Saunders, the new admiral, told the King yesterday in a very odd phrase, that they should scren his heart out, if Byng is not now in the harbour of Mahon. The world condemns extremely the rashness of superseding admirals on no information but from our enemies. The ministry tremble for Thursday se'nnight (inter alia), when the King is to desire the Parliament to adjourn again. I believe altogether it will make a party. Adieu!
(696) Now first printed.
(697) "June 6. I heard that a message in writing had been sent to the Prince, from the King offering him an allowance of 40,000 pounds a year, and an apartment in the palaces of Kensington and St. James's. The answer was full of high gratitude for the allowance, but declining the apartment, on account of the mortification it would be to his mother; though it is well known that he does not live with her, either in town or country." Doddington, p. 345.-E.
328 Letter 187 To Sir Horace Mann. Arlington Street, June 14, 1756.
Our affairs have taken a strange turn, my dear Sir, since I wrote to you last at the end of May; we have been all confusion, consternation, and resentment! At this moment we are all perplexity! When we were expecting every instant that Byng would send home Marshal Richelieu's head to be placed upon Temple-bar, we were exceedingly astonished to hear that the governor and garrison of Gibraltar had taken a panic for themselves, had called a council of war, and in direct disobedience to a positive command, had refused Byng a battalion from thence. This council was attended, and their resolution signed, by all the chief officers there, among whom are some particular favourites, and some men of the first quality. Instead of being shocked at this disappointment, Byng accompanied it with some wonderful placid letters, in which he notified his intention of retiring under the cannon of Gibraltar, in case he found it dangerous to attempt the relief of Minorca! These letters had scarce struck their damp before D'Abreu, the Spanish minister, received an account from France, that Galissoni'ere had sent word that the English fleet had been peeping about him, with exceeding caution, for two or three days; that on the 20th of May they had scuffled for about three hours, that night had separated them, and that to his great astonishment, the English fleet, of which he had not taken one vessel. had disappeared in the morning. If the world was scandalized at this history, it was nothing to the exasperation of the court, who, on no other foundation than an enemy's report, immediately ordered Admiral Hawke and Saunders [created an admiral on Purpose] to bridle and saddle the first ship at hand, and post away to Gibraltar, and to hang and drown Byng and West, and then to send them home to be tried for their lives: and not to be too partial to the land, and to be as severe upon good grounds as they were upon scarce any, they despatched Lord Tyrawley and Lord Panmure upon the like errand over the Generals Fowke and Stuart. This expedition had so far a good effect, that the mob itself could i)ot accuse the ministry of want of rashness; and luckily for the latter, in three days more the same canal confirmed the disappearance of the English fleet for four days after the engagement—but behold! we had scarce had time to jumble together our sorrow for our situation, and our satisfaction for the despatch we had used to repair it, when yesterday threw us into a new puzzle. Our spies, the French, have sent us intelligence that Galissoni'ere is disgraced, recalled, and La Motte sent to replace him, and that Byng has reinforced the garrison of St. Philip's(698) with—150 men! You, who are nearer the spot, may be able, perhaps, to unriddle or unravel all this confusion; but you have no notion how it has put all your politics aground!
This is not our only quandary! A message of 40,000 pounds a-year, with an intention of an establishment for a court, and an invitation of coming to live at Kensington, has been sent to Leicester-fields. The money was very kindly received—the proposal of leaving our lady-mother refused in most submissive terms. It is not easy to enforce obedience; yet it is not pleasant to part with our money for nothing—and yet it is thought that will be the consequence of this ill-judged step of authority. My dear child, I pity you who are to represent and to palliate all the follies of your country!
My uncle has got his peerage: but just when the patent was ready my Lord Privy Seal Gower went out of town, on which the old baby wrote him quite an abusive letter, which my Lord Gower answered with a great deal of wit and severity. Lord Ilchester(699) and Lord Falconberg(700) are created earls.
General Isemberg of the Hessians has already diverted us: he never saw the tide till he came to Southampton; he was alarmed, and seeing the vessel leaning on the shore, he sent for his master of the horse, and swore at him for overturning the ship in landing the horses. Another of them has challenged a Hampshire justice, for committing one of his soldiers; but hitherto both Hessians and Hanoverians are rather popular.
Your brother, whom, if any thing, I think better, is set out this morning for Bristol. You cannot pray more for its restoring his health than I do. I have just received yours of May 28th, to which I make no answer, as all the events I have mentioned are posterior to your accounts. Adieu! my dear Sir.
(698) In the month of June 1756, the Marshal de Richelieu, at the head of sixteen thousand men, landed in Minorca, and almost immediately obtained possession of the whole island, as well as of the fortress of St. Philip and Port Mahon, the population joining him; and the garrison, commanded by General Blakeney, being very weak, and not having received the expected succours from Admiral Byng.-D.
(699) Stephen first Earl of Ilchester, eldest surviving son of Sir Stephen Fox. His titles were given him, with remainder, in failure of issue male of himself, to his younger brother, Henry Fox.,-D.
(700) Thomas Belasyse, fourth Viscount and first Earl of Fauconberg. He died in 1774.-D.
330 Letter 188 To George Montagu, Esq. June 18.
The two drawings of the Vine and Strawberry, which you desired, are done. and packed up in a box; tell me how I must send them. The confusion about the ministry is not yet settled; at least it was not at noon to-day; but, for fear that confusion should ever finish, all the three factions are likely to come into place together. Poor Mr. Chute has had another bad fit; he took the air yesterday for the first time. I came to town but last night, and returned to my chateau this evening knowing nothing but that we are on the crisis of battles and ministries. Adieu!
P. S. I just hear that your cousin Halifax has resigned, on Pitt's not letting him be secretary of state for the West Indies.
330 Letter 189 To Sir Horace Mann. Strawberry Hill, July 11, 1756.
I receive with great satisfaction all your thanks for my anxiety about your brother: I love you both so much, that nothing can flatter me more, than to find I please the one by having behaved as I ought to the other—oh, yes! I could be much more rejoiced, if this brother ceased to want my attentions. Bristol began to be of service to him. but he has caught cold there, and been out of order again: he assures me it is over. I will give you a kind of happiness: since he was there, he tells me, that if he does not find all the benefit he expects, he thinks of going abroad. I press this most eagerly, and shall drive it on, for I own if he stays another winter in England, I shall fear his disorder will fix irremovably. I will give you a commission, which, for his sake, I am sure, you will be attentive to execute in the perfectest manner. Mr. Fox wants four vases of the Volterra alabaster, of four feet high each. I choose to make over any merit in it to you, and though I hate putting you to expense, at which you always catch so greedily, when it is to oblige, yet you shall present these. Choose the most beautiful patterns, look to the execution, and send them with rapidity, with such a letter as your turn for doing civil things immediately dictates.
There is no describing the rage against Byng; for one day we believed him a real Mediterranean Byng.(701) He has not escaped a sentence of abuse, by having involved so many officers in his disgrace and his councils of war: one talks coolly of their being broke, and that is all. If we may believe report, the siege is cooled' into a blockade, and we may still save Minorca, and, what I think still more of dear old Blakeney.(702) What else we shall save or lose I know not. The French, we hear, are embarked at Dunkirk—rashly, if to come hither; if to Jersey or Guernsey, uncertain of success if to Ireland, ora pro vobis! The Guards are going to encamp. I am sorry to say, that with so much serious war about our ears, we can't help playing with crackers. Well, if the French do come, we shall at least have something for all the money we have laid out on Hanoverians and Hessians! The latter, on their arrival. asked bonnement where the French camp was. They could not conceive being sent for if it was no nearer than Calais.
The difficulties in settling the Prince's family are far from surmounted; the council met on Wednesday night to put the last hand to it, but left it as unsettled as ever.
Pray do dare to tell me what French and Austrians say of their treaty: we are angry—but when did subsidies purchase gratitude! I don't think we have always found that they even purchased temporary assistance. France declared, Sweden and Denmark allied to France, Holland and Austria neuter, Spain not quite to be depended on, Prussia—how sincerely reconciled! Would not one think we were menaced with a league of Cambray? When this kind of situation was new to me, I did not like it-I have lived long enough, and have seen enough, to consider all political events as mere history, and shall go and see the camps with as unthinking curiosity as if I were a simpleton or a new general. Adieu!
(701) His father, Lord Torrington, had made a great figure there against the Spaniards.
(702) It was at that time believed that General Blakeney had acted with great spirit; but it appeared afterwards that he had been confined to his bed, and had not been able to do any thing.
331 Letter 190 To George Montagu, Esq. Strawberry Hill, July 12, 1756.
When I have told you that Mr. Muntz has finished the drapery of your picture, and the copy of it, and asked you whither and how they must be sent, I think I have done all the business of my letter; except telling you, that if you think of conveying them through Moreland, he is gone a soldiering. All the world is going the same road, except Mr. Muntz, who had rather be knocked on the head for fame, than paint for it. He goes to morrow to Kingston, to see the great drum pass by to Cobham, as women go to take a last look of their captains. The Duke of Marlborough, and his grandfather's triumphal car are to close the procession. What would his grandame, if she were alive, say to this pageant? If the war lasts, I think well enough of him to believe he will earn a sprig; but I have no passion for trying on a crown of laurel, before I had acquired it. The French are said to be embarked at Dunkirk—lest I should seem to know more than any minister, I will not pretend to guess whither they are bound. I have been but one night in town, and my head sung ballads about Admiral Byng all night, as one is apt to dream of the masquerade minuet: the streets swarm so with lampoons, that I begin to fancy myself a minister's son again.
I am going to-morrow to Park-place; and the first week in August into Yorkshire. If I hear that you are at Greatworth, that is, if you will disclose your motions to me for the first fortnight of that month, I will try if I cannot make it in my road either going or coming. I know nothing of roads, but Lord Strafford is to send me a route, and I should be glad to ask you do for one night—but don't expect me, don't be disappointed about me, and of all things don't let so uncertain a scheme derange the least thing in the world that you have to do. There are going to be as many camps and little armies, as when England was a heptarchy. Adieu!
332 Letter 191 To Sir Horace Mann. Strawberry Hill, July 24, 1756.
Because you desire it, I begin a letter to-day, but I don't fancy I shall be able to fill to the bottom of this side. It is in answer to your long one of the 3d. In answer?—no; you must have Patience till next session before your queries can be resolved, and then I believe you will not be very communicative of the solutions. In short, all your questions of, Why was not Byng sent sooner? Why not with more ships? Why was Minorca not supported earlier? All these are questions which all the world is asking as well as you, and to which all the world does not make such civil answers as you must, and to which I shall make none, as I really know none.(703) The clamour is extreme, and I believe how to reply in Parliament will be the chief business that will employ our ministry for the rest of the summer—perhaps some such home and personal considerations were occupying their thoughts in the winter, when they ought to have been thinking of the Mediterranean. We are still in the dark; we have nothing but the French account of the surrender of St. Philip's: we are humbled, disgraced, angry. We know as little of Byng, but hear that he sailed with the reinforcement before his successor reached Gibraltar. if shame, despair, or any human considerations can give courage, he will surely contrive to achieve some great action, or to be knocked on the head—a cannon-ball must be a pleasant quietus. compared to being torn to pieces by an English mob or a House of Commons. I know no other alternative, but withdrawing to the Queen of Hungary, who would fare little better if she were obliged to come hither— we are extremely disposed to massacre somebody or other, to show we have any courage left. You will be pleased with a cool, sensible speech of Lord Granville to Coloredo, the Austrian minister, who went to make a visit of excuses. My Lord Granville interrupted him, and said, "Sir, this is not necessary; I understand that the treaty is only of neutrality; but what grieves me is, that our people will not understand it so; and the prejudice will be so great, that when it shall become necessary Again, as it will do, for us to support your mistress, nobody will then dare to be a Lord Granville."
I think all our present hopes lie in Admiral Boscawen's intercepting the great Martinico fleet of a hundred and fifty sail, convoyed by five men-of-war Boscawen has twenty. I see our old friend Prince Beauvau behaved well at Mahon. Our old diversion, the Countess,(704) has exhibited herself lately to the public exactly in a style you would guess. Having purchased and given her lord's collection of statues to the University of Oxford, she has been there at the public act to receive adoration. A box was built for her near the Vice-Chancellor, where she sat three days together for four hours at a time to hear verses and speeches, to hear herself called Minerva; nay, the public orator had prepared an encomium on her beauty, but being struck with her appearance, had enough presence of mind to whisk his compliments to the beauties of her mind. Do but figure her; her dress had all the tawdry poverty and frippery with which you remember her, and I dare swear her tympany, scarce covered with ticking, produced itself through the slit of her scowered damask robe. It is amazing that she did not mash a few words of Latin, as she used to fricasee French and Italian! or that she did not torture some learned simile, like her comparing the tour of Sicily, the surrounding the triangle, to squaring the circle; or as when she said it was as difficult to get into an Italian coach, as for Caesar to take Attica, which she meant for Utica. Adieu! I trust by his and other accounts that your brother mends.
P. S. The letters I mentioned to you, pretended to be Bower's, are published, together with a most virulent pamphlet, but containing affidavits, and such strong assertions of facts as have staggered a great many people. His escape and account of himself' in Italy is strongly questioned. I own I am very impatient for the answer he has promised. I admire his book so much, and see such malice in his accusers, that I am strongly disposed to wish and think him a good man. Do, for my private satisfaction, inquire and pick up all the anecdotes you can relating to him, and what is said and thought of him in Italy. One accusation I am sure is false, his being a plagiary; there is no author from whom he could steal that ever wrote a quarter so well.
(703) "However the case may be with regard to Byng," writes Mr. George Grenville to Mr. Pitt, on the first intelligence of the disaster, "what can be the excuse for sending a force, which at the utmost is scarcely equal to the enemy, upon so important and decisive an expedition? Though, in the venality of this hour, it may be sufficient to throw the whole blame upon Byng, yet I will venture to say, the other is a question that, in the judgment of every impartial man, now and hereafter, will require a better answer, I am afraid, than can be given. I believe be was not reckoned backward in point of personal courage, which makes this affair the more extraordinary, and induces me to wait for his own account of it, before I form an opinion of it." Chatham Correspondence, vol. i. p. 163.-E.
(704) Of Pomfret.
334 Letter 192 To George Montagu, Esq. Arlington Street, August 28, 1756.
As you were so kind as to interest yourself about the issue of my journey, I can tell you that I did get to Strawberry on Wednesday night, but it was half an hour past ten first- -besides floods the whole day, I had twenty accidents with my chaise, and once saw one of the postilions with the wheel upon his body; he came off with making his nose bleed. My castle, like a little ark, is surrounded with many waters, (and yesterday morning I saw the Blues wade half way up their horses through Teddington-lane.
There is nothing new but what the pamphlet shops produce; however it is pleasant to have a new print or ballad every day—I never had an aversion to living in a Fronde. The enclosed cards are the freshest treason; the portraits by George Townshend are droll—the other is a dull obscure thing as can be. The "Worlds" are by Lord Chesterfield on Decorum, and by a friend of yours and mine, who sent it before he went to Jersey; but this is a secret: they neglected it till now, so preferable to hundreds they have published—I suppose Mr. Moore finds, what every body else has found long, that he is aground. I saw Lovel to-day; he is very far advanced and executes to perfection; you will be quite satisfied; I am not discontent with my own design, now I see how well it succeeds. It will certainly be finished by Michaelmas, at which time I told him he might depend on his money, and he seemed fully satisfied. My compliments to your brother, and adieu!
334 Letter 193 To Sir Horace Mann. Arlington Street, August 29, 1756.
A journey of amusement into Yorkshire would excuse my not having writ to you above this month, my dear Sir, but I have a better reason,—nothing has happened worth telling YOU. Since the conquest of Minorca, France seems to have taken the wisest way for herself, and a sure one too of ruining us, by sitting still, and yet keeping us upon our guard, at an outrageous expense. Gazettes of all countries announce, as you say, almost a league of Cambray against us; but the best heads think, that after all Europe has profited of our profusion, they will have the sense only to look on, while France and we contend which shall hereafter be the Universal Merchant of Venal Princes. If we reckon at all upon the internal commotions in France, they have still a better prospect from ours: we ripen to faction fast. The dearness of corn has even occasioned insurrections: some of these the Chief Justice Willcs has quashed stoutly. The rains have been excessive just now, and must occasion more inconveniences. But the warmth on the loss of Minorca has opened every sluice of opposition that has been so long dammed up. Even Jacobitism perks up those fragments of asses' ears which were not quite cut to the quick. The city of London and some counties have addressed the King and their members on our miscarriages. Sir John Barnard, who endeavoured to stem the torrent of the former, is grown almost as unpopular as Byng. That poor simpleton, confined at Greenwich, is ridiculously easy and secure, and has even summoned on his behalf a Captain Young, his warmest accuser. Fowke, who of two contradictory orders chose to obey the least spirited, is broke. Pamphlets and satirical prints teem; the courts are divided; the ministers quarrel-indeed, if they agreed, one should not have much more to expect from them! the fair situation!
I do not wonder that you are impertinenced by Richcourt;(705) there is nothing so catching as the insolence of a great proud woman(706) by a little upstart minister: the reflection of the sun from brass makes the latter the more troublesome of the two.
Your dear brother returns from Bristol this week; as I fear not much recovered, I shall have good reason to press his going abroad, though I fear in vain. I will tell you faithfully, after I have seen him a few days, what I think of him.
I never doubt your zeal in executing any commission I give you. The bill shall be paid directly; it will encourage me to employ you; but you are generally so dilatory in that part of the commission, that I have a thousand times declined asking your assistance. Adieu! my dear Sir.
(705) Count Richcourt, a Lorrainer, prime minister at Florence for the Great Duke.
(706) The Empress Queen, wife of the Great Duke.
335 Letter 194 To Richard Bentley, Esq. Wentworth Castle, August.
I always dedicate my travels to you. My present expedition has been very amusing, sights are thick sown in the counties of York and Nottingham; the former is more historic, and the great lords live at a prouder distance: in Nottinghamshire there is a very heptarchy of little kingdoms elbowing one another, and the barons of them want nothing but small armies to make inroads into one another's parks, murder deer, and massacre park-keepers. But to come to particulars: the great road as far as Stamford is superb; in any other country it would furnish medals, and immortalize any drowsy monarch in whose reign it was executed. It is continued much farther, but is more rumbling. I did not stop at Hatfield(707) and Burleigh(708) to seek the palaces of my great-uncle-ministers, having seen them before.
Budgen palace(709) surprises one prettily in a little village; and the remains of Newark castle, seated pleasantly, began to open a vein of historic memory. I had only transient and distant views of Lord Tyrconnells at Belton, and of Belvoir. The borders of Huntingdonshire have churches instead of milestones, but the richness and extent of Yorkshire quite charmed me. Oh! what quarries for working in Gothic! This place is one of the very few that I really like; the situation, woods, views, and the improvements are perfect in their kinds; nobody has a truer taste than Lord Strafford. The house is a pompous front screening an old house; it was built by the last lord on a design of the Prussian architect Bott, who is mentioned in the King's M'emoires de Brandenburg, and is not ugly: the one pair of stairs is entirely engrossed by a gallery of 180 feet, on the plan of that in the Colonna palace at Rome: it has nothing but four modern statues and some bad portraits, but, on my proposal, is going to have books at each end. The hall is pretty, but low; the drawing-room handsome: there wants a good eating-room and staircase: but I have formed a design for both, and I believe they will be executed—that my plans should be obeyed when yours are not! I shall bring you a groundplot for a Gothic building, which I have proposed that you should draw for a little wood, but in the manner of an ancient market-cross. Without doors all is pleasing: there is a beautiful (artificial) river, with a fine semicircular wood overlooking it, and the temple of Tivoli placed happily on a rising towards the end. There are obelisks, columns, and other buildings, and above all, a handsome castle in the true style, on a rude mountain, with a court -,and towers: in the castle-yard, a statue of the late lord who built it. Without the park is a lake on each side, buried in noble woods. Now contrast all this, and you may have some idea of Lord Rockingham's. Imagine now a most extensive and most beautiful modern front erected before the great Lord Strafford's old house, and this front almost blocked up with hills, and every thing unfinished around it, nay within it. The great apartment, which is magnificent, is untouched -. the chimney-pieces lie in boxes unopened. The park is traversed by a common road between two high hedges—not from necessity. Oh! no; this lord loves nothing but horses, and the enclosures for them take place of every thing. The bowling-green behind the house contains no less than four obelisks, and looks like a Brobdignag nine-pin-alley: on a hill near, you would think you saw the York-buildings water-works invited into the country. There are temples in corn-fields; and in the little wood, a window-frame mounted on a bunch of laurel, and intended for an hermitage. In the inhabited part of the house, the chimney-pieces are like tombs; and on that in the library is the figure of this lord's grandfather, in a night- gown of plaster and gold. Amidst all this litter and bad taste, I adored the fine Vandvek of Lord Strafford and his secretary, and could not help reverencing his bed-chamber. With all his faults and arbitrary behaviour, one must worship his spirit and eloquence: where one esteems but a single royalist, one need not fear being too partial. When I visited his tomb in the church (which is remarkably neat and pretty, and enriched with monuments) I was provoked to find a little mural cabinet, with his figure three feet high kneeling. Instead of a stern bust (and his head would furnish a nobler than Bernini's Brutus) one is peevish to see a plaything that might have been bought at Chenevix's. There is a tender inscription to the second Lord Strafford's wife, written by himself; but his genius was fitter to coo over his wife's memory than to sacrifice to his father's.
Well! you have had enough of magnificence; you shall repose in a desert. Old Wortley Montagu lives on the very spot where the dragon of Wantley did, only I believe the latter was much better lodged: you never saw such a wretched hovel; lean, unpainted, and half its nakedness barely shaded with harateen stretched till it cracks. Here the miser hoards health and money, his only two objects: he has chronicles in behalf of the air, and battens on tokay, his single indulgence, as he has heard it is particularly salutary. But the savageness of the scene would charm your Alpine taste - it is tumbled with fragments of mountains, that look ready laid for building the world. One scrambles over a huge terrace, on which mountain ashes and various trees spring out of the very rocks; and at the brow is the don, but not spacious enough for such an inmate. However, I am persuaded it furnished Pope with this line, so exactly it answers to the picture:
"On rifted rocks, the dragon's late abodes."
I wanted to ask Pope if he had not visited Lady Mary Wortley here during their intimacy, but could one put that question to Avidien himself? There remains an ancient odd inscription here, which has such a whimsical mixture of devotion and romanticness that I must transcribe it:-
"Preye for the soul of Sir Thomas Wortley. Knight of the body to the kings Edward IV., Richard III., Henry VII., Henry VIII., whose faults God pardon. He caused a lodge to be built on this crag in the midst of Wharncliff (the old orthography) to hear the harts bell, in the year of our Lord 1510." It was a chase, and what he meant to hear was the noise of the stags.
During my residence here I have made two little excursions and I assure you it requires resolution . the roads are insufferable: they mend them—I should call it spoil them— -with large pieces of stone. At Pomfret I saw the remains of that memorable castle "where Rivers, Vaughan, and Gray lay shorter by the head;" and on which Gray says,
"And thou, proud boy, from Pomfret's walls shalt send A groan, and envy oft thy happy grandsire's end!"(710)
The ruins are vanishing, but well situated; there is a large demolished church and a pretty market-house. We crossed a Gothic bridge of eight arches at Ferrybridge, where there is a pretty view, and went to a large old house of Lord Huntingdon's at Ledstone, which has nothing remarkable but a lofty terrace, a whole-length portrait of his Grandfather in tapestry, and the having belonged to the great Lord Strafford. We saw that monument of part of poor Sir John Bland's extravagance,(711) his house and garden, which he left orders to make without once looking at either plan. The house is a bastard- Gothic, but Of not near the extent I had heard. We lay at Leeds, a dingy large town; and through very bad black roads, (for the whole country is a colliery, or a quarry,) we went to Kirkstall Abbey, where are vast Saxon ruins, in a most picturesque situation, on the banks of a river that falls into a cascade among rich meadows, hills, and woods: it belongs to Lord Cardigan: his father pulled down a large house here '. lest it should interfere with the family seat, Deane. We returned through Wakefield, where is a pretty Gothic chapel on a bridge,(712) erected by Edward IV., in memory of his father, who lived at Sandal castle just by, and perished in the battle here, There is scarce any thing of the castle extant, but it commanded a rich prospect.
By permission from their graces of Norfolk, who are at Tunbridge, Lord Strafford carried us to WorkSop,(713) where we passed two days. The house is huge, and one of the magnificent works of old Bess of Hardwicke, who guarded the Queen of Scots here for some time in a wretched little bedchamber within her own lofty one: there is a tolerable little picture of Mary's needlework. The great apartment is vast and triste, the whole leanly furnished: the great gallery, of above two hundred feet, at the top of the house, is divided into a library, and into nothing. The chapel is decent. There is no prospect, and the barren face of the country is richly furred with evergreen plantations, under the direction of the late Lord Petre.
On our way we saw Kiveton, an ugly neglected seat of the Duke of Leeds, with noble apartments and several good portraits! I went to Welbeck. It is impossible to describe the bales of Cavendishes, harleys, Holleses, Veres, and Ogles: every chamber is tapestried with them; nay, and with ten thousand other fat morsels; all their histories inscribed; all their arms, crests, devices, sculptured on chimneys of various English marbles in ancient forms (and, to say truth, most of them ugly). Then such a Gothic hall, with pendent fretwork in imitation of the old, and with a chimney-piece extremely like mine in the library. Such water-colour pictures! such historic fragments! In short, such and so much of every thing I like, that my party thought they should never get me away again. There is Prior's portrait, and the column and Varelst's flower on which he wrote; and the authoress Duchess of Newcastle in a theatric habit, which she generally wore, and, consequently,, looking as mad as the present Duchess; and dukes of the same name, looking as foolish as the present Duke; and Lady Mary Wortley, drawn as an authoress, with rather better pretensions; and cabinets and glasses wainscoted with the Greendale oak, which was so large that an old steward wisely cut a way through it to make a triumphal passage for his lord and lady on their wedding, and only killed it! But it is impossible to tell you@ half what there is. The poor woman who is just dead passed her whole widowhood, except in doing ten thousand right and just things, in collecting and monumenting the portraits and relics of all the great families from which she descended, and which centred in her. The Duke and Duchess of Portland are expected there to-morrow, and we saw dozens of cabinets and coffers with the seals not yet taken off What treasures to revel over! The horseman Duke's man'ege is converted into a lofty stable,. and there is still a grove or two of magnificent oaks that have escaped all these great families, though the last Lord Oxford cut down above an hundred thousand pounds' worth. The place has little pretty, distinct from all these reverend circumstances.
(707) Hatfield, the seat of the Earl of Salisbury, was exchanged by King James I. with Robert Cecil, first Earl of Salisbury, for Theobald's, in the same county. Evelyn visited Hatfield in March 1643: "I went," he says, "to see my Lord Salisbury's palace at Hatfield, where the most considerable rarity, besides the house," (inferior to few then in England for its architecture,) " was the garden and vineyard, rarely well-watered and planted. They also showed us the picture of Secretary Cecil in mosaic work, very well done by some Italian hand."-E.
(708) built by the great Lord Burleigh, lord treasurer to Queen Elizabeth, who visited him at this place, and where several articles still remain which had belonged to her.-E.
(709) The episcopal palace of the Bishops of Lincoln.-E.
(710) "August 14, 1654.-Passed through Pontefract; the castle, famous for many guests, both of late and ancient times, and the death of that unhappy king murdered in it (Richard II.), was now demolishing by the rebels: it stands on a mount, and makes a goodly show at a distance." Evelyn, vol. ii. p. 88.-E.
(711) Kippax Park.
(712) The chapel upon Wakefield bridge is said to have been built upon the spot where Edmund Earl of Rutland, the youngest son of Richard Duke of York, and brother of Edward IV. and Richard III. was killed by John Lord Clifford, surnamed the Butcher.-E.
(713) The magnificent structure here described by Walpole was burnt down in 1761.-E.
339 Letter 195 To Sir Horace Mann. Strawberry Hill, Sept. 19, 1756.
I promised you an account of your brother as soon as he should return from Bristol, but I deferred it for a week, till I could see him reposed and refreshed, and could judge more fairly. I do think him much mended; I do not say recovered. H e looks with colour again, and has (got a little flesh, and is able to do much more than before he went. My Lord Radnor thinks he has a great appetite; I did not perceive it when he dined with me. His breath is better, though sometimes troublesome, and he brought back a great cough, which, however, is much abated. I think him so much better, that I ventured to talk very freely to him upon his own state; and though I allowed him mended, I told him plainly that I was convinced his case would be irrecoverable, if he did not go abroad. At times he swears he will, if he falls back at all; at others he will not listen to it, but pleads the confusion of his affairs. I wish there is not another more insurmountable cause, the fury, who not only torments him in this world, but is hurrying him into the next. I have not been able to prevail with him to pass one day or two here with me in tranquility. I see his life at stake, I feel for him, for you, for myself'; I am desperate about it, and yet know no remedy! I can only assure you that I will not see it quietly; nor would any thing check me from going the greatest lengths with your sister, whom I think effectually, though perhaps not maliciously, a most wicked being, but that I always find it recoils upon your brother. Alas! what signifies whether she murders him from a bad heart or a bad temper?
Poor Mr. Chute, too, has been grievously ill with the gout- he is laid up at his own house, whither I am going to see him.
I feel a little satisfaction that you have an opportunity of Richcourt's insults: who thought that the King of Prussia would ever be a rod in our hands? For my part, I feel quite pleasant, for whether he demolishes the Queen, or the Queen him, can one but find a loophole to let out joy? Lord Stormont's(714) valet de chambre arrived three days ago with an account of his being within four leagues of Dresden.(715) He laughs at the King o abuses Count Bruhl(716) with so much contempt, that one reconciles to him very fast: however, I don't know what to think of his stopping in Saxony. He assures us, that the Queen has not 55,000 men, nor magazines, nor money; but why give her time to get away? As the chance upon the long run must be so much against him, and as he has three times repeated his offers of desisting if the Empress-Queen will pawn her honour (counters to which I wonder he of all Kings would trust) that she will not attack him, one must believe that he thinks himself reduced to this step; but I don@t see how he is reduced to involve the Russian Empress in the quarrel too. He affirms that both intended to demolish him—but I think I would not accuse both till at least I had humbled one. We are much pleased with this expedition, but at best it ensures the duration of the war—and I wish we don't attend more to that on the Continent than to that on our element, especially as we are discouraged a little on the latter. You reproach me for not telling you more of Byng- -what can I tell you, my dear child, of a poor simpleton who behaves arrogantly and ridiculously in the most calamitous of all situations? he quarrels with the admiralty and ministry every day, though he is doing all he can to defer his trial. After he had asked for and had had granted a great number of witnesses, he demanded another large set: this has been refused him: he is under close confinement, but it will be scarce possible to try him before the Parliament meets.
The rage of addresses did not go far: at present every thing is quiet. Whatever ministerial politics there are, are in suspense. The rains are begun, and I suppose will soon disperse our camps. The Parliament does not meet till the middle of November. Admiral Martin, whom I think you knew in Italy, died here yesterday, unemployed. This is a complete abridgement of all I know, except that, since Colonel Jefferies arrived, we think still worse of the land-officers on board the fleet, as Boyd passed from St. Philip's to the fleet easily and back again. Jefferies (strange that Lord Tyrawley should not tell him) did not know till he landed here,,what succour had been intended—he could not refrain from tears. Byng's brother did die immediately on his arrival.(717) I shall like to send you Prussian journals, but am much more intent on what relates to your brother. Adieu!
(714) British minister at Vienna.
(715) This was the King of Prussia's irruption into Saxony, which was the commencement of the terrible Seven Years' War.-D.
(716) Prime minister to Augustus King of Poland, and Elector of Saxony.
(717) Edward Byng, youngest brother of the Admiral. He was bred up in the army. On the Admiral being brought home a prisoner, he went to visit him at Portsmouth, on the 28th of July: overcome by the fatigue of the journey, in which he had made great expedition, he was on the next morning seized with convulsions, and died.-E.
341 Letter 196 To George Montagu, Esq. Strawberry Hill, Oct. 14, 1756.
I shall certainly not bid for the chariot for you; do you estimate an old dowager's new machine but at ten pounds? You could scarce have valued herself at less! it is appraised here at fifty. There are no family pictures but such as you might buy at any sale, that is, there are three portraits without names. If you had offered ten pounds for a set of Pelhams, perhaps I should not have thought you had underpriced them.
You bid me give you some account of myself; I can in a very few words: I am quite alone; in the morning I view a new pond I am making for gold fish, and stick in a few shrubs or trees, wherever I can find a space, which is very rare: in the evening I scribble a little; all this is mixed with reading; that is, I can't say I read much, but I pick up a good deal of reading. The only thing I have done that can compose a paragraph, and which I think you are Whig enough to forgive me, is, that on each side of my bed I have hung MAGNA CHARTA, and the warrant for King Charles's execution, on which I have written Major Charta; and I believe, without the latter, the former by this time would be of very little importance. You will ask where Mr. Bentley is; confined with five sick infants, who live in spite of the epidemic distemper, as if they were infantas, and in bed himself with a fever and the same sore throat, though he sends me word he mends.
The King of Prussia has sent us over a victory, which is very kind, as we are not likely to get any of our own-not even by the secret Expedition, which you apprehend, and which I believe still less than I did the invasion-perhaps indeed there may be another port on the coast of France which we hope to discover, as we did one in the last war. By degrees, and somehow or other, I believe, we shall be fully acquainted with France. I saw the German letter you mention, think it very mischievous, and very well written for the purpose.
You talk of being better than you have been for many months; pray, which months were they, and what was the matter with you? Don't send me your fancies; I shall neither pity nor comfort you. You are perfectly well, and always were ever since I knew you, which is now—I won't say how long, but within this century. Thank God you have good health, and don't call it names.
John and I are just going to Garrick's with a grove of cypresses in our hands, like the Kentish men at the Conquest. He has built a temple to his master Shakspeare, and I am going to adorn the outside, since his modesty would not let me decorate it within, as I proposed, with these mottoes:
"Quod spiro et placeo, si placeo, tuum est. That I spirit have and nature, That sense breathes in ev'ry feature, That I please, if please I do, Shakspeare, all I owe to you."
342 Letter 197 To George Montagu, Esq. Twickenham, Monday.
You are desired to have business to hinder you from going to Northampton, and you are desired to have none to hinder you from coming to Twickenham. The autumn is in great beauty; my Lord Radnor's baby-houses lay eggs every day, and promise new swarms; Mrs. Chandler treads, but don't lay; and the neighbouring dowagers order their visiting coaches before sunset-can you resist such a landscape? only send me a line that I may be sure to be ready for you, for I go to London now and then to buy coals.
I believe there cannot be a word of truth in Lord Granville's going to Berlin; by the clumsiness of the thought, I should take it for ministerial wit—and so, and so.
The Twickenham Alabouches say that Legge is to marry the eldest Pelhamine infanta; he loves a minister's daughter—I shall not wonder if he intends it, but can the parents! Mr. Conway mentioned nothing to me but of the prisoners of the last battle. and I hope it extends no farther, but I vow I don't see why it should not. Adieu!
342 Letter 198 To Sir Horace Mann. Strawberry Hill, Oct. 17, 1756.
Lentulus (I am going to tell you no old Roman tale; he is the King of Prussia's aide-de-camp) arrived yesterday, with ample Confirmation of the victory in Bohemia.(718) Are not you glad that we have got a victory that we can at least call Cousin? Between six and seven thousand Austrians were killed: eight Prussian squadrons sustained the acharnement, which is said to have been extreme, of thirty-two squadrons of Austrians: the pursuit lasted from Friday noon till Monday morning; both our countrymen Brown and Keith(719) performed wonders—we seem to flourish much when transplanted to Germany—but Germany don't make good manure here! The Prussian King writes that both Brown and Piccolomini are too strongly entrenched to be attacked. His Majesty ran to this victory; not 'a la Mulwitz.(720) He affirms having found In the King of Poland's cabinet ample justification of his treatment of Saxony—should not one query whether he had not those proofs(721) in his hands antecedent to the cabinet? The Dauphiness(722) is said to have flung herself at the King of France's feet and begged his protection for her father; that he promised "qu'il le rendroit au centuple au Roi de Prusse."
Peace is made between the courts of Kensington and Kew; Lord Bute(723) who had no visible employment at the latter, and yet whose office was certainly no sinecure, is to be groom of the stole(724) to the Prince of Wales; which satisfies. The rest of the family will be named before the birthday—but I don't know how, as soon as one wound is closed, another breaks out! Mr. Fox, extremely discontent at having no power, no confidence, no favour, (all entirely engrossed by the old monopolist(725) has asked leave to resign. It is not yet granted. If Mr. Pitt will—or can, accept the seals, probably Mr. Fox will be indulged,—if Mr. Pitt will not, why then, it is impossible to tell you what will happen.(726) Whatever happens on such an emergency, with the Parliament SO near, with no time for considering measures, with so bad a past, and so much worse a future, there certainly is no duration or good in prospect. Unless the King of Prussia will take our affairs at home as well as abroad to nurse, I see no possible recovery for us-and you may believe, when a doctor like him is necessary, I should be full as willing to die of the distemper.
Well! and so you think we are undone!—not at all; if folly and extravagance are symptoms of nation's being at the height of their glory, as after-observers pretend that they are forerunners Of its ruin, we never were in a more flourishing situation. My Lord Rockingham and my nephew Lord Orford have made a match of five hundred pounds, between five turkeys and five geese, to run from Norwich to London. Don't you believe in the transmigration of souls? And are not you convinced that this race is between Marquis Sardanapalus and Earl Heliogabalus? And don't you pity the poor Asiatics and Italians who comforted themselves on their resurrection with being geese and turkeys?
Here's another symptom of our glory! The Irish Speaker, Mr. Ponsonby,(727) has been reposing himself at Newmarket. George Selwyn, seeing him toss about bank-bills at the hazard-table, said, "How easily the Speaker passes the money-bills!"
You, who live at Florence among vulgar vices and tame slavery, will stare at these accounts. Pray be acquainted with your own country, while it is in its lustre. In a regular monarchy the folly of the Prince gives the tone; in a downright tyranny, folly dares give itself no airs; it is in a wanton overgrown commonwealth that whim and debauchery ]Intrigue best together. Ask me which of these governments I prefer—oh! the last—only I fear it is the least durable.
I have not yet thanked you for your letter of September 18th, with the accounts of the Genoese treaty and of the Pretender's quarrel with the Pope—it is a squabble worthy a Stuart. Were he here, as absolute as any Stuart ever wished to be, who knows with all his bigotry but he might favour us with a reformation and the downfall of the mass? The ambition of making a Duke of York vice-chancellor of holy church would be as good a reason for breaking with holy church, as Harry the Eighth's was for quarrelling with it, because it would not excuse him from going to bed to his sister, after it had given him leave.
I wish I could tell you that your brother mends! indeed I don't think he does; nor do I know what to say to him; I have exhausted both arguments and entreaties, and yet if I thought either would avail, would gladly recommence them. Adieu!
(718) This was the battle of Lowositz, gained by the King of Prussia over the Austrians, commanded by Marshal Brown, on the first of October, 1756.-D.
(719) Brother of the Earl Marshal.
(720) The King of Prussia was said to have fled from the first battle, though it proved a victory.
(721) He had procured copies of all Count Bruhl's despatches by bribing a secretary.
(722) The second wife of the Dauphin was daughter of Augustus King of Poland.
(723) John Stuart, Earl of Bute, who played so conspicuous a part in the succeeding reign.-D.
(724) Upon this appointment Edward Wortley Montagu thus writes to lady Mary:—"I have something to mention that I believe will be agreeable to you: I mean some particulars relating to Lord Bute. He stood higher in the late Prince Of Wales's favour than any man. His attendance was frequent at Leicester-house, where this young Prince has resided, and since his father's death has continued without intermission, till new officers were to be placed under him. It is said that another person was to be groom of the stole, but that the Prince's earnest request was complied with in my lord's favour. It is supposed that the governors, preceptors, etc. who were about him before will be now set aside, and that my lord is the principal adviser, This young Prince is supposed to know the true state of the country, and to have the best inclinations to do all in his power to make it flourish."-E.
(725) The Duke of Newcastle.
(726) "Oct. 19. Mr. Pitt was sent for to town, and came. He returned, rejecting all terms, till the Duke of Newcastle was removed." Dodington, p. 346-E.
(727) The Right Hon. John Ponsonby, brother of Lord Besborough.-D.
344 Letter 199 To George Montagu, Esq. Arlington Street, Oct. 28, 1756.
Can you recommend one a first minister? We want one so much, that we do not insist upon his having a character from his last place: there will be good vails.—But I forget; one ought to condole with you: the Duke of Newcastle is your cousin, and as I know by experience how much one loves one's relations, I sympathize with you! But, alas! all first ministers are mortal; and, as Sir Jonathan Swift said, crowned heads and cane heads, good heads and no heads at all, may all come to disgrace. My father, who had no capacity, and the Duke of Newcastle, who has so much, have equally experienced the mutability of this world. Well-a-day, well-a-day! his grace is gone! He has bid adieu to courts, retires to a hermitage, and Will let his beard grow as long as his Duchess's.
so you are surprised! and the next question you will ask will be, who succeeds? Truly that used to be a question the easiest in the world to be resolved upon change of ministers. It is now the most unanswerable. I can only tell you that all the atoms are dancing, and as atoms always do, I suppose. will range themselves into the most durable system imaginable. Beyond the past hour I know not a syllable; a good deal of' the preceding hours—a volume would not contain it. There is some notion that the Duke of Bedford and your cousin Halifax are to be the secretaries of state—as Witwould says, they will sputter at one another like roasted apples.
The Duchess of Hamilton has brought her beauty to London at the only instant when it would not make a crowd. I believe we should scarce stare at the King of Prussia, so much are we engrossed by this ministerial ferment.
I have been this morning to see your monument;(728) it IS not Put together, but the parts are admirably executed; there is a helmet that would tempt one to enlist. The inscription suits wonderfully, but I have overruled the golden letters, which not Only are not lasting, but would not do at all, as they are to be cut in statuary marble. I have given him the arms, which certainly should be in colours: but a shield for your sister's would be barbarous tautology. You see how arbitrary I am, as you gave me leave to be. Adieu!
(728) To the memory of his sister, Miss Harriet Montagu.-E.
345 Letter 200 To Sir Horace Mann. Arlington Street, Nov. 4, 1756.
I desired your brother last week to tell you that it was in vain for me to write while every thing was in such confusion. The chaos is just as far from being dispersed now; I only write to tell you what has been its motions. One of the Popes, I think, said soon after his accession, he did not think it had been so easy to govern. What would he have thought of such a nation as this, engaged in a formidable war, without any government at all, literally, for above a fortnight! The foreign ministers have not attempted to transact any business since yesterday fortnight. For God's sake, what do other countries say of us?—but hear the progress of our inter-ministerium.
When Mr. Fox had declared his determination of resigning great offers were sent to Mr. Pitt; his demands were much greater, accompanied with a total exclusion of the Duke of Newcastle. Some of the latter's friends would have persuaded him, as the House of Commons is at his devotion, to have undertaken the government against both Pitt and Fox; but fears preponderated. Yesterday his grace declared his resolution of retiring with all that satisfaction of mind which must attend a man whom not one man of sense, will trust any longer. The King sent for Mr. Fox, and bid him try if Mr. Pitt would join him. The latter, without any hesitation, refused. In this perplexity the King ordered the Duke of Devonshire to try to compose some ministry for him, and sent him to Pitt, to try to accommodate with Fox.(729) Pitt, with a list of terms a little modified, was ready to engage, but on condition that Fox should have no employment in the cabinet. Upon this plan negotiations have been carrying on for this week. Mr. Pitt and Mr. Legge, whose whole party consists of from twelve to sixteen persons, exclusive of Leicester-house, (of that presently,) concluded they were entering on the government as secretary of state and chancellor of the exchequer;@ but there is so great unwillingness to give it up totally into their hands, that all manner of expedients have been projected to get rid of their proposals, or to limit their power. Thus the case stands at this instant: the Parliament has been put off for a fortnight, to gain time; the Lord knows whether that will suffice to bring on any sort of temper! In the mean time the government stands still; pray Heaven the war may too! You will wonder how fifteen or sixteen persons can be of such importance. In the first place, their importance has been conferred on them, and has been notified to the nation by these concessions and messages; next, Minorca is gone; Oswego gone; the nation is in a ferment; some very great indiscretions in delivering a Hanoverian soldier from prison by a warrant from the secretary of state have raised great difficulties; instructions from counties, boroughs, especially from the city of London, in the style of 1641, and really in the spirit of 1715(730) and 1745, have raised a great flame; and lastly, the countenance of Leicester-house, which Mr. Pitt is supposed to have,(731) and which Mr. Legge thinks he has, all these tell Pitt that he may command such numbers without doors as may make the majorities within the House tremble.
Leicester-house is by some thought inclined to more pacific measures. Lord Bute's being established groom of the stole has satisfied. They seem more Occupied in disobliging all their new court than in disturbing the King's. Lord Huntingdon, the new master of the horse to the Prince, and Lord Pembroke, one of his lords, have not been spoken to. Alas! if the present storms should blow over, what seeds for new! You must guess at the sense of this paragraph, which it is difficult, at least improper to explain to you; though you could not go into a coffee-house here where it would not be interpreted to you. One would think all those little politicians had been reading the Memoirs of the minority of Louis XIV.
There has been another great difficulty: the season obliging all camps to break up, the poor Hanoverians' have been forced to continue soaking in theirs. The country magistrates have been advised that they arc not obliged by law to billet foreigners on public-houses, and have refused. Transports were yesterday ordered to carry away the Hanoverians! There are eight thousand men taken from America; for I am sure we can spare none from hence. The negligence and dilatoriness of the ministers at home, the wickedness of our West Indian governors, and the little-minded quarrels of the regulars and irregular forces, have reduced our affairs in that part of the world to a most deplorable state. Oswego, of ten times more importance even than Minorca, is so annihilated that we cannot learn the particulars.
My dear Sir, what a present and future picture have I given you! The details are infinite, and what I have neither time, nor, for many reasons, the imprudence to send by the post: your good sense will but too well lead you to develop them. The crisis is most melancholy and alarming. I remember two or three years ago I wished for more active times, and for events to furnish our correspondence. I think I could write you a letter almost as big as my Lord Clarendon's History. What a bold man is he who shall undertake the administration! How much shall we be obliged to him! How mad is he, whoever is ambitious of it! Adieu!
(729) "The Duke of Devonshire advised his Majesty to comply with Pitt's demands, whereupon the administration was formed; on which account the Duke was unjustly censured by some unreasonable friends; for he joined Pitt rather than Fox, not from any change of friendship, or any partiality in Pitt's favour, but because it was more safe to be united with him who had the nation of his side, than with the man who was the most unpopular; a reason which will have its proper weight with most ministers." Waldegrave's Memoirs, p. 87.-E.
(730) Meaning that the Jacobites excited the clamour.
(731) Lord Temple, in a letter to Mr. Pitt of the 11th, says, "Lord Bute used expressions so transcendently obliging to me, and so decisive of the determined purpose of Leicester-house towards us, in the present or any future day, that your own lively imagination cannot suggest to you a wish beyond them." Chatham correspondence, vol. i. p. 191.-E.
347 Letter 201 To George Montagu, Esq. Arlington Street, November 6, 1756.
After an inter-MinisteriUm of seventeen days, Mr. Pitt has this morning, accepted the government as secretary of state; the Duke of Newcastle and Mr. Fox being both excluded. The Duke of Devonshire is to be at the head of the treasury. the Chancellor(732) retires; the seals to be in commission. Remnants of both administrations must be preserved, as Mr. Pitt has not wherewithal to fill a quarter of their employments. Did you ever expect to see a time when he would not have cousins enough? It will take some days to adjust all that is to follow. You see that, unless Mr. Pitt joins with either Fox or Newcastle, his ministry cannot last six months; I would bet that the lightness of the latter emerged first. George Selwyn, hearing some people at Arthur's t'other night lamenting the distracted state of the country, joined in the discourse, with the whites of his eyes and his prim mouth, and fetching a deep sigh, said, "Yes, to be sure it is terrible! There is the Duke of Newcastle's faction, and there is Fox's faction, and there is Leicester-house! between two factions and one faction we are torn to pieces!"
Thank you for your exchequer-ward wishes for me, but I am apt to think that I have enough from there already: don't think my horns and hoofs are growing, when I profess indifference to my interest. Disinterestedness is no merit in me, 'It happens to be my passion. It certainly is not impossible that your two young lords may appear in the new system. Mr. Williams is just come from his niece, Lady North's, and commends her husband exceedingly. He tells me that the plump Countess is in terrors lest Lord Coventry should get a divorce from his wife and Lord Bolingbroke should marry her. 'Tis a well-imagined panic!
Mr. Mann, I trust, does not grow worse; I wish I could think he mended. Mr. B. is sitting in his chimney-corner literally with five girls; I expect him to meet me to-morrow at Strawberry. As no provision is made for the great C'u in the new arrangement, it is impossible but he may pout a little. My best compliments to your brothers and sisters. Adieu! Will this find you at Greatworth!
(732) Lord Hardwicke.
348 Letter 202 To Sir Horace Mann. Arlington Street, Nov. 13, 1756.
Your brother has told me that Mr. Pitt accepts your southern province, yielding to leave Lord Holderness in the northern. I don't know what calm you at this distance may suppose this will produce; I should think little; for though the Duke of Newcastle resigned on Thursday, and Mr. Fox resigns to-day, the chief friends of each remain in place -, and Mr. Pitt accedes with so little strength that his success seems very precarious. If he Hanoverizes, or checks any inquiries, he loses his popularity, and falls that way; if he burnouts the present rage of the people, he provokes two powerful factions. His only chance seems to depend on joining with the Duke of Newcastle, who is most offended with Fox: but after Pitt's personal exclusion of his grace, and considering Pitt's small force, it may not be easy for him to be accepted there. I foresee nothing but confusion: the new system is composed of such discordant parts that it can produce no harmony. Though the Duke of Newcastle, the Chancellor, Lord Anson, and Fox quit, yet scarce one of their friends is discarded. The very cement seems disjunctive; I mean the Duke of Devonshire, who takes the treasury. If he acts cordially, he disobliges his intimate friend Mr. Fox; if he does not, he offends Pitt. These little reasonings will give you light, though very insufficient for giving you a clear idea of the most perplexed and complicate situation that ever was. Mr. Legge returns to be chancellor of the exchequer, and Sir George Lyttelton is indemnified with a peerage. The Duke of Newcastle has got his dukedom entailed on Lord Lincoln. The seals are to be in commission, if not given to a lord keeper. Your friend Mr. Doddington(733) is out again for about the hundred and fiftieth time. The rest of the list is pretty near settled; you shall have it as soon as it takes place. I should tell you that Lord Temple is first lord of the admiralty.
Being much too busy to attend to such trifles as a war and America, we know mighty little of either. The massacre at Oswego happily proves a romance: part of the two regiments that were made prisoners there are actually arrived at Plymouth, the provisions at Quebec being too scanty to admit additional numbers. The King of Prussia is gone into winter quarters, but disposed in immediate readiness. One hears that he has assured us, that if we will keep our fleet in good order, he will find employment for the rest of our enemies. Two days ago, in the midst of all the ferment at court, Coloredo, the Austrian minister, abruptly demanded an audience, in which he demanded our quotas: I suppose the King told him that whenever he should have a ministry again he would consult them. I will tell you my comment on this: the Empress-Queen, who is scrupulous on the ceremonial of mischief, though she so easily passes over the reality and ingratitude, proposes, I imagine, on a refusal which she deserves and has drawn upon her, to think herself justified in assisting France in some attempts on us from the coast of Flanders. I have received yours of October 23d, and am glad the English showed a proper disregard of Richcourt. Thank you a thousand times for your goodness to Mr. and Mrs. Dick: it obliges me exceedingly, and I am sure will be most grateful to Lady Henry Beauclerc.
I don't know what to answer to that part about your brother: you think and argue exactly as I have done; would I had not found it in vain! but, my dear child, you and I have never been married, and are sad judges! As to your elder brother's interposition, I wish he had tenderness enough to make him arbitrary. I beg your pardon, but he is fitter to marry your sister than to govern her. Your brother Gal. certainly looks better; yet I think of him just as you do, and by no means trust to so fallacious a distemper. Indeed I tease him to death to take a resolution, but to no purpose. In short, my dear Sir, they are melancholy words, but I can neither flatter you publicly nor privately; England is undone, and your brother is not to be persuaded; Yet i hope the former will not be quite given up, and I shall certainly neglect nothing possible with regard to the latter. Adieu! '
(733) Doddington, in his Diary of the 15th, says, "The Duke of Devonshire told me that he was forced by the King to take the employment he held; that his grace was ordered to go to Mr. Pitt, and know upon what conditions he would serve; that, in the arrangement Pitt and his friends made, my office was demanded—he was sorry for it—he was not concerned in it—and he behaved very civilly," etc.-E.
350 Letter 203 To George Montagu, Esq. Arlington Street, Nov. 25, 1756.
You must tell me what or whose the verses are that you demand; I know of none. I could send you reams of tests, contests, and such stupid papers, and bushels of more stupid cards. I know of nothing good; nor of any news, but that the committee of creations is not closed yet. Mr. Obrien was yesterday created Irish Earl of Thomond. Mr. Pitt is to be wrapped up in flannel, and brought to town to-morrow to see King George the Second; and I believe, to dissolve the new ministry, rather than to cement it. Mr. Fox has commenced hostilities, and has the borough of Stockbridge from under Dr. Hay, one of the new admiralty; this enrages extremely the new ministers, who, having neither members nor boroughs enough , will probably recur to their only resource, popularity.
I am exceedingly obliged to the Colonel, but is that new? to whom am I so much obliged? I will not trouble him with any commissions: the little money I have I am learning to save: the times give one a hint that one may have occasion for it.
I beg my best compliments to Mr. and Mrs. Wetenhall, and Mr. John Montagu. Don't you wish me joy of my Lord Hertford's having the garter! It makes me very happy! Adieu!
350 Letter 204 To Sir Horace Mann. Strawberry Hill, November 29,
No material event has yet happened under the new administration; indeed it has scarce happened itself: your new master, Mr. Pitt, has been confined in the country with the gout, and came to town but within these two days. The world, who love to descry policy in every thing, and who have always loved to find it in Mr. Pitt's illnesses, were persuaded that his success was not perfect enough, and that he even hesitated whether he should consummate. He is still so lame that he cannot go to court—to be sure the King must go to him He takes the seals on Saturday; the Parliament meets on Thursday, but will adjourn for about ten days for the re-elections. The new ministers are So little provided with interest in boroughs, that it is almost an administration out of Parliament. Mr. Fox has already attacked their seats, and has undermined Dr. Hay, one of the new admiralty, in Stockbridge: this angers extremely. The Duke of Newcastle is already hanging out a white flag to Pitt; but there is so little disposition in that quarter to treat, that they have employed one Evans-, a lawyer, to draw up articles of impeachment against Lord Anson. On the other hand they show great tenderness to Byng, who has certainly been most inhumanly and spitefully treated by Anson. Byng's trial is not yet appointed. Lord Effingham, Cornwallis, and Stuart are arrived, and are to have their conduct examined this day se'nnight by three general officers. In the mean time the King, of his own motion, has given a red riband and an Irish barony to old Blakeney, who has been at court in a hackney-coach, with a foot soldier behind it. As he has not only lost his government, but as he was bedrid while it was losing, these honours are a little ridiculed: we have too many governors that will expect titles, if losses are pretensions! Mr. Obrien is made Earl of Thomond:(734) my Lady Townshend rejoices; she says he has family enough to re-establish the dignity of the Irish peerage, to which of late nothing but brewers and poulterers have been raised; that she expected every day to receive a bill from her fishmonger, signed Lord Mountshrimp!
I promised you a list of the changes when they should be complete. They are very conveniently ready to fill the rest of my letter.
Transcriber's note: In the print copy the following information is given in three columns: the new office-holder on the left, the office in the middle, and the previous office-holder on the right.
Duke of Devonshire, in the room of the duke of Newcastle
(P) Mr. Legge, Chancellor of exchequer, in the room of (N) Sir G. Lyttelton a peer.
(N) Mr. Nugent, Lord Duncannon, (P) Mr. J. Grenville, of the Old Treasury; in the room of Mr. Furnese, dead; (N) mr. Obrien, Irish Earl.
Mr. w. Pitt, Secretary of State, in the room of mr. Fox.
Lord Buckingham, Lord of bedchamber, in the room of Lord Fitzwilliam, dead.
(F) Mr. Edgcumbe, Comptroller of Household, in the room of Lord Buckingham.
(F) Lord Berkeley of Stratton, Captain of pensioners, in the room of the late Lord Buckingham.
(F) Lord Bateman, Treasurer of Household, in the room of Lord berkeley.
(P) Mr. G. Grenville, Treasurer of the Navy, in the room of (F) mr. dodinglton.
(P) Mr. Potter, Joint paymaster, in the room of (N) Lord Darlington
(P) mr. martin, Secretary of Treasury, in the room of (N) Mr. West.
(P) Sir r. Lyttelton, Master of jewel Office, in the room of (N) Lord Breadalbane.
(N) Lord Breadalbane, Justice in Eyre, in the room of (N) Lord Sandys.
(N) Lord Sandys, Speaker of House of Lords, in the room of (N) Lord Chancellor.
Lord chief Justice Willes, (P) Justice Wilmot, and baron smyth, Commissioners of the Great Seal, in the room of the Lord Chancellor.
(P) Lord Temple, Admiral Boscawen before, (P) Admiral West, (P) Dr. Hay, (P) Mr. Elliot, (P) Mr. Hunter, (P) John Pitt, in the room of (N) Lord Anson, Admiral (N) rowley, Lord Duncannon, (F) Lord Bateman, Lord Hyde, and (F) mr. Edgcumbe. But John Pitt is to resign again, and be made Paymaster of the Marines, to make room for Admiral Forbes.
Charles Townshend, Treasurer of the Chambers, in the room of Lord Hilsborough, English baron.
This last is not done; as Mr. Townshend cannot be rechosen at Yarmouth, he only consents to accept, provided another borough can be found for him' this does not appear very easy.
The Duke of Newcastle has advertised in all the newspapers, that he retires without place or pension: here is a list of his disinterestedness. The reversion of his dukedom for Lord Lincoln: this is the only duchy bestowed by the present King: on my father's resignation, the new ministers did prevail to have dukedoms offered to Lord Northampton and Lord Ailesbury; but both declined, having no sons. Mr. Shelley, the Duke's nephew, has the reversion of Arundel's place: Mr. West has a great reversion for himself and his son: your little waxen friend, Tommy Pelham, has another reversion in the Customs. Jones, the Duke's favourite secretary, and nephew of the late chancellor, has another. Not to mention the English barony for Sir George Lyttelton, and the Irish earldom for Mr. Obrien. The Garters are given to the Duke of' Devonshire, to Lord Carlisle, Lord Northumberland, and (to my great satisfaction) to Lord Hertford.
Oh! I should explain the marks: the (N) signifies of the Newcastle and Hardwick faction; the (P) of Pitt's; the (F) of Fox's. You will be able by these to judge a little of how strange a medley the new government is composed! consequently, how durable!
I was with your brother this morning at Richmond; he thinks himself better; I do not think him worse; but judge by your own feelings if that is enough to content me. Pray that your brother and your country may mend a little faster! I dread the winter for him, and the summer for England! Adieu!
P. S. Since I have finished this, I received yours of November 13th, with the account of Richcourt's illness. What! you are forced to have recourse to apoplexies and deaths for revolutions! We make nothing of changing our ministers at every fall of the leaf. My Lord Huntingdon (who, by the way, loves you, and does you justice,) has told me one or two very good bon-mots of the Pope:(735) I have always had a great partiality for the good old man: I desire you will tell me any anecdotes or stories of him that you know-. I remember some of his sayings with great humour and wit. You can never oblige me more than by anecdotes of particular people—but you are indeed always good in that and every other way.
(734) Percy Windham Obrien, second son of Sir William Windham, by a daughter of Charles Duke of Somerset. The Earl of Thomond, who had married another daughter, left his estate to this Mr. Windham, his wife's nephew, on condition of his taking the name of Obrien.
(735) Prospero Lambertini, called Benedict the Fourteenth.
352 Letter 205 To Sir Horace Mann. Strawberry Hill, Dec. 8, 1756.
Your poor brother desires me to write to you to-day, as he is in bed (and not able. He went to town last week, caught cold, and returned with a fever. He has been drinking tar-water since the middle of November, at the persuasion of your older brother and his Richmond friends. Indeed he had gone through the whole course of drugs to no purpose. There is a great eruption to-day in most parts of his body, which they think will be of great service to him. In my own opinion, he is so weak, that I am in great apprehensions for him. He is very low-spirited, and yet thinks himself much better to-day. Your brother Ned was surprised at my being so alarmed, as they had considered this as a most fortunate crisis-but I have much difficulty in persuading myself to be so sanguine. As we have a recess for a few days, I shall stay here till Saturday, and see your brother again, and will tell you my opinion again. You see I don't deceive you: if that is any satisfaction, be assured that nobody else would give you so bad an account, as I find all his family have new hopes of him: would to God I had
Our first day of Parliament(736) passed off harmoniously; but in the House of Lords there was an event. A clause of thanks for having sent for the Hanoverians had crept into the address of the peers—by Mr. Fox's means, as the world thinks: Lord Temple came out of a sick bed to Oppose it.(737) Next day there was an alarm of an intention of instating the same clause in our address. Mr. Pitt went angry to court, protesting that he would not take the seals, if any such motion passed: it was sunk. Next day he accepted—and the day after, Mr. Fox, extremely disgusted with the Duke of Devonshire for preferences shown to Mr. Pitt, retired into the country. The Parliament is adjourned for the reelections; and Mr. Pitt, who has pleased in the closet, is again laid up with the gout. We meet on Monday, when one shall be able to judge a little better of the temper of the winter. The Duke of Bedford is to be Lord Lieutenant of Ireland-no measure of peace! Not to mention his natural warmth, every body is sensible that he is only placed there to traverse Pitt.
Your brother and I are uneasy about your situation: when we are treated insolently at Leghorn, to what are we sunk! Can Mr. Pitt or the King of Prussia find a panacea for all our disgraces? Have you seen Voltaire's epigram?
"Rivaux du Vainqueur de l'Euphrate, L'Oncle,(738) et le Neveu;(739) L'un fait la guerre en pirate, L'autre en partie bleue."
It is very insipid! It Seems to me,(740) as if Uncle and Nephew could furnish a better epigram , unless their reconciliation deadens wit. Besides, I don't believe that the Uncle of these lines means at all to be like Alexander, who never was introduced more pompously for the pitiful end of supplying @ rhyme.
Is it true what we see in the gazettes, that the Pantheon is tumbled down? Am not I a very Goth, who always thought it a dismal clumsy performance, and could never discover any beauty in a strange mass of light poured perpendicularly into a circle of obscurity? Adieu! I wish you may hope more with your elder brother than tremble with me!
(736) "The Speech from the throne, by its style and substance, appeared to be the work of the new speech-maker: the Militia, which his Majesty had always turned into ridicule, being strongly recommended, the late administration censured, and the uncourtly addresses of the preceding summer receiving the highest commendations." Waldegrave, 88.-E.
(737) "The new Lord of the Admiralty came, as he told the Lords, out of a sick bed, at the hazard of his life, (indeed, he made a most sorrowful appearance,) to represent to their lordships the fatal consequences of the intended compliment: he said, that the people of England would be offended even at the name of Hanover, or of foreign mercenaries, and added many other arguments, without mentioning the true reason of his disapprobation: namely, the Duke of Devonshire's having added this compliment without consulting him: and, having finished his oration, went out of the House, with a thorough conviction that such weighty reasons must be quite unanswerable." Ibid. p. 89.-E.
((738) George II.
(739) The King of Prussia.
(740) Mr. Walpole had had a quarrel with his uncle Horatio.
354 Letter 206 To Sir Horace Mann. Arlington Street, Dec. 16, 1756.
It will be easier for you, I fear, to guess, than for me to describe, what I have felt for these last six days! Your dear brother is still alive; it is scarce possible he should be so when you receive this. I wrote to you this day se'nnight, the day after I saw him last. On that day and Friday I received favourable messages. I went myself on Saturday, as I had promised him—how shocked I was at seeing Your brother Ned and a lawyer come to the chaise: the former told me that poor Gal. had desired the lawyer to settle his affairs, which were then in agitation: you may imagine I did not choose to add the tender sensations of seeing me, to what he was then feeling? I saw our doom too plainly, though your brother Ned still had hopes. Every day confirmed my fears: but I could not bear my anxiety, and went to Richmond to-day, with as much horror as persons must go to execution yet determined to see Gal. if I found that he had expressed the leas@ desire of it.—Alas! he has scarce had moments of sense since Sunday morning—how can I bring myself to say of so dreadful a situation, that it is my greatest consolation! But I could not support the thought of his remaining sensible of death with all those anxious attentions about him which have composed his whole life! Oh! my dear child, what rash wretches are heroes, compared to this brother of yours! Nothing ever equalled his cool solicitude for his family and friends. What an instance am I going to repeat to you! His most unhappy life was poisoned by the dread of leaving his children and fortune to be torn to pieces by his frantic wife, whose settlements entitled her to thirds. On Friday, perceiving her alarmed by his danger, he had the amazing presence of mind and fortitude to seize that only moment of tenderness, and prevailed on her to accept a jointure. He instantly despatched your brother Ned to London for his lawyer, and by five o'clock on Saturday, after repeated struggles of passion on her side, the whole was finished. Dear Gal. he could not speak, but he lifted up his hands in thanks! While he had any sense, it was employed in repeated kindnesses, particularly to your brother James—he had ordered a codicil, but they have not found a sufficient interval to get it signed!
My dearest Sir, what an afflicting letter am I forced to write to you! but I flatter myself, you will bear it better from me, than from any other person: and affectionate as I know you, could I deprive you or myself of the melancholy pleasure of relating such virtues My poorest, yet best consolation is, that, though I think his obstinacy in not going abroad, and Ill management, may have hurried his end, yet nothing could have saved him; his lungs are entirely gone. But how will you be amazed at what I am going to tell you! His wretched wife is gone mad—at least your brother Ned and the physician are persuaded so—I cannot think so well of her.—I see her in so diabolic a light, that I cannot help throwing falsehood into the account—but let us never mention her more. What little more I would say, for I spare your grief rather than indulge my own, is, that I beseech you to consider me as more and more your friend: I adored Gal. and will heap affection on that I already have for you. I feel your situation, and beg of you to manage with no delicacy, but confide all your fears and wishes and wants to me-if I could be capable of neglecting you, write to Gal.'s image that will for ever live in a memory most grateful to him.
You will be little disposed or curious to hear politics; yet it must import you always to know the situation of your country, and 'It never was less settled. Mr. Pitt is not yet able to attend the House, therefore no inquiries are yet commenced. The only thing like business has been the affair of preparing quarters for the Hessians, who are soon to depart; but the Tories have shown such attachment to Mr. Pitt on this occasion, that it is almost become a Whig point to detain them. The breach is so much widened between Mr. Pitt and Mr. Fox, and the latter is so warm, that we must expect great violences. The Duke of Newcastle's party lies quiet; one of the others must join it. The -new ministers have so little weight, that they seem determined at least not to part with their popularity: the new Secretary of State(741) is to attack the other, lord Holderness, on a famous letter of his sent to the mayor of Maidstone, for releasing a Hanoverian soldier committed for theft. You may judge what harmony there is!
Adieu, my dear Sir! How much I pity you, and how much you ought to pity me! Imitate your brother's firmness of Mind, and bear his loss as well as you can. You have too much merit not to be sensible of his, and then it will be impossible for you to be soon comforted.
(741) Mr. Pitt.
356 Letter 207 To Sir Horace Mann. Arlington Street, Dec. 23, 1756.
I KNOW I can no more add to your concern than to my own, by giving you the last account of your dear brother, who put a period to our anxious suspense in the night between the 20th and 21st. For the five last days he had little glimmerings of amendment, that gave hopes to some of his friends, terror to me, who dreaded his sensibility coming to Itself! When I had given up his life, I could not bear the return of his tenderness! Sure he had felt enough for his friends—yet he would have been anxious for them if he had recovered his senses. He has left your brothers Edward, James, and Foote,(742) his executors; to his daughters 7500 pounds a-piece, and the entail of his estate in succession—to a name I beg we may never mention, 700 pounds a-year, 4000 pounds and his furniture, etc. Your brother James, a very worthy man, though you never can have two Gals. desired me to give you this account—' how sad a return for the two letters I have received from you this week! Be assured, my dear Sir, that nothing could have saved his life. For your sake and my own I hurry from this dreadful subject-not for the amusement of' either, or that I have any thing to tell you: my letter shall be very short, for I am stabbing you with a dagger used on myself!