mr. Conway; that no man was less ambitious; and that I advised Mr. Grenville, as a friend, not to think of treating Mr. Conway as a man to be bought. That really would disgust him, and might throw him into Opposition, of which I was sure at present he had no thoughts,—and thus far I really spoke with good wishes to Mr. Grenville,—but the scene soon changed. Finding bribes rejected, Pitt altered his tone: said it could not be suffered to have men in the King’s service acting against him,—and then dropped this unguarded expression, the King could not trust his army in such hands. I started. “Good God!” said I, “Mr. Pitt, what are they going to do with the army? to what use is it to be put, if a man of Mr. Conway’s virtue, and tried loyalty and bravery, cannot be trusted with a regiment? You alarm me!” He beat about backwards and forwards: sometimes it was offers and342 promises, sometimes threats; but I had taken my part, and had got hold of words I was determined not to part with or forget. I would say no more, but that I advised Mr. Grenville to have patience; that I knew Mr. Conway neither was in, nor was going into, Opposition (for they were jealous of his connection with the Duke of Devonshire), and that I was sure he would never be influenced, would never act but from principle; and if they would leave him to himself they would have no reason to be dissatisfied,—and I told them the truth, if they had had sense enough to believe me. Mr. Pitt then pressed me to talk it over with Mr. Grenville, which I declined. I said, I would certainly never give Mr. Conway any dishonourable advice; would never try to persuade him to be bribed or terrified; nor would he forgive me if I should. Pitt persisted. I said, “Mr. Pitt, I am persuaded Mr. Grenville will never report my conversation differently from the truth: but though he may not intend it, he may mistake me; I may mistake him. I will wait on him, upon condition a third person is present. I do not desire it may be a friend of mine, and not his: you are a friend to both; and though justly much more attached to him than to me, I am persuaded, if any difference should arise between us in the relation of the interview, you have too much honour not to do strict justice to either. If you may be present, I will meet him,—but remember, I tell you it will be to no purpose.” In truth, after such a Star-Chamber sentence as the King cannot trust his army in the hands of a man who votes in Parliament against him, I was not disposed to labour in cementing an union between my friend and a man of such343 apostate degeneracy. From that hour all my prejudices in Grenville’s favour were dispelled. I saw how dangerous he was: it was Fox with a fairer character.

Though I had given too little encouragement to expect any alteration either in Mr. Conway’s or my own sentiments, Grenville persisted in the interview. I went accordingly to Mr. Thomas Pitt’s. It happened to be the evening of the riot on burning the North Briton. Grenville arrived in the most ridiculous and extraordinary disorder I ever saw. He could scarce articulate for passion. One would have thought the City had been taken by storm and the guards cut to pieces. Yet this was not a panic. It was rage to see authority set at nought while he was minister. His subsequent conduct gave evidence that this was his sensation: no man ever bore power with more pride. For some time I could scarce learn what had provoked him: the confusion of his ideas made him talk as if Mr. Conway had raised a rebellion. Commanding my laughter, and waiting with patience till the torrent should have spent itself, but to no purpose, I was forced at last to ask what the riot had to do with Mr. Conway’s case? This unfortunate question, like snatching a pebble from amidst a cascade, did but make it dash at random on all sides. From seven in the evening till ten at night, I sat to hear his inundation of words, scarce uttering ten myself; and we parted with as little fruit as might be expected from a conversation so intemperate and disjointed; the result of all I said being to repeat my request that he would have patience, and assuring him that he would not find Mr. Conway engaged in any regular opposition.

344 Whether it proceeded from his impatience of contradiction, whether from eagerness to carry his point, or whether privately instigated by the Bedfords to push on an explanation which they hoped might drive Mr. Conway into settled hostilities, or whether, which I think most likely, they flattered themselves they should regain him from my influence, Grenville desired an interview with Conway himself. He consulted me, and we agreed that he should act as I had done, and insist on a third person being present, proposing the Duke of Richmond,411 his son-in-law, who however could not be exceptionable, as he acted uniformly with the Court. This demand produced a new scene of ridiculous distress. Though the meeting had been proposed, and Mr. Conway’s answer sent by noon, it was not till ten at night that Mr. Grenville could bring himself to any resolution; being, as his servant owned, shut up for the greatest part of the time with his wife,412 a proud, ambitious, and sensible woman, and the only person to whom he would listen. She, indeed, had full dominion over him. The precautions taken both by Mr. Conway and me had put Grenville on his guard: not a word dropped from him intimating bribery. The meeting ended fruitlessly, as we had foreseen. Conway was naturally cold, and Grenville far from being master of ingratiating persuasion. Conway adhered to the declaration that he was engaged in345 no opposition. His subsequent behaviour amply confirmed that assurance; but a new measure of obedience was set up, and my late republican friend was become as strict a disciplinarian as the most arbitrary of his predecessors.



Marriage of the Princess Augusta with the Hereditary Duke of Brunswick.—His marked opposition to the wishes of the King.—Debates on Wilkes’s complaint of Breach of Privilege.—Sir William Meredith and Sir George Saville.—The “Essay on Woman.”—The Marriage Bill.—Debate on Breach of Privilege.—Cases of Carteret Webbe and Wood.

So early as in the late reign there had been thoughts of a double alliance with the ducal house of Brunswick; but when the jealousy of the Princess Dowager had prevented the marriage of her son with a princess of that line, there had remained no great propensity in the Court of Brunswick to the other match between the hereditary Prince and Lady Augusta.413 It had, however, been treated of from time to time; and in 1762 had been agreed, but was abruptly broken off by the influence of the King of Prussia. Lady Augusta was lively, and much inclined to meddle in the private politics of the Court. As none of her children but the King had, or had reason to have, much affection for their mother, she justly apprehended Lady Augusta’s instilling their disgusts into the Queen. She could not forbid her daughter’s frequent visits at Buckingham House, but to prevent any ill consequence from them,347 often accompanied her thither. This, however, was an attendance and constraint the Princess of Wales could not support. Her exceeding indolence, her more excessive love of privacy, and the subjection of being frequently with the Queen, whose higher rank was a never-ceasing mortification, all concurred to make her resolve at any rate to deliver herself from her daughter. To attain this end, profusion of favours to the hated House of Brunswick was not thought too much. The hereditary Prince was prevailed on to accept Lady Augusta’s hand, with fourscore thousand pounds, an annuity of 5000l. a year on Ireland, and 3000l. a year on Hanover. Fourscore thousand pounds were given with the late Princess Royal414 to the Prince of Orange, but she was a King’s daughter. The Princess Mary415 and Louisa had but forty thousand each.

Lady Augusta was not handsome, but tall enough, and not ill-made; with the German whiteness of hair and complexion, so remarkable in the Royal Family, and with their precipitate, yet thick, Westphalian accent. She had little grace or softness in her manner: yet with more attractions she might have failed to gain a heart that was not inclined to part with its liberty, and least of all to one of her family. The Prince arrived on the 12th of January; and, as if to prejudice him against his bride, the plan was formed to disgust him as much in order to send him away as soon as possible. He was lodged at Somerset House: no348 guards were stationed there. The Lord Steward chose the company that should dine with him: and every art was used to prevent his seeing Mr. Pitt, or the chiefs of the Opposition. At the wedding, which was on the 16th, the servants of the King and Queen were ordered not to appear in new clothes. But though these little artifices had the desired effect of affronting the Prince, they only drew mortifications on the Court. The people, enchanted with novelty and a hero, were unbounded in their exultations wherever he appeared; and, as the behaviour of the Court got wind, took pleasure, when he attended the King to the theatres, to mark their joy at the presence of the Prince, and to show the coldest neglect of their Sovereign. Nor was the Prince less assiduous to intimate his dissatisfaction, even to ill-breeding, turning his back to the King, as he stood over against him in the box at the Opera; and even going away during half the representation. To the Duke of Newcastle, and others in disgrace, he was full of attentions; dined twice with the Duke of Cumberland, and affectedly lingered there, though the King and Queen waited for him to a ball: and, as he found that step would be the most offensive, though indeed due from him to one so partial to his family, he made a visit to Mr. Pitt, at Hayes.416 These little hostilities were carried on with such vigour on both sides, that, notwithstanding all his curiosity and desires expressed of a longer stay, the349 King forced him and his bride to depart on the 25th—only thirteen days after his arrival. They were overtaken in a great storm at sea, and in extreme danger of being lost; but escaped, not only with good fortune to themselves, but to the Court of England, who would have appeared as guilty to the people in driving them out at such a season, as if they had raised the tempest by sorcery.417

The Parliament having reassembled on Jan. 16th, the House of Commons on the 19th proceeded on the affair of Wilkes. He had given out that he would return from Paris, and make his defence: and to carry on the delusion, a dinner was bespoken, and company invited to meet him; but on the day destined for deciding his fate, a letter from him was delivered to the Speaker, accompanied by a certificate from two French surgeons, attesting his incapacity of travelling from the ill state of his wound. The Court party350 objected even to the reading of the certificates, but though they could not prevent it, so eager was the curiosity of the House, they did frustrate a motion for adjournment by 239 to 102; on which many of the minority finding their weakness left the House. Others battled for the criminal till near four in the morning, but their numbers still dwindling away, Wilkes was at last expelled with scarce a negative, the warmest sticklers for him having been discountenanced and discouraged by the harsh epithets bestowed on him by Pitt in one of the former debates.

The next day Sir William Meredith and Sir George Saville moved to have Wilkes’s complaint of breach of privilege examined. George Grenville tried to evade it, but was strongly attacked by Charles Townshend, and reproached with the dismission of General A’Court, and with the arbitrary influence exerted by the Administration. Sir John Griffin418 the day before had mentioned too the case of A’Court, and said he himself would not be intimidated by the disgrace of ten more generals. The Court at last yielded the point; and the 26th was fixed for hearing the complaint.

Sir William Meredith419 and Sir George Saville were both men of character, and both singular in different ways. The first was a convert from Jacobitism; inflexibly351 serious, and of no clear head: yet practice formed him to a manner of speaking that had weight, and was worth attending to by those who had patience for it. He was, I believe, an honest man, though not without personal views, which a little sharpened his scorn of those who had unlike views, and were not equally honest.

Sir George Saville had a head as acutely argumentative as if it had been made by a German logician for a model. Could ministers have been found acting by the advice of casuists and confessors, Sir George would still have started distinctions to hamper their consciences; but though they walked not in such ruled paths, his want of ambition carried him so seldom to the House, that they were not often troubled with his subtleties. He had a large fortune, and a larger mind; and though his reason was sharp, his soul was candid, having none of the acrimony or vengeance of party: thence was he of greater credit than service to that in which he listed.420

352 On the 23rd these two Baronets moved to put off the affair of Wilkes’s complaint of breach of privilege to the 13th of February, as the material evidence, Wilkes’s servant, was in France with him. Sir George particularly attacked Grenville with much spirit. Grenville, as usual, spoke too long, though not ill, insinuating that this delay was calculated to keep up the flame. “He had always,” he said, “been averse to having this matter discussed, which had better never be decided; and that he had only given way in order to vindicate Lord Halifax and Lord Egremont.” It was perhaps true, that in some cases it were better that certain powers should not be defined. It might be of use that traitors should think Ministers have power of committing by General Warrants even members of Parliament; and at the same time Ministers ought not to have that power absolutely bestowed on them. But when once the case has happened, and that dormant or supposed power has been abused, it must be inquired into and regulated; or acquiescence constitutes the second evil hinted at above. But in any case353 Grenville’s argument was faulty, for if it was desirable for the public that the case should not be defined, the private vindication of two men ought not to supersede that utility. However, though the minority on putting the question were not loud for it, the ministry gave it up. Sir George Saville took occasion to make it observed, that so bad was his opinion of Wilkes, he had taken no part till, the man being expelled, nothing but the cause of the House in point of privilege seemed to remain. This did honour to Sir George, but prejudiced Wilkes and the cause of liberty. The former’s character, as I have said, was very fair: and indeed most of the Opposition were unexceptionable in that light. Yet Wilkes had, early in his warfare on the Court, told Rigby that he liked the ministers better than their opponents (no great compliment to the first), and desired him to apply to Fox to make him (Wilkes) governor of Canada—a proposal Fox rejected. It was not to be wondered at that Wilkes, so libertine and jovial, should not be captivated with the company of a set of young men who were as free from the spirit and vivacity as from the vices of their age. The chiefs were of eminent rank, and besides losing the power they thought affected to their birth, had been wantonly insulted by the Court. But wanting parts to preserve their power, they equally wanted them to recover it. Yet was the Court itself alarmed at a club into which the Opposition formed themselves, holding their weekly meetings at a tavern erected on the occasion by one Wildman, in Albemarle Street421354—a circumstance I mention rather as an antiquary than historian; several pamphlets being published at this time addressed to, or written in the name of, that society.

On the 24th, Dowdeswell proposed a Committee of the whole House, to consider the Cider Bill. Grenville opposed that motion, agreeing only to have a Committee to examine the grievances occasioned by it, and to suggest corrections, but not with power to repeal the bill. These restrictions were carried by 167 to 125.422

The same day the House of Lords sat on the Essay on Woman. Lord Sandwich moved to vote Wilkes the author of it, and to order him to be taken into custody. The Duke of Devonshire, and even the Duke of Richmond, though a courtier, spoke against355 this summary proceeding; and warm words passed between Lord Temple and Lord Marchmont, the latter of whom said, that though Wilkes was gone, he had left his gang behind him. At last both questions were formed into this one,—that it appearing to the House that Wilkes was the author, he should be taken into custody: but as he had withdrawn himself, a Committee was appointed to search for precedents how to proceed.

On the 25th, Sir John Glynn in a very thin House moved to re-consider the Marriage Act; and a Committee was appointed. Sir John Philipps, too, proposed to re-appoint the Committee of the last year for inspecting the public accounts, and it was carried by 90 to 30 odd. Lord Holland and the Duke of Newcastle had concurred to bring that inquiry to nothing, contriving to have the time wasted on the accounts of the ordnance.

On the 31st Dowdeswell moved a question against excise, though without naming it, in the Committee on the Cider Bill, but it was thrown out by 172 to 152, seven of the minority being shut out when the question was putting: so near was the Court run by the minority, though without leaders, and frequently obstructed and distressed by the fluctuation of the family of Yorke, and the duplicity of Charles Townshend, who oftener spoke against than for them, and that generally when he had given the most solemn assurances of his support.

On Feb. 3rd, late in the day, Sir William Meredith moved for the evidence on which the Secretaries of State had granted the warrant against Wilkes.356 The Ministry complained of the lateness of the hour, and Rigby moved to adjourn. Charles Townshend attacked Grenville on it, and was even seconded by his brother, the General; but the adjournment was carried by 73 to 60.

On the 6th there was a good debate423 on Wilkes’s complaint of breach of privilege, when Sir W. Meredith and Sir George Saville defended themselves against the imputation of want of candour, in having made their motion late in a thin House; the former proving that many violent questions had been proposed seven hours later than theirs had been. He moved for the warrant on which Wilkes had been apprehended, and for the information on which it had been grounded. To avoid the demand, Sir John Philipps moved the previous question, declaring that he meant to discharge the complaint. Lord Strange was at first for having the warrant produced; but soon retracted, and said the complaint ought to be discharged, as the suit was depending at common law—an argument that had been pressed on the Ministers when Wilkes’s expulsion was agitated, and which they then had refused to admit.

I have more than once, in the former part of these Memoirs, touched on the character of Lord Strange, as a man acting on notions of his own, unwedded to any faction, and above temptations of money. He had, however, been gained by Fox to the Court, in the present reign, by the offer of the post of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, the county where357 his estate and interest lay. The large number of places in the disposal of that officer, could gratify his passion for sway in his own province; so true was the maxim of Sir Robert Walpole, that every man has his price; and so judiciously was this office held out to Lord Strange; for though he accepted the post on the views I have mentioned, he nobly refused to take the annexed salary of 1200l. a year. He seldom afterwards differed with the successive administrations, but rarely attended Parliament.

Sir William Meredith consented to waive his demand of the information, though Beckford protested that he himself had never, as a justice of peace, granted a warrant without information on oath. Norton pleaded, that to grant it would instruct the accuser, Wilkes, in the defence of the accused Secretaries and Under-Secretaries of State; but T. Townshend urged that it had already appeared in the Court of Common Pleas, and in the ordinary newspapers. George Grenville424 said that producing the warrant would engage the House to pronounce on the legality or illegality of it. Would the House declare that any papers might be seized? Would it declare that none might? Sir Anthony Abdy,425 a lawyer attached to the Duke of Devonshire, said, a sight of the warrant was demanded358 as much for the excuse of such members of the House as had been concerned in it, as for blame; and General Conway added, that if the information was the defence of Wood and the others, how would it hurt them? But, said he, this matter is treated as too high for our inspection. I thought I lived in a free country. We have already chosen to give up our own privilege, and now are afraid to inquire on what grounds it is taken from us.426 Nugent, Morton, Elliot, Wilbraham, Dr. Hay, Wood himself, Lord Frederick Campbell, Forester, Oswald,427 Ellis, Lord North, and Sir John Glynn, debated the question for the Court, besides those I have mentioned; on the other side, Hewet,428 King’s Sergeant, Mawbey, Lord359 George Sackville, Dowdeswell, Fitzherbert, Dempster, Charles Townshend, and Onslow; but the previous question was carried by 217 to 122.

The next day the Cider Bill was compromised, and two shillings imposed instead of five.

On the 9th, the day appointed for considering the Marriage Bill, Charles Yorke opposed going into Committee, and said Sir John Glynn should have stated objections, and proposed amendments; wished to have a bill brought in for that purpose. He talked of the wisdom and temper with which it had been carried through before: the truth of which may be seen in my former account of that bill. Rigby was for going into the Committee, his patron the Duke of Bedford having been, and continuing to be, its warm adversary. Lord Strange ridiculed ecclesiastical law, and frankly spoke of marriage as only legal cohabitation. George Grenville stayed away, and Lord Holland’s friends were for repealing the bill. The Opposition, to court the Yorkes, were against altering it; but it was carried by 157 to 79, for a Committee to re-examine it. It was then proposed to go into the Committee on that day sevennight: Charles Yorke and General Townshend for the Monday sevennight after. Charles Townshend, who had shone so brightly against the original bill, kept away; but it was carried for the Wednesday, by 70 to 39.

On the 13th, the House of Commons entered seriously on the great question of breach of privilege on Wilkes’s complaint, and the first day sat till midnight, four hundred and fifty members being present. Sir William Meredith opened the debate with calling360 for the three messengers who had executed the warrant, and for Matthew Brown, Wilkes’s servant, who gave an account of what had passed when his master was seized. I shall not recapitulate these examinations, which may be found in the journals of the House; nor what was said by other witnesses. Their depositions lasted till nine at night. Philip Carteret Webbe then made his defence; and it was so scurvy, that he was reduced to plead inadvertence, and his being a servant of the Secretary of State. He even had the front to affirm, that there had been no intention of making Wilkes close prisoner. He then offered to produce his evidence, but, it being late, G. Grenville asked if they would proceed or not? Mr. Pitt said he thought they ought not to stop till they knew whether they still had a Constitution or not? Lord Frederick Campbell, supported by Rose Fuller and General Townshend, moved to adjourn. Thomas Townshend the younger urged that the House had voted the expulsion of a member at four o’clock in the morning—would not they proceed to hear his complaint at eleven at night? Mr. Pitt said it was derogatory from the honour of the House to adjourn. His own first wish had been to crush foreign enemies; now it was to crush domestic. When that was done he should die willingly. The question was then put, but the Ministers not caring to hazard their majority, when the House seemed inclined to proceed, few of their party went out in the division; and thence it was carried by 379 to 31, to go on.

The record of the writ of Habeas Corpus, and the returns to it, were then read; but so many of the361 members had retired after the division, to eating-houses and coffee-houses to refresh themselves, that the Ministers objected that evidence was not fairly heard on their side; and Sir James Lowther moving to adjourn, it was carried without a division a quarter before twelve.

The next day was spent in hearing precedents of general warrants, in which there appeared but too much countenance for the practice, yet founded on no law. The greater part had been issued against Jacobites, on the accession of the present Royal Family, when their establishment was new, and precarious. The Lord Viscount Townshend,429 a zealous, bold, and authoritative Minister, had made free with the practice. It had been used even in cases of libels, but always in those of Jacobite tendency. Many in times of rebellion had been issued by the Duke of Newcastle, and three by Mr. Pitt himself, but against persons suspected of treasonable practices. These documents had Carteret Webbe now collected: he printed them, too, in his justification. But the case of Wilkes was not only dissimilar, but was important enough to call for redress of a power so obnoxious and liable to abuse. At one in the morning Sir William Meredith commenced the debate, and to what I have said added the history of362 those warrants. Fifty persons, he owned, had been taken up on such warrants; and then Wilkes on a like indefinite warrant. His very pocket-book had been seized to find evidence against him. The gentlemen who apprehended him were mere ministerial officers. The first warrant quoted was of 1662, for then was passed the first act for licensing the press: and as that act was temporary, and has not been revived, it is a proof that there is no law since to authorize such restraint. The warrants themselves have been found by the Court of Common Pleas to be illegal. He then read the two resolutions he proposed to move; the first, that a general warrant for seizing authors and papers is not law. The second, that seizing Members of Parliament by general warrant is contrary to privilege. Breach of privilege, he added, might be committed in the manner, even where there is no privilege. These warrants had never been used but in times of danger, and then were followed by Acts of Indemnity, and thence never came to be questioned. They were suspended from 1675 to 1690, and then were resumed to protect the Revolution. Again in 1715 and 1745, the years of the Scottish rebellions. They were now used for such a trifle as a libel, that was in every man’s hand. The licentiousness of the people had been checked: it was time now to quiet their minds by checking the licentiousness of power.

Lord Frederick Campbell, with much warmth, called on the House to vindicate Wood and Webbe, their accused members. Wood said he had done his duty, and hoped to be restored to the precise situation in363 which he had stood before the accusation. Sir W. Meredith said, Lord Chief Justice Keeling being accused, pleaded he had acted by precedent. The practice was censured before the person, as it is necessary to ascertain the crime ere the criminal can be condemned. Charles Yorke said he hoped to hear Keeling’s case read another day; and then moved to adjourn. Norton said he was willing to have the general case adjourned, but not the particular one of the accused. The debate took that turn of postponing the case of the warrants, but the Ministers insisted on disculpating the accused, Grenville particularly declaring for discharging the complaint of breach of privilege. Pitt replied, that if the second question should pass, it would be impossible entirely to acquit the accused. They could not be acquitted or condemned till the general question should be affirmed or condemned. If the warrant should be declared illegal, he would extenuate their behaviour as having acted by precedent. To this Wood, with much heat and arrogance replied, that he would not accept of being excused.

Wood,430 originally a travelling tutor and excellent classic scholar, is well known from those beautiful and simple Essays prefixed to the editions of the Ruins of Balbec and Palmyra;431 whither he had travelled with two432 young gentlemen of fortune and curiosity. His taste and ingenuity had recommended him to Mr. Pitt364 for his private secretary when Minister; but the observance required by Pitt, and the pride, though dormant, of Wood, had been far from cementing their connection. Wood had then attached himself to the Duke of Bridgwater, and through him to the Bedford faction; but remaining in office when Mr. Pitt quitted, had, with too much readiness, complied with the orders of his new masters. His general behaviour was decent, as became his dependent situation; but his nature was hot, and veering to despotic.

Lord George Sackville told him that intentionally he had done right, but was not ready to say that he had done legally right. Lord Strange said he would not consent to postpone the acquittal of the accused. General Townshend desired to have the debate adjourned to Friday 17th, being obliged to give attendance on his father, who was dying. His brother Charles, more decently than the rest, said the questions were the same, and required the same discussion: he would not consent to divide them. In truth, there could be no thought of separating them but in compliment to Wood, for few could have any partiality for Webbe. Sir William Meredith and Sir George Saville, both candid men, had wished to avoid naming persons,—a respect detrimental in great national questions; for not only the multitude will more easily be led by names than by speculation and theory, but what Ministers will fear to offend, if censure only touches their practice, not their persons? It is to the honour of the persons who composed that Opposition that their delicacy frequently, nay, constantly, hurt their cause. Yet should that delicacy not be imitated. When the365 freedom of a nation is at stake, what chance has liberty, if opponents have scruples for Ministers who have none?

Charles Yorke and Dowdeswell then moved to adjourn till Friday; and General Conway observed justly, that if the accused were acquitted first, the general question would not be left entire; for could the House vote that general warrants were illegal, after it should have voted that they who executed those warrants were blameless? Yet Wood continued loudly to demand his justification. Mr. Pitt was for adjourning the whole debate; and said, if this was not agreed to, he would debate the whole. Sir George Saville said, Wood was guilty of impatience, though an honest one; and complained that he and Sir William Meredith were not suffered to prove their whole charge.

At half an hour after four in the morning the House divided, the Opposition being for adjourning the whole matter; and to the great dismay of the courtiers, the Ministerial party were but 207, and the opponents 197—a triumph in parliamentary cases little preferable to a defeat; so strong had been the alarm on seizing the papers, and so evident was it that the Ministerial majority had been the work of venality against conviction.

Dr. Hay then moved to discharge the complaint; but Pitt, roused by this swell of his party, and feeling the weight of so large a minority, poured forth one of his finest rhapsodies on liberty, though at that late hour, and after the fatigue of so long an attendance and attention: and he severely reprimanded Wood’s insolence, telling him that, if he would not accept366 excuse, he deserved censure. Grenville asked why these persons were blamed, and not all their predecessors?433 Pitt, still rising in fire and importance, took the whole debate on himself, asking what he had done, but in a war which he was called upon to invigorate? He had never turned out officers; he had sought for merit in those who now held precarious commissions, not by military service. They had not only saved their country, but him who had been undone if they had not saved their country.

Grenville, not losing courage on this turn of fortune, replied ably and finely. He knew, he said, the nation was left on the brink of ruin.434 The Ministers had had enough to do without hunting in alleys for libels. He then painted faction, first setting England against Scotland; then reviving party names, and drawing the line between the Parliament and people. Look! said he, look at Wilkes’s letters, where he talks of rare combustibles!

Colonel435 Barré, rising to speak, and being pointed to by the Speaker under that military appellation, thanked him, but said he had no right to that title; yet it gave him occasion to ask why he had been dismissed? what had his Majesty done on his accession? He looked out if any man had been whispered out of the service, and did him ample justice. (This alluded to Sir Henry Erskine, dismissed in the late reign, and restored to his rank by the present King;367 a speaking instance against the change of measures since adopted.) Himself, he said, was of no consequence, but let Ministers take care how they deprived the Crown of other faithful servants at the end of a glorious war. Non de vectigalibus agitur, sed de animâ nostra res agitur. Precedents did not justify: Charles the First had acted on precedents.

Onslow congratulated Grenville ironically on having never given one vote for the last ruinous war, which he now so much condemned. And they, said he, who are for acquitting these gentlemen, ought to remember who insisted on having their two names inserted, when Sir George Saville and Sir W. Meredith would have omitted them. In fact, the Ministers had got the names inserted with the view of having them cleared by a vote of the House.

Mawbey then moved to adjourn, which was overruled by 208 to 184, and then the complaint being discharged, the House rose at half an hour after seven in the morning, the longest sitting on record, exceeding that on the Westminster Election, in 1742, and the last sitting on the Militia Bill, in 17—; but this latter was less a debate than the perseverance of a very few persons who sat till six in the morning to perfect that bill.

The Court was strangely alarmed at this sudden rise of the Opposition, and set them roundly to oppose its progress, well knowing that when once the scale turns, it is difficult to secure even the venal, who hurry over to the side to which fortune seems inclining. Nor was much time given them to rally their forces, the great question coming on within four days.



Debates on the legality of General Warrants, and the conduct of Wilkes, continued.—Treatise entitled “Droit le Roi,” condemned by the Lords.—Wilkes found guilty of being the Author of “The North Briton” and the “Essay on Woman.”

Feb. 17th the House went into the debate on the subject, that a general warrant for seizing the author, printer, &c., of a seditious libel, is not legal. Dr. Hay said it was evident this had been the practice, nor had the Courts below condemned it. He should, therefore, propose an amendment, that the question might be stated clearly and precisely. If that correction was agreed to, he intended to offer others that should condemn the whole practice of the secretary’s office. He then moved to add the word treasonable after seditious; and then he would propose, he said, to subjoin the following sentence, though such warrant hath been according to the practice of office, and has not been condemned by any courts of justice in which such warrants have been produced. He was seconded by Wedderburne, who argued against taking up one particular warrant, half excusing that in question by saying, he would not affirm that practice makes law. Pitt ridiculed the Doctor and the Ministry for trying to perplex the question; but owning handsomely that he should like the question better if369 spread over the whole practice, and not confined to the single instance before them. If his own practice had been faulty, he was willing to bear his share of public blame. He called on the Ministers to show what was really the subject matter of the question: was it on seditious libels? then do not cut and shuffle with our liberties by an epithet. We had seen the day when an epithet would defeat Magna Charta. Any other epithet of four syllables would throw dust in the eyes of members, as well as treasonable. But now, said he, they parry and twist, and I like it the better. I am glad that all the learned doctor’s abilities could produce was an epithet. But keep separate things separate in their nature. Vote the general question on seditions first. We never desire to alter the practice in cases of high treason. The learned gentleman, he supposed, would allow that there might be seditious libels without treason in them. It was shallow, the artifice of attempting to draw in gentlemen to condemn seditious warrants by coupling the word treasonable to them, which aggravates the offence; but by not daring to let the question stand simply on its own merits, on the case of a general warrant issued against a seditious libel, not a treasonable one, they tacitly avowed that the libel not being treasonable, their own conduct had been illegal. But no general warrant to search universally without specification of name or place, was allowable, even in case of treason. General warrants are always wrong; yet if this amendment left the House at liberty to debate on the whole question, and not on that amendment solely, he would not be against the stating370 those words. Hay was hurt, and said he had nowhere been accustomed to the manœuvre of quibbles: he had only affirmed that general warrants had been produced in other courts: he had not said that those courts had decided on them. Conway pursued Pitt’s argument, and showed how totally the original question and the proposed alteration of it differed; that if anything could authorize a general warrant, it was treason. By inserting that word, the Ministers betrayed the badness of their own cause; he feared they were a little tender; that they could not bear the last division. He honoured the lights of the law, but feared the House had a little too much of them: yet could those learned men prove that treason and sedition were the same? Why was it necessary, too, to describe historically what had been the custom? The case was clear and simple, when a gentleman came and slipped in a word that totally varied the argument: it was white, he inserts the word black; and thus would vote that the Ministers had not done wrong by taking up a man for a crime of which he had not been guilty. If a general warrant is good against treason, and not against sedition, and yet you couple them, and make them one crime, are Ministers blameless for inflicting on sedition the punishment only due to treason? Separate the questions, and vote, if you can, that the warrant was legal.

Hussey436 said he liked the amendment, because he disliked all general warrants; for what was to follow, he did not understand it. Did it mean to imply that371 the silence of the King’s Bench was affirmation? He feared some such thing was meant; but it would be a libel on the Judges that sit there. He did not, however, he said, mean to extend his argument to high treason. He wished to have general warrants condemned, because to some there stood the names of men of virtue, which seemed to authorize so bad a practice. Wedderburne said sharply, that he had guarded himself by alleging that the practice of the King’s Bench could not make law: but they had been taunted with epithets; the time was come when men would no longer be led by epithets437 and flowery declamation. It was hurting our country to study popularity by vilifying the profession of the law. Was a definition nothing but epithets? The Opposition, he knew, would be glad, if they could, to stand clear of epithets. Charles Yorke was for adopting the amendments, and spoke for temper. Treasonable corresponded with the evidence given at the bar. The common warrants had that description in them. He was for stating what had been the common usage, and then for condemning it. None of those warrants had come before the Courts below for argument or consideration. Sir William Meredith said, he hoped this point would be decided by the spirit of liberty, not by law; and with some heat added, “I never passed my life with the vices of Wilkes.” This sentence, provoked by what had fallen from Wedderburne, and supposed to be aimed, as it justly might372 have been, at Dr. Hay, who, though so servile now, had been the intimate of Wilkes,438 was levelled at Lord Sandwich. But Wedderburne took it up, and said, if Sir William had meant anything unparliamentary, he might have taken another place. Dr. Hay, thinking it necessary to vindicate himself, did not conciliate more favour. He had long, he said, known the unhappy man, had received pleasure and instruction from him, but with many good qualities he had grown profligate; did not know who incited him; had advised him against his excesses; “Yet,” said he, “I am no hypocrite; I have told him he was grown the God of defamation from keeping seditious company; he had even attacked the Crown, and the parent of the Crown; for himself, he pitied the poor devil.” Some persons interposing to prevent a duel, Sir W. Meredith said, he had every day been aspersed as taking up this matter for the sake of Wilkes. This he could not bear. Wedderburne had taken it up on tip-toe, though neither pointed at him nor Dr. Hay. Himself would last year have stopped Wilkes’s behaviour.

Hussey then proposed to insert the words in the King’s Bench, where the warrants had never been condemned or approved, whereas they had been condemned in373 the Court of Common Pleas. To this Norton agreed, though he said he would show that they had been approved in the King’s Bench. Prisoners are brought thither by Habeas Corpus, and the court is counsel for the prisoner. They examine the legality of the commitment, and must remit him, or bail him, or remand him. Remanding him, or requiring bail, is approving the commitment. Pitt proposed to add, “in which court (the King’s Bench) it does not appear that the validity of general warrants has been brought in question.” Charles Yorke said he agreed with Pitt, but would have the sentence run thus, “although hath been frequently produced to, and never been questioned by, the King’s Bench.” Sir William said he could not agree to the amendment, for the House had only heard evidence ex-parte for exculpation of the accused Ministers. Pitt objecting strongly to the words never questioned, Charles Yorke offered these, “and the validity never debated.” Forester approved this, and asked if the point had never been litigated, why should those words be inserted? George Grenville protested that nothing should make him say that all those warrants were legal; but with Norton he desired to add, “though the parties have been remanded and bailed.” Pitt, offended that the opinion of some Judges had been quoted in defence of the warrant, said, he was no judge, but sat there to judge Judges. There had not been a violation of the Constitution but had been sanctified by the greatest Judges. Let Norton turn to evidence and prove such prisoners had been remanded. If discharged, let the House have that evidence also. Conway treated the whole amendment374 as trifling; and asked if they would take no notice of the decision of the Common Pleas against the legality of the warrant, and yet would take notice of a no decision? He wished to have the whole referred to a Committee. Charles Yorke affirmed that none had been remanded; but agreed with Norton that they had been bailed. Charles Townshend asked, since the lawyers allowed that bail might be given on an erroneous warrant, why they would mention it? Norton owned that he meant from thence to argue for the legality. The amendments were agreed to.

The Court having carried this point, Norton impudently confessed this was what he had aimed at; and as there were so many causes connected with this depending in the Courts below, he should move to put off the question for four months. The Ministers did not doubt but the legality of the warrants would be condemned in Westminster Hall; yet a previous censure in Parliament might not only ensure that decision, but produce arraignment of the Administration. They feared, from what had passed in the foregoing day, that they should never be able to carry an approbation of the warrants,—and if they could, into what confusion must the nation have fallen, if such warrants were upheld by Parliament, and anathematized in the other courts? Their plan, therefore, was to jockey: and the Opposition had fallen into the snare. It had been proposed that Lord Granby should move the adjournment; he refused, and yet spoke for it,—and was immediately rewarded with the Lieutenancy of Derbyshire, which the Duke of Devonshire375 had resigned, and wished, from the rivalship between their families in that county, to see in any other hands.

Norton, continuing to triumph in the arts of attorneyship, asked to what end the House should decide on the point which was to be determined elsewhere? Let, he said, a Committee be appointed to draw up a bill. The practice of a court does make law. For Secretaries of State he demanded more power than for a common justice of peace. The House sits to make laws, not to expound them. He then dropped this sentence, so decent, yet so worthy of the mouth it fell from, and so often flung in his teeth,—If I was a Judge, I should pay no more regard to this resolution than to that of a drunken porter;—a sentence that would have made old Onslow439 thunder forth indignation! Norton then moved to adjourn the debate for four months, as so many causes were depending on the illegality.

Charles Yorke made a very long speech against postponing a present decision, as against the dignity of the House: and he scrupled not to pronounce the warrant illegal, which he protested he had never seen till Wilkes was taken up; nor had any question been asked of the Attorney or Solicitor Generals by the Administration. Warrants dated from the Star Chamber. Himself had always been for taking this matter up in Parliament, notwithstanding its pendency below. Previous questions, to avoid debates, may be useful during foreign treaties, but never in cases of privilege.376 In questions of this sort the House ought to hold the balance between King and people. It was a question in point of law impossible to be denied. Were he a Judge, he should pay regard to the decision of the House of Commons. The question ought to be determined for the sake of the Secretaries of State. He must be for some law.

Notwithstanding Yorke disculpated himself of not having seen the warrant, yet the Ministers protested that after Wilkes was taken up, Yorke had given his opinion that No. 45 was a libel, and had advised the commitment of him to the Tower. This was advising a man to knock down another, and then pleading that he had not seen the bludgeon. Lord North said, if a law was necessary, a partial resolution was trifling. By deferring this, they meant to introduce something much better.

Lord George Sackville said, it would only alarm the nation, to fling over the question the thin parliamentary veil of adjournment. When could a question of liberty be so properly taken up as under such a King? It was the time to lop such an excrescence. Lord North had promised much, but would perform nothing. The House of Commons singly cannot make law; but can declare upon it. He thanked God that on this question the whole body of lawyers was not on the side of power: that battery would be too much to stand. How came the Secretaries of State by this practice, but from the Star Chamber and Licensing Act? It had never been abused till now, for it had been exercised only against traitors. A discretionary power must always be at the peril of the Secretary377 that uses it. But he would therefore declare it illegal for a warning to them, and to show the people that they had a watchful House of Commons.

Nugent said, “Liberty rings round the House, and we may all be unanimously in the wrong.” “We are not likely to be unanimously wrong,” replied Conway, “nor rash, for nothing was ever so fully debated. The Ministers had narrowed the question to Wilkes, and then called it too narrow. The previous question would in effect be a negative. Wood had called for immediate decision. There had been issued but one warrant as extensive as this down to the time of Lord Townshend, and that had been in the reign of Charles the Second. He that gives a power of tyranny gives tyranny.” Hussey added, that the Licensing Act had been dropped because the Peers would not consent to let their houses be searched.

Lord Frederick Campbell said that in a fortnight’s time general warrants would be determined to be illegal; and then, what Secretary of State would dare to sign one? Lord Granby, declaring he thought them illegal because Lord Chief Justice Pratt had thought so, said, no Secretary of State after that opinion would venture to issue them.

Charles Townshend made a most capital speech, replete with argument, history, and law, though severe on the lawyers: a speech, like most of his, easier to be described than detailed. How great, he said, must be the talents of Norton, if the House heard him with patience, though comparing them to a drunken porter. Whether in the House or out of the House, Norton, he feared, would be fatal to the cause. He then gave378 the history of the Licensing Act, and read the resolution of the year 1675, drawn by Mr. Locke, and the report of Lord Chief Justice Vaughan of usage not constituting law. Had Norton lived in the age of ship-money, how he would have argued for putting off the decision of its being illegal! But it was become more necessary to alter this, because of the many precedents in its favour. He then gave a description of the warrant against Wilkes, and how long they had been before they applied it to him. He abhorred Wilkes, he said; and drew a severe picture of him, and another panegyrical of the great Whig Lords at the time of the Revolution, and of those at the accession of the present Royal Family. “But it seems,” continued he, “we are not to have a resolution, but a bill. The first time was always the best time; the natural mode the best mode. One advantage had been derived from Wilkes, he had stopped a growing evil. Nobody could think what thirty years more in abler hands would have done. This warrant without description of person might take up any man under any description of a libel. If the House did not come to some resolution, what dissatisfaction it must create. Mankind would learn that the lawyers were divided in their sentiments on the legality, and would be clamorous to have settled a point so important to the security of their persons, houses, and papers. But do not be wheedled by promises; who gives promises gives deceit.” He praised Mr. Pitt, and concluded with saying that this warrant was like an experiment in anatomy, which might be tried on a poor man. Wilkes is odious, cry the Ministers; commit him. If379 Parliament suffers it, you may strike at higher objects.

After several other speeches, Pitt said “this was not a warrant, but a delegation of magistracy, which the Crown could not give, and should Secretaries of State give it? The debate had been carried on without heat—indeed with too much coldness. Lawyers termed this warrant erroneous;—was that term harsh enough? Hear the language of Ministers and their agents: Carteret Webbe said he had settled Wilkes comfortably in the Tower with his shaving things! Then, they say, you need not pronounce this illegal; Secretaries of State will be sufficiently frightened; the Judges may or may not declare it illegal; and you shall have a law. I should be against such a law; it would be augmenting the power of the Crown by law. What will our constituents say if we do not ascertain their liberties? How do you know the Lords will agree to the bill? Not doing is doing.”

He was answered by Grenville and Sir John Philipps; but Lord Howe,440 though a Lord of the Admiralty, spoke against the adjournment. Elliot said, if there must be a victim, they might have a hecatomb of Ministers who had signed such warrants. These warrants, it seemed, had stalked about unknown to Mr. Pitt, who had been Secretary of State, and to Mr. Yorke, Attorney-General.

Colonel Barré ridiculed Lord Barrington, Elliot, and380 Grenville, with much humour. “Lord Granby thinks,” added he, “that no Secretary of State will venture on these warrants after Pratt’s opinion; but Grenville says that opinion was undue, erroneous, and precipitate.” For himself, he esteemed the professors of the law, but detested the profession. Pratt he commended; and said, “shall France deride our languor when her Parliaments are making such strides towards liberty?”

At five in the morning the House divided, and the adjournment was carried by 232 against 218; a majority of only fourteen. The world expected that the Ministers would resign—at least endeavour to treat.441

The offensive behaviour of Norton in the preceding debate, brought out a story very characteristic of his unfeeling nature. When Dr. Hensey was condemned for treason in the last reign, Lord Mansfield asked Pratt, the Attorney-General, when he would have him executed? Pratt, struck with compassion, could not bring himself to fix the day. Lord Mansfield then asked Norton, who, turning to the prisoner, said, “Doctor, when will it be agreeable to you to be executed?”442

While mankind expected that the Opposition would vigorously pursue the advantage of so large an increase381 of their numbers, day after day, and week after week slipped away without their exerting one symptom of spirit or activity. No motions were made, no inquiries set on foot, no zeal expressed to keep up the passions and hopes of the party. Without doors all hearts were with them, and ready to second their attempts with clamour and applause. At first they seemed to expect that the Ministers would come and lay their places at their feet. The dream itself was over before an effort was made to realise it. Not a pamphlet was written, not a meeting was held, to concert farther measures. A supineness unparalleled! but to be accounted for from the composition of that minority. Pitt affected to be courted to discountenance party, and to be placed at the head of everything without seeming to desire it. He despised Newcastle, and resented the manner in which he had been treated by that Duke, by Devonshire, by Hardwicke, and the Yorkes. Charles Yorke was, besides, incompatible with Pitt’s friend, the Chief Justice Pratt, as the Chancellor’s seal was equally the object of both. Lord Temple, the soul of faction, was detested by the whole party, except by his own small connection. Charles Townshend was attached to nobody, and trusted by nobody. Legge was industrious, but not spirited: he could negotiate for himself, but382 not for a party. Conway had singly meant to arraign the warrants, and had no thought of dipping in faction. Some were too fair, and others too dirty, to take the general steps that might lead to the good of the whole party: and thus, where there was no concert, and in truth but few able men, there could be no consequences but inactivity and defeat. That defeat fell heavy on the most conscientious, who having offended the Court by their opposition, were thus exposed a sacrifice to its resentments.

Nor was this conduct, I doubt, solely founded on inability and outward disunion. Pitt might expect to be again sent for by Lord Bute, and was unwilling to be clogged with numerous dependents, odious to the Favourite, and distasteful to himself. He and Lord Temple had far more rancour against their brother, George Grenville, than against Lord Bute; and Pitt, at least, had never been personal against the Favourite, who, with all his resentment to Lord Temple, as the instigator of Wilkes, had received more recent stabs from George Grenville. Whether during this suspension of hostilities, any negotiation was renewed, I do not pretend to say; nor is it important, as it certainly had no effect, unless that material one of cooling the growing party.

The Ministers, on the other hand, wore a good countenance, and were as alert as their adversaries were supine and lifeless. To procure votes, to work underground, to write letters, dispatch messengers, and collect all possible forces, this was the fort and excellence of Sandwich’s genius. He and Rigby were desperate, and Grenville little less so. They soon perceived the383 want of discipline in the enemy’s troops, and the insufficiency of their commanders. With some address of their own, and with the defect of it in their opponents, they weathered the session, obtained full power, and showed that they dared to make use of it despotically.

On the very day of the last great debate in the House of Commons, Lord Lyttelton, seconded by the Duke of Grafton, acquainted the Lords that on the following Tuesday he should lay a complaint before them against a new book called Droit le Roi. This pestilent treatise was a collection from old statutes and obsolete customs of the darkest and most arbitrary ages of whatever tended, or had tended, to show and uphold the prerogative of the Crown. The fulsome flattery and servility of ancient lawyers in every reign were amassed together, and shoved upon the world as the standing law of England; no retrospect had to all the immunities obtained since by the Civil War, by the Revolution, and by various other struggles of Parliaments with the Crown. Such a code obtruded on the Crown, as a codicil to the stretch of General Warrants, spoke for itself. It was incense laid on an altar erected to power on which human sacrifices had already been offered. Without metaphor, such a compilation proved that prerogative must have been the object of the Court before such gross adulation could dare to step forth in the face of both Houses of Parliament. The author was one Brecknock, a retainer of the law, and a hackney writer. As no attempt was made to prove whether he wrote by instigation, it remained problematic. Certain it is, that384 he soon afterwards attached himself to the Earl of Northumberland.443

On the 21st, Lord Lyttelton made his complaint, and moved for a censure of the book as Jacobitical, and violating the Bill of Rights, and the Revolution. Ministers, he said, ought to have taken notice of it; but they who had fallen so severely on seditious pamphlets, had overlooked this tract, so subversive of all liberty. Lord Dartmouth treated the book with still more severity. Lord Halifax affected to go farther, but complained of Lord Lyttelton for not acquainting him with his intention. Lord Marchmont to the censure proposed to tack a compliment to the King on his love of liberty; for so servile are some men, that they cannot condemn flattery without making use of it.444 The book, thus attacked on one side and given up on the other, was sentenced to be burnt, and the author ordered to be taken into custody. The latter part of the sentence nobody took any pains to execute.

On the 24th, the Lords communicated their resolutions to the other House, who concurred in the same judgment.

385 On February the 21st, Sir John Philipps, as he had before acquainted the House he would, moved for leave to bring in a bill to ascertain the power of Secretaries of State in granting warrants—a line almost impossible to draw. Treason was to be kept in awe on one side; the Ministers themselves on the other. Nor could this boon to liberty but be suspicious when offered by a hand so rankly Jacobite! The Ministers had made their use of the idea, and desired no such bill: and the Opposition were not forward to let them draw such a bill. It was therefore dropped with scorn by both sides of the House; and yet the Court afterwards affected to talk of this bill as a tender made to liberty, and rejected by its advocates.

The same day was Wilkes found guilty in the King’s Bench, of being author of the North Briton, and of the Essay on Woman.

The City of London, to honour the steadiness and services of Mr. Pratt, the other Chief Justice, presented him with the freedom of the City, and thanked their own Representatives for their behaviour on the question of the warrants.

On the 6th of March, it was agreed to amend the Marriage bill by another bill, as Mr. Yorke had proposed: and the same day died his father, and the father of the Bill, Philip Earl of Hardwicke; a man who, during his power, had coloured over very confined parts, and very few virtues, with a gravity that was construed into both, as it served the purpose of himself or his dependents. Pride, revenge, and avarice were his true features; and whatever pictures386 shall be drawn of him where those lines do not predominate, will be unlike, false, and flattering. To conceal all knowledge of his vast wealth, his sons did not prove his will till the memory of him was faded away.445



The Earl of Egmont.—The Budget.—Taxation of the American Colonies.—New Bridge at Blackfriars.—Appearance of the “Lettres, Mémoires, et Négotiations du Chevalier d’Eon,” &c.—Lord Clive appointed Governor General of India.—Contest at Cambridge.—Philip Earl of Hardwicke.—Jeremiah Dyson.

While men were taken up with the politics of the age, there was a Minister so smitten with the exploded usages of barbarous times, that he thought of nothing less than reviving the feudal system. This was the Earl of Egmont,446 who had actually drawn up a plan for establishing that absurd kind of government in the island of St. John.447 He printed several copies of his scheme, and sent them about to his brother peers. And so little were they masters of the subject, and so great was the inattention of the Ministry to the outlying parts of our empire, that his Lordship, in the following year, had prevailed with the Council to suffer him to make the experiment, if General Conway had not chanced to arrive at Council and expose the folly of such an undertaking, which occasioned its being laid aside. Lord Egmont was such a passionate admirer of those noble tenures and customs, that he388 rebuilt his house at Enmere in Somersetshire in the guise of a castle, moated it round, and prepared it to defend itself with cross-bows and arrows, against the time in which the fabric and use of gunpowder shall be forgotten.

On the 9th Mr. Grenville opened the budget, fully, for brevity was not his failing; but he did it with art and ability too, though not disguising how much he was hurt by abuse. He said it had been written in pamphlets that 400,000l. a year was dealt out in pensions; pretending that the accusation had been levelled against the profusion of those granted in Ireland, which he denied to be so great as alleged, particularly in that bestowed on Lord Sandwich, which, as I have said, had been stopped. But in truth the charge had been levelled against that sort of corruption in England; and on that he chose to be silent. Much art, he said, had been used to dissuade people from subscribing to the loans of Government; but no new money was to be raised,—no lottery; the latter to be kept in reserve for another exigence. He hoped, therefore, people would engage in the funds, as if monied men would not keep their cash a year longer, when it must be borrowed! He took great merit on the revenue being managed with more frugality than in the late reign, and on the increase of the customs, particularly in the duties on tea, though the increase of trade had much more share in that rise than his regulations. He stated the debt incurred by the late war at sixty-four millions already funded, and nine that were not. But above all he praised, and justly, the reduction of the demands from Germany. They389 amounted to 1,354,803l. and upwards, of which 103,355l. had only been allowed. 263,211l. had been suspended, and 988,237l.448 had been struck off. The time had been limited for the demands to be brought in, or more would have been asked from that quarter: and yet our taxes, he said, exceeded by three millions what they did in 1754. He then opened his, famous shall I call it, or fatal, plan for collecting a revenue from America;449 a plan which, though it took place in the session I am describing, I will not unfold here; for though the regulation was enacted now, the consequences did not appear to this country till the winter following. I shall be obliged to say so much on that head hereafter, that to avoid repetition, and to introduce the detail where it will come in with more propriety, and be more useful to the reader, I shall pass it over now;—and would to God that at the moment I am writing, at the end of 1768, the subject was not only fresh, but threatening a scene of long and terrible calamity both to England and her colonies! His object, he said, was to make them maintain their own army. Till the last war they had never contributed to their army at all. The extraordinaries of the American war had cost England 36,000l. a year. He had, additionally, a plan for preventing the colonies from trading directly to France, Holland, Portugal, or the French islands. Thus did this pedlar in revenue390 confound the tranquillity both of America and Great Britain; and to realize farthings, set both countries at variance, at the risk of treasure, human lives, liberty, and common and mutual preservation.

On the 12th, at the East India House, which had been a theatre of disputes and clashing interests, Mr. Amyand,450 having quarrelled with Sullivan, the leader of the faction opposite to Lord Clive, suddenly proposed to give the government of Bengal, with full powers over their affairs, to that Lord, if he would undertake the commission. Lord Clive, then present, said, this motion was totally unexpected; yet would he accept the offer, if a board of directors on whom he could depend should be chosen. The election was then at hand. The train caught so rapidly, that it was proposed directly to invest him with his jaguire, which had been voted as precipitately too, if somebody451 had not observed that a lawsuit being commenced on that subject, the law must decide it.

The City of London applied to Parliament for more money for their new bridge at Blackfriars. James391 Grenville objected to it. Dr. Hay broke out and abused the Common Council, whose late behaviour, he said, entitled them to no favour. He alluded to their thanking their members for voting against general warrants. This produced as warm language in return from Beckford and Onslow. George Grenville interposed, and said, the question was not whether the City deserved money, but whether it could be afforded. That their temporary bridge having been burnt by accident, they ought to have a gift of six or seven thousand pounds. Sir William Baker452 in disdain moved to adjourn, that they might not accept it.

The printers of the London Evening Post and Gazetteer were called before the House of Lords, on a complaint made by the Earl of Marchmont, for printing a letter (written by Wilkes) reflecting on the Earl of Hertford, ambassador at Paris, for employing David Hume the historian as his secretary, and representing the embassy as totally of Scotch complexion. Wilkes, then an outlaw, and in France, had gone to the Earl’s chapel, who treated him civilly, but neither returned his visits nor invited him to dinner, which it was impossible he should do, representing the person of the King so grievously outraged by that libeller. Lord Marchmont proposed to inflict a fine of 100l. on each printer. Lord Weymouth said fifty were sufficient; not more had been imposed on a printer of a spurious speech for the King. Lord Temple put them in mind how much himself and the Duke of Cumberland had been abused; and in answer to the Duke of Bedford,392 who had complained that names were now printed at length, said, that practice had been begun when himself and Mr. Pitt had resigned the last time. The Duke of Richmond said, he remembered that the period in which the Duke of Cumberland had been most traduced, was in the year 1757. Lord Temple and Mr. Pitt were then in power. The truth was, no side had abstained from invectives when out of place. The difference was, that no attempt was made to punish the authors and printers but under the administration of Grenville, Lord Sandwich, and that set.

On the 23rd of March appeared one of the most extraordinary books ever published, and though written by a foreigner, and in French, by no means inferior in detraction to the North Britons. It was a large quarto, called Lettres, Mémoires, et Négotiations particulières du Chevalier d’Eon, &c.: and contained the history of his employments, troubles, quarrel with Monsieur de Guerchy, and his own wonderfully imprudent and insolent letters to the Duc de Praslin, the second Minister in power at the Court at Versailles. The contempt expressed for the Comte de Guerchy was transcendant; but yet this was not the most reprehensible part of the work. With the most indefensible wantonness, D’Eon had inserted the childishly fond, but friendly letters, of his patron the Duc de Nivernois. With still greater indiscretion, he published others of an intimate friend employed in the office of the Secretary of State at Versailles, in which that friend, in confidence, had familiarly censured his masters: and with the most abominable treachery D’Eon added confidential letters between the Ducs de393 Nivernois and Praslin, in which, though with goodwill towards him, they spoke of their intimate friend Monsieur de Guerchy with much contemptuous pity, which might be excused between such near friends, though never to be pardoned by Guerchy. These letters D’Eon, when trusted with the Duc de Nivernois’s keys, had stolen or copied. To such lengths blind, headstrong revenge had driven the mad, unprincipled wretch! But what satisfaction did it create here, to read, under the hands of the chief Ministers in France, to how low an ebb that Court was sunk in abilities! the two Dukes owning to one another that their poor Guerchy, as they called him, was yet the fittest man they had to employ. Among such a heap of baseness great parts appeared; and it seemed lucky for his Court that a man so likely to be raised, and so capable of any treachery, unbosomed himself before he was possessed of more important secrets. In some instances, as in a letter to his mother, D’Eon seemed to have worked himself up to a pitch of frenzy; throughout, to be swayed by intolerable vanity.453 The394 blow to Guerchy was heavy and cruel; and scarcely less mortifying to the Duc de Nivernois. Praslin, a hard, unfeeling man, took it with implacable resentment; and yet, in one respect, acted sensibly and honourably: instead of ruining St. Foix, the person whose letters D’Eon had, unprovoked and wickedly, disclosed, he was preferred, and never suffered any marks of his master’s displeasure. Every possible attention was employed here to console M. de Guerchy, and to prevent his thinking that he was lowered in the public esteem; but was it, alas! possible he could believe so? The other foreign Ministers demanded satisfaction for so gross an insult on one of their order; and the Court was willing enough to grant any reparation in its power. But what reparation could it make proportioned to the offence? All it could, it did. The Attorney-General was ordered to file an information against D’Eon for a libel.

The imbecility of the Opposition, notwithstanding the large accession to their numbers on the question of the warrants, had left the Ministry in possession of full power. The sense of the nation had in vain appeared to be averse to them. It still continued so, wherever its genuine voice could be heard: and never more than on the following occasion. The death of the Earl of Hardwicke had left open the honour of High Steward in the University of Cambridge. Lord395 Sandwich, on the prospect of that event, had declared himself a candidate for that office, though attended with neither salary nor power. Lord Royston, son of the deceased and now Earl of Hardwicke, was his competitor. Ambitious industry was never exerted so indefatigably as by Sandwich on this occasion. There was not a corner of England, nay, not the Isle of Man, unransacked by him for votes. He ferreted out the mad, the lame, the diseased, from their poor retreats, and imported them into the University. Letters on letters were written, and fawning applications made to all who could influence a vote of any country clergyman. Lord Hardwicke, on the other hand, was cold, proud, and void of generosity.454 With the clergy, indeed, he had much connection: and, being a man of no vice, and by poring over historic MSS., supposed to be learned, he seemed adapted to fill a nominal charge in a society that is expected396 to be devout and studious. At least, the profligacy of Sandwich could not but be unsuitable to them, whether they had the reality, or only the semblance of religion and learning. When the day of election came on, the votes appeared to be equal, though each side pretended to have a majority of one. Great altercations ensued, and the meeting broke up in confusion; on which recourse was had to common law, where, after many months, a decision was pronounced in favour of Lord Hardwicke. Many instances appeared of bribery practised by Lord Sandwich; who, besides being rejected, experienced many insults and indignities. The under-graduates who, having no votes, had not been courted by him, were riotous, and hissed his chief agents: and when he went to the University in the month following, and dined in the hall of Trinity College, they marked their abhorrence of him by quitting the hall, and refusing to dine with him! Young Thomas Pitt,455 and Frederick Montagu,456 Sandwich’s own cousin, who had gone down to support him, were so disgusted with his practices, and with the factious confusion he had caused in the University, that they declared they would assist his cause no longer. When the former told him he would ruin the University, he replied, “That would be nothing to him: it would be the better for Oxford.” Yet himself had been bred at Cambridge—but Oxford was cherished by the Court.

397 On the 12th of April came on the election of East India Directors, when Sullivan’s list was chosen, though Clive had the support not only of the Administration, but of the Duke of Devonshire.457 Sullivan himself was elected by a majority of but one vote. He thought that in the new Direction he had twelve votes to ten; but before the day of their balloting for their chairman, Lord Clive had bought off one of them. When the election came on, Sullivan desired to be named without being obliged to submit to a ballot, at the same time cajoling the other party with great professions to Lord Clive. His antagonists, however, insisting on a ballot, the numbers appeared to be eleven and eleven. Sullivan finding himself betrayed or overreached, retired with heat, and Rous, his principal enemy, was chosen chairman. Had Sullivan, who was the creature of Lord Shelburne, succeeded, Colonel Barré was to have gone Governor to Bengal, which was given to Lord Clive, and he was soon after decorated with the Order of the Bath, to give dignity to his new employment.

At the same time, to mark that Parliamentary services or disobedience were the leading steps to favour or disgrace, Mr. Bridgman458 was turned out of the Board of Greencloth for his vote on General Warrants; and was succeeded by Richard Vernon,459 formerly an398 officer, a jockey, a gamester, and brother-in-law of the Duchess of Bedford. Mr. Cadogan460 was appointed Surveyor of the Royal Gardens; and Jeremiah Dyson was made one of the Lords of Trade. Of this man it is necessary to say a few more words. He was a tailor’s son, had risen under Nicholas Hardinge from a subaltern clerk of the House of Commons, to succeed him as first clerk, and by education and principle was thought and had conversed as a staunch Republican.461 In that employment he had comported himself with singular decency and intelligence. In truth his parts were excellent: he was quick, subtle, shrewd, clear, both in conception and delivery, and was master of argumentative eloquence, though void of every ornamental part of it. Being of an unhealthy complexion, and very fretful temper, he had quitted his laborious post, and was now come into Parliament, secretly sold to the Favourite; but from his behaviour as their clerk, having conciliated much goodwill to himself among the members, he was for some time heard with great favour and satisfaction, an indulgence he lost afterwards, when his warmth made them recollect he had once been their servant. He now appeared as399 devoted to George Grenville, and indeed was excellently useful, from his parts and great knowledge of Parliamentary business, to all who employed him. But proving both slippery to his friends as fast as they fell, and vexatious to his enemies, few men became equally unpopular. Having deserted Grenville on a change of times, and happening to convert his tied wig into a bag, Lord Gower being asked the reason, said, “It is because no Tye will hold him.”462 Dyson will appear again on the stage in a critical moment.



Prorogation of the Parliament.—Walpole’s Conduct on the dismissal of General Conway for voting against Ministers on the Question of the legality of General Warrants.—Trial of Carteret Webbe for Perjury.—The Earl of Northumberland Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland.

On the 19th the Parliament rose. And now it is that I am obliged to weave the history of my own conduct into a large part of the following narration. Two considerable eras having taken their complexion from my councils, the thread of my story would be imperfect, if I omitted what relates to my own behaviour. I shall give it as briefly as the subject and clearness will permit, and hope the reader will excuse egotisms where no glory was the result of my actions. Chance, more than design, presented the means; and if the moments were luckily seized, it was from no merit, no foresight of mine, that those moments were brought on.

Having fully seen the incapacity of the Opposition, sensible how ill they were united, and foreseeing that their strength would rather diminish than augment, and at the same time flattering myself, from the resistance which the Ministry had experienced, that they would be less flippant in their innovations on liberty,402 which was fortified by getting rid of general warrants, I had determined to give over politics; and to withdraw myself from shallow councils. I was preparing to make a visit to my friend and relation,463 Lord Hertford, at Paris, when, two days after the rising of the Parliament, I was stunned with notice of Mr. Conway being turned out of the King’s bedchamber, and dismissed from the command of his regiment of dragoons. As I had been a principal cause of this unworthy treatment, and of this destruction of his fortunes, nothing could be more sensible to me than this blow. Nor could I remain a moment in doubt, from the complexion of some in power, but that the stroke was aimed still more at me than at Mr. Conway, though directly I was out of their reach. The Bedford faction I knew were my mortal enemies. Yet I saw, too, that Mr. Conway had a share in the resentment of others. Grenville was not of a nature to pardon the slight Mr. Conway had made both of his favour and power. He had offended Lord Sandwich, too, by refusing to influence the chaplain of his regiment to vote for him at Cambridge; and Lord Holland had long groaned for an opportunity of revenging himself on Lord Hertford for his treatment of Bunbury. The tone of the ruling Administration was despotic, nor had they forgotten how lately they had trembled with apprehension of losing403 their power. Here were more than motives sufficient to egg on general or particular vengeance. And in general I must leave it; for after long search and much information, I cannot fix the deed on any single man. There was but one man among the suspected that ever solemnly denied having a share in it; and he constantly did: I mean Lord Bute. All the rest have charged it on others, though still without disavowing having had a hand in it themselves. The King often afterwards protested to Lord Hertford that his Ministers464 forced him to it. Grenville declared that his Majesty was more eager for it than any of them. The Duke of Bedford alone was frank, and avowed that though he had not recommended the measure, he had told his colleagues, when they proposed to remove Mr. Conway from the bedchamber only, that it was foolish to provoke him by halves; and that to leave him his regiment, and take away the bedchamber, would be telling other officers that they might oppose the Court with impunity.

Be it as it may, the boldness of the step was almost unprecedented. Sir Robert Walpole had dismissed the Lords Westmoreland465 and Cobham466 from the command of regiments; and Mr. Pitt from a cornetcy; but it was not till by a personal, violent, and constant opposition, that they had made themselves as obnoxious as possible. Yet even that measure, provoked as it was, had occasioned great clamour; and had404 contributed to animate the Opposition, which at last overthrew that Minister. Mr. Grenville had joined in that Opposition, had risen on that foundation; and the Duke of Bedford had signed a protest against the measure of dismissing officers for parliamentary reasons. How different was the case now! The temper and fairness of the man disgraced, his aversion to faction, the disinterestedness of his character, his general co-operation with the measures of Government, his being recently recommended to favour by Prince Ferdinand for his services in Germany, and his being brother to the ambassador at Paris—all these were considerations that made the measure amazing. But when it was observed that this punishment was inflicted for a single467 vote in Parliament, when it was evident that that vote had been peculiarly conscientious, and given in a cause avowed by the nation, and against a practice certain of being, as it soon after was, condemned by the Courts of Law, and though maintained by Parliament in retrospect, yet given up for the future by that very Parliament as pernicious; when the context, too, appeared to be, that military men in Parliament were to forfeit their profession and the merit of their services, unless implicitly devoted to the Court; could these reflections, when coupled with the arbitrary measures which the nation had observed to be the system of the Court, fail to occasion the blackest presages? Lord Bute, in truth, had slunk away from his own victory; but Grenville remained, and had Bute’s tools, and Sandwich405 and Rigby, to war with on the constitution, and Lord Mansfield and Norton ready to turn the law against itself.

It was a beautiful contrast, the behaviour of the person aggrieved. His temper, decency, and submission were unalterable and unequalled. He neither complained nor tried to instil a sense of his injuries into a single friend, though he wished they should take his part, and resent for him. He could not have entertained a wish worse founded: his friends were rejoiced at not being called upon; and had no ambition to share the crown of his martyrdom. There lived not three more interested men than the Duke of Argyle,468 Lord Lorn, and Lord Frederick Campbell, the father and brothers of Lady Ailesbury,469 Mr. Conway’s wife. The first loved money, and had incurred unpleasant suspicions in his efforts to obtain it. Lord Lorn470 was sordidly covetous, and had not sense enough to foresee a blessing in futurity beyond the first half-crown that glittered in his eyes. Lord Frederick471 was406 sensible, shrewd, and selfish; and on this and a subsequent crisis showed that no connection or obligation could stand against the eagerness with which he pursued immediate fortune. Nothing else weighed with him, except the inveteracy of national prejudice. As Mr. Conway had acted in opposition to Scottish measures, Lord Frederick, forgetting Mr. Conway’s friendship and kindness, and his own youthful situation, and borne away by a hot temper, often and indecently attacked him in Parliament, though without any brilliancy of parts to colour over such improper behaviour. The Duke of Richmond, who had married Lady Ailesbury’s daughter, kept himself more free from blame. He had been witness to the integrity of Mr. Conway’s conduct at the conference with Mr. Grenville, and certainly loved him, though not enough to participate his disgrace. The Duke, however, offered to take a part in Parliament if Mr. Conway’s friends would move for an inquiry into the cause of his dismission; but that offer did not include his Grace’s engaging any farther against the Court.

There was still another relation of Mr. Conway more deeply involved in his disgrace, and more immediately called upon to resent it; his brother, Lord Hertford. Yet there were both real and specious reasons for his submitting to it.472 Mr. Conway had407 taken this part, not only without consulting him, but when he must have known how unwelcome it would be to Lord Hertford, then in the King’s service both at home and abroad, and well treated; connected with the Ministry, and ever desirous of being so with all Administrations. Lord Hertford had even, after his brother’s first vote, made remonstrances to him, though in vain. On the other hand, honour, interest in a general sense, and personal resentment, called on Lord Hertford to espouse his brother’s quarrel. Ambassador in France, where no officer was ever broken but for cowardice or some atrocious crime, it could but strike the French Court that the Ambassador stood in little estimation at home, when such an affront was put on the family. Could he expect more consideration if he acquiesced? On the other hand, should the Opposition succeed, in which, besides his brother, were his wife’s nephew, the Duke of Grafton,473 and his old friends, whom he had already offended by not408 acting with them, what could he expect but, at best, the humiliating circumstance of being saved by his brother whom he had abandoned? Nor could Lord Hertford doubt but that Mr. Conway partly suffered on his account, as far as Lord Holland had any share in the measure. Yet, though there had been no instance of such a disgrace remaining unresented, much less when such a character was so unjustly treated, not a single resignation marked that the sufferer had either a friend or relation in the place. He was at once sacrificed by the Court, and abandoned by his own family.

It became the more incumbent on me to make him all the reparation in my power. I offered him six thousand pounds, which he refused; and I altered my will, giving him almost my whole fortune unless his regiment should be restored to him; a destination with which I acquainted him. And though it certainly would not augment the gift, I determined to hazard all I had rather than not revenge both him and myself. Grenville, the very day before the dismission of Mr. Conway, whether to detach me from him, or fearing I should make use of the indiscretion he had been guilty of, ordered the payment of my bills at the Treasury; a step that, far from soothing, but served to increase my resentment. I dreaded lest Mr. Conway should think I had kept any underhand measures with the Treasury; but I soon convinced both him and the world how steadily I embraced the cause of my friend. Yet for the first time in my life I acted with a phlegm of which I did not know myself capable. I shut myself409 up in the country for three days, till I had conquered the first ebullitions of my rage, and then returned to town with a face of satisfaction, which some thought indifference; and others joy at having dipped Mr. Conway in Opposition. Both were mistaken. I knew that both Mr. Conway and the Opposition were little formed for the business. I had everything to discourage me, and nothing but perseverance and the firmness of my own temper to carry me on. I foresaw, indeed, that the persecution he had undergone would raise the character of Mr. Conway, would lend him an importance he would never have assumed, and might one day place him at the head of this country. I foresaw that the violence and unprincipled rashness of the Ministers would conduct them to a precipice; but I should far overrate my own sagacity, if I pretended to have discovered that those prospects were near enough to administer any comfort to my impatience. I knew the folly of those I was to act with. I could not flatter myself it would be exceeded by the folly of those I was to act against.

If self-interest restrained Mr. Conway’s family from embracing his defence, it was as natural that the Opposition should caress him. A martyr is as creditable to a party in politics as to a sect in religion. Yet so decent and so dignified was the Opposition of that time, that they expressed none of the heat and ardour with which parties usually seize such an event. The Duke of Devonshire, indeed, came to me, and with great delicacy desired that I would in his name make an offer to Mr. Conway of a thousand pounds a year,410 till his regiment should be restored.474 This noble offer Mr. Conway as generously declined. However, it gave lustre to our cause; and it was my purpose to raise as high as I could the character of our party, and to spread the flames of emulation from such examples. The Ministerial tools, on the other hand, were not idle, but began to defame Mr. Conway as a spiritless and inactive General, reviving in scandalous papers the miscarriage at Rochfort.475 This artillery, however, we turned upon them, and displayed the malignity of not being content with ruining him, without proceeding to the grossest defamation. Mr. Conway, too, by my advice, called upon the detractors to avow themselves, and, if they dared, take up the weapons like men, which soon silenced that dirty kind of war.

But these prosperous beginnings were almost all I could accomplish. Every step I took I found discouragement and disappointment. There was no union in our party, nor could I bring about any. At first I laboured to form a little junto of the most considerable411 of our friends in the House of Commons, who should plan our future measures and conduct them. But of those I could not prevail on any three to assemble and enter into concert. Legge was dying; Charles Yorke was proud, insincere, waiting for an opportunity of making his own bargain, and offended that Mr. Pitt was disposed to make Pratt Chancellor; though the latter, for the good of the cause, was willing to waive the Seals. Charles Townshend, neglected by the Court, seemed zealously attached to us; unfortunately, we could neither do with him nor without him; yet his jealousy of Grenville and fear of Mr. Conway would have fixed him, if anything could. There was another man of whose art and abilities I had a high opinion, and who was as practicable as the others I have mentioned were little so,—I mean Lord George Sackville. But insuperable difficulties kept him from us too. Pitt had proscribed him; Newcastle did not love him; the Duke of Devonshire was too cautious to join him; and Conway, knowing Lord George had been his enemy, though it had never come to an open rupture, would not listen to any connection with him, but pleaded the stains on his character, and the enmity borne to him by Prince Ferdinand. I lost my temper at finding that, whilst our enemies stuck at nothing, every phantom and every fancy was to clog our councils and retard our advances. The dignity of great Lords, and their want of sense, the treachery of some, the piques of others, all had their operation, and not a single prejudice was removed to facilitate our attempts. I had surmounted my repugnance to Newcastle, and, though in truth to little purpose, had consented to412 advise with him. He was still the same; at once busy and inactive, fond of plotting, but impossible to be put in motion. Nor, indeed, propose what I would, could I obtain to have a single measure carried into execution.

But what hampered us most was Mr. Pitt. He justly resented having been abandoned by Newcastle, Devonshire, and the Whigs. He despised both Charles Yorke and Charles Townshend; and though he expressed civil applause of Mr. Conway, would neither connect with him nor see him. He at once talked of an Administration to be composed of great Whig Lords, and of his own resolution not to force himself on the King; that is, he wished the great Lords should force him on the King without his concurrence, that he might have the merit of disavowing them, and of profiting of their weight. Conway was as difficult as Pitt, and too proud to make any advances to him. Thus, wherever I turned, there were no facilities. Even Lord Temple, accustomed to run and meet faction in the highways, seemed cold and indisposed to connection with us. At the same time I heard that a treaty was carrying on between him and his brother George; a report which, though true, greatly deceived me; for, concluding that Lord Temple was too firmly united with Mr. Pitt to negotiate without him, I imputed the coldness of both to an approaching league of the whole family; whereas the truth was, though then a secret to all the world, that Mr. Pitt and Lord Temple were on bad terms; the former disapproving the violence of Temple; and Temple being enraged that Mr. Pitt would not lend himself to all his passions.

413 Perceiving so little hope of union amongst ourselves, I conceived a better prospect from the factions of the Court, which, by every art I could devise, I endeavoured to inflame. I soon learned how wide the breach was growing between Lord Bute and Grenville; and though I then looked on the former as the more dangerous of the two, and of all men was determined not to connect with him; yet to his friends I held a plausible language, insinuating that it was possible he might be forgiven by our great Lords, and left them to think that, if the Favourite withdrew his protection from Grenville and the Bedfords, his case would by no means be desperate with the Opposition. In the same kind of style I talked to the friends of Grenville; still imputing Mr. Conway’s disgrace alternately to the other faction, accordingly as I conversed with either. I saw that, hostile as they were, despair must cement their union. Both would be more prompt to quarrel if they thought themselves not proscribed by us.

An incident fell out favourable to this plan. Grenville, ever averse to Lord Holland, had destined his place of Paymaster to be shared between Lord North and Stanley, and they had even taken joy on it. But Lord Bute had prevented it being carried into execution; and Lord Holland now came from France, stung with this insult: though as the passing of his accounts was in agitation, he for the present stifled his resentment, and affected to pay court to Grenville. As, however, to hoodwink me to his own share in that business, and to inflame my anger to Grenville, he laid the chief blame of Conway’s disgrace on the latter,414 I indulged him, as usual, in the imagination that he deceived me; and, as if to vent my own passion, blew up his as high as I could against Grenville. From Lord Holland I heard what had escaped me. Conway at the end of the Session, on a motion for thanking the King for reducing the German demand, had made a panegyric on Prince Ferdinand and the hereditary Prince, saying how hard it was that their country, which had suffered so much for us, should not have ample indemnification. Grenville had answered, that surely if the King had been content to lower the demands for Hanover, he was at liberty to reduce those of Brunswick. This had passed in a thin debate; nor had I been present. But Lord George Sackville had remarked, and said, “Conway has undone himself.” It was, it seems, an irremissible crime to applaud the hero who had commanded our armies and given them victory; and to plead for another hero who had married the King’s own sister and fought his battles!

I shall omit the detail of many other stratagems that I formed for annoying the Administration, they having been damped or annihilated by the supineness of my confederates. The summer was in every respect unfortunate to us; and by the Session following, we scarce deserved the name of a party. Death took off some of our chief leaders, who, though they would not lead us, yet, by the sanction of their names, had kept together an appearance of numbers, which dwindled away as our hopes of success vanished. What farther regards us as a party will be mentioned in its place. I now return to the other occurrences of the year.

415 Two vacant garters were bestowed on the Duke of Mecklenberg476 and Lord Halifax. About the same time died at Paris the King’s mistress, Madame de Pompadour. She retained her power to the last, though their amour had long been exhausted. The Duc de Choiseul, whom she had destined for Minister, succeeded her in the King’s confidence without a rival.

May 4th, Beardmore, one of the persecuted writers, carried his cause against the messengers, and recovered one thousand pounds for damages.

On the 9th Mr. Conway’s late regiment was given to the Earl of Pembroke; not without occasioning remarks a little disadvantageous to the standard of his Majesty’s piety. Lord Pembroke, one of the wildest young men of the times, had been dismissed from the King’s bedchamber for debauching and eloping with a young lady of distinction, though married to a more beautiful woman, sister of the Duke of Marlborough. Nobody could tell what the King had to do to interfere in that intrigue: but having done so, it seemed little consistent to reward a young profligate477 with the spoils of a man strictly virtuous and conscientious. It was now remembered that at the beginning of this416 reign, the Earl of Dartmouth, a young nobleman as pious as Lord Pembroke was licentious, had applied to be of the King’s bedchamber, but had been rejected by Lord Bute, lest so sanctimonious a man should gain too far on his Majesty’s piety. An instance that if it proved the religion of the King, did not bear witness to that of the Favourite. But in such a theatre of hypocrisy, it mattered little who was the principal impostor.

On the 15th died Dr. Osbaldiston, Bishop of London; and the next day Lord Chancellor Henley was created Earl of Northington, a step not communicated to the Duke of Bedford, who much resented it. But Grenville was more mortified, who found himself excluded from the nomination of the new Bishop of London. He had wished to raise Newton478 to that mitre, but Lord Bute procured it for Terrick. This man, with no glimmering of parts or knowledge, had, on the merit of a sonorous delivery, and by an assiduity of back-stairs address, wriggled himself into a sort of general favour; and by timing his visits luckily, had been promoted by the Duke of Devonshire to the See of Peterborough. Yet he had been of the first, notoriously obliged to that Duke, to abandon him on his fall, sailing headlong with the tide after the Favourite’s triumph. Again, when the Favourite retired, Terrick, who was minister of my parish,479 was lavish to me of invectives against that Lord; and sifted me eagerly to learn in what channel Court favour was likely to flow. Having soon perceived his mistake,417 he had made out a distant affinity with Worseley,480 a creature of Lord Bute, and a kind of riding-master to the King; and now to Grenville’s surprise rose, all unworthy as he was, to so eminent a station in the Church. This detail I communicated to Dr. Lyttelton, Bishop of Carlisle, who adhered to George Grenville amidst their family breaches; and who, being both gossiping and mischievous, kept up an acquaintance with me of ancient date, that he might from my warmth collect materials to carry to Grenville. I took care to furnish him according to his wish. It was wormwood to Grenville to learn this proof of the Favourite’s still subsisting ascendant; and when I had once set them on the scent, I knew they would touch on it in more instances than this.

On the 22nd Philip Carteret Webbe was tried for perjury, being accused of having forsworn himself in the cause against Wilkes. The jury stayed out fifty-five minutes, but at last acquitted him: a vindication that no more cleared his character than conviction would have made it worse.

The Earl of Northumberland481 returned from Ireland, where his profusion and ostentation had been so great,482 that it seemed to lay a dangerous precedent for succeeding governors, who must risk unpopularity if more418 parsimonious; or the ruin of their fortune, should they imitate his example. At his departure he broke with William Gerard Hamilton,483 his secretary, and dismissed him to make way for the Earl of Drogheda,484 the favourite both of Lady Northumberland and the Primate.

Lord Northumberland had an advantageous figure and much courtesy in his address, which being supported by the most expensive magnificence, made him exceedingly popular with the meaner sort. They who viewed him nearer, were not the dupes of his affability or pretensions. The old nobility beheld his pride with envy and anger; and thence were the less disposed to overlook the littleness of his temper, or the slender419 portion he possessed of abilities; for his expense was a mere sacrifice to vanity, as appeared by his sordid and illiberal behaviour at play. Nor were his talents more solid than his generosity. With mechanic application to every branch of knowledge, he possessed none beyond the surface; and having an unbounded propensity to discussion, he disgusted his hearers without informing them. Yet his equals were but ill-grounded in their contempt of him. Very few of them knew so much; and there were still fewer that had not more noxious vices, and as ungenerous hearts. Lord Northumberland’s foibles ought to have passed almost for virtues in an age so destitute of intrinsic merit.485

The Countess of Northumberland was a jovial heap of contradictions. The blood of all the Percies and Seymours swelled in her veins and in her fancy; while her person was more vulgar than anything but her conversation, which was larded indiscriminately with stories of her ancestors and her footmen. Show, and crowds, and junketting, were her endless pursuits. She was familiar with the mob, while stifled with diamonds; and yet was attentive to the most minute420 privileges of her rank, while almost shaking hands with a cobbler. Nothing was more mean than her assiduity about the King and Queen, whom she termed her Master and Mistress; and yet, though indirectly reprimanded by the latter, she persisted in following her Majesty to the theatres with a longer retinue of domestics than waited on the Queen herself. She had revived the drummers and pipers and obsolete minstrels of her family; and her own buxom countenance at the tail of such a procession, gave it all the air of an antiquated pageant or mumming. She was mischievous under the appearance of frankness; generous and friendly without delicacy or sentiment.486

Lord Northumberland’s son, Lord Warkworth, was married to the third daughter of the Favourite;487 on which foundation the father was admitted to the private junto, which now met daily at Mr. Stone’s.488 It was composed of Lord Bute, Lord Northumberland, Lord Mansfield, Norton, Stone, and the brother of the latter, the famous Primate of Ireland, who bad followed the Lord-Lieutenant to London; coming, as he outwardly421 professed, to promote harmony and reconciliation. As he died soon after, before he had given any specimens of his arts here, I pretend not to say what were the real motives of his journey. He did visit Mr. Pitt; but a man so notorious for cunning as the Primate, was not likely to win on the caution of Mr. Pitt, who never was explicit, and least of all to men of abilities. It appeared, however, from the meetings I have mentioned, and other symptoms, that the Favourite was peeping out of his lurking-hole, and was disposed to let his power be felt. Grenville, though drunk with vanity, was sober enough to be stung with any competition; and yet his obstinacy disgusted those whom it was most necessary for him to attach. He offended the Duke of Bedford and Lord Halifax by refusing to let the Treasury bear the whole charge of the fines imposed on the messengers. The Duke experienced so many slights, that he kept retired in the country, and Rigby went to France, professing that it was to be absent, lest he should be blamed if the Duke should submit to such ignominious treatment; but Rigby had, no doubt, secured the Duke’s submission before he ventured to leave him, as he called it, to himself. However, the Duke of Cumberland was so much misled by those wayward humours, that before the end of the summer he sent Lord Albemarle489 to Woburn, to sound their dispositions, and endeavour to draw them from the Court. Not one, not his own sister, Lady Tavistock, would talk to him on politics;422 only the Duchess said drily, that her husband was Minister, and that everything was done that he desired. Mr. Pitt had said more truly, some time before, “They will disgust the Duke of Bedford in the spring, that they may not be teazed with his solicitations; and they will sweeten him again by winter, with some trifling favour, that he may give them no trouble in Parliament.”


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1 Preface to the “Memoires of the Last Twelve Years of the Reign of George the Second,” p. xxvi.

2 Postscript to the “Memoires of George the Second,” p. 40.

3 Preface to the “Memoires of the Last Twelve Years of the Reign of George the Second,” p. xxxii.

4 Mr. Wright’s notes on Lord Chatham’s Correspondence and his edition of Cavendish’s Debates are also most useful aids to the student of English History. He died not many months ago, in circumstances which proved his labours to have been very inadequately rewarded by the public.

5 Mr. Clavering—he was a near relative of a North country baronet of the same name.—E.

6 Sir Henry Wilmot, Bart., M.D., Physician-general to the Forces, an eminent medical practitioner, and the son-in-law of Dr. Mead; he died in 1786, at a very advanced age.—E.

7 He was Serjeant-surgeon to the King, and had attended George II. at the battle of Dettingen.—E.

8 John Stuart, third Earl of Bute.—This nomination was severely criticised in publications of the day. It is treated by Mr. Adolphus as a simple nomination to the Privy Council, and is defended as such, on the ground that the Groom of the Stole had been always constituted a Privy Counsellor. This is a misconception. The empty honour of the Council could be grudged by no one to a great officer of the royal household. The real grievance was his admission into the Cabinet.—E.

9 The Duke very soon discovered his power to be gone. Lord Bute’s predilection for the Tories was undisguised, and it soon became evident that the Court had determined to break up the Whig party, the effect of which would be to reduce the Duke to insignificance. See an interesting letter from Mr. Rigby to the Duke of Bedford (19 Dec. 1760), giving an account of an interview of the former with the Duke of Newcastle.—Russell Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 467.

10 William Cavendish, fourth Duke of Devonshire, and Lord Chamberlain.

11 William Henry Nassau Zulestein, fourth Earl of Rochford. He was descended from General Zulestein, a natural uncle of William the Third; and his grandfather, the first Earl, had been one of the favourite generals of that Monarch. Lord Rochford had been minister at Turin from 1749 to 1755, when he was appointed Groom of the Stole, to the great disappointment of Earl Poulett, the first Lord of the Bedchamber, who in consequence resigned his employment. Walpole’s Memoirs, vol. i. p. 381.—E.

12 The Duke of Bedford was no favourite of Walpole, owing to a private quarrel. There is no reason for suspecting that it could have been intended to remove his Grace from the Government of Ireland, a post which he had occupied with great reluctance (Walp. Mem. vol. ii. p. 105), and was glad to vacate shortly afterwards.—E.

13 Granville Leveson, Earl Gower, brother of the Duchess of Bedford.

14 James Brudenel, brother of the Earl of Cardigan, to which title he afterwards succeeded. He died without issue in 1811, aged 86.—E.

15 Eldest daughter of John, Earl of Bute; afterwards married to Sir James Lowther.

16 Afterwards third wife of Granville Leveson, Earl Gower.

17 He had been dismissed for joining Mr. Pitt, and the Prince had at the time promised to restore him, upon coming to the throne.—Doddington’s Diary, Appendix.—E.

18 Richard Temple, Lord Cobham, who had been much engaged with Frederick Prince of Wales, being asked by Henrietta, Lady Suffolk, what was the real character of the Princess, replied, “She was the only woman he could never find out: all he had discovered was, that she hated those most to whom she paid most court.”

19 This criticism of Lord Bute is not borne out by facts. The fine collection of pictures made by his lordship at Luton, prove the munificence and discernment with which he patronized painting. Luton itself, the building, or rather the enlargement of which he is known to have personally superintended, with many faults had likewise many beauties, and was surpassed in taste by few of the mansions of that date, and certainly not by Strawberry Hill. He had, in fact, a genuine love both of painting and architecture, and his efforts to infuse the same into the mind of his royal pupil did not entirely fail, for George the Third’s example was unquestionably a great improvement in this respect on his immediate predecessors. Of the other charges here brought against Lord Bute, the Editor has spoken elsewhere.—E.

20 Archbishop Secker has been in more than one instance misrepresented by Walpole. It is most improbable that he should have entertained the views here ascribed to him. As the head of the Church, it necessarily became his duty to attend frequently at Court on the commencement of a new reign, as has since happened to his successors without their incurring any such imputation.—E.

21 When Prince of Wales, Scott, his sub-preceptor, reproached him with inattention to his studies. The Prince pleaded idleness. “Idle! Sir,” said Scott; “your brother Edward is idle; but do you call being asleep, being idle?”

22 George Keppel, third Earl of Albemarle, a favourite of the Duke of Cumberland, and afterwards conqueror of the Havannah.

23 George, eldest son of Charles Lord Viscount Townshend (afterwards Marquis of Townshend). His name often appears in these Memoirs.

24 A Letter to the Honourable Brigadier General, Commander-in-Chief of his Majesty’s Forces in Canada.—London, 1760.—It is written with a point and spirit, and we may add, with a degree of malignity, closely akin to Junius, to whose pen, indeed, it has recently been ascribed. (See Preface by Mr. Simons to the new edition of this Pamphlet.) A reply, under the title of “Refutation of a Letter,” &c., composed, evidently, under the eye of Townshend or his family, appeared shortly afterwards, and is equally intemperate, but very inferior in ability. The controversy is so far prejudicial to Townshend, as convicting him of an ungenerous indifference to the memory of the great man who had led him to victory—his only excuse for the slight manner in which he notices Wolfe in the despatch being, not “want of esteem, but because of the impropriety of writing a panegyric to a Minister, when nothing but the situation and exigence of affairs is mentioned.” Townshend virtually admitted the justice of the charge, by subsequently publishing a studied panegyric on Wolfe in the form of a private letter, though it is more in the style of his brother’s parliamentary speeches, and was probably the composition of the latter. With respect to his opposition to Wolfe’s plan of attack, he stands entirely acquitted. The Protest made by him, in common with other officers, had been against a plan of attack which, in consequence of that Protest, was abandoned, and the dissentients on that occasion were those who proposed the very attack which proved so successful. The two generals were certainly not suited to each other. Townshend, though brave, clever, and not devoid of good feeling, was impatient of authority, and possessed in a singular degree the faculty of detecting and exaggerating the faults of his superiors. He had thus drawn upon himself the resentment of the Duke of Cumberland, to whom he was under great obligations, and had fallen into difficulties, out of which it required the all-powerful patronage of Pitt to extricate him. A partial friend (Mr. Glover) describes him as “often led into hasty and striking judgments of men either in approbation or censure.” Wolfe was not of a temperament to brook sarcasm, or even opposition, from a subordinate officer; and yet he had peculiarities which Townshend could scarcely overlook. One was a confidence in himself, which, as he took no pains to disguise it, led superficial observers to question the reality of his merit. Just before he quitted England for the last time, he called to take leave of Lord Temple, whom he found sitting with a colleague. The conversation turned on the prospects of the expedition; and some stress being laid on the resistance that might be expected from the numbers and gallantry of the French, Wolfe rose from his chair, and drawing his sword, exclaimed with a loud voice, and in a menacing attitude, that there was nothing to fear; for if he could only come within reach of the enemy, his success was not a matter of doubt, but of certainty. When he left the room the two Ministers looked at each other with astonishment, and agreed, that to entrust so hazardous an expedition to such a braggart, was indeed a fearful experiment. The feeling that at all times appeared uppermost in his mind, was an insatiable appetite for glory, and desire after posthumous fame. He idolized genius either in arts or arms. Even on the day of the attack, while sailing down the St. Lawrence, he read aloud Gray’s Elegy, and observed several times to the officers with him, that he did not know whether he would not rather be the author of that poem than the conqueror of Quebec. In truth his was a noble nature. His feelings were as genuine as they were ardent. He gave the most minute attention to the welfare and comfort of his troops; and instead of maintaining the reserve and stateliness so common with other commanders of that day, his manner was frank and open, and he had a personal knowledge of perhaps every officer in his army. We recollect a respectable veteran, who, after having served under him at Louisburgh and Cape Breton, commanded one of the first detachments that scaled the heights of Abraham. In that exploit Captain —— was shot through the lungs. On recovering his senses he saw Wolfe standing by his side. Amidst the anxieties of such a critical hour, the General stopped to press the hand of the wounded man—praised his services, encouraged him not to abandon the hope of life—assured him of leave of absence and early promotion; nay more, he desired an aide-de-camp to give a message to that effect to General Monckton, should he himself fall in the action; and, to the credit of General Monckton, the promise was kept. No wonder that these qualities coupled with brilliant success won the hearts of the soldiery: a sort of romance still clings to his name. He is the only British General belonging to the reign of George the Second who can be said to have earned a lasting reputation. Long as this note is, it would be incomplete without some notice of General Townshend. That officer was the son of Charles third Viscount Townshend, and the witty Ethelreda Harrison, and therefore the grandson of Charles second Viscount Townshend, the celebrated colleague of Sir Robert Walpole. He was not loved by either of his parents. His father, a man of dissolute habits, and an unnatural parent, made for him so mean a provision, that on leaving the University he joined the army abroad as a volunteer, and he served in that capacity at the battle of Dettingen. He was afterwards reduced to seek employment in the Dutch service, but, fortunately, was disappointed, as about this time he attracted the notice of the Duke of Cumberland, through whose interest he rose rapidly to the rank of Colonel. He attended the Duke during the remainder of the war, and distinguished himself at Fontenoy and Culloden. Subsequently, his marriage with Lady de Ferrars, the heiress of the Northamptons, placed him at once in opulent circumstances, and he was elected a representative for Norfolk without opposition, except from his father. The figure he made in the House, where he acquired considerable influence, especially over members in the agricultural interest, has caused him to be often noticed (generally with censure) in these Memoirs; but though Walpole paints him in no pleasing colours, on the other hand, another contemporary writer says that he was manly in person, demeanour, and sentiment, and exemplary as a husband and father, and, from his wit, agreeable to his friends and formidable to those he disliked. It cannot be denied, however, that he was too prone to mischief, and more worldly than seemed consistent with his love of pleasure and ease. His life was singularly prosperous, and prolonged to extreme old age. He became Viscount Townshend by the death of his father in 1764. In 1767 he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland; in 1787 he was created a Marquis, and in 1807, he died, aged 84, being then a Field Marshal, Governor of Jersey, and Colonel of a regiment of Dragoons. Memoirs of George the Second, vol. i. p. 33; vol. ii. p. 337. Memoirs of a distinguished Political and Literary Character, p. 71—E.

25 Charles Lenox, third Duke of Richmond.

26 William Keppel, third son of William Anne, second Earl of Albemarle, by Lady Anne Lenox, daughter of the first Duke of Richmond. He commanded a regiment at the conquest of the Havannah, and died a General officer, unmarried, in 1786.—E.

27 There is a slight inaccuracy in this statement. The Duke’s resentment was not so generous. The object of his interview with the King was to promote his own interest, not that of Colonel Keppel.—See the Duke of Richmond’s letter of 21st June, 1783, in the Appendix to Dodington’s Diary.—E.

28 William Petty, Lord Fitzmaurice, eldest son of the Earl of Shelburne, whom he succeeded in that title May 17, 1761; and by which title he will be frequently mentioned in the following Memoirs.

29 Lord George Lenox was only brother of Charles third Duke of Richmond. He had behaved with distinguished gallantry in the German wars. The late Duke of Richmond was his son.—E.

30 Charles Fitzroy, second son of Lord Augustus Fitzroy, second son of Charles second Duke of Grafton, and only brother of Augustus Henry third Duke of Grafton. He distinguished himself at the battle of Minden, where he served on the staff of Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick. He was created Lord Southampton in 1780, and died on the 21st of March 1797, aged 60.—E.

31 Augustus Henry, Duke of Grafton, afterwards First Lord of the Treasury.

32 Henry Fox had married Lady Caroline Lenox, eldest daughter of Charles, late Duke of Richmond, without the consent of her father and mother, who were some years unreconciled to her.

33 It was given under pretence of paying the late Prince her husband’s debts. Whether she did discharge any of them I neither know nor deny; some, I have heard, remained unpaid, not only at her death, but in the year 1788.

34 George Henry Lee, Earl of Litchfield, High Steward, and afterwards Chancellor of the University of Oxford, had been a zealous partisan of the House of Stuart, of which he was an illegitimate branch, his grandfather, Edward the first Earl, having married a daughter of Charles the Second by the Duchess of Cleveland. Lord Litchfield was too much a man of pleasure to shine in politics, or he might at this crisis have taken a leading part in public affairs, for his abilities were considerable. The following ironical character of him is almost the only instance in which Wilkes has described an opponent with candour and truth:—“The Captain (Giddy) was a sprightly fellow in his youth, and is remembered about twenty years ago to have made a very good speech or two at some of your public meetings in London. From this time, however, the figure he hath made in the world hath not been much to his credit. The chief of his company, till within these two years, have been parsons and country squires. They used to lead him about to races, cock-matches, and country clubs, where he was apt sometimes to drink a little too freely. A course of life of this sort brought on a swimming in his head, so that he hath frequently been supposed not to be sensible where he was, or what he was about: hence he hath been known in the late times of party violence, in the same sort of company, and within a few days of each other, to drink ‘Exclusion to the House of Hanover, and confusion to the Stuarts.’” North Briton, No. 29.—Lord Litchfield died in 1772. The title did not go beyond the third generation, though the first Earl had thirteen sons, of whom six lived to manhood.—E.

35 Edward Harley, Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer, was grandson of the Lord Treasurer’s brother, on whom the title had been specially limited, on failure of issue male in the direct line. He died in 1790, aged 64.—E.

36 Thomas Brudenel Bruce, Baron Bruce, youngest brother of George, Earl of Cardigan, and of the Duke of Montague. He was the fourth son of George third Earl of Cardigan, by Elizabeth, only daughter of Thomas second Earl of Aylesbury and Baron Bruce. That barony afterwards devolved upon him by a special limitation in the patent obtained by his uncle Charles, the third and last Earl of Aylesbury, who also bequeathed to him the bulk of the family property. He was created Earl of Aylesbury in 1776, on the death of his uncle, and died in 1814. The present Marquis of Aylesbury is his son.—E.

37 James Douglas, Earl of March and Ruglen, afterwards Duke of Queensberry. He died in 1810, aged 86. He possessed uncommon shrewdness and penetration, but is now only remembered by the excessive profligacy which stained even the last years of his life.—E.

38 Alexander Montgomery, Earl of Eglinton, an intelligent, public-spirited nobleman. Scotland is greatly indebted to him for the agricultural improvements he introduced upon his estates in Ayrshire, and still more for the benefit of his example on other large landed proprietors. He was mortally wounded in an accidental scuffle with an officer of Excise, whom he found poaching in his park, and died on the 25th October, 1769. The murderer was convicted, and only escaped execution by hanging himself in prison. Wood’s Peerage of Scotland, vol. i.—E.

39 George Broderick, Viscount Middleton. He had married the eldest daughter of the Honourable Thomas Townshend, and great-niece of the Duke of Newcastle, and died in 1765, aged 35. He was the grandson of Lord Chancellor Broderick.—E.

40 Andrew Stone, of whom see more in the preceding reign, and infra.

41 Smith de Burgh, Earl of Clanrickard.

42 Richard Rigby, of Mistley, near Manningtree, in Essex, Secretary to the Duke of Bedford.

43 This tract may still be read with interest. It is a masterly production. The style is clear and persuasive, the tone calm, and the reasoning close and logical. The examples from English history with which the author supports his positions are skilfully chosen and agreeably introduced, and his strictures on the King of Prussia have a smartness and pungency that show no small command over the weapons of controversy. Mr. Mauduit was agent for Massachusetts. He wrote several tracts on the differences between England and her American Colonies, as well as on subjects connected with the Dissenting interests, of which he was a zealous and munificent promoter. He died unmarried, in June 1787, aged 72. See Nichols’s Literary Anecdotes, vol. viii. p. 466; and Chalmers’s Biographical Dictionary, Art. Mauduit.—E.

44 Basil Fielding, Earl of Denbigh, Lord of the Bedchamber.

45 Son of Mr. Grenville, of Wooton, and afterwards First Lord of the Treasury. He had for some time been looked upon as a very promising statesman. Mr. Glover, in writing of him a few years before, says, “George Grenville will, I believe, make the most useful and able Parliament man of the three, though not of equal eloquence with Pitt.”—Mem. of a Distinguished Pol. and Lit. Character, p. 20.

His memory is embalmed in the brilliant panegyric of Mr. Burke (speech on American Taxation); and a more sober, though not less friendly estimate of his merits, has been since given by Mr. Knox. (Cited in an interesting note to the Chatham Correspondence, vol. iii. p. 486.) These prove how highly he was esteemed by his friends; and it will be perceived in the course of this work that Walpole was not always blind to his great knowledge of the Constitution, his capacity for business, and his powers as a speaker in Parliament. The unfavourable opinion, however, expressed of Mr. Grenville in the text was by no means confined to Walpole, his unpopularity being remarkable. Justice, indeed, was never shown to his abilities by the public—even Dr. Johnson wrote of him, “Let him not be depreciated in his grave. He had powers not universally possessed; could he have enforced payment of the Manilla ransom, he could have counted it.” (Cited in Boswell, vol. ii. p. 113.)—E.

46 Archibald Campbell, Duke of Argyle, died suddenly, March 15, 1761.

47 The King.

48 Sir Henry Erskine, though a moderate poet, was not meanly accomplished. He cultivated literature, and was a very lively companion. He spoke frequently in the House of Commons, and always fluently and with spirit, but in a style better suited to the hustings than to a deliberative assembly. His career was singular. He was the second son of Sir John Erskine, Bart., of Alva, and succeeded to his title on the death of his brother, Major Sir Charles Erskine, at Holst, just before the battle of Lafeldt. He accompanied the expedition to L’Orient, as Deputy Quarter-Master General of the Forces, under his uncle, General St. Clair. Devoting himself afterwards to politics, he shared the proscription which fell on the adherents of Leicester House, and was dismissed the service. The new reign amply restored his fortunes. With his commission he soon received the command of the Royal Scots; and in four years he had already attained the rank of Lieutenant-General, when he died, in 1765, in middle life. His marriage with Miss Wedderburn, little as it promised at the time of worldly advantage, brought wealth and rank into his family; the earldom and property of her brother, Lord Chancellor Rosslyn, having devolved subsequently on their eldest son, owing to the death of that nobleman and his brother, General Wedderburn, without issue.—E.

49 John Home, author of the tragedies of Douglas, Agis, and Siege of Aquileia; of which none save Douglas (says Sir Walter Scott) were exhibited with remarkable applause, and one or two with marked disapprobation. Mr. Home, though not a first-rate dramatist, was a pleasing writer, well-informed, and very agreeable in society. George the Third became much attached to him, and provided for him on coming to the throne. He died in 1808, aged 84. His memoirs have been elegantly written by Mackenzie, and form the subject of one of Walter Scott’s beautiful criticisms in the Quarterly Review for June 1827.—E.

50 Thomas Worseley, Surveyor General of the Board of Works.

51 George Cooke, prothonotary of the Common Pleas, and member for Middlesex. Walpole calls him elsewhere a “pompous Jacobite.” He conducted the celebrated Westminster Petition against Lord Trentham in 1751; afterwards attaching himself to Mr. Pitt, he was appointed joint Paymaster-General in 1766, and died in 1768.—E.

52 Thomas Coventry, member for Bridport. A barrister, and director of the South Sea Company. He was son of Thomas Coventry, who was brother of William fifth Earl of Coventry.—E.

53 Alderman William Beckford, of Jamaica, member for the City of London.

54 Henry Bilson Legge, a younger son of the first Earl of Dartmouth, was at this time Chancellor of the Exchequer. It should be remembered that Mr. Legge had abandoned Lord Winchelsea, and attached himself to Mr. Pelham in the Cabinet schism of 1744. He shared, with many respectable statesmen of that day, the charge of having served several masters, the partial changes so frequently made in the Government having rendered coalitions almost inevitable, especially at a time when, owing to the decline of Jacobitism, the lines of demarcation between the different political parties had become very indistinct. None, however, with whom he acted, could deny his eminent qualifications as a man of business, or as a debater in the House of Commons on all questions of trade and finance. His political integrity is less commendable. Dodington says, that his thoughts were “tout pour la trippe”—all for quarter-day (Diary, 407); and has, in common with Walpole, reproached him with perfidy, in disclosing to the Duke of Newcastle the negotiations of Leicester House with the Court in 1757. The more detailed account of the transaction, since published in the posthumous memoirs of Mr. Glover, makes it far more probable that the secret was insidiously drawn from him by the Duke, whose skill in imposing on men of superior ability to his own, is one of the most remarkable traits of his character; and that Mr. Legge was very open to such arts, may reasonably be inferred, from the well-known fact of his having incurred the serious displeasure of George the Second by an indiscreet slip in conversation, when minister at Berlin. He had the laxity of principle that belonged to the school of Walpole, but there is no ground for believing him to have been actually dishonest; and Mr. Pelham, who knew him well, said, “that he thought him as good as his neighbours: more able, and as willing, to serve them that served him as anybody he had been acquainted with for some time.” Whatever may have been his delinquencies in this respect, they would certainly have been overlooked by the Court, had he added to them by adopting the course which was urged on him by Lord Bute in the Hampshire election. This is proved by their published correspondence, in which he had a great advantage over Lord Bute. When that minister had the assurance to ask him to support Sir Simeon Steuart, who had come forward on the opposite interest, he honestly answered, “If the Whigs and Dissenters, who are very numerous in this country, will make it a point of opposing him, it will be impossible for me to declare for him, and abandon those who have supported me, to take part with those against whom they have supported me.” Lord Bute’s rejoinder is admirable! he protests against any desire on the Prince’s part to require the sacrifice of Mr. Legge’s honour, but besought him out of real friendship, to consider seriously whether he could not still, as far as was in his power, co-operate with the Prince’s wishes for the return of two candidates, and required a categorical answer. This was at once given in the negative by Mr. Legge, who added, that he would submit to any consequences rather than incur such a disgrace. Hence his dismissal. See more of Mr. Legge infra.—E.

55 Daniel Finch, Earl of Winchelsea and Nottingham, Knight of the Garter. Lord Winchelsea is one of the few statesmen of the reign of George the Second whose character is worthy of a purer age. He was the son of Lord Winchelsea, the great Tory leader, whose disgrace he shared when that nobleman was dismissed for espousing the cause of the Jacobite peers involved in the rebellion of 1715. He subsequently became reconciled to Sir Robert Walpole, and in 1742 was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty. Lord Waldegrave says of his conduct at that period, “That it was so unexceptionable that faction itself was obliged to be silent.”—Walpole Memoirs, p. 139. Horace Walpole is equally warm in his praise. This is the testimony of political friends, but it stands uncontradicted. Indeed Lord Winchelsea appears to have enjoyed the respect of all parties. His public career, to use the words of Lord Mahon, “without being illustrious, was long, useful, and honourable.” He died in 1769, aged 81.—E.

56 William Wildman Shute Barrington, Viscount Barrington, Treasurer of the Navy.

57 Robert Darcy, Earl of Holderness. This is an exaggeration of Lord Holderness’s incapacity; for it appears by the Mitchell papers, that he had attended closely to the business of his office, and performed it respectably. His talents, however, were not above mediocrity. His foreign connexions had recommended him to George the Second, whom he attended as Lord of the Bedchamber at the battle of Dettingen, and he was afterwards minister at Turin and at the Hague. The Duke of Newcastle succeeded in making him Secretary of State, against the opinion of Mr. Pelham, when scarcely thirty years of age. His qualifications for that high office are thus summed up by the Duke, in a letter, urging the appointment:—“He is indeed, or was thought, trifling in his manner and carriage; but believe me, he has a solid understanding, and will come out as prudent a young man as any in the kingdom. He is good-natured, so that you may tell him his faults, and he will mend them. He is very taciturn, dexterous enough, and most punctual in the execution of his orders. He is got into the routine of business, and knows well the present state of it.” (Letter from Duke of Newcastle to Mr. Pelham, in Coxe’s Life of Pelham, vol. ii. p. 387.) A portrait not less characteristic of the Duke than of Lord Holderness. His lordship married a lady of the Fagel family, and his mother was daughter of the last Duke of Schomberg. He died 1778, without issue male, and his earldom became extinct. See more of him in Walpole’s Memoirs, vol. i. p. 172; and Lord Waldegrave’s Memoirs, p. 121.—E.

58 James Grenville, second brother of Earl Temple. He had already been Deputy Paymaster General, and one of the Lords of Trade, and, lastly, of the Treasury.—E.

59 John Manners, Duke of Rutland, Knight of the Garter, died in 1779, at the age of 83, having survived his gallant and amiable son, the Marquis of Granby.—E.

60 Samuel Lord Sandys, formerly the indefatigable opponent of Sir Robert Walpole; but his importance had greatly diminished since that minister’s downfall. He died in 1770.—E.

61 Thomas Osborne, Duke of Leeds, Knight of the Garter. He married Mary, daughter and co-heir of Francis Earl of Godolphin, and died in 1783, aged 76.—E.

62 Charles Townshend, second son of Charles Viscount Townshend.

63 Gilbert Elliot, afterwards Sir Gilbert.

64 George Bussy Villiers, Viscount Villiers, only son of the Earl of Jersey, whom he afterwards succeeded. He held the post of Lord Chamberlain from 1765 to 1769, and subsequently filled other high offices in the royal household. He died in August, 1805, aged 70.—E.

65 T. Pelham, of Stanmore, afterwards Lord Pelham.

66 George Rice married Cecil, only child of William Lord Talbot, and a great heiress. He was Lord Lieutenant of the county of Carmarthen, and a Privy Councillor. He died in 1779. The present Lord Dynevor is his son.—E.

67 John Spencer, only son of John Spencer, brother of Charles Duke of Marlborough. He was a person of very resolute, independent spirit, and warmly attached to the Whig interest, as he too well proved at the celebrated Northampton election, which seriously impaired even his immense fortune, while it made Lord Northampton an exile for the remainder of his life, and obliged Lord Halifax to sell Horton and his principal estates. With the exception of a very brief interval, Lord Spencer remained all his life in Opposition. He died greatly respected in 1783, aged 49. The present Earl Spencer is his grandson.—E.

68 Sir Thomas Robinson, created Lord Grantham, had been minister at Vienna, and Secretary of State. He was the fourth son of Sir William Robinson, Baronet. His fortunate connexion with Horace Lord Walpole, to whom he had been Secretary in 1723, quickly raised him to eminence. He was an excellent man of business, and highly esteemed as a diplomatist. His despatches are written with great spirit and clearness. In the House of Commons he failed, as might have been expected from his previous pursuits, and his talents have in consequence been much underrated. He died in 1770. The Earl de Grey and the Earl of Ripon are his grandsons.—E.

69 Sir Nathaniel Curzon, (fifth Baronet, and M. P. for Derbyshire,) created Lord Scarsdale. He afterwards was appointed Chairman of the Committee of the House of Lords, and died at an advanced age, in 1804.—E.

70 Sir William Irby, created Lord Boston. He had been Page to George I. and George II., and Equerry to the Prince on the arrival of the latter in England. He married a niece of Mr. Selwyn, and died in 1773, aged 66.—E.

71 George Bubb Dodington, created Lord Melcomb.

72 William Pulteney, Earl of Bath.

73 Son of the Lord Chancellor. He had in his youth been one of Sir Robert Walpole’s most violent opponents. The Count de Fuentes, in a letter to Mr. Wall, of 27th March, says that this appointment was ascribed to the Princess of Wales: of whom he adds, “they speak with too much liberty.”—Chatham Corresp. vol. ii. p. 106. The adherence of Lord Talbot to the Leicester House party certainly entitled him to consideration, but he was now much overpaid; and this was felt even by his patron Lord Bute, who wanted firmness to resist pretensions which were urged with impetuosity, amounting almost to passion.—(Dodington’s Diary, cited in note to the letter supra.) Lord Talbot had talents, was resolute and ready; and his speeches had an air of independence and a plausibility that made him rather a favourite with the public, notwithstanding his vices, until his duel with Wilkes brought ridicule upon his name, not to be effaced.—E.

74 Son of Selina Countess of Huntingdon. He remained Groom of the Stole till 1770. Akenside, who was one of the least adulatory of poets, addressed to him, in 1747, a didactic ode on his setting out on his travels. He was an amiable and accomplished nobleman, though it requires some partiality to believe of his early youth that his “breast the gifts of every Muse had known.” Delicate health prevented his taking an active part in public business, and in 1766 he declined the embassy to Spain, which was pressed on him by Lord Chatham. He died in 1790, aged 62, without having been married, and the title was for some years supposed to be extinct. In 1819 the father of the present Earl established a claim to it, and took his seat in the House of Lords accordingly.—E.

75 See page 39, and infra.

76 Henry Seymour Conway, only brother of Francis Earl of Hertford.

77 John Waldegrave, only brother of James Earl Waldegrave, whom he succeeded in the title, married Lady Elizabeth Leveson Gower, sister of Gertrude Duchess of Bedford. His presence of mind and intrepidity at the battle of Minden established his character as a soldier.—Mem. vol. ii. p. 367. He was appropriately rewarded with the regiment of dragoons, vacated by Lord George Sackville’s dismissal. Subsequently he obtained one of the regiments of foot-guards, and was made Master of the Horse to the Queen. His love of state, not less than the handsome manner in which he lived, well adapted him to any great office at Court. He died in 1784. His eldest son, a most respectable nobleman, and also an officer, only survived him five years.—E.

78 John Mostyn, brother of Sir Roger Mostyn, Bart., and Groom of the Bedchamber to the King. He had commanded the British cavalry with distinction in Germany, and was mainly instrumental in gaining the Battle of Warburgh, the credit of which Lord Granby ascribed entirely to him. He might have risen high in the army, had he not shrunk from the responsibility of great commands. He refused the command of the expedition to the Havannah, on the ground that he did not pretend to be more than a cavalry officer. His good nature and conviviality, as well as his quiet military deportment, made him popular at Court; and George the Second liked him so much, that he generally formed one of the King’s evening party. It was believed he might have been a favourite if he pleased. His last employment was as Governor of Minorca.—Memoirs of Sir James Campbell, vol. i. p. 173.

79 John Manners, Marquis of Granby, son of John Duke of Rutland.

80 Letter (of 21st March) to George Montagu, and the note.—Walpole’s Collected Correspondence, vol. iv. p. 128.

81 Sir John Philipps, Bart., of Picton Castle, in Pembrokeshire, an opulent and influential Jacobite. He was the second son of Sir Erasmus Philipps, and had succeeded to the title and estates on the death of his elder brother. He died in 1764, leaving an only son, Sir Richard, who was afterwards created an Irish Peer by the title of Lord Milford, and died without issue in 1823.—E.

82 Henry, brother of Thomas Lord Archer.

83 Mr. Onslow died in February 1768, aged 76. A very pleasing account of him is given in the Preface to the second volume of Hatsell’s Precedents, p. 6.

84 William Pulteney, Earl of Bath.

85 Henry Arthur Herbert, Earl of Powis.

86 Dr. Hayter, afterwards Bishop of London. Vide p. 73, infra.

87 Dr. Thomas, afterwards Bishop of Winchester. Vide Appendix.

88 Charles Wyndham, Earl of Egremont, afterwards Secretary of State. Vide infra.

89 Sir Joseph Yorke, Ambassador in Holland, third son of Philip Earl of Hardwicke. He had been a captain of the Guards, and aide-de-camp of the Duke of Cumberland at the battle of Fontenoy. In 1751 he was appointed Minister at the Hague, where he remained many years, and became almost naturalized, having married a Dutch lady. His estimable conduct, and also his splendid hospitality, gave him great consideration in Holland. In 1788 he was created Lord Dover. He died in 1792 without issue, and the title became extinct.—E.

90 Admiral Edward Boscawen, brother of Lord Viscount Falmouth, a distinguished naval commander. He died this year, at the early age of 50. The late Earl of Falmouth was his grandson.—E.

91 Hans Stanley, one of the Lords of the Admiralty, and afterwards Cofferer.

92 M. Bussy was one of the chief Commis of the Foreign Department at Paris. He had great experience in business, and was eminently adroit and persuasive; qualities to which he owed his nomination to this difficult post. Formerly he had been private secretary to the Duc de Richelieu, through whose interest he was employed on a mission to George the Second in Hanover in 1754. Flassan, Hist. de la Diplomatic Française, vol. vi. p. 388. See more respecting him in Mr. Stanley’s Correspondence in the Appendix to the Life of Lord Chatham.—E.

93 Memoirs of George the Second, vol. i. p. 242. It is ably drawn, and not unkindly, considering the belief long entertained by the Whigs of the Duke having betrayed Sir Robert Walpole. The more favourable portrait given by Archdeacon Coxe, from materials supplied by his family, is, like too many family portraits, feeble, flattering, and indistinct. His Grace unquestionably possessed a powerful, active, and cultivated mind. He had studied, and thoroughly understood the weaknesses of men, and was unscrupulous in the practice of all the arts of intrigue. Success usually crowned his efforts, and notwithstanding the various changes of Government, he maintained much of his power to the last. Disappointment attended only his private life, which was chilled by aversion to his wife and the want of children. Il fut riche, il fut titré, mais il ne fut point heureux—the just and natural result of a line of conduct which, as Lord Mahon correctly observes, was seldom on any occasion swayed either by virtue or generosity.—Coxe’s Life of Sir R. Walpole, vol. iv. p. 236; Mahon’s Hist. vol. iii. p. 237.—E.

94 This prediction has not been realized. The Bangorian controversy has long lost its interest, and great as was their success in their day, and great their reward—no less than the Bishoprick of Winchester—the three massive folios of Hoadley’s Works now slumber on the shelves of theological libraries. His two sons, one of whom was chaplain, and the other physician to the King, were men of talent, and are still recollected as the joint authors of that popular comedy, “The Suspicious Husband.” They were the last of their family.—E.

95 John Hay, Marquis of Tweedale, had been secretary of State for Scotland. Lord Tweedale had been one of the extraordinary Lords of Session in Scotland, and also had held the post of Secretary of State for that country. He was the last person that filled either of these offices. His connexion with Lord Granville, whose daughter he had married, brought him into public life in opposition to Walpole, and he shared the spoils of that minister. Like Lord Granville, he possessed considerable knowledge of law. He is said also to have been a good debater in Parliament. He died, without male issue, in December 1762.—E.

96 Dr. Robert Hay Drummond, brother of the Earl Kinnoul.

97 Richard Edgcumbe, second Lord Edgcumbe, an intimate friend of the author, who has given him a place in the Noble Authors. He was a humourist, and had a turn for poetry and drawing, of which some amusing specimens are noticed in the publications of his day. Walpole says, he never had a fault but to himself, never an enemy but himself.—E.

98 Lady Caroline Lenox, eldest daughter of Charles second Duke of Richmond, married to Henry Fox, Paymaster of the Forces.

99 Eldest daughter of Stephen Fox, Earl of Ilchester, by the sole daughter and heiress of Mr. Strangways Horner, whose name he assumed.

100 Holland House, beyond Kensington, the seat of the Earls of Warwick and Holland; now of Henry Fox, Lord Holland.

101 John Fane, Earl of Westmoreland, Chancellor of Oxford, Lieutenant-general in the army, and formerly captain of one of the troops of Horse Guards. In early life, when a younger brother, and a Whig, he had served under the Duke of Marlborough; and afterwards commanded “the body of troops which George the First had been obliged to send to Oxford, to teach the University the only kind of passive obedience of which they did not approve.” He subsequently joined the Jacobites in their opposition to Sir Robert Walpole, and became a high Tory; as indeed may be inferred from Lord Arran appointing him High Steward of the University in 1754, and from his succeeding that nobleman as Chancellor in 1758. He was comely in his person, and highly respected for his virtues in private life. Glover describes him as “a veteran patriot, slow, but solid; always meaning well, and therefore judging right.” He died without issue in 1762, at a very advanced age. Walpole’s Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 340. Memoirs of a distinguished Political and Literary Character, p. 121.—E.

102 Sir Philip Yorke, Earl of Hardwicke, formerly Lord Chancellor.

103 John Carteret, Earl of Granville, some time Prime Minister to George the Second.

104 Simon Lord Harcourt, formerly Governor to the King. See an account of his resignation of that post, in the preceding reign, (Memoirs of George the Second, vol. i. p. 254.)

105 Mary Panton, second wife of Peregrine Bertie, Duke of Ancaster.

106 Elizabeth Gunning, Duchess Dowager of Hamilton, married, secondly, to John Campbell, Marquis of Lorn, eldest son of John Duke of Argyle.

107 Mr. Hammond had been in love with her, and then forsaken her. The poems which he wrote on her have been published.

108 Mr. Andrew Stone was appointed Treasurer to the Queen on her arrival. He was the well-known confident of the Duke of Newcastle and Mr. Pelham, over both of whom he exercised great influence. He had been private, and afterwards under secretary to the former. Latterly he had been sub-governor to the King when Prince of Wales. He was a fine scholar, and had distinguished himself at Oxford, where he was the rival and friend of Murray (Lord Mansfield). Bishop Newton, who knew him well, says that his tastes and feelings were better suited to the Church than to politics. Lord Waldegrave likewise commends his integrity. Walpole can find no fault in him, except that he had a tendency to Jacobitism, a charge which his conduct and connections proved to be unfounded. He appears to have been entirely devoid of ambition, honest, and most disinterested. He died in 1773, aged 72. The best account of Mr. Stone is in a note to Coxe’s Life of Pelham, vol. i. p. 430.—E.

109 She did some years afterwards with the King, but quite in private.

110 Dr. Robert Hay Drummond, brother of the Earl of Kinnoul, and Bishop of Salisbury, a man of parts and of the world. He was the second son of George eighth Earl of Kinnoul, formerly Ambassador at Constantinople. He had attended George the Second in the campaign of 1743, and preached the thanksgiving sermon at Hanover, for the battle of Dettingen. On his return he was made a prebendary of Westminster, and in 1748 Bishop of St. Asaph. He was a dignified and accomplished prelate. He died in 1776, in his 66th year. In 1803 one of his younger children, the late Mr. George Drummond, published a volume, intituled “Sermons on Public Occasions, and a Letter on Theological Study, by Robert, late Archbishop of York,” &c. The Archbishop’s eldest son became tenth Earl of Kinnoul.—E.

111 Dr. Hayter was supposed to be the natural son of Dr. Blackburne, Archbishop of York. This supposition is indignantly attacked in an article on the first part of these Memoirs, in the Quarterly Review. In justice to Walpole, it is only fair to state, that this was a report generally believed at the time. In the quarrel in the Princess’s household which led to the Bishop’s disgrace, Mr. Cresset, the Princess’s confident, was charged with calling him a bastard.—Edinburgh Review, No. 73, p. 5, note. The suspicious report was rather strengthened than otherwise by Archbishop Blackburne’s leaving him a large fortune. What is of more importance to Bishop Hayter’s memory is, that he bore a high character for generosity and learning. He only survived his translation a single year, having died in 1762, aged 59. Nichols’s Literary Anecdotes, vol. ii. p. 505.—E.

112 There were at this time two bishops of the same name; Dr. John Thomas, Bishop of Winchester, and Dr. John Thomas, Bishop of Lincoln: the latter had been promoted by Lord Granville.

113 George William Hervey, Earl of Bristol, Ambassador in Spain, son of the famous John Lord Hervey.

114 Charles third King of Spain, and before of Naples; commonly called Don Carlos.

115 The Duke positively denied having made any such communication to Bussy. See infra.—E.

116 The following note is transcribed from the manuscript memoirs of Sir George Colebrooke, Bart., M.P., Chairman of the East India Company; an eminent merchant, who sat many years in Parliament, and possessed the confidence of some of the leading statesmen of his day.

“During the time I attended Newcastle House and the Treasury Chambers on the Contract business, I had frequent opportunities of knowing how despotically Mr. Pitt governed his ministerial colleagues, and how much he was dreaded by the Duke. Some years afterwards I recollect his Grace making this the subject of lively conversation at table, at Claremont; but it was no subject of merriment at the time the transaction passed. More than once I was summoned to the Treasury to give an account of the state of the provisions, and of the money, for the army, Mr. West giving, for reason, that Mr. Pitt threatened the Duke, that if at any time a want of either should be found, he would impeach him in the ensuing session. At the Treasury I frequently met Mr. Wallis, Commissioner of the Navy, who mentioned the following memorable instance. A train of artillery was wanted at Portsmouth for an expedition. Mr. Pitt told Wallis that it must be down by a certain day he named. Wallis made some excuse for the delay, either that the transports were not ready or the winds were contrary; upon which Mr. Pitt insisted that they should go by land, a method of conveyance which was afterwards pursued.

“General Harvey, who had been sent by Prince Ferdinand to prepare matters in England for the campaign, and to carry over the English draughts, waited on Mr. Pitt to take his leave. Mr. Pitt asked him whether he had obtained everything he wanted, and the General answered, not; and he therefore came to take leave, that no blame might fall on him from the Prince. Mr. Pitt desired the General to enumerate what he wanted, and immediately rang his bell for Mr. Wood, who in the names of the different Boards signified to their officers his Majesty’s commands for the dispatch of what was required for Germany, and in four days General Harvey had in readiness what he had been as many months soliciting.

“West, the Secretary, always looked frightened; and well he might, for Mr. Pitt would have been as good as his word, which was to impeach the Commissioners of the Treasury, if they neglected anything needful for the war. At times he depended so little on them, that, notwithstanding a contract to supply the army, he caused provisions to be sent by victualling transports.

“Proceeding in the way I have mentioned, of writing in the names of the different public officers, there were numberless hiatus in their books of correspondence, and instances of orders carried into execution without their sanction. The name of Lord Barrington was principally used as Secretary at War, who did not know more than a stranger of troops being ordered on service, till the embarkation had actually taken place.

“The Duke of Newcastle, speaking himself of the cavalier manner with which Mr. Pitt treated the Cabinet, mentioned the instance of some foreign expedition which Mr. Pitt had proposed, but which, in the opinion of the ministers, and of Lord Anson, First Lord of the Admiralty, deprived Great Britain of too great a part of its internal defence. Lord Mansfield had not yet given his opinion; but Mr. Pitt, apprehensive that it would be against him, summed up the opinions of Council, a majority of which he declared to be for the expedition; adding, “The Chief Justice of England has no opinion to give in this matter thereby stopping his mouth. The Duke told Lord Coventry, that Mr. Murray, when Attorney-General, and in the House of Commons, had acknowledged to him that he was intimidated by Pitt. The more the latter found Murray to be intimidated, the more he naturally pressed him.

“I never saw the Duke in higher spirits than after Mr. Pitt, thwarted by the Cabinet in his proposal of declaring war against Spain, had given notice of resignation. The Duke had done more wisely, if he had followed Lord Hardwicke’s advice, and had resigned on the death of his late master. The Duke could not endure to part with his power, much less to devolve it on one who meant to keep it. When he last resigned the Treasury to the Duke of Devonshire, it was with a view to have it back again at a convenient season.”—E.

117 The following extraordinary notice was published in the Gazette of the 9th October: “The Right Honourable William Pitt having resigned the Seals into the King’s hands, His Majesty was this day pleased to appoint the Earl of Egremont to be one of His Majesty’s principal Secretaries of State; and, in consideration of the great and important services of the said Mr. Pitt, His Majesty has been graciously pleased to direct that a warrant be prepared for granting to the Lady Hesther Pitt, his wife, a Barony of Great Britain, by the name, style, and title of Baroness of Chatham, to herself, and of Baron of Chatham to her heirs male, and also to confer upon the said William Pitt, Esq., an annuity of three thousand pounds sterling, during his own life and that of Lady Hesther Pitt, and their son John Pitt, Esq.”—E.

118 It certainly is not the practice now (1844) to insert pensions in the Gazette. Whether it ever was so it would be difficult to ascertain, as there is no index prior to the year 1787. The impression of two very old officers, who have frequent occasions to consult the Gazette, is, that no such general practice ever prevailed.—E.

119 It was by such expressions as this that Mr. Pitt created the disappointment in the public mind, that followed the announcement of his pension. To use the words of Lord Brougham: “He did not sustain the exalted pitch of magnanimous independence, and utter disregard of sublunary interests, which we should expect him to have reached and kept as a matter of course, from a mere cursory glance at the mould in which his lofty character was cast.” Statesmen of the Time of George III., 1st series, p. 45. A pension of £4000 a year to Lord Holderness passed without a murmur, while one of £3000 a year to Mr. Pitt raised a general burst of indignation, only because the country regarded the latter as lowering their idol to the level of the jobbing statesmen of the day. The cry against Mr. Pitt was, indeed, almost universal. See letter to Mr. Conway, vol. iv. of Walpole’s Collected Correspondence, p. 184; and particularly the note containing the opposite opinions of Mr. Gray and Mr. Burke. Mr. Pitt’s noble refusal of the vast emoluments of the Pay-office, which so enriched those who preceded and succeeded him as Paymaster, entitles his conduct in all pecuniary matters to a liberal construction from posterity. What is really to be regretted, is the humiliating tone of his correspondence with Lord Bute, in accepting the pension (Chatham Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 152,) and his language at his interview with the King on that occasion.—Annual Register for 1761. But we will not dwell on the defects of a man who certainly was far above his age, not only in talent, but in real independence.—E.

120 Thomas Prowse, member for Somersetshire, which he had represented in five successive Parliaments, having been every time unanimously elected. He was an opulent, well-informed, and influential country gentleman. He died, after a long illness, in 1767, aged 59, and was buried in Axbridge Church; where the long panegyric on his tomb states—“That though frequently solicited, he never could be prevailed upon to accept any employment in the state.” Collinson’s History of Somerset, vol. iii. p. 563.—E.

121 Edward Bacon, of Earlham Hall, Norfolk, barrister-at-law, and M. P. for Norwich. He was son of Walter Bacon, of Earlham Hall, and M. P. for Norwich. Mr. Edward Bacon had been member for Lynn in 1742. He represented Norwich from 1752 to 1784, when he retired from Parliament. He died in March 1786, and was buried in the chancel of Earlham Church. His portrait is still preserved at Earlham Hall.—E.

122 A more favourable character of Sir John Cust is given in the preface of Moore’s General Index to the Journals of the House of Commons, vol. iv.; a very useful work, to the compilation of which he contributed. He added to great industry, a considerable knowledge of Parliamentary history and constitutional law; and his amiable disposition and obliging temper were no insignificant recommendations to the Speakership. He was a Lincolnshire country gentleman, of ancient family, and had inherited a great estate from his mother, the heiress of the Tyrconnels.—E.

123 Sir Hugh Smithson Percy, Earl of Northumberland.

124 John Berkeley, fifth and last Lord Berkeley of Stratton. He died without issue in 1773, having left his principal estates to Lord Berkeley.—E.

125 It is certain that Monsieur de Bussy told different persons what the Duke of Bedford had said to him, particularly to Lady Hervey, from whom I heard it.

126 George Spencer, Duke of Marlborough, K.G. He was son-in-law of the Duke of Bedford. He died in January 1817, aged 78.—E.

127 Thomas Lord Parker, eldest son of the Earl of Macclesfield, whom he succeeded in that title in March 1764. Like his father, he cultivated the mathematics successfully, and was much respected. He had been defeated in the great contest for the county of Oxford in 1757, but was seated on petition. He died in 1795, aged 72.—E.

128 The famous John Wilkes, member for Aylesbury, and author of “The North Briton.”

129 George Dempster, an East India Director, and for nearly thirty years member for the Perth district of Boroughs. He was the friend of Dr. Johnson, and the patron of Robert Burns; and is described by Mr. Croker as a man of talents and very agreeable manners. He took an active part in all the debates of the House on East India questions; and was one of the few who, after defending Warren Hastings, gave a zealous support to Fox’s India Bill. He died about the year 1790, at a very advanced age. Croker’s Boswell, vol. i. p. 418. Annual Necrology, vol. iii. p. 141.—E.

130 Peregrine Cust. He is mentioned in Churchill’s Satires.

131 Eliab Harvey, brother of William Harvey of Chigwell, in Essex, died in 1769.

132 During the administration of Sir Robert Walpole the Opposition propagated a report, which was universally believed, that the Spaniards, though at peace with us, had taken one of our ships, and cut off the captain’s ears.

133 This was the famous sentence so often quoted, and so often ridiculed, in the pamphlets of that time.

134 The Spanish Ambassador. See infra.

135 Percy Windham Obrien, Earl of Thomond, second son of Sir William Windham, and brother of the Earl of Egremont. Their sister was married to Mr. George Grenville.

136 Henry Arthur Herbert, Earl of Powis, having become male heir of this illustrious family by the death of the last peer, Henry Lord Herbert, of Cherbury, in 1738, he was created Lord Herbert in 1743, and Earl of Powis in 1748. His Lordship married Barbara, sole daughter and heiress of Lord Edward Herbert, brother of the last Marquis of Powis, and died in 1772, leaving a son, on whose death in 1801 the earldom became extinct.—E.

137 Next brother of the Duke of Devonshire.

138 Second son of Charles Lord Viscount Townshend.

139 Thomas Charles Bunbury, called, after his father’s death, Sir Charles Bunbury. [He represented the county of Suffolk for forty-five years, and died in March 1821, in his 81st year. He forsook politics for horse-racing, which he found a more congenial pursuit, and was long considered as the father of the turf. See more of him in Selwyn’s Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 180.—E.]

140 At the conferences held there previously to the Treaty of Utrecht.

141 In twenty-eight years, viz. to 1788, the King has not once been at Hanover, nor seems to design it.

142 Additional particulars respecting Colonel Barré are given in Chatham Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 41, 168–171. See especially the notes, containing extracts from the Mitchell MSS.—E.

143 Richard Glover, a merchant, who, by superior intelligence, great fluency of speech in public, and some reputation as a poet, had gained considerable influence in the City, and was thought of sufficient importance to be admitted into the councils of Leicester House. This distinction, and the success of his poems, which had all a political tendency, made him fancy himself on an equality with Pitt, Lyttelton, and the other men of talent who surrounded the Prince of Wales. The illusion was painfully dispelled. The sudden death of the Prince broke up the party; Mr. Glover’s services were no longer required; and happening to be at the time under commercial embarrassments, he sank into obscurity. In a few years, however, by diligent application, and a successful speculation in the copper trade, he retrieved his fortunes, but he never forgave the neglect of his former associates; and the memoirs he left behind him show the angry feelings he entertained, particularly against Mr. Pitt. To this circumstance he probably owed his seat for Weymouth, the borough being one of those which Mr. Dodington placed at the disposal of Lord Bute. Mr. Glover died in 1785, aged 73. His autobiography from 1742 to 1757 was published in 1813, under the title of Memoirs of a Distinguished Literary and Political Character. They are not without spirit, but show few signs of a powerful mind, and are in every respect inferior to what might have been expected from him.—E.

144 James Oswald, of Brunnikier, joint Vice-Treasurer of Ireland.

145 Dr. George Hay, of the Commons, one of the Commissioners of the Admiralty.

146 George Cooke, Prothonotary, member for Middlesex.

147 Second son of John Duke of Argyle, for many years Lord Register of Scotland in Mr. Pitt’s administration.—E.

148 Robert Nugent, Esq., of Gosfield, in Essex, afterwards Earl Nugent. See infra.

149 This became a stronger truth every day.

150 Mr. Gascoyne was the only son of Sir Crispe Gascoyne, Lord Mayor of London, from whom he inherited a considerable estate. He had a strong understanding, and was esteemed highly as a man of business. His rough deportment had gained him at the University (we are told by Wilkes) the appellation of the Butcher; and he took no pains to get rid of it. He was also called “the King of Barking,” his country residence and principal patrimony being in that village, where he was much respected, and where he lies buried. He died in 1791. The late Marchioness of Salisbury was his granddaughter, and inherited his estates.—E.

151 Soon after, seeing another member give Barré a biscuit, Townshend said, “Oh! you should feed him with raw flesh.”

152 George Augustus Selwyn, of Matson, Gloucestershire, famous for his wit. His correspondence has been recently published in 4 vols. 8vo.—E.

153 Philip Francis, translator of Horace and Demosthenes, and the father of Sir Philip Francis, K.B.; a scholar and a man of talent, and a most active political partisan. He was for some time the tutor of Gibbon.—E.

154 “Of this very alarming connection Mr. Pitt had the most early and authentic intelligence, together with the most positive assurances from persons of undoubted veracity, who are at this moment in no common sphere of life.” History of the Minority, p. 30. Mr. Adolphus states the treaty itself to have been communicated to Mr. Pitt by the Earl Marechal Keith, in gratitude for the reversal of his attainder, but “that the fact, if it existed, was not disclosed to the Cabinet,” Adolphus, vol. i. p. 44. This story receives some confirmation from a cotemporary memoir of the Earl Marechal recently published by the Spalding Society of Aberdeen, and supposed to have been written by Sir Robert Strange, who had once been a zealous Jacobite. Neither the Chatham Correspondence nor the Mitchell manuscripts contain anything on the subject; and the papers of the Earl Marechal, at Cumbernald, have never been thoroughly examined. The Editor is disposed to believe the intelligence received by Mr. Pitt did not go so far as the existence of the treaty, but consisted of facts sufficient, in his estimation, to leave no doubt of the object of the negotiation between France and Spain, and of the general intentions of the Spanish government. These facts he had imparted to Lord Bute, who had not drawn the same conclusions from them. Hist. of Minority, p. 33.—E.

155 Charles Pratt was a younger son of Lord Chief Justice Pratt, and became afterwards Lord Chancellor and Baron Camden, as will appear in these memoirs. Pratt had been made Attorney-General by Pitt in 1757, and their connection was too close for the Government to feel easy at his continuing any longer in office.—E.

156 He nevertheless made a favourable impression on the Duke of Newcastle, at their first interview; and at a later period we find him very handsomely mentioned by Lord Rochford. Some of his private letters in the Chatham Correspondence, as well as his public dispatches in the Parliamentary Papers, are those of an ambassador who understood his duty, and performed it. He laboured hard, in conjunction with his friend the Marquis of Grimaldi, to restore the old connection of his country with France; and one result of their success was, the appointment of Grimaldi to succeed Wall as First Minister of Spain. Fuentes, then, for some time, replaced Grimaldi at Paris; and subsequently returning to Spain, he employed all his influence, which was considerable, in supporting Grimaldi’s administration, until the latter imprudently allowed his son, the Prince of Pignatelli, to accompany the expedition to Algiers, under the Count O’Reily, in 1777, where the Prince perished; and Fuentes, who had refused his consent to his going, was so deeply offended, that he immediately joined the opposition to Grimaldi, and contributed essentially to his retirement from office. Coxe’s History of the Kings of Spain of the House of Bourbon, vol. v.—E.

157 George William Hervey, Earl of Bristol, son of the famous John Lord Hervey, and grandson of John Earl of Bristol, whom he succeeded in the title. His dispatches prove him to have acted with great prudence as long as the disposition of the Spanish Court was doubtful and with great spirit afterwards. His connection with Mr. Pitt was in no degree of a servile character. It appears to have strengthened as that great minister was losing his ascendancy in the Cabinet, and it stood the test of his downfall. Lord Bristol died unmarried, in March 1775, aged 54.—E.

158 Amelie Sophie de Walmoden, Countess of Yarmouth, mistress of George the Second.

159 Philip Yorke, Earl of Hardwicke, Lord Chancellor in the preceding reign.

160 William Murray, Lord Mansfield, Lord Chief Justice of the King’s Bench.

161 John Carteret, Earl Granville, President of the Council, and formerly Prime Minister to George the Second.

162 George Lord Anson, first Lord of the Admiralty.

163 James Lord Tyrawley, formerly Ambassador at Lisbon, Governor of Port Mahon and Gibraltar, and Colonel of a regiment of Guards.

164 George Keppel, third Earl of Albemarle, one of the Lords of the Bedchamber to William Duke of Cumberland.

165 Frederick Lord North, eldest son of Francis Earl of Guilford.

166 Thomas Walpole, second son of Horatio Lord Walpole, only brother of Sir Robert Walpole, Earl of Orford. Thomas married the eldest daughter of Sir Joshua Vanneck, with whom he dwelt in the City.

167 Augustus Keppel, second son, and William Keppel, Groom of the Bedchamber to William Duke of Cumberland, third son of William Anne second Earl of Albemarle.

168 Humphrey Parsons, formerly Lord Mayor of London, a great brewer. Odunn was an Irishman.

169 Bishop Newton gives an anecdote of this prelate, not much to his credit. When it was proposed to allow monuments to be erected in St. Paul’s Cathedral, he violently opposed the plan, on the ground that, as there had been no monuments in all the time before he was bishop, there should be none in his time. Bishop Newton’s Life, p. 145.—E.

170 Charles Lyttelton, brother of Lord Lyttelton, and President of the Antiquarian Society, died in 1768, aged 54. Warburton sneers at “his antiquarianism,” to which he was more exclusively devoted than strictly became his high position in the Church. On the other hand, he was what Bishop Warburton certainly was not, a very amiable, kind-hearted man. In early life he had been a barrister.—George Selwyn and his Contemporaries, vol. i. p. 71.—E.

171 A greater military critic, General Jomini, was of a different opinion. He pronounces Broglio to be the only French commander of that day whose operations were uniformly skilful. He had fought in more battles than perhaps any of his contemporaries. An authentic account of his life would still be of value, but his fame was eclipsed by the exploits of younger heroes, and he had even ceased to be an object of interest when he died in exile at Munster, in 1804, at the advanced age of 86.—E.

172 The Count de Broglio’s talents were undeniable. It was his misfortune, not less than his fault, that they were seldom well directed. His brilliant defence of Cassel during the Seven years’ war showed that he had no mean capacity for war; but his ambition was, to shine as a statesman, and, unhappily for him, the enmity of Choiseul excluded him from civil employments. Partly, perhaps, out of revenge, and partly from his love of political intrigue, he condescended to take charge of the secret correspondence which Louis the Fifteenth carried on for many years, independently of his ministers, at the principal foreign Courts, a system which made it almost impossible for an honourable man to serve the King with benefit. M. de Broglio eventually fell into disgrace, and died in obscurity in 1781, aged 62.—E.

173 Granville Leveson Gower, Earl Gower, a converted Jacobite.

174 George Walpole, Earl of Orford, grandson of Sir Robert Walpole.

175 Francis Egerton, Duke of Bridgwater, author of the famous Navigation.

176 William Henry, afterwards Duke of Gloucester.

177 Edward Legrand, Esq., Governor to Prince William and Prince Henry.

178 George Montagu Dunk, third and last Earl of Halifax, of that house. He was a nobleman of great elegance of person and manners, and of a cultivated mind, and was quite equal to his post, which did not then, as now, require decided ability as well as rank and good intentions to satisfy the expectations of the country. “He never,” says Cumberland, “could be mistaken for less than he was.” He maintained the magnificence of the Vice-Regal Court, whilst he attended closely to public business.—E.

179 The Court of the Lords-Lieutenant.

180 Wills Hill, Earl of Hilsborough. He had gone over to Ireland professedly on his private affairs; a large estate having recently been bequeathed to him by Sir William Cowper. Letter from Lord Barrington to Sir A. Mitchell.—Ellis’s Original Letters, vol. vii. p. 443.—E.

181 Dr. George Stone, Archbishop of Armagh. See the preceding reign.

182 William Gerard Hamilton, son of a Scotch lawyer, made two good speeches, and only two, in the English House of Commons. One being forgotten (the last being of inferior merit to the other), he was long known by the name of Single-speech. He came into Parliament in 1754; and after sitting silent for somewhat more than a year, at length delivered that single speech upon which his reputation has exclusively rested down to the present day. This speech, which we are told was set and full of antitheses, was in favour of the Ministry, and was speedily rewarded by a place at the Board of Trade.—Edinburgh Review, vol. xv. p. 164. He had a promptitude of thought, and a rapid flow of well-conceived matter, with many other requisites that only seemed waiting for opportunities to establish his reputation as an orator. These were set off by a striking countenance, a graceful carriage, great self-possession, and personal courage.—Cumberland’s Memoirs, i. 225. With all these advantages he did not rise to eminence, nor did he deserve it, for his views were narrow, and he was selfish and cold-hearted. He resumed his silence upon attaining the lucrative and sinecure office of Chancellor of the Exchequer in Ireland, and died in 1796, rich and unmarried. His “Parliamentary Logic” is an insignificant work.—E.

183 Robert Monckton, brother of Lord Galway, a very gallant officer, who signed the reddition of Quebec, and performed other memorable services in that war.

184 Sir George Bridges Rodney, afterwards Lord Rodney, the great naval commander. He died in 1792.—E.

185 Colonel John Burgoyne, natural son of W. Benson, Lord Bingley. He proved a very unfortunate commander in the subsequent American war. He was also an author, and wrote that excellent comedy, “The Heiress.”

186 Infidelity was then no uncommon charge against an unsuccessful commander. The Prince had in 1752 been worsted at Breslau, where he had only twenty-four thousand men to oppose to an army of ninety thousand, under Daun and Prince Charles of Lorraine. In return, he defeated Daun in 1762 at Reichenbad, a victory that decided the fate of Schweidnitz, and thus contributed to the final success of Prince Henry of Prussia at Friedberg.—E.

187 Considering that Lord Tyrawley was in his 72nd year, and had not been employed on active service for a very long period, the Government surely acted discreetly in not appointing him to this command. He died in 1773, in his 83rd year. His life had been singularly licentious, even for the Courts of Russia and Portugal, where, however, he acquired extraordinary influence, for he had a thorough knowledge of the world, a great deal of humour, and an undaunted spirit. See more of him in Walpole’s Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 291; and Lord Chatham’s Correspondence.—E.

188 This remarkable man was Sovereign of Lippe Buckebourgh, a petty state, lying on the confines of Hanover and Westphalia. His mother was daughter of George the First, by the Duchess of Kendal. He received the early part of his education in England, and held a commission in the Guards: at nineteen, he served at the battle of Dettingen; and two years after he showed signal intrepidity as a volunteer under Prince Lobkowitz, in Italy. At the outset of the Seven years’ war he joined the Confederates with his small contingent, and bore a prominent part in the various military operations that ensued. His bravery, in common with his opinions, had a tinge of eccentricity, but the boldness and originality of his mind were not ill directed. He became an enterprising and successful partisan, and an able commander of artillery; in which latter capacity he distinguished himself both at Minden and at Kampen. Being intrusted with a separate corps for the reduction of Munster, he not only captured the place, but defeated General Armentières, who had been sent with a French army to its relief. It was in Portugal, however, that he established his reputation. “He found the army there,” says his biographer, “in a state of thorough disorganization, without either food or pay; even the guards at the Royal Palace implored alms from strangers, with bended knees and outstretched caps. The officers, impelled by want, followed various humble crafts. There were instances of the husband working as a journeyman tailor, whilst his wife earned her subsistence as a washerwoman; and captains might be seen bringing baskets of linen from the wash. Many were servants in the households of generals and governors; indeed servants were sometimes presented with commissions in order that their pay might serve in lieu of wages.” All these abuses the Count, unsupported, if not opposed by the Court and the ministers, succeeded in rectifying. With the assistance of the English, he checked the progress of the Spanish troops, and defeated them in several encounters. He built the citadel of Elvas. He organized a plan for the defence of the kingdom; and at the end of the war he quitted Portugal, followed by the gratitude and attachment of the King and the people. Indeed, the House of Braganza were not under greater obligations to his illustrious predecessor, Marshal Schomberg. His reforms show considerable acuteness and knowledge of character, and were completely successful. One of the most questionable was, that while he punished officers in Germany for accepting a challenge, he punished the Portuguese for refusing, with the view of restoring a martial spirit among the troops. The remainder of his life he passed at Buckebourgh, the chief town of La Lippe, beloved by his subjects, and always employed in promoting their prosperity, though he has been charged with sometimes mistaking himself for a great monarch, while he was only a petty prince. He married in 1765 the Countess of La Lippe Bustafeld, a young lady of great beauty and accomplishments, and had one daughter, whose early death was quickly followed by that of the mother; and the Count, inconsolable under this double affliction, fell into a lingering disorder, of which he died in 1777, at the age of 53. He enjoyed the warm friendship of the King of Prussia, the Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick, and other great commanders. They entertained a high opinion of his military capacity. He inspired a sort of enthusiasm in all around him. Even the Spanish officers, who used to ridicule his reforms, and when they first descried him in the field, with his large hat and little sword, contemptuously asked whether the Portuguese were commanded by Don Quixote, eventually partook of the general feeling of admiration that attached to his generosity—his extreme disinterestedness—his abilities and valour. Biographische Denkmale, von K. Barnhagen von Ense.—E.

189 Doctor Johnson, in the newspapers of the day, published an account of this inquiry. His weakness consisted in so far giving confidence to this flimsy imposture, as to think a solemn inquiry necessary. Croker’s Boswell, vol. i. p. 415, note.—E.

190 Though so notorious at the time, we have been able to find only one pamphlet on the subject in the British Museum, and the papers seem to have been very reluctant to give the names of the parties. July 10, 1762, William Parsons, Elizabeth his wife, Mary Fraser, the Ghost’s interpreter, a clergyman, and a respectable tradesman, were tried at Guildhall, and convicted of a conspiracy to defame a Mr. Kent. In the Annual Register it is said, “The Court chusing that Mr. Kent, who had been so much injured on the occasion, should receive some reparation by punishment of the offenders, deferred giving judgment for seven or eight months, in hopes that the parties might make it up in the meantime. Accordingly, the clergyman and tradesman agreed to pay Mr. Kent a round sum—some say between 500l. and 600l.—to purchase their pardon, and were, therefore, dismissed with a severe reprimand. The father was ordered to be set in the pillory three times in one month—once at the end of Cock Lane; Elizabeth his wife to be imprisoned one year; and Mary Fraser six months in Bridewell, with hard labour. The father appearing to be out of his mind at the time he was first to stand in the pillory, the execution of that part of his sentence was deferred to another day, when, as well as the other day of his standing there, the populace took so much compassion on him, that instead of using him ill, they made a handsome subscription for him.”—v. Annual Register, vol. cxlii. and Gentleman’s Magazine, 1762, pp. 43 and 339. The liberty to speak to the prosecutor, described above as sanctioned by Lord Mansfield, would not now be so openly permitted, even by a bench of Middlesex Magistrates. Churchill’s poem mentions “the Ghost,” only as a peg to hang a satire upon. It has much vigour, but a key is wanted, and probably nobody can supply one to the allusions, or even the regularly drawn characters of the greater part: Johnson, Warburton, Mansfield, and one or two more are apparent. “The Ghost” has also furnished the very clever scene of the trial of Fanny the Phantom, in Foote’s farce of “The Orators.”—E.

191 Dr. Thomas Secker.

192 Prospero Lambertini, one of the most learned, enlightened, and virtuous prelates that ever filled the Papal chair. Protestants have vied with Catholics in doing honour to his memory. He died in 1758, at a very advanced age.—E.

193 Lady Selina Shirley, Countess Dowager of Huntingdon. Her “Life and Times,” published a few years ago in 2 vols. 8vo., contains a graphical and interesting account of the sect which she originated and supported. Notwithstanding Walpole’s sneers, she appears to have been a woman of genuine piety; and her zeal, though sometimes misdirected, did, on the whole, essential service to the cause of religion.—E.

194 Frederick the Third, King of Prussia.

195 Count Schouvalow afterwards passed some time in England, and was a frequent guest at Strawberry Hill.—E.

196 Francis Seymour Conway, Earl of Hertford, appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1765, while he was Ambassador in France.

197 Nevertheless, the French were at the time suspected of promoting, if not of originating, the insurrection. Lord Drogheda, who was employed with his regiment against the insurgents, told Sir Richard Musgrave that French money was found in the pockets of some of those killed, by the soldiers. Musgrave’s History of the Rebellion in Ireland, p. 35.—E.

198 Gilbert Elliot and James Oswald, Scots, and Commissioners of the Treasury.—See infra.

199 It appears by a letter from the Duke to Lord Hardwicke, of the 7th May, that the Duke’s earnestness to prosecute the German war, in opposition to the wishes of Lord Bute, caused a final breach between them. Adolphus, vol. i. p. 68.—E.

200 Thomas Duke of Newcastle, and Henry Pelham, his only brother.

201 Henry Clinton, Earl of Lincoln, nephew of the Pelhams, and afterwards Duke of Newcastle.

202 Thomas Pelham of Stanmore, afterwards Lord Pelham.

203 This subtle, insinuating Italian had paid his Court to Lord Bute in the preceding reign, and obtained a great ascendancy over him. Though a man of quality, he had been a monk, and the world and the cloister had united to make him an accomplished statesman. He eventually rose to be first minister of Sardinia. His main fault was that he used too much finesse and precaution, and attached too great importance to trifles. Some amusing anecdotes of him are told in Memoirs of a Traveller now in Retirement, vol. ii. p. 63.—E.

204 The Bailli de Solar had been the Sardinian Ambassador at Rome, at the same time that the Duc de Choiseul was the French Ambassador there, and a warm friendship had existed between them from that period.—E.

205 The communication made by Lord Bute to the Court of Vienna, appears to have originated in the belief that the Austrians were, on national grounds, more inclined to peace than any of the other powers. Considering the close connection existing between the Courts of Vienna and Paris, and the certainty that such a step would be viewed in the worst light by the King of Prussia, it must be regarded as a blunder. The correspondence that passed on the occasion is printed in the Appendix to Adolphus, vol. i. p. 578. There is an able Essay on the subject in the Appendix to the 1st vol. of Belsham.—E.

206 Sir Edward Noel, Bart., Baron Wentworth of Nettleshead, created Viscount Wentworth of Welsborough, county of Leicester.

207 Sir William Courtenay, Bart., chief of the great house of Courtenay. He had, like his father, represented the county of Devon for many years. He survived his creation only ten days. The title became extinct on the decease of his grandson, the late Earl of Devon.—E.

208 John Percival, Earl of Egmont.—An amusing account of the importunities and intrigues by which he wrung his title from Lord Bute, is given by his friend Dodington, in the Diary of the latter.—E.

209 Joseph Damer, Lord Milton, created Baron Milton of Milton Abbey, county Dorset: married Caroline, third daughter of Lionel Duke of Dorset. Sat in several Parliaments, from 1741 to 1754. He claimed a descent from the ancient Barons d’Amorie; but his wife’s genealogy, and his own wealth, of which the origin had certainly nothing distinguished in it, were the more probable causes of his elevation.—Banks, vol. iii. p. 516. He died in 1798. The title became extinct upon the death of his son George second Lord, unmarried, in 1808.—E.

210 Created Baron Beaulieu, of Beaulieu, county Southampton, 11th May, 1762, to hold to him and the heirs male of his body by Isabella Duchess Dowager of Manchester, eldest daughter of John late Duke of Montagu, deceased, his then wife. In 1743, on the death of his father-in-law, the Duke of Montagu, he had taken the name and arms of that noble family, by Act of Parliament. Installed a K.B. 1753. In 1784 advanced to the dignity of Earl Beaulieu, and died 1803, when his honours became extinct. He was a comely, athletic, and spirited Irishman, and his marriage with the Duchess disappointed many aspirants to that honour. One of them, Sir Charles Hanbury Williams, revenged himself by a well-known lampoon.—E.

211 Francis Vernon, (some time M. P. for Ipswich,) created Baron Orwell, of Newry, county Down, in the kingdom of Ireland, 7th April, 1762. He was second son of James Vernon, of Great Thurlow, county Suffolk, Esq., by Arethusa, daughter of Charles Lord Clifford, only son of Richard first Earl of Burlington, which James was younger brother of the well-known Admiral Vernon.—E.

212 George Fox Lane, created Lord Bingley—he had married the only daughter and heiress of the last Lord of the same name. He died in 1773, S.P.—E.

213 George Venables Vernon, Lord Vernon of Kinderton. He was the son of Henry Vernon, Esq., M. P., and therefore grand-nephew of Peter Venables, last Baron of Kinderton. He died in 1780.—E.

214 John Olmius, many years director of the Bank. In 1737, M. P. for the Weymouth boroughs. Created 8th May, 1762, Baron Waltham of Philipstown, and died in September following.—E.

215 Charles Lewis Frederick, Prince of Mecklenburg, brother of the Duke of Mecklenburg and of Queen Charlotte. Born 1741.—E.

216 Buckingham House, in St. James’s Park, built by John Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham, was purchased of his natural son, Sir Charles Sheffield, and named the Queen’s Palace. The mob called it in derision, Holyrood House.

217 James Stuart Mackenzie, only brother of the Earl of Bute. He had been Minister at Turin from 1758 to 1762, when he was appointed to Venice; but, before he could leave Turin, the death of the Duke of Argyle caused Lord Bute to bring him home abruptly to take the direction of the Government in Scotland; an exercise of the Favourite’s power, which proved him to be virtually at the head of the Administration. From the same feelings of exclusiveness, Lord Bute subsequently selected Mr. Mackenzie, in preference to any of his colleagues in the Cabinet, to assist him in the early part of the negotiations for peace. Whatever points were settled by his Lordship with the King, were then communicated, through Mr. Mackenzie, to the Count de Virri, by whom they were transmitted, through the Bailli de Solar, to the Duke of Choiseul, and it was only after an article had been actually agreed upon that it came officially under the cognizance of the Foreign Department; so that these two foreigners appear to have possessed more of Lord Bute’s confidence, as well as more influence over the negotiation, than the Secretary of State, Lord Egremont; a circumstance which rather explains the jealousy shown by the Cabinet, when the preliminaries had been settled, of any independent authority being given to the Duke of Bedford. These duties Mr. Mackenzie discharged irreproachably, and, far from sharing his brother’s unpopularity, was much esteemed by all parties. He is described by his secretary, M. Dutens, as having been most amiable, remarkably cheerful and pleasant in society, with very simple tastes, and no ambition; “well versed in the sciences, particularly in mathematics, algebra, and astronomy.” He took little part in public affairs after Lord Bute’s resignation, and died in 1800, at the age of 81 years, only a few months after the death of his wife, the daughter of John Duke of Argyle. Memoirs of a Traveller now in Retirement, vol. i. p. 159; vol. iv. p. 229.—E.

218 Meaning Lord Bute, who was introducing the Tories in the place of the Whigs.

219 Nicholson Calvert, of Hunsdon House, Hertfordshire, member for Tewkesbury, and sheriff for Hertfordshire in 1749. He was the second son of Felix Calvert of Furneaux Pelham Hall, but succeeded to the family property by the death of his elder brother. It is a pity that his madness was not catching, for he was one of the most honest and independent members in the House, an eminent agriculturist, and an active county magistrate. In politics he was “a Whig, and something more.” He died without issue in 1793.—E.

220 This speech “is said to have silenced all future attacks by the poet either on Mr. Pitt or his administration, and was well received on all sides.”—Hansard’s Par. Hist. xv., p. 1227, note.—E.

221 Of Newcastle.

222 George Prince of Wales, afterwards King George the Second.

223 Frederick Prince of Wales, against whom the Duke of Newcastle carried the chancellorship of Cambridge.

224 Lord Bute had the ill-natured arrogance to compliment him on his retirement: the Duke replied with a spirit that marked his lasting ambition, “Yes, yes, my Lord, I am an old man; but yesterday was my birth-day, and I recollected that Cardinal Fleury began to be prime minister of France just at my age.”

225 Frederick, brother of Earl Cornwallis, and afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury. Young, of Norwich, was out of town, but adhered faithfully to Newcastle.

226 Sir Francis Dashwood’s want of knowledge of finance opened a fine field for the wits of the day, and was of course greatly exaggerated. One of them describes him as “a man to whom a sum of five figures was an impenetrable secret.” His vocation, certainly, was not to the Exchequer; and he was unfortunate in having Mr. Legge for his predecessor. There were other high offices of the Government which he would have filled with credit, for he had respectable talents, was “spirited, frank, and manly,” and had gained the consideration of the House. (Smollet.) He was the only son of Sir Francis Dashwood, Baronet, M.P. for Winchelsea, by Lady Mary Fane, sister of the Earl of Westmoreland, often mentioned in these Memoirs. In his youth he had travelled much, especially in Italy, and passed some time at Rome, where he was long recollected from the following anecdote, which made a great noise at the time. “It was on Good Friday, when each person who attends the service in the Sistine Chapel, as he enters, takes a small scourge from an attendant at the door. The chapel is dimly lighted, and there are three candles which are extinguished by the priest, one by one: at the putting out of the first, the penitents take off one part of their dress; at the next still more; and, in the darkness which follows the extinguishing of the third candle, lay on their own shoulders, with groans and lamentations. Sir Francis Dashwood, thinking this mere stage effect, entered with others, dressed in a large watchman’s coat; demurely took his scourge from the priest, and advanced to the end of the chapel; where, on the darkness ensuing, he drew from beneath his coat an English horsewhip and flogged right and left quite down the chapel and made his escape, the congregation exclaiming ‘Il diavolo! il diavolo!’ and thinking the Evil one was upon them with a vengeance! The consequence of this frolic might have been serious to him, had he not immediately fled the Papal dominions.”—(Private Information.) His political life was by no means discreditable; and, in the unfortunate affair of Admiral Byng, he exhibited kindness of feeling not less than tact and decision, which Walpole has elsewhere handsomely noticed.—Memoirs, ii. p. 145. He had a taste for the arts, and brought sculptors and painters from Italy to decorate his country-seat at West Wycombe, in Buckinghamshire, where he laid out an extensive park with skill and effect, and built a church and mausoleum. His private life was reported to be very licentious. He married the widow of Sir Richard Ellys, Baronet, by whom he had no children, and died in 1781. The peerage, to which his claim is mentioned in a following page, descended to the Stapylton family.—E.

227 They called themselves the Dilettanti. In the year 1770, they published a pompous volume on some rubbish remaining of two or three temples in Ionia.

228 William Henry, third son of Frederick Prince of Wales; afterwards Duke of Gloucester.

229 Lord Bute held his levées at the Cockpit, Whitehall, as did afterwards the Duke of Grafton and Lord North. Till then, each minister saw company at his own house; but Lord Bute, who lived in a small house in Audley Street, Grosvenor Square, had not room enough.

230 Mr., afterwards Sir Gilbert, Elliot, father of the late Earl of Minto. His connection with Lord Bute does credit to that nobleman’s discernment, for he was a most useful coadjutor; and Professor Stewart says of him, that he “seems to have united with his other well-known talents and accomplishments, a taste for abstract disquisitions which rarely occurs in men of the world, accompanied with that soundness and temperance of judgment which in such researches are so indispensably necessary to guard the mind against the illusions engendered by its own subtility.”—Philosophy of the Human Mind, vol. ii. p. 530.—E.

231 Dr. Smollet, originally a ship-surgeon, was an abusive Jacobite writer, author of a compilation of the History of England, in which he had spoken most scurrilously of the Duke of Cumberland for suppressing the Rebellion, and had been punished by the King’s Bench for slandering Admiral Knowles. [His “genius,” however, to use the words of Walter Scott, “has raised an imperishable monument to his memory,” in the poems and novels which Walpole does not deign to notice in this allusion to his works. Nor is the criticism just in other respects. Smollet’s tracts are not more virulent than most publications of a similar character of that day. His censure of the Duke of Cumberland has been confirmed by subsequent historians, and his punishment for the libel on Admiral Knowles reflects discredit on the Admiral rather than on himself.—See Walter Scott’s Lives of the Novelists, vol. i. p. 143.—E.]

232 Murphy, once an actor, was turned hackney writer, and had engaged in a paper called the Contest, in behalf of Lord Holland. He stole many plays from the French, and published other things long since forgotten. [“The Way to keep Him,” and “All in the Wrong,” are alone a sufficient refutation of the above harsh criticism on Murphy. He was a person of considerable accomplishments, and wanted only a better temper and more independence of character to have risen to eminence. He died at an advanced age in 1805.—E.]

Smollet and Murphy, with Dr. Shebbeare, who was in Newgate for abusing King George the First, King George the Second, King William, and the Revolution, and Dr. Johnson, another known Jacobite, who even in a Dictionary had vented his Jacobite principles, were selected by Lord Bute to defend his cause, and pensioned by him as a patron of learned men. Johnson’s acceptance of a pension was the more ridiculous, as in his Dictionary he had lashed the infamy of pensioners. [Neither Smollet nor Murphy were pensioned by Lord Bute. The bounty of the Crown was never more inexcusably exercised than in favour of Dr. Shebbeare—a pamphleteer who was a disgrace to his party, and had not long before been concerned in some fraudulent practices at Oxford, when employed by the University to arrange the Clarendon papers. He died in 1788, at a very advanced age. Dr. Johnson’s pension was not subjected to any conditions.—Boswell, vol. i. p. 292.—E.]

233 His father was a distiller.

234 Mr. Southey, opposed as he was to the political creed of Churchill, thought more favourably of him. He praises the generosity and straightforwardness of his character, and says of his poems that “manly sense is their characteristic, deriving strength from indignation, and that they contain passages of sound morality and permanent truth.” Cowper had a higher opinion of him than of any other contemporary writer, and even goes so far as to style him “the great Churchill.”—Southey’s Cowper, p. 87.—E.

235 Groom of the Bedchamber to William Duke of Cumberland, and Commander in America. He was afterwards Knight of the Bath, and called Sir Joseph Amherst. He was subsequently made a Peer and Commander-in-Chief, [and lastly Field-Marshal. He had been the favourite aide-de-camp of Lord Ligonier during the German wars, and bore through life the reputation of a very able and zealous officer. He distinguished himself particularly in America. He died in 1797, in his eighty-first year.—E.]

236 Alluding to the defeat of the French near Giessau, by Prince Ferdinand, on the 26th September, when he drove them from all their posts, and obliged them to fly with precipitation behind the Nahn.—Annual Register, 1762, p. 49.—E.

237 This narrative of the dethronement of Peter the Third has been confirmed in many essential points by later writers.—Tooke’s Catherine the Second.—Castera.—Levesque, Hist. de Russie, vol. v. 298. The precise extent of the guilt of the Empress is still a subject of dispute. The dethronement of her husband might be an act of self-defence, for he seems to have contemplated raising his mistress to the throne. His murder certainly had her ready forgiveness, if not her acquiescence, and there is nothing in her character to controvert its having been committed at her instigation. The attempt to exculpate her in the recently published Memoirs of the Princess Dashkau is very far from satisfactory, though it in some degree elevates the character of the authoress above the level of her contemporaries at the Court of St. Petersburgh, a court in those days without a parallel for the prevalence of the crimes and vices of a semi-barbarous age.—E.

238 George third Earl, Augustus, and William, sons of William Anne second Earl of Albemarle. Frederick, the fourth son, was on this occasion promoted to the Bishoprick of Exeter. Of Augustus (afterwards Lord Keppel) see more in the preceding reign, under the History of Admiral Byng.—Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 174. [A very interesting account of his life was lately published by his kinsman, the Honourable and Reverend Thomas Augustus Keppel.—E.]

239 Madame Geoffrin was proprietor of a great manufacture of glass; yet by her wit, parts, riches, and cabals, and by patronizing authors, and the modern philosophers and painters, statuaries and architects, and by keeping an open house for foreigners of all nations, she was much considered, and had great respect paid to her by persons of the first rank in France. [Marmontel draws a spirited portrait of her in his Memoirs.—E.]

240 This is a very one-sided view of the character of the Duc de Nivernois. He had no pretensions to the character of a soldier, having been obliged to quit the army from ill-health at an early age. As a diplomatist, he certainly failed at Berlin—as all other diplomatists did, who brought proposals that did not suit the views of the King of Prussia. In England he gave great satisfaction to all parties. His popularity is noticed by Lord Chesterfield. He was a generous, though not perhaps a very discriminating, patron of letters, and a respectable writer for one who made literature only an amusement. His private life was exemplary; and he showed no common strength of mind in the firmness with which he bore the loss of his rank and property, and, above all, his heavy domestic misfortunes. His second wife, to whom he was tenderly attached, died a few days after marriage. Of his two sons-in-law, the Count de Gisors, his destined heir, an élève of Marmontel, fell at the battle of Crevelt: the remaining one, the Duc de Brissac, was torn to pieces by the mob at Paris, at the beginning of the Revolution. The Duke of Nivernois died in 1798, at a very advanced age.—E.

241 Besides his crime of being the favourite of the Duke of Cumberland, Fox had deeply offended the Princess by advising Mr. Pelham, the very day after the death of her husband, to take her son, the present King, from her, that she might not get an ascendant over him. I one day mentioned this fact to Lord Mansfield: he said, “It was very true, and he believed the measure was not followed, only because Mr. Fox had advised it”—so jealous was Mr. Pelham of Fox!

242 James Earl Waldegrave, Governor to George the Third when Prince.

243 William Cavendish, fourth Duke of Devonshire, Lord Chamberlain.

244 Many causes might be assigned for the Duke’s dissatisfaction. It is not improbable that a generous Prince might resent the indignity offered to his country. He might, too, resent the unrelenting hatred of the Princess, and his total exclusion from power. He might feel for Germany, his other country, which he saw neglected: or he might have hoped that the aversion of the Princess to the House of Brunswick would not cease without disgusting Prince Ferdinand; and that then, if the war had continued, the command would have once more devolved on himself.

245 Samuel Martin, a West Indian, had been in the service of the late Prince of Wales. See more of him hereafter, and in Churchill’s “Duellist.” [He had been brought into the Treasury by Mr. Legge when the latter was made Chancellor of the Exchequer. Sir George Colebrooke’s MS. Memoirs represent him as a plain-spoken, honest man, and more to be depended upon than his joint secretary Mr. West.—E.]

246 Richard Aldworth Neville, of Billingbere, Berkshire, [son of Mr. Aldworth of Stanlake, by Catherine sister of Mr. Henry Neville Grey of Billingbere, whose estate he subsequently inherited. He filled for some years the office of Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, which occasioned his being employed at Paris; and he represented Wallingford, Reading, and Tavistock in different Parliaments. The Barony of Braybrooke descended on his only son (the late Lord) by a special limitation in the patent obtained by his relative, Sir John Griffin, Lord Howard de Walden, whose large estates he also inherited.—History of Audley End, p. 54.—E.]

247 This statement rests on Walpole’s unsupported testimony. The facts that I have been able to collect on the subject, in the quarters likely to be the best informed, are these:—On the 7th of September Lord Egremont wrote to the Duke of Bedford, informing him of the King’s commands that he should not sign the preliminaries without first sending them over for his Majesty’s approbation. On the 18th the Duke wrote to M. de Choiseul that he was ready to sign, and that he only waits his answer to send his messenger to London. On the 28th or 29th Lord Egremont wrote by the French courier of M. de Nivernois that the Havannah was taken. On the 30th he repeats the news, and promises fresh instructions. The Duke never pretended to sign against the King’s orders, though he complained of their tenor. Thus Walpole’s story becomes very improbable.—E.

248 William Ponsonby, Earl of Besborough, one of the Postmasters-General, had married Lady Caroline Cavendish, eldest sister of the Duke of Devonshire.

249 Mr. Fox did not go to Devonshire House to “protest his utter ignorance of any such design.” He wrote to the Duke at Chatsworth on the 2nd of November, to express his sorrow at what had happened; and in a subsequent letter of the 9th assured his Grace that “he neither knew nor had the least suspicion” of the intention to strike his Grace’s name out of the Privy Council.—Note by the late Mr. Allen, on the manuscript copy of these Memoirs.

250 Turned out for his opposition to the Excise Scheme in 1733.

251 Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford, Prime Minister to Queen Anne.

252 William Keith, Earl Marichal, engaged in the rebellion of 1715. When he came out of the King’s closet, and was asked what the King had said, he replied in the words of the old ballad,

“The King looked over his left shoulder,
And a grim look looked he,
And cried ‘Earl Marshal, but for my oath,
Or hanged thou should’st be.’”

Lord Marichal was afterwards in the service of the King of Prussia, and Governor of Neufchatel. He was pardoned by King George the Third. He is one of the few persons whom Frederick appears to have really loved. He was a philosopher after the fashion of that monarch, but a more practical and amiable one; for he bore the loss of rank and wealth, and the various discomforts of a long and almost hopeless exile, with unostentatious cheerfulness, conducting himself all the while so prudently, that amidst his many political opponents he had not a single personal enemy. The general esteem that followed him through life afterwards attached to his memory; and his name is rarely to be found mentioned in the works of his contemporaries without some expressions showing an earnest desire to represent him in the fairest colours. D’Alembert wrote an éloge in his honour. His brother, Marshal Keith, was a man of far superior ability, and his exile was a serious loss to the British army. Lord Marichal died at Potsdam in 1778, in his eighty-sixth year.—Wood’s Peerage of Scotland.—E.

253 The disgrace of the Duke of Devonshire.

254 John Montagu, Earl of Sandwich. See more of him in the preceding reign, and in the subsequent part of this work.

255 George Montagu, fourth Duke of Manchester.

256 George Spencer, third Duke of Marlborough.

257 Hugh Smithson Percy, Earl of Northumberland, afterwards Duke of Northumberland, and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

258 John second Earl of Ashburnham, Lord of the Bedchamber, and Ranger of the Parks, died on the 8th of April, 1802, in his eighty-eighth year, and was succeeded by George the third Earl, K.G., the agreeable biographer of John Ashburnham.—E.

259 Thomas Hay, Earl of Kinnoul, better known as Lord Dupplin. He had, in the preceding reign, held with credit, at different times, the offices of a Lord of the Treasury, of Paymaster, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, &c., and was a frequent and useful speaker in the House of Commons, “where,” says Walpole, “he aimed at nothing but understanding business and explaining it.” The Duke of Newcastle chiefly relied upon him in the distribution of the secret service-money and the Government patronage among the members. His embassy to Lisbon is remembered by the satirical verse of Pope,

“Kinnoul’s lewd cargo and Tyrawley’s crew.”

He took very little part in public affairs afterwards; residing usually on his estates in Scotland, and devoting himself to rural improvements and matters of local interest. He died in 1787, aged 77, without issue, and was succeeded by his nephew.—E.

260 Henry Clinton, Earl of Lincoln, Knight of the Garter, and one of the Lords of the Bedchamber, was son of Henry Earl of Lincoln and Lucy Pelham, sister of the Duke of Newcastle and Henry Pelham, First Lord of the Treasury; and having married his first-cousin, Catherine, eldest daughter and co-heiress of Mr. Pelham, the Duke’s estate, and a new creation of the Duchy of Newcastle in reversion, were settled on him. (He died in 1794, and was the grandfather of the present Duke.)—E.

261 “This honest old General,” as he is called by Lord Chesterfield, owed his high rank entirely to his own merit, being a French Huguenot, of not distinguished parentage, and without connections in this country. He was a very brave, zealous, and intelligent officer. He had served with Marlborough in the German wars, and his conduct afterwards at Dettingen attracted the particular notice of George the Second, who invested him with the insignia of the Bath on the field, in front of the whole army. As an additional mark of the King’s favour, he was also raised to a high command in Flanders, from which time all the skill shown in the Duke of Cumberland’s military operations,—which at Fontenoy was not inconsiderable, for the battle was only lost by the misconduct of General Ingoldsby,—the army ascribed exclusively to him, his Royal Highness being believed to act in a great measure under his guidance: and, indeed, he was usually called the Duke’s military tutor. In the Duke’s absence during the Scotch rebellion of 1745, he succeeded to the command of the British troops in Flanders, and was present with ten battalions in the unfortunate battle of Raucoux, where he almost retrieved the errors of Prince Charles of Lorraine, and is admitted to have saved the army from total destruction. The brilliant charges of cavalry by which he protected the retreat of the allies have obtained the praise even of the French historians. (Coxe’s Pelham, vol. i. p. 322; Lacratelle, vol. ii. p. 350.) The Duke returned in the following year, as if only to lose the battle of Lafeldt; on which occasion Sir John Ligonier reaped the same melancholy glory that had attended him at Raucoux. At seventy years of age, he led a charge of cavalry that broke the enemy’s line, and had he not been taken prisoner, might have turned the fortune of the day. Louis the Fifteenth received him with distinction; and, though a rebellious subject, made him the bearer of the overtures of the peace, which, on the following year, was concluded at Aix-la-Chapelle. The remainder of his life was passed in less active service, and in the enjoyment of the rank and honours he had so well earned. In 1757 he was made Commander-in-chief; in 1759, Field-Marshal; in 1766, after passing through the subordinate steps in the peerage, he was created Earl Ligonier. He retained to the last the gaiety and amiability which had made him the favourite both of the army and the Court. His tastes were simple; one of his chief amusements being the embellishment of his country-seat in Surrey, of which his gardens were the admiration of the neighbourhood. He died in 1770, aged 92; and was succeeded in his title by his nephew, an estimable and popular nobleman, who had been Aide-de-camp to Prince Ferdinand at the battle of Minden, and on whose death, without issue, the title became extinct.—E.

262 Welbore Ellis. See his character in the preceding reign.—Memoirs, vol. i. p. 484.

263 Charles second Duke of Richmond, and Sarah Cadogan his Duchess. Fox had stolen their eldest daughter, Lady Caroline Lenox.

264 For the borough of Lynn, in Norfolk.

265 On the contested election for the borough of St. Michael, in Cornwall, Lord Orford, my nephew, had quarrelled with me for taking part with Fox. I offered to resign my seat, but would not give up the liberty of voting as I pleased.

266 As Usher of the Exchequer, I advanced a very large sum of money every year to furnish the Treasury with paper, stationery wares, &c., and to pay the workmen; so that, if the payments are kept back, I am a considerable sufferer.

267 The Rangership of St. James’s and Hyde Parks. This post was not worth two thousand two hundred pounds a year by itself, but with the Bedchamber; as Lord Ashburnham had held it. Lord Orford was already Lord of the Bedchamber; so, though I did not know it at that time, the offer was grossly fallacious. Fox, however, might be ignorant too of this circumstance.

268 George Walpole, third Earl of Orford, grandson of Sir Robert Walpole. Not only his grandfather and father had left great debts, but his own dissipation had involved him in many more.

269 He scarce ever had any thoughts about politics, but lived almost always in the country and at Newmarket, wasting his time and fortune by carelessness, rather than in pleasures and expenses. With a most engaging figure and address, he profited of no one advantage to which he was born; and, without any view of advantage to himself, disgusted every friend he had by insensibility, and every friend he might have had by insincerity.

270 Charles Boone, brought into Parliament by Lord Orford for Castlerising. Fox had already sounded Lord Orford through Mr. Boone, but without receiving any answer.

271 This alludes to my having projected a match for Lord Orford with Miss Nicholl, an heiress worth one hundred and fifty thousand pounds, whom Lord Orford would not marry; and in the course of which negotiation I had a great quarrel with my uncle, old Horace Walpole, who endeavoured, though trusted with her by me, to marry her to one of his own younger sons. This quarrel had made very great noise, and many persons were engaged in it. The young lady afterwards married the Marquis of Caernarvon.

272 Mr. Fox had supported Mr. Sullivan at a borough in the West against Mr. T. Walpole; I forget whether it was Callington or Ashburton. Lord Orford was heir to estates in both by his mother.

273 Mr. Boone had acquainted me with this, and Mr. Fox thought I did not know it, but I chose to let him see I did.

274 Thomas Thynne, Viscount Weymouth, afterwards one of the Secretaries of State.

275 Sir John Probyn, K.B., Lord Carysfort of Ireland. His son and successor was ambassador at St. Petersburgh at the beginning of the present century.—E.

276 George Fermor, second Earl of Pomfret, brother-in-law to Earl Granville. He was clever, and a ready speaker; but so hot, headstrong, and injudicious, that his support was of very questionable benefit to his political friends. Vide an amusing anecdote of him in George Selwyn’s Correspondence, vol. i. p. 352.—E.

277 Mr. Harris did not enter Parliament until he had passed his fiftieth year, or he would probably have better supported in the House the reputation he had acquired in society and literature. He was an accomplished and truly amiable man. He did not rise beyond subordinate offices in the Government, having been made Lord of the Admiralty in 1762, Lord of the Treasury in 1763. The change of administration in 1765 displaced him, but he was appointed Controller to the Queen in 1774. He died in 1780, in his seventy-second year. An elegant account of his life is prefixed to the edition of his works by his son, the first Earl of Malmesbury.—E.

278 Son of the Marquis of Lothian. He had been aide-de-camp of the Duke at Fontenoy, where he was severely wounded, and commanded the cavalry at Culloden. He died in 1775, aged sixty-five.—E.

279 John Fitzwilliam, brother of the Viscount of that name.

280 If there was any hardship in this step, it consisted in these gentlemen not having received previous notice from Mr. Fox that he should regard opposition to the vote in the light of such direct hostility to the Government as would be incompatible with the tenure of office under it. Previously, there appears to have been no settled rule as to the claims of the Government on the support of members in office. Mr. Pitt, when Paymaster, not only voted but frequently spoke against the Government. It would now be considered very extraordinary in any member of the administration, however subordinate, to vote against a Government measure without a previous intimation to the premier of his readiness to resign.—E.

281 Fourth daughter of John Leveson, first Earl Gower, wife of General John Waldegrave, who succeeded his brother in the Earldom of Waldegrave.

282 Giles Earle.

283 Eldest son of Thomas, one of the Tellers of the Exchequer, second son of Charles Viscount Townshend, Secretary of State to George I. and II.

284 Younger son of the Earl of Granard.

285 A sufficient reason against his original appointment, but a bad one for his dismissal. Mr. Schutz was very rich, having succeeded by bequest to a large estate in Essex, from Sir J. Tyrrel.—E.

286 This certainly was a very harsh proceeding. No Lord Lieutenant has since been dismissed without far more decided provocation.—E.

287 This character of Lord Granville is not one of the author’s happiest efforts. He has, however, hit off some of the more salient traits of that nobleman’s character with great cleverness in his “Correspondence.” Lord Mahon and Mr. Macaulay have subsequently gone over the same ground with brilliant success, but the following sketch by Lord Chesterfield, to which they are both indebted, is so full of life and spirit, that the editor cannot refrain from inserting it.

“He had great parts and a most uncommon share of learning for a man of quality. He was one of the best speakers in the House of Lords, both in the declamatory and the argumentative way. He had a wonderful quickness and precision in seizing the stress of a question, which no art, no sophistry, could disguise in him. In business he was bold, enterprising, and overbearing. He had been bred up in high monarchical, that is, tyrannical principles of government, which his ardent and imperious temper made him think were the only rational and practical ones. He would have been a great first Minister in France, little inferior, perhaps, to Richelieu; in this government, which is yet free, he was neither ill-natured nor vindictive, and had a great contempt for money—his ideas were all above it. In social life he was an agreeable, good-humoured, and instructive companion, a great but interesting talker.

“He degraded himself by the vice of drinking, which, together with a great stock of Greek and Latin, he had brought from Oxford, and practised ever afterwards. By his own industry he had made himself master of all the modern languages, and had acquired great knowledge of the law. His political knowledge of the interests of princes and of commerce was extensive, and his notions were just and great. His character may be summed up in nice precision, great decision, and overbearing presumption.”—Chesterfield’s Miscell. Works, vol. iv. p. 49.—E.

288 This persecution is inexcusable, and very unlike Mr. Fox, who was a very good-humoured man.—E.

289 Son of Heneage Legge, one of the Barons of the Exchequer.

290 I shall give two instances of my assertions. Sir William Milner held a place of about 2000l. a year in the Custom-house, the greater portion of which had been allotted to his wife’s aunt, Mrs. Poyntz,a as a jointure on the death of her husband, who had been governor to the Duke of Cumberland. This was now taken away, and bestowed by Lord Bute on Mr. Poole, to make him amends for the ravage made on his familyb in this new persecution; Lord Bute intending at the same time to reserve 600l. a year out of it for Mrs. Poyntz. Lord Spencer, who had married her daughter, wrote to the King representing the case, and begging his protection for Mrs. Poyntz. The petition concluded with telling the King that this application was made to him, because probably his Majesty would hear of the grievance no other way. On this the whole was stopped; but that Fox might bear all the odium, and Lord Bute have all the merit, the latter sent a message by Lord Ancram to the Duke of Cumberland,c to say, that if his Royal Highness would take it as a favour, the King would continue the pension to Mrs. Poyntz; and it was accepted.

The other was the case of Mrs. Cavendish, widow of an Admiral of that name. She had for many years enjoyed a housekeeper’s place in one of the offices, in lieu of a pension as an Admiral’s widow. Fox, hunting after employments for his dependents and objects of vengeance for himself, lighting on the name of a Cavendish, took away her place. The lady, of a respectable family, and sister of Mrs. Cartwright, Maid of Honour to the late Queen, sent the latter to Lady Suffolk,d from whom I heard this account, immediately to entreat by her means an audience of Lady Elizabeth Mackenzie.e Mrs. Cavendish herself, living in devotion and unknown to, proved to be a relation of Lady Bute; to whom Lady E. Mackenzie had instantly applied. Lady Bute, no less surprised, sent for her lord up stairs. He said the story could not be true: it was one Mrs. Greening that was displaced, to make room for Mrs. Goldsworthy, a companion of the late Duchess of Richmond.f It proved that Fox had thus imposed on Lord Bute, to whom the name of Mrs. Cavendish had never been mentioned, and who gave her immediate redress.

a Anna Maria Mordaunt, Maid of Honour to Queen Caroline, and widow of Stephen Poyntz. She had been a great beauty; the poem of “The Fair Circassian” was written by a gentleman who was in love with her.

b Sir Francis Poole, related to the Duke of Newcastle, had been turned out, with others of the same connection.

c Eldest son of the Marquis of Lothian, and groom of the bedchamber to the duke.

d Henrietta Hobart, Countess of Suffolk, Mistress of the Robes to Queen Caroline.

e Wife of James Stuart Mackenzie, brother of the Earl of Bute.

f Sarah Cadogan, Duchess of Richmond, mother of Lady Caroline Fox.

291 The same charge is brought against Sir Fletcher Norton by Junius (Letter 39), who applies to him the lines of Ben Jonson, describing the lawyer who

Gives forked counsel; takes provoking gold
On either hand, and puts it up;
So wise, so grave, of so perplexed a tongue,
And loud withal, that would not wag, nor scarce
Lie still, without a fee.

Though Norton had the character at the bar of being the reverse of a liberal practitioner, it is very improbable that Walpole’s assertion, “that he took money from both parties” in a suit, should be literally correct. He had too many rivals as well as enemies in the profession, to admit of such conduct remaining unpunished; but it is not uncommon for a counsel to feel himself bound in honour to refuse a brief which he could not accept without using knowledge acquired while employed by parties who had a different interest, until he has given those parties the option of employing him again; and Norton’s eagerness for gain made him take a very narrow view of such questions.—E.

292 Only son of the Earl of Derby, and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

293 William Aislabie, auditor of the imprest, son of Mr. Aislabie, who was concerned in the South-Sea scheme in the reign of George I.

294 The Report of the Committee is given in the Parliamentary Debates, vol. xv. 1286. It is a very interesting document, but the only fruit of it was a Resolution, “That it is the opinion of the House that the present state of the mad-houses in this kingdom requires the interposition of the Legislature.”—E.

295 This does not include those who died of their wounds.

296 George Onslow, only son of the late Speaker.

297 Sir Henry Liddel, Lord Ravensworth, father of the Duchess of Grafton, a connection to which he probably owed the favourable notice of him in the author’s Memoirs of George II., vol. i. p. 265.—E.

298 One of the Duke of Devonshire’s brothers, and Lord of the Bedchamber to the Duke. A very gallant officer, who had frequently distinguished himself during the war.—E.

299 Maria, second daughter of Sir Edward Walpole.

300 Sir Francis Dashwood.

301 Hugh Hume, Earl of Marchmont; called in his father’s time Lord Polwarth, and a great friend of Pope. He generally succeeded best in reply, for he could then best employ the fire and acrimony which formerly made him shine in opposition.—E.

302 George Lord Lyttelton, Chancellor of the Exchequer in the late reign; another friend of Pope, and Author of Dialogues of the Dead, Life of King Henry II., &c. [Vide Walpole’s Memoirs of Geo. II., vol. i. p. 175, for his character, and many particulars of his public life, written in no friendly spirit.—E.]

303 William Legge, Earl of Dartmouth, nephew of Henry Legge; and much attached to the Methodist sect; but of an excellent character. [Richardson is reported to have said of him, when asked if he knew an original answerable to his portrait of Sir Charles Grandison, that he might apply it to him if he were not a Methodist. (Southey’s Life of Cowper, vol. i. p. 234.) He was afterwards Secretary of State.—E.]

304 Charles Paulet, Duke of Bolton, K.B. He died without issue in 1765.—E.

305 The best defence of his resignation is given by Mr. Adolphus, vol. i. p. 115, from private information. It by no means exculpates him from the charges in the text, and is also at variance with the statement of a writer who lived on terms of the closest intimacy with the Bute family. M. Dutens says, “That he resigned, because he was disgusted with the bustle of business, indignant at the behaviour of those who endeavoured to obtain his favour, at the baseness of some, and the duplicity of others.”—Memoirs of a Traveller now in Retirement, vol. iv. p. 181. This corresponds with all that has transpired of Lord Bute’s character.—E.

306 Thomas Orby Hunter.

307 Henry Lord Digby, nephew of Mr. Fox.

308 Richard Viscount Howe.

309 Thomas Pitt, of Boconnock, nephew of Mr. William Pitt, with whom he was at variance. [To this gentleman, when a student at the University, Mr. Pitt addressed the beautiful letters subsequently published by Lord Grenville.—E.]

310 General George Townshend, afterwards Viscount.

311 Simon Lord Harcourt, who had been Governor to the King.

312 Charles Douglas, Duke of Queensberry; he had been Lord of the Bedchamber to the late Prince of Wales.

313 James Duke of Athol.

314 A friend of Mr. William Pitt.

315 He had been Groom of the Bedchamber to the late Prince.

316 James Douglas, Earl of March and Ruglin [afterwards Duke of Queensberry].

317 Charles Shaw, Lord Cathcart, had been one of the hostages to France, and Lords of the Bedchamber to William Duke of Cumberland; he was afterwards Ambassador in Russia. [Died July 21, 1776.—E.]

318 Gertrude Leveson Duchess of Bedford.

319 George Spencer, Duke of Marlborough.

320 John Manners, Duke of Rutland, father of Lord Granby.

321 Granville Leveson Gower, Earl Gower, brother of the Duchess of Bedford.

322 John Calcraft began with being clerk in the War Office at 40l. a year. [He was a very shrewd, intelligent man, and gained great popularity with the army by his liberal conduct and hospitality to the officers.—E.]

323 This charge is entirely unfounded. Had there been any truth in it, the connection between Mr. Fox and Mr. Calcraft would not have been so easily dissolved.—E.

324 It is in reference to Mr. Rigby’s conduct that Lord Holland probably alludes to the following passage of a letter to Mr. Selwyn of October 5, 1763: “I drop all politics that may not go by the post, till I see you, when I will tell you all I know of them, with the trait I mentioned. Had it been from a political friend only, I should be ashamed to be hurt by it. No politics will or can mortify me; I thought this man’s friendship had not been only political. I loved him; and whether to feel or not to feel, to despise or grieve, on such an occasion, be most worthy of a man, I won’t dispute; but the fact is that I have been, and still am, whenever I think of it, very unhappy.” Selwyn Correspondence, vol. i. p. 267.—E.

325 Lady Isabella Fitzroy, second daughter of Charles Duke of Grafton.

326 Then held by Mr. Aislabie for life.

327 Secretary to the Treasury. [He derived no benefit from this appointment, having died some years before Walpole.—E.]

328 Collector of the Customs. Sir Robert Walpole held it for his own life, and for the lives of his two eldest sons, with power of bequeathing it for their lives to any child he pleased.

329 Charles Jenkinson, private secretary to Lord Bute [afterwards Earl of Liverpool.—E.]

330 It was again offered to me afterwards, and I again refused it.

331 This was not the only favour that the count owed to the English Government, for they prevented his recall soon after the king’s accession; and it was entirely at their instance that he obtained permission to give up his embassy to his son. He had also received a portrait set in diamonds, and a suite of Gobelin hangings from the King of France. Upon his resignation he retired to his estates in Savoy, where he intrigued until he succeeded in replacing the Count de St. Germaine as first Minister of Savoy.—Mem. of a Traveller, vol. ii. p. 70.—E.

332 The negotiation was conducted by Count Virri (Duke?) Envoy in England, and by the Bailli de Solar, the Sardinian Minister at Paris, the intimate friend of the Duchess de Choiseul; and that convenience was probably a reason why Lord Bute yielded to the treaty being settled at Paris, though the King of France had offered to treat here vis-à-vis du Roi de la Grande Brétagne. [Vide notes in p. 157 and 160, supra, for more details respecting the part taken by these Sardinian Ministers in the negotiation.—E.]

333 These Memoirs were published in 1821, with a very able introduction by the late Lord Holland. A critic, who cannot be suspected of partiality (Quarterly Review, vol. xxv. p. 413), pronounces them “a model of this species of writing.” It is to be regretted that they embrace only four years, and those not the most interesting, of the reign of George II. Lord Waldegrave possessed sound sense and respectable abilities. He was highly esteemed by his contemporaries, and few men have passed through life, and, above all, public life, with a character so entirely unblemished.—A masterly critique of Lord Waldegrave’s Memoirs is given in the seventy-third number of the Edinburgh Review, from the pen of the late Mr. John Allen.—E.

334 George Grenville, next brother of Richard Earl Temple. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Windham, and sister of Charles Earl of Egremont, and of Percy Windham Obrien, Earl of Thomond.

335 Treasurer of the Navy.

336 Sir Charles Windham, Earl of Egremont, eldest son of the celebrated orator, Sir William Windham, Chancellor of the Exchequer in the four last years of Queen Anne, and of Lady Catherine Seymour, daughter of Charles Duke of Somerset, the proudest man of his age.

337 Had Lord Egremont been a liar of the “monstrous magnitude” stated in the text, he certainly would never have had the opportunity of refusing the offer of being Secretary of State from a man of such strict honour and integrity as Lord Waldegrave; an offer, be it observed, which Walpole notices in his Memoirs of George the Second without censure. It was to his refusal of that offer, and to his subsequent connection with Mr. Grenville, that Lord Egremont owed this severe imputation. He was proud, obstinate, and hot-tempered; but that he was not without talent is proved by his answer to the Spanish memorial, a State paper of acknowledged merit. Bishop Newton, who knew him well, says, “that if he had entered earlier into business, he might have made as considerable a figure as his father had. He had seldom occasion to speak in Parliament, but, when he did, it was with great clearness, force, and energy; and he was thought to resemble his father in manner as well as in good matter, having a little catch and impediment in his voice, as his father had.”—Newton’s Mem. p. 89.—E.

338 Many interesting anecdotes of Lord Halifax are given in the Memoirs of Mr. Cumberland, who had been his private secretary for many years. He describes him thus: “I am persuaded he was formed to be a good man, he might also have been a great one: his mind was large, his spirit active, his ambition honourable; he had a carriage noble and imposing; his first approach attracted notice; his consequent address ensured respect. If his talents were not quite so solid as some, nor altogether so deep as others, yet they were brilliant, popular, and made to glitter in the eyes of men: splendour was his passion; his good-fortune threw opportunities in his way to have supported it; his ill-fortune blasted all those energies which should have been reserved for the crisis of his public fame. The first offices of the State, the highest honours which his Sovereign could bestow, were showered upon him when the spring of his mind was broken; and his genius, like a vessel overloaded with treasure, but far gone in decay, was only precipitated to ruin by the very freight that, in its better days, would have crowned it with prosperity and riches.” Vol. i. p. 242. This is a generous portrait, considering that Cumberland had certainly been unkindly treated by Lord Halifax; and, had he always felt thus, he would not have furnished Sheridan with the model of Sir Fretful Plagiary.—E.

339 The figures 45 became the hieroglyphics of Wilkes’s party.

340 Queen Anne’s speech on the treaty of Utrecht told a similar lie; so exactly was the parallel maintained throughout. [It was consequently made one of the subjects of Lord Orford’s impeachment. Vide fifteenth Article, Journals, vol. xviii. p. 214.—E.]

341 The following passages are those to which the text refers: “This week has given the public the most abandoned instance of official effrontery ever attempted to be imposed on mankind. The minister’s speech last Tuesday is not to be paralleled in the annals of this country. I am in doubt whether the imposition is greater on the Sovereign or on the nation. Every friend of his country must lament that a Prince of so many great and amiable qualities, whom England truly reveres, can be brought to give the sanction of his name to the most odious measures, and to the most unjustifiable public doctrines, from a Throne ever renowned for truth, honour, and unsullied virtue. I am sure all foreigners, especially the King of Prussia, will hold the minister in contempt and abhorrence. He has made our Sovereign declare, ‘My expectations have been fully answered by the happy effects which the several allies of my crown have derived from the salutary measure of the definitive treaty. The powers at war with my good brother the King of Prussia have been induced to agree to such terms of accommodation as that great Prince has approved, and the success which has attended my negotiation has necessarily and immediately diffused the blessings of peace throughout Europe.’ The infamous fallacy of this whole sentence is apparent to all mankind; for it is known that the King of Prussia did not barely approve, but absolutely dictated as conqueror, every article of the terms of peace. No advantage of any kind has accrued to that magnanimous Prince from our negotiation; but he was basely deserted by the Scottish Prime Minister of England. He was known by every Court in Europe to be scarcely on better terms here than at Vienna, and he was betrayed by us in the treaty of peace. What a strain of insolence, therefore, is it in a minister to lay claim to what he is conscious his efforts tended to prevent, and meanly to arrogate to himself a share in the fame and glory of one of the greatest Princes the world has ever seen!”—E.

342 Robert Wood, author of the accounts of Balbec and Palmyra, and Under-Secretary of State. He had been so made by Lord Chatham, but had deserted him. [Mr. Wood was still, and for some time after, on most friendly terms with Lord Chatham. Vide his letters of the 3rd and 6th of September, 1763, in the second volume of the Chatham Correspondence, p. 246.—E.]

343 Philip Carteret Webbe, M.P. for Hazlemere, and Solicitor to the Treasury. The part he took in the proceedings against Wilkes savoured too much of the practice at the Old Bailey, and made him very unpopular. His character was otherwise unexceptionable. He published various tracts on law and antiquities, and was a great collector of books and medals. He died in 1770, aged 70.—E.

344 When Charles King of Naples, on the death of his brother King Ferdinand, succeeded to the crown of Spain, he set aside his eldest son as an idiot, made the second Prince of Asturias, and the third King of Naples.

345 He was appointed King’s Counsel in May, 1757, and Baron of the Exchequer in Hilary Term, 1762. He resigned in May, 1764. We cannot find anything more about him. His praise of the peace seems to have been on his first circuit; probably, while his surprise and gratitude were fresh. There are no Exchequer reports of that time. Except on the circuit, a Baron of the Exchequer was then, and long after, almost a sinecurist.—E.

346 Ralph Allen, of Prior Park, near Bath, Master of the Cross-posts.

347 Mr. Pitt had openly pronounced the peace inadequate, and it seemed to be personally levelled at him, that the address affected to call it adequate. [Bishop Warburton insists on Allen’s ignorance of Mr. Pitt having applied the term “inadequate” to the peace, and disclaims any concern in it himself; though he admits having drawn up, promoted, and advised a similar address from the clergy of Gloucester, whose interference, on this occasion, “had the fate,” Mr. Pitt observed, “not to be imitated by any other episcopal see in the kingdom.” Allen, who was now an old man, felt Mr. Pitt’s resentment acutely, and immediately withdrew from this corporation. He died on the 29th June of the following year, having bequeathed to Mr. Pitt a legacy of 1000l. Mr. Pitt’s letter of condolence to his widow shows, that whatever coolness the address might have produced in their intercourse was short-lived. The correspondence between Mr. Pitt and Allen is in the Annual Register for 1763, p. 208; and in the Chatham Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 256.—E.]

348 Captain Forbes, of Ogilby’s regiment, in the French service. He was of good family in Scotland, and of some merit in his profession, as may be inferred from his subsequently attaining the rank of General in Portugal, where, in common with other Scotch exiles, he was employed and trusted.—E.

349 Vide Memoirs of the year 1751, [vol. i. p. 15–181. He was at that time residing at Paris, under the name of Count Murray. In 1771, he was recalled by letter under the King’s privy seal, and he died shortly afterwards.—E.]

350 Thomas Osborne, fourth Duke of Leeds.

351 Thomas Villiers, Baron Hyde, brother of William Earl of Jersey. [He had been Minister at Berlin in the reign of George the Second, and received various honours from Frederick the Great, whose preference of him to such men as Mr. Legge and Mr. Fox, and even to Sir Andrew Mitchell, probably arose from the same reasons that induced Napoleon to bestow the warmest praise on such of his enemy’s generals as he most wished to have as opponents. Lord Hyde was an amiable nobleman, of very comely person, and graceful deportment; he married one of the coheiresses of Lord Clarendon, was elevated to that earldom in 1776, and died in 1786.—E.]

352 Mr. Grenville was deeply offended at this interference of the Duke of Bedford; and his friends, in consequence, took no pains to defend the Duke when the current of popular feeling afterwards turned so strongly against his Grace.—E.

353 Mr. Pitt’s villa at Hayes, near Bromley, in Kent.

354 Walpole is mistaken in this supposition; for the King himself proposed Lord Temple for the Treasury. (Lord Hardwicke’s letter to the Duke of Newcastle.) An impartial narrative of this transaction is given by Mr. Adolphus (vol. i. p. 127), with a reference to the contemporary authorities, of which the most important are Lord Hardwicke’s letter, and the letters in the Chatham Correspondence (vol. ii. p. 242). The “dexterity” and finesse ascribed in the text to Mr. Pitt hardly belong to his character, and certainly were not exhibited on this occasion. His private correspondence proves, as he told the King, that he felt throughout the impossibility of his making a ministry, unless it rested “on the great families who had supported the Revolution Government, and other great persons, of whose ability and integrity the country had had experience, and who had weight and credit in the nation.” This would necessarily have involved greater changes than the King then contemplated, though not greater than his Majesty subsequently found inevitable.—E.

355 Henry Arthur Herbert, Earl of Powis.

356 He had been succeeded as Treasurer of the Household by Lord Powis.

357 His Majesty did not give him up in less than two years on the next change.

358 Charles Watson Wentworth, Marquis of Rockingham.

359 Welbore Ellis, Esq.

360 George Keppel, third Earl of Albemarle.

361 Walpole is in error here. Wood informed Mr. Pitt of the report, that he had proscribed Lord Gower, Rigby, and others of the Bedford party; and Mr. Pitt’s reply, though it has not been preserved, may be inferred, from Wood’s acknowledgment of it, to have amounted to a positive denial of the charge. (Chatham Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 250.)—E.

362 Dr. Charles Lyttelton, brother of George Lord Lyttelton. They were sons of Christian, sister of Richard Lord Cobham, consequently first cousins of Lord Temple.

363 James Grenville, the third brother.

364 Richard Temple, Lord Cobham, had four sisters, Maria, Hester, Christian, and Penelope. Maria, widow of Sir John Langham, offended him by marrying Mr. West, a clergyman, on which he set her aside, and settled his estate, and obtained his peerage to be settled, on Hester, the second sister, and her issue, who, by Mr. Grenville, her husband, were Richard, George, James, Henry, Thomas, and Hester, the wife of Mr. Pitt. [Mr. West was the father of Gilbert West, one of the Clerks of the Council, and better known as the translator of Pindar, and author of the popular treatise “On the Resurrection.” He was a most amiable man, and the intimate friend of Pitt.—E.]

365 Henrietta Hobart, sister of the first Earl of Buckinghamshire, widow of the Earl of Suffolk, and afterwards of George Berkeley, brother of the Earl of Berkeley, Mistress of the Robes to Queen Caroline, and mistress of King George the Second. The author lived in great friendship with her the last years of her life; her house at Marble Hill, Twickenham, and his at Strawberry Hill, near the same village, were within a mile of each other, and he passed three or four evenings every week with her, when they were in the country. She died July 26, 1767, aged 79, and was remarkable for her strict and minute veracity and memory, which she retained to the last, as well as her eyesight, teeth, and the elegance of her person.

366 Leicester House, in Leicester Fields, the residence of the Sydneys, Earls of Leicester, was hired and inhabited by King George and Queen Caroline, when Prince and Princess of Wales, on their quarrel with George the First; as it was afterwards, on a similar occasion, by Frederick, Prince of Wales, whose widow, Augusta, also dwelled there till after the accession of her son to the Crown. George the Third, after his father’s death, lived at Saville House, the next door to her.

367 The names of four Scotchmen appear in the same Gazette to appointments, or as Governors in the American Colonies, Johnstone being one of them. He was the third son of Sir James Johnstone, of Westerhall; he was of a hot and most pugnacious temperament, as he showed some years later by his duel with Lord George Germaine. He died in 1787.—E.

368 Don Richard Wall, of Irish extraction, was Ambassador here from Spain in the reign of George the Second. He was a most artful, agreeable man, of much wit, and a great favourite at this Court. At his return to Madrid, he had been made Secretary of State in 1754, [upon the downfall of Enseñada. Sir Benjamin Keene, by his advice and influence, materially contributed to this event, which proved highly favourable to the British interests at Madrid. The intrigues in the Spanish Court, and the financial difficulties of the country, made Wall’s post a very irksome one. He discharged its duties at least as ably as either his predecessor or his successor. The King was unwilling to part with him, and made his retirement honourable by many marks of distinction. He passed the remaining years of his life chiefly at Soto de Roma, a royal castle, in the lovely valley of Grenada, where he maintained a splendid hospitality. Mr. Swinburne visited him there, and has given a very agreeable account of him. He died 1778.—E.]

369 Grimaldi was a Genoese. He had been educated for the church, and always retained the soft and insinuating manners of an Italian ecclesiastic. It was to his address, rather than to his talents, that he was indebted for high situations he filled. In negotiating the celebrated treaty of Paris, he appears to have been overmatched by Choiseul, and the loss of the Havannah, and the other misfortunes of the war, were the immediate fruits of his eagerness for a French alliance. His administration in Spain was neither popular nor successful. It ended with the failure of the expedition to Algiers. His chief merit lay in the encouragement he gave to literature, his patronage of the arts, his love of justice, and the mildness and generosity of his disposition. On his resignation, in 1777, he was created a Duke, and a Grandee of Spain. Having been allowed to nominate his successor, he was at his own request appointed Ambassador at Rome. Coxe’s Spain, vol. v. c. 63; and Memoirs of a Traveller now in Retirement, vol. iv. p. 109.—E.

370 He had particularly distinguished himself in the command of his regiment at Fontenoy, where his valour and good fortune are noticed by Voltaire:—

Guerchy n’est pas blessé, la vertu peut te plaire.”—E.

371 See an account of him in the notes, infra.—E.

372 This Vergy was a French spy. In 1771, I heard Mr. Phelps, secretary to Lord Sandwich, relate that Vergy had offered him to act, too, as a spy on Guerchy, of which Mr. Phelps gave the ambassador warning. Vergy remained here several years, and wrote pamphlets and novels for a livelihood.

373 When they talked to D’Eon of a breach of the peace, he understood English so imperfectly, that he thought Lord Halifax threatened to break the peace between the two nations, of which he, D’Eon, had been the messenger, and that inflamed his madness.

374 Augustus the Third, a weak and unfortunate monarch, whose reign forms one of the most melancholy epochs in the annals of Saxony. His incapacity was more remarkable from his being opposed to Frederick the Great and Catherine the Second. He died in 1763, and with him ended the independence of Poland—his successor Stanislaus being merely the nominee of Russia.—E.

375 Count Bruhl.—[This worthless courtier, who exercised for many years an arbitrary sway over Saxony and Poland, and inflicted irreparable injuries on both countries, died in October, 1764.—E.]

376 Rezzonico, Pope by the name of Clement the Thirteenth, [filled the Papal Chair from 1758 to 1769, when he died, in his 76th year. His life was decent, and his intentions appear to have been honest, but his policy was unenlightened and vacillating, and is strikingly contrasted by that of his illustrious successor.—E.]

377 Sir Hugh Smithson, who assumed the name of Percy on marrying Lady Elizabeth Seymour, daughter of Algernon Duke of Somerset, and heiress of the house of Percy by her grandmother. They were created Earl and Countess of Northumberland.

378 Thomas Potter—see more of him in the preceding reign. [Memoirs of George II. vol. i. p. 61. He was the second son of Archbishop Potter, whose fortune he inherited, owing to his elder brother having disobliged his father by an imprudent marriage. In 1748 he had been appointed secretary to the Prince of Wales, then the patron of all the talent in the House opposed to the Government, and from that time he took an active part in the political contests of the day. He was a clever and impressive speaker, and, with application and steadiness of conduct, might have become one of the leaders of his party. Unfortunately, he had contracted, in early life, habits of dissipation, under which his constitution sunk, just as his ambitious hopes bade fair to be realized. He died Vice-Treasurer of Ireland, in June, 1759. Some interesting letters from him to Mr. Pitt are given in the Chatham Correspondence, vol. i.—E.]

379 James Douglas, Earl of March and Ruglen, Lord of the Bedchamber to the King, [afterwards the too well-known Duke of Queensberry—an appropriate patron of such a divine.—E.]

380 Lord Despencer said, he never heard the devil preach before. Yet Lord Sandwich had a precedent in a great Reformer of the Church: “Calvin eut par trahison les feuilles d’un ouvrage que Servet faisait imprimer secrètement. Il les envoya à Lyon avec les lettres qu’il avait reçues de lui: action qui servirait pour le deshonorer à jamais dans la Société. Calvin fit accuser Servet par un emissaire. Quel rôle pour un Apôtre!”—Voltaire, Essai sur l’Hist. Générale, chap. 113.

381 A broken wine-merchant, brother of Admiral Cotes, an intimate of Wilkes.

382 Only son of the Duke of Chandos. [He afterwards succeeded to the Dukedom, and died in 1789, when his titles became extinct. His only daughter married the late Duke of Buckingham.—E.]

383 Mr. Pitt’s speech had the very dubious merit of pleasing his opponents rather than his friends. Lord Barrington, in a letter to Sir Andrew Mitchell, says, that if fifty thousand pounds had been given for it, the sum would have been well expended. It secures us a quiet session. Chatham Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 262, and Walpole’s Letters, vol. iv. p. 313.—In fact Mr. Pitt’s interviews with the King had necessarily blunted the edge of his opposition, and he found it as difficult to give an intelligible defence of his proceedings, as all succeeding ministers, in the same predicament, have experienced since.—E.

384 The Lords on the same account put off the hearing of Wilkes’s defence on the Essay on Woman, to the 22nd; and then for a week longer.

385 Frederick, second son of George the Third.

386 Edward Duke of York, next brother to the King.

387 Frederick Lord North, eldest son of the Earl of Guilford.

388 Mr. Morton, or Moreton, M.P. for Abingdon, a barrister of eminence, who was appointed Chief Justice of Chester in 1763. His name will hereafter occur in the debates on the Regency. He must not be confounded with Sir William Moreton, of Moreton, in Cheshire, Recorder of London, who died in 1763.—E.

389 Mr. Forester had been originally recommended by Alderman Beckford to the Duke of Bedford (when the Alderman and his Grace acted together) for a seat in Parliament, “as a person in whom steadiness, honour, and elocution were not exceeded by any man in the country.” (Bedford Correspondence.)—E.

390 Mr. Wilbraham, M.P. for Newton, and Deputy Steward of the University of Oxford. He was an eminent lawyer, whose politics, like those of Mr. Fazakerly, prevented his attaining the honours of his profession.—(Walpole’s Correspondence, vol. iv. p. 319.)—E.

391 Benjamin Bathurst of Lydney, in Gloucestershire, brother of the first Lord Bathurst, and father of the late Bishop of Norwich.—E.

392 Sir John Griffin, an officer of some distinction. He had been severely wounded at the battle of Campen, when fighting near the hereditary Prince of Brunswick. In 1786 he succeeded to the ancient Barony of Howard de Walden; in 1796 he became a Field Marshal; and he died in 1797, having devised Audley-End and his other estates to his kinsman, Mr. Aldworth Neville, who at the same time succeeded to the Barony of Braybrooke, which had been limited over to him on the death of Lord Howard de Walden.—E.

393 See infra.

394 General Philip Honeywood, of Marks Hall, Essex, an officer of distinction. He died without issue in 1785.—E.

395 Sir John Rushout had taken an active part in the debates against Walpole’s Excise Bill in 1732. He was made a Lord of the Treasury in 1742, and in the following year Treasurer of the Navy. He was strongly attached to Pulteney, and had the sagacity to predict the consequences of that statesman’s refusal to take office on the resignation of Walpole. He lived to the great age of 91, and died on the 2nd of March, 1775. His son was created Lord Northwich.—E.

396 In Ireland.

397 Henly Earl of Northington.

398 Under Lord Chatham’s administration in the war.

399 Thomas Harley, a merchant, and brother of the Earl of Oxford.

400 The tax on cyder.

401 The Duke of Bedford.

402 Walpole’s Correspondence, vol. iv. p. 329.

403 Vide Wilkes v. Wood. State Trials, vol. xix. 1154.—E.

404 Vide Mr. Croker’s note in Walpole’s Correspondence, vol. iv. p. 322.

405 He was the second son of William de Grey, Esq., M.P., and younger brother of Thomas de Grey of Merton Hall, M.P. for Norfolk, whose estates he inherited, on the death of the latter without issue, in 1765.—E.

406 This was one of the most obstinate contests of the day, and cost Mr. Luther many thousand pounds. He had been the pupil, and was the intimate friend, of Dr. Watson, the Bishop of Landaff, to whom he bequeathed a considerable portion of his fortune. The Bishop describes him correctly as a man of most upright conduct and honourable principles. He died in 1786. Watson’s Anecdotes, vol. i. p. 235.—E.

407 Philip Yorke, Lord Royston, afterwards second Earl of Hardwicke.—See infra.

408 General A’Court, M.P. for Heytesbury, was Colonel of the 11th Dragoons. He did not long remain an object of compassion, for he recovered his rank and regiment, and afterwards inherited a large estate and the borough of Heytesbury, from his uncle, Mr. Ash. He died in 1781. The present Lord Heytesbury is his grandson and lineal representative.—E.

409 General Henry Seymour Conway, only brother of Francis Earl of Hertford.

410 Thomas Pitt of Boconnock, only son of Thomas Pitt, elder brother of the famous William Pitt, by the eldest sister of George Lord Lyttelton. [He inherited from his father the borough of Old Sarum, for which he brought himself into Parliament in 1761. In 1763 he was made a Lord of the Admiralty. In 1784 created Lord Camelford. He went abroad for his health in 1787, and died at Florence in 1793. The letters addressed to him when a student at Cambridge, by Lord Chatham, have attached an interest to his name beyond what belongs to his political career; and it is singular that he should, at the very outset of his public life, have abruptly separated from one whose opinions up to that time he seems to have entirely shared. Their connection was not afterwards resumed, though, as Lord Chatham’s relative, he returned thanks (rather coldly) to the House for the marks of distinction conferred on that great man’s memory. He is described by his son-in-law, Lord Grenville, “as combining a steadiness of principle and a correctness of judgment with an integrity of heart, which produced the affectionate attachment from those who knew him that has followed him beyond the grave.” Many of his letters during his residence abroad are printed in Nichols’s Illustrations of Literary History, vol. vi. p. 75; they show more amiability of disposition than power of mind, and were scarcely worth being preserved. On the death of his only son the title became extinct.—E.]

411 Charles Lenox, third Duke of Richmond, had married Lady Mary Bruce, daughter of the last Earl of Ailesbury by his third wife, Caroline Campbell, afterwards married to General Conway.

412 Elizabeth, only daughter of Sir William Windham, a lady highly respected for her virtues as a wife and mother; and whose death, not long after, her husband never recovered.—E.

413 Augusta, eldest daughter of Frederick Prince of Wales.

414 Anne, eldest daughter of King George the Second.

415 Mary, fourth daughter of George the Second, married to the Prince of Hesse; and Louisa, his fifth, married to the King of Denmark.

416 The Prince visited Mr. Pitt on the 22nd of January, and passed two hours with him. On the 14th, the Prince had addressed him a very complimentary letter. Chatham Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 272, and note.—E.

417 The Prince succeeded to the Dukedom on the death of his father in 1780, and for some years after resided at Brunswick, where the Princess, who was throughout life deservedly esteemed, made his Court very agreeable. In 1787 he commanded the Prussian forces which took possession of Amsterdam, and put down the republican party in Holland. His campaigns against the French republicans were less successful, and his well-known manifesto rendered his failure more glaring. He was mortally wounded at Auerstadt, and expired at Altona on the 10th of November, 1806, leaving behind him the reputation of a bold and enterprising, rather than of an able general. His Duchess took refuge in England, where she died at an advanced age. They were not happy in their family: of their two daughters, the eldest married the late King of Wirtemberg, and came to a miserable end in Russia; the younger was the unfortunate Queen Caroline. Their eldest son was of a weak understanding, and the younger, “Brunswick’s fated Chieftain,” a Prince of moderate abilities but signal courage, fell in middle life at Waterloo.—E.

418 A general officer.

419 Sir William Meredith was elected for Wigan in 1755, and for Liverpool in 1762. In 1765 he was appointed a Lord of the Admiralty, an office which he resigned on the dismissal of the Rockingham Administration. In 1774 he was sworn of the Privy Council, and made Comptroller of the Household. He died in 1790.—Cavendish’s Debates, (note,) vol. i. p. 52.—E.

420 This character of Sir George Saville is not less honourable to his memory than Mr. Burke’s well-known and brilliant panegyric at the Bristol election in 1780. Few public men received more respect from their cotemporaries—few, perhaps, have so well earned it. He devoted his time, his talents, and his purse almost exclusively to the public service. Neither the fashionable nor literary circles of London, nor the pursuits of the country, had any charm for him; he seldom resided at Rufford, the splendid seat of his ancestors: business was his passion, and whether in town or country, constituted his sole occupation; fortunately, he had abilities to perform it creditably, and his generosity, which was scarcely bounded by his great estate, had always usefulness for its object. The same discernment appears in his selection of the Parliamentary questions with which his name is identified, such as the Limitation of the Claims of the Crown on Landed Estates; the Relief of Roman Catholics as well as of Protestant Dissenters, and the Condemnation of General Warrants, and, lastly, the Improved Representation of the People: all these he advocated with an earnestness and singleness of purpose, and consistency of action, which extorted the admiration even of his opponents. Though not an impressive speaker, he was always sensible and very fluent, and he spared no pains to understand his subject. His speeches, indeed, partook of one of the characteristics of his mind, which was a simplicity approaching to austerity, and an exemption from party, or even popular prejudices. His life in all respects strictly corresponded with his principles, and was unstained by vice or even by weakness of any kind; his death was regarded as a public loss. He died in 1784, unmarried, aged 57, and with him ended the last line of the illustrious family of Saville. He was a collateral descendant of the Marquis of Halifax, to whose estates his father had succeeded.—E.

421 This house, in which James Earl Waldegrave died, has again become remarkable by a club created there in 1769 by several ladies of first rank; the first public female club ever known, and which gave great offence, though the ladies were almost all of distinguished virtue. Nor, though the age was notorious for divorces, though most of the female members were of the greatest beauty, and though most of the young men of fashion were of the club, did any scandal happen from that society. Even gaming, which at that time raged to so enormous a degree, went to no great lengths there. So that vice and satire, which prevailed so exceedingly, did not always meet where they deserved to meet. The King and Queen marked their disapprobation of the club, while Lord Despenser, Lord Talbot, and Lord Pembroke were in place, while Lady Berkeley was of the bedchamber to the Princess Dowager, though her husband, Lord Clare, had disavowed her last child, and while Miss Chudleigh had remained Maid of Honour to her, though she had owned her marriage with Captain Hervey to her Royal Highness, till she openly married the Duke of Kingston, though Hervey was alive; and was received by all the Royal Family as Duchess, after having been publicly kept by the Duke as his mistress. No wonder the sanctity of the Court passed for hypocrisy.

422 For an account of this debate, see Chatham Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 281.—E.

423 A graphical description of this Debate is given by the author in a letter to Lord Hertford, vol. iv. p. 359, of his Correspondence.—E.

424 For an account of Mr. Grenville’s speech, see James Grenville’s letter to Mr. Pitt. Chatham Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 285.—E.

425 Sir Anthony Abdy, Baronet, of Chobham Place, Surrey, had been brought into Parliament by the Duke of Devonshire, for Knaresborough. He was a King’s Counsel, in great practice, and likewise a country gentleman of considerable estate, having inherited the property of his kinsman Gainsford, the son of Sir Anthony Thomas. He died in 1775.—E.

426 This speech of General Conway’s appears to have made a great impression on the House. See the letter cited supra.—E.

427 The Right Honourable James Oswald, of Dunnikier, already mentioned as the adviser and warm partisan of Lord Bute. This was one of the last questions of great public interest in which he took part, his health being now on the decline; indeed he retired from Parliament at the dissolution. He had been member for Kirkaldy, his native district, for more than twenty years, and possessed considerable weight in the House, as a clear, well-informed, sensible, and effective speaker. His services were rewarded with a large sinecure for his son, and a bishoprick for his brother. It is due to his memory to notice his kindness to men of letters; David Hume’s History and Political Essays were submitted to his revision before they went to press, and Lord Kaimes and Adam Smith lay under similar obligations to him. His criticisms, however, were probably the least valuable fruits of his friendship. His Correspondence was published some years ago, under the title of “Memorials of the Right Honourable James Oswald.” Most of his papers having been burnt, the book contains nothing remarkable.—E.

428 Afterwards Lord Chancellor of Ireland, and a peer of that kingdom by the title of Lord Lifford. He filled that office with great credit. His judgments in the Court of Chancery were reported by Mr. Freeman, and the work is still one of some authority. He died in 1769.—E.

429 Charles Lord Viscount Townshend, minister at the Hague, and afterwards Secretary of State to the Kings George the First and Second. By his eldest son, Charles, he was grandfather of General George Townshend, afterwards Viscount, and of the famous Charles Townshend. His second son, Thomas, was father of another Thomas, often mentioned in these Memoirs. William, third son, was father of another Charles Townshend, called the black or Spanish Charles, from having been Secretary to the Embassy at Madrid.

430 Robert Wood died in September, 1771; he was writing Dissertations on Homer, since published.

431 See what is said of them in the Advertisement prefixed to the first volume of the Anecdotes of Painting.

432 Mr. Bouverie and Mr. Dawkins.

433 Pitt had issued two general warrants during the war.

434 Alluding to the enormous debt contracted by the war.

435 Being dependent on Lord Shelburne, Barré had, under him, connected himself with Mr. Pitt, whom he had so savagely attacked not long before, and had been dismissed from the army.

436 Richard Hussey, Esq., M. P. for East Looe, Attorney-General to the Queen, Counsel to the Admiralty, and Auditor to the Duchy of Cornwall and Greenwich Hospital. He died in 1780. Cavendish’s Debates, vol. i. p. 197, note.—E.

437 Alluding to Mr. Pitt.

438 Wilkes subsequently published a very friendly letter, dated 26th March, 1763, addressed to him by Mr. Legge, inviting him to meet Dr. Hay at dinner. Indeed the intimacy of Wilkes was a reproach shared at that time with Dr. Hay by several of the most eminent persons in the kingdom. And it was not till after the publication of the forty-fifth number of the North Briton, on the 23rd of April, 1763, that their eyes were open to the enormity of his offences.—E.

439 Arthur Onslow, Speaker in the reign of George the Second.

440 Lord Howe was then only an Irish Peer. He had succeeded to his title on the death of his elder brother at Ticonderago in 1758. His great services raised him to the English Peerage in 1782, as Viscount Howe, and as Earl Howe in 1788. He died in 1799.—E.

441 This debate is described in the author’s letters to Lord Hertford.—Correspondence, vol. iv. p. 373.—E.

442 This statement is probably much exaggerated. There is no doubt that Pratt applied to the Court, according to the usual practice, to appoint a day for Hensey’s execution. Lord Mansfield desired him to name the day, and on Hensey’s solicitor asking that it might not be an early day, Pratt said he was ready to give as long a day as might be proper. At last the Court agreed that it might be a month.—Burr. Reports, vol. i. p. 651, R. v. Hensey. The sentimentality imputed to Pratt certainly formed no part of his character; and as the story is without question inaccurate, we may fairly doubt whether Norton was guilty of so curious a piece of brutality. Hensey was respited on the very morning that he was going to execution. On the 5th of Sept. 1759, he appeared in Court and pleaded a full pardon.—E.

443 Hugh Smithson Percy, Earl of Northumberland. His eldest son married a daughter of Lord Bute. Both the Earl and Brecknock afterwards, finding their expectations not answered, turned against the Court. Brecknock was hanged twenty years after in Ireland, for being accessory to an atrocious murder perpetrated by Mr. Fitzgerald, who suffered with him.

444 The compliment was not insincere, for the King probably entertained more enlarged views of constitutional liberty than Lord Marchmont. His Lordship clung to his Jacobite principles to the last, though he changed their object.—E.

445 Lord Holland has justly observed, “that wherever that great magistrate (Lord Hardwicke) is concerned, Lord Orford’s resentments blind his judgment and disfigure his narrative.”—Mem. vol. i. p. 139, note. He certainly has in this instance drawn a caricature, of which there is no merit in the execution to compensate for the faults of the design. Lord Chesterfield, though also a political opponent, has done Lord Hardwicke more justice.—See Miscell. Works, vol. iv. p. 51. Admitting many of his eminent qualities, he elegantly says of his avarice, that though it was his ruling passion, he never was in the least suspected of any kind of corruption; a rare and meritorious instance of virtue and self-denial, under the influence of such a craving, insatiable, and increasing passion.—See also Lord Mahon’s Hist. vol. iii. p. 201. The Editor has only further to observe, that none but a lawyer who has practised in the Court where Lord Hardwicke so long presided, can correctly appreciate his discharge of the duties of that high office. His judgments maintain their authority to the present hour, and furnish the earliest and clearest exposition of the principles of the Equity Jurisdiction of this country. And whoever may have had the opportunity of examining his Lordship’s note-books, will see the patient attention and indefatigable research that distinguished every part of his judicial career.—E.

446 John Perceval, second Earl of Egmont.

447 In America.

448 All the sums mentioned in this speech must be carefully re-examined, for I am not sure they are exact; [nor has the Editor been able to verify them.—E.]

449 A plan, of which the consequences were so little foreseen, that Walpole does not even notice it in a letter to Lord Hertford, written two days afterwards. Corresp. vol. iv. p. 386.—E.

450 Afterwards Sir George Amyand. [He was one of the leading Directors of the East India Company, and an eminent merchant in the City. He died in 1766.—E.]

451 It appears to have been Lord Clive himself who made this observation: “not thinking it strictly honourable to take advantage of this sudden spirit of generosity, and to carry merely by his popularity a case which was depending at law, he rose and requested that they would desist from their liberal intentions: adding, that from being sensible of the impropriety of going abroad while so valuable a part of his property remained in dispute, he would make some proposals to the Court of Directors, which would, he trusted, end in an amicable adjustment of this affair.” Malcolm’s Life of Lord Clive, vol. ii. p. 230.—E.

452 One of the Aldermen, and member for Plympton. He had married one of the coheiresses of Jacob Tonson, the printer.—E.

453 The book displays cleverness rather than “great parts.” D’Eon was an unprincipled coxcomb, bold, ready, and plausible; with a smattering of literature, and more than common powers of writing. At the outset of the dispute he was not much in the wrong, for the difficulties raised to the payment of his disbursements as Minister were ungenerous, if not unjust; and M. Guerchy’s lamentations over the guinea per month lavishly expended in English Gazettes would have put the forbearance of most men to a severe test. In his passion D’Eon forgot the laws of decency as well as of honour, and the publication of his book injured him certainly not less than his enemies. It had an immense circulation, and the attempts to suppress it at Paris, of course, served to make it more sought after. Lord Holland, who happened to be there at that time, used to lend his copy by the hour. A reply to D’Eon was published, under the title of “Examen des Lettres, &c. du Chevalier d’Eon, dans une Lettre à M. N—” and is smart enough. The Critical Review (1764) treats it as a satisfactory refutation of D’Eon’s charges; but the public continued to laugh at the French Ambassador and his Government, and they fell in general estimation fully to the extent stated in the text.—E.

454 Walpole’s hatred of Lord Chancellor Hardwicke may be traced in this portrait of his son. Lord Hardwicke was one of the best informed noblemen of his day. The Athenian Letters which he wrote, in conjunction with his brother, whilst at the University, ranks next to the Travels of Anacharsis among works of its kind. “The Correspondence of Sir Dudley Carleton” is more curious than interesting; and the editor seems to have correctly appreciated it, by restricting his first edition to twenty copies, and his second to fifty. Perhaps there was some ostentation in terming the next impression a third edition. He is entitled to more credit for his State Papers, published in two volumes, quarto,—a work of value, and which still fully maintains its consideration. Lord Hardwicke’s health was very delicate, and he neither liked nor shone in general society, but he did not want decision of character, and had a strong sense of honour. He was firm in his political connections, and exemplary in private life. A biographical account of him is given in Cole’s MSS. in the British Museum, Donation, 5886.—E.

455 Thomas Pitt, of Boconnock, nephew of Mr. William Pitt, but attached to Mr. G. Grenville, and by him made a Lord of the Admiralty.

456 Frederick Montagu, only son of Charles Montagu, of Paplewich in Northamptonshire, Auditor to the late Prince of Wales.

457 The chief of the Whigs in Opposition.

458 Son of Sir Orlando Bridgman, after whose death he became Sir Henry; [and having succeeded to the estates of his cousin Thomas, the last Earl of Bradford, who had died without issue, was in 1794 created Baron Bradford. He died at an advanced age in 1800. He was grandfather of the present Earl.—E.]

459 Younger brother of Henry Vernon, of Hilton in Staffordshire; and married to Lady Evelyn Leveson, Countess Dowager of Ossory. [Mr. Vernon’s later life was more creditable. He became a great traveller, and visited the East; and he served with distinction as a volunteer in the Spanish expedition to Algiers. He was one of the handsomest men of his day.—E.]

460 Charles Sloane Cadogan, only son of Charles Lord Cadogan, [afterwards created Earl Cadogan. His second wife was Miss Churchill, a niece of Horace Walpole. He died in 1807, aged 78.—E.]

461 Dr. Akenside, by some thought a Poet, was of the same principles with, and an intimate friend of, Dyson, who obtained his being named Physician to the Queen. To that mistress and to that friend he made a sacrifice of the word Liberty, in the last edition of his poem on the Pleasures of the Imagination. It was uncourtly, a personification to be invoked by one who felt the pulse of royalty. [The alteration to which Walpole refers is as follows. In the old editions there is the passage—

Wilt thou, kind Harmony, descend,
And join the festive train, for with thee comes,
Majestic Truth; and where Truth deigns to come,
Her sister Liberty will not be far.

In the later editions it stands thus—

... for with thee comes
Wise Order; and where Order deigns to come,
Her sister Liberty will not be far.

Nichols’s Liter. Anec. vol. viii. p. 525.

Akenside’s political tergiversation is an unpleasant commentary on a work so full of elevated thoughts as his poem. Personal attachment to Dyson probably influenced him. He died in 1770, in his forty-ninth year.—E.]

462 Mr. Dyson had changed his politics on the King’s accession, when he became at once a determined Tory, having previously professed the opposite creed. He afterwards formed one of the party that went under the name of the King’s friends, a political section which can hardly be said to have existed in preceding reigns, and which the personal character of George the Third rendered very influential on public measures. A more valuable recruit could not easily have been found. He was certainly a most able parliamentary lawyer, and the exactness and precision that characterised his mind, caused his opinion to be always depended upon. These qualities, added to his discretion, gave him a moral influence over the House which could not be the result of his political conduct. His manners were obliging, and his private life irreproachable. It is highly to his credit that, when Clerk of the House, he departed from the example of his predecessors, by making no profit of his patronage. Nichols’s Literary Anecdotes, vol. viii. p. 523; Hatsell’s Parliamentary Precedents.—E.

463 Catherine and Charlotte Shorter were daughters of John Shorter, of Bybrook in Kent. Catherine was first wife of Sir Robert Walpole, and mother of the author of these Memoirs. Charlotte was third wife of Francis Seymour, Lord Conway, and by him mother of Francis Earl of Hertford, and of General Henry Seymour Conway.

464 I have seen a letter from the King to George Grenville, in which his Majesty pressed him to turn out Conway.

465 John Fane, Earl of Westmoreland.

466 Sir Richard Temple, Lord Viscount Cobham.

467 This does not mean the vote of a single day, but all the votes on general warrants considered as one question.

468 General John Campbell, Groom of the Bedchamber to George the Second, and cousin and successor of John and Archibald Dukes of Argyle when an old man.

469 Caroline, daughter of the latter Duke John, third wife and widow of Charles Bruce, last Earl of Ailesbury, by whom she had an only child, Mary Duchess of Richmond. The Countess of Ailesbury married secondly General Henry Seymour Conway, only brother of Francis first Earl of Hertford of that branch.

470 John Campbell, Marquis of Lorn, married to the famous beauty Elizabeth Gunning, widow of James Duke of Hamilton.

471 Lord Frederick Campbell had been bred to the law, and succeeded well there, but quitted the profession on his father’s attaining the dukedom. [As he was brother in-law to General Conway, Mr. Walpole seems to have expected him to have followed Conway’s politics.—Mr. Croker’s note to the fourth volume of Walpole’s Letters, p. 369. Wraxall says of him, “Devoid of shining talents, he nevertheless wanted not either ability or eloquence in a certain degree, both which were under the control of reason and temper. His figure and deportment were remarkably graceful.” He married the Dowager Countess Ferrers, sister of Sir William Meredith, and died at an advanced age in 1816.—E.]

472 Lord Hertford could not reasonably be expected to court a share in the consequences of an act of which he disapproved: and he was of a temperament that too easily disposed him to shrink from any personal sacrifice. His political principles were very indefinite. His merit was of a different character. Lord Chesterfield was sincere when he said of him, in a letter not intended for publication, “I verily believe he will please as Viceroy, for he is one of the honestest and most religious men in the kingdom, and moreover very much of a gentleman in his behaviour to everybody.”—His administration of Ireland was respectable, and in general approved of, and it passed away in almost uniform tranquillity.—Hardy’s Life of Lord Charlemont, vol. i. p. 224. He filled many high offices, and was very prosperous throughout life. He was created Marquis in 1793, and died in the following year, leaving a large family.—E.

473 Lord Hertford had married Lady Isabella Fitzroy, youngest daughter of Charles Duke of Grafton, who was succeeded in the title by his grandson Augustus Henry, of whom much will be said in some of the following pages.

474 The Duke subsequently gave the best proof of the sincerity of this offer by bequeathing General Conway a legacy of 5000l.—E.

475 Conway conducted himself less well than Wolfe at Rochfort, but far better than the other generals. “Though eminently distinguished for his gallant and indefatigable behaviour,” says Walpole, “he never had the happiness of achieving any action of remarkable éclât, or of performing alone any act of singular utility to his country. However, he had been engaged in six regular battles, besides smaller affairs.”—(Counter Address to the Public on the Dismissal of a late General.) He commanded a division with credit in the Seven years’ war. An ill-natured cotemporary critic charges him with being a “martinet,” and with unnecessarily fatiguing his men, but admits that “he would have made a very good general if he had not been spoilt by his education under the Duke of Cumberland.” Life of Lord Chatham, Ap. vol. iii. p. 262.—E.

476 The Queen’s brother.

477 Lord Pembroke was again made a Lord of the Bedchamber in 1769, without applying; and exactly at a time when he was said to have carried off another woman, a young Venetian bride (he was then at Venice), the very night of her wedding. [Lord Pembroke had served in the Seven years’ war, and was popular with the officers under him, though not much of a soldier. He was dissolute and extravagant, and notwithstanding his large income, left when he died heavy debts, which his only son, the late Earl, a very respectable nobleman, honourably paid.—E.]

478 Dr. Thomas Newton, Bishop of Bristol.

479 Twickenham.

480 Thomas Worseley, Surveyor of the Board of Works.

481 Sir Hugh Smithson, of a very recent family, had married Lady Elizabeth Seymour, only daughter of Algernon Duke of Somerset, whose mother was heiress of the Percies, Earls of Northumberland; on which foundation Hugh and Elizabeth were created Earl and Countess of Northumberland.

482 Dr. Johnson said, in allusion to it, “that his Grace was only fit to succeed himself.” Boswell, vol. ii. p. 210.—E.

483 He had been likewise Secretary to the Earl of Halifax.

484 Charles sixth Earl and first Marquis of Drogheda, K.P.—The Primate had four years before importunately pressed Mr. Pitt to give this nobleman the rank of colonel; and although the application was supported by the Duke of Devonshire and Lord Besborough, Mr. Pitt was firm in resisting it. “Among the very many lieutenant-colonels,” he said, “above Lord Drogheda on the list, there were not a few who could not be postponed without great hardship, and loud complaints in the army. He had publicly pledged himself to that most meritorious class of officers, that he would never contribute, from any considerations of family or parliamentary interest, to their depression.” The Primate’s letter and Mr. Pitt’s reply are given in the Chatham Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 59. The transaction reflects great honour on Mr. Pitt, and furnishes an additional proof of the high sense of public duty entertained by that illustrious statesman, in this, as in many other respects so superior, to most of his cotemporaries, not excepting the Primate of Ireland. Lord Drogheda obtained his rank in 1762, and eventually reached almost the head of the army list, having in his old age been appointed Field-Marshal. He died at Dublin in December 1821, in his ninety-second year. He saw little, if any, foreign service, but he had been constantly employed in his own country, where he was much esteemed. He preserved to the last a remarkable elegance and amiability of deportment.—E.

485 It must be recollected, that Walpole, from some private cause, bore Lord and Lady Northumberland no good will, and frequently sneers at them in his Correspondence. A childish feeling of envy at Lord Northumberland’s brilliant success in life, was probably at the bottom of this, and prevented Walpole’s making due allowance for the temptations attendant on great and unexpected prosperity. His Lordship had the tastes that became the high rank to which he was elevated. He patronized the arts, and was generous to men of letters. His vanity was unaccompanied by arrogance, and his feelings, though not warm, were kind and amiable. Neither his talents nor acquirements were above mediocrity. He died in 1786.—E.

486 The Duchess’s defects are, no doubt, greatly exaggerated by Walpole. M. Dutens says of her Grace, that “she possessed great elevation of mind, natural and easy wit, a good and compassionate heart, and, above all, a strong attachment to her friends, whom she took every opportunity to distinguish and to serve.”—Memoirs of a Traveller, &c., vol. ii. p. 100. She met her death, which was sudden, with great firmness and resignation.—E.

487 The marriage was unfortunate, and dissolved in 1779. Lord Warkworth became Duke of Northumberland in 1786. He served as Lord Percy in the American war. Unlike his father, he was totally devoid of ostentation, and most simple and retiring in his habits. He died in 1817.—E.

488 The house of Andrew Stone, in Privy Garden.

489 George Keppel, third Earl of Albemarle. His youngest sister, Lady Elizabeth, was married to Francis Russell, Marquis of Tavistock, only son of John Duke of Bedford.

Transcriber’s Notes

Punctuation and spelling were made consistent when a predominant preference was found in this book; otherwise they were not changed.

The spelling of non-English words was not reviewed.

Simple typographical errors were corrected; occasional unbalanced quotation marks retained.

Ambiguous hyphens at the ends of lines were retained; occurrences of inconsistent hyphenation have not been changed.

Text mostly uses “confident” where modern spelling is “confidant”, but does use “confidant” once. Both variations retained here.

Text uses both “cotemporary” and “contemporary”; both variations retained here.

Text sometimes has a space in “M.P.” and sometimes not; both variations retained here.

Page references in the ERRATA are not linked because the publisher already had made the corrections to the original book.

Page 37: “dismissed the service” was printed that way.

Page 277: “villanous” was printed that way.

Page 300: “She bade Lord Bute try” was printed as “bad”; changed here.