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Title: Memoirs of the Reign of King George the Second, Volume 2 of 3
Author: Walpole, Horace
Language: English
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  This is Volume 2 of 3. The first volume can be found in Project

  The List of Illustrations has been copied from Volume I. This list
  describes six illustrations, two in each volume.

  As the Editor notes in his Preface in Volume I, “Some, though very
  few, coarse expressions, have been suppressed by the Editor, and the
  vacant spaces filled up by asterisks.” There is one such occurrence
  in this volume (on page 205). Some omitted text is indicated by * * *
  (on page 416.)

  The Editor has also inserted the occasional [word] in brackets, when
  that makes the passage more sensible.

  Italic text is denoted by _underscores_.

  A superscript is denoted by ^x or ^{xx}, for example M^R.

  Footnote anchors are denoted by [number], and the footnotes have been
  placed at the end of each chapter.

  Some minor changes to the text are noted at the end of the book.




  VOL. II.

[Illustration: M^R. FOX.

London, Henry Colburn, 1846.]











  Second Edition, Revised.


  VOL. II.





             CHAPTER I.

  A. D.                                                         PAGE

  1755.  Endeavours for Peace with France in vain                  2

         Duke of Dorset removed; Lord Hartington made
           Lord-Lieutenant                                         3

         Debate on King Charles’s Martyrdom                     _ib._

         Affair of Sheriffs-Depute in Scotland, and Debates
           thereon                                                 4

         Ireland                                                  10

         History of the Mitchel Election                          11

         Scotch Sheriff-Depute Bill                               14

         History of Earl Poulet                                   18

         Preparations for War                                     19

         Ireland                                                _ib._

         Preparations for War in France                           20

         King’s Journey to Hanover                              _ib._

         Duke of Cumberland at head of Regency                    21

         Prospects of War                                         22

         Affairs of Ireland                                       23

             CHAPTER II.

  1755.  Commencement of the War                                  27

         War with France                                          28

         War in America                                           29

         Author avoids detailing Military events minutely         30

         Defeat and Death of General Braddock                     31

         Events at Sea                                            32

         Spain neutral                                            33

         Fears for Hanover                                      _ib._

         Negotiations at Hanover. Treaties made there             34

         Dissensions in Ministry and Royal Family                 36

         Disunion of Fox and Pitt                                 37

         Affairs of Leicester House                               39

         King arrives                                           _ib._

         Ministers endeavour to procure support in Parliament     41

         Fox made Secretary of State                              43

         Resignations and Promotions                              44

         Both Ministers insincere and discontented                45

         Sir William Johnson’s Victory                            46

         Accession of Bedford Party                             _ib._

         The Parliament meets                                     47

         Address in Lords                                         48

         New Opposition of Pitt, &c.                              50

         Debates on the Treaties                                _ib._

         Pitt &c. dismissed                                       62

         Sir George Lyttelton Chancellor of the Exchequer         63

         Complaint of Mr. Fox’s Circular to Members of
           Parliament                                           _ib._

         Debate on Fox’s Circular Letter                          65

         Debates on number of Seamen                              67

             CHAPTER III.

  1755.  Earthquake at Lisbon                                     77

         Debates on a Prize Bill                                  78

         Death of the Duke of Devonshire                          86

         Debates on the Army                                    _ib._

         Remarks on the above Debate                              96

         Debates on a new Militia Bill                            97

             CHAPTER IV.

  1755.  Debates on the Treaties                                 103

         Affair of Hume Campbell and Pitt                        107

         Changes in the Administration settled                   139

         Lord Ligonier and Duke of Marlborough                  _ib._

         Further Changes and new Appointments                    140

         Lord Barrington and Mr. Ellis                           141

         Pensions granted to facilitate Changes in Ministry      143

         Parliamentary Eloquence                                _ib._

         History of Oratory. Account and comparison of Orators   144

             CHAPTER V.

  1756.  Parliament                                              150

         Negotiations with France                               _ib._

         Accommodation with the King of Prussia                  152

         Parliament                                             _ib._

         Affair of Admiral Knowles                              _ib._

         Supplies                                                153

         Grants to North America                                 154

         Parliament and Parties                                 _ib._

         Hessians sent for                                       155

         Mischiefs produced by Marriage Act                     _ib._

         Prevot’s Regiment                                       156

         Debate on Prevot’s Regiment                             157

         Author’s Speech on Swiss Regiments                      163

         Debate on Swiss Regiments continued                     170

         Affair of Fox and Charles Townshend                     172

         Divisions                                               174

         Swiss Regiment Bill opposed in all its stages          _ib._

         Swiss Regiment Bill passed the Commons and Lords        175

         Anecdote of Madame Pompadour                            176

         Debates on Budget and Taxes                             177

         New Taxes                                              _ib._

              CHAPTER VI.

  1756.  Tax on Plate                                            179

         Tranquillity restored in Ireland                        183

         Hessians and Hanoverians sent for                       184

         Private Bill for a new Road, and Dissensions thereupon  186

         Hessians                                                187

         Hanoverians                                             188

         Debate on Hanoverians                                  _ib._

         French attack Minorca                                   190

         Militia Bill                                            191

         Vote of Credit                                         _ib._

         Debates on the Prussian Treaty                          197

         War declared                                            201

         Militia Bill in Lords                                  _ib._

         Parliament Prorogued                                    202

         Troops raised by Individuals                            203

         The Prince of Wales of age                              204

         History of Lord Bute’s favour                          _ib._

         Scheme of taking the Prince from his Mother             206

             CHAPTER VII.

  1756.  Minorca                                                 209

         Character of Richelieu and Blakeney                     210

         Siege of Minorca                                        212

         Incapacity of Administration                            213

         Reinforcements from Gibraltar refused                   214

         French Reports from Minorca                             215

         Public Indignation                                     _ib._

         Admiral Byng’s Despatch                                 217

         Remarks on the Character of Government                  218

         The Empress-Queen joins with France                     220

         Conclusion of the Law-suit about New Park               221

         Continuation of the proceedings with the Prince
           of Wales                                              221

         Death of the Chief Justice Rider, and designation
           of Murray                                             223

         Loss of Minorca                                         225

         Proceedings on Loss of Minorca                          227

         General Fowke tried                                     229

         Addresses on the Loss of Minorca                        230

         Revolution in Sweden                                    231

         Deduction of the Cause of the War in Germany            232

         German Ministers                                        233

         Bruhl                                                  _ib._

         Kaunitz                                                 234

         Views and Conduct of the Courts of Dresden and Vienna   235

         Character of the Czarina                                236

         League of Russia, Austria, and Saxony                   238

         King of Prussia apprized of the League against him     _ib._

         King of Prussia endeavours to secure Peace              240

         Invasion of Saxony by the King of Prussia               241

         Dresden Conquered, and the Archives searched by
           the Prussians                                         242

         Campaign in Saxony                                      243

             CHAPTER VIII.

  1756.  Affairs at Home                                         245

         Mr. Byng publishes a Defence                            246

         Effect of Byng’s Pamphlet                               247

         Loss of Oswego                                          248

         Affair of the Hanoverian Soldier at Maidstone          _ib._

         The King admits Lord Bute into the Prince’s Family      249

         Fox discontented with Newcastle, and insists
           on resigning                                          251

         Precarious state of the Ministry                        252

         Lord Grenville takes Fox’s resignation to the King      253

         Fox, irresolute, applies to the Author                  254

         Author’s motives in declining to interfere              255

         Fox has an Audience                                     256

         Pitt’s objections and demands                           257

         Prince of Wales’s new Household                         258

         Pitt visits Lady Yarmouth                               259

         State of Parties                                        260

         Duke of Newcastle determines to resign                  262

         Pitt declines acting with Fox                          _ib._

         Negotiations for the formation of a new Ministry        263

         Fox labours to obstruct the formation of a Ministry     268

         The designs of Fox defeated                             269

         Duke of Devonshire accepts the Treasury                _ib._

         New Ministry                                            270

         Duke of Newcastle resigns                               272

         The Chancellor resigns                                  273

         The changes settled                                     274

         Pitt Minister                                           275

         Parliament meets                                        276

             CHAPTER IX.

  1757.  Character of the Times                                  278

         Contest between the Parliament and Clergy in France     279

         France                                                  280

         King of France stabbed                                  281

         Torture and execution of Damiens                        282

         The King compliments Louis on his escape                283

         Trial of Admiral Byng                                   284

         Admiral Byng’s sentence, and the behaviour of the
           Court-Martial                                         287

         Author’s impressions                                    288

         Sentence of Court-Martial on Byng                       289

         Representation of Court-Martial                         292

         Remarks on Byng’s case                                  293

         Two Highland Regiments raised                           300

         Ordnance Estimates                                      301

         Guinea Lottery                                         _ib._

         Militia Bill                                            302

         Ordnance                                                303

             CHAPTER X.

  1757.  Baker’s Contract                                        304

         Parliamentary Inquiries limited to Minorca              305

         Byng’s Sentence produces various impressions            306

         The Sentence of the Court-Martial referred to
           the Judges                                            307

         Conduct of the Judges on the Case referred to them      308

         Conduct of Fox                                          309

         The Admiralty sign the Sentence                         311

         The Sentence notified to the House of Commons           312

         Mr. Pitt demands Money for Hanover                      313

         Lord G. Sackville declares for Pitt                     314

         Motives of Lord G. Sackville                            315

         Approaching Execution of Byng                           317

         House of Commons                                        318

         Sir Francis Dashwood animadverts on Byng’s Sentence    _ib._

         Debate on Byng’s Sentence                              _ib._

         Some applications to the King for mercy                 326

         Members of Court-Martial desirous to be absolved from
           their Oaths                                           327

         Author urges Keppel to apply to House of Commons       _ib._

         Author promotes an application to House of Commons      328

         Sir Francis Dashwood applies for Mr. Keppel            _ib._

         Keppel’s application to House of Commons               _ib._

         Debate on Keppel’s application                          329

         Keppel’s application considered in Cabinet              331

         The King’s Message on respiting Byng                    332

         Breach of Privilege in the King’s Message               332

         Debate on the King’s Message                           _ib._

         Bill to release Court-Martial from Oath                 335

         Sensations excited by proceedings in House of Commons   341

         Holmes and Geary disavow Keppel                         342

         Further debate on Court-Martial Bill                    344

         Court-Martial Bill passes House of Commons              350

             CHAPTER XI.

  1757.  Debate in Lords                                         351

         Debate in Lords on proposal to examine the Members
           of Court-Martial                                      354

         Court-Martial ordered to attend House of Lords          358

         Examination of Court-Martial in House of Lords          359

         Bill debated and dropped in House of Lords              366

         Result of Proceedings in Parliament                     367

         Petition for Mercy from City intended and dropped       368

         Death of Admiral Byng                                   369

         Reflections on Admiral Byng’s behaviour                 370

         Rochester Election                                      372

         Death of Archbishop Herring                             374

         Abolition of the Office of Commissioners of
           Wine-Licences                                         375

         Intrigues to dismiss Mr. Pitt, and form a new Ministry  376

         The Duke goes to Hanover to command the Army            378

         Change in Ministry                                      379

  APPENDIX                                                       383


  VOL. I.

  GEORGE II.                                  _Frontispiece_.

  MR. PELHAM                                          p. 378

  VOL. II.

  MR. FOX                                     _Frontispiece_.

  DUKE OF BEDFORD                                        270


  MR. PITT                                    _Frontispiece_.

  DUKE OF NEWCASTLE                                      182





      Invenies etiam disjecti membra.--_Hor._


  Fruitlessness of our efforts to maintain Peace with France
  at the commencement of the year 1755--Lord Hartington, Lord
  Lieutenant of Ireland--Debate on King Charles’s Martyrdom--Scotch
  Sheriff-Depute Bill--Speeches in the House of Commons--The St.
  Michael Election--History of Earl Powlett--Preparations for
  War--The King’s Journey to Hanover--Duke of Cumberland at the
  head of the Regency--Affairs of Ireland.

The tranquillity of the Administration continued to be disturbed
by repeated accounts of great armaments preparing in France for
the West Indies; of which General Wall was believed to have given
us the first intimation. Their marine grew formidable, but their
insults unwisely outstripped their increasing power. We took
the alarm; two regiments were ordered from Ireland; and by the
beginning of February a fleet of thirty ships of the line was
fitted out with equal spirit and expedition. Lord Anson had great
merit in that province where he presided. The Earl of Hertford, a
man of most unblemished morals, but rather too gentle and cautious
to combat so presumptuous a Court, was named Embassador to Paris,
whither Monsieur de Mirepoix was desired to write, that if they
meaned well, we would send a man of the first quality and character.

The Duke of Marlborough succeeded Lord Gower in the Privy Seal,
and the Duke of Rutland, a nobleman of great worth and goodness,
returned to Court, which he had long quitted, yet without enlisting
in any faction, though governed too much by a mercenary brother;
and was appointed Lord Steward.

France sent a haughty answer, accompanied with these inadmissible
proposals; that each nation should destroy all their forts on the
south of the Ohio, which would leave them in possession of all
the north side of that river; and whereas the Five Nations were
allotted to the division of England by the Treaty of Utrecht, and
the French had built forts amongst them contrary to that Treaty,
and we agreeably to it, they demanded that we should destroy
such forts, while they should be permitted to maintain theirs.
Lord Hertford’s journey was suspended; at the same time that his
brother, Colonel Conway, rose merely on the basis of his merit
to a distinguished situation, entirely unsought, uncanvassed.
The Ministry had perceived that it was unsafe to venture Ireland
again under the Duke of Dorset’s rule; and they had fixed on Lord
Hartington to succeed, as the most devoted to their views, and as
the least likely, from the wariness of his temper, to throw himself
into the scale of either faction. He refused to accept so uncommon
an honour, unless Mr. Conway, with whom he was scarce acquainted,
would consent to accompany him as Secretary and Minister. Mr.
Conway’s friends would not let him hesitate.

January 29th.--Mr. Fox having proposed that the House should sit
the next day, to read some Bill for which the time pressed, the
Speaker urged the Act of Parliament that sets apart that day for
the commemoration of what is ridiculously termed _King Charles’s
Martyrdom_. It occasioned a warm squabble between the Speaker and
Fox, and between Sir George Lyttelton[1] and General Mordaunt;
and though Sir Francis Dashwood talked of moving for a repeal of
the Act, the Speaker prevailed for observing the solemnity. One
can scarce conceive a greater absurdity than retaining the three
holidays dedicated to the house of Stuart. Was the preservation of
James the First a greater blessing to England than the destruction
of the Spanish Armada, for which no festival is established? Are
we more or less free for the execution of King Charles? Are we at
this day still guilty of his blood? When is the stain to be washed
out? What sense is there in thanking Heaven for the restoration of
a family, which it so soon became necessary to expel again? What
action of Charles the Second proclaimed him the--Sent of God? In
fact, does not the superstitious jargon, rehearsed on those days,
tend to annex an idea of sainthood to a worthless and exploded
race? and how easy to make the populace believe, that there was
a divine right inherent in a family, the remarkable events of
whose reigns are melted into our religion, and form a part of our
established worship!

February 20th.--The new Lord Advocate of Scotland moved that
the Bill, passed seven years before, for subjecting their
Sheriffs-depute to the King’s pleasure during that term, and which
was on the point of expiring, after which they were to hold their
offices for life, should continue some time longer on the present
foot. It was opposed with great eloquence and knowledge by one
Elliot, a young Scotch civilian, lately chosen into Parliament. The
measure had been one of the steps taken after the late Rebellion,
to create greater dependence on the Crown, and to empower it to
commit places of trust to more loyal hands, as it should be found

26th.--The House went again upon the Scotch Bill. Charles Townshend
warmly opposed the Ministerial plan, urged that the independence of
the Sheriffs-depute was a case connected with every thing sacred,
and hoped that the most habitually-attached to a Ministry, who are
generally the most unfeeling, would think on this. What signifies
the best constitution, if the Judges [are] not independent, and
their judgments [not] impartial? If the people are oppressed, what
matters it by whom? That this alteration was a breach of faith to
Scotland--that these Sheriffs are formed according to the claim
of right, and to the Act of Settlement; would not the King have
sufficient power over them if they were to hold their offices only
_quam diù se benè gesserint_? that he was sorry to see _that_ basis
shaken, on which this Administration stands, or it ought to stand
on none. That this will be regarded with fear and amaze; with
fear, for the people will not know what is to follow, or whether
this is not an attempt to try how far they will bear: with amaze,
for Murray had pronounced that there was not one Jacobite left in
Scotland. That he neither meaned ambition nor courted popularity,
but looked upon himself as an executor of those who had planned the

Lord George Sackville replied well, and ridiculed the importance
with which Mr. Townshend had treated so immaterial a business, the
utmost extent of the jurisdiction of the Sheriffs not extending
to decide finally upon property of above the value of 12_l._ Yet,
whoever had come into the House, not knowing the subject, would
have concluded that a question was agitating for taking away the
Judges from Westminster-hall. The lawyers, he said, were not agreed
as to the extent of their criminal jurisdiction: in cases of
treason, it is agreed, they have none. That the Sheriffs-depute,
if supported by military authority, might have suppressed the last
Rebellion. With such resources for good, and so tied up from ill,
would you not entrust the disposition of them with the Crown? The
more this family encroaches illegally, the more they lessen their
tenure in the Crown. But this measure was taken at the request of
the people of Scotland; have any there petitioned against it? Nor
is it a breach of faith, for one Parliament may correct the acts of
a preceding.

The Attorney-General laboured, in a speech extremely artful, to
convince the Speaker, whose Whig spirit had groaned over this
attempt, that it was no breach of the principles of the Revolution;
and he insisted that it was by no means the sense of Scotland, that
these little magistrates should be for life. He owned, that Judges,
who are to decide on questions of State, should be for life, as in
cases of treason, where it is not fit to trust the Crown with its
own revenge; in cases of charters, &c.; but it is not necessary to
be so strict in mere cases of _meum_ and _tuum_. Even Charles, and
James the Second, permitted other Judges to be for life, as the
Master of the Rolls, the Judge of the Marshalsea, &c., because the
Crown could remove trials into the King’s Bench.

This, with many more details of law, too long to rehearse, were
poorly answered by Lord Egmont; by Pitt, with great fire, in one
of his best-worded and most spirited declamations for liberty,
but which, like others of his fine orations, cannot be delivered
adequately without his own language; nor will they appear so
cold to the reader, as they even do to myself, when I attempt to
sketch them, and cannot forget with what soul and grace they were
uttered. He did not directly oppose, but wished rather to send the
Bill to the Committee, to see how it could be amended. Was glad
that Murray would defend the King, only with a salvo to the rights
of the Revolution; he commended his abilities, but tortured him
on his distinctions and refinements. He himself indeed had more
scruples; it might be a Whig delicacy--but even that is a solid
principle. He had more dread of arbitrary power dressing itself in
the long robe, than even of military power. When master principles
are concerned, he dreaded accuracy of distinction: he feared that
sort of reasoning: if you class everything, you will soon reduce
everything into a particular; you will then lose great general
maxims. Gentlemen may analyze a question till it is lost. If I can
show him, says Murray, that it is not My Lord Judge, but Mr. Judge,
I have got him into a class. For his part, could he be drawn to
violate liberty, it should be _regnandi causâ_, for this King’s
reigning. He would not recur for precedents to the diabolic divans
of the second Charles and James--he did not date his principles of
the liberty of this country from the Revolution: they are eternal
rights; and when God said, “_let justice be justice_,” he made it
independent. The Act of Parliament that you are going to repeal is
a proof of the importance of Sheriffs-depute: formerly they were
instruments of tyranny. Why is this attempted? is it to make Mr.
Pelham more regretted? He would have been tender of cramming down
the throats of people what they are averse to swallow. Whig and
Minister were conjuncts he always wished to see. He deprecated
those, who had more weight than himself in the Administration, to
drop this; or besought that they would take it for any term that
may comprehend the King’s life; for seven years, for fourteen,
though he was not disposed to weigh things in such golden scales.

Fox said, that he was undetermined, and would reserve himself for
the Committee; that he only spoke now, to show it was not crammed
down his throat; which was in no man’s power to do. That in the
Committee he would be free, which he feared Pitt had not left it
in his own power to be, so well he had spoken on one side. That he
reverenced liberty and Pitt, because nobody could speak so well on
its behalf.

Nugent made an impertinent and buffoon speech, though not without
argument, the tenour of which was to impeach professors of liberty,
who, he said, (and which _he_ surely could say on knowledge,)
always became bankrupts to the public. He perceived, he said,
that the House was impatient to rise--they were not worthy of
liberty!--yet, what were they to stay to hear? vague notions of
liberty, which my Lord Egmont could even admire in Poland, and in
the dungeons of the Barons! The Craftsman[2] and Common Sense,
which had often very little common sense, had wound the notions of
liberty too high. That he had read the Craftsman over again two
years ago, and had found it poor stuff! that this was no more a
breach of public faith, than the innovations which had been made in
the Act of Settlement. Though the House sat till ten at night, no
division ensued.

27th.--The Chancellor and Newcastle acquainted the Duke of Dorset
that he was to return no more to Ireland. He bore the notification
ill, and produced a letter from the Primate, which announced
a calmer posture of affairs, and mentioned a meeting of the
Opposition, at which no offensive healths had been suffered. Lord
George Sackville, who was present, had more command of himself,
and owned, that one temperate meeting did not afford sufficient
grounds to say, that animosities were composed; and he agreed to
the prudential measure of their not going over again. His father
rejoined, that if the situation of affairs should prove to be
mended, he hoped his honour might be saved, and he be permitted to
return to his government. The next morning Andrew Stone conceded
for his brother the Primate, who, he owned, was sufficiently
elevated, and would be better without power. At last the Duke of
Dorset begged a little respite, and that the King might not yet be
acquainted with the scheme. He wanted to fill up Malone’s place of
Prime Serjeant, and to obtain the dismission of Clements.

The next business in Parliament did not deserve to be noticed for
any importance in itself; the scenes, to which it gave rise, made
it very memorable. Lord Sandwich, who could never be unemployed,
but to whose busy nature any trifle was food, and who was as
indefatigable in the election of an Alderman, as in a Revolution
of State, had been traversed at Mitchel[3] in Cornwall, a borough
belonging to his nephew, by the families of Edgecombe and Boscawen.
His candidates were returned by his intrigues, but a petition was
lodged against them. He had scarce effected their return, but
he applied to all parties for support, against the cause should
be heard in Parliament; and had even worked so artfully as to
engage the Chancellor on his side; and having once engaged him,
pleaded his countenance, as a proof that it was a private affair,
unconnected with party. Mr. Fox eagerly supported him as a creature
of the Duke, which soon threw the whole into a cause of faction.
The Duke of Newcastle at first did not appear in it; but Lord
Lincoln, pretending to espouse the Edgecombes, commanded all their
dependents to vote against Lord Sandwich. The second hearing of
the petition was on the 28th, when Mr. Fox, attacking and attacked
by the law, of which body was Hussey, one of the petitioners, beat
four lawyers and Nugent, and carried a division by 26; in which he
was aided by Potter, one of the tellers, who counted five votes

The Tories, who had promised their votes indiscriminately as their
affections led them, perceiving that this election was to decide
whether Fox or Newcastle should carry the House of Commons, and
that at least in this affair the members were nearly balanced, came
to a sudden resolution of giving their little body importance, and
at once, as if to add to their weight, threw all their passions
and resentments into the scale. Northey, the representative of
their anger, proposed to the Duke of Newcastle, that if he would
give up the Oxford election, and dismiss both Fox and Pitt, they
would support him without asking a single reward. The proposal
was tempting--the Tories did not hate Fox and Pitt, the one for
always attacking, the other for having deserted them, more than
the Duke of Newcastle hated both for acting with him. The defect
of the proposal was, that besides disgusting the whole body of
Whigs by sacrificing the Oxford election, the Jacobites would
deprive his Grace of the two ablest speakers in the House, with
all their followers, and could replace them with nothing but about
a hundred of the silentest and most impotent votes. Though his
Grace would have embraced a whole majority of mutes, he took care
not to fling himself away on such a forlorn hope. This notable
project being evaporated, the Tories were summoned, on the 5th of
March, to the Horn Tavern. Fazakerley informed them that they were
to take measures for acting in a body on the Mitchel election: he
understood that it was not to be decided by the merits, but was
a contest for power between Newcastle and Fox: whoever carried
it, would be Minister: that he for every reason should be for the
former. Beckford told him, he did not understand there was any
such contest: that he did not love to nominate Ministers: were he
obliged to name, he would prefer Mr. Fox. The meeting, equally
unready at speeches and expedients, broke up in confusion. This
business, however remarkable, does not deserve to be dwelt upon
too long; and therefore I shall finish it at once, though it spun
out near a month longer. Mr. Fox, who apprehended these Tory
cabals, proposed to Murray a compromise of one and one; but Admiral
Boscawen, the most obstinate of an obstinate family, refused it.
Murray’s friends suspected, that the Chancellor’s unnatural support
of Lord Sandwich was only calculated to inflame a division between
Murray and Fox.

7th.--Sixty-two Tories met again at the Horn, where they agreed
to secrecy, though they observed it not; and determined to vote,
according to their several engagements, on previous questions, but
not on the conclusive question in the Committee.

12th.--The last day in the Committee Lord Sandwich triumphed by
158 to 141. Of the Tories all retired but eight, who were equally
divided. Forty of them, having omitted to summon twenty-nine,
had met again to consider if they should adhere to their last

24th.--The morning of the report, the Tories met again at the
Horn, and here took the shameless resolution of cancelling all
their engagements, in order to defeat Fox. The merits of elections
have long been out of the question: promises, private friendships,
reasons of party, have almost always influenced in their decision.
However, a decency was observed, and conscience always pretexted.
It was reserved to the wretched remnant of the Tories, who having
suffered most by, had been most clamorous against, engagements
and bias in elections, to throw off the mask entirely, and crown
their profligacy by breach of promises. Only twelve of them stood
to their engagements; the Duke of Newcastle, assisted by the
deserters, ejected Lord Sandwich’s members, by 207 to 183; the
House, by a most unusual proceeding, and indeed by an absurd power,
as the merits are only discussed in the Committee, setting aside
what in a Committee they had decided.

I return to the Scotch Bill, which was finished in the foregoing
month, after another long Debate, though the Ministry had given up
the point of its being _durante benè placito_. Sir Francis Dashwood
pronounced that the Revolution had not gone half far enough; and
proposed to suspend the Act for seven years more. General Mordaunt,
with his usual frankness, attacked the Scotch principles, and
would extend the suspension for fifteen. Campbell, of Calder, a
worthy man, and formerly of the Treasury, would have moderated
for nine, lest it should seem that the suspension was perpetually
to be renewed for seven years. His son warmly defended the
Highlanders, and said, (what perhaps was no very great hyperbole,)
that Middlesex contained more Jacobites than the Highlands. Elliot
defended them still better, and called on Mordaunt for a local
remedy, as he affirmed that twenty-five counties of thirty-three
know nothing of, have nothing in common with, the Highlands: and
he asked how it happened, that when the Duke could suppress the
Rebellion pending the jurisdictions, the Ministry, with those
and other impediments demolished, could not quash Jacobitism,
though seven years had rolled away since the Rebellion? The
Attorney-General said, he would yield to great authority, (the
Speaker’s,) would agree, though not convinced, as he saw everybody
meaned the same end, though by different means.

The Speaker uttered one of his pompous pathetics couched in short
sentences; declared he was against the principle, as it was against
the Revolution. It was against the principle of the constitution,
of society, of liberty. No farther against the Revolution, than
as it is against liberty. It always was true, it always will be.
What is liberty, but that the people may be sure of justice?
Other officers of justice should be for life like this; not this
at pleasure, like others. If the Judge of Gibraltar decided on
property, he should be for life. Shall the accidental union of the
ministerial office and of police reduce this to their standard,
and have the preference? We are all united with regard to the
principle. If he thought that these last seven years had united
Scotland, he would not give a day more to this suspension. Would
not have it thought that this Act is ever to be renewed; but when
this additional term shall be expired, that the Sheriffs-depute are
to be for life. Would say with that great man, Lord Somers, what
I cannot have to-day I will be contented to have to-morrow. The
people of Scotland are within our patronage; it is generous to make
no distinction between them and our countrymen. Whoever thinks to
preserve justice here by denying it there, is unjust. He would be
content with suspending the Act for fifteen years for this once.

Fox replied, laughing at the Speaker, that he could not think these
Judges of such a magnitude. If they were within the Speaker’s
description, he would not consent to subject them to the Crown
for any term. That the Lord Chancellor is not for life, and yet
nobody is discontent with his decisions on that account. That
he was content to get to-day what he might have to-morrow too.
That this was the truest triumph of Revolution principles, for it
was the sound that triumphed, not the sense. That perhaps it was
honourable deceit in those who opposed this; they made it serious,
as they thought no harm could come from their opposition. That his
deference for the Speaker was such, that he should even _malle cum
Platone errare, quam cum cæteris rectè sentire_; but that if Plato
did not err, if sense and reason were with him and his sect, it
would be following sense and reason with so few, that for his part
he chose to follow them no farther.

Pitt talked on the harmony of the day, and wished that Fox had
omitted anything that looked like levity on this great principle.
That the Ministry giving up the _durante benè placito_ was an
instance of moderation. That two points of the Debate had affected
him with sensible pleasure, the admission that judicature ought to
be free, and the universal zeal to strengthen the King’s hands.
That liberty was the best loyalty; that giving extraordinary
powers to the Crown, was so many repeals of the Act of Settlement.
Fox said shortly, that if he had honoured the fire of liberty,
he now honoured the smoke. Dr. Hay, a civilian, lately come into
Parliament with great character, began to open about this time: his
manner was good; as yet he shone in no other light. Nugent declared
that liberty was concerned in this question, just as Christianity
had been in the Jew Bill--Oswald replied rudely, “If he will define
to what species of Christianity he chooses to belong,”--but Nugent
calling him to order, Oswald said, “My very expression admitted
that he was a Christian.” No division following, the Committee
resolved that the suspension should be enacted for seven years.

March 6th.--The Marquis of Hartington was declared Lord Lieutenant
of Ireland; and the same day, the Earl of Rochford, Minister at
Turin, having been appointed to succeed the late Lord Albemarle,
as Groom of the Stole; Earl Poulet, First Lord of the Bed-chamber,
resenting that a younger Lord had, contrary to custom, been
preferred to him, resigned his employment. He had served the
King twenty years in that station; and yet his disgrace was not
lamentable, but ridiculous. He did not want sense, but that sense
wanted every common requisite. He had dabbled in factions, but
always when they were least creditable; he had lived in a Court,
without learning the very rudiments of mankind; and was formal upon
the topics which of all others least admit solemnity. For about two
months the town was entertained with the episode of his patriotism:
it vented itself in reams of papers without meaning, and of verses
without metre, which were chiefly addressed to the Mayor of
Bridgewater, where the Earl had been dabbling in an opposition.
His fury died in the fright of a measure which I shall mention

25th.--Sir Thomas Robinson, by the King’s command, acquainted the
Commons with the preparations of France for war, and demanded
assistance. He did _not_ inform them that there were actually then
but three regiments in England, and that the Duke of Newcastle,
from jealousy of the Duke’s nomination, would not suffer any more
to be raised. Lord Granby and George Townshend moved the Address
and a vote of credit. Doddington spoke with much applause on the
insignificance into which Parliaments were dwindled, and of the
inattention to public affairs. Every sentence trimmed between
satire on, and a disposition towards, the Court: he concluded, “Let
us carry the zeal of the people to St. James’s, with such spirit,
that it may be heard at Versailles!” The torrent was for revenge;
even Sir John Philipps felt against the French. Prowse desired it
might be observed that we were advising a war. It was a puerile
Debate. In the House of Lords, the Duke of Bedford attacked the
inadvertence of the Ministry. The next day the Committee of Supply
gave a million.

The Duke of Dorset was made Master of the Horse; but his faction
did not fall without a convulsive pang. The primate and Lord
Besborough sent a violent letter, to deny the report of their
having quarrelled, and to demand some more sacrifices. As Lord
Besborough’s son, Lord Duncannon, had married the new Lord
Lieutenant’s sister, the latter resented this symptom of attachment
to the disgraced cabal. The King said, “It was the work of that
ambitious priest, the Primate.” And the Duke of Newcastle, to mark
his own sacrifice of the Stones, solemnized their condemnation with
a Latin quotation--_Quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat_.

On the 10th, came advice that 20,000 French were ready to embark
at the Isle of Rhee. Lord Rothes, and the officers on the Irish
establishment, were ordered to their posts in that kingdom; whither
Lord Hartington and Mr. Conway went, without ceremony, at the end
of the month.

23rd.--At midnight was finished the Oxfordshire election, after
hearings of near fifty days: the Jacobite members were set aside by
231 to 103.

It was the year in turn for the King to go to Hanover. The French
armaments, the defenceless state of the kingdom, the doubtful
faith of the King of Prussia, and, above all, the age of the
King, and the youth of his heir at so critical a conjuncture,
everything pleaded against so rash a journey. But, as his Majesty
was never despotic but in the single point of leaving his kingdom,
no arguments or representations had any weight with him. When all
had failed, so ridiculous a step was taken to dissuade him, that
it almost grew a serious measure to advise his going. Earl Poulet
notified an intention of moving the House of Lords to Address
against the Hanoverian journey. However, as the Motion would not
be merely ridiculous, but offensive too, Mr. Fox dissuaded him
from it. He was convinced; and though he had been disgraced as much
as he could be, he took a panic, and intreated Mr. Fox and Lady
Yarmouth to make apologies for him to the King. Before they were
well delivered, he relapsed, and assembled the Lords, and then had
not resolution enough to utter his Motion. This scene was repeated
two or three times: at last, on the 24th, he vented his speech,
extremely modified, though he had repeated it so often in private
companies, that half the House could have told him how short
it fell of what he had intended. Lord Chesterfield, not famous
heretofore for tenderness to Hanover, nor called on now by any
obligations to undertake the office of the Ministers, represented
the impropriety of the Motion, and moved to adjourn. Lord Poulet
cried, “My Lords, and what is to become of my Motion?” The House
burst into a laughter, and adjourned, after he had divided
it singly. The next day the Lord Chamberlain forbade him the
_entrées_; the Parliament was prorogued; and on the 28th, the King
went abroad, leaving the Duke at the head of the Regency. This was
thought an artful stroke of the Newcastle faction, as it would tie
up Fox, who, by being a Cabinet Councillor, became a Regent too,
from censuring, in the ensuing session, the measures of the summer,
in which the Duke and he would necessarily be involved: but the
truth was, that the Duke of Devonshire, terrified by old Horace
Walpole at the thoughts of the King’s going abroad, had proposed
the Duke for sole Regent. The Duke of Newcastle, in a panic for
his power, hurried to the King, and besought him to place the Duke
only first in the Regency. In fact, the nomination of him for sole
Regent might have been attended with this absurdity; had the King
died abroad, the sole Regent must have descended from his dignity,
to be at the head of the Council to the parliamentary sole Regent,
the Princess.

On the 29th, it was known that the French squadron was sailed,
and that our fleet was ordered to follow and attack them, if they
went to the Bay of St. Lawrence, even though they designed for
Louisbourg. It was a hardy step, and not expected by France: our
tameness and connivance at their encroachments had drawn them into
a false security; they could not believe us disposed to war, nor
had calculated that it would arrive so soon: their debts were not
paid, their fleets not re-established, their Ministry was divided,
and the spirit of their Parliaments not abashed. These were
advantages in our scale; but our incumbrances were not inferior
nor dissimilar to theirs. Our debts were weighty, not to be wiped
out by a _De-par-le-Roy_; our troops, our sailors were disbanded;
our Ministry was weak and factious, if not divided; and, headed by
the Duke of Newcastle’s jealousy, how long could it preserve any
stability?--Our Parliament, indeed, was not mutinous; it was ready
to receive any impression.

Our state at home was most naked and defenceless: the Stuart party
in Scotland was humbled, not extirpated; Ireland was in a state of
confusion, swarming with Papists, and the Whigs ready to burst into
a civil war--a single circumstance will show how little attention
had been paid to the security of so considerable a dominion: the
few muskets in the hands of the King’s troops had been purchased,
in the Duke of Devonshire’s Regency, at Hanover, and were so
carelessly or knavishly made, that the men dared not fire them at a
common review, lest they should burst in their hands: a supply was
forced to be sent at this juncture from the Tower. Lord Hartington
and Mr. Conway set out in haste for that kingdom, without awaiting
the preparations for a new Lord Lieutenant’s entry. He was received
coolly, though visited by each party: the Speaker and Malone made
him great promises of not obstructing the King’s measures, and of
even acquiescing to the litigated clause of the King’s consent to
the disposal of the surplus money; though they wished the question,
if possible, might be avoided. Lord Hartington replied, he could
not engage it should. For the Primate, he would impart only a
proper share of power to him. The Opposition determined to pursue
that Prelate; and the difficulty of appointing him of, or omitting
him in, the Regency, prevented Lord Hartington from returning
immediately to England, as was intended. Mr. Conway was sent alone,
commissioned to obtain concessions to the Irish patriots, and to
state the posture of affairs in such a light, as should force the
Duke of Newcastle to withdraw his protection from the Primate.
This was not to be demanded in form, though, unless conceded, Lord
Hartington determined to resign the government: if obtained, the
Lord Lieutenant proposed to deal more haughtily and sparingly with
the Speaker’s party on other points.

During Mr. Conway’s absence, Lord Hartington was made to expect
a conference with the Speaker, who kept in the country--several
delays were invented--at last he came. The Marquis told him he
should expect and had understood three things: that the supplies
should be raised; the previous question dropped on both sides;
that no censures should be passed on the late Administration.
On his side, he would obtain the restoration of the Speaker to
his employments, and of the rest, as occasion should offer: he
engaged that the Primate should have no obnoxious power; and
that all proper communication of Government should be made to
the discontented. The Speaker professed that these offers would
content himself, but feared would have no effect on his friends,
unless they were promised that the Primate should not be left in
the Regency. “That,” replied the Marquis, “is more than I have
authority to promise.” The Speaker desired till next day to consult
his friends. He returned with Malone; but no acquiescence could be
drawn from them without such a promise. The Primate made a specious
offer of sacrificing himself for the tranquillity, if it would not
be prejudicial to the dignity, of the Government. How sincere this
interlude of self-denial was on either side, will appear hereafter.

Mr. Conway prevailed on the Chancellor and the Duke of Newcastle
to consent to this sacrifice, which Lord Kildare, through Mr.
Fox, assured Mr. Conway would content him. Newcastle wrote to
the Primate, to desire he would ask his own exclusion. He was
thunderstruck: he had offered it, while depending on support
from England--it was the last thing he was ready to do, if his
resignation was to be accepted. As he neither wanted arts nor
engines, and had so fair a field to exercise his abilities on, as
the Lord Lieutenant, now destitute of Mr. Conway’s advice, and
beset by Lord Besborough, Mr. Ponsonby, and Lady Elizabeth, his
wife, the Marquis’s sister, the junto instilled a thousand fears
into the Lord Lieutenant of falling into the power of the Speaker;
and drove him to write, not only to his father and Mr. Conway,
to object against discarding the Primate, but even to the Duke
of Newcastle, and to propose the nomination of a Lord Deputy.
This childish and contradictory step confounded Mr. Conway, and
transported the Duke of Newcastle. The father-Duke and Mr. Fox
wrote earnestly to the Marquis to persuade him to abandon the
Primate: he yielded to their advice; yet was again whirled round to
the interests of that faction; for, on Lord Kildare’s returning to
Ireland, and assuring Lord Hartington that his sole object was the
disgrace of the Primate; the Marquis replied, that, as the Primate
had supported the King’s measures, and the Speaker had defeated
them, he would not give up the one, and leave the other in the
Regency; but offered to omit the Primate, provided Lord Kildare
would come to him in form, and offer to relinquish the Speaker too.
This was a master-stroke of the Churchman: he knew Lord Kildare did
not love the Speaker: yet, being punctilious, the Earl replied, he
could not take such a step on his own authority. I have chosen to
throw these transactions together, though they took up some months
in discussion, lest the reader should be perplexed by the frequent
interruption of the narrative.


[1] He had formerly written a letter against a Bishop’s sermon,
which had carried very high the respect due to that day.

[2] Two Papers published weekly by the Opposition against Sir R.

[3] [St. Michael, Cornwall.] E.


  Commencement of the War with France--War in America--Defeat
  and Death of General Braddock--Events at Sea--Fears for
  Hanover--Treaties made there--Dissensions in the Royal Family
  and in the Ministry--Disunion of Fox and Pitt--Ministers
  endeavour to procure support in Parliament--Fox made Secretary
  of State--Resignations and Promotions--Accession of the Bedford
  Party--Meeting of Parliament--New Opposition of Pitt--Debates on
  the Treaties--Pitt dismissed--Mr. Fox’s Circular to Members of
  Parliament--Debates on the number of Seamen.

July 15th, came news that three of Admiral Boscawen’s fleet, under
the command of Captain Howe, had met, engaged, and taken three
French men-of-war. The circumstances of this action were, that
the three Frenchmen, on coming up with Howe, had demanded if it
was, Peace or war? He replied, he waited for his Admiral’s signal;
but advised them to prepare for war. The signal soon appeared
for engaging: Howe attacked, and was victorious; but one of the
French ships escaped in a fog: nine more were in sight, but, to
the great disappointment of England, got safe into the harbour of
Louisbourg. The Duke de Mirepoix had still remained in England,
writing letters to his Court of our pacific disposition. The Duke
of Newcastle, having nobody left at home undeceived, had applied
himself to deceive this Minister; and had succeeded. On this
hostile action, Monsieur de Mirepoix departed abruptly, without
taking leave, and suffered a temporary disgrace at his own Court
for his credulity. The Abbé de Bussy, formerly resident here, had
been sent after the King to Hanover, with the civilest message
that they had hitherto vouchsafed to dictate. Two days after he
had delivered it, a courier was dispatched in haste to prevent
it, and to recall him, upon the notice of our capture of the two
French ships. _They_ had meditated the war; _we_ began it. They
affected to call us pirates; their King was made to say, “_Je ne
pardonnerai pas les pirateries de cette insolente nation_.” The
point was tender, as we had at least prepared no alliances to give
strength to such alertness. However, the stroke was struck; and
it was deemed policy to follow up the blow. The Martinico fleet
was returning: it occasioned great Debates in the Council, whether
this too was not to be attacked; but the danger of giving pretence
to Spain to declare against us, if we opened the scene of war in
Europe, preponderated for the negative. In America we were not so
delicate: the next advices brought a conquest from Nova Scotia.
About three thousand of our troops, under the command of Colonel
Monckton, had laid siege to the important fort of Beau-sejour, and
carried it in four days, with scarce any loss: two other small
forts surrendered immediately.

These little prosperities were soon balanced by the miscarriage of
our principal operation in that part of the world. A resolution had
been taken here to possess ourselves of the principal French forts
on the Ohio, and in those parts; and the chief execution was to
be entrusted to two regiments sent from hence. The Duke, who had
no opinion but of regular troops, had prevailed for this measure.
Those who were better acquainted with America and the Indian manner
of fighting, advised the employment of irregulars raised on the
spot. Unhappily, the European discipline preponderated; and to
give it all its operation, a commander was selected, who, though
remiss himself, was judged proper to exact the utmost rigour of
duty. This was General Braddock, of the Guards, a man desperate in
his fortune, brutal in his behaviour, obstinate in his sentiments,
intrepid, and capable. To him was entrusted the execution of an
enterprise on Fort Duquesne. His appointments were ample; the
troops allotted to him most ill chosen, being draughts of the most
worthless in some Irish regiments, and disgusted anew by this
species of banishment.

As I am now opening some scenes of war, I must premise that
it is not my intention to enter minutely into descriptions of
battles and sieges: my ignorance in the profession would lead _me_
certainly, the reader possibly, into great mistakes; nor, had I
more experience, would such details fall within my plan, which is
rather to develope characters, and the grounds of councils, and
to illuminate other histories, than to complete a history myself.
Indeed, another reason would weigh with me against circumstantial
relations of military affairs: I have seldom understood them in
other authors. The confusion of a battle rarely leaves to any one
officer a possibility of embracing the whole operation: few are
cool enough to be preparing their narrative in the heat of action.
Historians collect relations from these disjointed or supplied
accounts; and, as different historians glean from different
relations, and add partialities of their own or of their country,
it is seldom possible to reconcile their contradictions. The events
of battles and sieges are certain; for of the _Te Deums_ which
are sometimes chanted on both sides, the mock one vanishes long
before it can usurp a place in history. The decision of actions and
enterprises shall suffice me.

At the beginning of July, Braddock began his march at the head of
two thousand men. Having reached the Little Meadows, which are
about twenty miles beyond Fort Cumberland, at Will’s Creek, he
found it necessary to leave the greatest part of his heavy baggage
at that place, under Colonel Dunbar, with orders to follow, as he
should find it practicable; himself, with about twelve hundred men
and ten pieces of artillery, advanced and encamped on the 8th,
within ten miles of Fort Duquesne. He was warned against ambuscades
and sudden attacks from the Indians: as if it were a point of
discipline to be only prepared against surprises by despising them,
he treated the notice as American panics, and advanced, with the
tranquillity of a march in Flanders, into the heart of a country
where every little art of barbarous war was still in practice.
Entering on the 9th into a hollow vale, between two thick woods, a
sudden and invisible fire put his men into confusion; they fired
disorderly and at random against an enemy whom they did not see,
and with so little command of themselves, that the greater part of
the officers fell by the shot of their own men, who, having given
one discharge, retreated precipitately. In vain were they attempted
to be rallied by their officers, who behaved like heroes, and by
Braddock, who, finding his generalship exerted too late, pushed
his valour to desperation; he had five horses killed under him,
and fell. Of sixty officers, near thirty perished; as many were
wounded. Three hundred men were left on the field. The General was
brought off by thirty English, bribed to that service by Captain
Orme, his Aide-de-camp, for a guinea and a bottle of rum a-piece.
He lived four days, a witness to the effects of his own rashness
and to his erroneous opinion of the American troops, who alone
had stood their ground. He dictated an encomium on his officers,
and expired. In one respect it was a singular battle, even in
that country; there was no scalping, no torture of prisoners, no
pursuit; our men never descried above fifty enemies. The cannon was
fetched off by the garrison of Fort Duquesne; and among the spoil
were found the Duke’s instructions to Braddock, which the French
published as a confirmation of our hostile designs. Colonel Dunbar
hurried back in great precipitation with the heavier artillery on
the first alarm from the fugitives.

What a picture was this skirmish of the vicissitude of human
affairs! What hosts had Cortez and a handful of Spaniards thrown
into dismay, and butchered, by the novel explosion of a few guns!
Here was a regular European army confounded, dispersed by a slight
band of those despised Americans, who had learned to turn those
very fire-arms against their conquerors and instructors!

These enterprises on land were accompanied on our part by seizing
great numbers of French vessels. Sir Edward Hawke was reprimanded
for letting two East Indiamen pass; and repaired his fault by
sending in two Martinico and two other ships; and these were
followed by three rich captures from St. Domingo. The French with
folded arms beheld these hostilities; and though our Admiralty
issued Letters of Marque and Reprisal on the 29th of August, they
immediately released the Blandford man-of-war, which, conveying Mr.
Lyttelton to his new government of South Carolina, had been taken
by some of their ships, who had not conceived that war on England
and from England was not war with England. As late as the beginning
of November, they persisted in their pacific civility, sending
home ten of the crew of the Blandford, who had remained sick in
France, and promising to dispatch another as soon as he should be
recovered. Lord Anson, attentive to, and, in general, expert in
maritime details, selected with great care the best officers, and
assured the King that in the approaching war he should at least
hear of no Courts-Martial. One happy consequence appeared of Sir
Benjamin Keene’s negotiations: the Spanish court refused positively
to embark in the war, having, as they declared, examined the state
of the question, and found that the French were the aggressors. Had
Ensenada remained in power, it is obvious with what candour the
examination would have been made.

But, in the midst of all this ostentation of national resentment,
symptoms of great fear appeared in the Cabinet: while Britain
dared France, its Monarch was trembling for his Hanover. As we
had given so fatal a blow to the navy of France in the last war;
as we were undoubtedly so superior to them in America; as we had
no Austrian haughtiness to feed and defend; no Dutch to betray and
counteract us, we had a reasonable presumption of carrying on a
mere naval war with honour--perhaps with success. As all our force
was at home; as our fleet was numerous; as Jacobitism had been so
unnerved by the late Rebellion, we were much less vulnerable in our
island than ever: Ireland was the only exposed part, and timely
attention might secure it. The King apprehended that he should be
punished as Elector, for the just vengeance that he was taking as
King,--the supposition was probable, and the case hard--but how was
England circumstanced? was the necessary defence of her colonies
to be pretermitted, lest her Ally, the Elector of Hanover, should
be involved in her quarrel? While that is the case, do not the
interests of the Electorate annihilate the formidable navies of
Great Britain?

As the King’s Ministers had resolved on war, his Majesty, now at
Hanover, precipitated every measure for the defence of his private
dominions. He had no English Minister with him, at least only Lord
Holderness, who was not likely to soar at once from the abject
condition of a dangling Secretary to the dignity of a remonstrating
patriot. One subsidiary treaty was hurried on with Hesse; another
with Russia, to keep the King of Prussia in awe: while to sweeten
him again, a match was negotiated for his niece, the Princess of
Brunswick, with the Prince of Wales; in short, a factory was opened
at Herenhausen, where every petty Prince that could muster and
clothe a regiment, might traffic with it to advantage: let us turn
our eyes and see how these negotiations were received at home.
There the Duke of Newcastle was absolute. He had all the advice
from wise heads that could make him get the better of rivals,
and all the childishness in himself that could make them ashamed
of his having got the better. If his fickleness could have been
tied down to any stability, his power had been endless. Yet, as
it often happens, the puny can shake, where the mighty have been
foiled--nor Pitt, nor Fox, were the engines that made the Duke of
Newcastle’s power totter. I have mentioned how early his petulant
humour had humbled Legge--never was revenge more swiftly gratified.
The treaties came over: as acquiescence to all Hanoverian measures
was the only homage which the Duke of Newcastle paid to his master,
he consented to ratify them. Being subsidiary, it was necessary
that the Treasury should sign the warrants: he could not believe
his eyes, when Legge refused to sign. He said, the contents had not
been communicated to him, nay, not to Parliament: he dared not set
his name to what the Parliament might disapprove. Nugent beseeched
him to sign; he continued firm. The step was most artful; as he saw
he must fall, and knew his own character, it was necessary to quit
with éclat. If popularity could be resuscitated, what so likely
to awaken it, as refusing to concur in a measure of profusion for
interests absolutely foreign? Some coincident circumstances tended
to confirm his resolution, and perhaps had the greatest share in
dictating it.

I have mentioned the projected match with Brunswick: the suddenness
of the measure, and the little time left for preventing it, at
once unhinged all the circumspection and prudence of the Princess.
From the death of the Prince, her object had been the government
of her son; and her attention had answered. She had taught him
great devotion, and she had taken care that he should be taught
nothing else. She saw no reason to apprehend from his own genius
that he would escape her; but bigotted, and young, and chaste, what
empire might not a youthful bride (and the Princess of Brunswick
was reckoned artful) assume over him? The Princess thought that
prudence now would be most imprudent. She immediately instilled
into her son the greatest aversion to the match: he protested
against it: but unsupported as they were, how to balance the
authority of a King who was beloved by his people, who had heaped
every possible obligation on the Princess, who, in favour of
her and her children, had taught himself to act with paternal
tenderness, and who, in this instance, would be blindly obeyed by
a Ministry that were uncontrolled? Here Legge’s art stepped in to
her assistance; and weaving Pitt’s disgusts into the toils that
they were spreading for the Duke of Newcastle, they had the finesse
to sink all mention of the Brunswick union, while they hoisted the
standard against subsidiary treaties.

Mr. Pitt, who had never contentedly acquiesced in remaining a
cipher after the death of Mr. Pelham, and who was additionally
inflamed at Mr. Fox’s being preferred to the Cabinet, had sent
old Horace Walpole to the Duke of Newcastle the day before the
King went abroad, with a peremptory demand of an explicit answer,
whether his Grace would make him Secretary of State on the first
convenient opportunity; not insisting on any person’s being
directly removed to favour him. The response was not explicit;
at least, not flattering. From that moment, it is supposed, Pitt
cast his eyes towards the successor. Early in the summer Pitt
went in form to Holland-house, and declared to Mr. Fox, that they
could have no farther connexions; that times and circumstances
forbad. Fox asked, if he had suspected him of having tried to rise
above him. Pitt protested he had not. “Yet,” said Fox, “are we on
incompatible lines?” “Not on incompatible,” replied Pitt, “but on
_convergent_: that sometime or other they might act together: that
for himself, he would accept power from no hands.” To others, Pitt
complained of Fox’s connexion with Lord Granville; and dropped to
himself a clue that led to an explanation of this rupture. “Here,”
said Pitt, “is the Duke King, and you are his Minister!” “Whatever
you may think,” replied Fox, “the Duke does not think himself
aggrandized by being of the Regency, where he has no more power
than I have.”

In fact, the Duke of Newcastle, as was mentioned before, had
prevailed to have his Royal Highness named a Regent, without
acquainting him or asking his consent. When Mr. Fox discovered the
intention, and informed the Duke, he would not believe it, and
said, “Mr. Fox, I beg your pardon, as you are to be of the number,
but I shall not think myself aggrandized.” And it was so little
considered as flattery to him, that the King did not name it to
him, but sent Lord Holderness with the notification. After this
interview and separation, Pitt and Fox imputed the rupture to each
other. The truth seemed to be this: Pitt had learned, and could not
forgive, Fox’s having disclaimed him; and being united with the
Princess, he sought this breach; which was so little welcome to
Fox, that, soon after it, a rumour prevailing that Pitt was to be
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Fox desired Legge to advise Pitt to
accept it, offering himself to take the Paymastership. Legge was
suspected of not having reported this message, to which he affirmed
Pitt had not listened. What seemed to confirm the Princess’s favour
being the price of Pitt’s rupture with Fox, and consequently of
his disclaiming the Duke, was Pitt’s appearing to pin it down to
the individual day of his visit at Holland-house, as the date from
whence his connexion with Fox was to cease. It was discovered, that
the very day before he had had a private audience of the Princess.
The only spy in the service of the Ministry was a volunteer;
Princess Amelie, who traced and unravelled the mystery of this new

However, the little junto forming at Leicester House would have
made small impression, if the Duke of Newcastle, in a fit of
folly and fear, had not dashed down his own security. Hearing
that the Duke of Devonshire, Sir George Lee, Mr. Legge, and some
others, declared their disapprobation of the treaties, his Grace
took a panic, which with full as little sense he poured into the
King the moment he returned. To soften the Duke of Devonshire,
they consented to whatever Lord Hartington should ask as terms
for treating with the Irish patriots; which disposition had
such immediate effect, that the Address of the House of Commons
of Ireland was voted without a negative, and the body of the
Opposition there manifested their readiness to sell themselves,
the moment they knew that the Lord Lieutenant had authority to
buy them. Some faint efforts towards tumults were made by little
people, who had no chance of being included in the purchase; and
the face of Lord Kildare, one of the mollifying demagogues, was
blackened on sign-posts; but when chiefs capitulate, they seldom
recede for such indignities. But more material was, who should
defend the treaties in the English Parliament? Murray shrunk from
the service--what! support them against Pitt! perhaps against Fox!
They looked down to Lord Egmont--he was uncertain, fluctuating
between the hopes of serving under the Princess in opposition, and
jealous at the prospect of serving under Pitt too. No resource lay,
but in prevailing on either Pitt or Fox to be the champion of the
new negotiations. When either was to be solicited, it was certain
that the Chancellor and the Duke of Newcastle would not give the
preference to the latter.

In this dilemma, his Grace sent for Mr. Pitt, offered him
civilities from the King, (for to that hour his Majesty had
never spoken to him but once,) a Cabinet Counsellor’s place, and
confidence. He, who had crowded the whole humility of his life
into professions of respect to the King, was not wanting now to
strain every expression of duty, and of how highly he should think
himself honoured by any ray of graciousness beaming upon him from
the Throne--for the Cabinet Counsellor’s place, he desired to
be excused. The Duke of Newcastle then lisped out a hint of the
Hessian treaty--“would he be so good as to support it?” “If,” said
Pitt, “it will be a particular compliment to his Majesty, most
undoubtedly.”--“The Russian?” “Oh! no,” cried Pitt, hastily; “not a
system of treaties.” When the Duke of Newcastle could not work upon
him, he begged another meeting in presence of the Chancellor, who,
being prepared with all his pomp, and subtilties, and temptations,
was strangely disconcerted by Pitt’s bursting into the conversation
with great humour by a panegyric on Legge, whom he termed _the
child, and deservedly the favourite child, of the Whigs_. A
conference so commenced did not seem much calculated for harmony;
and accordingly it broke up without effect. Nothing remained but
to have recourse to Fox: not expecting the application, he[4] too
had dropped intimations of his dislike to the treaties; and he
knew they had tried all men ere they could bend their aversion to
have recourse to him: yet he was not obdurate: he had repented
his former refusal; and a new motive, that must be opened, added
irresistible weight to the scale of ambition.

In his earlier life Mr. Fox had wasted his fortune in gaming; it
had been replaced by some family circumstances, but was small,
and he continued profuse. Becoming a most fond father, and his
constitution admonishing him, he took up an attention to enrich
himself precipitately. His favour with the Duke, and his office of
Secretary at War, gave him unbounded influence over recommendations
in the Army. This interest he exerted by placing Calcraft in every
lucrative light, and constituting him an Agent for regiments.
Seniority or services promoted men slowly, unless they were
disposed to employ Mr. Calcraft; and very hard conditions were
imposed on many, even of obliging them to break through promises
and overlook old friendships, in order to nominate the favourite
Agent. This traffic, so unlimited and so lucrative,[5] would
have mouldered to nothing, if Mr. Fox had gone into Opposition;
his inclination not prompting him to that part, his interest
dissuading and the Duke forbidding it; when the new overtures
arrived from the Duke of Newcastle, he took care not to consult
his former counsellors, who had been attentive only to his honour,
but listened to men far less anxious for it. Stone and Lord
Granville were the mediators; the latter, at once the victim, the
creature, and the scourge of the Duke of Newcastle, undertook
the negotiation. The Duke in his fright had offered to resign
his power to him; Lord Granville, not weak enough to accept the
boon, laughed, and said with a bitter sneer, “he was not fit to be
First Minister.” He proposed that Fox should be Chancellor of the
Exchequer--to that the Duke, still as jealous as timid, would not

At last Lord Granville settled the terms; that Fox should be
Secretary[6] of State, with a notification to be divulged, that he
had power with the King to help or hurt in the House of Commons;
and a conference being held to ratify the conditions, Fox said,
“My Lord, is it not fit that this should be the last time that we
should meet to try to agree?” “Yes,” replied the Duke, “I think
it is.” “Then,” said Fox, “if your Grace thinks so, it shall be
so.” His other terms were moderate, for not intending to be more
scrupulous than he knew the Duke of Newcastle would be, in the
observance of the articles of their friendship, he insisted on the
preferment or promotion of only five persons, Mr. Ellis, Sir John
Wynne, George Selwyn, Mr. Sloper, and a young Hamilton,[7] who,
in the preceding spring, though connected with the Chancellor’s
family, had gone with a frank abruptness, and offered his service
to Mr. Fox, telling him “that he foresaw he must one day be very
considerable; that his own fortune was easy and not pressing; he
did not disclaim ambition, but was willing to wait.” His father
had been the first Scot who ever pleaded at the English bar, and,
as it was said of him, should have been the last; the son had much
more parts. The only impediment to the new accommodation was no
obstruction; Sir Thomas Robinson cheerfully gave up the Seals,
with more grace from the sense of his unfitness, than from the
exorbitant indemnification he demanded. “He knew,” he said, “a year
and a half before, why he was selected for that office; for the
business of it, he had executed it to the best of his abilities;
for the House of Commons he had never pretended capacity.” He
desired to be restored to his old office, the Great Wardrobe,
in which he had been placed to reform it, and had succeeded.
He asked it for his own life and his son’s. They gave it him
during pleasure, with a pension of 2000_l._ a year on Ireland for
thirty-one years. When he thanked the Duke of Newcastle, he added,
with a touching tenderness, “I have seven children, and I never
looked at them with so much pleasure as to-day.” As Lord Barrington
was to be removed from the Wardrobe to make room for Sir Thomas, he
had the good fortune to find the Secretaryship at War vacant, and
slipped into it.

Lord Chesterfield hearing of this new arrangement, said, “The Duke
of Newcastle had turned out every body else, and now he has turned
out himself.” The whole was scarce adjusted before Mr. Fox had
cause to see what an oversight he had committed in extending a hand
to save the Duke of Newcastle, when he should have pushed him down
the precipice; asking Stone what they would have done if he had
not come into them, Stone owned that they would have gone to the
King and told him they could carry on his business no longer, and
that he must compose a new Ministry. How sincere the coalition was,
even on Mr. Fox’s side, appeared by his instantly dispatching an
express for Mr. Rigby, the Duke of Bedford’s chief counsellor, to
concert measures for prevailing on that Duke to return to Court,
and contribute to balance, and then to overthrow, the Duke of
Newcastle’s influence.

While the Ministry was in this ferment, they received accounts
of a victory, little owing to their councils, and which at once
repaired and contrasted Braddock’s defeat. The little Army
assembled by some of our West Indian governments, and composed
wholly of _irregulars_, had come up with the French forces to the
number of 2000, and defeated them near the Lake St. Sacrament,
with slight loss on our part, with considerable on theirs. What
enhanced the glory of the Americans was, taking prisoner the
Baron de Dieskau, the French General, an able _élève_ of Marshal
Saxe, lately dispatched from France to command in chief, while
the English Commander was a Colonel Johnson, of Irish extraction,
settled in the West Indies, and totally a stranger to European
discipline. Both Generals were wounded, the French one dangerously.
Sir William Johnson was knighted for this service; and received
from Parliament a reward of 5000_l._

Mr. Fox’s great point was to signalize his preferment by the
accession of the Duke of Bedford and his party; the faction were
sufficiently eager for such a junction, the Duke himself most
averse to it; especially as the very band of concord was to be an
approbation of the treaties; the tenour of his opposition had run
against such measures; these were certainly not more of English
stamp. When the Duchess and his connexion could not prevail on
him to give up his humour and his honour, to gratify their humour
and necessities, Mr. Fox and Lord Sandwich employed Lord Fane,
whom the Duke of Bedford esteemed as the honestest man in the
world, to write him a letter, advising his Grace to vote for the
treaties; and they were careful to prevent his conversing with Mr.
Pitt, which he wished, or with any other person, who might confirm
him in a jealousy of his honour; indeed, he did not want strong
sensations of it; they drew tears from him before they could draw
compliance. Fox would have engaged him to accept the Privy Seal,
which he had prepared the Duke of Marlborough to cede; but the
Duke of Bedford had resolution enough to refuse any employment for
himself--acquiescing to the acceptance of his friends, they rushed
to Court--what terms they obtained will be seen at the conclusion
of the year.

November 12th.--The night before the opening of the Parliament,
Mr. Fox presided at the meeting at the Cockpit, instead of Mr.
Legge, who, with Mr. Pitt, the Grenvilles, and Charles Townshend,
did not appear there. They were replaced by the Duke of Bedford’s
friends. From thence Mr. Rigby was sent to his Grace with a copy of
the Address; and to indulge him, an expression was softened that
promised too peremptory defence of Hanover.

13th.--The Houses met. The expectation of men was raised; a new
scene was ready to disclose. The inactivity of the late sessions
was dispelled; a formidable Opposition, with the successor and his
mother at the head, was apprehended: the Ministers themselves had,
till the eve of Parliament, trembled for the event of the treaties.
Legge, indefatigable in closet applications and assiduity, had
staggered many; the promotion of Fox, it was supposed, had revolted
many more. A war commenced with France; factions, if not parties,
reviving in Parliament, were novel sights to a lethargic age.
The immensity of the Debates during this whole session would,
if particularized, fatigue the reader, and swell these cursory
Memoirs to a tedious compilation: I shall select the heads of the
most striking orations, and only mark succinctly the questions and

The King’s Speech acquainted the Houses with the outlines of
the steps he had taken to protect and regain his violated
dominions in America; of the expedition used in equipping a great
Maritime Force; of some land forces sent to the West Indies; of
encouragement given to the Colonies; of his Majesty’s disposition
to reasonable terms of accommodation; of the silence of France on
that head; of the pacific disposition of the King of Spain--it
very briefly touched on the tender point of the new treaties. In
the House of Lords, the Duke of Marlborough and Lord Marchmont
moved the Address. Lord Temple, the incendiary of the new
Opposition, and Lord Halifax, who could not endure any measure
that diverted attention or treasure from the support of our
American Settlements, dissented from the Address on the article of
the treaties. The Duke of Bedford decently and handsomely excused
his approbation of them: the Chancellor, the Duke of Newcastle,
and Lord Bathurst, defended them; and no division ensued; yet
Lord Temple protested: he had, unwarranted, expressed the Duke
of Devonshire’s concern at being prevented by ill health from
appearing against the treaties. His Grace was offended at, and
disavowed, Lord Temple’s use of his name: he was more hurt at the
property he had been made by old Horace Walpole, who no sooner
snuffed the scent of new troubles on German measures, than he felt
the long wished-for moment approach of wrenching a coronet from the
unwilling King. He immediately worked up the Duke of Devonshire to
thwart the treaties, declared against them himself, talked up the
Whigs to dislike them; and then deserted the Duke and his Whigs, by
compounding for a Barony, in exchange for a public defence of the

But the clouds that only overcast the House of Lords were a tempest
in the Commons; they did not rise till near five in the morning;
the longest Debate on record, except on the Westminster election,
in 1741. The question was opened disadvantageously for the Court,
by the imprudence of Lord Hilsborough, who was to move the Address,
and who arrived so late that the speech was read before he came:
instead of veiling, he pointed out the tendency of the treaties
as an Hanoverian measure; and seemed to describe, while he meaned
to defend, the weakness of the Government. He said, the Address
was so cautiously conceived, that it would not involve any man who
agreed to it, in voting afterwards for the treaties. That it was
plain no war on the continent was intended, or we should have seen
a larger plan laid before Parliament: here we saw no names of the
Queen of Hungary, or King of Sardinia: could we meditate a land war
without Allies? That the Russians were only calculated to curb the
King of Prussia. That such preparations both on land and sea were
making in France, as bespoke a decisive stroke; that stroke could
only fall here or on Hanover; here, our safety, there, our honour
was concerned. That his Majesty had entered into great expense in
his own particular, for defence of Hanover, though the quarrel was
England’s not the Electorate’s; and he had taken his measures so
successfully, that, with the junction of the Hessians, he could
assemble 40,000 men.

Martin, who attended his master, Legge, into Opposition, proposed
to omit that part of the Address that engaged assistance to
Hanover; but forgetting the paragraph relative to the treaties,
and the Court-party taking advantage of that slip, he corrected
his Motion, and said, he wished to avoid any subterfuge of the
Ministers; no manly Minister would steal approbation, in this
surreptitious manner, to a measure that would heap destruction on
his head. Young Hamilton[8] opened for the first time in behalf
of the treaties, and succeeded admirably: his voice, manner, and
language, were most advantageous; his arguments sound though
pointed; and his command of himself easy and undaunted. Doddington,
though nibbling at the negotiations, betrayed his willingness to
turn defendant. He said, considering how greatly unanimity had
prevailed of late, one should have thought that the ingenuity of
man--or the want of it, could not have hit on means of disunion:
these measures had accomplished it at once!--but the days of
wantoning with the public were near at an end! That he could not
frame a case where the interests of Hanover were less connected
with Great Britain; and that therefore this would be a precedent
to all posterity to make Hanover always in question. That all
hire of troops, but for furnishing our quotas to our Allies, was
wrong. That, if it was urged that this contract was cheap, as
perhaps abstractedly it was, he should answer, no; you never can
purchase a consumption cheap. That he sought for arguments to
convince, not to inflame: that, to introduce Russians into the
Empire, breaks through all the ties of the Germanic body: would
the Princes of the empire submit to see Prussia overwhelmed?--but
what must the people at home think, if taxed thus for foreign
subsidies, when engaged in a war for defending their own property?
That, acquiescing to these treaties concluded during the recess,
was giving power to the Crown to raise money without Parliament.
That the House was fallen into the dilemma of violating the
constitution, or of disgracing the King. That he would concur for
protecting Hanover, but the Journals would point out better methods
of assistance: the effectual one was, to disable the enemy from
attacking it. He wished to omit approbation of the treaties, but
would let pass the assurances to the Electorate.

George Granville, in a fine, pathetic speech, drew a picture of
the future bad peace, and made an encomium on the late cautious
Minister[9]--if this was the caution of his successors, what would
their imprudence be? Sir George Lyttelton owned, that, if the
Hessians and Russians were retained, (as no doubt they were,) for
defence of Hanover, it were a breach of the Act of Settlement; yet
he approved the measure, as he urged how unpopular it would be to
procrastinate a peace, till indemnification for Hanover could be
obtained. Nugent recommended to differ like friends, as England had
never been invaded but on supposition of our divisions. Murray, in
answer to Beckford, who had wished to have the Duke Elector, argued
that it was not in the King’s power to transfer his Electoral
dominions, unseverable both by his Majesty and by the Empire in the
present state of the Royal Family. He then painted with masterly
touches the merit of the King, who might have ensured tranquillity
to the evening of his life, had he studied only his own repose.
The French would have accorded him fair terms--then they would
have encroached a little; then referred the contested points to
Commissaries--but his Majesty disdained such tranquillity as would
entail greater difficulties on his successor and on the nation.
How hard would it be, in return, if we declared against protecting
Hanover! if we sowed his pillow with thorns! That he should be
sorry if, at the peace, we were to restore our acquisitions in
America, in exchange for Hanover, which we had abandoned!--He felt
these pictures touched, and pursued them, till he over-acted the
pathetic, almost to lamentation.

Sir George Lee (as representative of the Princess’s sentiments,
though, not having declared herself openly, she frustrated her own
views) was explicitly warm: he said, it was easy for the Ministers
to produce unanimity, by pursuing British measures. It was
necessary to take this up in a high style, to teach Ministers their
duty to the House, which, under this precedent, they would every
day more and more forget. Sir Thomas Robinson, still Ministerial,
informed the House that the merchants of France had petitioned
their Sovereign for redress--were told, “Be patient; you will have
ample satisfaction from the divisions of the British Parliament.”
Legge protested that he spoke not from a spirit of opposition or
resentment; he disapproved the one, he despised the other. Would
give his consent to distribute 500,000_l._, if it would make a
good peace; would not give 300,000_l._ or 400,000_l._ to buy a war
of ten millions. France will drive you to call for these troops,
because they will undo you; and you will have superadded (having
provoked) Prussia. The Crown can make treaties; it cannot issue
money. The nation of money-lenders will distress you. He thought
the time was come for leaving the empire to act for itself and its
own interest. We ought to have done buying up every man’s quarrel
on the continent.

Then ensued a variety of the different manners of speaking ill.
Potter flimsily; old Horace Walpole shamelessly; Dr. Hay tritely;
George Townshend poorly. The latter had concurred, he said, last
year, in granting a large sum confidentially; and was shocked to
see it so grossly misapplied. Lord Egmont assembled in one speech
more defects than had been dispersed through all the others: he
was capricious, obscure, contradictory, dubious, absurd; declared
for the negotiations, but would vote against the Address, as it
seemed to appropriate the treaties, which he thought beneficial to
England, to the service of the Electorate.

These uninteresting discourses served to heighten what wanted no
foil, Pitt’s ensuing oration. How his eloquence, like a torrent
long obstructed, burst forth with more commanding impetuosity!
He and Legge opened their new opposition in the very spirit of
their different characters. The one, humble, artful, affecting
moderation, gliding to revenge; the other, haughty, defiant, and
conscious of injury, and supreme abilities. He began with his
solicitude on the use that had been made of the sacred name of
the King, so often and so unparliamentarily, and of the cruelty
in using it so; formerly, a man would have been brought to the
bar for using it so twice: but he had perceived for some time,
that every art was practised to lower the dignity of the House; he
had long observed it dwindling, sinking! it was to that abuse he
objected. No man could feel more veneration for that name that had
been mentioned. He particularly felt grateful returns for _late
condescending goodness and gracious openings_. Nor did he as yet
feel any other sensations; as yet he had no rancour to any man who
had set himself at the head of this measure; as yet that man[10]
had only his pity. He said, he did not propose to follow all the
various flashy reasonings of the Debate, the scope of which tended
to nothing but this, “Follow your leader.” He was lost amidst the
number and contradictions, and should only skim over the most
remarkable arguments.

One[11] had argued so strangely, as if we were to turn our eyes
to these mercenaries as a reserve, if our navies should be
defeated--what! must we drain our last vital drop, and send it
to the North Pole! If you would traffic for succours with the
Czarina, why, rather than her troops, did not you hire twenty of
her ships?--he would say why? because ships could not be applied
to Hanover. In the reign of Charles the Second, what efforts were
made to procure fleets from Sweden and Denmark! Now, the natural
system of Europe was lost! He did not know what majorities would
do, but this would hang like a millstone about his neck, and sink
any Minister along with the nation. We had been told, indeed,
that Carthage, and that Spain in 88, were undone, notwithstanding
their navies--true; but not till they betook themselves to land
operations--_and Carthage had, besides, a Hannibal,[12] who
would pass the Alps_. The present war was undertaken for the
long-injured, long-neglected, long-forgotten people of America.
That Hanover had been excepted as an Ally by the Act of Limitation,
not so much for fear of prejudices, as for its locality. But we
are told we must assist them, out of justice and gratitude--out of
justice!--we can produce a charter against it--out of gratitude
indeed we ought, if Hanover has done anything in our quarrel
to draw upon her the resentments of France. Those expressions
were unparliamentary, unconstitutional. With all his duty to his
Majesty, he must say, that the King owes a supreme service to his
people--would our ancestors have used adulation like this? the very
paragraph ought to be taken notice of and punished.

Besides, is there anything in the speech about Hanover, that calls
for this resolution? Grotius declares it is not necessary even
_socium defendere si nulla spes boni exitus_--then half-turning
with an air of the greatest contempt towards Sir George Lyttelton,
he said, “A gentleman near me has talked too of writers on the
Law of Nations--Nature is the best writer; she will teach us to
be men, and not to truckle to power. The noble lord who moved the
Address seemed inspired with it! I,” continued he, “who am at a
distance from that _sanctum sanctorum_, whither the priest goes for
inspiration, I who travel through a desert, and am overwhelmed with
mountains of obscurity, cannot so easily catch a gleam to direct me
to the beauties of these negotiations--but there are parts of this
Address that do not seem to come from the same quarter with the
rest--I cannot unravel this mystery--yes,” cried he, clapping his
hand suddenly to his forehead, “I too am inspired now! it strikes
me! I remember at Lyons to have been carried to see the conflux
of the Rhone[13] and Saone;[14] this, a gentle, feeble, languid
stream, and though languid, of no depth--the other, a boisterous
and impetuous torrent--but they meet at last; and long may they
continue united, to the comfort of each other, and to the glory,
honour, and security of this nation! I wanted indeed to know whence
came the feebleness of what goes upon too many legs; whose child it
is--I see who breeds it up.

“These incoherent _un-British_ measures are what are adopted
instead of our proper force--it was our Navy that procured the
restoration of the barrier and Flanders in the last war, by
making us masters of Cape Breton. After that war, with even that
indemnification in our hands, we were forced to rejoice at a bad
peace; and bad as it was, have suffered infractions of it every
year; till the Ministers would have been stoned as they went along
the streets, if they had not at last shown resentment. Yet how
soon have they forgotten in what cause they took up arms! Are
these treaties English measures? are they preventive measures? are
they not measures of aggression? will they not provoke Prussia,
and light up a general war? If a war in Europe ensues from these
negotiations, I will always follow up the authors of this measure.
They must mean a land-war--and how preposterously do they meditate
it? Hanover is the only spot you have left to fight upon. Can you
now force the Dutch to join you? I remember, everybody remembers,
when you did force them: all our misfortunes are owing to those
daring wicked councils.[15] Subsidies annihilated ten millions in
the last war; our Navy brought in twelve millions. This is the day,
I hope, shall give the colour to my life; though it is a torrent,
I fear, nothing will resist. Out of those rash measures sprung up
a Ministry--what if a Ministry should spring out of this subsidy!
I saw that Ministry; in the morning it flourished; it was green at
noon; by night it was cut down and forgotten! But it is said, it
will disgrace the King to reject these treaties--but was not the
celebrated treaty of Hanau transmitted hither, and rejected here?
If this _is_ a preventive measure, it was only preventive[16] of
somebody’s exit. A coalition followed; and long may it last!” He
taxed Murray’s pathetic commiseration of the evening of the King’s
life, with being premeditated--“he too,” he said, “could draw a
pathetic commiseration of his Majesty; he had figured him far
from an honest Council, had figured him surrounded all the summer
with affrighted Hanoverians, and with no advocate for England
near him--but, alas! we cannot suspend the laws of Nature, and
make Hanover not an open defenceless country.” He then opposed
a pathetic picture of the distressed situation of this country;
and reverting to Murray’s image of the King, said, he believed
that within two years his Majesty would not be able to sleep in
St. James’s for the cries of a bankrupt people. He concluded with
saying, that we imitated everything of France but the spirit and
patriotism of their Parliament; and that the French thought we had
not sense and virtue enough, perhaps he thought so too, to make a
stand in the right place.

This speech, accompanied with variety of action, accents,
and irony, and set off with such happy images and allusions,
particularly in the admired comparison of the Rhone and Saone,
(though one or two of the metaphors were a little forced,) lasted
above an hour and a half, and was kept up with inimitable spirit,
though it did not begin till past one in the morning, after an
attention and fatigue of ten hours. The lateness of hours was
become a real grievance, few Debates of importance commencing
before three in the afternoon. It was a complaint so general, that
some of the great money-offices in the city were forced to change
their time of payment from the hours of ten to twelve, to those of
from twelve to two.

Fox, tired and unanimated, replied in few words, that we were no
longer a representative, if a great majority is not declarative
of the sentiments of the nation. Are we to feel no justice and
gratitude, unless the King asks it of us? that nobody had used
the King’s name so often as Pitt. That the latter had showed a
strange curiosity to know whose the measure was, while he said
he intended to arraign only the measure. Legge having compared
the treaty, (in the light of prevention to a man who, having
quarrelled with another, tells him, I am going to such a place
with sword and pistol, but don’t you come thither,) Fox said, that
many a duel had been prevented, by knowing that your enemy will
fight. The attention of the House was entirely put an end to, as
it generally was, by Admiral Vernon; and then Doddington and Sir
Francis Dashwood moving to leave in the words relative to Hanover,
and to omit those that regarded the treaty; and the former question
being first put, Pitt and those who were for leaving them out, but
did not intend to divide on that, as the least unpopular question,
said, _no_, faintly. The Speaker, who was strongly for leaving
out the Hanoverian words, gave it for the _noes_; so they were
forced to divide, and were but 105 to 311. The first division is
generally understood as the sense of the House, though in this case
it evidently was not; for though the majority for the Court was
notorious, yet the real number that dissented from the treaties did
not appear; for after the first division, many going away through
fatigue, and from having seen the superiority of the Court, on the
question of the treaties there were but 89 against 290. After the
Debate, Fox said to Pitt, “Who is the Rhone?” Pitt replied, “Is
that a fair question?” “Why,” said Fox, “as you have said so much
that I did not desire to hear, you may tell me one thing that I
would hear: am I the Rhone or Lord Granville?” Pitt answered, “You
are Granville.” Lord Temple, no bad commentator of Pitt’s meaning,
said that the Rhone meaned the Duke, Fox, and Lord Granville; the
Saone, the Duke of Newcastle, the Chancellor, and Murray. Yet it
was generally understood that the former was personal to Fox, the
latter to Newcastle; the description, _languid, yet of no depth_,
was scarce applicable to the Chancellor, by no means to Murray.

On the 15th, Mr. Fox received the Seals; and on the 20th, Lord
Holderness wrote to Mr. Pitt, Mr. Legge, and George Granville,
that his Majesty had no further occasion for their service. Pitt
answered the letter with great submission. The next day James
Granville resigned the Board of Trade. This was all the party that
followed voluntarily. Charles Townshend made an offer to Mr. Pitt,
(which being offered could not be accepted,) of resigning: Mr.
Pitt chose to turn an offer so made into a colour for having so few
followers; thanked him, but said, he desired nobody to resign on
his account. Lord Temple wrote a supplicatory letter to his sister
Lady Hesther, to use her interest with Mr. Pitt, whose fortune was
very narrow, to accept a thousand pounds a year. It was accepted.
But while this connexion was revolving to patriotism, a fatal
_ignis fatuus_ misled poor Sir George Lyttelton to clamber over the
ruins of his old friends. Not able to resist his devotion to the
Duke of Newcastle, or the impulse of his own ambition, he accepted
the office of Chancellor of the Exchequer--had they dragged Dr.
Halley from his observatory, to make him Vice-Chamberlain, or Dr.
Hales from his ventilators, to act Bayes in the Rehearsal, the
choice would have been as judicious: they turned an absent poet to
the management of the revenue, and employed a man as visionary as
Don Quixote to combat Demosthenes!

These changes had not been made before the opening of the Session,
not so much with a view to what temper Mr. Pitt might observe, as
to prevent the vacating Mr. Fox’s seat, which would have occasioned
his absence on the first day. He had written the circular letters
to the Court members, desiring their early attendance, as is
usually practised by the ruling Minister in the House of Commons,
but had marked that direction so much beyond the usual manner, and
had so injudiciously betrayed his own aspirings, that the letter
gave general offence. George Townshend, his personal enemy, and
who was dragging his brother Charles into opposition to their
uncle the Duke of Newcastle, merely on the forced connexion of
the latter with Fox, determined to complain of the letter in
Parliament. He chose the very day after Mr. Pitt’s dismission,
when, under pretence of moving for a call of the House, he said,
When a system was likely to be grafted on these treaties, unadopted
and proscribed by the constitution, he wished the House should be
full. Our Ministers, indeed, had taken upon them to add to the
usual respectable summons, not only the Ministerial invitation, but
invitation of their own. That they endeavoured to gain approbation
individually, which formerly was acquired collectively. That he did
not suppose such letters would greatly influence: who would engage
themselves so precipitately? Whoever should, their country would
despise them. That this was an unconstitutional act of a Minister
as desirous of power as ever Minister was, and who was willing to
avail himself of his colleague’s friends, though not fond of owning
his colleague’s measures. However, that the foundation of his power
was laid on a shattered edifice, disfigured by his novelties.

After these and some more such harsh and studied periods, he
produced the letter; it did not want its faults, but he knew not
how to relieve them; his awkward acrimony defeated his own purpose,
and what had seemed so offensive, now ceased to strike any body.
The letter was as follows:--


  The King has declared his intention to make me Secretary
  of State, and I (very unworthy as I fear I am of such an
  undertaking) must take upon me the conduct of the House of
  Commons: I cannot therefore well accept the office till after the
  first day’s Debate, which may be a warm one. A great attendance
  that day of my friends will be of the greatest consequence to my
  future situation, and I should be extremely happy if you would
  for that reason show yourself among them, to the great honour of,

      Dear sir, your, &c. &c.

He did not know, continued Townshend, whose the letter was; he had
heard of such a letter--he did not know that the first day of the
Session he was electing a Minister; he thought he was called to
express his duty to the King on the Address: now he was uncertain
whether we were voting measures, or more people into place--but
when gentlemen would not obey such letters, was not it necessary
to issue other summons? He would advise a Minister to make the
constitution the rule of his conduct.

Fox answered, with proper severity, that “it was usual for the
_informer_ to acquaint the House who signed such a letter, (though,
said he, that is pretty well known,) and to whom it was addressed;
though he should not insist on this; but,” continued he, “don’t
let this additional imprudence be imputed to me, that I should
be thought to have addressed one to _that_ gentleman. I hope too
that it is not a necessary part of prudence, that when one writes
to a gentleman, one should consider what figure that letter will
make, if shown. However, there was no undue influence in these
letters; nor were they sent promiscuously, but to gentlemen of
great consideration. But indeed the objectionable part proceeded
from a false writing; between the words _conduct_ and House of
Commons, other[17] words which I will not name, were accidentally
omitted.” He added, “I don’t believe that any gentleman gave a copy
of this with a design of having it shown. Mr. Townshend allows me
common sense; does he think I would say, _conduct of the House of
Commons_? It is very early to treat me as Minister; but I should
be proud of his advice. Was showing this letter behaving with the
exactness of a gentleman? I protest I don’t know[18] who it was:
whoever it was, I am persuaded he is very sorry for what he has
done. I may have writ a silly letter; I am sure one of them was
sillily addressed.”

Townshend replied, the man who received it was astonished; but
hundreds at the distance of a hundred and fifty miles could repeat
it by heart. _He was sorry he did not receive one._ He hoped there
would be no more such. Beckford said, it was usual for those in
great offices to be imprudent; he had a great regard for the
gentleman in question; he has abilities; the rest have not: we have
a better chance with a man of sense.

The same day, Mr. Ellis having moved for 50,000 seamen, including
9113 marines, and saying, that in peace we have but a fund of
40,000 sailors, it occasioned some talking, and people were going
away, when Pitt rose and said, he shuddered at hearing that our
resources for the sea service were so narrowed, especially as
Murray had pronounced that we ought to be three times as strong
as France, to cope with her. He remembered the fatal[19] measure
of the reduction to 8000; he had stated the danger then in the
face of power, and against that combined Administration, and that
collusion[20] of power that was playing the land and sea into one
another’s hands. He would pursue up the authors of such measures as
make the King’s Crown totter on his head. That never was a noble
country so perniciously neglected, so undone by the silly pride of
one man,[21] or the timidity of his colleagues, who would share
his power but not his danger. That this must one day be answered
for, unless a fatal catastrophe from our hereditary enemy overtakes
us. The peril comes from little struggles for a thing called
_power_--is it the power of doing good? On an English question
he would not hinder, but implore unanimity; would ask favours of
any Minister for his country; would have gone that morning[22] to
the honourable gentleman’s levée, to desire him to accept 50,000
seamen, not including marines. If he could obtain it, it would
be the first thing done for this country since the peace of Aix.
There would be proofs that this war had been colluded and abetted,
till broad shame had stared them in the face, till shame and
danger had come together. That he had been frightened into these
sensations from the highest authority; that the House had adopted
those terrors, and was willing to grant more assistance. The House
indeed is a fluctuating body, but he hoped would be eternal. It was
different from our councils, where everything was thought of but
the public. On the contrary, we were a willing, giving House of
Commons: the King might call for anything for an _English_ object.
That he did not dare to move for 10,000 more seamen, because he
would not blemish unanimity. He concluded with a prayer for the
King, for his posterity, for this poor, forlorn, distressed country.

Fox said, he was surprised that such a trifle as the reduction of
2000 seamen in 1751 should be made of such moment. So, not voting
2000 more, in a year after the war, was betraying this country!
If voting one man more would raise one man, he would agree to it:
but voting more, if they could not be raised, would only increase
expense. That this number was greater than we had ever had on
foot, even in declared wars against France and Spain. That he
would never hear Mr. Pelham’s measures censured without defending
them. That the reduction mentioned had been the consequence of
Mr. Pelham’s economy, and of his provision against a war. He had
discharged, too, artificers from the dockyards, and when Lord Anson
represented against it, Mr. Pelham answered, you will never pay
your debt, if you always go to the extent of what you can do. He
had wanted, the same year, to reduce the garrison of Port Mahon,
but was told by a great officer that Port Mahon could bear no
diminution. With regard to struggles, he said, What the motives of
these struggles have been, _let those, who have struggled most and
longest for power, tell_. That for himself, he had been called to
his present situation, and exerted his strength with cheerfulness
upon a melancholy occasion. That we had been told that nobody who
approached the King had sense and virtue; that sense and virtue
are somewhere else--but how shall the King hear of them? he feared
_this_ House would not inform him. What conversation will lead him
to that superior degree of it? that he would exert his degree as
cheerfully as if he had struggled for it. Perhaps he had expressed
his wishes for earlier augmentation. Mr. Pitt had asked, why it was
not made sooner? he would ask, why not demanded sooner? why did Mr.
Pitt not call sooner to arms? It came too late now, for no sense
and virtue could be added to the reigning spirit of augmentation.

Mr. Pitt rose again, and said, that neither that day nor ever had
he said that there were no sense and virtue near the Throne. If
he had been misunderstood, he might too have been misrepresented.
That if ever man had suffered by those stillettos of a Court
which assassinate the fair opinion of a man with his master, he
had. That the accusation of his having struggled for power had
been received with such assent by the House, that he must speak to
it. Was he accused of it, because he had not yielded to poor and
sordid measures which he saw tended to destroy his country? That if
he had, he might have been introduced to that august place. That
it was impossible to go into all the private details of a whole
summer, though compelled by such an uncandid manner. He should only
say, he might have had, what the honourable gentleman at a long
distance of time so gladly accepted. He had been unfortunate, but
the measures were so ruinous that he could not with conscience and
honour concur in them: would have strained the former a little, as
far as to make a compliment, in order to be admitted to that august
conversation. That having struggled for power was not the cause
of his present situation. Was it not, that he could not submit to
these treaties? The challenge, said he, is a bold one; let those
who know the truth, tell it!--if they did not, he desired not their

Fox rejoining, that the mention of _struggles_ had called him up
again, and that he had chosen to forget the gentleman’s former
words of _no sense and virtue near the Throne_, Pitt interrupted
him, and speaking to order, said, he averred on his honour those
words were not his: his words had been, _that France would found
her hopes on the want of sense, understanding, and virtue, in
those that govern here_. That he had not interrupted Mr. Fox
before, because he did not love to stop those whom plain truth
would answer. Fox’s modesty had taken those words to himself.
That nobody feared personal invectives less than himself, nor was
he fond of using them. That he would not put the gentleman in
mind of struggles to limit the power at which he had hinted. That
he had urged these things strongly, in order to ground judicial
proceedings. That Sir Thomas Robinson’s notable information
of the answer of the Court of France to their merchants, had
descended to the public papers. He must congratulate the Government
on having _some_ intelligence. Would France build too on his
wishing for 50,000 seamen? He did believe our information would
improve now Mr. Fox had got the Seals. Wished the latter would
tell him what language to hold, which, instead of encouraging,
would terrify France. He could not say he had treated Mr. Fox
as _the Minister_--it was not quite that yet. He never went to
the[23] place where so many bets were made, but, if he might talk
familiarly, would bet on Mr. Fox’s sense and spirit--though some
little things were against him.

“But he asks,” continued Pitt, “why I did not call out sooner?
_My_ calling out was more likely to defeat than promote. When
I remonstrated for more seamen, I was called an enemy to
Government: now I am told that I want to strew the King’s pillow
with thorns: am traduced, aspersed, calumniated, from morning to
night. _I_ would have warned the King: did _he_? If he with his
sense and spirit had represented to the King the necessity of
augmentation, it would have been made--but what! if there is any
man so wicked--don’t let it be reported that I say there is--as
to procrastinate the importing troops from Ireland, in order to
make subsidiary forces necessary! This whole summer,” continued
he, “I have been looking for Government--I saw none--thank God!
his Majesty was not here! the trade of France has been spared
sillily--there has been a dead stagnation. Orders contradicting
one another were the only symptoms of spirit. When his Majesty
returned, his kingdom was delivered back to him more like a
wreck, than as a vessel able to stem the storm. Perhaps a little
sustentation of life to this country will be obtained by a
wretched peace. These,” said he, “are my sentiments; and when a
man has truth on his side, he is not to be overborne by quick
interrogatories.” That he had not said a word of personality
to Fox: that want of virtue was not only the characteristic of
the Ministry, but of the age. That he was happy to show a zeal
not inferior to that of the Ministers. Let them show him how to
contribute to the King’s service, and then tax him with strewing
the royal pillow with thorns! But what were the services of those
who were so alert in loading him? Murray, indeed, had vaunted that
140,000 of the best troops in Europe were provided for the defence
of Hanover--who boasts of what numbers are prepared for England?
for America? Compare the countries, compare the forces that are
destined for the defence of each! Two miserable battalions of
Irish, who scarce ever saw one another, had been sent to America,
had been sent to be sacrificed--if this parallel was exaggerated,
he desired to be made happy by being told so.

Fox, with great temper, observed how unparliamentary it was to
speak so long to order: said, he was glad to hear that he was not
Minister, though he certainly had been treated so. That upon his
honour he did not know to the offer of what Mr. Pitt had said _no_.
He himself had stayed till everybody had said _no_. That he had
lived near town[24] all the summer, as happy as any man that then
heard him. His opinion had been for subsidies--was asked if it was:
on affirming it, was told, “Then support them.” Would quit, when
his opinion should be otherwise. Wished every ill might happen to
him, if he had done Mr. Pitt any hurt in the closet: thought it the
strongest point of honour not to accuse a man where he could not
defend himself. If he underwent any loss of power, should be amply
recompensed by not being treated as if he had it.

Fox, keeping thus almost wholly on the defensive, was chiefly to
be admired for his great command of himself, which the warmth
he had used to show now made remarkable. Murray, who had laid
in wait to profit of any slips that Pitt might make in this
contest, rose with an artful air of affected doubt; hinted at the
irregularity of the Debate; observed that Mr. Pitt’s proposal of
more seamen was unnecessary; “do not all estimates come from the
Crown? The Ministers must know what supplies they shall want, and
what to demand; invectives to be slighted--how great the power
of eloquence that could dress up the want of 2000 men, in 1751,
into the source of the war!--that there never was an honester man
than the Minister who determined that reduction; thought he had
died in friendship with _that_ gentleman.” Pitt could not stand
this severe reflection, but interrupted him to say, his friendship
for Mr. Pelham had been as _real_ as Murray’s. The latter, as
if corrected, continued coolly, that Mr. Pelham had wanted to
introduce a system of economy: were he alive, perhaps, we should
have fewer struggles, if all who supported under him did still.
He begged to ask one question; it was to clear up something to
himself, and for the information of others: he believed those who
sat near him understood that Mr. Pitt said he had refused Secretary
of State;--pray had he? This cut still deeper. Pitt had certainly
intended to insinuate so, but being pushed, replied, _no_, he had
only refused to come into measures.[25]

I have dwelt the longer on this Debate, (though so little was said
to the question, and though indeed there scarce was a question,)
as it greatly opened the characters of the speakers, and tended to
confirm the accounts I have given above.


[4] [This is inconsistent with his own account of the matter in his
correspondence with Lord Hartington, for which see the Appendix to
Lord Waldegrave’s Memoirs, where letters from Mr. Fox relating the
whole of the transactions between him and Mr. Pitt in 1755 have
been lately printed.]--E.

[5] It was strongly denied afterwards that Fox had any advantage
from this, and Calcraft’s vast riches seemed to acquit Fox of that
suspicion. Fox’s great fortune was accumulated during the time he
was Paymaster, and at the peace in the next reign. (Author.)

[6] [If the motives of Mr. Fox were as sordid as they are described
in the text, would they have induced him to quit “so unlimited and
so lucrative a traffic,” for an office higher in rank, and greater
in importance, but infinitely less profitable than the Author
pretends the Secretaryship at War to have been?]--E.

[7] William Gerard Hamilton.

[8] William Gerard Hamilton.

[9] Mr. Pelham.

[10] Fox.

[11] Lord Egmont.

[12] Alluding to the Duke.

[13] Mr. Fox

[14] Duke of Newcastle.

[15] Lord Granville’s.

[16] Duke of Newcastle.

[17] Conduct of his Majesty’s affairs in the House of Commons.

[18] The letter produced by Mr. Townshend was given to him by Sir
Edward Turner, who, on receiving it, said, “I am surprised he
writes to me; I don’t know the gentleman,”--yet Mr. Fox had been
the chief manager in the Oxford election, and had had the principal
hand in bringing Sir Edward into the House.

[19] In the year 1751.

[20] See the Memoirs for that year.

[21] Duke of Newcastle.

[22] It was the morning of Mr. Fox’s first levée.

[23] To the club at Arthur’s, formerly White’s.

[24] At Holland-house.

[25] Page 41.


  Earthquake at Lisbon--Debates on a Bill for distributing
  Prizes taken at Sea to the Captors--Speeches of Charles
  Townshend--George Granville, Fox, and Pitt--Debates on the
  Army Estimates--Speeches of Pitt, Fox, Charles Townshend, Lord
  George Sackville, and Beckford--Debates on the new Militia Bill,
  introduced by George Townshend--Speech of Pitt--Homage of Sir
  George Lyttelton to Pitt.

Towards the end of November came letters from Sir Benjamin Keene,
confirming the dreadful accounts of the earthquake at Lisbon, on
the first of the month--a catastrophe most terrible, and completed
by the flames, that laid waste the remains of that miserable city.
The Royal Family had escaped death by being at a villa without
the town; but the richest sovereign in Europe beheld himself in a
moment reduced to the most deplorable indigence. He wrote to his
sister the queen of Spain, “Here I am, a King, without a capital,
without subjects, without raiment!” The horror of the survivors
was increased by the murders committed by robbers and assassins,
to whom even this tragedy was a theatre of gain. The shocks and
vibration of the earth continued for many months. It seemed
some great and extraordinary convulsion of nature: many towns in
Portugal and Spain, were destroyed, at least greatly damaged; but
some degree of the concussion was felt even from Dantzic to the
shores of Africa. In England it occasioned very novel phenomena:
in some counties the waters of ponds and lakes were heaved up

28th.--Mr. Fox read to the House of Commons Sir Benjamin Keene’s
letter, and delivered a Message from his Majesty, desiring to
be enabled to assist the distressed Portuguese and the English
residing at Lisbon, to which the House immediately assented, and
one hundred thousand pounds, part in money, part in provisions and
utensils, were destined to that service, and dispatched as soon as

December 2nd.--Lord Pulteney moved for leave to bring in a Bill
to encourage seamen, and to man the Navy--by distributing all
prizes to the captors, was understood. “The Bill,” he said, “was
not to take place till the present riddle of politics should be
disclosed--till war should be declared in form.” The Bill was a
copy of one introduced by his father, to cultivate popularity,
and distress the Ministry, at the beginning of the late war with
Spain, and had then passed. Lord Pulteney had vivacity, and did
not want parts. He had been brought into Parliament by the Duke
of Newcastle, with whom his father, deserted by all parties, and
seeming indifferent to all, lived on amicable terms. Lord Pulteney
had attached himself to the new Opposition. Mr. Pitt, too, was
not quite excusable in having suffered himself to be elected into
Parliament by the Duke of Newcastle, when it was so probable that
he would not continue to serve under him.

The Motion was opposed by the ministerial people, on the
impropriety of the time. It was well supported by Elliot, another
of the new minority, who urged that it would prevent pressing, and
quoted the tyranny and violence of that custom as practised in
Scotland, though the people there [were] not backward to list. He
said, it was with difficulty that he had prevailed on himself to
mention this; but seeds of danger are generally sown in dangerous
times. Ellis replied, that application ought to be made to the
proper officers when there are grievances from soldiers; if redress
denied, then to Parliament. That sailors were not backward to list
till the number was exhausted. That pressing had been in use ever
since the reign of Edward the Third. The Scotch Lord Advocate,
Dundas, said, that his place would have let him know, if there had
been complaints in Scotland of the nature mentioned: had heard but
of three complaints, and on those, two had been released; the
other was of a man pressed at the suit of his wife, to prevent
his wasting hers and the subsistence of her children. That not
a sixth part would have been enlisted without [the] assistance
of the military. Elliot replied that he knew none of those three
instances; he could quote twenty examples of towns invested by
soldiers; had not meant to complain, but to encourage seamen
without pressing.

Charles Townshend spoke severely and admirably on the long
acquiescence of the Administration under the insults of France, and
on the similar acquiescence of Parliament; yet, he said, he could
not discover whether the Ministers intended peace or war. If war,
was it wrong to defend ourselves? If peace, as he believed,--if
they could get it--did they mean to command or to supplicate
it?--did they mean to make the Navy as useless as the Army? What
a situation! Administration weakening Government, and Opposition
supporting it! and Opposition discountenanced for supporting it!
If a gentleman, with virtue unparalleled, offered anything for
his country, he was to be removed, as if whoever would strengthen
Government was obnoxious to it. What would the people think if
our Ministers professed being alarmed, and yet refused to accept
support? Could it be supposed that France was still to receive her
first impression of our warlike disposition from leave that the
House might give for a Bill that was to be brought in, that should
say, that if there shall be a war, and we shall make any prizes,
we would then divide them amongst the captors? Of no consequence
would the Bill be, if the Administration should have power to get
a peace, which he did not believe they would, as they refused to
accept the power. That the only prematurity was in getting the Bill
ready against it was necessary. He desired to leave to others the
sort of spirit that did not strengthen, and the sort of moderation
that did not prepare for war: the latter was only submission,
miscalled moderation, and had brought on a system which our united
Ministers could not undo.

Nugent said, when war should be declared, the same thing would be
done in part, and, therefore, was no encouragement now. Captures
before a declaration are generally given up. Nobody but the
Ministers knew how little farther you could go, without engaging
Spain against us. What had been done was to prevent invasion, and
the manning of the French Navy. This war was unpopular in France:
don’t make it popular. Stanley declared for the previous question,
as a negative would make the present seamen think that they are
not to share as well as the future. Sir Richard Lyttelton vaunted
much the service he had done in getting the word _lawful_ restored
in the Mutiny Bill, which had he desired at the office he should
have been thought impertinent. Sir Robert Walpole, with a venal
Parliament, had not stifled the former Bill thus. Beckford said,
nobody would suspect him of being an enemy to the Navy, who had
the greatest part of his fortune afloat. That he would not give
the whole prize to the captors, but would regulate it. That this
Bill had not had a good effect in the last war; it had made our men
attack the enemy, but neglect our own trade. That the Jehoiakim and
other Spanish prizes had been condemned before the declaration of
the last war; and these would be so. He preferred war to uncertain

The chief passages of a fine emphatic speech of George Grenville
were, “That we were in a state of war for subsidies, of peace for
our Navy. When we should come to debate the treaties, all the talk
would be war; to-day, all was peace. France had much to restore
before she had any right to restitution; ought to refund all the
expense she had driven us into. Sir Robert Walpole was not too
precipitate, yet two years before the war he did not call this Bill
premature. Why this overstrained civility to France? The Newspapers
said 250,000_l._ had been remitted from France to create divisions
in Parliament. He did not complain of such scandal as this--nay,
was glad that freedom of writing was encouraged by authority. The
time was come when our calamities would open the mouths of all that
could speak, and would incite the pens of all that could write; yet
he did not mean to speak indecently, or write licentiously. He
should thank Heaven, with Timoleon, if Syracuse were so free, that
the most profligate in it might abuse the best and highest. For the
previous question: would seamen, he asked, understand the meaning
of it, when it was scarce clear enough for the comprehension of the

Fox censured the irregularity of the Debate, and sneered at
pathetic discourses upon such immaterial occasions. He said he
should be for giving the whole capture of those who made, or should
attempt to make, prizes; that is, he would reserve a portion for
those who sought them without success. That the whole dispute
turned upon the word _now_. If sailors did not understand the
previous question, the more pity that the Bill should be moved,
when it was necessary to put that question. He wished that all who
remembered Sir Robert Walpole thought of him as he did. Was Sir
Robert Walpole _forced_ into a war by a _venal_ House of Commons?
It had hurt his country more than him. “For the Mutiny Bill, you,
Sir,” said he, addressing himself to the Speaker, “would not have
let me leave out the word _lawful_ surreptitiously. He who has said
what he has of Sir Robert Walpole, may say that of me in the next
sentence; I shall like it the better. But the word _lawful_ was not
necessary; who is to obey _unlawful_ commands? It was restored to
please Sir Richard; he did not know, he said, if it had pleased
anybody else.” He did not think it would have been remembered by
Lyttelton seven years afterwards, as the great action of his life,
for which this country was indebted to him. That this was making
war by a Parliamentary side-wind; that if these prizes proved very
considerable, he would not restore them without a good peace. Why
was the previous question urged, but from the unwillingness of the
Administration to reject the Bill? Would you give the seamen hopes
when you are not sure that you can condemn and distribute these
prizes? He was sorry they had not been called _brave_ that day,
without the mention of their views of gain! Don’t make yourselves
ridiculous to Europe, by giving what you have not to give. He
advised them to withdraw their Motion, and Address for declaration
of war; he should not concur with them, but it would be more
consistent behaviour.

Pitt said it did Granville honour to be told ironically and
maliciously of his pathetic speech by Fox, who had spoken
logically, not feelingly, and who, he wished, would think farther
than that little, narrow _now_. For himself, he had always spoken,
all that Minister’s family had heard him speak, with respect of Sir
Robert Walpole, after the determination of his power--these last
words occasioned a laugh:--Pitt angrily and haughtily told them
it was a blundering laugh: was it or was it not more honourable
to respect a man after his power determined? He defended Sir
Richard Lyttelton as having mentioned the Mutiny Bill properly,
in consequence of Elliot’s account, which he threatened should
have its day of consideration. He laughed at the more than Stoic
patience of the Administration, talked up the American war, and
concluded that the French prizes were reserved as a deposit
to recover Hanover; he could account for this unintelligible
tenderness no other way. Sir Richard Lyttelton said he honoured
Fox in his private character, but believed that if he had the same
power as Sir Robert Walpole, he would not use it with the same
moderation. Murray insisted that this Bill was taking from the King
his prerogative of declaring war. Dr. Hay was warmly for the Bill,
especially as it would demand much time to amend it, and as warm
against what he called the detestable practice of pressing. Legge
asked, what was this so critical _now_, that this Bill would turn
the scale? had France forgot all our hostilities, and would she
resent this simple Bill? Why should Spain resent it? He never, he
said, could hear Sir Robert Walpole mentioned without expressing
his veneration; he was an honour to human nature, and the peculiar
friend to Great Britain. The previous question was put and carried
by 211 to 81. The Bill was afterwards passed with modifications on
the declaration of war.

December 5th.--William, Duke of Devonshire, died of a dropsy. I
have nothing to add of the account given of him in the first part
of these Memoirs, but what showed a conscientious idea of honesty
in him; and, though the circumstance is trifling, a virtue is
always worth recording. Sometime before his death he had given
up to two of his younger sons 600_l._ a year in land, that they
might not perjure themselves, if called upon to swear to their
qualifications, as Knights of the Shire.

The same day the new Secretary at War moved for an Army of 34,263
men, which was an augmentation of 15,000 men, the extent of what
could be raised at that time in such a country as England; in poor
countries levies are made with more facility. When this should be
completed, a farther increase was intended. Eight thousand eight
hundred men were designed for North America; where two battalions
had disgraced their country. Lord Barrington commended the North
Americans, extolled Braddock, who, he said, had been basely
traduced; praised Nova Scotia, Lord Halifax, and Cornwallis.

Pitt, in one of his finest florid declamations, seconded the
Motion, adding, that last year he had pronounced 18,000 men not
sufficient; our whole force was necessary at this dangerous and
critical conjuncture. Other efforts were requisite than sending
two miserable battalions to America as victims. Every step since
had tended to provoke a war, not to make it--and at last the Crown
itself was to be fought for by so ineffective or so raw an Army!
He hoped, by alarming the nation, to make the danger reach the ears
of His Majesty, who was likely, after so gracious a reign, to be
attacked in his venerable age! to see such a country exposed by
the neglect of his Ministers! He could not avoid turning from the
venerable age of the King, to his amiable posterity, _born among
us_, yet given up by some unskilful Minister or Ministers!--yet
he meaned no invectives; he made no accusation; he spoke from his

He then drew a striking and masterly picture of a French invasion
reaching London, and of the horrors ensuing, while there was a
formidable enemy within the capital itself, as full of weakness
as full of multitude; a flagitious rabble, ready for every
nefarious action: of the consternation that would spread through
the City, when the noble, artificial, yet vulnerable fabric of
public credit should crumble in their hands! How would Ministers
be able to meet the aspect of so many citizens dismayed? How
could men so guilty meet their countrymen? How could a British
Parliament assemble without these considerations? The King’s Speech
of last year had been calculated to lull us into a fallacious
dream of repose--or had his Ministers not had understanding, or
foresight, or virtue,--he repeated the words, that he might not be
misquoted,--had they had none of these qualifications to prompt
them to lay the danger before his Majesty? Was it not a proof of
his assertions, that _where_ his Majesty himself had a foresight
even of fancied, not threatened, danger, we knew what provision,
vast provision had been made? did the subjects of the Crown want a
feeling which the subjects of the Electorate possessed in so quick
a degree? did he live to see the day, when a British Parliament had
felt so inadequately? That there were but ten thousand men in this
part of the United Kingdom; that not more than half would be left
to defend the Royal Family and the metropolis; and half security is
full and ample danger.

Accursed be the man, and he would have the malediction of his
country, who did not do all he could to strengthen the King’s
hands! he would have him strengthened by laying open the weakness
of his Councils; would substitute reality to incapacity and
futility, and the little frivolous love of power. To times of
relaxation should be left that fondness for disposal of places:
wisdom ought to meet such rough times as these. It was that little
spirit of domination that had caused the decay of this country,
that ambition of being _the only figure among ciphers_: when that
image was first used, perhaps it was prophecy, to-day it was
history. Two hundred and eighty thousand pounds, the charge of this
augmentation, would last year have given us security: for that sum
our Stocks would fall, and hurry along with them the ruin of this
City, vulnerable in proportion to its opulence. In other countries,
treasures remain where a city is not sacked; paper credit may be
invaded even in Kent; it is like the sensitive plant, it need not
be cropped; extend but your hand, it withers and dies. The danger
had been as present last year to any eye made for public councils;
for what is the first attribute of a wise Minister, but to leave as
little as possible to contingents? How do thoughtlessness, folly,
and ignorance, differ from wisdom and knowledge, but by want of

He would not recur, like Lord Barrington, to the Romans for
comparisons; our own days had produced as great examples. In 1746,
thirteen regiments raised by noblemen, who, though they did not
leave their ploughs, left their palaces, had saved this country;
he believed it. With what scorn, depression, cruelty, as far as
contempt is cruelty, were they treated by the hour! with what
calumny! He wished the Government would encourage the Nobility
and Gentry to form a militia, as a supplement to the Army. He
wanted to call this country out of that enervate state, that
twenty thousand men from France could shake it. The maxims of our
Government were degenerated, not our natives. He wished to see that
breed restored, which under our old principles had carried our
glory so high! What would the age think they deserved, who, after
Washington was defeated and our forts taken--who, after connivance,
if not collusion, had advised his Majesty to trust to so slender
a force?--on cool reflection, what would they deserve? He did not
call for the sagacity of a Burleigh or a Richelieu to have foreseen
all that must happen--that may happen in two months. He had no
vindictive purpose, nor wanted to see penal judgments on their
heads: our calamities were more owing to the weakness of their
heads than of their hearts.

Fox replied, he wished Mr. Pitt had made this awakening speech
when we were asleep, and before France had awakened us: but the
honourable gentleman had judged by the event; if he had foreseen,
he would undoubtedly have made this noble speech sooner: “if he
had made it,” said Fox, “I am sure I should have remembered it;
I am not apt to forget his speeches. Was it ever in that House
reckoned _virtue_ to advise the King to ask more money? it was
rather a mark of understanding than of virtue. Let Pitt prescribe
a method to quicken recruiting; let him set to a Militia Bill.
Yet,” said he, “I have been told by a wise man, that it is too
nice a line to draw a scheme for a militia in the hands of the
Crown; the House alone could do it.” Yet he should think it less to
be despaired of, since Mr. Pitt thought it practicable. That the
scheme for recruiting must be to enlist for a term of years. That
the total silence of Parliament was an excuse for not having made
the augmentation sooner. With regard to the thirteen regiments,
he would always own if he repented, or persist if he thought
his opinion right. He remembered at that time there was a noble
Duke[27] able and willing, (thank God! he was able and willing
now,) at the closet-door, who, as soon as it was opened, went in
and offered his service, saying, he would go with his Lowlanders
and see if he could not oppose those Highlanders:--he remembered
another anecdote; he was now forced to tell it; it was a scheme
for a cheap regiment of Dragoons, which, by another Duke,[28] was
converted into two dear regiments of Horse--but he would ask, did
all those Noblemen act from public spirit? did they all raise their
regiments? there had been a mixture which he wanted to unmix.

Pitt answered; why had he not alarmed last year? he had been
deluded by the _speech_. Those then in the confidence of the
Minister--Fox then was not of the number--declared they did not
believe we should have a war: could he believe it in defiance of
that speech, smoothing over all the horrors of our situation? The
Ministers could no longer secrete our danger; they had concealed it
for fear of awakening speeches. Could he pronounce those speeches,
till overpowered by the conjuncture? he did in private: while he
was suffered to represent in private, he did--now we must sound the
alarum in Parliament, when we have invited into our bowels a war
that was the child of ignorance and connivance--if there is justice
under Heaven, the Ministers must one day answer it.

Thus far the Debate was serious: will it be credited that the
following speech was so? Will not my narrative be sometimes thought
a burlesque romance? as Don Quixote had his Sancho, and Hudibras
his Ralph, may not some future commentator discover, that the
Duke of Newcastle was my trembling hero, and Nugent his abandoned
squire? This modest personage replied to Pitt, that he thought
the Administration wise and honest; that he did not think there
was a more honest set of men. Could Pitt have said more, if all
had happened that he thinks will? Everything was exaggerated, yet
nothing had been done wrong. That he would defend the Ministry till
five in the morning. Though engaged against the greatest power in
the universe, in every part of the universe, have we proved weak?
That this foolish--Pitt objecting that he had not used that term,
Nugent continued,--he thought he had used every epithet in the
English language--well then! this weak and ignorant Administration
had contrived to oppose a superiority of force, and had miscarried
but in one place. That he did not wonder Pitt expected everything
from _this_ Administration--but he expected more. That though
the censure had been so unjust, he could not help knowing at
whom it was aimed: but great history-painters are often very bad
portrait-painters: he must own he knew who was meant; professed
himself a friend to that great man: _vowed_ he never heard any
doubt of who ought to be First Minister--but, like the dedication
of the Tale of the Tub to Lord Somers, all men agreed in the Duke
of Newcastle. France never made so pitiful a figure as against this
Administration. Pitt’s were but assertions; _his_ assertions were
as good; he would say, the Duke of Newcastle was honest and wise.

The burlesque increased; Sir Thomas Robinson played a base to
Nugent’s thunder; his pompous rumbling made proper harmony with
the other’s vociferation. The latter had exhausted flattery on
another man; Sir Thomas contrived to be as bombast in a panegyric
on himself. He said, he had been banished[29] for eighteen years,
without a friend to communicate with; with no opportunity of
practising eloquence, with no university education--yet he must
speak, as complicated in the charge on the Administration of the
last twelve months. He cried out, “_Me, me adsum qui feci, in me
convertite telum!_ If I am proper for anything, continued he, I am
for the closet: I am proper for it from my courage, from my virtue,
do not say for my understanding. I have enjoyed a happier year and
half than ever I knew, for I have spoken my mind. Why should I not
have dared to speak my mind in the closet, when I have dared to
speak it here? Men took courage from what I said; virtue was out
of my mouth. _Et dubitamus adhuc virtutem extendere factis?_ Why
is forgot what we have done by sea? We have acted _fortiter in re,
suaviter in modo_.”

Charles Townshend observed, that every body had defended only their
own part, nobody the system. Who would defend the melancholy state
of America? There, when the plan of Lord Halifax, so singular in
his attention, had been embraced, why was it not supported? because
we chose to set up negotiation against force. He then gave a detail
of the French encroachments, of our supineness, of the neglect of
the Massachusets, and of our suffering the French to settle the
disputed territories. If the course of all these measures was not
changed, our situation would be incapable of amendment by honester
hearts and wiser heads. At least, if the Administration would
not change their measures, let them be defended by Sir Thomas
Robinson--nobody had defended them better!

Lord George Sackville, in a manly, sensible speech, said, he should
be so unfashionable as to speak to the question--if there were
crimes, let them be alleged. The country was exposed; he did not
know who was guilty. He knew who made provision against our danger;
the King. No dispositions being made but to guard Scotland and this
metropolis, evinced our weakness. But look south, look west, what
defence was there? where was there any? it was all in your fleet.
Where was your local defence? no country had so little. Where was
your militia? only in the Orders of the Council. One recommended
it to another, the Lord-Lieutenant to the Deputy-Lieutenant. In
_his_ profession it was fashionable to laugh at militias; he wished
to see one. Let us not lie tempting the enemy to revenge; our
most essential part, the docks, were unfortified. He recommended
expedition, excused the completing the two Irish battalions, which
were small, in Ireland, because if they had been recruited with
Americans, it was feared they would disagree. Of Braddock he said,
“he died in his country’s cause, and therefore, if I thought ill of
him, I would not say it.”

It had been a day of rodomontade; Beckford finished the debate
with one, declaring, that the Americans looked upon him as their
representative, and transmitted their grievances to him. That a
letter had been sent to him which had gone to the Plantations, and
had puzzled him; they did not know how to act. Having demanded
how they were to behave on the encroachments of the French,
they were told, “repel force”--so far was right--what followed
was the postscript of a woman’s letter--it said, “take care not
to repel force, but on your own limits”--and those limits were
then undecided, and were settling by Commissaries! He wished, he
said, to give courage; the French were more frightened than you;
and you seemed tolerably frightened. Their silence proceeded from
imbecility; they had entered upon this war too soon: he hoped
“we should be economic, that we should not have more than 34,000
men, and no compulsory laws.” There was no division. A day or two
afterwards, the Bill for pressing, as practised in the two last
wars, was revived.

The letter which Beckford mentioned had been written by Lord
Holderness to the Governors of our Colonies. Charles Townshend
had intended to make great use of it in his meditated attack on
the Ministry, for their tame and negligent administration of the
Plantations. He was hurt at Beckford’s premature disclosure of
what he intended as a real charge. How his American campaign was
prevented will be seen hereafter.

Another topic of the Debate calls for a few words. In the time of
the Rebellion thirteen Lords had offered to raise regiments of
their own dependents, and were allowed. Had they paid them too, the
service had been noble. Being paid by the Government, obscured a
little of the merit--being paid without raising them, would deserve
too coarse a term. It is certain that not six of the thirteen
regiments ever were raised--not four were employed. If, then, they
saved this country, as Mr. Pitt asserted, it was by preventing
risings in the counties where they were stationed. Did those that
were not raised, prevent insurrections? or did those that were
raised, and were led out of their counties, prevent them? The
chief persons at the head of this scheme were the Dukes of Bedford
and Montagu. The former raised and served with his regiment. The
Duke of Montagu, who thought he could never get too much from the
Government, or give away enough to the poor, had the profit of two
regiments. Mr. Fox had warmly attacked this plan, especially on
the design of giving rank to the officers; and had made a great
breach amongst the ministerial people: yet it was carried. Pitt, at
that period connected with the Duke of Bedford, had supported the
scheme: it was artful in him now to revive the remembrance of it,
when Fox was possessed of the Duke of Bedford.

8th.--George Townshend moved for a Committee of the Whole House to
consider the Laws relating to the Militia, in order to bring in
a new Bill, and establish a real Militia. It is too well known,
to recapitulate what disputes this subject had occasioned in the
reign of Charles the First. The apprehension of reviving those
contests had contributed to let the topic lie almost in oblivion;
the footing which a regular Army had gained in this country had
concurred to throw disrepute upon it. The foolish exercises of the
Trained Bands in the city, gave it a total air of ridicule. Yet
the very establishment of an Army inspired many with wishes for
a more constitutional defence. Oppositions, from the very spirit
of party, had frequently attempted a revival of the Militia.
Opposition to the Duke, who had drawn his notions of war from the
purest German classics, prompted his enemies to promote whatever
he would dislike. Foreign forces introduced to save a country
like this, made it shameful not to listen to any expedient that
could place defence in the hands of the natives. The difficulties
of establishing a Militia in an age of customs and manners so
different were almost insuperable. The country gentlemen themselves
felt the impracticability, or the inconveniences, if practicable;
yet the theme was become too popular to be withstood; and many gave
into the scheme, trusting to its defeating itself.

Pitt, who by no means thought it feasible, yet knowing that it
would either be rejected by the Ministry, or fall by its own
difficulties, resolved to lose no merit with those who thought it
could be effected, and accordingly unfolded a plan for it himself.
He opened it with a plain precision, and went through with a
masterly clearness. His memory in the details was as great as the
capacity he showed for business. He had never shone in this light

He said, he would do himself real honour by seconding a gentleman
of a family that had preserved so exact a medium between duty to
the Crown and to their country. Yet, though Mr. Townshend’s friend
and servant, he should have no hope, unless Government, the Army,
the Law, and what in this case was most material, the Country
Gentlemen, would give their assistance. He unfortunately was out
of all these descriptions. He knew no secrets of Government, he
had too early been driven[30] from the profession of arms, he
had never studied the law; he was no country gentleman. It was
perhaps rash in him, for it was dangerous for any man, to touch
our constitution, which had not been the result of chance, but of
the wisdom of ages: he only spoke to call Government not to sit
with their arms across. But indeed here the country gentleman would
be more first Minister than any Minister in the land. He would
venture, too, to offer some considerations. The heads of his scheme
were, that the Militia should be reduced to about 50,000 or 60,000;
a kind of half-trained Army. That the Crown, which now was not at
liberty to march them out of their several counties, should have
that power. That there should be a compulsory call under the civil
power. Should be all Foot. That he hoped never to see the standing
Army less than 18,000: the Militia, as a supplement, that we may
not be looking all round the world for subsidiary troops. That
it must be a lasting body, paid and clothed. Should be exercised
twice a week. Should be reviewed four times a year by the Lord
Lieutenants of counties, and by Generals of the King’s Army. Should
have the same pay as the Foot soldiers, but with plain clothing,
not pretending to all the lustre of an Army. What, if they should
be exercised on Sundays after church?--unless the Clergy or
Dissenters disapproved it. He would retract this proposal, if it
gave offence. The exercise comprehending 110 days, if they were
to be exercised on Sundays, and one other day of the week, with
sixpence a day, they would receive a shilling for losing one day in
a week from their work.

He would have no deduction from their pay, but would have their
clothes provided for them, which, with being sure of a shilling
a week all the year round, might be a compensation. That they
should wear their clothes three years, and only when exercised.
The officers to have no pay, but a qualification in land in their
own county, or being sons of a larger estate--for instance, of
1500_l._ a year. Not to be under military law, but subject to
civil punishment in time of peace. When marched, to be subject to
military discipline; for what is martial law, but growing out of
the nature of the service, which is not the laws of peace? That
there could not be too many Serjeants to such companies. Would have
private soldiers of the Army for Serjeants of Militia. Not fewer
than four Serjeants to eighty men. That the Crown should name an
Army Adjutant with Serjeant’s pay. That the expense would not rise
to near what would be imagined; would come under 300,000_l._ What
millions had gone out of England for the last thirty years, which
this expense would have saved! What an inglorious picture for this
country, to figure gentlemen driven by an invasion like a flock
of sheep, and forced to send their money abroad to buy courage
and defence! If this scheme should prove oppressive, provincially
or parochially, he was willing to give it up: but how preferable
to waiting to see if the wind would blow you subsidiary troops!
You would never want them again--they are an eye-sore! He praised
the Army and its constitutional inclinations; and observed what
stability a Militia would give to our system.

This speech in its material parts was made the groundwork of the
subsequent Bill; the discussion of which took up many and very
long days. The Speaker gave great assistance; so did Lord George
Sackville. The Ministry early, at last the House itself, except
about a dozen persons, totally deserted attendance upon the Bill.
As it did not pass the Lords, I shall drop any farther account of
it, till it came thither, except to mention some pretty homage
which Sir George Lyttelton’s awe made him pay to the genius of his
offended friend Mr. Pitt. After the latter’s exposition of his
plan, Sir George compared a Militia to the longitude, necessary,
but hitherto sought in vain. He had often, he said, heated his
imagination with the topic, but his judgment had cooled it again.
If soldiers assisted the plan, he should hope better of it; they
might avoid the errors of civil men. That hints from Mr. Pitt were
important advices; a sketch from him was almost a finished picture:
but it ought to be finished, the lines should be very correct. The
whole people would not betray the whole people, but sixty thousand
might. The most material part of our affairs was our finances;
if this institution would hurt them, it was not admissible. The
smaller the number, the more practicable; yet there might be danger
of another kind. He never wished to see Foreigners, but when no
other force was to be had. With ever so great a Militia, you may
want them; you cannot march Militia abroad.


[26] Vide Hampton’s Polybius, p. 537, where the Rhodians, on a like
catastrophe, received parallel assistance.

[27] Duke of Bedford.

[28] Duke of Montagu.

[29] Minister at Vienna, &c.

[30] He had been Cornet of Horse, and was broken at the time of the
Excise, when his uncle Lord Cobham and Lord Westmorland lost their


  Debates on the Treaties in the House of Lords, and in the
  Commons--Affair of Hume Campbell and Pitt--Hanover and our
  Foreign Relations--Speech of Charles Townshend--Foreign Powers
  subsidized by England--Changes in the Administration--Lord
  Ligonier and the Duke of Marlborough--Pensions granted
  to facilitate Ministerial Changes--Parliamentary
  Eloquence--Comparison of celebrated Orators--Charles Townshend,
  Lord George Sackville, Henry Conway, and Mr. Pitt.

December 10th.--The treaties were considered in both Houses.
In the Lords, Earl Temple, in a very long and very indifferent
speech, in which there was nothing remarkable but his saying,
_that we were become an insurance-office to Hanover_, moved for
a censure on the treaties. Lord Chesterfield defended them with
great applause. The turn of his speech was to ascribe the clamour
against Hanover to the Jacobites, and to ridicule them. He talked
much on the Rebellion, on the intended insurrection, for which
Sir John Cotton’s resigning his employment was to have been the
signal, and of Marshal Saxe’s projected invasion, or _chimère_,
in 1744. He was to have brought 12,000 saddles, his Lordship
supposed, for disaffected horses. A Jacobite might think he could
answer for horses; he does think he can answer for what is as
little governable. He went through a deduction of the history of
England since the reign of Queen Elizabeth, with regard to the
continent--of James the First, he said, he had other things to
think of--he was writing against witches and tobacco.

Lord Marchmont was more severe on Lord Temple, and said, he could
not pretend to keep steady those cock-boats of eloquence. He
believed their intentions right, but they might do much mischief by
raising such animosities. If a man kills one, what satisfaction to
be told, that he only intended to maim? If that House was burned
down, what indemnification would it be, that they meaned only to
set fire to these treaties with a farthing candle? He concluded
with saying, that he had heard this measure compared to the Trojan
horse, filled with armed men--but that was not the cause of
complaint--the persons in Opposition were angry that they were not
to bridle and saddle it.

The Duke of Bedford spoke _for_ the treaties; Lord Ravensworth
against them, and against the censure of them too. The Chancellor
spoke severely against Lord Temple, and fulsomely and indecently;
seeing the Prince of Wales there taking notes, he said, he now
began to have hopes of him; hoped he would be the father of all
his subjects; flattered the Duke; and said of the Ministers,
they were sometimes painted like angels, sometimes like monsters.
Lord Temple repaid the invective. He did not know, he said, whom
he had painted as angels; he had some time ago heard one man[31]
painted as a monster--he did not know how he would be represented
now. Remembered how he had formerly been drawn into a measure[32]
himself, for tearing away a favourite servant from the King, by
those who had since adopted that Minister’s measures. He wished
that Minister had remained; his measure would not be mangled now
by blundering cobblers. Lord Halifax spoke warmly against German
measures; and called the present the most expensive funeral of our
expiring country that ever was furnished by a rash undertaker. Lord
Pomfret, as earnest, called on the Bishops to prevent the effusion
of Christian blood. The Duke of Newcastle, Lord Holderness,
Lord Morton, and Lord Raymond, spoke for the treaties; and Lord
Cathcart, in vindication of the behaviour of the Hessians in the
last war; and then the censure being rejected by 85 to 12, Lord
Egremont and Lord Ilchester moved for approbation of the treaties;
and the House broke up at ten at night.

The Commons sat to the same hour. Lord Barrington moving to refer
the treaties to the Committee; Potter opposed it, affirming that
the treaties were unconstitutional acts, and express violations of
the Act of Settlement, for which reason he would not enter into
the merits; any treaty for Hanover, whether subsidiary or not,
made without consent of Parliament, being such an infringement.
He only observed that the stipulations with Hesse were so loose,
that for 8000 men, we might be engaged in a war of twenty years
for the Landgrave, if attacked by whomsoever. That these questions
might involve us in a war for Hanover--ergo, were a violation of
the Settlement. The appropriation of the late Vote of Credit to
these subsidies was a violation too of that. He was running into
strong censure, but checked himself, saying, he could not call
it a profligate age, when such men had fallen victims to their
integrity! Potter’s manner was at once important and languid, and
consequently effaced impressions as fast as he made them. Sir
George Lyttelton insisted that the express defence of England
and her Allies was provided for by the Hessian treaty. And Lord
Duplin excused the application of the Vote of Credit, as intended
to enable us to furnish our contingents. Fox told Potter that his
accusation was too weighty for his conclusion; was he content,
after charging such crimes, with preventing the treaties from being
referred to the Committee? Martin replied, that, considering what
name was involved in these negotiations, a rejection was thought
more decent than a censure.

The Duke of Newcastle, apprehending that Murray might skirmish too
cautiously with Pitt, and that Fox, though he might combat him,
might not much defend his Grace, had selected another champion,
who was equal to any Philippic, and whom he would for that purpose
have made Paymaster, if Fox had not withstood it. This was Hume
Campbell, who for some time had deserted Opposition, and almost
Parliament, and had applied himself entirely to his profession of
the Law, which he was at once formed to adorn and to suit, for he
was eloquent, acute, abusive, corrupt, and insatiable. He began
with professing his reverence for the Act of Settlement, as the act
of King William, to whom we owed our existence as a Parliament:
yet, said he, “the sense of the House should be taken in form on
the legality or illegality of the measure: the charge ought to be
well made out: if not illegal, _let the House punish the eternal
invectives_.” Pitt called him to order, and told him, he thought he
was too good a member of Parliament, to describe Debates in that
manner. Old Horace Walpole answered, that Pitt ought to be the
last man in the House to complain of irregularity. This occasioned
much disorder. Pitt said, he had risen to put Hume Campbell in
mind of words that struck directly at the liberty of Debate: that
he had him in his power if he insisted on taking down the words,
but would decline, till he had explained himself. Hume Campbell
then continued, in a masterly speech, to censure the unlimited
reflections that were daily thrown on the Ministers; adding, that
when people made charges on acts of State, they ought to be obliged
to make them out. He mentioned Sir William Thompson’s accusation
of Lord Lechmere, and other cases, which had been voted scandalous
and malicious. Hard would it be, if that House might not resent
unjust accusations of our _superiors_. When they happen in crowded
houses,[33] strangers take notes, and the abuse is dispersed to the
most mischievous purposes. In 1745, invectives scattered there,
were transplanted into the Pretender’s manifestos. He lamented
their misleading his unhappy countrymen;[34] and owned that he was
but too apt to be warm himself.

Then passing to the objections raised from the Act of Settlement,
he said, he should pay no compliment to it; it had been intended a
censure on King William: the clause specified was only declaratory,
and did not take away from the Crown the power of making treaties.
In 1727, a treaty of mutual guarantee was made with the Court of
Wolfenbuttle, and was signed by great men and Whigs, by the Duke
of Devonshire, Lord Trevor, Lord Townshend, and by the greatest of
all, Sir Robert Walpole: it was debated, written against, yet was
never once thought a violation of the Settlement. Afterwards, when
a Motion was made for removing Sir Robert Walpole, there wanted no
abilities to charge him; there was only wanting fact and evidence;
but the House called for facts, not speeches; for evidence, not
assertions. No man dreamed of such a breach of the constitution;
yet had it been so, the treaty was a fact, and Sir Robert’s name
to it was evidence. The present treaties were a great system of
preventive measures:--what was the most hostile part of them? that
levelled against Prussia--yet that Prince could not be sorry that
we should have future greatness: his maxim was, that no Ally can be
well worth keeping, unless they can do without you. In the present
case, that King may be glad to plead his fear of the Russians,
against admitting the French into Germany. For his own part, he
would rather censure the negotiators than the treaties themselves,
which were calculated for the interests, and Navy, and commerce
of Britain. But if the Ministers were so guilty as was pretended,
the times were too dangerous not to remove them. He concluded
with a short defence of himself, denied being in the power of any
individual, and said he must plead as an excuse of his egotism that
rule of Plutarch, never to say anything in defence of yourself, but
when mankind could not possibly know it without; let his warmth be
taken as a proof of his honesty.

Vyner remarked, that Lord Chancellor King had long refused to
enrol the treaty of Wolfenbuttle. George Granville pointed out the
impropriety of referring illegal papers, to see if the Committee
would grant money on them; and the impossibility of forming a
charge in the Committee, instead of giving money: or the absurdity
of giving money, and then considering whether it was legal or
not. He taxed it with being unparliamentary language to say that
the Act of Settlement was formed by the enemies of the House of
Hanover; were Lord Wharton, Lord Somers, enemies? If that doctrine
should prevail, the same might be said of the Bill of Rights: all
our Statute Books might be erased, might be called founded on
disrespect. This indeed would be a way of restraining Debates, to
call them acts of hostility. Why the treaty of Wolfenbuttle avoided
censure was, the King’s having been empowered the year before to
contract alliances for defence of Hanover. Would anybody agree to
refer the treaty in question to the Committee, because they did not
believe it would engage us in a war for Hanover? What had proved
to be the intent of the former treaty with Russia? When England
was attacked in 1745, and we did not reclaim our money from Russia
(about 400,000_l._), it marked that treaty to have related only
to Hanover. But we made treaties when we ought to deliberate, and
deliberated when we ought to act. If the Hessians were retained
in June for fear of an invasion, were they ready now in December?
could they be ready under three months? and wherefore had we taken
no other precautions? Were these Hessians all-sufficient? He wished
our situation were such, that the authors of this measure were to
be envied! If their negotiations were approved by the Committee,
could they afterwards be impeached? He did not wonder, therefore,
that they pushed on this method.

Murray answered, that the sense of the House on the legality might
be taken collaterally in the Committee--but were we engaged, or
to be engaged, in a war for Hanover? The first Act of Settlement,
which obliged Privy Councillors to sign their opinions, had been
repealed by Lord Somers himself. That, allowing the present charge,
the Act would not be infringed till the troops were reclaimed. But
these arguments would disable the King from leaving a single clause
in a treaty for his Electoral defence. If this treaty violated the
Act of Settlement, it had been broken by all defensive treaties;
had been broken by the Quadruple Alliance. That treaty engaged the
contracting Powers mutually to defend _all_ the dominions of each
other; and if the stipulated succours proved insufficient, they
were to engage in a war. It was the same in the treaty of Hanover.
But the bare conclusion of the treaty was never charged. In the
year 1739 we contracted for Hessians and Danes; it was thought
prudent to secure them, though we were then involved only in a war
with Spain: no previous application had been made to Parliament.
All subsequent subsidiary treaties had been concluded in the same
way. We could not enjoy the blessing of the present Royal Family
without the inconveniences. In the year 1740 a Vote of Credit had
been applied in the same manner. But granting it perverted, would
the misapplication spoil the treaty?

Pitt, after Hume Campbell’s attack, had let these discussions
intervene, as if taking time to collect his anger. He rose at
last, aggravating by the most contemptuous looks, and action, and
accents, the bitterest and most insulting of all speeches. Such
little matter, he said, had been offered on the defensive side,
that he did not know where to go. Had Hume Campbell had anything
else to say, he would not have dwelt for half an hour on the treaty
of Wolfenbuttle--and what had he produced? a list of Lords who
signed it! How were their names to induce the House to refer these
treaties to a Committee? such poor little shifts and evasions might
do in a pie-poudre-court;[35] they were unworthy a great House of
Parliament. Once Hume Campbell had been his great friend, and they
had trod the same paths of invectives[36] together, which now the
other wanted to have punished, so ready was he, by a side-wind,
to level the laws, and so fond of _superiors_! Nay, he had urged
that the Act of Settlement was not obligatory till the treaties
were ratified! he prayed to Heaven, that doctrines, dangerous as
_manifestos_, might not prevail there! The gentleman had dared to
avow such doctrine--but a Court could never want one servile lawyer
for any purpose. In the profligate, prerogative reign of James
the First, when a _great Duke_[37] was at the head of power, even
that House of Commons possessed a member who dared to call him
_Stellionatus_.[38] And there did not want a _servile lawyer_ to
call for punishment on the honest burgess.

“We have a King who disdains to keep pace with such a _servile
lawyer_--but,” said he, (turning, and directly nodding at Hume
Campbell, who sat three benches above him,) “I will not dress up
this image under a third person; I apply it to him; his is the
slavish doctrine, he is the slave; and the shame of this doctrine
will stick to him as long as his gown sticks to his back--but his
trade is words; they were not provoked by me--but they are not
objects of terror, but of my contempt and ridicule. Then,” said
he, turning to Murray, “I would come to another learned gentleman,
but it is difficult to know where to pull the first thread from a
piece so finely spun. Constructions ought never to condemn a great
Minister, but I think this crime of violating the Act of Settlement
is within the letter. If the dangerous illegality of it is to be
inquired into, it should be referred to a Committee of the Whole
House, not to a Committee of Supply. Inquired into it must be: will
I suffer an audacious Minister to run before Parliament? I do not
say _superiors_, I hate that miserable poor word; but if a Cabinet
have taken on them to conclude subsidiary treaties without consent
of Parliament, shall they not answer it?” He affirmed that there
was not the smallest similarity between these and the treaties
quoted. In 1717 and 1718 the Ministers stated dangers from Sweden,
and then asked for money. The treaty of Hanover was grounded on
the Ostend Company, and on the negotiations about Gibraltar, &c.
Time, the great discoverer of truth, had not yet discovered whether
there was any truth in the assertion of the Emperor and Spain
designing to set the Pretender on the Throne. Would any lawyer
plead, when his Majesty speaks in a treaty and says _dominions_,
that he can mean anything but his British dominions? we were not
to be explained out of our liberties, nor by being taught to
subtilize, to lose respect for the essential.

In the last war the Hessians did once go into _aliena castra_, and
except at that time when they were forced at Munich, never behaved
well. He thought there was an equal violation by both treaties, but
the Russian most dangerous: yet he would not avow that we were so
exhausted as to declare we could not assist Holland. Because this
treaty stipulated succours for England and Holland and Hanover,
did the legality for the two first prove the third stipulation
not illegal? But even the protection of Holland was not mentioned
in the Address of last year. “Where,” said Murray, “is the harm
of holding my troops ready? the Crown reserves it as an operative
act.” But that was precision at which we could not arrive! was all
an unmeaning verbiage! You had not the troops, therefore it was no
war! but there was levy money: and raising men, without firing a
gun, was constructive treason. He wished he could hear any more of
the shining lights of Westminster!--the long robe was made use of
in all arbitrary times. How often had they attacked Magna Charta
with explanations of _nisi per mandatum Domini Regis_! Where, might
it have been said in the late Rebellion, was the harm of a few men
_ready_ to rebel? Dr. Foigard says, “Where is the harm of being in
a closet?” These _vigorous_ measures would pull a war out of the
closet. He denied that the Crown had a power of making subsidiary
treaties that lead to war. That Hanover was concerned in all these
treaties quoted, he was sorry to hear--then surely it was time to
stop it, since we improve so much in adulation, as to be arrived at
the age of speaking out and avowing Hanover in all. He wished the
circumstances of this country could permit us to extend such care
to Hanover; but he would not for any consideration have set his
hand to these treaties.

Fox with great spirit took up the defence of Hume Campbell, who
willingly abandoned it to him. “The honourable gentleman,” said
he, “has nothing to answer to two such speeches but to say that
he is astonished. What! nothing to so long a series of treaties
as had been quoted! was it no argument that those treaties had
been so debated, and had been signed by men of the greatest
and most unblemished characters? Mr. Pitt’s, indeed, had been
guarded, but they had been most personal invectives. Yet he
would not, said he, have uttered them, unless personally called
on--how was he personally called on? _Eternal invectives_ were
the words--he is a great master of invective, but is he the sole
person who wages it? Hume Campbell had spoken of his _superiors_
as an individual. Who has no _superiors_? Though _distinctions_
were now so condemned, he could remember endeavours to create
_distinctions_ between Hanoverians and Englishmen, on our taking
those troops into our pay: they were accursed distinctions; and
the weakest conceivable, if attempted by persons who wished well
to the present establishment. However we were improved, we did not
improve in invectives. He hoped Ministers would never say they
should be punished: let the gentlemen amuse themselves with them!
they had lost their force; the people know to what they tend, by
discoveries made and repeated within these fifteen years: they had
been tried ineffectually on this occasion. In 1726, if Hanover was
not comprehended in the word _States_, it was not included at all:
the _distinction_ was Pitt’s. Germans and Russians must by _States_
understand Hanover. Would not Murray have been to blame, if he had
not spoken with precision on treaties? Lord Ducie retained 200
men in arms during the late Rebellion; did he levy war? He hoped
the Ministers would be disculpated from the accusation of levying
war on Prussia, by hindering him from levying war! How were the
Bavarian and Saxon treaties applauded, though concluded during the
recess and without consent of Parliament, and the money advanced!
He would do nothing to prevent invectives being used; and he hoped
the King’s Ministers had _virtue and understanding_ enough not to
mind them!”

Sir George Lee and Legge spoke against the treaties: the latter
said, He hoped the clause in the Act of Settlement would never be
declared not prohibitory; how was that clause to be preserved,
unless all steps leading to a war were laid before us? is engaging
in war to be confined to mere abstinence of declaring war? If
Russia is attacked, and our ships sail to the Baltic, is it not
war? and whose war? of the Act of Settlement? or of prerogative
and Ministers, against the Act of Settlement? He would not give
so much countenance to these treaties, as to refer them to a
Committee.--Several others spoke on each side; and Beckford
finished the Debate with reflections on the notorious ductility of
prerogative lawyers, alluding to Hume Campbell, who did not want
another blow to stun him. The Court prevailed by 318 to 126.

Dec. 12th.--Lord Barrington opened the treaties in the Committee,
and urged that that with Hesse was cheaper than the one in 1740;
and that the chief object of them was to enable us to furnish our
quotas to the Low Countries and to the Austrians. That he wished
to see Foreign Troops here from our Allies rather than from our
enemies. That the Russian General, though his own country should be
attacked, was to obey our requisition without waiting for orders
from his Court. That it was evident the Russian Empress was our
Ally, not our mercenary, or she would have insisted on some such
terms as the Germans; but she only wanted to be enabled to assist
us. That Sweden had a well-manned fleet, Russia had not. That there
were no thoughts of a continent war--and yet he owned he wished
the Royal Family had been a younger branch, and that our Foreign
Dominions do take off from[39] our insularity--on the other hand,
their connexion with us takes away the insularity of Hanover. He
drew no unflattering opposition between the advantages we derive
from Hanover in the acquisition of so good a King and so great a
General, and the loss to that people of such a Sovereign!

Lord Pulteney said with spirit, that he was shocked on entering
life to find everything valuable, as the Act of Settlement,
treated with ridicule or indifference; and he lashed the known
perfidy of the Landgrave of Hesse, who had so hampered us in this
treaty, that he seemed to mean only to get a sinecure or pension.
The fluctuating state of Russia, and the dropsical condition of
the Empress, rendered their assistance precarious: if we should
obtain it, we had marked out the King of Prussia’s dominions for
their quarters. He touched pretty plainly on the wealth of Hanover;
said, there were two millions of _Hanoverian_ money in the Saxon
Funds--why was none of it drawn out on this occasion? why would
they not exert a little love of their country?

He was answered by Edward Finch, a Groom of the Bedchamber, who
gave as satisfactory and circumstantial an account of the Czarina’s
health and kindred, and of his own hopes and joys on those topics,
as if he dreaded the _knout_ for want of loyalty or exactness.
He had formerly been Ambassador at that Court, and united the
unpolished sycophancy of it to the person and formality of a
Spaniard. One may judge of his talent for negotiations, when he
defended them with genealogies! The absurdity of Finch struck fire
from Delaval, who never had another moment of parts. The former
had sneered at Lord Pulteney’s premeditated speech; Delaval begged
that another time Finch would premeditate too. For invectives,
he said he would no more believe such political augury, than the
Life-Guardsman who foretold the earthquake; and he did not doubt
but the King might sleep in St. James’s till he should be awakened
by the shouts of a grateful people. Were these Foreign Troops such
a grievance? Edward III., Queen Elizabeth, had entertained German
troops--were they for defence of Hanover? King William had them
too, and Queen Anne--were they all influenced by a partial regard
to Hanover?

Charles Townshend spoke for three quarters of an hour against
the treaties with infinite rapidity, vehemence, and parts. He
began with an attack on Hume Campbell, saying that he might
offend his _superiors_, and might be misrepresented by some new
convert, intemperate in his zeal, and plunging from rank abuse to
adulation--yet he would not hesitate; everything dear depended
on the event of that day. He touched on the misapplication of
the vote of credit, and enlarged on our situation, finding us,
notwithstanding our stoic patience, forced into a war, which,
though mismanaged, had hitherto been successful: yet we seemed to
intend to be no longer superior at sea. What was the situation
of Europe? It was necessary for France to make a diversion by
the means of Prussia, alienated from the King, and jealous both
of Russia and France, and angry with Austria. This made him the
arbiter of peace and war: his capacity made him so too; he was
the most able crowned head in Europe. Spain was now governed with
Spanish councils; to those we owed her neutrality. The Court of
Vienna was disinclined to war: the States so sunk, they could not
be the better or the worse for us. How politic had been our conduct
with all! Vienna and Holland disliked a war; Spain declined it,
and Prussia; France was averse to it only from the backwardness of
Prussia--yet him you had provoked! how culpable were the Ministers,
who, to flatter the ill disposition that they found in the Cabinet,
had kept that Prince at a distance: he had begged you would not
hinder him from being your Ally; he formerly offered his friendship
in exchange for two Duchies: Austria refused them: that refusal
had been admired by my Lord Granville, who grounded on it, and
enraged him by, a partition of his dominions. What pains had been
taken since to reconcile him: personal favour had been courted by
encouraging prejudices against him: yet his wisdom had counteracted
our folly. He determined to preserve the peace of Europe, and
declined the offers of France.

Why did the Ministry add the threats of England to the
disobligations of France and its temptations? why acquiesced not
to the wise foot on which that King had put things? instead of
that came the little petulant mechanic activity sometimes seen
in the persons of some[40] Ministers. What would have prevented
a war? acting with Prussia. What would make it? bullying him.
He then objected to the Hessian treaty, as impracticable; for
contingents, as useless; to the money having been appropriated,
as unparliamentary. When the Opposition, he said, offered to the
Ministers to increase the Army, they answered, it was large enough;
when to increase the Fleet, it would be too much--and then, neither
Army nor Fleet were sufficient, and we must have Hessians. They
had evidently contracted both services to make room for Foreign
Auxiliaries. He wished the Administration was in such hands as
those which signed the treaty of Wolfenbuttle! He thought[41]
somebody besides his ancestor presided in the Councils of those
days, and foisted in that spirit which now breathed in all our

Then, reverting to Russia; Russia, he said, like a quarter-master,
would make an assignation with France to come to a place called
Hanover; they would say, “Prussia is in our way; we will remove
him--but he is in good humour; we will provoke him.” He spoke, he
said, with little premeditation; he was encouraged by the success
his friend Finch had had in that manner. Our wise, economic
Ministry foresaw a war, but brought it on sooner than anybody else
could. The Address of last year had mentioned only America and
these Kingdoms: what had been stated to the House but the clamour
on the encroachments of the French? and if that should bring the
war hither, we had resolved to defend the King. These had been
the only motives[42] of Lord Granby and of his brother, whom he
praised: he asked that Lord if he was not right; his Lordship’s
assent would be a full answer to the boldness or preciseness of
any Minister. Vyner had asked last year if that money was really
to be applied as voted: the question was received with surprise,
because nobody thought it could be misapplied. Then the King went
abroad with only an unthinking and unparliamentary Minister[43]
at his ear--they made the treaty. Ministers here did not dare to
refuse what they would not have done. Then some servile lawyer was
to be found to defend it. The Act of Settlement and everything
sacred was to be infringed while the whole Cabinet was struggling
for power. Report said everywhere, said abroad, that nothing but
corruption prevailed in the House of Commons.[44] Instances had
been brought to our Courts of Judicature how much it prevailed in
our elections. But now, added he, show that you are not under any
one man; show you are not part of his retinue; that you are without
_superiors_. Imitate great examples; see the virtue and integrity
of those who have refused all things inconsistent with their
honour--though I have heard that their eloquence is amusement, and
that it is our fault if we follow it.

Hume Campbell at last broke silence, but, though he pressed some
firmness into his words, the manner, and much of the matter, was
flat and mean. He complimented Charles Townshend with a mixture
of irony, telling him that in some points he had no _superior_;
in some, no equal. He should have answered Mr. Pitt in the former
Debate, but he had inquired, and found it was contrary to the
orders of the House. He denied having spoken on any treaties but
on that of Worms; since that he had been following a profession to
avoid _servility_. Now he returned to the service of the House,
he found that Debates were cramped by expressions unbecoming men;
yet no epithets should make him cease to speak his mind with
resolution. He was taxed with adulation; he found that the former
adulation of others was turned _to run the race of invective_;
sudden conversion was more applicable to others than to him. He had
not expected such support as Mr. Fox’s; he would study to deserve
it, _dum spiritus hos regit artus_--but he would not take up the
time of the House in fabricating words and coining _verbiage_: this
was the last time personality should call him up. He had been told
that morning by the Speaker, that everything might be said there
with impunity. He had scarce ever felt what ambition was, though
he knew he had been accused of it. No political variation had ever
made him break a friendship: the flame of invective he had caught
from his _superiors_. _Nemo sine vitiis nascitur; optimus ille qui
minimis urgetur._ He had quitted the former Opposition, when he saw
they aimed at men, not measures, and when he saw all confidence
broken amongst them: that, and the Rebellion, had opened his eyes.
He owned he had formerly thought it wrong to take Hanoverians
into our pay, as it would increase the disgusts against the Royal
Family. Pitt did not deign a reply.[45]

Sir George Lyttelton said he did not mean to restrain invectives;
desired no man’s mouth should be free from them but his own; urged
that the treaty specified, if we were attacked ourselves, that
we should not be obliged to furnish twelve ships to Muscovy.
That if either treaty tended to war, or to provoke Prussia, they
would deserve censure; but they were merely defensive; the troops
even not to move unless we required it. Defence is not injury;
provision is not provocation. The King of Prussia would have a
higher esteem for our Government; he knows that whoever desires
peace, must prepare for war. Despair is the worst and weakest of
councils. Fortitude and wisdom will find resources, as the Queen
of Hungary did, in 1741: we [were] not in so bad a situation by a
thousand degrees. Had we then retained the Russians, that war had
been prevented. Here were no plans of partition. Unallied, we could
make no diversion to France. France unassisted would not dare to
disturb the peace of the Empire. Would you have trusted to France
for not violating the Law of Nations? _Cæsar ashamed! has he not
seen Pharsalia?_ Our trade could not be preserved if the balance
of Europe overturned, nor that balance overturned, without some
assistance from hence. Subsidiary treaties must be struck at lucky
moments, when the occasion offers itself.

Legge, in reply, asked if, because it was possible that France
might draw us upon the continent, we ought to mark out the way for
her?--but the Ministers, indeed, by way of defence, had endeavoured
to reduce the treaties to no meaning. All they pretended was to
make magazines of 140,000 men _standing at livery_, to supply our
contingents; though all our Allies told us they were at peace.
For Hesse-Cassel, one would think we were as ignorant of the
topography of it as if it belonged to ourselves. In five weeks the
Hessians might be ready to be prevented by the wind from coming
to our assistance! That little country, since 1726, had received
two millions of our money! When in danger, we wanted them--but
they were in other pay, and did not behave quite so ill as when
in ours. At Bergopzoom they behaved shamefully! We lost a good
officer there--while he was endeavouring to persuade them but to
look over the parapet. There was no end of objections to them! They
occasioned the loss of the battle of Laffelt. In Scotland they
would not fight because no cartel was settled with Rebels. The
present Landgrave was old; the next would be a papist: subjects of
a papist, would we wish them here to fight against the French?

Colonel Haldane bore testimony to the Hessians behaving well at
Roucoux,--not so well at Laffelt, yet not very infamously: the
Prince of Hesse, with tears, tried to rally them. Colonel Griffin
deposed that he did see them rally there.

Nugent argued on the necessity of diverting the men and money
of France by a grand alliance, in case they should obtain the
superiority; and on the difficulty of our collecting any Army but
of Russians. This, said he, is my way of thinking, and agreeable
to one who is reckoned in the system of that rash and frantic
Minister[46] who saved Europe.

George Grenville observed, how extraordinary it was in this
treaty to call the King of Prussia _the common enemy_; but it was
evident the whole was intended against him. He did not hear that
our civility had engaged that Prince to pay the Silesian Loan. In
four years we were to pay 340,000_l._ to Hesse-Cassel; besides
which, they were to be indemnified: cheap bargain! If they were
employed, the whole expense of Foot and Cavalry would amount to
1,180,000_l._ The Russians were to receive 500,000_l._ a-year, from
the time they were required to act. Together, the expense would
rise to the sum of 3,180,000_l._! This was the first treaty that
promised indemnification. Was our debt reduced only to furnish new
subsidies? Why had a mere naval war never been tried? The moment
the former treaties had been obtained, the election of a King of
the Romans was laid aside. Edward the Third, who experienced the
inutility and inconveniences of German auxiliaries, ordered a
record to be entered that _subsidia Germanorum in pace onerosa, in
bello inutilia_. The treaty with Russia had been commenced in 1747,
but had been kept secret during the life of Mr. Pelham.

Beckford, with his wild sense, ran through some general heads;
said, no affront had been intended to the Law, but to its rotten,
servile limbs, such as explained away an Act of Settlement, and
assisted state alchymists to render an Act of Parliament a _caput
mortuum_. Yet there was this difference between the professors;
the metallurgic artist loses gold; the State artist gets it. That
it was an indignity for great nations to become tributary to
little ones. That we have no barrier, but what by defending we
shall enrich ourselves. _That our Kings, though they have less
prerogative than their predecessors, are richer, and consequently
more powerful._ In the late war, the Queen of Hungary’s affairs
went well, till we engaged as principals, and then she left the
burthen upon us. Before the present war, we had twenty men in
America to one Frenchman.

Lord George Sackville, with as much spirit, and with sense as
compact as the other’s was incoherent, replied, that if the
question was agitating whether we should desert the war in America,
and stick to the continent, nobody would dare to support such
an argument. In the year 1725, the Court of Vienna leagued with
Russia; we with Sweden and Denmark, and Wolfenbuttle, and Hesse.
The greatest loss we had experienced was of Prussia;--but should we
bear it patiently or counteract him by Russia? It might be right
to trust to his inactivity, if, in 1744, after you had given him
Silesia, he had not marched into Bohemia. If the Russians had then
been on his back, would he have dared to go to Prague? When driven
from thence by Prince Charles, he lost 30,000 men by desertion. He
will always seize opportunities where he can strike with security.
If all allow that Hanover is to be protected, and Hanover says,
“This is the easiest way,” shall we not take it? He would not have
our Allies think that we were so taken up with America, as not to
be able to attend to them. He concluded handsomely with saying,
“They who on this occasion have declined employments, have acted
honourably; they who have gone into an unenvied Ministry, to
support it, deserve not reproach: they will deserve support, if
their conduct continues upright.”

George Townshend, with much warmth and threats, expressed his
resentment on being drawn to make the Motion last year for a
perverted Vote of Credit. Lord Granby, with great decency, said,
that if anything had been done contrary to that Address, the House
must judge of it: yet he was not such an enemy to Hanover, as to
let the French satiate their rage on Hanoverian subjects, because
their Elector had acted the part of a British King.

Old Horace Walpole, now near fourscore, had yet busy spirits
enough, very late at night, to pay part of the purchase of his
future title, by a speech in defence of the treaties; to which
Pitt replied in a very long harangue, but was not well, and spoke
with little fire. He told Fox, that it should not be his method to
vilify the laws, and yet pretend to love the lawyers; that he did
not pretend to eloquence, but owed all his credit to the indulgence
of the House: looked with respect on the King’s prejudices, with
contempt on those who encouraged them. Was everything to be styled
_invective_, that had not the smoothness of a Court compliment?
Must it be called so, unless a charge was brought judicially
on paper? He complimented Charles Townshend, who, he said, had
displayed such abilities as had not appeared since that House was a
House. He talked much on the situation of the King of Prussia, who
if well disposed, this measure was not necessary; if ill disposed,
it was a war--but he would not enter into all the ambages of the
_Corps Diplomatique_, and of the gentleman[47] wrapped up in a
political cloak. He and others had said, “Talk against Hanover! oh!
you will raise a Rebellion!”--it was language for a boarding-school
girl! Lord Townshend and Sir Robert Walpole had withstood Hanover:
the latter, said he, thought well of me, died in peace with me.
He was a truly English Minister, and kept a strict hand on the
closet--as soon as removed, the door was flung open. His friends
and followers transferred themselves to the Minister,[48] who
transplanted that English Minister--and even his reverend brother,
who still adorns this House, is gone over to the Hanoverian party!

Fox said little on the treaties; his point was to keep Pitt at bay.
He again retorted on the latter, the treasonable pamphlets and
songs of the former Opposition--all, to be sure, for the good of
this country! But he never would forgive any man who had a heart
to conceive, a head to contrive, and a hand to execute, so much
mischief. That mischief was only cured by what might[49] have been
worse! In his station he envied Charles Townshend nothing more than
his knowledge of the Councils of the King of Prussia. His Majesty,
he said, had communicated these treaties to the Prussian Minister
here, with assurances of our desire of peace. That gentleman, said
he of Pitt, professes being proud of acting with some here; I am
proud of acting with so many. But is it the part of a wise man,
because he wishes Hanover separated from England, to act as if it
was separate already?

The House sat till three in the morning, when the Committee agreed
to both treaties, by a majority of 289 to 121.

December 15th.--The agreement of the Committee to the treaties
was reported to the House. Some of the Tories, and Elliot and
Dr. Hay, with spirit opposed concurring with the Committee. Lord
Egmont made a long, injudicious, and weak speech, in behalf of the
treaties, all his arguments tending to a grand alliance, and war
on the continent, and coupled with pedantic quotations from Greek
and Roman story. Murray, though subtilizing too much, spoke with
great art. Among other pleas, he asked, if the treaties should
be rejected, how we were engaged in a war? Could the King make
it alone? How did the House even know that the money had been
advanced? It was usual to advance money out of services voted,
which was replaced afterwards, when the new occasions were allowed:
but this was always done at the risk of the Ministers: in the
present case the Lords Justices were responsible. That it was not
preventing a war to abandon the continent; it was only giving it up
to France. On the growing power of Russia, he quoted an expression
of Sir Joseph Jekyll, who said, he thought he saw a northern star
arising, which, if properly managed, might preserve the liberties
of Europe. If no war ensue, we should have displayed our force to
our Allies, to our enemies. The most dangerous kind of invasion was
to be apprehended from Sweden--but would she dare to attack the
Ally of Russia? In territorial contests, we are not bound to assist
Hanover; but in this quarrel Hanover has nothing to do; they could
suffer only for us. France will not fight where we please, nor be
so complaisant as to distinguish between the King and the Elector.
What disgrace had fallen on the nation for abandoning the Catalans!
If we should desert our most intimate Allies, what Ally would stand
by us? The King of Prussia would hear of our debates; would be told
that many opposed the treaties, lest offensive to him; that the
rest denied there was any intention of offence; therefore he would
hear that all England [was] for him. He applied with great aptness,
and told with great address the fable of the shepherd treating with
the wolf. The beast objected that the shepherd had damned dogs,
whom he mentioned like Cossacs and Calmucs--not that he feared
them!--but their barking disturbed him. The shepherd would not give
up his dogs--yet the neutrality was well kept.

To Murray and Lord Egmont and other champions of the treaties, Pitt
replied in a speech of most admirable and ready wit that flashed
from him for the space of an hour and half; and accompanied with
action that would have added reputation to Garrick. He said, the
Attorney-General had spoken so long, not because he had not thought
enough to shorten his discourse, but glad to lose the question
in the immensity of matter. However, he hoped that the King of
Prussia, who, it seems, was so well informed of our Debates, would
not hear the application of this fable, and that Murray had treated
him like a _Fera Naturæ_. But, in fact, these treaties from simple
questions had become all things to all men. As a man with sleight
of hand presents a card to the company, ’tis yours--now yours--and
very pleasantly takes the money out of the pockets of all the
spectators. But whatever explanations were used to pervert its
meaning, the Act of Settlement did intend to divest the Crown of
the power of declaring war for Foreign Dominions. He would quote
poetry; for truth in verse was as good as if delivered in the
dullest prose--

                  Corruption’s gilded hand
      May put by Justice.
                         MEAS. FOR MEAS.

If to make war eventually was a breach of that act, as a juror he
would find these treaties such a violation. The very payment of
money to Hesse and levying troops was an overt-act--but a daring
Ministry had assumed to be the Parliament of Great Britain! He
desired to know whether the 12,000 men formerly stipulated for
England from Muscovy were to be included in the 55,000 now engaged
for Hanover. If included, the bargain was still dearer--and we
were to give 500,000_l._ to 30,000 men to invite them to live upon
murder and rapine!--but this shifting measure, like a diamond,
the more brilliant the more it shone. “But come,” said he, “let
us consider this northern star, that will not shine with any
light of its own--Great Britain must be the sun of all this solar
system:--could Russia, without our assistance, support her own
troops? She will not prove the star of the Wise Men--they must go
with presents. ’Tis a miserable star, that you must get to shine,
that you must rub up; but the real wise man--

      “Quæ desperat tractata nitescere posse, relinquit.

“By this measure,” continued he, “is not Prussia thrown into the
power of France? What can he answer, if France proposes to march
an army into Germany? If he refuses to join them, will they not
threaten to leave him at the mercy of the Russians? This is one
of the effects of our sage negotiations--not to mention that we
have wasted between ten and eleven millions in subsidies! Were our
circumstances equal to the avarice of German Courts, our system
might last a little longer; but now we are lost _in limine_, in
the first outset of the war. Shall we not set our impossibility
of supporting such an extensive war against the argument of his
Majesty’s honour being engaged? or shall we continue to go begging
to every beggarly Court in Europe? The Ministers foresaw our ill
success at sea, and _prudently_ laid a nest-egg for a war on the
continent. Indeed, to induce us, we have been told of ancient
and modern story, of Greece and Carthage. I have not,” said he,
“read those histories these many years; they are very well for
declamation; but I think I recollect enough to see how improperly
they are quoted in this Debate. Suppose Thebes and Sparta, and the
other Grecian Commonwealths fallen from their former power; would
Athens have gone alone and paid all the rest? Would Demosthenes
have alarmed Greece, when they would no longer hear him?--but
Athens put herself on board her fleet, and recovered her land,
because she fought where she could be superior. Not giving succour
to Hannibal indeed was wrong, because he was already on land and
successful, and might have marched, as Prince Eugene proposed, with
a torch to Versailles.

“Another poet,--I recollect,” continued he, “a good deal of poetry
to-day,--says, _Expende Hannibalem_--weigh him, weigh him--I have
weighed him--what good did his glory procure to his country? It
puts me in mind of what the same poet says:

              “---- I, demens, curre per Alpes,
      Ut pueris placeas, et _declamatio_ fias!”

He dwelt on his duty to the King, and how harsh it must be for
Ministers to be honest--but perhaps the resistance given to these
treaties might save the Administration from a continent war. Yet
himself would nevermore place confidence in the authors, advisers,
adopters of this measure. He ended with a prayer, that conviction
might change perverted Ministers to save us; or that British
spirit might exterminate such measures as shake our Government; and
that British spirit might influence in British councils.

The Russian treaty was approved by 263 to 69. The Hessian by 259 to

After these Debates, the Parliament adjourned for the Christmas
holidays, during which the changes in the Administration were
settled. Charles Townshend was dismissed: the Duke of Bedford was
persuaded by Mr. Fox’s arts and friends to ask the exalted post
of Lord Privy Seal for the Duchess’s brother, Lord Gower--a vast
promotion for so young a man! Mr. Fox would have engaged his Grace
to promise to drop all asperity to the Duke of Newcastle, but he
frankly refused. The ductile Duke of Marlborough had ceded the
Privy Seal, to accommodate this measure, and took the Ordnance
with little ceremony from General Ligonier: a violence, deservedly
esteemed hard--and not judicious, for the representative of the
great Marlborough to dispossess almost the only man in England who
approached the services of that hero, and who had the additional
merit, though a Frenchman, of having saved the country[50] which
had so humbled his own. The old man felt it sensibly--but as the
King always consulted him on military affairs preferably to his son
the Duke, of whom he could not stifle a little jealousy--the Duke,
still less disposed to check a jealousy of preference, eagerly
countenanced the removal of Ligonier. The latter had all the
gallant gaiety of his nation. Polished from foppery by age, and by
living in a more thinking country, he was universally beloved and
respected. His successor, the Duke of Marlborough, had virtues and
sense enough to deserve esteem, but always lost it by forfeiting
respect. He was honest and generous; capable of giving the most
judicious advice, and of following the worst. His profusion was
never well directed, and a variety of changes in his political
conduct having never been weighed previously, or preserved
subsequently, joined to the greatest bashfulness and indistinction
in his articulation, had confirmed the world in a very mean opinion
of his understanding.

Lord Duplin and Lord Darlington were made joint Paymasters:
Doddington, again a Courtier, returned to his old office of
Treasurer of the Navy: Lord Bateman and Mr. Edgecombe, the one
nephew of the Duke of Marlborough, the other equally attached to
Mr. Fox, were placed in the Admiralty. The Duke of Newcastle, the
Duke of Bedford, the Chancellor, and a little time afterwards
Mr. Fox, had each a nomination to the Board of Trade, and placed
there their friends, Judge Talbot, Mr. Rigby, Soames, Jenyns the
poet-laureate of the Yorkes, and young Hamilton. Lord Hilsborough
was made Treasurer of the Chambers; Lord Hobart succeeded him
as Comptroller of the Household: Lord Gage was made Paymaster
of the Pensions; George Selwyn Paymaster of the Board of Works.
That old rag of Lord Bath’s foolish quota to an administration,
the mute Harry Furnese, was made a Lord of the Treasury, because
he understood the French actions. To him was suddenly joined Mr.
O’Brien, on the very morning that Mr. Ellis was to have kissed
hands; but the Duke of Newcastle, who had recovered his insolence
now the treaties were over, would not suffer a creature of Mr.
Fox at the Board of Treasury. Ellis was put off with a portion of
the Vice-Treasurer of Ireland: it was usually in two persons: Sir
William Yonge was just dead; Lord Cholmondeley, the other, received
as associates, Ellis and Lord Sandwich, who was destined for Chief
Justice in Eyre by the Duke and Mr. Fox, but the same authority
which had set Ellis aside marked Lord Sandwich too; and as if there
was a choice between the outcasts of former silly Administrations,
gave the preference to Lord Sandys.

It has been mentioned that Lord Barrington was appointed Secretary
at War in the new system: he and Ellis may easily be described
together; they were shades of the same character; the former a
little brighter by better parts, the other a little more amiable
by less interestedness. Lord Barrington was always assiduous to
make his fortune; Ellis, meaning the same thing, was rather intent
on not hurting his. The former did not aim at making friends,
but patrons; the latter dreaded making enemies. Lord Barrington
had a lisp and a tedious precision that prejudiced one against
him; yet he did not want a sort of vivacity that would have shone
oftener, if the rind it was to penetrate had been thinner. Ellis
had a fluency that was precise too, but it was a stream that
flowed so smoothly and so shallow, that it seemed to design to
let every pebble it passed over be distinguished. Lord Barrington
made civility and attention a duty; Ellis endeavoured to persuade
you that that duty was a pleasure. You saw that Lord Barrington
would not have been well-bred, if he had not been interested: you
saw that if Ellis had been a hermit, he would have bowed to a

There remained one purchase to the Government to be completed,
which though not terminated till the beginning of the succeeding
year, I shall comprehend in the account of this expensive
establishment. This was Hume Campbell; annihilated in the eyes of
the world and in his own, by Mr. Pitt’s philippic; still precious
to the Duke of Newcastle, who was now as injudiciously constant to
an useless bargain, as he was apt to be fickle to more serviceable
converts. Lord Lothian, after many negotiations and reluctances,
was dismissed with a pension of 1200_l._ a year from the office of
Lord Registrar of Scotland, which was conferred on Hume Campbell
for life. Secure with such a provision, he never once provoked
Pitt’s wrath; and repaid this munificence with one only scrap of an
ignorant speech on the Plate-tax.

It is necessary to recapitulate the extravagant and lasting charge
which this new caprice or consequence of the Duke of Newcastle’s
caprices brought on the Government. Sir Thomas Robinson had a
pension of 2000_l._ a year on Ireland for thirty years. Mr.
Arundel, to make room for Lord Hilsborough, 2000_l._ a year.
Sir Conyers Darcy 1600_l._ a year. Lord Lothian 1200_l._ Lord
Cholmondeley, to indemnify him for the division of his office,
600_l._ a year. Here was a load of near 8000_l._ a year incurred
for many years to purchase a change in the Administration--for how
short a season will soon appear!

But if this traffic for a partial revolution in a system, still
upheld, was scandalously inglorious, at least it called forth
a display of abilities that revived the lustre of the House of
Commons, and in the point of eloquence carried it to a height it
perhaps had never known. After so long a dose of genius, there
at once appeared near thirty men, of whom one was undoubtedly a
real orator, a few were most masterly, many very able, not one
was a despicable speaker. Pitt, Fox, Murray, Hume Campbell,
Charles Townshend, Lord George Sackville, Henry Conway, Legge,
Sir George Lyttelton, Oswald, George Grenville, Lord Egmont,
Nugent, Doddington, the Lord Advocate of Scotland, Lord Strange,
Beckford, Elliot, Lord Barrington, Sir George Lee, Martin, Dr. Hay,
Northey, Potter, Ellis, Lord Hilsborough, Lord Duplin, and Sir
Francis Dashwood, these men, perhaps, in their several degrees,
comprehended all the various powers of eloquence, art, reasoning,
satire, learning, persuasion, wit, business, spirit, and plain
common sense. Eloquence as an art was but little studied but by
Pitt: the beauties of language were a little, and but a little
more cultivated, except by him and his family. Yet the grace and
force of words were so natural to him, that when he avoided them,
he almost lost all excellence. As set speeches were no longer
in vogue, except on introductory or very solemn occasions, the
pomp and artful resources of oratory were in a great measure
banished; and the inconveniences attending long and unpremeditated
discourses, must (as I have delivered them faithfully,) take off
from, though they ought to add to, their merit. Let those who hear
me extol, and at the same time find Mr. Pitt’s orations not answer
to my encomiums, reflect how bright his talents would shine, if we
saw none of his, but which, like the productions of ancient great
masters, had been prepared for his audience, and had been polished
by himself for the admiration of ages! Similes, and quotations,
and metaphors were fallen into disrepute, deservedly: even the
parallels from old story, which, during the virulence against
Sir Robert Walpole, had been so much encouraged, were exhausted
and disregarded. It was not the same case with invectives; in
that respect, eloquence was little more chastened. Debates,
where no personalities broke out, engaged too little attention.
Yet, upon the whole, the style that prevailed was plain, manly,
argumentative; and the liberty of discussing all topics in a
government so free, and the very newspapers and pamphlets that
skimmed or expatiated on all those subjects, and which the most
idle and most illiterate could not avoid perusing, gave an air of
knowledge and information to the most trifling speakers.

I shall not enter into a detail of all the various talents of the
men I have mentioned; the genius and characters of many of them
have been marked already in different parts of this work. Most of
them were more or less imperfect; I pretend to consider the whole
number but as different shades of oratory. Northey saw clearly, but
it was for a very little way. Lord Strange was the most absurd man
that ever existed with a very clear head: his distinctions were
seized as rapidly as others advance positions. Nugent’s assertions
would have made everybody angry, if they had not made everybody
laugh; but he had a debonnaire jollity that pleased, and though
a bombast speaker, was rather extravagant from his vociferation,
than from his arguments, which were often very solid. Dr. Hay’s
manner and voice resembled Lord Granville’s, not his matter; Lord
Granville was novelty itself; Dr. Hay seldom said anything new; his
speeches were fair editions of the thoughts of other men: he should
always have opened a Debate! Oswald overflowed with a torrent of
sense and logic: Doddington was always searching for wit; and
what was surprising, generally found it. Oswald hurried argument
along with him; Doddington teased it to accompany him. Sir George
Lyttelton and Legge were as opposite in their manners; the latter
concise and pointed; the former, diffuse and majestic. Legge’s
speeches seemed the heads of chapters to Sir George Lyttelton’s
dissertations. Lord Duplin aimed at nothing but understanding
business and explaining it. Sir Francis Dashwood, who loved to
know, and who cultivated a roughness of speech, affected to know
no more than what he had learned from an unadorned understanding.
George Grenville and Hume Campbell were tragic speakers of very
different kinds; the latter far the superior. Grenville’s were
tautologous lamentations; Campbell’s bold reprehensions. Had they
been engaged in a conspiracy, Grenville, like Brutus, would have
struck and wept; Campbell would have rated him for weeping. The
six other chief speakers may, from their ages and rank in the
House, be properly thrown into two classes.

Mr. Conway soothed and persuaded; Lord George Sackville informed
and convinced; Charles Townshend[51] astonished; but was too
severe to persuade, and too bold to convince. Conway seemed to
speak only because he thought his opinion might be of service;
Lord George because he knew that others misled, or were misled;
Charles Townshend, neither caring whether himself or others were
in the right, only spoke to show how well he could adorn a bad
cause, or demolish a good one. It was frequent with him, as soon
as he had done speaking, to run to the opposite side of the House,
and laugh with those he had attacked, at those who had defended.
One loved the first, one feared the second, one admired the last
without the least mixture of esteem. Mr. Conway had a cold reserve,
which seemed only to veil goodness: Lord George, with a frankness
in his speech, had a mystery in his conduct, which was far from
inviting. Charles Townshend had such openness in all his behaviour,
that he seemed to think duplicity the simplest conduct: he made
the innocence of others look like art. But what superiority does
integrity contract, when even uniformity of acting could exalt so
many men above the most conspicuous talents that appeared in so
rhetorical an age! Mr. Townshend was perhaps the only man who had
ever genius enough to preserve reason and argument in a torrent of
epigrams, satire, and antithesis!

The other parliamentary chiefs were as variously distinguished
by their abilities. Pitt, illustrious as he was in the House of
Commons, would have shone still more in an assembly of inferior
capacity: his talents for dazzling were exposed to whoever did
not fear his sword and abuse, or could detect the weakness of his
arguments. Fox was ready for both. Murray, who, at the beginning
of the session, was awed by Pitt, finding himself supported by
Fox, surmounted his fears, and convinced the House, and Pitt too,
of his superior abilities: he grew most uneasy to the latter.
Pitt could only attack, Murray only defend: Fox, the boldest and
ablest champion, was still more formed to worry: but the keenness
of his sabre was blunted by the difficulty with which he drew it
from the scabbard; I mean, the hesitation and ungracefulness of
his delivery took off from the force of his arguments. Murray,
the brightest genius of the three, had too much and too little
of the lawyer: he refined too much, and could wrangle too little
for a popular assembly. Pitt’s figure was commanding; Murray’s
engaging from a decent openness; Fox’s dark and troubled--yet the
latter was the only agreeable man: Pitt could not unbend; Murray in
private was inelegant; Fox was cheerful, social, communicative.
In conversation, none of them had wit; Murray never had: Fox had
in his speeches from clearness of head and asperity of argument:
Pitt’s wit was genuine, not tortured into the service, like the
quaintnesses of my Lord Chesterfield.

I have endeavoured in this book (and consequently shall be much
more concise in others, on Parliamentary Debates,) to give an idea
of the manner and genius of our chief orators, particularly of Mr.
Pitt, the most celebrated: his greatest failure was in argument,
which made him, contrary to the rule of great speakers, almost
always commence the Debate: he spoke too often, and he spoke too
long. Of the above-recorded speeches, his first, on the Address,
was sublime and various; on the Army, at once florid and alarming;
on the Militia, clear, unadorned, and like a man of business: that
against Hume Campbell, most bitter; the last, full of wit; but
being hurt at the reflections on his pomp and invective, he took up
in the rest of that session a style of plain and scarce elevated
conversation, that had not one merit of any of his preceding


[31] Mr. Fox, by Lord Hardwicke, on the Marriage Bill.

[32] The resignations on Lord Granville’s administration of three

[33] The House had very lately been much offended at a Marquis St.
Simon, a Frenchman, taking notes in the gallery.

[34] The Scotch. The young Pretender, in one of his declarations,
mentioned our pamphlets and libels as proofs of the dissatisfaction
of the nation.

[35] A court where trifling causes are tried in the country; called
so, from country fellows coming thither with dusty shoes, _avec les
pies poudres_.

[36] It is worth remembering, that Hume Campbell, who now declaimed
against invectives, and so much commended Sir Robert Walpole, had
formerly in a speech called that Minister _a tympany of corruption_!

[37] The Duke of Bucks--alluding to the Duke of Newcastle.

[38] Spotted like a weasel.

[39] In 1744, when the great heats were raised against the
Hanoverian troops, Lord Barrington, _then_ in Opposition, used this
phrase, “If an angel should come and tell us, I will separate you
from Hanover, I will make you an island again.”

[40] Picture of the Duke of Newcastle, his great uncle.

[41] Baron Bothmar, the Hanoverian Minister.

[42] Lord Granby and George Townshend moved the Vote of Credit in
the preceding session.

[43] Lord Holderness.

[44] The Duke of Bedford had received 1500_l._ for electing
Jeffery French at one of his boroughs in the west; but he dying
immediately, his heir sued the Duke for the money, who paid it,
rather than let the cause be heard.

[45] Alexander Hume Campbell died of a fever, July 19, 1760.

[46] Lord Granville.

[47] Horace Walpole.

[48] Lord Granville.

[49] The Rebellion.

[50] At Laffelt.

[51] Vide Appendix.


      Laissant toujours avilir sa dignitè, pour en jouir.
                           _Volt. Hist. Univ._ vol. i. p. 140.


  Meeting of Parliament in the year 1756--Negotiations with
  France--Accommodation with the King of Prussia--Beckford’s
  accusation against Admiral Knowles--Grants to North
  America--Employment of Hessian Mercenaries--Mischiefs produced
  by the Marriage Act--Plan for raising Swiss Regiments debated
  in the Commons--Horace Walpole’s Speech on this subject--Swiss
  Regiment Bill passes the Commons and Lords--Anecdote of Madame
  Pompadour--Debates on Budget and Taxes.

The Parliament, which had adjourned during the holidays, met again
January 13. The Opposition was enriched with Sir Harry Erskine, who
having enlisted under Mr. Pitt, was dismissed from his post in the
Army. Mr. Pelham had formerly pressed the King to break him, but
in vain. His Majesty now recollected that advice, and took upon
himself to order this act of authority: had it been intended to
turn the new patriots into ridicule, it could not have answered the
purpose better.

France began to unfold the mystery of her moderation; yet with much
caution. Monsieur Rouillè sent a Memorial to Bonac, their resident
at the Hague, which he delivered to Colonel Yorke, but making him
give a receipt for it. It demanded, now the King was returned from
Hanover, that he would punish those _brigands_, who had taken so
many French ships, whose complaints, though often repeated, had
still been disregarded. It demanded restitution. _That_ granted,
the Court of Versailles would be ready to treat with us. In answer
to this Memorial, France was charged as the aggressor, by her
encroachments in America. Restitution of territory on their part
was demanded, before any reparation would be offered on our side.

We had begun the war with flippancy, the Duke of Newcastle’s
general exordium, which he was not wont to prosecute with firmness:
an unexpected event broke out, which accounted for his continuing
to act with resolution. The Russians had been listed in our quarrel
to awe the King of Prussia, and then our Ministers dreaded the awe
they had given. The Opposition too, it was probable, intended to
inflame his resentments on the Russian treaty: to obviate which,
Mechell, the Prussian Minister, had been assured that nothing
hostile was meant against his master; that if any word of that
cast had slipped in, it was hoped he would excuse it: that we had
no thought of giving him the first provocation. This had been
taken well. We followed it with proposing to that Prince a treaty
of guarantee for the _Empire_. He changed the latter word for
_Germany_, because formerly the Low Countries had been reckoned
into the Empire, and he would not be involved in a war for them.
He desired that the treaty so modified might be returned to him
directly, that he might show it to the Duc de Nivernois, whom
France was sending to engage him in their quarrel. This guarantee
for Germany, this thorn drawn out of the side of Hanover, dispelled
at once the King’s aversion to his nephew. The terms were joyfully
accepted, and the treaty was signed Jan. 17th.

21st.--The Committee of the whole House, preparatory to a new
Bill, which George Townshend (to please him) was ordered to bring
in, voted all the old Acts of Parliament relating to the Militia,

23rd.--Beckford complained to the House of Admiral Knowles’s
tyrannic government of Jamaica, whom he abused immeasurably,
and of which he quoted many instances, and moved for several
papers necessary to a prosecution. Fox said that Knowles was
already recalled, and indirectly seemed to defend him. Pitt took
it up with great warmth and solemnity, cast reflections on Fox
for endeavouring to screen the guilty, and paid great court to
Beckford, who, till now, had appeared to prefer Mr. Fox. The
papers were granted. Of the affair I shall say no more; it drew
out to great length; Fox openly espoused Knowles, who was cleared
triumphantly, Beckford having charged him with much more than he
had proofs or power to make out.

The same day Sir George Lyttelton, the new Chancellor of the
Exchequer, opened the Ways and Means for the supplies of the year.
The matter he unfolded well, but was strangely awkward and absent
in reading the figures and distinguishing the sums. Pitt ridiculed
and hurt him; yet he made a good reply, and told Pitt that truth
was a better answer than eloquence; and having called him _his
friend_, and correcting himself to say _the Gentleman_, and the
House laughing, Sir George said, “If he is not my friend, it is not
_my_ fault.” Pitt was sore in his turn; and the dialogue continued,
with great professions of esteem from Lyttelton, of contempt from
Pitt; who at last grew into good humour; but with regard to the
imputation of eloquence, said, he found there were certain ways of
answering certain men.

A day was spent without any issue on the Vice-Treasurership
of Ireland, which had been lately split into three, to make a
disposition for Ellis: the other two were Lords. George Grenville
questioned whether a third sharer could sit in Parliament,
consistently with the Act which forbids subdivisions of places. The
Debate, after some hours, was put off till inquiry could be made in
Ireland, whether this partition was novel or not.

28th.--The Government proposed to Parliament to bestow 120,000_l._
as a reward on such persons and colonies of North America as had
distinguished their zeal and activity on the new commotions. Five
thousand pounds was particularly destined to Sir William Johnson,
the avenger of Braddock. Charles Townshend, with great warmth,
opposed the gross sum, unless it was to be accounted for. Pitt
pursued the attack, and said, we had a disjointed Ministry, who
united only in corrupt and arbitrary measures. Fox replied with
great spirit, thanking Pitt for the great service he did him by
his attacks, and assuring him that he knew of no disunion; that he
believed Pitt himself did not, or he would join with one part of
the Administration against the other, as he had done formerly. But
his complaints being general, proved a general harmony, except with
one family; and their clamours would never pass for the voice of
the nation: George Grenville flamed at these words, but the Speaker
and Lord Strange interposed, and the Debate was adjourned, to give
way to a Bill on Linens. After the Debate, Pitt and Fox talking it
over, the latter told the other, that so far from any disagreement
between himself and Newcastle, there were men (meaning the two
Townshends) who had offered that Duke to abandon Pitt, if his Grace
previously would give up Fox--and the latter would have named them;
but Pitt could guess too well, not to wave such an explanation. It
must not be supposed that Charles Townshend bore any inveteracy to
Fox; he left all bitterness to his brother; and was content with
promoting confusion. The money was granted in the next Committee
without a division, but not without many reflections from the new
opponents. Beckford alone would have given a larger sum; and Legge,
who aimed at governing and drawing Lord Halifax into their system,
approved what, he said, he was sure under that Lord’s management
would be liable to no abuse.

France beginning to retaliate on our vessels, and threatening
some attempt on our coast, the new Hessian mercenaries were sent
for, and assistance according to treaty demanded from Holland.
Lord Ravensworth, whether to reconcile himself to the King, or to
distress the Administration,--for both his views and manner of
disclosing them were very unintelligible,--proposed to send rather
for Hanoverians; but without support or success.

A little event happened that demonstrated the mischiefs produced
by the Marriage Act: one Grierson, a Minister, was convicted of
solemnizing matrimony contrary to that law. No fewer than 1400
marriages were said to be dissolved on his conviction, in which
number 900 women were actually pregnant. The Chancellor triumphed
in punishing so many who had dared to contravene his statute: a
more humane man would have sighed to have made such numbers suffer
even by a _necessary_ law.

On the next affair, though of very little importance, seven tedious
days were wasted in the House of Commons, besides a Debate in the
Lords. Like other fuel for Opposition, the subject, when it had
once passed into a Bill, was never remembered more. Every topic is
treated in Parliament as if the liberty and fate of the country
depended upon it: and even this solemnity, often vented on trifles,
has its use. The certainty of discussion keeps Administration in
awe, and preserves awake the attention of the representatives of
the people. Ministers are, and should be, suspected as public
enemies: the injustice arising to them, or the prejudice to the
country by such jealousy, can hardly ever be adequate to the
mischief they may do in a moment, if too much is left to their
power, if too much trust is reposed in their integrity. But to the
point in question.

One Prevot, a refugee adventurer, recommended by the Princess of
Orange, had ingratiated himself with the Duke, and was countenanced
by him in a proposal of raising four Swiss battalions to be blended
with new levies in our colonies, and employed in North America:
the commander to be English; Prevot, second in command. The
officers to have co-equal benefits with the natives _there_, but
to acquire _here_ no rank or advantage. In consequence of this
plan, February 9th, an estimate of the charge was presented to the
House by the Secretary at War, who introduced it with a description
of the advantages which the Americans, sensible of their want of
discipline, would derive from being led by experienced officers.
Pitt, instead of censuring the scheme, dwelt on the tardiness of
it, painted the negligence of the Administration since the peace of
Aix, from the very date of which they had had reason to suspect the
designs of France; lamented Lord Loudun, who was placed at the head
of a scroll of paper; compared two miserable battalions of 1000 men
sent from hence, with 3000 dispatched thither by the French; and
asked, if it was but at that day that the Administration began to
defend America? Did they not know that this could not be a force
before August?--yet he would take this because no better [was] to
be had. The foreign officers would undergo another consideration:
he should not be for them. Lord Barrington replied, that 8900 men
were already voted for the service of America. Charles Townshend,
a perfect master of our West Indian affairs and history, gave
a detail of many enterprises that had failed by a mixture of
Europeans and Americans; wherever the latter only [were] employed,
the swiftness of recruiting had been incredible; when blended, in
three years 2000 men had not been levied. As he knew our neglects
in that quarter of the world better than Pitt, he was not less
gentle in lashing them.

Pitt, as if left behind in the race, again resumed it; asked Lord
Barrington if he would presume to say that there were actually 3000
men in arms in America? would he add paper to paper? He himself
should pity Lord Loudun, if stated as a commander of sufficient
force! He professed being hostile to no man, was friendly to his
King and country; but the inadvertence of his Majesty’s Ministers
had brought his age to the brink of destruction--yet it was no
comfort to look back and blame; it was a pleasure to try to be of
service. There had been a long series of ignorance, and incapacity,
and collusion, since the treaty of Aix; our Ministers had gone on,
hardly complaining, quite acquiescing! Lord George Sackville spoke
very sensibly on the situation of affairs, with some reproof on
Ministers, but charging more on the defects of the constitution
of our colonies, which ought to have one power established there,
as the French government in their settlements is one. On the
Pensylvanian Quakers he was more sharp, and with great reason;
they had defeated every plan of defence, were careless against the
French, acrimonious out of season against their Governor, and had
passed a Militia law, which they meant should be ineffectual. The
estimate, amounting to 81,000_l._, was voted without a division.

The next day, Lord Barrington moved for leave to bring in the
Bill, and explained the restrictions it was to contain. Pitt
thanked the Ministry for having departed from their first plan,
which had been calculated to consist entirely of foreigners: yet
he ascribed the honour of this mitigation to the opposition made,
and said, that ever since they had heard the first objections, the
Ministers had been trying to play with poison and dilute it, yet
still it was poison. If others would take it for a remedy, let
the Bill be brought in; though he had thought it wrong from the
first concoction. He charged the plan as a violation of the Act
of Settlement, on which supposition this and all the following
Debates rolled. He said, he heard that we wanted Dutch engineers
for sieges--what sieges had the Dutch made? English officers had
behaved everywhere with lustre--the Dutch nowhere. Were Dutch
engineers of such value, that we should _pro tanto_ repeal the
Act of Settlement?--but wanted! were officers wanted? was it a
symptom of scarcity of officers, when you have just broken a
brave[52] officer, distinguished with marks of two wounds, and by
the applause of the Duke; and who was cashiered for nothing but his
vote in Parliament!

Fox called to order, and asked the Speaker, if that assertion was
not a violation of it--“I ask the House their opinion,” cried Pitt;
“and though the House should forbid me at the bar, as long as my
mind reproaches the author of it, I will say it is my opinion that
he was broken for his vote.” “He has changed his phrase,” replied
Fox; “he asserted--he now believes. He cannot prove it, and it was
kind to stop him.” “If the House commands me,” said the Speaker,
“I will speak: who asserts, I suppose, is ready to prove. He may
say he believes. They who advise a measure are responsible.”
Pitt, fortified with this declaration (and without it he would
not have retracted), persisted; bidding Fox, armed with arbitrary
power, and with that majority of which he had heard so much,
bring him to the bar: and he told him, it was the characteristic
of the present Administration to break the Act of Settlement for
pretended utility; and in this case the utility was so small, that
it was stabbing that Act with a bodkin. Fox answered, that he
should be ashamed to think this scheme had been altered for Pitt’s
objections; and asked, how it was possible to Debate, without
urging the expedience of what was contended for? that Pitt had
asked, what pledge of fidelity these foreigners were to give: in
three centuries what Swiss had ever betrayed any country? With
regard to the dismission of Sir Harry Erskine, no apology was
necessary. Twenty years ago, when Lord Westmoreland, Lord Cobham,
and Mr. Pitt himself had been dismissed, the Opposition would have
brought in a Bill to prevent such removals; but it would have been
making officers independent both of the Crown and of Parliament,
and was rejected. Pitt allowed, that he thought officers might be
broken, even without recourse to a Court-Martial: and Sir Harry
Erskine himself affected to say that he did not complain of his
dismission: a civil or a military life was indifferent to him: yet
he could wish, if there were any other cause than his vote, that
Mr. Fox would declare it.

James Grenville, in a formal obscure speech, produced a clause of
the Act of Settlement, by which he would have proved that this Bill
could not be received, unless another were first passed, by which
any foreigners to be naturalized must renounce employments; and
he instanced in Bills of that purport passed for the marriages of
King William and the Prince of Orange. The Debate took entirely
this turn, the Opposition asserting that this would be a Bill of
Naturalization; and if so, not receivable: the Administration, that
it gave them something more than naturalization. Pitt declared
himself struck with Grenville’s remark, which had not been
communicated to him; and urged the Ministry with giving to these
foreigners _per saltum_ the very excepted parts, and with bestowing
on officers in the dregs of the Republic of Holland what had been
withheld from the Prince of Orange. Murray would have evaded this,
by asking if anything in the Bill tended to naturalization? The
Speaker declared there was such an appearance. George Grenville
said, by this evasion the Ministry will have only to omit the word
_naturalization_, and it may grant what advantages it pleases to
foreigners. “But,” said Lord Strange, “in Arabia none but a native
can purchase a mare: suppose the Prince of the country gave me
permission to buy a mare, would he naturalize me?” It passed by 165
to 57 that the Bill should be brought in.

The Bill was read for the first time on the 12th. Pitt and Charles
Townshend ridiculed the various forms into which the scheme had
shifted. The former asked how the blanks were to be filled up, and
if it was for ever to be a floating mark never to be hit! From
Lord Barrington he did not expect much information, to whom, with
Hotspur, he would say, “that which thou dost not know, that thou
canst not tell:” and he said, the Ministers had got something in
their hands which they neither knew how to hold or drop. The other
went further, and insinuated expectations of seeing more foreigners
brought over by side-winds. Lord Barrington replied, that no
Government presumed to fill up blanks in an Act of Parliament.
Proposals were made for taking the opinion of the Colonies on this
plan. The Bill was ordered to be printed, and the Debate adjourned
by agreement to the second reading.

The 18th, Charles Townshend presented a petition from the agent
for the settlement at Massachusets Bay against the proposed Swiss
battalions. Pitt moved to have laid before the House two petitions
from Pensylvania, representing the distressed situation of their
province. Fox, for seven more, in which they implore assistance.
Sir Richard Lyttelton, for the list of officers on half-pay,
insinuating how little occasion there was to employ foreigners.
Lord Barrington then moved to have the Bill committed, which Sir H.
Erskine opposed.

Horace Walpole the younger discussed the question, whether this
regulation would be an infringement of the Act of Settlement, of
which, he said, nobody could be more tender, as he had lately
shown, by opposing the treaties which he had thought clashed with
that Act. A literal infringement he allowed it would be, but merely
literal, and the benefits to be reaped by departing from the
letter, he was of opinion would come within the very spirit of the
Act, were undoubtedly consonant to the intention of the Legislators
who framed it, and tended to secure the blessings of that very
establishment to a considerable number of our fellow-subjects.
That the Legislators may be, and generally are, the greatest men
of their age, yet their notions and ideas must flow, and are
taken up from the views of their own age; and though they build
for posterity, yet they build with materials of their own time:
that they attempt to prevent as far as they foresee: that any
constitution, however wisely framed, if once declared unalterable,
must become a grievance: wise and happy as our own is, did it not
grow so by degrees? should we presume to pronounce that it received
the last perfecting hand in the reign of King William? subsequent
alterations showed it had not. That the great purpose of the
patriots of that reign, when by the misrule of their native Kings
they were reduced to place a Foreign Family on the Throne, had been
to guard against the predilection of their new sovereigns in favour
of ancient subjects, and to secure their posterity from being
enslaved by those who were introduced to protect liberty. This
country had experienced how little even English Kings could resist
practising against English liberty; a race of German Princes,
accustomed to arbitrary government, was still more likely to grasp
at arbitrary power. That these apprehensions had dictated that
clause in the Act of Settlement which prohibits any foreigner born
from being so far naturalized as to be capable of any employment,
civil or military; and there the words did clash with the scheme in

The Swiss and Germans settled in Pensylvania were excluded by
the Act of Settlement from the glorious privilege of defending
the country they had preferred to their own; were debarred from
fighting in an English quarrel, which at the same time was become
their own. He was aware, he said, that the Act only specified that
they should be incapable of commissions; but a raw, undisciplined
multitude, not only not commanded by officers of their own, but not
understanding the commands of those under whom they were to serve,
would introduce confusion instead of utility; and unless they might
have proper officers, it would be rashness to employ the men. The
framers of the Act of Settlement did not foresee that a time would
come, when, from the too Christian spirit of the Quakers, and the
too unchristian ambition of France, our most valuable colonies
would be in immediate danger. They did not foresee that this danger
would meet with a providential resource on the very spot: that an
hundred thousand Germans and Swiss, animated by the most amiable
principles, zeal for religion, passion for liberty, and a spirit of
industry, would be actually settled in the heart of the province
most exposed--if they had, would they have been patriots, if they
had still narrowed the Act of Settlement to the rigour it now wore?

“No, Sir,” said he; “nor when they formed a great act on the
plan of their fears, did they apprehend that England would ever
be enslaved by an Army of Germans that should take America in
their way. But putting the most extravagant of all suppositions,
that there could hereafter be an intention of employing these
almost constitutional troops against the constitution, whether
would it be most likely, that Swiss Republicans, and Germans fled
from Monarchy, would fight for a King attempting to make himself
arbitrary, or in defence of liberty which they had travelled
even to America to seek? What should induce a Saltzburgher, for
instance, who had abjured his own ecclesiastic tyrant, to serve
an English King in a still more unconsecrated cause? Nobody, he
believed, was so visionary as to impute any such scheme to the
royal person on the Throne; nor would he dwell on the experience
which the nation had had for near thirty years of how capable his
Majesty was of attempting to violate the most minute part of the
constitution. In his long and happy reign he could recollect but
one instance, which, in the most strained construction, could
make the most jealous suspect that his Majesty meditated even to
surprise us into subjection; and that was, by governing Hanover
with so parental a hand, as if he meant to insinuate to Englishmen
that they might be the happiest subjects in the world, though under
an arbitrary Prince.”

He was persuaded, he said, that no gentleman could disapprove
the deviation in question from the Act of Settlement, but from
apprehensions of its being drawn into a precedent--he would state
the case. Could the most designing Minister come to Parliament
(for before they get rid of Parliament, they must make use of
it against itself), and say, in the year 1756 you consented to
allow commissions to about forty foreign officers to regiment
and discipline a proportion of Swiss and Germans, none of them
Hanoverians, in Pensylvania, to defend that province against the
encroachments of the French, when the Quaker natives would not,
and you could not, raise troops to defend them; and therefore we
hope you will have no scruple to violate it again now, perhaps in
the year 1800, but will let us import into England some regiments
of Hanoverians already raised and disciplined?--no; they could not
say this; and when a precedent does not tally, it is in no danger
of becoming a precedent. King William’s patriots could not mean
that any part of the West Indies should be sacrificed to France,
rather than suffer it to be defended by a providential supply of
foreigners whom tyranny had driven, not invited, thither. Who was
there, at this day, who did not commiserate the blind bigotry of
the Jews,[53] who thought God capable of giving them so absurd a
precept, as a prohibition of defending their country on a Sunday?

“This is the light, Sir,” said he, “in which I protest I see
it. I think I execute the will of those great men better by
departing from, than by adhering to the letter of that valuable
testament they left us. Could it be possible for them to have been
narrow-minded enough to have intended such rigid minuteness, common
sense would teach me to reject so prejudicial a bequest; and yet,
Sir, though I have declared my opinion so strongly, if even this
clause in the Act of Settlement should still occasion difficulty,
as I hope it will not be efficient to obstruct the scheme, I
should not be sorry to see it. Even a literal violation of such an
Act is too material to be passed over lightly. We ought to show
that we do not supersede a single sentence of it without weighty
consideration. I never wish to see unanimity on such a measure.
Unanimity is a symptom of monarchy; jealousy is constitutional; and
not only constitutional, but the principle of our existence. If our
ancestors had intended only an assembly of deliberation, the Privy
Council, or that more compact body of wisdom, the Cabinet-Council,
might have sufficed to deliberate. We were calculated to suspect,
to doubt, to check. I think, Sir,” added he, “we have already
shown that we do not proceed wantonly or inconsiderately. One
honourable gentleman (Pitt), with whom I must ever lament to
differ, by standing up for the very letter of the Act, has given
all the weight that can be given to it--his dissent is sufficient
deliberation--and I flatter myself that my agreeing with _those_
who think that in the point before us the letter and the spirit
jar, and who, I know, feel as warmly for the constitution, and who
have taken all imaginable precaution to preserve the integrity
of the Act without losing so necessary a service, will not be
interpreted as any want of attachment to so essential a bulwark of
our liberties.”

       *       *       *       *       *

I am sensible how much too large a space this speech occupies in
these Memoirs, and how indecently such weak arguments are displayed
at length, while the opinions of many great men are sedulously
contracted. Yet the author had some reasons which he hopes will
excuse this seeming arrogance. He wished to give an instance that
he acted freely, spoke freely; and as he seldom has had, or sought,
occasion to mention himself, he trusts that this one excess will
be overlooked, especially as it produced a memorable saying of the
King, to whom the author is willing to do honour where he can, as
he always has done justice on him when he deserved the contrary.
Horace Walpole lived in friendship with Fox, in harmony with Pitt,
and rather thought better of the conduct of the latter. Having
declared openly against the treaties, he would not turn with Fox
to a defence of them, and had surprised, by deserting him. He had
now been desirous of showing that that separation had been only
temporary, and yet he could not resist paying greater compliments
to Pitt in the very speech intended for support of Fox; but
Walpole always leaned most to a man in Opposition. Why he flattered
the King in this speech is not so comprehensible; nor could he
give any reason for it himself. It was unnecessary, it was out of
character and without any view, for he never even went to Court.
Fox repeated the compliment to the King. He was pleased; but said,
he did not expect Walpole would have spoken on that side; adding,
“You may blame me here, Fox, but I will tell you the truth; I try
to make my people at Hanover as happy as I can, and they deserve it
of me.”

Young Hamilton pursued the argument on the Act of Settlement with
great ability, and urged, that not to deviate from it would be to
defeat it; the chief end of it had been to prevent men unconversant
with our country and laws from having the administration of them;
but now it was alleged to hinder the service of another country,
America. Foreigners there had only become soldiers, because they
no longer could be planters; yet gentlemen seemed to turn their
eyes from existing dangers to imaginary. The Debate lasted till
ten at night, but neither with remarkable events nor speeches, and
it passed by 215 to 63 to commit the Bill. Charles Townshend again
pressed to hear Bollan and the agents and General Waldo on Monday.

On the 20th the Committee sat. Pitt ridiculed with much humour
this scheme which the Ministry so greatly applauded, and yet with
which the nation would not have been blessed, if by a fortuitous
concurrence of circumstances Prevot had not been taken prisoner
in August, and carried into Brest, if he had not been going an
adventurer to America, and had not found his way from Brest
hither;[54] and if, after all, he had not taken it into his head
to have a regiment. He wished this Ulysses-like wanderer might be
as wise! wished the Ministers would wait but till Monday, to hear
the colonies! He had been told, indeed, that the immutable laws
of the Medes were absurd--were the resolutions of Ministers to be
more unchangeable than those of the King of Persia--of Xerxes with
his multitude at his heels? He did not comprehend this modelling,
rejecting, resuming, shaping, altering; he believed all this
beautiful mechanism had been employed about it, but you that are to
buy it, will they not let you examine and weigh it, and know the
intrinsic value? Fox said, Lord Baltimore and Penn were not limited
by any Act of Settlement, but could commission foreigners. The
Massachusets can naturalize and then commission them. He had never
wished any Ministers should be immutable; God forbid they should be
so in any sense! if common sense on their side, they would be in
the wrong to be immutable. But would you hear Mr. Bollan on the
Act of Settlement? his whole petition was against the regiment;
tended to reject the Bill, not to alter it. “Penn,” continued he,
“authorizes me, Lord Baltimore authorizes me, to approve this Bill,
though they did not think it decent to petition for it. I have been
told that from Bollan we should hear of injustice, oppression,
ingratitude--I cannot believe it, for I remember what passed in a
certain assembly some time ago between two persons, one[55] not
present now, the other, I believe, is--(looking about indirectly
towards Charles Townshend). The person now here bad the other _take
the poor American by the hand and point out his grievances. He
defied him; if that would not do, he beseeched him to point out a
single grievance: for his part, he did not know of one._ When that
day shall come,” added Fox, “I hope that gentleman, who speaks as
well as the honourable person himself over against me, will attend
and confute both Mr. Bollan and his introductor.”

Charles Townshend at the first shock was thunderstruck;[56]
they had been his own words to Lord Egmont, had been faithfully
treasured in Fox’s accurate memory, and were brought out with
all the art and severity imaginable; but in a moment Townshend
recovered himself, struck his hand on his forehead as feeling the
impulse of conception, and starting up, replied with inimitable
spirit and quickness, “That every one saw whither those prepared
observations pointed; he took them to himself--and what had been
the case? Lord Egmont had complained of the civil government of
the colonies, and of the instructions to Sir Danvers Osborn, which
I, I advised, and which, cried he, I am ready to fight over. I
never complained of _civil_ oppression--I _am_ ready to meet Fox
and his _aide-de-camp_ Lord Egmont--the oppression I mean is in
the _military_. The soldiers have been promised rewards--they have
been kept in garrison contrary to promise--have I made out the
distinction? If I have, then I say this is an unmanly attack on a
young man.” Fox’s friends called out, “Order! order!” Townshend
rejoined, “Order! order! unmanly! is that disorderly? Upon my
word, these are the nicest feelings in Xerxes’s troops that ever I
knew.” This flash of wit put a whole majority out of countenance.
A grain less of parts, or a scruple more of modesty, had silenced
Townshend for ever. “Fox,” continued he, “cries, ‘What! hear Bollan
on the Act of Settlement!’ he chose to enter on no other part of my
argument--and then he talked of mutability--there was forage and
joking for the troops!”

Fox with great art observed what satisfaction it gave him to hear
that there was no oppression in the civil government; and thus
pinned down Charles Townshend from producing a detail of grievances
that he had prepared on American affairs. The rest of the Debate
was most indifferent, or could not avoid appearing so: 213 against
82 voted against hearing Bollan. The Opposition then tried by four
divisions to prevent the prosecution of the Bill in the Committee;
but the Ministry persisting in making no further answers, at past
eleven at night Pitt and his followers walked out, and the only
blank in the Bill was filled up, as Lord George Sackville proposed,
with the words _fifty officers and twenty engineers_.

Two days afterwards the Bill was reported and again opposed, as it
was on the last reading, when the Ministry, tired with debating,
and making no reply, Charles Townshend, in a fine, animated, and
provoking speech, tried to make them break silence, taunting the
majority with following leaders who would not vouchsafe to give
them reasons, reproaching the Ministers with the insult of their
silence, and calling on the new placemen to give some proofs of
being fit for their posts, the arrangement of which, and the
various reasons of fear or convenience which had contributed to
the late settlement, he described with much humour and wit. Fox,
smiling, told him, he called so agreeably, that he should never
call in vain; and yet, plainly as Mr. Townshend had spoken, he did
not know under what part of the description to suppose himself
included. He could not be the insolent Minister; “it requires more
parts than I have,” said Fox, “to support insolence. But why am I
silent? have I been so on this Bill? Have I not been reproached
with talking too often on it? I ask pardon, and have nothing new to
say on it, but this, that I objected to hearing Bollan, because Mr.
Townshend can speak as readily and knows as much. I rest my credit
on what I have said before; only observing, that the majority which
Mr. Townshend calls mean, I believe he does not think a mean one.”
Pitt spoke again for an hour and half, but without fire or force;
and old Horace Walpole terminated this tedious affair with the
lowest buffoonry, telling a long story of an old man and his wife;
that the husband said to her, “Goody Barrington, for that was her
name--I must not falsify my story; if it had been Onslow, I must
have said it,” continued he, addressing himself to the Speaker; who
replied, very properly, “Sir, one old woman may make as free as she
pleases with another.” The Bill passed by 198 to 69.

In the House of Lords it was attacked by Lord Temple, and defended
by Lord Halifax. Lord Dacre, a worthy, conscientious man,
unpractised in speaking, asked with great modesty and diffidence,
if it was true that there were orders given for listing in Germany.
If it was, he should alter his vote and oppose the Bill. It
occasioned confusion. At last, Lord Halifax owned he believed it
was true. The Duke had given such orders without participation of
the Duke of Newcastle. The Bill passed without a division; yet
Lord Temple and Lord Talbot protested in words drawn by Charles

In France, the prosecution of the war was by no means an unanimous
measure. D’Argenson, the promoter of it, was on ill terms with
Madame Pompadour, whose interest was to lull the King and nation
in pleasures and inactivity, not to foment events that might shake
her power. It received a blow from another quarter. The Cardinal
de la Rochfoucault, and Sassy, the King’s confessor, played off
the earthquake on his superstition. He promised to receive the
sacrament at Easter, and relinquish his mistress. She, who held
more by habit than passion, saw no reason why a woman might not
work the machine of religion as well as a priest, and instantly
gave into all his Majesty’s scruples; offered up her _rouge_ to the
demon of earthquakes, and to sanctify her conversion and reconcile
it to a Court-life, procured herself to be declared _Dame du
palais_ to the Queen.

February 25th.--Sir George Lyttelton, as Chancellor of the
Exchequer, opened the plan of supplies and taxes for the current
year. The first, a duty on wrought plate, was calculated to bring
in 30,000_l._ a year. Another, on bricks and tiles, and a double
duty on cards and dice; the actual duty produced 10,000_l._ a year;
but as doubling the tax would not double the produce, the addition
was estimated at only 7000_l._ a year. This, said Sir George, some
will think a tax on _necessaries_. The Legislature calls gaming a
vice; but the legislators, who can best expound their own laws,
seem, by their practice, to think otherwise. Legge objected to
either tax on plate or bricks; and showed with singular art how
much greater a master he was of the nature of the revenue and
commerce than his successor. Sir George seemed to repeat an oration
on trade that he had learned by rote; Legge talked on it like a
merchant. He urged that plate was not a prejudicial commodity,
but a dead treasure, to be resorted to on an emergency: if sold,
it would go abroad; if coined here, did not increase the national
stock. He showed that bricks would be a partial tax, as many parts
of the kingdom employ only stone. But within the volume of our
duties there was actually a fund of taxes that might be drawn out
without any new impositions, the old were so fraudulently levied,
or so injudiciously distributed. He instanced in the duty on tea,
which being regulated by Sir John Barnard, produced near double,
and demolished smuggling. By reduction of the duty on raw silk,
it rose from 800_l._ per annum to 15,000_l._ That on hemp, if
reduced, would produce much more. George Townshend proposed taxes
on the number of servants, and on exportation of horses, because no
French officer had fewer than two English horses. Murray asked if
many of our taxes were not partial--on cyder, on malt, on coals?
Lord Strange objected strongly to the brick-tax, because the houses
that ought to pay most, those of the rich, are built of stone.
Vyner observed, that a tax on plate was teaching servants to turn
informers. The plate-tax passed. That on bricks was postponed,
and at last dropped, on finding how prejudicial it would be and
unpopular. It was changed for one on ale-houses.


[52] Sir H. Erskine.

[53] Yet the Jews were but a seventh part so great fools as the

[54] He had been met by Governor Lyttelton, who was taken in the
Blandford by the French.

[55] Lord Egmont.

[56] See vol. i. p. 422.


  Tax on Plate debated in the Commons--Tranquillity restored
  in Ireland--Hessian and Hanoverian Troops taken into our
  pay--Private Bill for a new Road from the Metropolis--The
  French attack Minorca--Vote of Credit--Debates on the Prussian
  Treaty--Speeches of Pitt and Murray--Militia Bill in the
  Lords--Troops raised by Individuals--Violation of Public
  Faith--The Prince of Wales attains his Majority--History of Lord
  Bute--Scheme of taking the Prince from his Mother.

March 3rd.--On the report from the Committee for the tax on plate,
it was a day of total ignorance: Fox, Hume Campbell, and Pitt all
showed how little they understood the subject. The shrewdness of
the first, the assertions of the second, the diction of the latter,
were ridiculously employed on a topic that required only common
sense, and a little knowledge of business. Legge alone shone: he
entered, beyond his usual brevity, into a detail of the nature of
coin, exchange, gold, silver, premiums, and the mistaken or real
advantages of those manufactures. He observed, that plate was not
luxury, but a national way of hoarding; that this tax was to cease
where luxury began; for the greatest Lords were not to pay beyond
2000 ounces. That it would all go abroad, unless the proportions of
gold and silver were regulated. That Mr. Locke’s first treatise on
that subject had been written to serve a purpose: he had afterwards
understood the matter better. That while we overvalued gold in
proportion to silver, the French were taking the contrary extreme,
in order to draw silver into their country, and to encourage the
manufacture of plate, which proved a beneficial article of their
trade, and of which we were discharging ourselves. Of all dead
stock, plate was the most valuable. Louis the Fourteenth and
Charles the First had made great use of the resource of plate.
When employed, it comes out with its whole value about it. The
reputation of a stock of it has its weight. Would you in the outset
of a war produce your last stake? Would you, while increasing your
paper substance by borrowing on the Sinking Fund, diminish your
real treasure? Many other taxes would produce above 30,000_l._

On the second reading of the Bill, Legge argued against it with
more warmth: if gathered loosely, it would produce a trifle; if
strictly, three times as much as granted for. France would think
us bankrupt; no nation had done this but in sieges and civil wars.
He condemned it as a register of so much personal estate; and as
this knowledge would assist the housebreaker in his campaign; and
as it would go to the destruction of one of the most flourishing
manufactures in Europe, producing clear for the labour alone
32,000_l._ a year. Our silversmiths would now go to France, and
the plate would meet them there to be worked. Sir George Lyttelton
remarked that Legge’s arguments went against all inland duties in
general; and that as little wealth ought to lie dead as possible.
That on laying the coach-tax, the coach-makers came to the Treasury
and complained they should be ruined; yet their trade had increased
since. If we took a galleon, would it be advisable to lay up the
treasure against a day of calamity? He defended the method of
collecting this duty by Excisemen; did not find that Excise was now
so terrible: Sir Francis Dashwood had proposed an Excise on meat,
and he had not perceived that it had much shocked the House--in
fact, no powers, he said, were more gently exercised than those of
Excise. No complaint had been made on the coach-tax: this was to be
under the same regulation. Our trade would not bear more customs;
nor could we support the war, but by a despotic mortgage of the
whole Sinking Fund. His chief partiality to the plate-tax arose
from the poor being exempt from it.

George Grenville spoke well, chiefly censuring this as a tax to
be paid on honour--had the coach-tax been honourably paid? The
land-tax at the Revolution was laid on honour--did honour tax
itself fairly? Here only middling persons were to be rated; the
poor and the rich were equally exempted. This would be a sort
of _don gratuit_, or benevolence; the worst sort of tax. The
Parliament of Paris was copying our best times--from what were
we copying? Murray pleaded that by leaving the most magnificent
sort of plate, which is only where there is above 2000 ounces,
untaxed, no discouragement would be given to the manufacture. Dr.
Hay saying that this tax was unlike that on coaches, for they, if
not used, did not pay; Doddington replied, that he hoped Dr. Hay
would not wish the taxes postponed, till such could be found as all
men would approve. He did profess himself unequal to speak to what
many did know they were unequal to hear; but could not comprehend
how men, who had so long gone on losing so much interest by a
stock of plate, should now declare they would eat on trenchers,
because it was to be taxed at a halfpenny an ounce. He observed how
contradictory the objections were: in the same breath complaints
were made that this tax subjected us to excise, and was a tax upon
honour. The only unanswerable objection he had heard was, that
we were over-taxed already. He wished we had been as scrupulous
in former wars, yet this was the only war he remembered, purely

The new duty was carried by 245 to 142. Yet if Fox would have
yielded to it, the Duke of Newcastle would have given up the tax.
It produced at last but 18,000_l._

Let us turn our eyes for a moment to Ireland, where tranquillity
was at last restored by the prudence of Mr. Conway, and by the
venality of the patriots. Mr. Conway was armed with all the powers
and all the qualities that could compose the animosities of a
factious people, inflamed by mercenary chiefs; for he had authority
to satisfy their demands, his virtue gave no hold to abuse, his
temper kept _him_ impartial, and his good sense kept the Duke of
Devonshire so. The patriots dismissed the woes of their country,
for which they had no longer occasion; Mr. Boyle was first restored
to the Chancellorship of the Exchequer; Carter was made Secretary
of State; and Malone, King’s Counsel: pensions, with arrears, were
restored to the sufferers, and sprinkled on others; and, at the
conclusion of the Session, Mr. Boyle, for an Earldom and a pension,
resigned the Chair to Mr. Ponsonby, brother-in-law of the Lord
Lieutenant; Malone consented to accept a lucrative employment;
and Sir Arthur Gore a Peerage; but the late Speaker being burnt
in effigy by the mob, and Malone being insulted at his own door,
the latter was terrified, and declined from fear what he could
not resist from virtue: Sir Arthur Gore, too, waved his Peerage
for the present. On the departure of the Duke of Devonshire, the
Chancellor, Lord Kildare, and Lord Besborough, were appointed Lords
Justices. The Primate, enraged at this arrangement, quarrelled
with his friend the new Speaker, who was so far qualified to
succeed Mr. Boyle, that he made as little scruple to sacrifice his
connexions, to promote himself. The Primate had tried to make him
Speaker; Lord Kildare had opposed it: the Primate was now dropped;
and Lord Kildare and Mr. Ponsonby’s father divided the Government
between them; for the Chancellor was in a languishing state, came
over to England, and died soon after.[57]

England began to be alarmed with an invasion from France; the
Ministry had already made a requisition of the troops which
Holland ought by treaty to furnish us. Fox, Lord Granville, and
Lord Anson, had foretold that they would be refused; Newcastle
and the Chancellor insisted they would be sent; demanded them,
and were refused. On this a message was delivered to both Houses
to notify his Majesty’s having sent for the Hessians in his pay:
it was received with some murmurs, but not opposed. Lord George
Sackville, either to throw difficulties on the Duke of Newcastle,
with whom he was angry on Irish accounts, or to pay court to the
Throne, hinted a preference to Hanoverians, whose behaviour as
soldiers he much commended. This thought was embraced--if it had
not been concerted; and on the 29th of April, he proposed, in form,
to address the King to send for his Electoral troops, after stating
the weakness of the country, the vast extent of unguarded coast,
and the opinion of officers in favour of the utility and good
service of those foreigners.

The Tories owned they preferred Hanoverians to Hessians; but Pitt,
who came down ill, and affirming that nothing but the importance
of the question should have drawn him out of his bed, spoke long
against the measure; pleaded his respect for the King as the cause
of his opposition, as he feared we should advise his Majesty’s
involving another country of his in equal or worse peril than our
own. That this would be offering him our advice in his Electoral
capacity: that in no period of his life he had spoken against the
Hanoverians as bad troops: that against what force the French could
land we had certainly sufficient defence: that in 1690, when France
had beaten our fleet at Beachy-head, and had an Army in Ireland,
yet we had surmounted all that danger. That, in the Dutch war, even
with a suspected King, we had coped with Holland and France. De
Witte, the greatest man since Plutarch, had proposed an invasion to
D’Estrades, but he treated it as a chimeric attempt. Burnet says,
the Wirtemberghers were cruel friends: he should be for sending
these Hanoverians to Ireland: he would vote for raising any number
of new troops: the last unfortunate war had formed many great
officers; he would not interpose these foreigners to the promotion
of those gallant men; nor would force a vote upon the King, when he
might send for his troops without. Lord George replied with great
spirit and sense; and the Motion was agreed to by 259 to 92. The
next day this resolution was communicated at a conference to the
Lords, who agreed to it, after a severe speech from Lord Winchelsea
against the new patriots.[58]

The consideration of this danger, and of the measure of bringing
over foreigners, always obnoxious, at least as a precedent, was
often interrupted by one of those trifling affairs with which the
wisdom of this grave nation is so apt to be occupied. A new road
towards the eastern counties, by which the disagreeable passage
through the city would be avoided, had been proposed to be made on
the back of London. The Duke of Grafton had estates there, which,
by future buildings likely to accompany such an improvement, would
be greatly increased. Part of this road was to pass over grounds of
the Duke of Bedford, but in so small proportion as he thought would
not indemnify him for the desertion of other buildings, which he
had to a great amount in worse parts of the town. He consequently
took this up with great heat. The Duke of Grafton, old and
indolent, was indifferent about it. The Duke of Argyle, who did not
love[59] the Duke of Bedford, and others who _now_ wished to thwart
him and his faction, privately spurred up the Duke of Grafton to
make a point of this. Fox embraced the occasion as a trial for
power with Newcastle. Rigby, who had endeavoured to soften the
Duke of Bedford, now to humour Fox, adopted his master’s warmth,
and added all his own violence, treating the name of the Duke of
Grafton (who was much respected) with the greatest licentiousness
in the House of Commons. The Duke of Newcastle was frightened, and
wished to avoid the decision; but the Duke of Bedford, who had
received all manner of encouragement from the Chancellor and his
friends, pushed on the determination, was betrayed, was beaten, was
enraged,--in less than a year he proposed to the Duke of Grafton’s
friends to extend the plan of the road.

April 30th.--The estimate of the charge of the Hessian troops being
laid before the House, Pitt made a bitter speech on the Ministers,
as bubbling the nation, or being bubbled in this extravagant
bargain, which would cost 400,000_l._ more than a like number of
British troops. But we were going to be undone: he should be
undone with a clear conscience and untainted honour. Those who
supported such measures would bear the marks on their foreheads.
We could not carry on the American war, from our extravagance. God
could not bless a country with resources enough to resist such
profusion. He admired the _finesse_ of the Hessians, who from the
hungry allowance of Germany had raised their pay to British.

A few days afterwards, the Hanoverian estimate being brought, and
Lord Barrington commending it preferably to the Hessian (which
had been voted, and was past danger), Pitt, with great dexterity
of irony, commended it too, and lashed Lord Barrington for the
extravagance of the former, asking whether he or that Secretary at
War had been more severe on the Hessian account; on that subsidiary
juggle,--for the Hanoverian, no man could find fault with it--one
was the bargain of the Ministers, the other the simple measure of
his Majesty: there one saw the distinction! nothing but good flowed
from the King; nothing but ruin from his servants. “I choose,”
said he, “that they should fall by a friendly hand, and that the
condemnation of his patrons and friends should come from the noble
Lord. But must we engage mercenaries because France does? She has
not blood enough in her own veins for the purposes of universal
Monarchy. This waste on Hessians would have conquered America,
or saved Minorca, which he despaired of. Why did not the House
inquire why we had been so neglected? if so weak, why stayed till
now? whence else Minorca likely to be lost? what poor conduct! They
waited till some private man (Lord G. S.) dared to ask for foreign
troops. Had we been secured here, the fleet might have gone safely
to Minorca. The neglect looked wilful, and as if they hoped that
trade would call out for peace, and that Minorca to be regained
would be a screen for compounding for America,--but,” continued he,
“I don’t call this an Administration, it is so unsteady. One is at
the head of the Treasury; one, Chancellor; one, head of the Navy;
one great person, of the Army--yet, is that an Administration? They
shift and shuffle the charge from one to another: says one, I am
not General; the Treasury says, I am not Admiral; the Admiralty
says, I am not Minister. From such an unaccording assemblage of
separate and distinct powers with no system, a nullity results.
One, two, three, four, five Lords meet;--if they cannot agree,--oh!
we will meet again on Saturday;--oh! but says one of them, I am
to go out of town,--alas! said he, when no parties remain, what
aggravation of the crimes of the Ministry that no good comes from
such unanimity.”

Fox answered seriously, that nobody could be glad of or receive
advantage from the loss of Minorca; and he asked if Mr. Pitt
wished to see a sole Minister.

Pitt replied, that he did not wish to see a single Minister, but
a system and decision; that the loss of Minorca must be caused by
infatuation or design, for that miners for the defence of Fort
St. Philip were only raising _then_. Indeed, were Mr. Fox sole
Minister, there would be decision enough.

Lord George Sackville said, he had moved for Hanoverians from the
consideration of our unprovided state, and as a temporary Militia;
and _because the fleet sent into the Mediterranean was not superior
to the French_, and might be beaten; the French might follow their
blow and come hither. He was glad it had been mentioned, because
everybody was struck at Minorca being left as in time of profound
peace; it would become Ministers to prove that neglect, necessity.

It was known now, that after great preparations at Toulon,[60] of
which we had long been advertised, Marshal Richelieu was sailed
with considerable force to attack Minorca, where we had but
four regiments, in Fort St. Philip, under General Blakeney, the
Deputy-Governor, a stout soldier, but too old. Lord Tyrawley, the
Governor, was in England, so were his chief officers, members of
Parliament. Admiral Byng was sent, but too late, and with only ten
ships, and those in ill condition, and worse manned. The only hope
was in Fort St. Philip, for in an island of that importance all was
left to a hope. The late Duke of Argyle had begun a fort on the
other side of the harbour, which would have been inpregnable; but
Lord Cadogan, out of hatred to him, destroyed it, and built this,
less secure, at an enormous expense. On the 5th, came notice of the
French being landed on the island.

In the meantime passed through the Commons that distant and
forlorn _succedaneum_, the Militia Bill. A few persons had sat
till near six in the morning fabricating and fashioning it. Mr.
Pitt recommended it in another fine dissertation, and it was voted
without a division.

May 11th.--Mr. Fox delivered a message from the Crown, desiring to
be enabled against any emergency, and to make good the new treaty
with Prussia. The next day Sir George Lyttelton moved a vote of
credit for a million. It was much censured. Northey said he did
not oppose it, nor meaned to disturb an unanimity which had been
constant for two years in granting supplies. Now was not the time,
but a day would come for inquiring how they had been misapplied.
This vote of credit, he supposed, like that of last year, would
be perverted to German treaties. We were told last year that the
King had entered into engagements, and that we must not make him
break his word. Beckford said, six millions three hundred thousand
pounds were already given--what had been done for such a sum? who
could trust Ministers any further? We were all united; we wanted
nothing but an able head. The person at the head of the Treasury is
always so of the Administration; if he is not an able man, how can
we go on? The city said, Minorca was betrayed--I tell them, said
he, they don’t know the disability of the Administration. When we
seized the ships of France, did we imagine they would not revenge
themselves? Are we more secure in America for this neglect of the
Mediterranean? No. In the month of May you have prepared but two
regiments, and they are not gone. The French have sent two thousand
five hundred men to the West Indies;--twelve sail would have saved

To all these objections Sir George Lyttelton replied, that this
money would be restricted and subjected to account. Was Government
not to be supported on the first misfortune that happened? When one
happens would you not prevent another? if while we guarded Minorca,
our own coasts had been neglected, the Ministry would indeed be
blameable. Nothing had raised the supplies but the security of our
coasts. When the foreign troops should arrive, our fleets would
be more at liberty. Our spirit and activity had been admired by
all Europe; and it was more difficult to defend our spirit than
our neglect. This answer was not particular enough to satisfy
Nugent; he added his usual panegyric on the honesty of the Duke of

Pitt made a fine lamentation on the calamitous situation of
affairs, and on the incapacity of the Ministers; begging them, if
they knew, to disclose the purposes for which this vote of credit
was intended. Was it to raise more men? we had 40,000 national,
and 14,000 foreign troops. Was it to make marine treaties? he
would joyfully assent. If Sir George could not say for what it
was designed, would he at least peremptorily say for what it
was _not_ designed? Still he was of so compounding a temper, he
would assent, though votes of credit had been so much abused.
The Ministers bragged of unanimity, of activity, of spirit--what
had all this harmony of councils and talents operated? safety?
are we safe? damage to the enemy? let them show when and where.
With this universal ay, all our outlying parts are exposed.
But he, alas! had no particular joy on being so strong on this
question: he did not want to load unhappy men who had undone
their country; men most unhappy, if they did not feel it. We
were told that there was no option but between this country and
America and the Mediterranean--so this great country could neither
provide for defence nor offence! _yet our activity was admired_?
Philosophers, indeed, had a term, _vis inertiæ_, the inactivity of
action--was it by that we were to be saved? His charge, he said,
was, _that we had provoked before we could defend, and neglected
after provocation; that we were left inferior to France in every
quarter; that the vote of credit had been misapplied to secure
the Electorate; and that we had bought a treaty with Prussia by
sacrificing our rights_. He would not have signed it for the
five great places of those who had signed it. They had left us
unprovided, as a gap for German troops; and so German troops
at last became an English measure! The deceased gentleman (Mr.
Pelham) had meant economy, and was dragged into foreign measures
by one who had now got the Treasury. Could he every day arraign,
and yet continue to trust? and while new foreign measures were
in embryo?--yet if this treaty was restrained to the defence of
the King’s dominions, he should not know how to oppose it. He
had no resentment; nobody had injured him: of their measures and
incapacity indeed he thought ill. If he saw a child (Duke of
Newcastle) driving a go-cart on a precipice, with that precious
freight of an Old King and his family, sure he was bound to take
the reins out of such hands. He prayed to God that his Majesty
might not have Minorca, like Calais, written on his heart! He
concluded with proposing to take the very words of the last vote of

Sir George Lyttelton answered with great modesty, that the
Administration had not suffered by Mr. Pelham’s death, except by
_his_ advancement. Let it be considered who was at the head of the
Treasury, of the Admiralty, of the Chancery, &c. Could it be said
that we had done nothing, when we had taken 8000 French seamen?
Here he would rest the whole; no one calamity had happened yet.

George Grenville observed, that in December last the Fleet
consisted of 150 sail, of which 78 were of the line; of 42,700
seamen, of which 36,000 had been mustered: the marines had been
voted since--was this inability to send fourteen ships to the
Mediterranean? In January, there were sixty-two ships at home
capable of being employed. Fourteen ships had sufficed to keep the
Brest and Rochfort squadrons in their harbours. He commended Lord
Anson, and said, he had heard of representations being made from
the Admiralty for sending force to the Mediterranean. In the last
war, he remembered that the Admiralty was restrained from meddling
with the Mediterranean service, which was reserved to the Secretary
of State (Duke of Newcastle); if that restriction continued, the
Admiralty was not to blame. In America, Braddock had been defeated
in July; not a man was sent thither till within the last fortnight.
Fox replied, that he knew of no representation from the Admiralty.
The Fleet could not have been prepared so soon as Mr. Grenville
alleged: it is no neglect if things are preparing. Dates, he knew,
might save from punishment, but events only would save from blame.
Some merit he thought there was in the Prussian treaty, of which
the contrary, a breach, had been so much foretold. The question
before the House was not so diffuse as that of last year, because
the augmentation was made, and consequently not necessary now. He
wished the incapacity was in the Administration, not in the country

Pitt took little notice of Fox, only rising again to lash Sir
George Lyttelton, who had called it an opposal of epithets; very
little proper to come from him, said he, whose character is a
composition of epithets. But what! did we meet as an academy of
compliments? but Lyttelton had mistaken the day; for himself, he
said, had used no epithets that day. If Lyttelton would say, we
had no more resources, he would tell him he was incapable; and
when he disclaimed having had any hand in drawing the words of the
question, he saw Sir George was not at liberty to change them.

Lyttelton, much hurt, but firm, cried, he says I am a thing made up
of epithets--was not this the language of Billingsgate? The world
complained that the House was converted into a bear-garden--he
should not envy Mr. Pitt the glory of being the Figg or Broughton
of it--yet if he assumed fewer airs of superiority, it would do him
more honour.

Pitt, redoubling contempt, said with a sneer, we once lived in a
road of epithets together--hard! that my friend, with whom I have
taken sweet council of epithets, should now reproach me with using
them! Lyttelton, he said, was a pretty poetical genius: with his
pen in his hand, nobody respected him more: but what! were not
Billingsgate and Broughton epithets? He at once described Lyttelton
as an _innocent_, and would have fixed the use of invectives
on him. Sir George terminated the altercation and debate, by
protesting it was not his fault if he did not still live in
friendship with Mr. Pitt.

May 14th.--The Prussian treaty was opened to the House by Sir
George Lyttelton. It stipulated that the King of Prussia should pay
61,000_l._ due on the Silesian loan; but admitted that 20,000_l._
was due to him, which the Parliament was desired to grant. Pitt
took the convention to pieces, interpreting it as a design in
the King of Prussia of returning indignity for indignity; and as
derogatory to the sovereignty of England, which was now giving
20,000_l._ to a Monarch, represented as intimidated, for unjust
claims, examined and pronounced so, and now allowed by a commission
of review, as unheard of as that exercised at Berlin; and founded
on admission of damages, by what kind of liquidation could not be
guessed. Had that King made a demand, or had this compensation been
offered to him? But he saw he said, that all the Powers of Europe
were setting up a new jurisprudence, and that we were no longer
to enjoy the empire of the ocean. For himself, he should affect
no superiority but what was common to him with twelve millions,
innocence of his country’s ruin, the superiority of the undone
over the undoers. If he could but be told that even by a protest
we had secured the rights of our Courts of Admiralty, he would
acquiesce; and should be glad, as it would bring the long sufferers
on the Silesian loan into their money. Yet he had rather vote them
the 60,000_l._: we did not want such a sum; the necessary thing
to us was the acknowledgment of the right. So thought the King of
Prussia, and said, I will take nothing, to show I set my foot on
your neck, and _how_ I am intimidated.--He hoped the Committee
would at least couple with the vote the assertion of our rights.

Murray answered in a long discussion, pleading like a lawyer _for_
the King of Prussia, though formerly, when consulted as a lawyer,
he had nobly confuted him like a statesman. He said, free ships
make free goods, and that a Prince whose property is taken must
judge by his own courts. That we did not allow that decision--if
his friendship were bought by allowing it, the purchase would be
too dear. That the single question was, whether the convention
did or did not give up our rights. That the King of Prussia had
not been alienated by our fault, but by his own interest, and
that breach had been kept up by his fear. That, under the name of
reprisals, he had paid himself, having the Silesian loan in his
power. That he had tried to list the powers of the Baltic, by the
captivating maxim of _free ships make free goods_. That he did not
demand one sixpence for goods of strangers taken on board Prussian
ships, and therefore could not demand satisfaction, as no injury
was done to him. He had made no reply to our memorial, nor ever
negotiated with us in defence of his principles; but retained the
Silesian loan. There had been thoughts of making war on him--but
how? if by the Queen of Hungary, then France would have taken part,
and a general war had ensued. As we detained his ships, he might
demand to appeal--very difficult to grant that, or to refuse it.

He then enlarged on the King of Prussia’s right and power of
appeal--urged the long time elapsed, the money dispersed, the
danger of a single-handed war with France; the advantage of
reconciliation with Prussia, who, by giving up the whole Silesian
debt, gave up at once his whole commission of revision. He had only
said, “Save my credit, give me something.” Who would have held off
for 20,000_l._? We did make that sort of _amende_ to him; we did
save his credit. Just so, the French seized the smuggler Mandrin in
the territory of Savoy, and hanged him--but when we sent a fleet
to America, and France wanted allies, she asked pardon of the King
of Sardinia. The same was our case with Spain on the convention
of 1739: they agreed to pay us for captures they had made, and to
liquidate with the South Sea Company. Nobody thought that by that
accommodation they gave up their principles of searching. In the
whole treaty we had not allowed the King of Prussia’s principles;
nor did it appear whether his goods had been condemned as an
enemy’s, or as contraband. Very uncertain what is contraband when
not expressed in any treaty. Spain calls tobacco so, because they
think it makes the English fight better. If we did not allow the
Northern Powers to carry some contraband goods, they could have
no trade. We had desired from the Prussian Minister a plan of a
treaty: he took a Swedish treaty for his model, in which it was
expressly stipulated that “free ships do _not_ make free goods.”
To have had it expressed now would have weakened it--a subtilty
which justifies my saying that he argued as Counsel for Prussia.
Pitt taxing him with it, he pretended not to have said, that it was
stipulated so in the Swedish treaty, but understood so in it.

The Committee, by a majority of 210 to 55, voted the money; and
four days afterwards war was proclaimed with France.

The same day (18th) the Militia Bill was read in the House of
Lords for the second time. The Duke of Bedford, thinking the Duke
of Newcastle would oppose or let it be dropped for want of time,
supported it strongly. Newcastle did oppose it, but faintly, with
Lord Granville and Lord Sandys, and suffered it to be committed.

Lord Halifax supported it well in the Committee; Lord Temple dared
the Ministers to throw it out. Lord Granville immediately attacked
it warmly, but it went through without a division.

On the 24th, Lord Stanhope spoke well on its behalf. Lord Granville
again opposed it as absurd, unjust, and oppressive. He would
not amend it, he said, for he disliked it; he would not be for
it, because it was unamended. He would not be influenced by its
having passed the Commons, or by its being popular--yet it was not
popular, for often it had not been attended in the Commons by above
fifteen persons; consequently had been voted in not a legal House.
Lord Granville always strongly asserted the dignity of his own
House of Parliament against the other.

The Duke of Bedford argued for the Bill, and affirmed that the
people had only submitted to foreign forces on the promise of
a Militia Bill. The Chancellor declared against it on the
impracticability,--and (those who love liberty will love him for
it) on its omitting the declaration of the power of the Militia
being in the Crown, which had been asserted by Lord Clarendon and
Lord Southampton on the Restoration. Himself, he said, had never
been reckoned a prerogative lawyer, yet he would never _let_ the
prerogative be lessened with his consent.

If I have here marked out Lord Hardwicke’s memory to the
indignation of free men, he might pardon me:--there are always
numbers ready to admire the advocates of prerogative--Laud had his
adorers; Jefferies hardly escaped them.

Lord Bath spoke for the Bill; the Duke of Newcastle against it; and
it was rejected by 59 to 23.

On the 27th, the Parliament was prorogued. Old Horace Walpole
was at last declared a Peer, with Mr. Villiers and Sir Dudley
Rider; but the latter being taken ill on the very day he was to
have kissed hands, and dying the next, the Peerage was, with much
hardship, withheld from his son.

I did not mention in its place, because it falls in more properly
here, that on an apprehension of an invasion in the winter,
the Marquis of Rockingham, Lord Northumberland, Lord Downe and
others, had offered to raise troops of Light Horse, which had
been accepted; but Lord Gower proposing to the King, that instead
of this scheme, the great Lords should go into their counties,
and raise recruits for the Army, this plan was better liked, if
not suggested, by the Duke, and carried into execution with good
success. Lord Gower raised 400 men by his personal interest in
Staffordshire: Lord Ilchester and his nephew, Lord Digby, were as
successful in Somersetshire, enlisting the sons of many wealthy
farmers, upon promise that they should not serve out of England.
However, on a resolution of sending the force at Gibraltar to
Mahon, it was determined to replace them with this Somersetshire
regiment. Such a violation of public faith (for the recruits at
least could not conceive that the brother and nephew of a Secretary
of State had not authority for their assurances), created the
greatest clamour; and the men were driven by force on board the
transports. The consequence was very pernicious, as might have
been foreseen, and will be showed. I will mention another instance
of the injustice and cruelty of such breach of covenant. In the
late Rebellion, some recruits had been raised under a positive
engagement of dismission at the end of three years. When the term
was expired, they thought themselves at liberty, and some of them
quitted the corps in which they had been regimented. The Duke
ordered them to be tried as deserters; and not having received a
legal discharge, they were condemned. Nothing could mollify him;
two were executed.

June 4th.--The Prince of Wales attained the age prescribed for
his majority; by which the Regency Bill remains only a dangerous
precedent of power to posterity--no longer so to us, for whose
subjection it was artfully, though, by the grace of God, vainly
calculated! This epoch, however, brought to light the secrets
of a Court, where hitherto everything had been transacted with
mysterious decency. The Princess had conducted herself with great
respect to the King, with appearance of impartiality to Ministers
and factions. If she was not cordial to the Duke, or was averse to
his friends, it had been imputed less to any hatred adopted from
her husband’s prejudices, than to jealousy of the government of
her son: if the world should choose to ascribe her attention for
him to maternal affection, they were at liberty; she courted and
watched him neither more nor less for their conjectures. It now
at last appeared that paternal tenderness or ambition were not
the sole passions that engrossed their thoughts. It had already
been whispered that the assiduity of Lord Bute at Leicester House,
and his still more frequent attendance in the gardens at Kew and
Carlton House, were less addressed to the Prince of Wales than
to his mother. The eagerness of the Pages of the Back-stairs to
let her know whenever Lord Bute arrived [and some other symptoms]
contributed to dispel the ideas that had been conceived of
the rigour of her widowhood. On the other hand, the favoured
personage, naturally ostentatious of his person, and of haughty
carriage, seemed by no means desirous of concealing his conquest.
His bows grew more theatric, his graces contracted some meaning,
and the beauty of his leg was constantly displayed in the eyes of
the poor captivated Princess. Indeed, the nice observers of the
Court-thermometer, who often foresee a change of weather before
it actually happens, had long thought that her Royal Highness was
likely to choose younger Ministers than that formal piece of empty
mystery, Cresset; or the matron-like decorum of Sir George Lee. * *
* * * * Her simple husband, when he took up the character of the
Regent’s gallantry, had forced an air of intrigue even upon his
wife. When he affected to retire into gloomy _allées_ with Lady
Middlesex, he used to bid the Princess walk with Lord Bute. As soon
as the Prince was dead, they walked more and more, in honour of his

The favour of Lord Bute was scarce sooner known, than the
connexions of Pitt and Legge with him. The mystery of Pitt’s breach
with Fox was at once unravelled; and a Court secret of that nature
was not likely long to escape the penetration of Legge, who wormed
himself into every intrigue where his industry and subservience
could recommend him--yet Legge had not more application to power,
than Newcastle’s jealousy of it. Such an entrenchment round the
successor alarmed him. It was determined in his little council
that the moment the Prince of Wales should be of age, he should be
taken from his mother; but the secret evaporating, intimations by
various channels were conveyed to the Duke of Newcastle and to the
Chancellor, how much the Prince would resent any such advice being
given to the King, and that it would not be easy to carry it into
execution. The Prince lived shut up with his mother and Lord Bute;
and must have thrown them under some difficulties: their connexion
was not easily reconcileable to the devotion which they had infused
into the Prince; the Princess could not wish him always present,
and yet dreaded his being out of her sight. His brother Edward, who
received a thousand mortifications, was seldom suffered to be with
him; and Lady Augusta, now a woman, was, to facilitate some privacy
for the Princess, dismissed from supping with her mother, and sent
back to cheese-cakes, with her little sister Elizabeth, on pretence
that meat at night would fatten her too much.

The Ministers, too apt to yield when in the right, were now
obstinate in the wrong place; and without knowing how to draw
the King out of the difficulty into which they were pushing him,
advised this extraordinary step. On May 31st, Lord Waldegrave, as
the last act of his office of Governor, was sent with letters of
the same tenour to the Prince and to his mother, to acquaint them
that the Prince, being now of age, the King, who had ever shown the
greatest kindness and affection for him, had determined to give him
40,000_l._ a-year, would settle an establishment for him, of the
particulars of which he should be informed, and that his Majesty
had ordered the apartments of the late Prince at Kensington and of
the Queen at St. James’s to be fitted up for him: that the King
would take Prince Edward too, and give him an allowance of 5000_l._

After a little consult in their small Cabinet, both Prince and
Princess sent answers in writing, drawn up, as was believed, by
Legge, and so artfully worded, that the supposition was probable.
The Prince described himself as penetrated by the goodness of
his Majesty, and receiving with the greatest gratitude what his
Majesty in his parental affection was pleased to settle on him;
but he entreated his Majesty not to divide him from his mother,
which would be a most sensible affliction to both. The answer
of the Princess marked, that she had observed with the greatest
satisfaction the impression which his Majesty’s _consideration_ of
the Prince had made on him; and she expressed much sensibility of
all the King’s kindness to her. On the article of the separation
she said not a word.

What now was the King to do? The Prince had accepted the allowance
as _given_; and had refused to leave his mother, which had not
been made a _condition_ of the gift. Was the gift to be revoked,
because the Prince had natural affection? Was the whole message
to be carried into execution, and a young man, of age by Act of
Parliament, to be taken by force, and detained a prisoner in the
palace? What law would justify such violence? Who would be the
agents of such violence? His Majesty himself, and the late Prince
of Wales, had furnished the Prince with precedents of mutinying
against the Crown with impunity. How little the Ministers, who
had planned the first step, knew what to advise for the second,
was plain, from their giving no further advice for above a month;
and from the advice which they did give then, and from the
perplexity in which they remained for two months more, and from
the ignominious result of the whole transaction, both to the King
and to themselves at last. But we must first proceed to other


[57] The new Speaker soon came over too, and went to Newmarket:
George Selwyn seeing him very busy at the hazard-table, said, “With
what expedition the Speaker passes the Money-bills!”

[58] A _bon mot_, much repeated at this time, was not more
favourable to the King, who, making the nation pay him for this
defence of himself, Doddington said, “His Majesty would not for the
world lend himself a farthing.”

[59] Vide the Debates on the Sheriffs-depute.

[60] The threatened invasion had been a blind to disguise the
design on Minorca.


  French Invasion of Minorca--Character of the Duc de Richelieu,
  and Blakeney--Incapacity of the Duke of Newcastle--French
  Reports from Minorca--Public Indignation against Admiral
  Byng--His Despatch--Remarks on the Character of Government--The
  Empress-Queen joins with France--Law-suit respecting the
  public right of way through Richmond New Park--The Prince of
  Wales--The Princess Dowager and Lord Bute--Death of Chief Justice
  Rider--Loss of Minorca--Byng arrested--Political Squibs--Popular
  Movements on the loss of Minorca--Revolution in Sweden--Causes
  of the War in Germany--German Ministers--The Courts of Dresden
  and Vienna--Character of the Czarina--League of Russia, Austria,
  and Saxony against the King of Prussia--He is apprized of
  it--Endeavours to secure Peace--He invades Saxony, and captures

During these agitations of the Court, which were little known,
and less talked of, the attention of the public was directed
to Minorca. Sixteen thousand French had landed there without
opposition: no part of the island, indeed, was capable of defence,
but Fort St. Philip. The inhabitants received the invaders even
with alacrity, though their privileges had been preserved under
the English Government, and though they enjoyed all the folly of
their religion without the tyranny of it. The Jews and Greeks
established there behaved with more gratitude: of the natives,
sixteen only adhered to the English. The magistrates hurried to
take new oaths, and to welcome the singular personage sent to be
a conqueror. This was the Duc de Richelieu; a man, who had early
surprised the fashionable world by his adventures, had imposed on
it by his affectations, had dictated to it by his wit and insolent
agreeableness, had often tried to govern it by his intrigues,
and who would be the hero of the age, if histories were novels,
or women wrote history. His first campaign was hiding himself at
fourteen under the Duchess of Burgundy’s bed, from whence he was
led to the Bastille, and whither he had returned four several
times. A genius so enterprising could not fail to captivate the
ladies: the Duchess of Modena, the Regent’s daughter, would fain
have preferred him to the _triste_ glory of reigning over an acre
of territory with a dismal Italian husband. Richelieu was soon
after sent to, and as soon recalled from, Vienna, for carrying
a black lamb in his state-coach at midnight to sacrifice to the
moon, in order to obtain a recruit of vigour. The very exploit
gained him as many hearts as if the boon had been granted. Yet
with an advantageous person and adventurous disposition, he was
supposed to want the two heroic attributes that generally compose
a woman’s Alexander. So much was his courage questioned, that he
was driven to fight and kill the Prince of Lixin in the trenches at

Ruling the female world, and growing exhausted with the fatigues
of his government, he at last thought of reposing himself on the
lesser care of the French Monarchy: and making himself necessary to
the pleasures of the mistresses, the Duchesse de Chateauroux and
Madame Pompadour, he attained considerable weight in a Government
where trifling qualities are no disrecommendation. Embarking with
all the luxurious pomp of an Asiatic grandee, this genteel but
wrinkled Adonis sailed to besiege a rock, and to attack a rough
veteran, who was supposed to think that he had little business left
but to do his duty and die. His name was Blakeney: he had passed
through all the steps of his profession, and had only attained the
sweets of it by living to be past the enjoyment of them. He was
remarkably generous and disinterested, and of great bravery, which
had been but little remarked. Having the government of the Castle
of Stirling in the last Rebellion, he was summoned to give it up as
soon as the King’s troops were defeated at Falkirk: but he replied,
the loss of that battle made no alteration in his orders--yet he
had then provision but for three weeks. This gallantry, which had
been overlooked for his sake, was now recollected and extolled
for our own: the most sanguine hopes were conceived--Minorca was
regarded as the nation’s possession, Scotland as the King’s: if the
former was lost, it passed to an enemy--Stirling would only have
gone to another _friend_. As every day brought out the weakness of
the garrison of Mahon, all hope was contracted to the person of
Blakeney: yet in no neglect were the Ministry more culpable, for he
proved to be superannuated.

The French covered the siege with a fleet of twelve men-of-war.
Accounts were impatiently expected here of the arrival of Admiral
Byng in those seas with his squadron, and with succours which he
was ordered to take in at Gibraltar, and which it was hoped he
would be able to fling into St. Philip’s. If he could effect that
service, and disperse or demolish the French fleet, there was no
doubt but the troops on the island must remain prisoners of war, or
be the victims of their attempt; for as yet they had made little
progress. Having landed on the opposite side of the island, they
found the roads almost impracticably rocky; and if cut off from
supplies from the continent, they must have perished by hunger,
Minorca by no means supplying the natives with superabundance. The
heats, too, were now coming on, which would be insupportable to new
constitutions, to the natural impatience of the French, and still
more to an effeminate General. Hitherto their transports had passed
and repassed in full security. The Mediterranean, where we so long
had reigned, seemed abandoned by the English.

The truth was, the clamours of the merchants, sometimes reasonable,
always self-interested, terrified the Duke of Newcastle; and while,
to prevent their outcries in the City of London, he minced the
Navy of England into cruizers and convoys, every other service
was neglected. I say it with truth (I say it with concern,
considering who was his associate), this was the year of the worst
Administration that I have seen in England; for now Newcastle’s
incapacity was left to its full play. While conjoined with Sir
Robert Walpole, the attention of the latter to the security of the
House of Brunswick, and to the preservation of public tranquillity,
prevented the mischiefs that the Duke’s insufficience might have
occasioned. If Lord Granville, his next coadjutor, was rash and
dangerous, yet he ventured with spirit, and had great ideas and
purposes in view. He provided not the means of execution, but an
heroic plan was not wanting; and if he improperly provoked some
allies, he stuck at nothing to engross the whole co-operation
of others. Mr. Pelham was too timorous not to provide against
complaint: his life was employed in gathering up the slips of his
brother. But now Fox was called in to support a Government, from a
share in which it was determined he should be excluded, and every
part of which, where he had influence, it was a measure with
Newcastle to weaken, the consequences could not but be fatal--and
fatal they were! Indeed, Fox himself was not totally excusable.
He came in, despairing of the prosperity of his country; and
neither conversant in, nor attentive to the province allotted to
him; he thought too much of wresting the remains of power from his
competitors. He had neither the patriotism which forms a virtuous
character, nor the love of fame which composes a shining one, and
often supplies the place of the other. His natural bent was the
love of power, with a soul generous and profuse; but growing a fond
father, he became a provident father--and from a provident father
to a rapacious man, the transition was but too easy!

In the midst of the anxious suspense I have mentioned, on June
3rd, came news that Admiral Byng, after a very tedious passage,
arriving at Gibraltar on the 2nd of May, had, according to his
orders, demanded of General Fowke, the Governor, a battalion to be
transported to Minorca; but that the Governor, instead of obeying
these directions, had called a Council of War, where, in pursuance
of the opinion of engineers whom they consulted, it was determined
to be impracticable to fling succours into St. Philip’s, and that
it would be weakening the garrison of Gibraltar to part with so
much force, which accordingly was refused.

But the same post brought an account that occasioned still more
astonishment and dismay. Mazzoni, the Spanish Minister at Paris,
transmitted to D’Abreu, the Spanish Resident in England, the copy
of a letter which Monsieur Machault had received from Galissonière,
the French Admiral, and which had been assiduously communicated to
foreign Ministers, relating “That on May 18th, the French Admiral,
as he lay off Mahon, had perceived the English squadron, who had
approached nearer on the 19th, but seemed unwilling to engage.
That on the 20th, the English had the advantage of the wind, but
still seemed unwilling to fight: that the engagement, however, had
been _entamé_, but could not be universal, for the English kept
_trop serrés_: that two or three English ships had sheered off;
that night separated the fleets; that he (Galissonière) had lost
thirty-eight men, and had nine officers wounded; that he had taken
no English ship, but had prevented their flinging succours into
Mahon. That he had expected to be attacked again the next day, but,
to his great surprise, found the English had disappeared.”

It is necessary to be well acquainted with the disposition of a
free, proud, fickle, and violent people, before one can conceive
the indignation occasioned by this intelligence. Nothing can
paint it so strongly as what was its instant consequences. Sir
Edward Hawke and Admiral Saunders were immediately dispatched in
the Antelope to supersede Byng and West, to arrest and bring
them prisoners to England. This was the first movement; the
second should have been to reflect, that there was not the least
ground for this information but what was communicated through
the channel of Spanish agents (not very friendly to Britain,)
from the vapouring letter of the enemy’s own Admiral, interested
to heighten or palliate his own conduct:--this should have been
the second thought, but it was long ere it was suffered to place
itself. In the Antelope, a little cargo of courage, as it was
called, were sent at the same time Lord Tyrawley and Lord Panmure,
to supersede General Fowke, and take the government of Gibraltar.
Is it credible, that Lord Tyrawley, dispatched with such vaunted
expedition, was the actual Governor of Minorca, where he ought to
have been from the beginning of the war?

The impression against Mr. Byng was no sooner taken, than every
art and incident that could inflame it were industriously used and
adopted. Though he had demanded the Mediterranean service as his
right, and had pressed for it as the scene of his father’s[61]
glory, his courage was now called in question, and omens were
recollected to have foretold this miscarriage. A letter from him
before the engagement had mentioned nothing of Minorca; it only
said, that if he found the French too strong, he would retire
under the cannon of Gibraltar. The King was now reported to have
dashed this letter on the ground in a passion, saying, “This man
will not fight!”--his Majesty, it seems, had great skill in the
symptoms of cowardice! He was represented, too, as neither eating
nor sleeping, and as lamenting himself that this account would be
his death. As Minorca was but too likely to follow the fate of
Calais, his Ministers prepared to write Mahon on that heart, which
had never yet felt for any English possession. The Duke, whose
sensibility on this occasion can less be doubted, took care to be
quoted too: he said, “We are undone! Sea and land are cowards! I am
ashamed of my profession!”

But on the arrival of the Admiral’s own dispatch, _an abstract_
of which was immediately published, the rage of the people rose
to the height. The letter spoke the satisfaction of an officer,
who thought he had done his duty, and done it well--an air of
triumph, that seemed little to become a man who had left the French
masters of the sea, and the garrison of St. Philip’s without hope
of relief. Their despair on the disappearance of the British fleet
must have been extreme, and could not fail to excite the warmest
compassion here. The Admiral was burned in effigy in all the great
towns; his seat and park in Hertfordshire were assaulted by the
mob, and with difficulty saved. The streets and shops swarmed with
injurious ballads, libels, and prints, in some of which was mingled
a little justice on the Ministers. Charles Townshend undertook
a weekly paper, called the Test, of which only one number was
published: he had too much mercury and too little ill-nature to
continue a periodical war. We shall see in the following winter
that some of the persons attacked were rather more settled in their
passions, when they revived the title of this paper, and turned it
on its patrons.

As I shall soon be obliged to open a blacker scene than what has
hitherto employed my pen, I will take leave of the preceding
period with these few remarks. Considering how seldom the world
is blessed with a government really good, and that the best are
generally but negatively good, I am inclined to pronounce the
times of which I have been writing, happy. Every art and system
that brings advantage to the country was _permitted_: commerce
was in no shape checked: liberty, not being wanton, nay, being
complaisant, was not restrained. The Church was moderate, and, when
the Ministry required it, yielding. If the Chancellor was ravenous,
and arbitrary, and ambitious, he moved too deliberately and too
gravely, to bring on any eminent mischief. If the Duke of Newcastle
was fond of power, and capricious, and fickle, and false, they were
the whims of a child: he circumscribed the exertion of his pomp to
laying perhaps the first stone of a building at Cambridge, for a
benefaction to which he was forced to borrow a hundred pounds. His
jealousy was not of the privileges of Parliament, but lest some
second among his favourites should pay more court to his first
favourite than to him; and if he shifted his confidence, and raised
but to depress, and was communicative but to betray, he moved in a
narrow circle, and the only victims of his whims were men who had
shifted and betrayed as often, and who deserved no better fortune.
If the Duke was haughty and rigorous, he was satisfied with acting
within the sphere of the Army, and was content to govern it, not
to govern by it. If the King was too partial to Hanover, and was
unnecessarily profuse of subsidies to Germany, perhaps it was the
only onerous grievance; and the King, who did no more harm, and the
Ministers, who by vailing to this passion, purchased the power of
doing no more harm, certainly constituted no very bad Government.
The occasions of war called forth another complexion--but we must
proceed with a little regularity.

The reconciliation of the King and his nephew of Prussia had given
great umbrage to the Empress-Queen. England had heaped as great
obligations on the House of Austria as can be conferred by one
nation on another; great enough almost to touch the obdurate heart
of policy, and infuse real amity and gratitude. But the Princess
in question had imbibed passions still more human. Offended pride
and plundered dignity had left no soft sensation in her heart. She
was a woman, a queen, a bigot, an Austrian. A heretic her friend,
embracing a heretic her enemy, left no shades in the colour of
their heresy. France bid high for her friendship, and purchased it,
by bidding up to her revenge. They made a treaty of neutrality,
called only defensive during this war; as if Princes could not
leap from peace to war but through a necessary medium. This news
was received with indignation: England considered this desertion
as almost Rebellion in a people whom she had long kept in her pay
with regret. Memorable were the wise and moderate words of Lord
Granville to Coloredo, the Austrian Minister, who, in a visit,
endeavoured to palliate this league. The Earl said, “We understand
it as only a treaty of neutrality, and can but be glad of it; the
people in general look on it otherwise; and I fear a time will come
when it may be right for us, and may be our inclination, to assist
your mistress again; but the prepossession against her will be too
strong--nobody then will dare to be a Lord Granville.”

The lawsuit with Princess Emily for free passage into Richmond
Park, which I have formerly mentioned, continued. By advice of the
Attorney-General, she now allowed ladders over the wall, without
standing a trial.[62] I will here finish all I have to say on this
head. This concession did not satisfy; the people sued for gates
for foot passengers, and in the year 1758 obtained them; on which
the Princess in a passion entirely abandoned the park. Her mother,
Queen Caroline, had formerly wished to shut up St. James’s Park,
and asked Sir Robert Walpole what it would cost her to do it. He
replied, “Only a _crown_, madam.”

July 7th.--The attack on Leicester House was renewed. A Cabinet
Council was held to consider a message which Newcastle and the
Chancellor proposed should be sent in his Majesty’s name to the
Prince, to know if he adhered to living with his mother, and to
the demand of having Lord Bute for his Groom of the Stole. Mr. Fox
asked if the Prince had ever made such a demand? “Oh! yes,” said
Newcastle. “By whom?” asked Fox. Newcastle--“Oh! by Munchausen
and others.” The fact was, the Prince had most privately, by
Munchausen, requested it as a particular favour; and it was
extraordinary that Newcastle had not seized with alacrity an
opportunity of ingratiating himself with the successor, without
the knowledge of his master. The truth was, he was overruled by the
Chancellor, who having been slighted and frowned on by the Princess
in the winter, was determined to be revenged; and the gentle method
he took was to embroil the Royal Family, and blast the reputation
of the mother of the Heir-apparent. Accordingly, this second
message _was_ sent by Lord Waldegrave.

The Prince answered in writing, “That since the King did him the
honour to ask him the question, he did hope to have leave to
continue with his mother, as her happiness so much depended on
it--for the other point, he had _never directly_ asked it--yet,
since encouraged, he would explain himself; and from the long
knowledge and good opinion he had of Lord Bute, he did desire to
have him about his person.”

As if this letter confirmed, instead of contradicting their
assertions, the two Ministers produced it at the same Council. Lord
Granville opened the deliberation, and began to favour Lord Bute;
but finding how unwelcome such advice was, he turned short and
said, it was best to proceed no further; as there must be a quarrel
in the Royal family, it was best the King should do nothing. The
Duke of Devonshire said, with great decency, he hoped that was
not the case; he hoped they were met to prevent such a rupture.
“Oh! yes,” replied Lord Granville, “it must happen; the Prince
has declared he will use ill all that shall be placed about him;
and though young Lords will ambition the situation, they will not
endure to be treated like footmen: the King will treat Lord Bute
like a footman; and then he will make the Prince use the others
in the same manner. This family always has and will quarrel from
generation to generation.”

Mr. Fox then observed, that as it would fall to his province in
the House of Commons to defend the King’s refusal, if his Royal
Highness should petition there for a larger allowance, he must know
on what ground to defend it, for the Opposition would produce his
Majesty’s former message, as evidence that the King had thought
it right the Prince of Wales should have 40,000_l._ a year. “You
must _explain_,” said the Chancellor, “that in the first message
something was meant which was known to both parties”--and then went
into a formal pleading against the Prince, at the conclusion of
which Newcastle prevailed to have the determination put off for the
present; though, on being pressed by Fox, he agreed that it should
be considered again. After sacrificing the Princess in this cruel
manner, they persuaded the King that Fox was making his court to

At this conjuncture, the great office of Chief Justice being vacant
by the death of Sir Dudley Rider, Murray demanded it without a
competitor, because above competition; and agreeably to his
constant asseverations, that he meant to rise by his profession,
not by the House of Commons; though the jealousy of his aspiring
in the latter had signally contributed to throw Pitt into his then
opposition. As Murray was equally the buckler of Newcastle against
his ally, Fox, and his antagonist, Pitt, one may conceive how a
nature so apt to despond from conscious insufficience was alarmed
at this event. No words can paint the distress it occasioned more
strongly than what Charles Townshend said to Murray himself on the
report of his intended promotion. “I wish you joy,” said he, “or
rather myself, for you will ruin the Duke of Newcastle by quitting
the House of Commons, and the Chancellor by going into the House
of Lords.” The apostrophe was frank, considering Newcastle was his
uncle;[63] but tenderness for his family seldom checked the burst
of Townshend’s vivacity. It was at the same period he said, when
the struggle about Lord Bute was depending, “Silly fellow for silly
fellow; I think it is as well to be governed by my uncle with a
blue riband, as by my cousin[64] with a green one.”

What contributed to make the want of Murray more embarrassing
was the confusion that followed the loss of Minorca, of which the
account came on July 14th. The French, who had kept us alarmed with
the fears of an invasion, while they made immense preparations at
Toulon, had sailed on the 7th of April, and landed with 16,000
men at Ciudadella on the 18th. Byng had sailed but on the same
day. The garrison of Mahon, which had retired into St. Philip’s,
consisted of 2800 men. Galissonière had blocked up the port from
whence Captain Edgecombe, with his little squadron of three men of
war and five frigates, had escaped, and were gone to meet Mr. Byng.
As the roads had been broken up, and the works of the assailants
were to be practised on firm rock, the trenches were not opened
till the 8th of May; and from that time to the 20th they had
made no impression. The engagement in sight of the fort, and the
disappearance and despair of all succour which followed, had as
little effect on the resolution of the garrison. They continued
to fire obstinately on the besiegers till June 6th; and Marshal
Richelieu gained so little immediate advantage from the retreat
of the English squadron, that he was obliged to demand additional
force from France. Having received it, on the 6th he opened a grand
scene of batteries, which by the 14th had effectuated several
breaches. Yet those brave men still held out, and in proportion as
no account came of their surrender, the fame of Blakeney rose.

At last, it was determined in the French Council of War to storm
the place on the 27th at night, which was performed accordingly,
and three forts were taken. At the Queen’s Fort (the last of the
three), the fate of Minorca, and the truth of its defence were
decided. Lieutenant-Colonel Jefferies, the soul of the garrison,
unwilling to trust so important a commission to another, too
rashly flew with one hundred men to defend the last redoubt--he
found it taken--attempted to retire, and was made prisoner. This
happened about midnight: by five next morning a suspension of arms
was agreed on to bury the dead, and at two in the afternoon the
garrison capitulated. They obtained honourable conditions. If it
is asked what part the hero Blakeney took in the event, it must be
answered, that, during the whole siege, he had been in bed with
the gout, and executed all his glory by deputy. But not only a
Commander was wanting: when the general assault was made, many of
the British soldiers had done unremitted duty for three days; and
they had so few officers, that scarce a mine was fired, and some
were attempted so late, that the French carried off the matches
before they could take effect.[65]

If the clamours of the people rose on the confirmation of this
misfortune, so did the terrors of the Administration. The very
first effects of their fear showed that, if they had neglected
Minorca, they were at least prepared to transfer the guilt to
others. They descended even to advertise in the Gazette, that
orders were sent to every port to arrest Admiral Byng, in case
he should not have been met by Sir Edward Hawke. All the little
attorneys on the Circuit contributed to blow up the flame against
the Admiral, at the same time directing its light from the original
criminals. New offers were made to Murray, if he would decline for
eight months the post of Chief Justice and the Peerage that was
to accompany it.[66] The very distress that made Newcastle catch
so eagerly at his assistance, was sufficient warning to make him
refuse. He knew it was safer to expound laws than to be exposed to
them: and he said peremptorily at last, that if he was not to be
Chief Justice, neither would he any longer be Attorney-General.

July 26th.--The prisoners arrived at Portsmouth; Mr. Byng was
immediately committed to close confinement. His younger brother who
went to meet him, was so struck with the abuse he found wherever
he passed, that he fell ill on the first sight of the Admiral, and
died next day in convulsions. Byng himself expressed no emotions
but of surprise at the rigour of his treatment, persisting in
declarations of having beaten the French. West, whose behaviour had
been most gallant, was soon distinguished from his chief, and was
carried to Court by Lord Anson. The King said to West, “I am glad
to hear you have done your duty so well; I wish every body else
had!” Anson himself did not escape so honourably: his incapacity
grew the general topic of ridicule; and he was joined in all the
satiric prints with his father-in-law, Newcastle, and Fox. A new
species of this manufacture now first appeared, invented by George
Townshend: they were caricatures on cards. The original one,
which had amazing vent, was of Newcastle and Fox, looking at each
other, and crying, with Peachum, in the Beggar’s Opera, “_Brother,
brother, we are both in the wrong_.” On the Royal Exchange a paper
was affixed, advertising, “_Three kingdoms to be let; inquire of
Andrew Stone, broker, in Lincoln’s-Inn-fields._”

From Portsmouth, Byng, strictly guarded, at once to secure him from
the mob and inflame their resentment, was transferred to Greenwich.
His behaviour continued so cheerfully firm and unconcerned, that
those who thought most moderately of his conduct, thought full as
moderately of his understanding. Yet, if _he_ could be allowed
a judge, Lord Anson had, in the year 1755, given the strongest
testimonial in Byng’s favour, recommending him particularly for an
essential service, as one whose head and heart would always answer.
As a forerunner to the doom of the Admiral, so much demanded from,
and so much intended by the Ministry, General Fowke was brought to
his trial for disobedience of orders in refusing the regiment for
Minorca. He pleaded the latitude and discretion allowed to him by
his orders, and the imminent danger of his important government.
Though the danger of that was increased by the probability that
France would either offer Minorca to purchase the alliance of
Spain, or assistance to recover Gibraltar, yet Fowke found neither
efficient to save him; no, nor the diversity of opinions in his
Judges; yet it was plain from their sentence, that they by no means
thought he came under the rigour of the law, condemning him only
to be suspended for a year, for having mistaken his orders. When a
man is tried for an absolute breach of orders, and appears only
to have mistaken them, in equity one should think that punishment
ought to fall on those who gave the orders. However, as the mob was
to be satiated with victims, that the real guilty might escape,
Fowke was broken by the King, and his regiment given to Jefferies.

The next symptom of discontent was an address to the King from
Dorsetshire, demanding an inquiry into the loss of Minorca, and
justice on the culpable. This flame spread: the counties of
Huntingdon, Buckingham, Bedford, Suffolk, Shropshire, Surrey,
Somerset, and Lancashire, with the great towns, as Bristol,
Chester, Leominster, and others, followed the example, and directed
their members to promote the inquiry. But the strongest and most
dictatorial was that presented from the city of London; to which
the trembling Ministers persuaded the King to pledge his royal word
that he would save no delinquent from justice. A promise that,
being dictated by men secure of the Parliament, plainly indicated
on what class of criminals punishment was not designed to be
inflicted. The Duke of Newcastle, indeed, could with more propriety
than the rest engage the King in a promise, seemingly indefinite,
he, who with a volubility of timorous folly, when a deputation
of the city had made representations to him against the Admiral,
blurted out, “Oh! indeed he shall be tried immediately--he shall
be hanged directly.”

While England was thus taken up with the contemplation of her
own losses and misconduct, a vaster war, more ample revolutions,
and a novel hero, were on the point of occupying the theatre of
Europe: before I lay open this scene, a word must be said on the
situation of Sweden. France had long dictated in that indigent
senate. That influence, however, was too precarious and liable to
too many changes, to satisfy the view of commanding a steady ally.
Though senators are far from being incorruptible, the liberty of
their country and its glory, will often operate, and make them
feel the weight of the richest chains. A Court, at once arbitrary
and necessitous, France thought could never be tempted to slip
out of their hands. Accordingly, they laid a plan for making the
King absolute; and the conjuncture seemed well chosen. He was
much devoted to his Queen, sister of Prussia, a woman artful and
ambitious--yet the King had too much gratitude and virtue to
yield to the temptation--he neither desired to be arbitrary nor
French.--It remained for the members of a free senate to act the
ignominious part, which had been more excusable, as more natural in
a King. France then threw all her weight into the faction opposite
to the Court. A conspiracy was pretended to be discovered, of a
design in the King to make himself arbitrary. Every affront that
he would have deserved, had the aspersion been true, was offered
to him and the Queen: their power was annihilated; their friends
proscribed. The King added to the merit of refusing despotism the
virtue of not endeavouring to recover his legal authority; nor let
the weakness of his means be urged: no King is so important as not
to be able to sacrifice some of his subjects to the most chimeric

The greater scene we must trace farther back. The King of Prussia
was the point of hatred in which the passions of several Courts
met. The Empress-queen could never digest the loss of Silesia; the
Czarina had long suspected him of tampering to set the young Czar,
John, on the throne, the nephew of the Queen of Prussia. The Court
of Saxony dreaded so powerful a neighbour; and, while it trembled
for its manufacture of porcelain, could scarce forgive the contempt
with which the King of Prussia had left it untouched, when he
formerly made himself master of Dresden. Yet perhaps the two latter
Princes, the one in the arms of her grenadiers, the other in his
china palace, or among his bears, had suffered their apprehensions
and indignation to cool, if their Ministers had had as little
activity. For the Empress-queen, her Ministers might serve her
passions, they could not outrun them. The war that approached must
be traced to its source, ere we can fix on the original aggressor.
The House of Austria had long meditated the recovery of that
predominant power, which so many circumstances and intrigues had
concurred to unite in the person of Charles the Fifth. Ferdinand
the Second had acted with most open violence; but almost all the
race had usurped whenever they saw a proper moment. Silesia had
been wrested from the House of Brandenburg. At the very period
that the Empire vanished from the House of Austria, the Crown of
Prussia fell on the head of a man, who thought much of aggrandizing
himself, more of distinguishing himself, not at all of the justice
or injustice of the means of attaining either. On the contrary, he
seemed to admire the subtlety of policy as much for its beauty as
for its use. He at once imposed on the Queen of Hungary and invaded
her. The provocation was vehement; the usurpations and arts of her
House were taken from her, and turned against her; and, after a
bloody war, she had no resource but in swearing to new treaties,
with intention of violating them on the first opportunity:--that
opportunity was so eagerly sought, that she could not wait till it
arrived; and many busy emissaries conspired to hasten the crisis.

Of these, the chief was Count Bruhl, the favourite of the King
of Poland. This man, whom no merit, or no merit that is known,
had recommended to Augustus the Third, governed absolutely, I
may say, reigned in Saxony, for the Prince, who hated pomp, and
divided his time between his priests and his forests, chose that
Bruhl should be his proxy to display that grandeur, which Germans
take for empire--and he could not have made a properer choice. As
Elector, Bruhl[67] was magnificent, expensive, tawdry, vain;--as
Minister, weak and false. He had two or three suits of clothes for
every day in the year:--strangers were even carried to see his
magazine of shoes! This man, who had mortgaged the revenues of
Saxony to support his profusion, and who had prepared nothing but
baubles against a Prince that lived in a camp, with the frugality
of a common soldier,--this daring trifler aspired to form a league
with two mighty Empires, to overturn the throne of Prussia, and
pretended to a share in the spoils.

At the same time the Councils of Vienna were directed by Count
Kaunitz, a man lately returned from an Embassy to Paris, where he
had pushed all the luxurious effeminacy of dress and affectation
to an excess common to imitators, and of all imitators most common
to Germans. I will mention but one instance: it was fashionable to
wear little powder: every morning when he dressed, he had the whole
air of a room put in agitation with powder, and when announced
to be properly impregnated, he just presented himself in it, and
received the atoms in equal dispersion over his hair. These were
the politicians that took upon them to annihilate the House of
Brandenburg at the very period that it was headed by Frederic the
Third. I mention them only to show what pismires roused that lion.
Yet Kaunitz had parts--Bruhl had no more than just served to govern
his master’s none. The tools associated to their plot were such as
recommended themselves by activity, cunning, or inveteracy: yet
one they had, sensible enough to negotiate a conspiracy, and cool
enough to conduct it: his name Count Fleming, a haughty and sullen
Saxon, who had been employed in England, and was now at Vienna.

In the year 1745, Bruhl had made a partition-treaty with the
Empress-queen, by which part of the King of Prussia’s dominions
were to be allotted to Saxony. That treaty had produced nothing
but the seizure of Dresden by Frederic. He palliated the violent
possession he had taken of Silesia, to which he thought he had a
right, by the moderation with which he restored Saxony, to which he
had no title but provocation. Yet Augustus had scarce sworn to the
articles of a peace by which he recovered his dominions, before he
was tempted to a violation of them by the Court of Vienna. As eager
as Bruhl was to close with perfidy, yet he could not forget the
invasion of Dresden: he suggested that a previous treaty between
the Courts of Vienna and Petersburg would expedite and secure
their common wishes. To facilitate this union, the Saxon Ministers
in every Northern Court received secret instructions to spread
suggestions and alarms of great machinations at Berlin against the
Czarina. As Bruhl was not penurious of lies, he took the pains
to dictate these slanders himself in the blackest terms. In his
intercepted despatches one sees how successfully he administered
his calumnies, till the Czarina believed herself aimed at even by
assassination--and this project of terrifying her into an attack
upon the King of Prussia, Bruhl had the modesty to call _a somewhat
artful, though good intention_.

The Czarina was an amiable woman, of no great capacity. She had
been deprived of a throne to which she had pretensions, and had
passed her youth in the terror which must accompany such a claim in
a despotic empire, where, if civilized manners were stealing in,
humanity to a competitor was one of the last arts of which they
were likely to find or adopt a pattern. Yet she had been treated
with great lenity, and, which perhaps was still more extraordinary,
as the addition of gratitude, another virtue, made the imitation
still more difficult, returned it. Her first transport on her rapid
elevation was devout mercy; she made a vow never to put any person
to death, and adhered to it; Siberia and the prisons, during her
reign, were crowded with criminals, tortured, but never executed.
She not only spared the little dethroned Czar, John, and had him
educated with great care, but was as indulgent as she could be
with safety to her rival the Princess Anne, his mother. With so
much tenderness of heart, it was not wonderful that her heart
was entirely tender--and how slight was that unbounded abuse of
power, which only tended to gratify an unbounded inclination! Let
us compare the daughters of two ferocious men, and see which was
sovereign of a civilized nation, which of a barbarous one. Both
were Elizabeths. The daughter of Peter was absolute, yet spared a
competitor and a rival; and thought the person of an Empress had
sufficient allurements for as many of her subjects as she chose to
honour with the communication. Elizabeth, of England, could neither
forgive the claim of Mary Stuart nor her charms, but ungenerously
imprisoned her when imploring protection, and without the sanction
of either despotism or law, sacrificed Mary to her great and little
jealousy. Yet this Elizabeth piqued herself on chastity; and while
she practised every ridiculous art of coquetry to be admired at
an unseemly age, kept off lovers whom she encouraged, and neither
gratified her own desires nor their ambition:--who can help
preferring the honest, open-hearted, barbarian Empress?

Besides an attempt on her person, the Czarina was made to
believe that Frederic had designs on Courland, on Polish Prussia,
and Dantzick; and that France, Prussia, and Sweden had fixed a
successor if a vacancy should happen in Poland. She signed the
league with the Empress-queen, and resolved to attack the King
of Prussia. Saxony was summoned to accede, on its own terms of
having two Duchies and three Circles dismembered, on the conquest
of Prussia. Bruhl engaged his master to sign, but obtained so
much favour as to have the secret articles concealed: and having
obtained that indulgence, spared no falsehoods to deny the
existence of any secret articles at all: then endeavoured to draw
the King of England to accede to the same secret articles; and
persisted all the time in the strongest professions of friendship
to the King of Prussia. But Bruhl, as the King of Prussia said, had
more art in forming plots than in concealing them; and having to
do with a vigilant Prince, whose own practice had taught him not
to trust to professions, every lie that was despatched from the
Secretary’s office at Dresden was accompanied with a duplicate to
Berlin. Bruhl, so indefatigable and so cautious, little thought
that Frederic knew all his secrets before they reached the places
of their destination.

Had the King of Prussia wanted intelligence, the preparations of
his great enemies, and the folly of his little ones, would have
alarmed him. The troops of the two Empresses were in motion, yet
neither so much as professed an intention of succouring the King of
England their ally. The Empress-queen excused herself in form, when
her assistance, so dearly purchased, was demanded. The Muscovite
Empress was raising forces against the new ally of Britain with
the very money she had received to hold her troops in readiness
for England: and the Court of Saxony, to facilitate their junction
with the Austrian forces cut a new road to Bohemia, which Bruhl had
the ostentatious imprudence to christen in an inscription, _the
military road_. The King of Prussia was the only object against
whom all these armaments could be levelled; and they were intended
to crush him as early as the year 1755: yet the contracting powers
had acted with so little providence, that not one of them had
magazines, arms, provisions, or money sufficient to set their
great machine in motion. The Czarina, though mistress of such a
continent, had neither sailors, nor soldiers, nor treasure; and
having begun to march her troops, was reduced to recall them, and
to accept a million of florins from Vienna. The Empress-queen had
affected great economy and regulation of her finances; but the sums
that were squeezed from the subject, as a foundation of frugality,
were wasted on buildings, and ceremonies, and pageants. The Emperor
indeed was rich, and banker to his wife: she indulged him in this
only pleasure: surrounded by the frightfullest Maids of Honour that
she could select, she permitted him to hoard what she never let him
have temptation or opportunity to squander.

However, towards the middle of the summer of 1756, the bomb was
ready to burst; and Frederic (as he wrote to his uncle of England,)
saw it was more prudent “_prævenire quam præveniri_.” Yet, by no
means ambitious of a defensive war, and fully apprised that the
first stroke he should strike would set his Crown, his reputation,
his life at stake, he attempted to avert the storm; at least,
resolved to convince Europe that he was not the aggressor. He
asked of the Empress-queen the meaning of those mighty armaments.
She gave him an evasive answer. He demanded a categoric one;
concluding his letter with these words,--“_Point de reponse en
style d’oracle._” Yet the Pythian, though she grew more haughty,
was not less enigmatic. He had told her that he would take an
ambiguous answer as a hostile declaration: accordingly, towards the
end of August, at a great supper, the King of Prussia whispered
Mitchell, the British resident, to come to him at three in the
morning, when he carried him to his camp, and told him, there were
a hundred thousand men setting out that instant, they knew not
whither; and bade him write to his master, that he was going to
defend his Majesty’s dominions and his own. He ordered two Armies
into Upper and Lower Silesia, assembled another body at Glatz,
and left another in Prussia to oppose the Russians. Yet, though
Frederic knew that his most numerous and most determined enemies
were in Bohemia, he would not venture to leave Saxony behind him.
He marched with another Army to Leipsic, and dispatched a sixth to
Dresden--yet again endeavoured peace. A third time he sent to the
Empress-Queen, that if she would give a positive assurance of not
attacking him that year or the next, he would directly withdraw
his troops: she refused that satisfaction--and Saxony fell an
instantaneous sacrifice. The King of Poland, however, was so far
prepared as to have encamped his little Army in the only strong
situation he had; to which, on the approach of the Prussian army,
he withdrew. Frederic, with insulting politeness, sent word to
Augustus, that he had ordered relays of post-horses to be prepared
for him, if he chose, as it was the season of holding the Diet, to
go to Poland. He promised his protection to the Royal Family and
Civil Officers, “_Jusqu’à votre ministre_,” said he, “_qui est trop
au dessous de moi pour le nommer_.” He lamented Augustus being in
the hands of a man, whom he offered to prove guilty of the grossest

Dresden was not an easier conquest than a contented one. They
were rigid Protestants, offended by a bigoted Catholic Court, and
ruined by an oppressive Court. They were charmed to see a King at
Church, and with pleasure remembered Frederic at their devotions
when he conquered them before. Augustus, and Bruhl, and 12,000 men
were in the strong camp at Pirna; the Queen and Saxon Royal Family
remained at Dresden. Keith was ordered to search the archives there
for the original pieces, of which Frederic had the copies in his
hands. The Queen made all the resistance in her power, and told the
Marshal that, as his master had promised to use no violence, all
Europe would exclaim against this outrage--“And then,” said she,
with spirit, “_you_ will be the victim. Depend upon it, your King
is a man to sacrifice you to his own honour.” Keith was startled,
and sent for further orders; and on receiving reiteration of them,
possessed himself of the papers, though the Queen herself sat on
the most material trunk, and would not rise, till he convinced her
that he could not avoid proceeding to force.

Frederic, in the meantime, was employed in straitening the camp at
Pirna, and unavoidably wasted the season for pushing into Bohemia
before the Austrians were well prepared to receive him. General
Brown advanced to disengage the Saxons, and Keith, who was ready
to check his progress, wrote to the King that he was on the point
of giving battle. Frederic, leaving Augustus blocked up, posted
away to his little Army, and arrived just in time to command the
charge. The battle was fought at Lowoschutz on September 29th.
The Prussians were not above 25,000 men; Brown had double their
number; yet Frederic thought himself, or endeavoured to be thought,
victorious. The inveteracy between the contending nations was
remarkable, but the bravery of the Prussians most signalized, eight
squadrons sustaining the efforts of thirty-two of Austrians. Brown
retired a little; but with so much order, and he and Piccolomini
remained so firmly entrenched, that the King would not venture to
renew the attack. With the same vivacity of expedition with which
he had left it, he returned to his Army besieging that of Augustus.
October 11th, Brown, with 15,000 select men, made forced marches
to arrive on the back of the camp of Pirna. This was in private
concert with the Saxons, who, flinging a bridge over the Elbe at
Konigstein, passed the river on the 12th under favour of a foggy
night. Darkness and the mist dispersing ere they had made four
leagues, to their amazement they found the King of Prussia between
them and the Austrians, and master of all the defiles. He advised
them to return to their camp. They prepared to follow an advice
which it was to no purpose to reject, but, to the increase of their
astonishment, found that this universal man had battered down their
bridge. They laid down their arms. Augustus shut himself up in the
castle of Konigstein, where Frederic sent word to the Queen that
she would be indulged in visiting him; and that care was taken to
furnish her Lord with provisions and diversions.

I have abridged this narrative as much as possible. From this time,
the King of Prussia was too much connected with our affairs to be
passed over in silence; but his actions have been too singular and
too splendid to want illustration from a private annalist. Europe
was the tablet on which he has written his own memoirs with his
sword, as he will probably with his pen. Besides, I live too near
the times, and too far from the scene of action, to be able to
penetrate into the exact detail of his campaigns and measures, and
to winnow the truth from such a variety of interested, exaggerated,
contested relations, as are at once produced by eminent glory,
and strive to obscure it. I shall observe the same circumspection
whenever I have further occasion to mention this extraordinary man.


[61] Lord Torrington.

[62] In one of the hearings on this cause, Lord Mansfield, the
Chief Justice, produced in court a libel published against Princess
Emily, and insisted that the jury should take an oath that they had
no hand in it--and yet, when they had taken the oath, he put off
the cause!

[63] Elizabeth, half-sister of the Duke of Newcastle, was first
wife of Charles Lord Viscount Townshend, Knight of the Garter,
grandfather of Mr. Charles Townshend.

[64] Mr. Charles Townshend had married the Countess Dowager of
Dalkeith, first cousin of the Earl of Bute.

[65] A Captain Cunningham, who had been ill-used in our service,
and was retired to Leghorn, said, “They will want engineers,”--and
immediately sold all he had, bought provisions and ammunition,
and flung himself into St. Philip’s. This gallant man died in the
island of Guadaloupe, at the taking of which he served, in 1759.

[66] They offered him the Duchy of Lancaster for life, with a
pension of 2000_l._ a year; permission to remain Attorney-General
(which produced 7000_l._ a year), and the reversion of the first
Teller of the Exchequer for his nephew, Lord Stormont. At the
beginning of October they bid up to 6000_l._ a year in pension.
They pressed him to stay but a month, nay, only to defend them
on the first day. Was innocence ever so extravagant, or so
alarmed?--“Good God!” said Murray himself, “what merit have I, that
you should load this country, for which so little is done with
spirit, with the additional burthen of 6000_l._ a year?”

[67] Vide Appendix.


  George Townshend’s Circular Letter--Admiral Byng publishes
  a Defence--The public mind prejudiced against him--Loss of
  Oswego--Affair of the Hanoverian Soldier at Maidstone--The
  King admits Lord Bute into the Prince’s Establishment--Fox
  discontented with Newcastle--Offers to resign--Applies to the
  Author--His audience with the King--Pitt’s demands--Prince of
  Wales’s new Household--Pitt visits Lady Yarmouth--State of
  Parties--Duke of Newcastle determines to resign--Pitt declines
  acting with Fox--Negotiations for the formation of a new
  Ministry--The designs of Fox to obstruct the formation of a new
  Ministry defeated--Changes--Pitt becomes Prime Minister--Meeting
  of Parliament.

Affairs at home wore the same troubled aspect. As addresses and
petitions were in vogue, and the approaching session likely to be
warm, George Townshend took the opportunity of writing a circular
letter to great boroughs and corporations, instructing them to
instruct their representatives to stickle for another Militia Bill.
Besides its being drawn in a wretched style, the impropriety of a
private man assuming to himself such dictatorial authority, and the
indecency of a man who had the last year so severely censured Mr.
Fox’s circular letter, were notorious. Townshend’s epistle met the
contempt it deserved.

Mr. Byng having notice to prepare for his trial, had demanded his
witnesses; and now added a list of thirty more, but they were
refused. Among those he summoned was Captain Young, who had been
one of his loudest censurers. If the step was injudicious, at least
it did not indicate any consciousness of guilt. Yet the people and
the Ministry continued to treat him as a criminal; and the former
reporting that he had endeavoured to escape, the latter increased
the strictness of his confinement. He complained to the Secretary
of the Admiralty of the rigorous treatment he received from Admiral
Townshend, the Governor of Greenwich. A creature of office was not
likely to feel more tenderness than his superiors; Cleland returned
the most insulting answers. Mr. Byng at last thought it time to
make representations as well as to adhere to his innocence. He
published his case. Of the engagement I shall not say a word, till
I come to give an account of his trial. Of the arts used to blacken
him, the pamphlet gave the strongest evidence, and had very great
effect in opening the eyes of mankind.

It appeared, that the Admiral’s own letter, which had served as the
great engine of his condemnation, had been mangled and altered in a
manner most unworthy of honest men, of gentlemen. Some parts were
omitted, by which others were rendered nonsense; other periods,
which gave the reasons of his behaviour, as obedient to his orders,
were perverted to speak the very language of cowardice,--for
instance, _making the best of my way to Gibraltar_ was substituted
to the genuine passage, _making my way to cover Gibraltar_. And
thus the Ministry sunk their own positive (and, by their neglect
of Minorca, grown necessary) orders, that he might appear to
have retired to save himself, not Gibraltar. Other preceding
dispatches the Admiral published in the same pamphlet, in which he
had represented the bad condition of the Fleet committed to him;
and with much reason concluded, those expostulations had been the
first causes of his ruin; they who had been guilty of the neglect
determining that the first discoverer should bear the punishment.
Pity and indignation took place. Mr. Byng was everywhere mentioned
with moderation, the Ministers with abhorrence. But three months
were to come before his trial. He was a prisoner, his adversaries
powerful. His pamphlet was forgotten; new slanders replaced the
old. I shall defer the prosecution of Mr. Byng’s story till the
following year, for though his trial began the end of December, no
material progress could be made in it.

But though the fate of Mr. Byng remained in suspense, the crisis
for the Ministers drew to a quicker termination, being hurried on
by several circumstances that heightened public discontent, and
which could not be imputed to the unhappy Admiral. Among these
incidents was the loss of the important fort of Oswego, which the
French seized and demolished before a design upon it was suspected.
Another was of Hanoverian growth, and happening under the eye of
the people, threatened very alarming consequences. There were
at this time five camps in England: one at Chatham, under Lord
George Sackville; another in Dorsetshire; the artillery at Byfleet
in Surrey, commanded by the Duke of Marlborough, Master of the
Ordnance; the Hessians at Winchester; the Hanoverians at Coxheath,
near Maidstone. The sobriety and devotion of the foreigners had
been remarkable, and amid such a scene of uneasiness and faction,
they had even reconciled the public voice to German mercenaries.
The imprudence of their superiors, up to their very chief, had like
to have widened the breach for ever. A Hanoverian soldier buying
four handkerchiefs at Maidstone, took by mistake the whole piece,
which contained six. All parties have allowed that the fellow did
it in ignorance; yet a robbery was sworn against him, and he was
committed to jail. Count Kilmansegge, the commanding officer,
demanded him, with threats of violence; but the Mayor, no whit
intimidated out of his duty, refused to deliver him. Kilmansegge
dispatched an express to Kensington. The Chancellor, Newcastle, and
Fox were all out of the way; Murray, the Attorney-General, was so
rashly complaisant as to draw a warrant, which Lord Holderness was
ordered to copy, for the release of the man. This in a few days
occasioned such a flame, being mixed, as might have been expected,
even in the tumultuous addresses of the time, that it was thought
proper to transfer the crime, according to the politics of the
year, to the subordinate agents. Kilmansegge was ordered to retire
without taking leave; and the poor soldier (as a warning to Mr.
Byng) received three hundred lashes. The ignorant Secretary of
State was menaced by the Opposition; the real criminal, Murray,
with no ignorance to plead, found such an outrageous violation of
law no impediment to his succeeding as Chief Justice.

The disturbances flowing from these blunders, neglects, and
illegalities, alarmed Newcastle. He found it was no longer a season
for wantoning with the resentment of the successor and his mother:
he determined to gratify them. The Chancellor, who was with great
difficulty drawn to make a sacrifice of his revenge, was sent to
the King, to prevail on him to yield that Lord Bute might be at
the head of the Prince’s family. The old man could not but observe
to the Chancellor how contradictory this advice was to the refusal
himself had suggested, pressed. “Sir,” replied the Judge, with
sanctimonious chicane, “your Majesty has said, that you would not
make the Earl of Bute Groom of the Stole, and undoubtedly your
Majesty cannot make the Earl of Bute Groom of the Stole; but your
Majesty has never said that you would not make the Earl of Bute
Treasurer, or place him in some other great post.” However, this
sophistry was too gross; and the King thought it less dishonourable
flatly to break his declared resolution, than palliate it to
himself by so mean an evasion.

Newcastle, not to lag behind in the race of untruths, told Fox
that nothing more would be said in Council of the Prince’s family;
he believed nothing more would be done in it. In the meantime,
he regulated the whole establishment, though it hung awhile in
suspense, as they wished to extract from the Princess a promise of
giving no further trouble.

Fox now found it was time to consult his own security. He saw
Newcastle flinging up works all round himself; and suspected that
Pitt would be invited to defend them. He saw how little power he
had obtained by his last treaty with the Duke. He saw himself
involved in the bad success of measures on which he had not been
consulted, scarce suffered to give an opinion; and he knew that if
Newcastle and Pitt united, he must be sacrificed as the cement of
their union. Indeed, his Grace, so far from keeping terms, had
not observed common decency with him: a few instances, which Fox
selected to justify to the King the step he was reduced to take,
shall suffice. Early in the summer, Newcastle complaining of want
of support, Fox told him, that if it would facilitate his Grace’s
measures, he would resign Secretary of State to Mr. Pitt, and take
an inferior place. This, at the beginning of October, the Duke
recollected, and told Lord Barrington, that if Fox would not take
it ill, he would offer his place to Pitt the next day. So far from
_not_ taking it ill, Fox made it matter of complaint that his Grace
had dared to think he was sincere in the offer.

In the list for the Prince’s family, Fox saw the names of eight or
ten members of Parliament, of whom he had not heard a word, till
the Duke of Newcastle told him all was settled with the King; and,
which though meant to soften, was an aggravation by the manner,
at the same time acquainted him that the King would let Lord
Digby (Fox’s nephew) be a Lord of the Bedchamber to the Prince,
preferably to the other competitors: “But it was at my desire,”
said the Duke; “for his Majesty was very averse to do anything
for you.”--Fox replied, coldly, “Lord Digby is not likely to
live.”--“Oh!” said Newcastle, with a brutality which the hurry of
folly could not excuse, “then _that_ will settle it.” Fox made no
reply; but the next day wrote him a letter to notify that he would
go on no longer. Newcastle, thunderstruck with having accomplished
what he had projected, reached the letter (he received it at the
Board of Treasury,) to Nugent, and cried, “What shall I do?”--and
then hurried to Lord Granville, and told him he would resign his
place to him. “I thought,” said Granville, “I had cured you of
such offers last year: I will be hanged a little before I take
your place, rather than a little after.” Fox, too, went to vent
his woes on Lord Granville, and prefacing them with a declaration
of his unambitious temper, that shrewd jolly man interrupted him,
and said, “Fox, I don’t love to have you say things that will not
be believed--if you was of my age, very well; I have put on my
night-cap; there is no more daylight for me--but you _should_ be
ambitious: I want to instil a nobler ambition into you; to make
you knock the heads of the Kings of Europe together, and jumble
something out of it that may be of service to this country.”

However, he had too much experience of Newcastle to think it
possible for Fox to go on with him, or to expect that Newcastle
would let him. In my own opinion, Fox hoped to terrify, and to
obtain an increase of sway. He went to Lady Yarmouth, and uttered
his grievances, and appealed to her whether he had not formerly
told her, that, if on the death of Mr. Pelham the Duke of Newcastle
had taken him sincerely, he would have acted as faithfully under
him as he had under Sir Robert Walpole:--“_Ah! Monsieur Fox_,”
cried Lady Yarmouth, “_il y avoit bien de la difference entre ces
deux hommes là!_” She entreated him, for the sake of the King,
for the sake of the country, not to quit. Not prevailing, she
begged that Lord Granville might carry the message instead of her.
After recapitulating his subjects of complaint, the substance of
the message was, that concluding Mr. Pitt was to come into the
King’s service, and finding his own credit decrease daily, and
how impossible it was for him to act any longer with the Duke of
Newcastle, he was willing to serve his Majesty to the best of his
abilities in any post, not of the Cabinet.

When Granville arrived with this letter at Kensington, he said,
“I suppose your Majesty knows what I am bringing?” “Yes,” replied
the King; “and I dare say you disapproved and dissuaded it.” “Yes,
indeed, Sir,” said he, (as he repeated the dialogue himself to
Fox: “And why did you say so?” asked Fox. “Oh!” said he, shuffling
it off with a laugh, “you know one must--one must.”) The King,
whom Newcastle had just left, seemed much irritated against Fox,
talked of his ingratitude and ambition, quoted the friends of Fox
that he had preferred, and particularly of his having raised so
young a Peer as Lord Ilchester above so many ancient Barons; and
when he had vented his anger against Fox, he abruptly asked Lord
Granville, “Would you advise me to take Pitt?” “Sir,” said he,
“you must take somebody.” “What!” cried the King, “would you bear
Pitt over you?” “While I am your Majesty’s President,” replied
the Earl, “nobody will be over me.” The King then abused Lord
Temple much; and at last broke forth the secret of his heart--“I
am sure,” said he, “_Pitt will not do my business_.” “You know,”
said Lord Granville to Fox, “what _my business_ meant;--Hanover.”
The supposition did honour to Pitt; but, it seems, the King did not
know him. The conversation ended with the King’s saying, he would
leave it to Fox’s honour whether he would desert him now.

Fox was by no means hard-hearted on this occasion. He began to say,
that he would serve for the next session, but would positively
resign in the spring. In the meantime, he was casting about for
means of union with Pitt. His resentment to Newcastle prescribed
this; and his friend, the Duke of Bedford, who, from the moment he
had lost his Turnpike Bill, saw that this country would be ruined
by the Duke of Newcastle and the Chancellor, loudly dictated it.
Fox applied to Horace Walpole, and told him, that as soon as he
should be _ready_ to break with Newcastle, he would desire him to
acquaint Mr. Pitt that he should be willing to unite with him.
Walpole, who by no means approved the adoption of such Pelham
politics, as acting with a man only till an opportunity offered of
undermining him; and who had for some time withdrawn himself from
all participation of measures which he thought neither fair nor
wise, replied, “That it was true, he admired Mr. Pitt, though he
had not the honour of his friendship; that he earnestly wished to
see them united; but before he carried any such message, he must be
convinced it was for Mr. Fox’s honour and service.”

Walpole had uniformly persisted in detaching himself from Fox, from
the moment the latter had entered into engagements with Newcastle,
with whom the other had determined never to have the most minute
connexion. Yet, I fear, passions of more mortal complexion had
co-operated a little to his disunion (I cannot call it breach,
as he never had the least quarrel) with Fox. Rigby, who had
vast obligations to him, was, however, grown weary of Walpole’s
ardour for factious intrigues, and wished a little to realize his
politics. He had not only abandoned his friend for the Duke of
Bedford, but thought it time to turn his new friendship to account;
and had drawn the Duke out of that opposition to the Court, in
which, by Walpole’s arts, as has been shown, he had involved him.
In short, Rigby, by no means in affluence, and with too much
common sense to amuse himself any longer with politics that had no
solid views, sacrificed the Duke of Bedford to Fox and fortune,
when Walpole wished to have him sacrificed to his humour. This
had made a breach between them; and Walpole, whose resentments
were impetuous, and by no means of an accommodating mould, was
little desirous of serving that league, and of breaking Fox’s
fall, especially by dishonourable means. It was enough to do wrong
to gratify his own passions--he was not at all disposed to err,
only in contradiction to them. This detail would be impertinent,
if a crisis, which Fox reckoned decisive, had not turned (as
will be seen) on these secret springs; and if the author did not
think it his duty to avow his own failings and blemishes with the
same frankness which he has used on other characters. The only
difference is, that in others he would probably have treated the
same faults with greater asperity, which the justice of the reader
will supply.

Lady Yarmouth entreated Fox to see the King as soon as possible:
she wished to prevent the rupture; for all the Hanoverians had
contracted strange notions of the truculence of Pitt’s virtue.
October 18th, Fox had an audience. The Monarch was sour; but
endeavoured to keep his temper: yet made no concessions, no
request to the _retiring_ Minister to stay. At last he let slip
the true cause of his indignation: “_You_” said he, “have made me
make that puppy Bute Groom of the Stole;” for so the junto had
persuaded him, when they were reduced to bend to Bute themselves.
Fox protested that he had never named it in Council; he had only
suggested it as a prudent measure to Newcastle. Still the King
dropped suspicions of his having connexions with the Princess.
“Sir,” replied Fox, “what I am so happy in, my attachment to your
son,[68] might have assured you against that.” On his side, the
Monarch disavowed having made any offers to Pitt. Yet so little
condescension appeared, that Fox determined to quit directly; and
took his leave with saying, that his intention was so much known,
that now he could not avoid resigning. The King, during the whole
conversation, seemed to leave open his dominion of saying, or
unsaying, hereafter, as the negotiations on the anvil should have
a prosperous or unfortunate issue. The Chancellor was treating
with Pitt; that is, had sent to desire to see him, and plied him
on the 19th and 20th with large offers. Pitt refused all in direct
terms, alleging, that the Duke of Newcastle had engrossed the
King’s whole confidence--and it was understood, that he meaned to
put an exclusive negative on that Duke. Yet he deigned to name the
price at which that diamond, his virtue, might be purchased for
the Crown. Ireland he demanded for Lord Temple; for Legge, the
Chancellorship of the Exchequer; for George Grenville, Paymaster;
for James Grenville, Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant; for
Charles Townshend, Treasurer of the Chambers, or some such thing;
for himself, Secretary of State;--for his country, the Militia,
and some other rattles. He named the Duke of Devonshire to the
Treasury, and without consulting, answered for him.

In the meantime the Prince’s new family kissed hands. Lord Bute,
as Groom of the Stole; Lord Huntingdon, Master of the Horse;
Lord Euston, Lord Pembroke, Lord Digby, Lords of the Bedchamber;
Mr. Monson and Mr. Ingram, Grooms; Mr. Stone, Secretary; Lord
Bathurst, Treasurer; Mr. Masham, Auditor; Mr. Brudenel, Master of
the Robes; besides Equerries and Clerks of the Green-cloth. Mr.
Cadogan was appointed Privy-Purse to Prince Edward, who had also
Grooms and Equerries. The late Governor, Lord Waldegrave, was
offered a pension on Ireland, and refused it: they then gave him
the reversion of a Teller’s place; and one cannot tell which was
most rejoiced at the separation, he or the Princess, who had been
suspicious enough to take for a spy, a man, who would even have
scorned to employ one. The fate of one man was singular: the Prince
of Wales himself condescended to desire Mr. Stone to prevent Scott,
his Sub-Preceptor, from being continued in any employment about
him--and it was granted. Scott has been mentioned in the civil wars
of the tutorhood as attached to Stone: the reason given for his
exclusion was, his having talked with contempt of the Prince’s
understanding,[69] and with freedom of the Princess’s conduct. The
truth was, Scott was a frank man, of no courtly depth, and had
indiscreetly disputed with Lord Bute, who affected a character of
learning. The King, who loved to mark his empire in the loss of it,
refused to give the Golden Key himself to Lord Bute, as was usual,
but sent it by the Duke of Grafton, who slipped it into his pocket,
and advised him to take no notice of the manner. The Earl, on being
wished joy, was said to reply, he felt none, while the Duke of
Newcastle was Minister.

On the 21st, in the morning, the palace--not at all the scene of
action, had its solitude alarmed. The Pages of the Back-stairs were
seen hurrying about, and crying, “Mr. Pitt wants my Lady Yarmouth.”
That great stranger made her an abrupt visit--said he was come
to explain himself, lest it should be thought he had not been
sufficiently explicit. He repeated his exclusion of Newcastle--and
gave some civil, though obscure hints, as if, in losing his grace,
Hanover might not lose _all_ its friends. The visit itself seemed
to indicate that. The mistress of the King and the friend of
the Minister was not the first person to whom one should have
expected a patriot would have addressed himself, who proscribed the
Minister, as he had long attacked the Electorate. And, indeed, it
looked as if Mr. Pitt was afraid of having been too explicit, not
too little so.

However, the difficulty was increased. The question seemed at first
to be, whether Cæsar or Pompey should have the honour of supporting
Crassus--when neither would, Crassus made a show of venturing to
stand alone: and it seemed almost as easy for him, as for either
of the others. For Fox could neither trust to a Parliament devoted
to Newcastle; nor dared, in his own unpopular situation, to call
a new one. Pitt had no party at all: a new Parliament would have
suited him best, for he could not have fewer adherents than in
the old one; and, considering the temper of the nation on the
late miscarriages, in which he had no hand, might acquire some
clamorous voices; but that very dissatisfaction made the expedient
too dangerous. How each was counselled by his friends may be seen
in a moment. Stone, cold and never sanguine, advised Newcastle to
give up a desperate game: Murray threw in censures on his conduct
to Fox: the Duke of Grafton, though hating Fox, wisely suggested
a reconciliation with him: the Chancellor, sullen and mortified,
protested he would follow his Grace, but endeavoured to encourage
him to stand alone, affirming they could carry everything by their
numbers; and having ever been ready to torture the law to annoy
his enemies, he could not help expecting to find the same support
from it for himself and his friends. Sir George Lyttelton concurred
with him--and if that was encouragement, offered to accept any
employment. Nugent and Lord Duplin, on the contrary, dissuaded such
rash measures; the latter said, sensibly, “Fox and Pitt shall not
need but sit still and laugh, and we must walk out of the House.”
Fox’s court (except Doddington, who was too shrewd not to think ill
of their cause, and who accordingly acted disgust on not having
been more consulted) talked as if triumphant, the moment they heard
the reconciliation of Newcastle and Pitt was desperate. The Duke of
Marlborough said, Newcastle must be sent to Sussex; Claremont was
too near. The Duke of Bedford would have permitted him to retire
thither with a pension, and eagerly drove Fox to unite with Pitt.
The party of the latter, that is, Lord Temple, was indecently
forward to come into place, and having always hated by the scale of
his ambition, he had only passions to sacrifice, not principles,
when the terms of his advancement were to be adjusted.

Newcastle sinking, catched at feathers: his Grace proposed to
Lord Egmont to be Secretary of State; but he demanded an English
Peerage for his son, as the price of his own acceptance of one of
the first posts in England. Ministers were become such precarious
tenures, that scarce any man would list in them under places for
life. The foreign Ministers, a nation not apt to joke, complained
bitterly of our frequent revolutions; and D’Abreu, the Spanish
Resident, said, before they ventured to negotiate, they were
obliged to ask who would be Minister next Session?

At last the important point was decided, and Perfidy, after thirty
years, _had_ an intermission. The Duke of Newcastle (with all the
satisfaction which must have attended the discovery that not one
man of sense would trust him any longer) declared his resolution of

Oct. 27th.--The King sent for Fox, acquainted him that Newcastle
would retire, and asked him if Pitt would join with him; bad him
try. Fox the next day went to the Prince’s Levée, and taking Pitt
apart at the head of the stairs, said to him, “Are you going
to Stowe? I ask, because I believe you will have a message of
consequence by persons of consequence.” “You surprise me,” said
Pitt; “are you to be of the number?” Fox: “I don’t know.” Pitt:
“One likes to say things to men of sense, and of your great sense,
rather than to others; and yet it is difficult even to you.” Fox:
“What! you mean you will not act with me as a Minister?” Pitt: “I
do.” And then, to soften the abruptness of the declaration, left
Fox with saying, he hoped Fox would take an active part, which his
health would not permit him to do.

The next day the Duke of Devonshire was ordered by the King to
try to compose some Ministry; and by the same authority sent for
Mr. Pitt; at the same time endeavouring to make him accommodate
with Fox. But they had given too much weight to Pitt by these
submissions, for such a negotiator to be able to recover the
balance. Pitt, knowing both his own strength and the weakness
of the mediator, behaved with haughty warmth; complained of the
indignity offered to him by sending Fox, whom he proscribed from
the Cabinet; softened a little in general, yet said, he must
promote the inquiries; excused himself for having named his Grace
to the Treasury, but as it was necessary to place some great Lord
there to whom the Whigs would look up, his partiality had made him
presume to propose his Grace: professed not only duty to the King,
but obligation for the person now commissioned to treat with him.
The Duke took up spirit, and told him, if he refused, the King
would be supported without him--Pitt did not mean to drive them to
that extremity. The negotiations took up many days, all parties
raising difficulties, none bringing facilities. Pitt, who wanted
friends for places, more than places for his friends, seemed to
think that he must figure by the greatness, since he could not by
the number of his demands. Yet of his small squadron, he seemed
solicitous to provide only for his allies the Granvilles, as if
what filled his own little administration would suffice for the
nation’s. He even affected to have forgot Charles Townshend, and,
as if recollecting himself, cried, “Oh! there is one that will not
like to be at the bottom of the list.” The mediator-Duke took care
this neglect should not be a secret. On one point Pitt affected
decency: being asked whom he wished to have Secretary at War, he
replied, he did not pretend to meddle there. He relaxed on the
article of sending away the Hanoverians; softened towards a war on
the continent; owned the King of Prussia was a great object, but
would not determine on foreign affairs till he had received more
lights from the King’s servants. With regard to the inquiries, he
said at last, he would neither hinder nor move them; he was not
vindictive. Addresses all the while were repeated with violence.
The city of London, always governed by the absurdest heads in it,
demanded to have the supplies stopped, till grievances should be
redressed. Indeed it was much easier to delay than to raise them:
and yet nothing but the wickedness of the intention could justify
the folly of the injunction.

If Mr. Pitt had no occasion to dismiss many, Newcastle and Fox
were not careless of saving all they could; in which they found
great facility, as Mr. Pitt had not cousins enough to fill the
whole Administration. Neither of the former gave up their views on
the power they quitted. Fox particularly laboured to throw every
difficulty in Pitt’s way; and with some cause: at once excluded
from Government, and menaced with a censure, it behoved him not
to make over too much strength to his antagonist: and if he did
not succeed in recovering his own fall, at least he left so narrow
a seat to Mr. Pitt, that it required another convulsion, before
the latter could fix himself with any firmness. Fox hoped first
to divide Pitt and Legge: the Duke of Devonshire, who thought he
had influence on the latter, tried it, but in vain. Fox too had
fruitlessly endeavoured to gain Legge; and on his first thought of
breaking with Newcastle, had writ a confidential letter to Legge,
begging him to come to town, and concert measures with him on the
deplorable situation of affairs. Legge made no answer. Fox in wrath
sent for his letter back: Legge returned it at once without a word;
and depending on his favour with Lord Bute, now thought himself so
considerable a part of the new accession, that he hoped to engross
the Treasury himself; and actually proposed Lord Hertford for First
Lord. Fox laboured to engage the Duke of Devonshire to accept
the Treasury, and the Duke of Bedford to go to Ireland, at once
to fix another ally in the Cabinet, and to disappoint both Legge
and Temple. Bedford was refractory; but luckily the Throne of
Ireland was heaven itself in the eyes of the Duchess: and the vast
emoluments of Secretary were full as vehement temptations to their
secretary Mr. Rigby.

Fox in the mean time endeavoured to buoy up the spirits of the
King, telling him he neither wanted expedients nor courage;
intreated him to have patience; that Pitt would rise in his
demands; that at last and at worst he would take the Treasury
himself and go to the Tower, rather than they should shave his
Majesty’s head--“Ah!” cried the King, sensibly, “if you go to the
Tower I shall not be long behind you!” The Duke of Bedford was as
courageous as Fox, and proposed warm opposition, or to support Fox
in the Administration. And thus far Fox had judged right; Pitt’s
demands no longer abated. He required the dismission of Lord
Holderness on the affair of the Hanoverian soldier; and proposed to
take Sir Thomas Robinson for coadjutor, only exchanging provinces;
himself would take the northern; that was, the Hanoverian; and it
is worthy remark, that formerly in a dialogue with Fox, when the
Duke of Newcastle had pretended to govern the House of Commons by
Sir Thomas Robinson, Pitt, with utter contempt, had said, “He may
as well send his jack-boot to govern us.”

Lord Holderness wrote to Mr. Pitt, that he was willing to resign as
the other great persons were to do; but if it was to be inflicted
as a punishment, he would insist on having his crime proved, nor
till then _would_ resign. This comforted the King; he abhorred the
thought of seeing Pitt, and complained of the hardship of being
forced to tell the only secrets he had to a man whom he never
would let into his closet. His expostulations on these occasions
were always pathetic and sensible: “What a strange country,” said
he to Fox, “is this! I have never known but two or three men in
it who understood foreign affairs: you do not study them--and
yet here comes one man (Pitt), and says he has not so much as
read Wicquefort, has all to learn, and demands to be Secretary of
State! Indeed, he has proposed Sir Thomas Robinson too, who does
understand foreign affairs, but then Mr. Pitt insists on taking the
province which Sir Thomas understands.” In the same conversation
the King said, “The Duke of Newcastle is an honest man and loves
the Duke of Devonshire, but he will be jealous of him to-morrow, if
the latter takes the Treasury.”

In this situation, with no Ministry, no plan for supplies, no
communication for the foreign Ministers, all Government at a stand,
it was necessary to defer the meeting of the Parliament. Pitt at
last condescended to acquaint the Duke of Devonshire that Lord
Temple would be content to take the business of the Navy on him.
Yet the more they acquiesced the more Fox laboured to defeat all
accommodation by which he was to be excluded. His last effort, and
a rash one it was, concluded to have the great Lords and Commoners
summoned to a meeting at Lord Granville’s, where the indignities
offered to the King, and the exorbitances of Mr. Pitt’s demands,
were to be laid before them. They were to be entreated to stand by
the King in lopping Mr. Pitt’s list; and, with their approbation,
a message was to be sent to him in the name of the Council, that
his Majesty would not endure the readmission of Mr. Legge; that
Mr. Pitt should in other things be contented, except that Mr.
Fox must be Chancellor of the Exchequer. On this foot, and on no
other, the Duke of Devonshire consented to take the Treasury. Fox
wished him to retain Ireland, that so, if they could weather the
approaching session, the Duke might be ready to resign the Treasury
into his hands, which seemed to be the drift of his intrigues:--if
Devonshire could not keep Ireland, then Bedford was designed to
it. The secret was kept till the very day it was to be disclosed;
when the Duke of Grafton, having learnt it either from the King or
Devonshire, was amazed at the wildness of mischief with which it
was big, and went to lament with his son-in-law, Lord Hertford.

It happened that Mr. Conway and Horace Walpole were at dinner
with the Earl, and to them, as soon as the Duke was gone, he
communicated what he had heard. They were no less astonished than
the others had been, and saw plainly that Fox was precipitating the
King and the chief persons in England upon a measure, from which it
would be impossible for them to recede, to which it was impossible
Pitt should submit, and that in consequence of such a rupture at
such a crisis, heated as the passions of men were, even a Civil War
might ensue. To crush such a plan in its embryo was, in reality,
serving Fox, and certainly the nation:--these were sufficient
inducements; and yet, as I have said, Walpole had the additional
satisfaction of disappointing the views of that cabal, when he
persuaded Mr. Conway to go directly to the Duke of Devonshire, and
alarm him with the true picture of the measure in which he had
been drawn to concur. His timid nature easily caught the panic: he
made the intended meeting be laid aside, the message put off; and
the next day, without acquainting Fox with his determination of
accepting without conditions, went to Kensington, and consented to
take the Treasury. Fox and the Duke of Bedford, who were waiting
in the outward room, were thunder-struck--the latter expostulated
warmly with Devonshire--the other, who had found Mr. Conway at
Devonshire-house the night before, did not want to be told who
shot the arrow; still less, when Devonshire officiously assured
him it was not Mr. Conway. Fox has said to the real author of
his miscarriage, that from that hour he dated all the events in
the subsequent revolutions. This happened on the 2nd and 3rd of

The Duke of Devonshire having yielded, the new system began to
range itself. Legge professed acquiescence--artfully; if Pitt
acceded, he must of course: if Pitt did not, Legge would have all
the merit of his own moderation. But that conqueror grew still
more tractable: he first yielded to take the southern province;
next, even to bear with Lord Holderness, if his Majesty insisted
on it; yet hoped it would be waved, as he [otherwise] might set
out with doing something disagreeable to his Majesty, [he] having
engaged his honour, if a question should be moved on that Lord,
not to oppose it. Some parting rays of popular virtue were still
made to glimmer: the party even ordered one Evans, a lawyer, to
draw up articles of impeachment against Lord Anson; and transports
were ordered for the Hanoverians, as the country magistrates urged
that they were not obliged by law to billet them. The nation all
the while expected great services from Pitt--but even the Duke
of Newcastle had talked reformation, and once had gone so far as
to cashier the pensions of three old widows. Pitt’s was a nobler
style; and, as Addison said of Virgil, if he did contaminate
himself, _he at least tossed about his dirt with an air of

[Illustration: DUKE OF BEDFORD.

London, Henry Colburn, 1846.]

With more sincerity the little band of patriots disposed themselves
to fill the conquered provinces: yet so few of them were in
Parliament, and so many had difficulties of being re-chosen, that
it almost promised to be an Administration out of Parliament. Fox
even skirmished his borough from Dr. Hay, one of the new Admiralty;
and had others been as desperate, would have opposed most of them
on their re-elections. Pitt himself was distressed; and he, who
had lately so warmly attacked the Duke of Newcastle from the seat
which he held by one of that Duke’s boroughs, could not propose to
his Grace to re-elect him, when rising on his ruins. But a little
parliamentary craft of shifting boroughs, adjusted this: though
Newcastle vaunted that he would show both Pitt and Fox that the
Parliament was his.

The Duke of Bedford for some time impeded the entire arrangement,
by warmly refusing to take Ireland. Yet he too at last was
mollified, after having, as was his way, declared himself with
violence enough to show, that if he changed afterwards, it was
by the influence of others. Fox had gone to Woburn to persuade
him;--in vain: yet, returning, and indeed, knowing what advocates
he left behind, ventured (lest that kingdom should be given up
before Bedford was brought to a proper temper) to assure the Duke
of Devonshire that Bedford would accept the Lord-Lieutenancy.

When all was adjusted, the Duke of Newcastle resigned, Nov. 11th.
As he retired _without terrors_ and _with parade_, it was easy
to penetrate his hopes of returning to Court. It was assiduously
propagated in all the public papers, that he departed without place
or pension; and his enormous estate, which he had sunk from thirty
to thirteen thousand pounds a year, by every ostentatious vanity,
and on every womanish panic, between cooks, mobs, and apothecaries,
was now represented by his tools as wasted in the cause of the
Government. To show how _unrewarded_ he chose to relinquish the
Administration, this was the catalogue of his disinterestedness.
His Dukedom was entailed on his nephew, Lord Lincoln; the only
one[70] conferred by George the Second. Another nephew, Mr.
Shelley, had the reversion of the Pipe Office. His cousin, young T.
Pelham, already of the Board of Trade, got another reversion in the
Custom House. His creature, Sir George Lyttelton, was indemnified
with a Peerage. His secretary, Mr. West, was rewarded with a
reversion for himself and son. Jones, a favourite clerk, and nephew
of the Chancellor, had another reversion. An Irish Earldom was
given to Mr. O’Brien.

All this being granted, his Grace retired to Claremont, where,
for about a fortnight, he played at being a country gentleman.
Guns and green frocks were bought, and at past sixty, he affected
to turn sportsman; but getting wet in his feet, he hurried back to
London in a fright, and his country was once more blessed with his

Newcastle’s resignation was on the 19th followed by that of the
Chancellor. Great endeavours had been used to retain him, or to
engage Murray to succeed him; but what terrified or disgusted the
former could have no temptation to the latter, who was equally a
friend to Newcastle, was by no means equally ambitious, was more
timorous, and still less disposed to serve with Pitt alone. Fatigue
determined the scale with Lord Hardwicke, which power and profit
would have kept suspended. The Great Seal was given in Commission
to Lord Chief Justice Willes, Judge Wilmot, and Baron Smyth. Wilmot
was much attached to Legge, and a man of great vivacity of parts.
He loved hunting and wine, and not his profession. He had been an
admired Pleader, before the House of Commons, but being reprimanded
on the contested election for Wareham with great haughtiness by
Pitt, who told him he had brought thither the pertness of his
profession, and being prohibited by the Speaker from making a
reply, he flung down his brief in a passion, and never would return
to plead there any more. Fox procured the place of Attorney-General
for Henley; the Comptroller’s staff for Mr. Edgecombe; the band of
Pensioners and Treasurership of the Household for Lord Berkeley of
Stratton, and Lord Bateman; an English Barony for Lord Hilsborough;
and asked another for his own wife and son--too ambitious a
declaration of the figure he still intended to make in the House of
Commons. But this was with great indignation refused; and the King,
who knew how little he should displease by it, abused him in very
undignified terms to the Duke of Grafton, saying, “He now wants to
set his dirty shoe on my neck.”

Lord Sandys was again shuffled to the top of the wheel, as
Doddington was again to the bottom; the former being raised to
Speaker of the House of Lords, the latter dismissed, with Lord
Darlington, and a few others. Pitt’s list was confined to this
small number: himself, Legge, and Lord Temple have been mentioned.
George Grenville succeeded Doddington as Treasurer of the Navy;
James Grenville, a Lord of the Treasury; Potter, a joint Paymaster
of Ireland; Sir Richard Lyttelton had the Jewel-office; Martin,
Secretary of the Treasury; the Admirals West and Forbes, with Dr.
Hay, Elliot, and Hunter, were put into the Admiralty; John Pitt
was made Surveyor of the Roads, and Charles Townshend, Treasurer
of the Chambers. At the same time, Garters were given to the Duke
of Devonshire, Lord Carlisle, Lord Northumberland, and Lord
Hertford. A Red-Riband and an Irish Peerage to old Blakeney, who
went to Kensington in a hackney-coach, with a foot soldier behind
it. As Blakeney had not only lost his government, but was bed-rid
while it was losing, these honours were a little ridiculed; but
the new Ministers and Admiralty inclining to treat Mr. Byng with
less rigour, this step was taken by the old Court to refresh the
resentment of the populace. Excepting Lord Temple and Pitt himself,
the Cabinet was still engrossed by the adherents of Newcastle and
Fox; and little harmony was to be expected, or was designed, from
a jumble of three such discordant interests. The invention was
Fox’s, who, first of all men, projected to leave his friends in
place, to distress his hostile successors. Formerly the dependents
of a Minister resigned with affected dignity, or were abruptly
dismissed,--pensions and reversions now broke the fall of the few
who were disgraced.

Pitt now appeared as First Minister; yet between his haughtiness on
the one hand, and the little share he assumed, except in foreign
affairs, on the other; with the affected court paid by Fox’s
party to the Duke of Devonshire, and with the King’s disposition
to communicate himself only to his old servants, all application
was made to that Duke, whom the roses of power soon charmed to a
forgetfulness of the thorns. Yet the irresolution of his temper,
and desire of preventing farther dissensions, made him yield so
much to Pitt, that Fox, finding himself no more Minister by his
proxy than he was in person, left the town in discontent; but was
soon recalled by his friends, who assured him that Pitt could not
long maintain his post, both from his ill health and the weakness
of his party. From the first hour of his power he was confined with
the gout, and remained so during greatest part of the winter; and
for accession of strength he had nothing but the partiality[71]
of the Tories, who, taking all opportunities of declaring for
him, gave great offence; and both his gout and his new friends
were topics of unlimited abuse, which was poured on him by Fox’s
direction and dependents. A paper war of the most inveterate kind
was opened. Two weekly papers, called _The Test_ and _Contest_,
besides occasional pamphlets, were the vehicles of satire. Murphy,
a player, wrote the former on behalf of Fox; and Francis, a poetic
clergyman, signalized himself on the same side.

The Parliament met Dec. 2nd. Pitt had prepared a long speech, which
the King would not read, but sent to him to shorten it. The House
of Commons soon adjourned for the re-elections; and during the few
days it sat, harmony so far took place, that there was no division,
scarce a debate;[72] but the seed sown in the preceding occurrences
soon developed themselves in the ensuing year.


[68] Duke of Cumberland.

[69] He once, before Lord Waldegrave, said to the Prince, who
excused his own inapplication on the foot of idleness, “Sir,
_yours_ is not idleness; your brother Edward _is_ idle, but you
must not call being asleep all day being idle.”

[70] On the removal of Sir Robert Walpole, the King had consented
to make the Earls of Northampton and Ailesbury Dukes, but neither
having a son, they declined that honour.

[71] That partiality was not cordial, but founded on their hatred
to Fox, and probably from secret intimations that the Princess, who
meant to adopt them, was inclined to Pitt, and abhorred Fox for his
connexion with the Duke of Cumberland.

[72] A spurious speech having been vended for the King’s, it was
complained of, I think by Lord Sandwich, in the House of Lords, and
the authors punished; Lord Hardwicke still taking the lead very
dictatorially, but occasionally flattering Pitt on the composition
of the true one.


      Sine cæde et sanguine Pauci.--_Juv._


  Character of the times in the year 1757--Contest in France
  between the Parliament and the Clergy--King of France
  stabbed--Damiens the criminal--His torture and execution--Trial
  of Admiral Byng--His sentence, and behaviour of the
  Court-Martial--Remarks on his case--Two Highland Regiments
  raised--Ordnance estimates--Guinea Lottery--Militia Bill.

A century had now passed since reason had begun to attain that
ascendant in the affairs of the world, to conduct which it had
been granted to man six thousand years ago. If religions and
governments were still domineered by prejudices, if creeds that
contradict logic, or tyrannies that enslave multitudes to the
caprice of one, were not yet exploded, novel absurdities at least
were not broached; or if propagated, produced neither persecutors
nor martyrs. Methodism made fools, but they did not arrive to be
saints; and the histories of past ages describing massacres and
murders, public executions of violence, and the more private though
not less horrid arts of poison and daggers, began to be regarded
almost as romances. Cæsar Borgia seemed little less fabulous than
Orlando; and whimsical tenures of manors were not more in disuse,
than sanguinary methods of preserving or acquiring empires. No
Prime Ministers perished on a scaffold, no heretics in the flames;
a Russian[73] Princess spared her competitor; even in Turkey the
bow-string had been relaxed--alas! frenzy revived in France the
credibility of assassination; guilt renewed in England machinations
of scarce a whiter dye.

The contests between the Parliament and the clergy about the Bull
_unigenitus_ were still carried on in France. The conduct of the
former was such a happy composition of good sense and temper, that
they neither deserted their duty under oppression, nor sought to
inflame the populace to support them against their oppressors. Even
the Clergy were blessed with more moderation than is usual in such
contentions; and, what was as lucky, had no able heads to direct
them. The Court of Rome, instead of profiting of these divisions,
had used its influence to compose them. Benedict the Fourteenth
then sat in the Apostolic Chair; a man in whom were united all
the amiable qualities of a Prince and a Pastor: he had too much
sense to govern the Church by words, too much goodness to rule his
dominions by force. Amid the pomp of Popery he laughed at form, and
by the mildness of his virtue made fanaticism, of whatever sect,
odious. Yet this venerable Pontiff, now sinking under the weight
of fourscore years, was at last surprised into, or perhaps never
knew that his name was used in, issuing a Bull to enforce, under
pain of damnation, the acceptance of the Bull _unigenitus_. Louis
the Fifteenth was persuaded to use that most solemn act of their
government, a Bed of Justice, to compel the Parliament to register
the Papal Ordinance. The greater part of the members preferred
resigning their employments. The King had taken this step in one
of those relapses into weakness which his constitution furnished,
rather than a want of understanding. The Dauphin was a far more
uniform bigot. It is related of him, that about a year before
this period, reading the life of Nero, he said, “_Ma foi, c’étoit
le plus grand scélérat du monde! il ne lui manquoit que d’être
Janseniste._” And he had even gone so far as to tell his father,
“that were he King, and the Pope should bid him lay down his Crown,
he would obey.” The King, with a tender shrewdness, said, “and if
he should bid you take mine from me, would you?”

The King not being constant in such steady obedience to the Clergy,
they had much aspersed him, and traduced his life and Government.
The partizans of the Parliament loved him as little; and when he
passed through Paris to hold his Bed of Justice, he was received
with sullen coldness. One woman alone crying, _Vive le Roi!_
was thrown down and trampled to death by the mob. In such a
disposition, it was almost extraordinary that no fanatic was found
to lift the arm of violence; a madman supplied the part, without
inviting Heaven to an association of murder.

January 5th.--Between five and six in the evening the King was
getting into his coach to go to Trianon. A man, who had lurked
about the colonnades for two days, pushed up to the coach, jostled
the Dauphin, and stabbed the King under the right arm with a long
knife; but the King having two thick coats, the blade did not
penetrate deep. The King was surprised, but thinking the man had
only pushed against him, said, “_Le coquin m’a donné un furieux
coup de poing_”--but putting his hand to his side and feeling
blood, he said, “_Il m’a blessé; qu’on le saississe, et qu’on ne
lui fasse point de mal_.” The King was carried to bed; the wound
proved neither mortal nor dangerous; but strong impressions, and
not easily to be eradicated, must have been made on a mind gloomy
and superstitious. The title of _Well-beloved_ could but faintly
balance the ideas of Henry the Third stabbed, of Henry the Fourth
stabbed, of enraged Jesuits, and an actual wound. Yet all the
satisfaction that the most minute investigation of circumstances
could give, and that tortures could wrest from the assassin, was

Damiens, the criminal, appeared clearly to be mad. He had been
footman to several persons, had fled for a robbery, had returned
to Paris from a dark and restless habit of mind; and from some
preposterous avidity of horrid fame, and from one of those
wonderful contradictions of the human mind, a man aspired to renown
that had descended to theft. Yet in this dreadful complication of
guilt and frenzy, there was room for compassion. The unfortunate
wretch was sensible of the predominance of his black temperament;
and the very morning of the assassination, asked for a surgeon
to let him blood; and to the last gasp of being, persisted that
he should not have committed his crime, if he had been blooded.
What the miserable man suffered is not to be described. When first
seized, and carried into the Guard-chamber, the Garde-des-sceaux
and the Duc d’Ayen ordered the tongs to be heated, and pieces of
flesh torn from his legs, to make him declare his accomplices. The
industrious art used to preserve his life was not less than the
refinement of torture by which they meaned to take it away. The
inventions to form the bed on which he lay, (as the wounds on his
leg prevented his standing,) that his health might in no shape be
affected, equalled what a refining tyrant would have sought to
indulge his own luxury.

When carried to his dungeon, Damiens was wrapped up in mattresses,
lest despair might tempt him to dash his brains out--but his
madness was no longer precipitate. He even sported, horridly
sported, with indicating variety of innocent persons as his
accomplices; and sometimes, more harmlessly, with playing the fool
with his Judges. In no instance he sunk either under terror or
anguish. The very morning on which he was to endure “the question,”
when told of it, he said with the coolest intrepidity, “_La journée
sera rude_”--after it, insisted on wine with his water, saying,
“_Il faut ici de la force_.” And at the accomplishment of his
tragedy, studied and prolonged on the precedent of Ravaillac’s,
he supported all with unrelaxed firmness; and even unremitted
torture of four hours, which succeeded to his being two hours and
a half under the question, forced from him but some momentary
yells--a lamentable spectacle; and perhaps a blameable one. Too
severe pains cannot be used to eradicate the infernal crime of holy
assassination; but what punishments can prevent madness? Would not
one rather stifle under a feather bed, than draw out on the rack a
being infected with a frenzy of guilt and heroism?

King George ordered Mr. Pitt to send a compliment on the French
King’s escape, which was conveyed by the Spanish Minister, and was
handsomely received and answered.

The year opened in England in the same temper with which the last
had closed. Pitt was much confined; when he appeared at Council,
was haughty and visionary; so much, that after one of their
meetings, Lord Granville said, “Pitt used to call me madman, but
I never was half so mad as he is.” Legge had little power, and
was unsatisfied. The Duke of Devonshire preserved what he called
candour; that is, he listened with complaisance to Pitt’s secrets,
and to be impartial, repeated them to Fox. The Duke of Bedford
accepted Ireland; the Primate was come over to feel what would be
the future temper of that Government; and threw himself into great
court to the new Lord Lieutenant and his friends. Lord George
Sackville, to promote those views, seemed to incline to Fox, and
took every opportunity of showing how useful or troublesome he
could be.

In the mean time the trial of Admiral Byng proceeded, having
begun at the conclusion of the preceding year. At the same time
had been held a novel sort of Court of Justice. The Generals
Legonier, Huske, and Cholmondeley, had been appointed by the King
to examine the conduct of Lord Effingham, and the Colonels Stewart
and Cornwallis, who having been sent to join their regiments at
Minorca, gave their opinions with General Fowke at Gibraltar
against granting to Admiral Byng the force which he had been
ordered to take from thence. This inquiry was private, and a kind
of trial whether there ought to be a trial. The inquisitors made
a favourable report, and the officers in question were admitted to
Court as usual.

Before the conclusion of the more solemn trial at Portsmouth, an
incident happened of an indecent kind, and served, as perhaps was
intended, to renew unfavourable sentiments of the Admiral. Among
numbers whose curiosity led them to attend the trial, were the
Scotch Earl of Morton and Lord Willoughby of Parham, both men of
very fair characters; the latter attached to Lord Hardwicke. Both
assiduously attended the examination of the witnesses against the
Admiral; both returned to London without hearing one word of his
defence; and as they forbore to speak their opinions, the mystery
of their silence, which could not be interpreted propitiously, and
the seeming candour, in men of reputation, of not being willing to
condemn, carried double condemnation. Yet as Mr. Byng proceeded
on his defence, these omens dispersed; and before the examination
of his witnesses was finished, the tide of report promised him an
honourable acquittal. On the 20th of January the trial was closed;
and nine days intervening between that and the sentence, and many
whispers getting wind of great altercations in the Court-Martial,
no doubt was entertained but that the contest lay between an entire
absolution, and the struggles of some, who wished to censure, when
it was impossible to condemn.

Before sentence was pronounced, an express was dispatched to the
Admiralty at London, to demand, whether the Court Martial were at
liberty to mitigate an Article of War on which they had doubts.
They were answered in the negative. It was the twelfth of the
Articles of War on which they had scruples. It was formerly left to
the discretion of the Court to inflict death or whatever punishment
they thought proper, on neglect of duty; but about three years
before this period the Articles had been new modelled; and to
strike the greater terror into the officers of the Fleet, who had
been thought too remiss, the softer alternative had been omitted.
From the most favourable construction (for the members of the
Court) of the present case, it was plain that the Court Martial,
who had demanded whether the law would not authorize them to
mitigate the rigour of the article, thought the Admiral by no means
deserved to be included in its utmost severity. This they must have
thought--they could not mean to inquire whether they might mitigate
what they did not desire to mitigate.

How the more moderate members of the Court obtained the
acquiescence of their brethren to this demand is surprising, for
Admiral Boscawen, who had the guard of the prisoner at Portsmouth,
and who was _not_ one of the Judges, but a Lord of the Admiralty,
seems by the event to have understood to a prophetic certainty
the constitution of the Court. Dining at Sir Edward Montagu’s
before the trial, and it being disputed what the issue of it would
be, Boscawen said bluntly, “Well, say what you will, _we_ shall
have a majority, and he will be condemned.” This the Duchess of
Manchester[74] repeated to Mrs. Osborn,[75] and offered to depose
in the most solemn manner.

Accordingly, January 29th, Mr. Byng was summoned to hear his
sentence. He went with that increase of animated tranquillity which
a man must feel who sees a period to his sufferings, and the rays
of truth and justice bursting in at last upon his innocence. His
Judges were so aware of the grounds he had for this presumption,
that they did permit a momentary notice to be given him, that the
sentence was unfavourable. A friend was ordered to prepare him--and
felt too much of the friend to give the hint sufficient edge; but
by too tenderly blunting the stroke, contributed to illustrate the
honour and firmness of the Admiral’s mind. He started, and cried,
“Why, they have not put a slur on me, have they?” fearing they
had censured him for cowardice. The bitterness of the sentence
being explained, and being satisfied that his courage was not
stigmatized, his countenance resumed its serenity, and he directly
went with the utmost composure to hear the law pronounced. For a
moment he had been alarmed with shame; death, exchanged for that,
was the next good to an acquittal.

I have spoken of Admiral Byng, not only as of a man who thought
himself innocent, but as of one marked for sacrifice by a set of
Ministers, who meant to divert on him the vengeance of a betrayed
and enraged nation. I have spoken, and shall speak of him as of a
man most unjustly and wickedly put to death; and as this was the
moment from which my opinion sprung, however lamentably confirmed
by the event, it is necessary in my own vindication to say a
few words, lest prejudice against the persecutors, or for the
persecuted, should be suspected of having influenced my narrative.
I can appeal to God that I never spoke to Mr. Byng in my life, nor
had the most distant acquaintance with any one of his family. The
man I never saw but in the street, or in the House of Commons, and
there I thought his carriage haughty and disgusting. From report,
I had formed a mean opinion of his understanding; and from the
clamours of the world, I was carried away with the multitude in
believing he had not done his duty; and in thinking his behaviour
under _his_ circumstances weak and arrogant. I never interested
myself enough about him to inquire whether this opinion was well
or ill founded. When his pamphlet appeared, I read it, and found
he had been cruelly and scandalously treated. I knew enough not
to wonder at this conduct in _some_ of his persecutors--yet it
concerned not me; and I thought no more about it till the sentence,
and the behaviour of his Judges which accompanied it, struck me
with astonishment! I could not conceive, how men could acquit
honourably and condemn to death with the same breath! How men
could feel so much, and be so insensible at the same instant; and
from the prejudice of education which had told me that the law of
England understood that its ministers of Justice should always be
Counsel _for_ the prisoner, I could not comprehend how the members
of the Court-Martial came to think that a small corner of a law
ought to preponderate for rigour, against a whole body of the same
law which they understood directed them to mercy; and I was still
more startled to hear men urge that their consciences were bound
by an oath, which their consciences told them would lead them to
murder. Lest this should be thought a declamatory paraphrase, I
will insert both the sentence and the letter of the Court-Martial;
and will appeal to impartial posterity, whether I have exaggerated,
whether it was necessary for me, or whether it was possible for me
to exaggerate, the horrid absurdity of this proceeding. Supplements
indeed there were made to it!

  “At a Court-Martial, assembled on board his Majesty’s ship St.
  George, in Portsmouth harbour, upon the 28th of December, 1756,
  and held everyday afterwards (Sundays excepted), till the 27th of
  January inclusive--


  Thomas Smith, Esq., Vice-Admiral of the Red, President;
  Francis Holburne, Esq., Rear-Admiral of the Red;
  Harry Norris, Esq., Rear-Admiral of the White;
  Thomas Brodrick, Esq., Rear-Admiral of the Blue;

  Captains, Charles Holmes,     Francis Geary,
            William Boys,       John Moore,
            John Simcoe,        James Douglas,
            John Bentley,       Hon. Augustus Keppel.
            Peter Denis,

  The Court, pursuant to an order from the Lords Commissioners of
  the Admiralty to Vice-Admiral Smith, dated December 14, 1756,
  proceeded to inquire into the conduct of the Hon. John Byng,
  Admiral of the Blue squadron of his Majesty’s Fleet, and to
  try him upon a charge, that during the engagement between his
  Majesty’s Fleet, under his command, and the Fleet of the French
  King, on the 20th of May last, he did withdraw or keep back, and
  did not do his utmost to take, seize, and destroy, the ships
  of the French King, which it was his duty to have engaged, and
  to assist such of his Majesty’s ships as were engaged in fight
  with the French ships, which it was his duty to have assisted;
  and for that he did not do his utmost to relieve St. Philip’s
  Castle, in his Majesty’s island of Minorca, then besieged by the
  forces of the French King, but acted contrary to, and in breach
  of, his Majesty’s command; and having heard the evidence and the
  prisoner’s defence, and very maturely and thoroughly considered
  the same, they are unanimously of opinion, that he did not do his
  utmost to relieve St. Philip’s Castle, and also that during the
  engagement between his Majesty’s Fleet under his command and the
  Fleet of the French King on the 20th of May last, he did not do
  his utmost to take, seize, and destroy, the ships of the French
  King, which it was his duty to have engaged, and to assist such
  of his Majesty’s ships as were engaged, in fight with the French
  ships, which it was his duty to have assisted; and do therefore
  unanimously agree that he falls under part of the twelfth article
  of an Act of Parliament of the twenty-second year of his present
  Majesty, for amending, explaining, and reducing into one Act of
  Parliament the laws relating to the government of his Majesty’s
  ships, vessels, and forces by sea; and as that article positively
  prescribes death, without any alternative left to the discretion
  of the Court, under any variation of circumstances, the Court do
  therefore hereby unanimously adjudge the said Admiral John Byng
  to be shot to death, at such time, and on board such ship, as the
  Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty shall direct.

  “But as it appears by the evidence of Lord Robert Bertie,
  Lieutenant-Colonel Smith, Captain Gardiner, and other officers
  of the ship, who were near the person of the Admiral, that they
  did not perceive any backwardness in him during the action, or
  any marks of fear or confusion, either from his countenance or
  behaviour, but that he seemed to give his orders coolly and
  distinctly, and did not seem wanting in personal courage, and
  from other circumstances, the Court do not believe that his
  misconduct arose either from cowardice or disaffection, and do
  therefore unanimously think it their duty, most earnestly to
  recommend him as a proper object of mercy.”

The sentence was accompanied by the following earnest

  “To the right honourable the Lords Commissioners for executing
  the office of Lord High Admiral of Great Britain, &c.

  “We, the underwritten, the President and Members of the
  Court-Martial assembled for the trial of Admiral Byng, believe it
  unnecessary to inform your Lordships, that in the whole course
  of this long trial, we have done our utmost endeavour to come at
  truth, and to do the strictest justice to our country, and the
  prisoner; but we cannot help laying the distresses of our minds
  before your Lordships on this occasion, in finding ourselves
  under a necessity of condemning a man to death, from the great
  severity of the twelfth Article of War, part of which he falls
  under, and which admits of no mitigation, even if the crime
  should be committed by an error in judgment only; and therefore,
  for our own consciences sakes, as well as in justice to the
  prisoner, we pray your Lordships, in the most earnest manner, to
  recommend him to his Majesty’s clemency.

      “We are, my Lords, &c. &c.”
          Signed by the whole Court.

From this sentence and this letter, it appears that Mr. Byng was
acquitted, in the fullest manner, of cowardice, by men who (to say
the best of them) were too scrupulous to acquit of a crime of which
they thought him guilty, when they imagined it was their duty to
condemn him for another crime, of which, it seems, they did not
think him guilty. For thus unbiassed posterity will undoubtedly
judge of those men. If there was any meaning in their strange
procedure, it must have been this:--They thought the Admiral guilty
of an error in judgment; and as from an error in judgment he had
not performed all they supposed he might have done, they held him
to blame--and then, believing that the Article of War intended to
inflict death on all kinds of blame, they considered under what
chapter of blame to rank Mr. Byng’s error. _Disaffection_ it was
not, _cowardice_ it was not; the Article named but a third species,
and that being _neglect_, these honest men agreed that a want of
judgment was nearest related to _neglect_, and for that condemned

This reasoning, I presume, is the best defence that could be made
for these expounders of naval law. An anecdote, much asserted at
the time, belongs to this part of the proceeding. When the severer
part of the Court (the steady part of Admiral Boscawen’s foretold
majority) found great difficulty to wring from their associates
acquiescence in condemnation, they are said to have seduced the
latter by promising on their part, if Mr. Byng was condemned, to
sign so favourable a representation of his case, that it should be
impossible but he must be pardoned. If anything could excuse men
for condemning a person whom they thought innocent, it would be
this, because there is nothing more uncommon, I might almost say,
more unheard of, than the execution of a criminal, when his Judge
strongly recommends him to mercy. If this bargain for blood was
suggested by the return of the Courier who was dispatched by the
Court-Martial for illumination--but I will not make surmises--the
late Ministers had sufficiently barricaded the gates of mercy when
they engaged the King in that promise to the city of London; and
whoever will read the inhuman letters of their tool, Cleland, the
Secretary of the Admiralty, will be a competent judge of what mercy
Mr. Byng had to expect after condemnation.

The first flame lighted by this extraordinary sentence was the
dissatisfaction it occasioned in the Navy, when they found such
a construction of the twelfth Article, as made it capital for an
officer to want, what he could not command, judgment. Admiral West
threatened to resign if it was not altered. But they who had power
to enforce execution on such an interpretation, took care not
to consent to any correction. With what face could they put the
Admiral to death, if they owned that the Article on which he was
condemned wanted amendment?

Before I proceed to the consequences of this affair, I will say a
few words, as I promised, on the engagement itself; though with
regard to the fate of Mr. Byng, I think it ceased from this moment
to be any part of the question. If he was guilty of any fault, his
most conscientious Judges thought it so small an one, that they
did not hesitate to censure the law itself for blending it with
capital crimes: and it will appear as fully that the duration of it
was as short, as the nature of it was light; not extending beyond
very few minutes. Had he been guilty of all that cowardice which
had first been charged on him, and of which he was so honourably
acquitted, it would still have been a notorious violation of the
custom of England, (and the common law itself is scarce more than
custom,) to put him to death after such earnest recommendation of
his Judges--Judges under no influence of the favourable sort!

The quintessence of the engagement, as shortly as I can state
it, I take to have been this:--After the signal for charging was
made, the Captain of the Intrepid bore down in a wrong direction,
by which she was exposed to be raked by the enemy. Admiral West,
who commanded that division, followed the same direction, rather
than decline the engagement. This was brave: he was not the
Commander-in-Chief. Mr. Byng, who was, perceived the disadvantage
of this manœuvre; yet he, too, bore down, but more slowly. In his
course, the Princess Louisa and the Trident lay in his way, and he
was obliged to disengage himself from them first, and then crowded
all the sail he could. As the French had engaged in earnest, and
had not suffered, he could not have the least suspicion that they
would give over so abruptly; but while he was involved with his
own ships, they had prepared to retreat, and had already left him
at such a distance, that he thought it in vain to follow them that
night. Afterwards, on a review of his fleet, he found so much
damage done to what was before deplorable, expected so little to be
able to raise the siege, and what in my opinion he dreaded with
most reason, and which was equally the object of his orders, feared
so much for Gibraltar, that he determined to retire thither, and
had the concurrence of Admiral West.

I have said that one part of the Admiral’s defence does not appear
to be well reasoned; I mean, his belief that though he had beaten
the French, he should not have saved the island. General Blakeney,
too, deposed at the trial, that if the whole detachment ordered
from Gibraltar had been landed at the time the Fleet appeared
off Mahon, it would have been insignificant: an opinion, in my
judgment, as wrong as the Admiral’s. At last the fortress fell from
want of hands--what had they suffered? a reinforcement would have
prolonged the siege, as the defeat of the French Fleet might have
starved the besiegers, if in either case a new squadron had been
sent from England. To conclude all their efforts insufficient,
both the Admiral and General must have believed that the English
Ministry would have continued as remiss and culpable as they _had_

With regard to the sentence, the essence of it turns on the very
few minutes in which the Admiral neglected to make all possible
sail--and for _that_ he died! I, however, shocked at the severity
of his fate, am still impartial; and with the truth that becomes
an historian, from the most respectable down to so trifling a
writer as myself, shall fairly declare all I know and observed:
and difficult it would be for any man to have watched with more
industry of attention even the most minute circumstance of this
dark affair from the instant the sentence was made public. From
that unremitted observation I formed this opinion:--Mr. Byng, by
nature a vain man, by birth the son of a hero, was full of his
own glory, and apprehensive of forfeiting any portion of what had
descended on him. He went, conscious of the bad condition of his
ships and men, to dispute that theatre with the French, on which
his father had shone over the Spaniards; and he went persuaded
that he should find a superior enemy. He dreaded forfeiting the
reputation of forty years of brave service; he looked on Minorca as
lost, and thought it could not be imputed to him. He had sagacity
enough (without his strict orders) to comprehend, that if Gibraltar
followed St. Philip’s, which he knew would be the case if he was
defeated, that loss would be charged on him: and after all, to
mislead him, he had the addition of believing that he had satisfied
his duty by obliging the French to retire. This seems to have been
the man:--He was, if I may be allowed the expression, a coward of
his glory, not of his life; with regard to that, poor man! he had
an opportunity of showing he was a hero.

It is not to boast any sagacity, and yet perhaps it required some
extent of it to exceed Mr. Byng’s enemies in discovering a fault
which escaped their acuteness--but I did remark an instance that
was never observed nor charged on him, in which he was undoubtedly
guilty. In the course of the inquiry into the loss of Minorca,
(to be mentioned hereafter,) a letter from the Admiral was read
carelessly in a very thin Committee, which confirmed what the
Ministry did charge him with--delay; and fully explanatory of that
vain-glory which I have described as characteristic of the man. In
that letter he told the Admiralty, that though their orders were
so pressing, and the wind was fair, he did presume to stay for
final orders--slightly he hinted, and seemingly without connecting
it with his delay, that he thought he should have the rank of

When this letter was produced, the Admiral was dead; new objects
had engaged the minds of men; and this is not a nation where any
impressions engrave themselves deeply. If I have mentioned it now,
it was to demonstrate my own impartial veracity: and yet, though
the delay was blameable, no consequences flowed from it. If he had
lingered, it had been but for a day or two: he had arrived in time
to fight the French, and could but have fought them, arriving a
day or two sooner. Dispatched so late as he was, he never could
have reached Minorca early enough to disturb their landing. This
reasoning, therefore, is mere speculation, and not intended to
absolve or condemn the Admiral, the justice of whose fate, I again
declare, in my opinion by no means depended on the innocence or
criminality of his behaviour: the iniquity of his suffering on such
a sentence, and after such a recommendation of his Judges, gave the
tone to his catastrophe.

I must interrupt the sequel of his story to relate a few preceding
and intervening passages.

Two battalions, each composed of a thousand Highlanders, were
raised for the service of America; the command given to the brother
of Lord Eglinton, and to the Master of Lovat, the son of the famous
old chieftain, who had suffered on Tower-hill after the late
Rebellion. The young man had been forced into the same cause by his
father, had been attainted and pardoned, but was never permitted
to go into the Highlands; and though he received a pension from
the Crown, he was allowed nothing from his paternal estate. His
jurisdiction too had been abolished with the rest. This man was now
selected by the Duke of Argyle, who told the Government, that under
no other person the clan of Frazers would enlist. Stanley, formerly
connected with Pitt, now attached to the Duke of Newcastle, under
whose Ministry he was a candidate for the Admiralty, took severe
notice of this measure in a very good speech, and roundly charged
it on Pitt’s flattery to the Duke of Argyle. He expressed great
dissatisfaction on the admission of disaffected Highlanders into
the Army, said if Frazer had any experience, he had learned
it in Rebellion; spared not the Scotch, and yet said, his was
not prejudice, nor did he contract notions of any country by
walking through the streets of it. This glanced at Pitt’s former
declamation against Oxford. Stanley was ungracious in his manner,
but had sense and knowledge, heightened with much oddness, and
supported by great personal courage. Lord George Sackville defended
the measure, and asked why rank should not be allowed to these
extemporaneous officers, as it had been to the Colonels of the new
regiments in the late Rebellion? This slip was taken up by Lord
Granby, who said he was sorry to hear Rebels compared to Lords who
had taken up arms to crush the Rebellion. Fox, not to be outstriped
in homage to Argyle, justified the measure on the necessity of it.

January 19th.--The estimate of the Ordnance was read. The
extravagant expense of the late camp at Byfleet, where the Duke of
Marlborough had played with the image of war, was disguised and
lumped under various services. Charles Townshend moved to have the
articles separated, that the truth might be known.

21st.--Mr. Legge opened part of the supplies, of which one
ingredient was a Guinea Lottery, the scheme of a visionary Jew,
who long pestered the public with his reveries. The plan failed.
Legge ostentatiously subscribed for a thousand tickets, and engaged
his chief, the Duke of Devonshire, to do the same: but Legge took
care privately to vend his own number, and was no loser. Beckford
proposed new kinds of taxes on tea and salt, which were not
accepted. Mr. Pitt, in the meantime, was confined. The patience and
complaisance of the Tories were remarkable, who, notwithstanding
the instructions which they had instructed their constituents to
send them for speedy inquiries into the late mismanagement, revered
the sick bed of the gouty Minister, and presumed to tap no inquiry
in his absence. What accession of dignity to him? what reflection
on the capacity or integrity of his associates, who were not
deemed qualified to scrutinize without him the conduct of their

26th.--The Militia Bill was again offered to the House. Mr. Conway
opened in a very able manner another plan of his own for raising
a Militia from the capital towns. Mr. Fox supported it. Charles
Townshend broke out into a vehemence of passion, on Fox’s saying
that the former Bill ought to be altered to make it palatable
to the Lords, whom Townshend handled very roughly. Lord George
Sackville opposed him, but took care not to show more partiality to
Mr. Conway, whose plan he disapproved. The consideration of the
two schemes was deferred till the Committee.

Charles, at the instigation of George Townshend, continued to
sift the estimate of the Ordnance. They found that the Duke of
Marlborough had charged his own pay at ten shillings a day. No
master of the Ordnance had received so much, except Duc Schomberg,
who had no regiment. The great Duke of Marlborough, the late Duke
of Argyle, the Duke of Montagu, three men sufficiently attentive
to their interest, had touched but four shillings. The Townshends
clamoured on this, and the Duke of Marlborough refunded all that he
had received above four shillings a day.


[73] The Czarina Elizabeth, who only confined the Princess Anne of

[74] Wife of Sir Edward Montagu.

[75] Sister of Admiral Byng.


  Contract of Alderman Baker for Victualling the
  Troops--Parliamentary Inquiries limited to Minorca--Byng’s
  Sentence produces various impressions--It is referred to
  the Judges--Conduct of the Judges on the Case referred to
  them--Conduct of Fox--The Admiralty signs the Sentence--The
  Sentence notified to the House of Commons--Mr. Pitt demands Money
  for Hanover--Lord George Sackville declares for Pitt--His Motives
  for so doing--Approaching Execution of Byng--Debate in the House
  of Commons on his Sentence--Members of the Court-Martial desirous
  to be absolved from their Oaths--The Author urges Keppel to
  apply to the House of Commons--Sir Francis Dashwood applies for
  Keppel--The King’s Message--Court-Martial Bill passes the House.

Feb. 7th.--The younger of the brothers carried the war into another
quarter, attacking Alderman Baker on a contract he had obtained
from the Government for victualling the troops in North America;
and falling severely on his uncle Newcastle, whom he abused, with
more outrage than wit, in a very florid strain of satiric irony.
Fox defended Baker; Nugent, his patron: Baker on a subsequent day
vindicated himself, and cleared the fairness of his contract.

George Townshend and the Tories were displeased with these
hostilities to Newcastle, who they feared would be driven to unite
with Fox, with whom the Duke consulted for the defence of Baker.
His Grace and Fox being already complicated in the late measures,
a new accession of common interest might renew their league. These
apprehensions operated so strongly on Fox’s enemies, that great
coldness was shown on the matter of inquiries; and when George
Townshend could no longer in decency defer to call for papers
previous to the examination, as he did at last, February 8th, the
inquisition seemed affectedly limited to the loss of Minorca, on
which subject, Newcastle and Fox had had leisure for months to
remove from all offices whatever papers could be supposed to affect
them. All discussion of the neglects in America, so extensive, so
numerous, and so easily to be proved, were cautiously avoided.
Indication sufficient, that the late Ministers had left no evidence
against themselves, was, that in a Parliament constituted almost
entirely of their friends, not a single objection was made by
any of their dependents against the scrutiny into their conduct.
The most upright Ministers had never met popular attacks with
indifference--were Newcastle, Anson, Fox, more bold, or more
innocent, than any of their predecessors? The farce of national
justice had never appeared in more glaring colours: Mr. Byng had
been kept a close prisoner from the instant of his arrest; thirty
witnesses that he had demanded had been denied to him; every
evidence that could possibly affect him had been produced--when the
more powerful criminals were to be charged, a single part of their
administration was selected, papers were demanded by guess, and it
was left to the discretion of offices full of clerks, all creatures
of the late Ministers, to send, omit, secrete, mangle, what part of
those papers they pleased. No Committee was appointed to conduct
the inquiry, nobody empowered to procure or manage evidence, or
even to examine whether what was so partially demanded, was not
still more partially granted. Mr. Pitt protracted a commodious
gout--George Townshend, the other mock-champion of the people, was
negotiating with Lord Granby, to unite the patriot Minister with
the late chief of the criminal Administration.

During these clandestine treaties and juggles, the sentence
pronounced on the Admiral grew a serious affair. The first
impression taken was, that he must be pardoned. Many lawyers
declared the sentence was illegal: at St. James’s it was received
as definitive: the Sovereign, the Duke, Princess Emily, and their
train, treated the notion of mercy as ridiculous; and no whispers
from any of their late partizans breathed a more gentle spirit on
the Court. At the Admiralty, on the contrary, a very different
temper discovered itself. Admiral West, the friend of Pitt, and
relation of Lord Temple, loudly demanded a revision of the 12th
Article; and though, he said, he would not decline immediate
service to which he was appointed, he declared his resolution
of resigning, unless the Article was abrogated. Admiral Smith,
natural brother of Lord Lyttelton and Sir Richard, who had been
President of the Court-Martial, and was really a humane though
weak man, wrote the most earnest letters to his brothers, to
interest themselves in the safety of Mr. Byng, as the only method
of quieting his (Smith’s) conscience. The Peer, blindly devoted to
Newcastle and Hardwicke, returned an answer, that, to say no worse
of it, did not breathe more humanity into a conscience already

Sir Richard, on the contrary, interested himself warmly for the
condemned; and Lord Temple took part enough to make it a measure in
the Admiralty to refuse to sign the warrant for execution, unless
they were better satisfied on the legality of the sentence--if
their consciences could be tranquillized by such opiates as the
casuists of Westminster Hall could administer, Lord Hardwicke had
no apprehension but the warrant might still be signed. Accordingly,
the King referred the sentence to the Judges; and as there was no
difficulty but what they could solve by pronouncing an absurdity
legal, they soon declared, that a sentence, which acquitted of
two crimes, and yet condemned, without specifying a third, was
very good law. And thus, without an instance of interpreting a
_new_, _obscure_, and _doubtful_ statute in the most unfavourable
sense, and contrary to the stream of precedents by which criminals
recommended to mercy were constantly pardoned, the people of
England (that some revengeful men might be gratified, and some
guilty men might have their crimes atoned by the sacrifice of
another man) obtained the alarming precedent of a sentence
pronounced by implication! And this was the more alarming, as it
was known that the word _negligence_[76] had been proposed in the
Court-Martial, and had been rejected by them. Consequently, they
had thought it their duty to condemn for _no_ crime; and the Judges
discovered the virtue of a crime in words, which the persons who
framed the sentence had intended should _not_ express it.

What added to the criminality of the Judges was, that the
young Lord Torrington, the Admiral’s nephew, having petitioned
the Admiralty for leave for his uncle to appeal against so
unprecedented a sentence, they desired to see his reasons, and
having received them, laid them before the King and Council, by
whom they were referred to the Judges. The Judges, who had desired
to see all the sentences in capital cases that had been given
by Courts-Martial since the Revolution, excused themselves from
examining Lord Torrington’s arguments, equally referred to them
by the Council. One can hardly avoid saying on such inconsistent
behaviour, that the Judges knew what was the inclination of the
Council on the different papers referred to their consideration;
and that they accordingly rejected an appeal from a novel sentence,
which they pronounced law from precedents which had all taken their
rise under the abrogated law.

There had been periods when Fox would not have suffered such
casuistry in the profession to pass uncensured:--what was the part
he now took?--It was not, in truth, an age to expect that a Regulus
should exhort his country to pursue measures which would advance
his own destruction. Few men would devote themselves, when other
victims were marked for sacrifice. We will suppose, that Mr. Fox,
implicated in the miscarriages of the last year, might not be sorry
to see the busy timidity of Newcastle, or the dark councils of
Hardwicke, transferring his, their own, and Anson’s neglects and
mismanagements to Mr. Byng, and sweeping Court, Navy, Parliament,
and Law, into a combination to cut off a man whom they had made
obnoxious to the nation, because he was so to themselves--but what
more crooked policy was that, which, not content with sheltering
itself behind Mr. Byng, sought to ruin Mr. Pitt too, by painting
him to the multitude as the champion of the condemned Admiral? It
is irksome to me to tell what whispers, what open speeches, what
libels, Mr. Fox and his emissaries vented to blacken Mr. Pitt and
Lord Temple, for feeling symptoms of humanity towards a traduced, a
condemned, a friendless man! Hardwicke moved steadily towards his
point, the death of the criminal:--Fox sported with the life of
that criminal, and turned mercy itself into an engine of faction
to annoy his antagonist. Had Mr. Pitt effectually interposed,
had the seal been set by his influence to Mr. Byng’s pardon,
(however generous morality would scorn the office,) policy might
have excused Mr. Fox for traducing such humanity:--but previously
to make mercy impossible, by making it dangerous, by making it
odious!--I know not where ambition would stop, if it could leap
over such sacred sensations!

February 16th.--The day after the Judges had given their opinion
on the sentence, the King in Council referred that opinion to the
Admiralty. The King signs no sentence himself: where he does not
interpose his prerogative of pardon, execution follows of course.
In naval affairs, the Lords of the Admiralty sign the warrant. Lord
Temple had dropped hints to the King in favour of Byng, but with
more reserve with regard to the prisoner, than towards the majesty
of the sovereign, to whom at one time he said in his closet, with
a contemptuous sneer, “And if he dies well, what will _you_ say
then?” It was applied so _ad hominem_, that the King interpreted
it as a reflection on his own courage. The Admiralty thus pushed,
and weighing on one hand the unpopularity of a direct refusal to
sign, and on the other the authority of the Judges, which had been
given at their request, determined to comply. That very night Lord
Temple, Dr. Hay, and Elliot, signed the sentence, and sent it to
Portsmouth, ordering execution on the 28th. Admiral Forbes, in
every part of his conduct uniformly amiable and upright, refused
peremptorily to sign it.

While Mr. Byng was thus pursued or given up by his countrymen,
our enemies acted a very different part. Voltaire, hearing of
the Admiral’s trial, sent from Switzerland to the Court-Martial,
a letter which he had casually received some time before from
Marshal Richelieu, in which the latter spoke with encomiums on
the behaviour of the English Commander:--but they, who had been
so ready to censure Mr. Byng on the dispatch of his antagonist
La Galissonière, were far from being equally forward to give any
weight to Richelieu’s testimonial in his favour.

Feb. 17th.--Mr. Hunter, of the Admiralty, notified to the House
of Commons the sentence pronounced against one of their members.
The Speaker produced a long roll of precedents for expelling him
before execution, lest his disgrace should reflect on the House.
Lord Strange objected, good-naturedly, that this would be heaping
cruelty, and seemed to exclude mercy, while yet there was an
opening to it. Sir Francis Dashwood, a man distinguished by no
milkiness of temper, connected with no friends of the prisoner,
took this up strongly, and moved to call for the letter of the
Court-Martial. Fox objected, that this would look like a censure
on that Court. Sir Francis denied that he meaned it in that
light. His view, he said, was, by considering the warmth of their
recommendation, to lead to some application for mercy. Mr. Pitt
seemed to favour that purpose, and lashed _novel_ proceedings in
Courts-Martial; and said he hoped that the letter, when produced,
might lead the House to do something on that mortal twelfth
Article: and he mentioned with disdain anonymous letters that he
had received, threatening him as a favourer of Mr. Byng. Fox, to
waive all humane impressions, called for the Order of the Day. Sir
Francis would have renewed his Motion, but the House did not seem
inclined to receive it; and it was lost.

Mr. Pitt had come that very day to the House of Commons for the
first time since his illness, and as it was the first time since he
was Minister of his acting there in office, it could not fail of
being remarked, that he dated his Administration with a demand of
money for Hanover. He delivered a message from the King, desiring
support for his Electoral Dominions and for the King of Prussia.
One cannot say which was most ridiculous, the richest Prince in
Europe begging alms for his own country, or the great foe of that
country becoming its mendicant almoner. The next day he opened
the message, the purport of which was to ask 200,000_l._; and
he endeavoured to torture some consistence out of his conduct,
sometimes refining, and when that would not do, glossing it over
with what he would have put off for confident honesty. He succeeded
better in attempting to divert reflections from himself to the
Empress-queen, who, he said, if it had not been for the blood and
treasure of Britain, would not have had it in her power to be
ungrateful now.

He was seconded by Lord George Sackville, who affected to say he
spoke only for form; yet talked forcibly on his _now_ seeing a
prospect of carrying on the war with success, as great part of the
money was to be given to the King of Prussia--a better method
than subsidiary treaties. Fox acted moderation; said, he should
never provoke altercations, nor yet would ever decline them: it was
sufficient to him that his part had been a _consistent_ one. He had
been told, indeed, that the German measures of last year would be a
mill-stone about the neck of the Minister:--he hoped _this German_
measure would be an ornament about the Minister’s neck! It was in
truth the greatest instance of courage and capacity, and promised
stability to Mr. Pitt’s Administration. Pitt replied, that he only
rose again to show he would keep his temper and his word; though
Mr. Fox’s reflections were but an ugly presage of his kind wishes
to the new Administration. For Minister--the word never belonged
so little to anybody as to himself: he had neither ministerial
power nor influence. All he had done was, having had an opportunity
of saying, “This I will do--that I will never do.” The money was
granted _nemine contradicente_--even the Tories agreeing to it--I
suppose, to prove their consistence too.

One event in this Debate requires a comment: Lord George Sackville
declared himself for Mr. Pitt: he had seemed before to attach
himself to Fox. This was the history of his variation:--the Primate
had come over to offer his service to the new Lord Lieutenant; and
both he and Lord George had paid court to Mr. Fox, and still more
to Mr. Rigby, the Duke of Bedford’s Minister. The two former had
received their assiduities cordially; Bedford himself, of a shy,
uncommunicative nature, had treated the Primate with obstinate
coldness, and absolutely declined on every occasion to talk to him
on Irish business. The Duke’s own plan was to steer impartially
between the two factions; at least for his first session.

Fox, early in the winter, had made great application to Lord George
Sackville to move for retaining the Hessians, which being agreeable
to the wishes of the Whigs, the new Ministers would have been
beaten before they could bring on any of their popular questions.
Lord George demanded previously, that the Duke of Bedford should
engage to leave the Primate one of the Lords Justices; which would
have been granted, but the Duke of Bedford himself hung off; for
though he was willing to leave him so, he would not date his
government with a promise that he thought would be so unpopular.
From that time, Fox had either not fixed what should be the Duke
of Bedford’s plan, or had been so occupied with his own situation
and animosities, as not sufficiently to attend to Ireland. Rigby,
devoted to Fox, and thinking himself sure of the Primate whenever
he should please to want him, or concluding him totally fallen, and
that his own best art of pleasing Fox would be to fling himself
into the opposite faction, headed by Lord Kildare, who had married
the sister of Lady Caroline Fox; for these, or some of these
reasons, he had not had the precaution to model his master to the
Primate’s views; who, finding himself rejected, or entertained so
as to be rejected afterwards, instantly negotiated with Pitt, and
worked his friend Lord George to list under the same colours: and
other reasons concurred to facilitate that connexion.

Pitt, on the commencement of his Ministry, had professed to
adhere to all his old declarations; and keeping himself retired
and secluded from all access, affected to attract no dependents,
to form no party. The Tories, who heard his professions, and saw
him condescend to no Court-arts, were charmed with a Minister
who seemed as visionary as themselves, and who threw as many
difficulties on Government as when he was in Opposition;--but the
Tories alone, as Lord George knew, could no more support a Minister
than they could demolish one; and deeming Mr. Pitt’s system too
romantic for duration, Lord George had leaned towards Fox, as
made up of more practicable elements. Indeed, when Bedford proved
as untamed as Pitt had been; and when Pitt condescended to make
room in his virtue for Hanover, Lord George, (as the Primate with
wonderful frankness avowed to Fox,) finding that Mr. Pitt “would
now pursue human measures by human means,” made no difficulty of
uniting with him. Lord George gave the same account to Fox too.
Another reason of mortal complexion had probably some sway with
Lord George--of nothing he was so jealous as of Conway. Fox had
supported the latter’s plan of Militia; and the Duke of Richmond,
brother of Lady Caroline Fox, was on the point of marrying Lady
Mary Bruce, daughter-in-law of Mr. Conway. If Lord George then
looked on the connexion of Fox and Conway as imminent and certain,
no wonder he devoted himself to the contrary faction.

As the day approached for the execution of the Admiral, symptoms
of an extraordinary nature discovered themselves. Lord Hardwicke
had forgot to make the Clergy declare murder innocent, as the
Lawyers had been induced to find law in what no man else could find
sense. Lord Anson himself, in midnight fits of weakness and wine,
held forth at Arthur’s on his anxiety to have Mr. Byng spared; and
even went so far as to break forth abruptly to Lord Halifax, the
Admiral’s relation by marriage, “Good God! my Lord, what shall
we do to save poor Mr. Byng?” The Earl replied, “My Lord, if you
really mean it, no man can do so much towards it as yourself.”
Keppel, a friend of Anson, and one of the Judges, grew restless
with remorse. Lest these aches of conscience should be contagious,
the King was plied with antidotes. Papers were posted up with
paltry rhymes, saying,

      “Hang Byng,
      Or take care of your King.”

Anonymous letters were sent to terrify him if he pardoned;
and, what could not be charged, too, on mob-libellists, he was
threatened, that unless Mr. Byng was shot, the city would refuse to
raise the money for Hanover.

22nd.--The Militia Bill was considered in the Committee. Mr. Conway
spoke for an hour very ably, to show how impracticable the plan
of Townshend’s Bill was, how easy of execution his own, and then
with modesty withdrew it. The Dissenters in some places petitioned
against the exercise on Sundays, but their objections were not
supported nor regarded.

On the 23rd, Keppel, More, and Dennis, three of the Court-Martial,
waited on Lord Temple, and besought him to renew their application
to the Throne for mercy; and the same day Sir Francis Dashwood
acquainted the House that he intended to move a consideration
of the twelfth Article. He said he had felt great animosity
against the unhappy sufferer from the first representations; but
his opinion was totally changed by the trial. That at most he
could only impute misjudgment to Mr. Byng. To the Court-Martial
he must impute it more strongly, who, he thought, had condemned
the Admiral unjustly. No wilful error appeared against him. His
manœuvre had been applauded: was nothing left to his judgment?
Does the twenty-fifth resolution of the Court prove that he was
negligent? The French had not waited for him: when they did not,
he crowded more sail. The Council of War they never mentioned! Did
not Mr. West approve the return to Gibraltar? Then, with increase
of seriousness, he said, the Admiral’s blood will lie at the door
of those who do not explain what they meaned by their sentence,
of which no man else could give an interpretation. And it was the
more necessary they should, as they had brought on officers an
impossibility of serving under the twelfth Article. He reverted
to the conduct of the Admiral, recapitulated some of the chief
passages of the trial, urged that there had been an appearance of
judgment in his conduct, which had only been defeated by the ships
of the French being cleaner and in better order.

One witness had deposed, that there appeared no backwardness in the
Admiral in coming to action; then, for God’s sake, of what was he
condemned? Not a murmur was heard on his return to Gibraltar. It
seems he did not hoist his top-gallant sail--_that_ was, not doing
his utmost! What a gross, shocking mistake of the Court-Martial,
to think that the twelfth Article reached to this want of a
top-gallant sail! The letter to the Admiralty he concluded had
been laid before his Majesty, where he hoped the great severity of
a blundering sentence would be properly considered--for, when it
came to be considered and construed, could any man living suppose
that the Court-Martial intended to express any blame but of error
of judgment? Sure they were at liberty to explain this! It stood in
the law that they might, but they must first be empowered by Act
of Parliament to disclose what had passed amongst them. He spoke
to their feeling, and hoped to hear the opinions of others on this
cruel sentence.

Lord Barrington rose, as he said, to speak only to the Motion on
the twelfth Article, and should lay Mr. Byng entirely out of the
question, on whose conduct he, being a landsman, could not form
an opinion: whatever favourable circumstances there were in his
case, he hoped had been, and would be represented. The Article
he justified on the necessity that had called for it. The last
war had set out with conduct at sea not very honourable, yet no
Court-Martial would condemn the offenders. This grew to be the
universal complaint. It was said nobody would be hanged but for
high treason. In a former war Kirby and Wade had been brought in
guilty of disaffection to their Admiral, and had suffered. If
the present Court-Martial misunderstood the Article in question,
neither could one be framed which they would not misunderstand. He
asked if this was a time to relax or enforce discipline? and moved
for the Order of the Day.

Doddington replied, that he had no interest in this question, but
as it touched Mr. Byng; in whose cause national justice, public
and private compassion, were concerned too. That it was impossible
to argue that ambiguities ought not to be cleared up. That for fear
of bringing on a question, he would not call for the sentence; but
he should be glad to know of what the Admiral stood condemned.
He _did_ know of what he was _not_ condemned; and that supported
him, as it was what stained neither the soldier nor the subject.
_Without doors the sentence was thought extremely cruel; and well
might people think so, when the Judges who pronounced it declared
they thought so themselves._ Perhaps it might be deemed advisable
not to carry it into execution: it certainly would be mercy to the
Judges, and to the distress of their consciences; nor would clash
with the King’s promise, who certainly never engaged his royal word
to adopt the worst construction of a doubtful law. He wished to
hear something thrown out for compassion.

This humane and pathetic speech--to the shame of our country I
may call it this _bold_ speech, considering in how unpopular
circumstances it was made--was received with an attention and
sensibility, which showed that truth and justice had been
strangers, [who] to be approved, wanted only to be known.

Lord Strange said, he was at a loss to account for the
Court-Martial being so affected. He thought the article plain
enough, and to revise it would be _more absurd than anything but
the sentence_. If the Court-Martial had done justice, how would it
be just to them to alter the Article? They had puzzled themselves,
and now the House was going to puzzle the service. We had no
pretence to retry the cause. (An odd argument, if the Court had
been puzzled, and had given an absurd sentence.) If the members
of the Court would apply separately for revision, they might. For
himself, he could not agree to weaken that Article; nor would it,
he believed, be to any purpose. He had never seen a sea-sentence
that a landsman could submit to. He wished the officers of the Navy
were to be tried by a jury.

Campbell, a most humane and honest man, but who had never forgiven
Mr. Pitt and the Grenvilles the share they had in overturning Sir
Robert Walpole, and who had steadily adhered to Mr. Pelham and Fox,
as successors of that Minister, could not help saying, that the
law declared no execution could follow a marine trial, till the
whole proceedings had been laid before the Admiralty. If _they_
thought injustice had been done to Mr. Byng, would not _they_ make
earnest application for mercy?--if they made none, what must be the

Beckford scrupled not to say, that the sentence was thought
_cruel_; and Pitt, though owning how sensibly he felt the
difficulty of speaking on that melancholy occasion, with true
spirit avowed himself on the favourable side. The sentence, he
said, had undergone discussion; for himself, he could never have
agreed to it; but he thought the Legislature had nothing to do to
advise the King on that his peculiar prerogative, mercy. He did
wish it might be extended to the prisoner; and owned he thought
_more good would come from mercy than rigour_. That it was more
likely to flow from his Majesty, if he was left entirely free. For
the Article, he did not wish, he said, to see discipline relaxed;
but no Article could be enforced but when it was intelligible. And
this being proved so obscure, it was not for the honour of national
justice, that a sentence, issuing from its obscurity, should be
carried into execution. Were Mr. Byng condemned of cowardice
or disaffection, he himself, though single, would petition for
execution. Of all men, the Commissioners of the Admiralty ought
the least to interpose. But what indeed could add weight in the
prisoner’s favour to the recommendation of his Judges?

Campbell, pursuing his blow, said, surely they who have all the
proofs before them are the properest to enforce the recommendation
of the Judges.

Sir Francis Dashwood, perceiving an impression of tenderness made,
and unwilling to drive a majority to rigour, by furnishing them
with the triumph of carrying a question, desired leave to withdraw
his Motion on the Article; when Fox, who chose to wear, like the
day, an aspect of compassion, and at the same time to fasten
difficulty and unpopularity on the new Minister and his friends,
rose to say, that he could not comprehend the delicacy of the
Admiralty in not laying their scruples before the King. That during
the nine years that himself had been Secretary at War, it had
been his constant practice on all Courts-Martial to acquaint the
King with any favourable circumstances that had appeared. That he
had always found his Majesty disposed to lenity, and when he said
nothing, the King would ask, “Have you nothing favourable to tell
me?” Silence always implied that there was nothing. If the Lords of
the Admiralty thought the Court-Martial meaned _error of judgment_,
they ought to tell the King so. Any one Lord of the Admiralty
might; Admiral Forbes might. That in signing the warrant, never
till now had been used the words, “It is his Majesty’s pleasure.”
He recommended it to them to consider the circumstances, and inform
the King of them.

Pitt, in reply, bad him consider all that had passed for the last
six months, and then judge if the Lords of the Admiralty were the
proper persons to make representations on this case. He had no
reason to expect any tenderness to himself or his friends; and,
indeed, he supposed this speech of Fox was calculated to throw them
under difficulties _in another place_. For himself, he had too
much awe on his mind, to make so free with descriptions, as Fox had
of personal colloquies.

Fox repeated, that this had been a very undue time to change the
words, “the King’s consent,” to “the King’s pleasure.” In all late
instances _pleasure_ had never been used. That in what he had said,
he had intended to agree with Mr. Pitt. On the present occasion he
thought it particularly the duty of the Admiralty to speak out.
And as to throwing them under difficulties, the more danger there
would be in their speaking out, the more it was their duty. And
to Mr. Pitt’s complaint of want of credit in the closet, he said,
there never wanted a grain of ministerial influence to incline his
Majesty to pardon.

Pitt asked, how Mr. Fox knew what might have passed on this
occasion, when not an iota had transpired? His insinuations had
been uncandid, nor had he egged Fox on to say what had fallen
from him. The Speaker interposed; said, he disapproved these
altercations, and begged they would only speak on what concerned
the public. Hunter and Elliot produced precedents to show they had
taken the word _pleasure_ from the minutes in the books of the
Admiralty. Prince George had particularly notified Queen Anne’s
_pleasure_ on Kirby and Wade: and the latter dropped, that it was
decided by political writers, that in general Commanders-in-Chief
should not be tried but for treachery. Lord Strange spoke to order,
and to have the question read, that these discussions might be
finished. The day concluded with Fox’s saying with great solemnity,
that he had not said, and he thanked God had not heard, a word to
exclude mercy--an asseveration he had better not have made. He
had fastened the duty of representation on the Admiralty; if they
applied for mercy, the odium would be theirs.--If they did not,
the King remained in possession of pleading; that as the Admiralty
had made no application for mercy, after being publicly exhorted
to it, it was evident that they had no favourable circumstances to

The next day Pitt did move the King for mercy, but was cut very
short; nor did his Majesty remember to ask his _usual_ question,
_whether there were any favourable circumstances_? The Duke of
Bedford, whose good heart broke from his connexions, applied
too, was better heard, but with no better success. Mrs. Osborn,
the Admiral’s sister, being advised to solicit the same Duke to
present a petition from her, he excused himself, nor in all the
openings to compassion that followed did his Grace take the least
part; though he had been one of the most vehement to condemn the
Court-Martial. He was always allowed by his governors to speak as
he thought--seldom to act as he spoke. The same day seven of the
Court-Martial applied to Lord Temple to intercede for mercy; he
reported their solicitation to the King, but to no purpose.

25th.--Admiral Norris went to George Grenville, and told him he had
something on his conscience which he wanted to utter, and desired
Mr. Grenville to apply to the House of Commons to absolve them
from their oath of secrecy. Grenville did not care to meddle in
it. Norris, Keppel, and Moore, mentioned it again to him at the
Admiralty that morning; and he declining it, Moore said to him
with wrath, “Then, Sir, the Admiral’s blood will not lie on us.”
It happened that Horace Walpole, who had taken this affair much
to heart, was not then in Parliament, having vacated his seat for
Castlerising, that he might be chosen at Lynn, by desire of the
corporation, in the room of his cousin, become a peer by the death
of his father, Lord Walpole. Coming late that day to the House,
though not a member, Horace Walpole was told of the application
that had been made to Mr. Grenville, and looking for him to try to
engage him to undertake the cause, Walpole was told that Mr. Keppel
desired to be absolved from his oath as well as Norris. Walpole ran
up into the gallery, and asked Keppel if it was true? and being
true, why he did not move the House himself? Keppel replied, that
he was unused to speak in public, but would willingly authorize
anybody to make application for him. “Oh! sir,” said Walpole, “I
will soon find you somebody;” and hurried him to Fox, who, Walpole
fondly imagined, could not in decency refuse such a request, and
who was the more proper, from his authority in the House, and as a
relation of Mr. Keppel. Fox was much surprised, knew not what to
determine, said he was uncertain--and left the House.

The time pressed, the Speaker was going to put the question for the
Orders of the Day, after which no new Motion can be made; it was
Friday too; the House would sit neither on Saturday nor Sunday, and
but a possibility of two days remained to intercept the execution,
which was to be on Monday; and the whole operation of what Keppel
should have to say, its effects, the pardon if procured, the
dispatch to Portsmouth, and the reprieve, all to be crowded into
so few hours! Walpole was in agony what step to take--at that
instant he saw Sir Francis Dashwood going up the House; he flew
down from the gallery, called Sir Francis, hurried the notification
to him, and Sir Francis, with the greatest quickness of tender
apprehension, (the Speaker had actually read the question and put
it while all this was passing,) called out from the floor before
he had time to take his place, “Mr. Speaker”--and then informed
the House of Mr. Keppel’s desire that some method might be found
of empowering him and the other members of the Court-Martial to
declare what had been their intention in pronouncing Mr. Byng

Sir John Philipps opposed the Motion, saying, the cause was not
before the House. George Townshend approved the question, saying he
seconded it, not pleading so much for mercy to the prisoner, as to
his Judges. Pitt rose and begged the House would consider seriously
before they proceeded on so nice a matter: he wished first to see
a direct application to the House. For himself, he should probably
smart for it; he had received a menacing letter that very morning.
He addressed himself to Keppel, wished he would break through his
bashfulness and rise: it would be a foundation to him to vote for
the Bill demanded; and then he should despise threats. Keppel rose.
Dennis, a member of the Court-Martial, and of Parliament, was
present, but had refused to join with Keppel in the application.
The latter spoke with great sense and seriousness; declared, he
did desire to be absolved from his oath; he had something on his
mind that he wished to say. Many others of the Court-Martial, he
said, had been with him that morning, and exhorted him to make the
demand. Sir Richard Lyttelton said, another had been with him to
the same end; and read a letter from the President, Admiral Smith,
entreating him to move in the same cause. He then injudiciously
went into the case of Mr. Byng, which, he said, he should think
murder, if this method was not followed. Ellis had difficulties,
he said; it ought to be known if the whole body desired this.
It ought to be considered, that their opinions had been given in
confidence of secrecy. Sir R. Lyttelton replied, Admiral Smith says
they are all willing to be dispensed from their oath.

Lord Strange said, he had always been averse to meddling with Mr.
Byng’s cause in Parliament, yet it was very difficult to avoid it,
now the Judges themselves desired it. To refuse this dispensation
to them would be a cruelty his blood ran cold at. Then the oath
of secrecy being read, Thornbagh, a foolish man, who knew to do
nothing but what he had sometimes seen done, moved for the Orders
of the Day. Sir Francis Dashwood reprimanded him severely; and the
House behaved with great decency: the Duke of Newcastle’s faction
with total silence. Campbell, whose natural goodness could not on
a surprise prefer the wrong side to the tender one, said, he rose
for fear of being included in his opinion of the other day. He
thought the Bill so necessary now, that he wished to have it read
three times directly. George Grenville thought the members of the
Court-Martial might speak without the Bill, as their oath only
forbad them to divulge the opinion of any single man. Lord George
Sackville was of the same opinion, and wished what had passed might
be communicated to his Majesty without any address in form.

Keppel professed he had still doubts whether he could speak
without a dispensing Act. Mr. Conway agreed with Lord George, and
thought that such members of the Court-Martial as were in town
ought to have a day to consider on it. Pitt said, he honoured
Mr. Keppel for his doubt; wished him to consult with his friends
that night; and told him, that in regard to them the House would
sit the next day. For himself, he should in their case have no
hesitation to speak without the Act, as they only desired to tell
where it was most proper for them to tell: he hoped they would
lay their sentiments at his Majesty’s feet the next morning. Some
other opinions of no consequence following, Lord George Sackville
begged the Debate might end, that Mr. Keppel might go immediately
and consult his friends. Sir Francis Dashwood said they were not
all in town; Mr. Keppel hoped if the major part were, it would be
sufficient. The Speaker proposed that nothing of what had passed
should be inserted in the votes.

26th.--A Cabinet Council was held to consider what was proper
to be done on Mr. Keppel’s demand. Pitt told the King, that the
House of Commons wished to have the Admiral pardoned. He replied
shrewdly and severely, “Sir, _you_ have taught me to look for
the sense of my subjects in another place than in the House of
Commons.”--However, it was determined that sentence should be
respited for a fortnight, till the Bill could be passed, and his
Majesty acquainted with what the members of the Court-Martial
had to say. A temporary reprieve was accordingly dispatched to
Portsmouth; and Mr. Pitt the same day delivered a message to the
House of Commons, that his Majesty having been informed that
a Member of that House had in his place declared that he had
something of weight to say, which it was proper his Majesty should
know, his Majesty had accordingly postponed execution till the
matter could be cleared up. It had been objected in Council, that
the words _Member in his place_ would give offence, as unusual and
inconsistent with the liberty of speech in Parliament, the Crown
being supposed to have no knowledge or cognizance of what is said
there. Pitt treated the objection with scorn; and, unluckily,
commenced his Administration with a German subsidy and a breach of

Fox had immediate notice by Rigby from the Duke of Bedford of
what had passed in Council, and came armed to attack Pitt on this
indiscretion. Pitt had no sooner delivered the Royal Message,
than Fox rose cavilling. He desired to have the Message read
again:--there were words in it that struck his ear in a very
extraordinary manner! _The King having been informed that a
Member in his place!_ Who informed him? Who betrayed to the Crown
what was said in Parliament? What Minister was so ignorant as to
advise the Crown to take notice of having had such intelligence?
Did Ministers dare to avow that they made representations of the
speeches of particular men? Indeed, it had now been done for a
laudable purpose; but by the same rule might be practised for a
bad one; and on no account must be suffered to strengthen into a
precedent. He desired to be showed one instance since the reign of
James the First, where the privileges of Parliament had been so
sported with.

Pitt replied with great indignation, that the time had been too
pressing to consult precedents. He had not thought the life of a
man was to be trifled with while clerks were searching records.
He had founded himself on a peculiarity of case, that was its own
precedent, and could be so to no other: a precedent that could
never be extended but by a wicked Parliament. He had been doing his
duty in Parliament the day before, had heard the momentous doubts
of Mr. Keppel, and had represented them:--_he should have been
ashamed to run away basely and timidly, and hide his head, as if
he had murdered somebody under a hedge_. It had been the sense of
the House, that what had passed should be laid before his Majesty;
and he had accordingly thought it _his_ duty to represent it. What
would Mr. Fox have done? _not_ have represented it? “You, sir,”
said he, to the Chair, “may enter it with proper caution.” He
appealed to the House, if what he had done had not been directly
implied; and concluded, that he was ready to undergo the correction
of the House.

Fox replied with as much temper as the occasion seemed to call for
resentment, (but it is not always true that one is most angry when
one is most in the wrong,) that he did not think his observation
had been indecent. That he would now say nothing to Mr. Pitt’s
charge, but would prove his own conduct good-natured. Had he said
some things that Mr. Pitt had said, he should have thought his
nature base. It had not been necessary to express _a member of
the House in his place_. Yet if the Speaker could think of any
palliative way of entering it in the journals, he should never
think of it more.

Pitt said, the manner had been chosen to show the public that
every method had been taken to ease the mind of his Majesty: and
Lord Strange bore him testimony, that the communication had been
intended by the House: and however Parliament would take it, he
knew it was manly and right.

Mr. Keppel then said, that the definitions given the day before of
the oath had engaged his utmost attention: and he had represented
as well as he could to some of his brethren what latitude it had
been thought they might take in dispensing with it: but they were
not altered in the least, and till an absolving Act should pass,
could say nothing.

“Do they still desire the Act?” said Lord Strange. “Could
anybody,” replied Keppel, “mention what weight they had on their
minds, and not desire it still?”

The Speaker then, trimming between Pitt and Fox, declared himself
extremely hurt with the words, pronounced them wrong, and of most
dangerous consequence, and what had always been reckoned breaches
of privilege;--he was satisfied there had been no bad intention in
it. He knew Mr. Pitt would as soon lose his hand, as violate the
rights of Parliament--indeed, there had been no necessity for the
words in question; the message might have been worded differently;
but he would pawn his soul there had been no wrong design in it. It
might be entered, observing that objections had been made to the
offensive phrase; the necessity of which might be stated too. For
Mr. Fox, he had done his duty, and himself would do public right
to him. “I did the same justice to Mr. Pitt,” said Fox. General
Conway agreed that there had been little occasion to describe so
particularly what had passed; and he asked whether it was necessary
to enter the whole of the Message.

“The House,” said the Speaker, “may enter what it pleases; but
it is a Message sent solemnly by the King, and I never knew an
instance of overlooking it.” George Grenville went farther, and
said, he would never consent to have it entered defectively.
Beckford called the Bill so unpopular a measure, that he wished
to have it imputed to the House of Commons, not to the King, who,
he desired it might be reported, had yielded to it unwillingly,
and only for the sake of justice: Pitt he commended. Sir Francis
Dashwood, with much more sincerity, said he was glad of the Bill,
come how it would. It was gracious of the King to give room for
it, and wise of his Ministers. Fox asked, now the respite was
granted, whether it were not better to wait for a petition from the
Court-Martial before the Bill was passed? better to wait at least
till Monday for some material information, which might be hinted
in the petition. Sir Francis replied, that the very words of the
Message from the Crown were, that a respite was granted _till_
the Bill should pass. Would it be decent, after such a message,
to say we will postpone the Bill, however, till the Court-Martial
petitions? If six only of the thirteen should desire the Bill,
would you not grant it? The House cried, “No, no!”--as if it was
justice due to the consciences of an indefinite, and not of a
determined number!

Nugent said, his constant opinion had been, that the Admiral was
sentenced for error of judgment only; and the oath he thought only
a conditional one.

Fox, after refining much on the oath, said it was impossible but
at the desire of the _whole_ number, to permit some to disclose
the opinions of others. Each man might tell his own motives. At
least, let the desires of the majority be taken. He then asked if
it was proper that a set of Judges should go about for three weeks,
_hearing solicitations from the friends of the prisoner_, and then
come and complain of their own sentence? For his part, his feeling
sometimes operated upon his reason, and, he supposed, did on that
of others. See, then, whither solicitation and bribery might go.
The King desires to have his doubts cleared up--_but don’t let
this Bill go immediately to pardon_. Give way to the Bill--what
was to follow would be a subsequent consideration. The Court had
gone no farther than to acquit the Admiral of cowardice. He hoped
the Parliament would ask the King for the examination, either, to
rescind the sentence or _to order a new trial_. He had not, he
said, run away basely the day before, but from his judgment: Mr.
Keppel had told him what he meaned to do. He did not think himself
necessary to every council, and had foreseen what confusion would
follow. He had not voted against the Bill, and said, “Let Mr. Byng
die on Monday.” He _had_ gone away, his compassion struggling
with his reason. On consideration, he had returned like a man to
the hard part. If the King had felt, was it not proper he should
feel too? He begged care might be taken not to establish this
measure for a precedent; nor could it be reasonable to frame a new
Article of War, because the Court-Martial had not understood the
present. He should be for the Bill, though he would not (like Mr.
Pitt) declare that most good would follow from pardon. Hearing
a great Minister say so, he thought pardon was determined. Yet,
for himself, he should have left the merit of it to the King’s
mercy--_but now it was the act of the Minister_. He still wished
to see more grounds for the Bill. He would not require any of the
members of the Court, he would only enable such as thought fit, to
discover what had passed. Something extraordinary he would have to
conclude this extraordinary act.

The art and abilities of this speech are evident: it will be much
more difficult to discover in it _the good-nature_ he had promised
to display.

Nugent expressed his disapprobation of _two_ trials. Pitt declared
he would speak very shortly and clearly; sometimes, he owned,
he did speak too warmly. He gave much commendation to Mr. Fox’s
speech, though he did not foresee the same consequences; nor
would he decide, whether in the present instance Fox’s reason
or good-nature had got the better. He defended Mr. Keppel’s
behaviour, which had sprung from former proceedings, not from
solicitation. [For] himself, [he] did not wish the Admiral saved
out of compassion, but out of justice: “for how,” said he, “can it
be for my interest to take the part I now do?--I look only at the
sentence. Is it so necessary that he should be executed just now?”
On the other hand he would not give time for the Court-Martial
to be tampered with. Like Fox, he had wished for better grounds;
but when Mr. Keppel rose and pronounced what he did, it was
irresistible. It became the unanimous opinion of the House to
yield to his emotions. Some even would have passed the Bill that
very day. Nor had anything ever come before Parliament that almost
commanded such rapidity. “Ought not,” said he, “Mr. Byng, ought not
his family, to be put out of that cruel situation? ought not the
King? ought not the Court-Martial, some of whom were on the point
of sailing to America? Why hang this matter up for some days, in
which the fate of the nation might be decided?” There was nothing
of party in this--any number that were willing to tell, ought to be
heard: might not they want to say that they had thought themselves
bound to find error of judgment capital? To them he would have the
Article explained. He feared, if this was pending too long it might
produce riots.

Henley, the Attorney-General, endeavoured still to show that the
Bill was unnecessary, and that the members might dispense with
their oath. He suggested that the Bill might be rejected in the
other House; and asked, who was to examine the members of the

Doddington said, he had sought compassion and relief--had found
compassion even when _he_ called; but relief could only come
constitutionally through justice. The Court-Martial indeed did at
last perceive that they might have been mistaken. Were he in their
place, he should not have waited for a Bill--he should have thought
a life was to be saved at any rate.

Legge declared himself free from any bias one way or other. Had
Mr. Byng been found guilty, nobody would be more ready to condemn
him: but it appeared that _he was only a sacrifice to discipline_;
and we must not imagine that we should draw down blessings on our
Fleets by human sacrifices. He begged that, by adhering to the
letter of this Article, demonstrated to be both obscure and severe,
they would not prevent Courts-Martial from bringing in nobody

Martin proposed that the members of the Court should be asked
directly, if they had meant error of judgment: and then, if they
thought error of judgment capital.

Lord George Sackville begged the Debate might finish, as the
longer the question was agitated, the more difficulties would be
started. Potter accordingly brought in the Bill, and it was read
the first time. Fox then asked Mr. Keppel, which of his associates
had empowered him to make the demand? He named, _Holmes_, _Norris_,
_Geary_, and _Moore_. Fox said he asked this, because it was
reported that none of the members desired to be absolved from
their oath. The Bill was read the second time. Fox said, the
King’s message prescribed a separate examination on oath; he hoped
that direction would be observed. Potter moved to proceed to the
Committee on the Bill. Lord Strange and Haldane objected; but Pitt
asking if they wished to detain Holbourn, Broderick, and Holmes at
home at so critical a time; and how they could proceed on Monday,
if their difficulties were not then stated in the Committee; it was
agreed that the Committee should immediately sit; and Fox said,
that now it was agreed to have the Bill, the sooner it should pass
the better. He moved, and was seconded by Pitt, that the members of
the Court-Martial should be examined on oath. It was then settled
that they were to disclose what they had to say only to the King
and Council: that they should only tell the motives of their own
behaviour, not those of others. George Grenville added a clause,
that they should not be obliged to speak, if not willing. The Bill
went through the Committee, and was ordered to be reported on

It may easily be imagined what variety of passions were excited by
this extraordinary affair. Curiosity to know what black management
had left such[77] scruples on the minds of some of the Judges of
the Court-Martial, was the common and natural consequence: the
very novelty of tools of power sinking under a consciousness of
guilt, or under the conviction of having unwittingly been made
the tools of power, was sufficient to raise the utmost attention.
The few poor well-wishers of the condemned saw a gleam of truth
darting upon a prison which they had scarce ventured to incur the
odium of approaching--and if there had been such black management
(a question scarce admitting an _if_, considering all that had
preceded and all that followed) the actors in so dark a tragedy
undoubtedly did not feel the most pleasing sensations from the
illustration that now seemed unavoidable. The latter description
of men appeared to be in danger of changing unpopular situations
with the Admiral--they were soon the only satisfied class, the only
triumphant--for by the very next day after the Bill had been read
in the House of Commons, by Sunday evening it was blazed over the
town, that the four sea-officers named by Mr. Keppel disclaimed
him, and denied having empowered him to apply in their names. Mr.
Pitt was thunderstruck--and well he might: he saw what consequences
Fox would draw from this disavowal. Enquiry was made into the
truth of the report. Holmes and Geary persisted that they had not
commissioned Keppel. Sir Richard Lyttelton, an intimate friend of
the latter, applied to him, and, as Sir Richard himself told me
within an hour after he had seen Geary, begging him to consider
the injustice and dishonourableness of retracting what he had
authorized Keppel to say; he replied in these very words, “_It will
hurt my preferment to tell_.”

Can I pass over these words cursorily?--or rather, do they want
a comment? What dissertation could express more fully than
they do themselves all they contained? Who had power to stop a
sea-officer’s preferment? would it hurt his preferment to tell what
affected no[78] powerful man with guilt? Did those words imply
that he had nothing to tell? As thick a veil as was drawn over
the particulars of this transaction, can it be doubted but that
particulars there were of a heinous dye? And though Mr. Keppel’s
scruples were treated as idle, though it was asserted that he had
nothing to tell, though he saw Mr. Byng die, without telling; did
not that attention of Geary to his interest supply articulation to
Mr. Keppel’s conscience?--a fact that I shall mention presently,
when the father[79] of the man whose power Geary dreaded, asked
for a day of peculiar significance, will explain and cannot in
the nature of things be disjoined from that sagacious captain’s
conception of what interests were concerned to impose silence on
the Court-Martial.

Monday, 28th.--The Bill was reported, and Potter moved to have
it read the third time; when Fox rising, said, he heard some
information was going to be given, which ought to precede any
progress in the Bill. Holmes, a brother of one of the four, said,
he had heard something had passed on Saturday, which he supposed
the gentleman that had occasioned it would stand up and explain.
Keppel rose, and said, he had particularized the names of four,
who he understood and did believe had commissioned him to move the
House on their behalf. That Holmes had said, “Sure you mistook
me!” Another of them said the same. He argued it with them; they
persisted, and said he had mistaken: Holmes adding, “I am easy
in my mind, and desire to say nothing farther.” That he believed
it would be useless to call Mr. Holmes. That for Geary, he was
not absolutely off nor on, but should have no objection to speak
if all were compelled. For the other two, Norris and Moore, they
were desirous to abide by what they had said; that they had even
written him a letter, in which they said, “The world says we have
varied, but we desire to adhere to what we told you.” He read their
letter, in which were these words: “We do authorize you to solicit
for the Bill.” For himself, he thought his honour clear: when he
had first spoken, it was from the uneasiness of his mind. He was
told his oath did not bind him: he thought it did. If the House
would think fit to relieve him, he should be glad. When he signed
the sentence, he thought he did right--he had since been startled
at what he had done.

Thus, of the four named, two adhered: one (Geary) did not prove
that Keppel mistook him. Whether he mistook Holmes must remain a
doubt--it is scarce probable that Holmes had been very positive
against the measure: Keppel would scarce have named a man, who
was far from agreeing with him. That it will remain a doubt
too, whether there had not been unwarrantable practices in, or
even with, the Court-Martial, is the fault of those who stifled
conscientious evidence. Charity itself would grow suspicious, had
it observed all I observed; and yet I give but as suspicions what
I do not know was fact. That some wished for time to practise
afterwards on the Court-Martial; that Geary was willing to be
practised on; and that some _were_ practised on before they
appeared in the House of Lords, can, I think, never be a doubt more.

Fox assured Mr. Keppel that his character was not affected by what
Holmes and Geary had said: the Bill indeed was affected by it: yet
what he would have done for five, he would do for three; that is,
if the three would petition for it. Of the Court-Martial, seven, he
observed, were in town. Of them, Holbourn had declined to meddle;
Dennis had withdrawn from the House; Holmes declared himself easy
in his mind; Geary had desired not to speak, unless the whole
number did. Thus a majority of those in town did not approve the
Bill. He therefore desired that the three willing ones would sign
a petition, saying, in their opinions they had something to tell
material for the King’s information. If it was not material enough
to have the sentence reversed, but only that they might explain
their own motives, he should not think the Bill necessary.

Nugent said, though not one should apply, the absurdity of the
sentence was glaring enough to call for the Bill. Fox interrupted
him, speaking to order--the sentence was not before the House.
Nugent replied, every man in the House had read the sentence--could
they, who, in conscience, honour, and justice, had signed the
letter for mercy, refuse to speak if their mouths were opened?
Fox said, the sentence and letter ought first to be called for.
The sentence was on oath, the letter not. He affirmed he did not
believe they had anything material to say. Would Mr. Keppel say he
thought it material?

Velters Cornwall condemned the Bill, and said, Mr. Byng had undone
one Ministry, was going to undo another: the King had been advised
ignobly and unwisely.

Colonel John Fitzwilliam, who had never opened before in
Parliament, came with much importance and a list of questions to
examine Mr. Keppel; but they were so absurd and indecent, that
at every one the House expressed their disgust by a groan--such
were, “Had he not voted Mr. Byng to be shot because he thought
he deserved it? Did he not think so still? Would his conscience
be easier after he had spoken?”--It is sufficient to say of this
man, that his character was hateful. In the Army he was odious as
a spy and creature of the Duke. That very morning he had passed
two hours with Mr. Keppel, labouring to divert him from his
purpose. Stanley severely censured Fitzwilliam, observing that he
had put many questions to Keppel, which he was under oath not to
discover, and from which this Bill was calculated to absolve him:
and he took notice sensibly, (of what seemed to have been totally
overlooked,) that _any man who is to die, has at least a right
to know for what he is to die_. Fox urged, that the words of the
Royal Message were, “because their discovery may show the sentence
to be improper.” From Mr. Keppel’s present silence, he inferred
that there was nothing material to be discovered. He moved to call
Norris and Moore, to hear if what they had to say would affect
the sentence. But Sir Francis Dashwood objected, that this was
the very question which the House was passing the Bill in order to
have answered. Mr. Keppel (who Mr. Fox might have suspected had had
other solicitations than from the _relations_ of the Admiral) rose,
and said, he would explain himself as fully as he could:--when he
signed, he thought he did right--he would go further--no, he had
better not--had uneasiness, or would never have signed the letter
of intercession--the explanation of the Article has increased his
inquietude--he had rather it should be thought poor weakness than
a desire of giving trouble. He concluded with these words: “_I do
think my desire of being at liberty does imply something great, and
what his Majesty should know._” The House was struck:--Fox said,
“I am satisfied. Afterwards I shall propose means to prevent such
Bills for the future.”

Charles Townshend, who had taken no part hitherto, and who had
followed Mr. Pitt into a system built on the ruin of Mr. Fox, said,
to the surprise of everybody, that he had intended to second Fox,
but was content too. He congratulated the House on obtaining these
grounds for their proceedings by Mr. Fox’s means. His brother,
offended at this wonderful declaration, told him, if he had been
present the first day, he would not have wanted those grounds.
Charles appealed to the House, if first, second, or third day, they
had been so fully explained. Pitt, still more provoked, said,
with the utmost contempt, and with the most marked accent, no man
of common sense or common integrity could say this matter had been
opened on any other foundation--yet he wished Charles Townshend joy
that _his conscience_ was made easy. But how did it appear that the
King was so misinformed? “May I,” added Pitt, “fall when I refuse
pity to such a suit as Mr. Keppel’s, justifying a man who lies in
captivity and the shadow of death! I thank God, I feel something
more than popularity; I feel justice!” The Message, he owned, had
been disorderly, and he was under correction for it, yet it was
strict truth. For this attack, it went to the very veracity of a
man: but he did not, like Fox and Townshend, go upon hearsay. For
his part, if his country were safe that day twelvemonth, he should
pray that Mr. Fox might be in his place, nor would he use those
miserable arts that are employed to prop a wretched station. He
congratulated the House on that act of necessary justice. His equal
wish was, that Mr. Byng might live or die to the satisfaction of
the nation.

Fox, sneering and insulting, said, he was glad Mr. Pitt had heard
commendations of him from Mr. Charles Townshend[80]--indeed they
had a little ruffled Mr. Pitt’s temper. By his wishing to continue
in the Administration for a twelvemonth, he seemed to think he
_could_ save this country. For himself, he had not been driven
out; he had had reasons for retiring. Since, had he obstructed
any public measure? Had _he_, _totidem verbis_, _proposed_ some
questions that had been _opposed_ last year, they would have
been opposed again: he had chosen rather to retire; and in the
distressed situation of his country, would not oppose; unless he
saw measures carried on destructive to England, or distressful
to his Majesty. His own consistence should be _literal_, lest
afterwards he should not have parts enough to show it was
_substantial_--indeed, he had never understood a Court.

The Speaker observed, that two-thirds of what both had said, was
nothing to the question. Pitt replied, that he was surprised at
being coupled with Mr. Fox, who had spoken five times, he but
once--yet Fox had not been suppressed. “Could I,” said he, “sit
silent under the accusation of misinforming the King?” The Speaker
vindicated himself, talked of his unbiassed impartiality and
integrity; and the Bill passed, Cornwall dividing the House with 22
more against 153; and it was sent to the Lords.


[76] Indeed they could not with much consistence condemn him of
neglect, after they had previously and unanimously voted the
following resolution, which was their 25th:

“The Court are of opinion, that while the Ramillies (the Admiral’s
own ship) was firing in going down, the Trident and ships
immediately ahead of the Ramillies proved an impediment to the
Ramillies continuing to go down.”

It was proved, too, beyond contradiction, that he could not foresee
that the French fleet would not stay for him, as they remained with
their sails aback to the mast; and that he must have been up with
them in ten or fifteen minutes, if the impediment had not happened
from the Trident and Princess Louisa.

[77] I do not mean to say that none of the Judges on the
Court-Martial had really been convinced that by the severity of
the law they could not acquit the Admiral, though they thought him
guilty of only a momentary error of judgment.

[78] I say, _powerful man_, not _man in power_, for Lord Hardwicke,
Lord Anson, the Duke of Newcastle, &c., were not then in place--but
them Geary must have meant, for he could not fear disobliging Mr.
Pitt and Lord Temple by speaking out, when it was his silence that
prejudiced them. It was plain Geary thought, what happened so soon
afterwards, that the command of the Admiralty would still be in
Lord Anson.

[79] [Lord Hardwicke. Lord Anson had married his daughter. It must,
however, be admitted, that our author’s language in this passage is
as obscure as his reasoning is unfair and inconclusive.--E.]

[80] Mr. Pitt, loud enough to be heard by half the House, cried
out, “I wish you joy of him.”


  Debate in the House of Lords on the Court-Martial Bill--Lord
  Mansfield--Proposal to examine the Members of the
  Court-Martial--Their Examination--Bill debated and dropped in the
  House of Lords--Result of the Proceedings in Parliament--Intended
  Petition for Mercy from the City not proceeded with--Execution
  of Admiral Byng--Reflections on his behaviour--Rochester
  Election--Death of Archbishop Herring--Abolition of the Office
  of Wine-Licences--Intrigues to dismiss Mr. Pitt, and form a new
  Ministry--The Duke of Cumberland goes to Hanover to command the

March 1st.--The Lords read the Bill. Lord Mansfield treated
Keppel’s behaviour as weak and inconsistent: made a panegyric
on the twelfth Article, which he said had restored discipline:
censured the House of Commons for precipitate proceedings; and
went indecently into the question of the Admiral’s behaviour; for
which he was called to order by Lord Denbigh, who told him, that
to evade the pressing arguments that called for the Bill, he had
endeavoured cruelly to raise indignation against the prisoner,
who might receive benefit from the scruples of his Judges; whose
scruples and request were alone the objects before the House.
The Chief Justice replied, he did not intend to oppose the whole
Bill--but he must ask, who they were that demanded it? What! a
month[81] after sentence!--was what they had to say within the
oath of secrecy? Indeed, he had always been against the oath; he
never approved judging in a mask. He had heard of a case where a
_majority_ voted that a sentence should be _unanimous_. He said
the proviso, empowering only the willing to speak, was partial. If
_all_ should say they meaned error of judgment, the Admiral ought
to be acquitted. If the sentence was iniquitous, it ought to be
annulled. But it was cruel to fix this examination on the King: the
Lords ought to step between the Crown and the people. The sentence,
he said, could only be annulled by Parliament. A Bill might be
necessary, but one totally different from this. He proposed to
have the members of the Court-Martial called to the bar of the
House; and he concluded with no humane observations, nor more to
the Bill than his former speech, that there had been times when a
sea-officer had blown up his ship, rather than be taken, or retreat.

As I would by no means blend in one censure the behaviour of the
two lawyers, Mansfield and Hardwicke, I will here say a few words
on the former. He took a severe part against the persecuted
Admiral--why, I pretend not to determine. As the death of Mr. Byng
tended no ways to his interest, as he had no guilt to expiate by
the blood of another, and as friendship infuses humanity, but
not cruelty, one should not suppose that Lord Mansfield acted on
personal motives, or from a desire of screening Newcastle. I will
not even suppose that a propensity to thwarting Pitt dictated his
asperity. He saw his country undone; might think Mr. Byng had
hastened its fate; might feel a national resentment; might think
severity necessary; and as it is observed that timorous natures,
like those of women, are generally cruel, Lord Mansfield might
easily slide into rigour on this as he did on other occasions, when
he was not personally afraid.

Lord Temple gave much the same account that I have given, of his
own behaviour, as first Lord of the Admiralty; he read the letter
from the Court-Martial, and thought that their anxiety must have
proceeded from having meant error of judgment.

Lord Halifax spoke strongly for the Bill, and urged that it was
founded on justice and humanity; condemned the sentence, and said,
_it appealed from itself_. That if the Judges of that Court had
thought the Admiral really guilty, they had been most guilty to
write such a letter. As that could not be the case, could their
Lordships avoid wishing to have the bottom of such a strange
transaction known? He excused the Court-Martial for having stayed
so long between their letter and any farther step, because they
waited to see what effect, and concluded the effect they promised
themselves would follow from their letter. That the sentence could
not be annulled without this Bill, nor explained without it, for
had it been possible for any man, Lord Mansfield would have made
sense of it.

Lord Hardwicke pleaded against the Bill, upon the single
supposition that they were to tell the opinions of each other. He
desired that all of them might be ordered to attend, and asked
whether these scruples had not flowed from solicitations, and from
being tampered with by the Admiral’s friends--and he, who said he
wished to inquire whether they had not been tampered with by the
Admiral’s _friends_--proposed--what? that they should not attend
_till_ Thursday--it was then Tuesday.

Lord Granville replied, that they would not speak even there, till
their mouths were legally opened. That he had always disapproved
the oath of secrecy; and now particularly, when his Majesty and the
House of Commons were willing that the oath should be set aside,
who could refuse it?

The Duke of Newcastle, as usual, echoed his oracle, and wished to
have all the lights that could be had in twenty-four hours. The
Duke of Bedford asked what objection there was to hearing them the
very next day? There could but two questions be asked of them:
“Were they willing to speak?” “Had they anything to say?” Lord
Halifax pressed for the next day. Lord Temple defended them from
private influence, and proved that their present behaviour was
entirely consonant to their sentence and letter. When they found
that all the difficulties on their minds, which they had hinted at
in their letter, had no effect, could they do otherwise than apply
to the Legislature to be empowered to set forth their difficulties
at large? Lord Sandwich owned, that if he did not think the Bill
necessary, he would oppose it, because he was astonished to find
that an unprecedented message to the Commons was pleaded as a
reason for the acquiescence of the Lords.

Lord Hardwicke caught up that argument, and said the Royal Message
ought not to be pleaded there, since it had not been _vouchsafed_
to _that_ House. I hesitate to repeat the latter part of his
speech. Will it not be thought that the part I took in this affair
influenced me to misrepresent a man, to whose intrigues and
authority I cannot help imputing in great measure the Admiral’s
catastrophe? Who, when I paint a shrewd old lawyer, as weakly
or audaciously betraying his own dark purposes in so solemn an
assembly, but will suspect that I forged an event which seems so
strongly to prove all that I have charged on him? In answer to
these doubts, I can only say, that _this_ was one of the events
on which I formed my opinion; that it is strictly true; and that I
would not venture to report it, unless it had passed in so solemn
and public a place as the House of Lords, where all who there were
present heard, and could not but avow that I speak truth--in short,
Lord Hardwicke, as a reason for deferring to hear _till Thursday_
the members of the Court-Martial, pleaded that there was an Irish
cause depending before the House, which was appointed for the next
day, (Wednesday.) If ever the least public business that pressed,
had not made all law-suits give way, this might have been at least
a precedented reason. But what was the Bill in question? Certainly
in the then situation of affairs of as critical importance, and
of as much expectation as had ever engaged the attention of the
public; and to want to postpone it to an obscure Irish cause!
Could good-nature in person forbear to surmise, that this demand
of an intervening day was, could only be made, to gain time to
tamper with the witnesses? Good-nature at least, would allow, that
who suspects such men as Geary of being tampered with by the poor
and powerless relations of a criminal, might be suspected of a
disposition to _tamper_, when he had power,[82] and only wanted
time; which too he had the confidence to demand--I say confidence,
for Lord Hardwicke said authoritatively, “_I adhere to Thursday_.”
Alas! he did not know how much he could do in half the time.

Lord Denbigh asked with indignation, “does that noble Lord
put in competition with the honour of his country a cause of
Irish bankruptcy?” And the Duke of Devonshire begged that the
Court-Martial might be heard on the morrow, because some of them
were under sailing orders. Lord Hardwicke, unmoved, said, “the
Bill will not be before you to-morrow: the officers in question
must be examined separately.” Lord Temple replied, that the wind
might change by Thursday, and that some of them were going on
expeditions of the utmost consequence to this country. He begged
their retardment might not be laid at his door. He repeated the
urgency of their sailing. The Duke of Bedford desired then to have
the orders of the House reversed, and to have the second reading
of the Bill fixed for the morrow. Lord Hardwicke (who, if I have
suspected him wrongfully, was at least conscientiously impatient
to do justice on those Irish bankrupts) persisted; and maintained
that the orders could not be reversed, unless every Lord present
consented. Have I dared to forge all this? The rest of the Lords,
who did seem to think that winds and that fleets sailing in their
country’s cause were of more instant importance than a case of
Irish bankruptcy, prevailed even on the late scrupulous Chancellor
to postpone private justice for _one day_, and the Court-Martial
were ordered to attend the next.

March 2nd.--The day opened with a complaint preferred by Lord
Sandwich against the publisher of a newspaper, who had printed
the oath of secrecy with false additions. Lord Mansfield took on
himself the management of the examination. To combat his ability
and Hardwicke’s acrimony, the unhappy Admiral had no friend among
the Lords but the Earl of Halifax; honest and well-disposed,
but no match for the art of the one, or the overbearingness of
the other, and on too good terms with both to oppose them in a
manner to do any service; and Lord Temple, circumscribed both in
interest and abilities from being thoroughly useful. The Chief
Justice acquainted the House that the questions he proposed to put
to the members of the Court-Martial were, “Whether they knew any
matter previous to the sentence, which would show it to be unjust,
or procured by any unlawful means? and, whether they thought
themselves restrained by their oath from disclosing such matter?”
Lord Temple said, “Everybody would be at liberty to ask any other
questions;” and Lord Halifax said, “They would not be confined to
those of Lord Mansfield.”

Admiral Smith, the President of the Court, was then called; a
grey-headed man, of comely and respectable appearance; but of no
capacity, of no quickness to comprehend the chicanery of such a
partial examination. He, and the greater part of his comrades,
were awed too with the presence of the great persons before whom
they were brought. Moore, and one or two others, were neither awed
nor haggled with their inquisitors. Lord Morton caused the twelfth
Article to be read; and would have asked Admiral Smith, whether he
then thought, or ever did think, that Article applicable to error
of judgment? The impropriety of the question, and the intemperate
warmth of the Lord who put it, when he was checked by Lord Talbot,
broke in on the solemnity of the scene, and disturbed it. Lord
Temple observed, that Smith had already answered the Earl’s
question by stating in their letter the words, _even by error of
judgment_. Lord Hardwicke said, that letter was not an oath, _and
hoped would be out of the question_; yet he owned the interrogatory
was most improper. Lord Temple insisted that they were under the
virtue of their oath till the sentence was pronounced, and they
were dissolved as a Court.

Lord Mansfield then asked the President, whether he knew any
matter previous to the sentence which would show it to be unjust.
He answered, “Indeed I do not.” Lord Mansfield--“If it was given
through any undue practice?” Admiral Smith--“Indeed I do not.”
Lord Halifax then asked him, if he desired to have the Bill? He
replied, “I have no desire for myself. _It will not be disagreeable
to me, if it will be a relief to the consciences of any of my
brethren._” Lord Halifax asked him farther, whether he could reveal
anything relative to the sentence, that was necessary for the King
to know, and to incline him to mercy? The Admiral said, “Indeed I
have not, farther than what I wrote at that time to Lord Lyttelton,
signifying that we were willing to attend, to give our reasons for
signing that letter.” Lord Lyttelton said, “He had returned that
letter to the Admiral, that he might read it there.” Lord Hardwicke
asked, whether he thought himself restrained by his oath from
mentioning those reasons? He answered, “The application for mercy
was unanimous. I think I am at liberty to give the reasons why I
requested that mercy.” Nobody chose to ask him those reasons--the
friends of Mr. Byng, one must suppose, lest it should interfere
with the necessity of the Bill. His enemies did not desire to know
themselves, or that anybody else should.

Admiral Holbourn was then called, and to the two former questions
of Lord Mansfield, and to the two of Lord Halifax, answered
bluntly, “No.”

The next that appeared was Admiral Norris; a most weak man, who
after resisting, from the friends of Mr. Byng, great solicitations
to interpose in time in favour of the prisoner, to whom he was
believed the best disposed, (except Moore, the greatest professor
of tenderness to Mr. Byng’s family,) had at last sunk under
great inquietudes of remorse; and had pressed most earnestly
for parliamentary relief. If in effect he overturned all the
consequences of that compunction, he was to be pitied more than
blamed. Struck with awe of the tribunal before which he appeared,
he showed how little qualified he had been for a Judge, when
so terrified at superior Judges. He lost all comprehension,
understood no questions that were asked, nor knew how or when
to apply the very answers he came prepared to give. When Lord
Mansfield put his question to him, whether he knew anything
previous that would show the sentence to be unjust, he replied,
that he desired to be excused from answering while under the oath
of secrecy. Lord Mansfield said, to what did he apprehend his
oath went? had he anything to tell, if released from the sanction
of it? Lord Fortescue objected, that nobody had a right to ask
him his reasons for desiring to be absolved from his oath; and
Lord Ravensworth said, an answer in the affirmative would look
like accusing himself--indeed it was difficult to know how the
Court-Martial could complain of what they had done or submitted to,
without accusing themselves in the heaviest manner. Lord Hardwicke
declared, if this question was not answered, that he would vote
against the Bill. “And why,” said he, “are these excuses made for
Mr. Norris? he does not make them for himself. Ask him in the very
words of the Bill.” It was evident that Norris thought, that in
order to obtain the Bill he must not give the least satisfaction
on any question. Accordingly, when questioned if he knew anything
that would show the sentence to be unjust? he replied, “No.” If
he knew anything of undue practices? still he answered “No.” Yet
when Lord Halifax asked him, whether he was desirous the Bill
should pass? he replied, “Yes.” Lord Halifax--“If he knew anything
that was necessary for the King to know, and that would incline
him to mercy?” He begged leave not to answer, and withdrew. The
contradiction in this behaviour must be left to the comment of the
reader. The only observation I would make, not only on Norris,
but on his associates, (I speak not of those who evidently were
influenced,) is this. If, as they all said, they knew nothing
unjust, why did they solicit to be released from an oath of
secrecy, under the lock of which they had no secret? Is it not more
probable that they were ashamed of what they had done, and neither
knew how to bear or avow it?

Admiral Broderick was short and steady in negatives to all the
questions. Holmes as explicit, saying he knew nothing to incline
the King to mercy but the sentence and their letter. Lord Halifax
then informed the Lords, that Norris had recollected himself, and
desired to return to the bar. Lord Cholmondeley and Lord Stamford
objected to it, but even Lord Hardwicke could not close with such
rigour, though he declared against repeating the like indulgence.
Norris returning, and being asked if he knew anything proper for
his Majesty to know, and that might incline him to mercy, replied,
“_At the time that I said I desired the Act might pass, I thought
we should have an opportunity of explaining our reasons for signing
the sentence._” These words, though obscure, and by no means
adequate to what was expected from his desire of being reheard,
seemed to imply that he had been drawn into the harshness of the
sentence from some arguments of the improbability that it would be
carried into execution. This in the utmost candour I own; it was
what all the advocates for rigour insisted was the case: though
the defence in truth is but a sorry one, for what can exceed the
weakness of condemning a man, whom one thinks innocent, upon the
supposition that he will afterwards escape?

Geary, the accommodating Geary, the repenter of his repentance,
came next; answered _No_, to Lord Mansfield’s questions, like
the rest: to Lord Halifax’s, whether desirous of the Bill,
replied _No_, but have no objections to it, if it will be to the
satisfaction of anybody; and that he knew nothing for mercy but the
sentence and letter. “Could you,” said Lord Fortescue, “if the Act
should pass, explain the sentence better?” “My oath of secrecy,”
said Geary, “will not let me say more.” Captain Boyce gave his
three noes to the questions. So did Moore to Lord Mansfield’s. When
asked by Lord Halifax, if desirous of the Bill? he said, “I am
very desirous of it, that I may be absolved from my oath; I have
been under concern when I took it--I don’t mean on this point.”
To the other question relative to the King and mercy, he said, “I
don’t think myself at liberty to answer while bound by my oath.” To
Lord Fortescue, whether, if absolved, he could better explain the
sentence and letter? he replied in these equivocal words, “I could
give better reasons for my signing.” Simko, Douglas, and Bentley,
were unanimous in negatives to all the questions. Then Keppel
appeared. Being asked if he knew anything unjust?--after long
silence and consideration, he replied, _No_. Whether the sentence
was obtained through undue practices? _No._ Whether desirous of
the Bill? “Yes, undoubtedly.” Whether he knew anything necessary
for the knowledge of the King, and conducive to mercy? Keppel: “I
cannot answer that, without particularizing my vote and opinion.”
Lord Halifax asked him whether he thought his particular reasons
had been asked now? He replied, _No_. He retired. If Keppel had
had no more to tell, than that he had been drawn into the harsher
measure by the probability of the gentler preponderating at last,
he had in truth been much misunderstood: his regret had worn all
the appearance of remorse. How he came to appear so calm and so
indifferent at the last moment, in which either regret or remorse
could hope to have any effect, I pretend not to decide. Such as
showed any compunction of any sort I would excuse to the utmost.
Those who determined _no_ compunction should operate, and those
who, like Moore and Geary, abandoned their contrition to make
their court, I desire not to absolve. The former were gratified,
the latter were rewarded. Dennis was the last who appeared, and
took care to have no more tenderness before the Lords than he had
exerted in the House of Commons.

Lord Temple then desired that the Court-Martial might be absolved
from their attendance; and that the depositions might be read
over. When finished, he said (what indeed in his situation he
could not well help saying, considering how few questions had been
put, except the captious ones of Lord Mansfield, and how little
satisfaction had been obtained, and that even Keppel himself had
not said half so much as he had said in the House of Commons,) Lord
Temple, I say, after congratulating the King and nation on the
temper that had been observed, said, the discussion might produce
an opinion that the sentence was just: he had had doubts, but now
they were all removed: yet he would ask, whether still it were not
better to indulge the conscientious with the Bill, especially as it
would clear all doubts in others?

Lord Marchmont and Lord Hardwicke objected warmly to that proposal,
and treated the House of Commons with the highest scorn. The
former said, he had the utmost contempt for the Bill, and hoped
their Lordships would set their mark on all who had traduced the
Court-Martial, whose very countenances had shown their breasts. He
begged the House no further to load his Majesty, but to reject the
Bill. Lord Halifax acknowledged, that all who read the preamble,
must have concluded that they had something material to divulge:
yet not one had produced any one circumstance. For himself, he was
never ashamed to retract, when the ground had gone from him. Yet he
thought they still must have had reasons for their extraordinary
behaviour, and wished for the Bill to clear up that wonderful
sentence and letter. But Lord Hardwicke authoritatively put an end
to the Debate; said the recital to the preamble had been false;
that they had sworn there had been no undue practice, and that it
appeared upon what no grounds the House of Commons had proceeded;
which he hoped would tend to ease the mind of his Majesty. He
proposed, and it was ordered, that the whole examination should be

The affair having concluded in this extraordinary manner, the
friends of Mr. Byng could no longer expect any mercy. If he
could be brought to the verge of death after such a sentence and
such a recommendation from his Judges; if the remorse of those
Judges could only interpose; undoubtedly their retracting all
distress of conscience, and upholding their sentence in a firmer
manner than when they first pronounced it, could neither give
the King a new handle to pardon, nor any hopes to the Admiral’s
well-wishers. They despaired, though they ceased not to solicit. Of
the Court-Martial,[83] it must be remembered, that Norris, who had
faltered, was never after employed--that Keppel was--that Moore had
immediately assigned to him the most profitable station during the

I hasten to the conclusion of the tragedy: a few intervening
incidents I shall resume afterwards.

The 14th of March was appointed for execution. Yet one more
unexpected event seemed to promise another interruption. The city
of London had all along assumed that unamiable department of a
free government, inconsiderate clamour for punishment. But as a
mob is always the first engine of severity, so it is generally the
foremost, often the sole body, that melts and feels compassion when
it is too late. Their favourite spectacle is a brave sufferer. This
time they anticipated tenderness. On the 9th, at eleven at night,
four Tory Aldermen went to Dickinson, the Lord Mayor, to desire he
would summon a Common Council, intending to promote a petition to
the King to spare the Admiral. The motion was imputed to Mr. Pitt.
The magistrate, as unfeelingly formal as if he had been the first
magistrate in the kingdom, replied, it was too late; he would be
at home till noon of the next day. On the morrow they sent to him
not to dismiss his officers, but he heard no more, though they
continued squabbling among themselves till two in the morning.
Thus the last chance was lost. Had the first midnight emotion been
seized, it might have spread happily--at least the King could
not have pleaded his promise of severity pledged to the city. I
hesitate even to mention what I will not explain, as I cannot prove
my suspicion: but I was eye-witness to a secret and particular
conference between Dickinson and another man, who, I have but too
much reason to think, had a black commission.

The fatal morning arrived, but was by no means met by the
Admiral with reluctance. The whole tenour of his behaviour had
been cheerful, steady, dignified, sensible. While he felt like
a victim, he acted like a hero. Indeed, he was the only man
whom his enemies had had no power to bend to their purposes. He
always received with indignation any proposal from his friends of
practising an escape; an advantage he scorned to lend to clamour.
Of his fate he talked with indifference; and neither shunned to
hear the requisite dispositions, nor affected parade in them. For
the last fortnight he constantly declared that he would not suffer
a handkerchief over his face, that it might be seen whether he
betrayed the least symptom of fear; and when the minute arrived,
adhered to his purpose. He took an easy leave of his friends,
detained the officers not a moment, went directly to the deck, and
placed himself in a chair with neither ceremony nor lightness.
Some of the more humane officers represented to him, that his face
being uncovered, might throw reluctance into the executioners; and
besought him to suffer a handkerchief. He replied, with the same
unconcern, “If it will frighten _them_, let it be done: they would
not frighten me.” His eyes were bound; they shot, and he fell at

It has often been remarked that whoever dies in public, dies well.
Perhaps those, who, trembling most, maintain a dignity in their
fate, are the bravest: resolution on reflection is real courage.
It is less condemnable, than a melancholy vain-glory, when some
men are ostentatious at their death. But surely a man who can
adjust the circumstances of his execution beforehand; who can say,
“Thus I will do, and thus;” who can sustain the determined part,
and throws in no unnecessary pomp, that man does not fear--can it
be probable he ever did fear? I say nothing of Mr. Byng’s duels;
cowards have ventured life for reputation: I say nothing of his
having been a warm persecutor of Admiral Matthews: cowards, like
other guilty persons, are often severe against failings, which
they hope to conceal in themselves by condemning in others: it
was the uniformity of Mr. Byng’s behaviour from the outset of his
persecution to his catastrophe, from whence I conclude that he was
aspersed as unjustly, as I am sure that he was devoted maliciously,
and put to death contrary to all equity and precedent.[85]

I have perhaps dwelt too long on his story--let me be excused: I
could not say too much in behalf of a man, whose sufferings, with
whatever kind intention, I unhappily protracted!

The cousinhood intended to supply Byng’s seat at Rochester, with
Dr. Hay of their own Admiralty, whom Fox had jostled out of
Parliament. The King, by suggestion from the same quarter, told
Lord Temple, “That Rochester was a borough of the Crown, not of
the Admiralty; nor did he like Hay or any of their Admiralty;
they had endeavoured to represent his justice as cruelty; he
would have Admiral Smith chosen there.” The subject was artfully
selected, a relation of their own. Lord Temple, with more calmness
and decency than he often condescended to employ in the Cabinet,
contested it long: and at last said, he would not obstruct his
Majesty’s service and commands--but he would be no borough-jobber,
he would have nothing to do with it, nor would he pay the price
of blood by bringing into Parliament the President of that Court
that had condemned Admiral Byng. As the measure was taken to get
rid of Mr. Pitt and his friends, it was hoped they would resign
on this obstacle, which might pass for a private affair: but
they were too wise to be the dupes. The Duke of Devonshire was
ordered to recommend Admiral Smith to Rochester, but the poor man
was shocked both at succeeding a person he had sentenced, and at
being chosen for a stumbling-block to his friends. He said he had
not sufficient estate for a qualification; and declined. Admiral
Townshend, the gaoler of Byng, had no scruples, and was elected.

On the 8th of this month, advice was received that a French army
of one hundred and four thousand men, commanded by the Comte de
Clermont and Marshal D’Etrées, were marched to the Lower Rhine.

A slight event that, by displaying the Duke’s moderation, indicated
his having views at that time which it was worth his while, by
curbing his natural temper, to gratify, may be fitly mentioned.
Colonel Forbes, a man of parts and spirit, had long lain under his
displeasure, being suspected of having writ some severe pamphlets
against him. They were, in truth, the compositions of one Douglas.
Forbes, during the preceding summer, had ingratiated himself with
the Duke of Bedford in the camp at Blandford, where his Grace had
been reading Bladen’s Cæsar and Bland’s Military Discipline, and
playing at being a General, for he was always eager about what he
was least fit for. He immediately undertook to reconcile Forbes
to the Duke,[86] who would not listen to him. Richbell’s regiment
falling vacant in Ireland, the Lord-Lieutenant gave himself no
farther trouble to obtain the favour of the Duke for Forbes, but
carried a warrant ready drawn to the King, who signed it, and
Forbes had the regiment. The Duke bore it without a murmur.

On the 13th, died Dr. Herring, Archbishop of Canterbury, a very
amiable man, to whom no fault was objected; though perhaps the
gentleness of his principles, his great merit, was thought
one. During the Rebellion he had taken up arms to defend from
oppression _that_ religion, which he abhorred making an instrument
of oppression. He was succeeded by Dr. Hutton, Archbishop of
York, a finer gentleman, except where money was in question. The
Duke of Newcastle, to pay court to Leicester-house, had promised
York to Dr. Thomas, of Peterborough, the Prince’s Preceptor: but
though he had been raised by the King himself, his Majesty (to
thwart the Princess, who had indulged the Bishop in no weight with
her son, and was consequently indifferent about him) refused to
confirm the grant, and bestowed the Archbishopric on Gilbert of
Salisbury, who had formerly shed courtly tears in a sermon on the
Queen. Gilbert was composed of that common mixture, ignorance,
meanness, and arrogance. Having once pronounced that Dr. King
ought to be expelled from Oxford for disaffection, the latter said
he would consent to expulsion, provided Gilbert would propose
it in convocation--the motion must have been in Latin. Thomas
was permitted to succeed to Salisbury. On the news of Gilbert’s
promotion, they rung the bells at York backwards, in detestation of
him. He opened a great table there, and in six months they thought
him the most Christian Prelate that had ever sat in that see.

18th.--Legge opened the new taxes, and particularly proposed to
abolish the Commissioners of Wine-Licences, which office he would
incorporate with that of the Stamps. Among those Commissioners was
one Harris, a dependent and intimate of Fox, who broke out on this
occasion in the most imprudent manner--“Was this the beginning of
reformation? why was it not carried farther? why not abolish one of
the Secretaries of the Treasury? why did Mr. Legge himself receive
double salary as Lord of the Treasury?” He himself would have been
content with half the pay of Secretary of State. Sir Robert Walpole
had never destroyed the offices and influence of the Crown. He
taxed Hardinge with being author of this scheme. Legge replied,
yes, it _was_ the beginning of reformation; and if others would, he
himself would serve for nothing. Beckford said _principiis obsta_;
he liked better to begin with small things than great, because
from the former there might be hopes--but he knew, he saw, why Mr.
Fox was averse from demolishing the influence of the Crown. Of all
things he should disapprove any diminution of the salaries of great
officers, in order to carry on the war, for then he was sure there
would soon be a peace. Pitt was very ill, and could not attend.

I hinted that it was determined to dismiss Mr. Pitt and his
friends, or provoke them to resign. I shall now explain that
measure, which opens a new scene.

The French had made an irruption into Germany with a mighty Army,
and threatened Hanover. The King had neither able Generals there
nor Ministers on whom he could rely. The latter were Austrians in
their hearts, with the additional incumbrance of possessing estates
in the countries of the Empress. The Duke, since the accession of
Mr. Pitt to the Administration, was become a favourite. The King
readily vented his mortifications to his son, whom he knew would
cheerfully be a confidant, of his aversion to the Princess and
her faction. By the channel of the Duke and Princess Emily, Fox
had insinuated innumerable prejudices and obstructions to the new
Ministers. At this juncture the King cast his eyes on the Duke,
as the sole resource for Hanover. His son had saved his Crown: he
wished to owe the preservation of the dearer Electorate to him.
The Duke was very averse to the charge. War with all its charms
could not tempt him now. His many defeats by the French still
ached. If to be clogged with orders from Pitt,--if to be obliged
to communicate with him, and depend on him for supplies, command
itself would lose its lustre. Even if successful, the popularity
of Pitt would ravish half his laurels; should he miscarry, his
misfortunes would all be imputed to himself. Fox snatched at this
dilemma: he knew the King would pay any price to rescue Hanover,
and suggested to the Duke to demand as a previous condition
the dismission of Pitt;--could his Majesty hesitate between an
unwelcome servant and a favourite dominion? The terms were granted,
but were too soon performed. The King hurried away the Duke.
His Royal Highness would not endure even for a fortnight to be
accountable to Pitt; yet there had been no time to settle a new
Administration. The inquiries still hung over the heads of the old
Ministers, and though a whole Parliament of his own interposed
their bucklers, Newcastle shuddered at the glimpse of an axe in the
faint hand of a wearied rabble. Fox wished for power without the
name of it; Newcastle for both. If his Grace would have united with
him, Fox would have taken the Paymastership, with a Peerage for
his wife, and a pension of 2000_l._ a year on Ireland for himself.
But Newcastle could be pinned down to no terms: he advanced to
Fox, retreated farther from him, would mention no conditions,
nor agree to any. Lord Mansfield had early gone to Claremont and
endeavoured to fix him to Fox; but as that Lord himself told the
latter, Newcastle was governed by Lord Hardwicke, even by a letter.
Fox would then have assumed the Government himself, could he have
conjured together the slightest vision of a Ministry. He tried
Lord Granville, he courted Devonshire, he offered the Treasury to
Bedford; but, though nobody was more sanguine in the cause than
the latter, yet as it was not easy to give Rigby an equivalent for
Ireland, he took care to regulate his patron’s warmth within the
pale of his own advantage.

In this strange uncertainty the day of the Duke’s departure was
fixed; and fixed it was that Pitt and Lord Temple should be thrust
out by any means. Pitt had behaved with as much veneration as
his Majesty could expect; with as much as he was fond himself of
receiving: surely he had even shown that German measures were not
beyond the compass of his homage. But he had introduced eloquence
into the closet. The King was a man of plain sense, and neither
used ornament in discourse nor admired it; sometimes too the drift
of his royal pleasure was too delicate to be conveyed but in hints.
He liked to be served in essentials; it was better not to expatiate
on them. Lord Temple was still more tiresome; and when his
verboseness did not persuade, he quickened it with impertinence.
On the affair of Mr. Byng he had even gone so far as to sketch out
some parallel between the Monarch himself and the Admiral, in which
the advantage did not lie on the side of the battle of Oudenarde.

The King resenting this and other instances in the strongest
manner, Lord Temple sent him word by the Duke of Devonshire, that
he could not serve him more, though he should not resign till a
convenient opportunity; that he would not even have come out of his
Majesty’s closet as a Minister, if it would not have distressed
those with whom he was connected. Pitt himself kept in the outward
room, saying, he no longer looked upon himself as a Minister;
and attributing this storm solely to Fox, he bade Lord George
Sackville, who was feeling about for a reconciliation between him
and Newcastle, tell that Duke, that he was not so averse to him as
his Grace had been told: let him judge by my actions, added he, if
I have been averse to him.

The idea of the approaching change no sooner spread than it
occasioned the greatest astonishment: indignation followed;
ridicule kept up the indignation. The first jealousy was, that
British troops would attend the Duke to Germany. Fox called on
Legge in the House to disavow this, which he did; and the former
declared that it had never existed even in the wish of his Royal
Highness--(that measure indeed was reserved for Pitt!) George
Townshend, to prevent the change by intimidating, called for more
papers; but as Fox wished for nothing more than to dispatch the
inquiries, after which he would be at liberty to appear again
on the scene, he pressed to have them begin; and Townshend was
forced to yield that they should commence on the 19th of April,
the first day after the recess of Easter. Sir Francis Dashwood
said, that day would interfere with the meeting at Newmarket, and
proposed a later time. Fox said there would be a second meeting,
with which a later day would equally clash. I blush to repeat
these circumstances--was it a greater proof of the levity of our
character, or of the little that was to be expected from the
inquiries, when a senate sat weighing horse races against national
resentment and justice--Newmarket against the fate of Minorca![87]
George Townshend added some sharp words on the abuse published
against Pitt. Fox said, he desired the liberty of the press might
continue: nobody had suffered more from it than himself, yet he
would not be for restraining it. Did Mr. Townshend object to cards
and pictures?[88] George Grenville said, he knew when he accepted a
place what tax he was to pay for it; yet said Fox, “_I_ have been
most abused since out of place.”


[81] A lawyer, it seems, would establish prescription even against

[82] I say, _power_: Lord Hardwicke and Lord Anson were out of
place--but were they out of power? Without hinting how soon they
remounted to formal power, let it be remembered that at that
moment, they commanded the House of Lords, and had a vast majority
in the House of Commons.

[83] As some of them said in plain terms that they were satisfied
with the sentence, in how many contradictions were they
involved! By the very wording of the sentence, which expressed
dissatisfaction; by the letter that accompanied it; by Admiral
Smith’s letter to Sir R. Lyttelton, which said that they were all
willing to appear before the Privy Council or the Parliament to
explain their reasons!

[84] [The following extract from our Author’s Private
Correspondence in MS. corroborates the account given in the text,
and as it contains some further particulars, may be acceptable to
the reader.--E.]

“March 17, 1757.--Admiral Byng’s tragedy was completed on Monday--a
perfect tragedy--for there were variety of incidents, villainy,
murder, and a hero. His sufferings, persecutions, aspersions,
disturbances, nay, the revolutions of his fate, had not in the
least unhinged his mind; his whole behaviour was natural and firm.
A few days before, one of his friends standing by him, said, ‘Which
of us is tallest?’ He replied, ‘Why this ceremony? I know what it
means; let the man come and measure me for my coffin.’ He said,
that being acquitted of cowardice, and being persuaded, on the
coolest reflection, that he had acted for the best, and should
act so again, he was not unwilling to suffer. He desired to be
shot on the quarter-deck, not where common malefactors are:--came
out at twelve--sat down in a chair, for he would not kneel, and
refused to have his face covered, that his countenance might show
whether he feared death; but being told that it might frighten his
executioners, he submitted; gave the signal at once; received one
shot through the head, another through the heart, and fell.”

[85] Many years after that tragedy was acted, I received a
most authentic and shocking confirmation of the justice of my
suspicions. October 21, 1783, being with her Royal Highness
Princess Amelia at her villa at Gunnersbury, among many interesting
anecdotes which I have set down in another place, she told me, that
while Admiral Byng’s affair was depending, the Duchess of Newcastle
sent Lady Sophia Egerton to her the Princess, to beg her to be
_for_ the execution of Admiral Byng. “They thought,” added the
Princess, “that unless he was put to death, Lord Anson could not
be at the head of the Admiralty. Indeed,” continued the Princess,
“I was already for it; the officers would never have fought, if he
had not been executed.” I replied, that I thought his death most
unjust, and the sentence a most absurd contradiction.

Lady Sophia Egerton was wife of a clergyman, afterwards Bishop of
Durham. What a complication of horrors! women employed on a job for

[As the author calls this accidental conversation at Gunnersbury,
“a most _authentic_ confirmation of his suspicions,” the Editor was
not at liberty to omit any part of the story; though the reader
will probably think with him, that more importance is ascribed to
mere gossip than it deserves.--E.]

[86] [The Duke of Cumberland.--E.]

[87] Indeed there was so little intended by the inquiries, that
Legge himself, one of the new tribunes of the people, said, “Both
sides will be trying which shall fling most dust in the eyes of the

[88] Townshend had been author of the first political caricatura
card, with portraits of Newcastle and Fox.




(_Vide page 147._)

These Armenian letters are apparently written in humble imitation
of the Persian, but greatly inferior to them; they are calculated
solely for the meridian of Ireland, and contain little else besides
a few severe strictures on the politics and government of that
kingdom, with a particular account of the late divisions there,
and the persons chiefly concerned in them. As these are topics,
which, however well treated, would scarce afford our readers any
entertainment, an extract from this part of the performance would
be unnecessary. The affairs of England are, however, now and then,
introduced, and treated in these letters with the same freedom as
those of Ireland. The following characters of two or three of our
most celebrated orators are not ill drawn.

“When I was last in England,” says our Armenian, “curiosity led me
to hear the Judicial, Parliamentary, and Ecclesiastical eloquence
of that kingdom, in all which there are men very eminent. Among
the foremost was a native of North Britain; he excelled in order
and ornament, yet his ornaments were never studied, they flowed
from his matter, and with such ease, that, though no man could
speak more elegantly, it seemed that he could not speak less so. He
was quick in distinguishing, of memory so tenacious that he could
range the testimonies of thirty persons in different cells, and
immediately call them forth with the same ease as if he took them
from paper. As a judicial speaker, he seemed but little inferior
in subtlety and elegance to the celebrated Greeks; in decency he
was superior; in his narrations plain; in ranging his arguments,
concealing his weakness, and displaying his strength, he had no
rival; he concluded always strongly, sometimes with his best
argument; with a short and weighty enumeration, when many arguments
had been lightly dispersed through his oration; he could mix
raillery, but seemed to avoid it, and hasten to serious arguments,
as if he blamed himself for using others. His voice was clear and
musical, to some it was too acute.”

“Charles Townshend, a young man, was at the same time in
Parliamentary debate nervous, copious, and vehement; in order not
most exact, but in sentiment strong, in expression animated; his
figures were glaring, and his illustrations grand; a tide of matter
and words bore his hearers with him, even when he digressed; and
though there was something in his eloquence which calm judgment
might prune, there was nothing which a warmed audience would not

“There is an Ecclesiastic,[89] who was Preacher to an Academy of
Law, whom I have heard with delight. He was grave, dignified,
and elegant; his subjects, whether of things human or divine, he
treated with becoming majesty. Thou hast seen him, Aza; he is a
great and a good man, and true eloquence comes from such only; look
through all experience, virtue produces eloquence, and adversity
calls forth virtue.”


  [In a note to page 41 a reference is made to the correspondence
  of Mr. Fox with Lord Hartington, as printed in the Appendix
  to Lord Waldegrave’s Memoirs. The part, however, of the
  correspondence which is at variance with the statement in Lord
  Oxford’s text is not to be found in the extracts there printed;
  and it is therefore here subjoined, with some additional extracts
  from unpublished letters of the Duke of Newcastle and Mr. Fox,
  illustrative of the views of parties at that time.]

  _Extract of a Letter from Mr. Fox (Secretary at War) to the
  Marquis of Hartington (Lord Lieutenant of Ireland), August 10,

... We have made a treaty with Hesse and another with Russia, to
be followed with other subsidies, or these will be useless; and
if followed by other subsidies, how can we find money to pay or
place to assemble these troops? And, perhaps, I may add, members to
vote them? For the Duke of Devonshire is so determinately against
them, that I believe he will think it his duty to declare his
opinion, and how far that may operate (most people, I find, being
in their own minds of the same opinion) there is no saying. Legge
did not sign the order for the Hessian money at the Treasury, and,
I believe, makes no scruple of declaring his opinion. I have been
more cautious in giving, I may say, in _forming_ mine; but have, by
not signing it at the Cockpit, kept myself at liberty. Pitt’s and
Egmont’s opinions, in this regard, I don’t know.

  _Extract of a Letter from Ditto to Ditto, August 29, 1755._

... Your father is certainly against subsidies, and will, I think,
be hardly kept from making his opinion, by some method or other,
public, which will the less embarrass your Lordship, as I suppose
whatever passes of this kind will be over before you can come here,
make what haste you will. Lord Granville has had a conversation
with the Duke of Newcastle, in which his Grace told him his scheme,
which the other says is no scheme at all. You know Lord Granville
talks the language Stone talked. It was one of my crimes,[90] in
Lord Hillsborough’s garden, that Lord Granville was my friend, who
was so much his, (that is) Pitt’s enemy. Well, the scheme is this:
to gain Lord Egmont with Yonge’s place; to try, by Lord Chancellor,
to gain Pitt; to trust to my acquiescence, from the influence H. R.
H. has over me, and to carry every thing through, without parting
(as Lord Granville expresses it) with the least emanation of his
power to any body.

  _Extract of a Letter from the Duke of Newcastle to the Marquis of
  Hartington, August 30, 1755._

... I took this opportunity, in concert with my Lord Chancellor,
to lay before the King, in a very strong letter to my Lord
Holderness, the necessity of forming forthwith a system for the
House of Commons; that Mr. Pitt must make a material part of it;
that if he would take a cordial and an active part, with other
arrangements proposed, the King’s business might be done with ease;
that otherwise _we_ could not answer for it. We therefore proposed
to be authorized to assure Mr. Pitt of his Majesty’s countenance
and gracious acceptance of his service, and that Mr. Pitt might
be called to the Cabinet Council if he desired it. This authority
_we_ have, though with evident marks of reluctance and resentment
to Mr. Pitt. My Lord Chancellor has seen Mr. Pitt, and I am to
have that honour next Tuesday. If nothing but the Secretary’s
office will do, I am persuaded nothing will induce the King to
consent to it; but if proper regard and confidence with his rank
of the Cabinet Council, and I hope a proper, or at least a better,
behaviour from the King towards him will do, that I should think
might be brought about, and I dare say your Lordship thinks Mr.
Pitt ought to be satisfied. We also advised the getting of Sir
William Yonge’s place (which indeed is now vacant) for my Lord
Egmont; that was most readily consented to, and I hope and believe
my Lord Egmont will do well; and upon these conditions he will have
it. Nothing is determined about the Chancellor of the Exchequer;
your friend Legge would not countersign the Lords Justices’ warrant
for the Hessian levy money. That is a new symptom of the Treasury
Board, and not very complaisant for the First Commissioner. I wish
your Lordship would find out some expedient for Legge: I would
not willingly do anything to disoblige him, but his continuance
at the Treasury cannot be agreeable to either of us. As Mr. Fox
is already in the Cabinet Council, which was what he desired, and
is now, in consequence of it, one of the Lords Justices; if Mr.
Pitt will be satisfied with these marks of distinction, and some
other arrangements can be made, which I hope will not create much
difficulty, when the great ones are over, I should hope things
might go on well in the House of Commons. Your Lordship sees I do
not suffer my private resentments to have any effect on the public
service: I must, however, be entire master at the Board where I am,
and not put myself under the tutelage of anybody. I can go out, and
_easily_; but not be a cipher in office.

  _Extract of a Letter from Mr. Fox to the Marquis of Hartington,
  Sept. 1, 1755._

... The Duke of Newcastle has seen Egmont, who at first talked
very high; but at length, “such was his submission to the Princess
and duty to the King, that he believed he should accede to what
was proposed;” but dropped that he should be unwilling to act
offensively to Mr. Pitt. The Duke then asked if he might write to
Hanover: Lord Egmont said he could not quite authorize his Grace to
go so far yet, but desired a few days; which the Duke of Newcastle
interprets to be to consult Pitt. His Grace is to see Pitt, but
Legge says Pitt is in no disposition to be paid with such counters
as his Grace has to give him. The Chancellor, too, has told him,
as he did your father, though not so positively, that he knew of
no subsidy but that of Hesse. I think he told your father that
the Russian was not _done_ yet, (he must mean ratified, which is
an equivocation;) but he told Pitt absolutely that he knew of no
other but the Hessian, which was, to my knowledge, an absolute
falsehood. The Duke of Newcastle told a friend of mine that he had
an overture from me by Lord Granville, which is not true; but
his Grace might, perhaps, from what Lord Granville said, conclude
it came from me. My friend asked him why he did not close with
me then? He answered, _the Duke_ would govern them; and likewise
talked of his own family, as he calls it, (Lady C. Pelham and Lord
Lincoln,) and he might have added, his expectations through Egmont,
&c., at Leicester House. But all or either of them show how sincere
at any time his professions have been.

  _Extract of a Letter from Ditto to Ditto, Sept. 11, 1755._

... I hear Pitt declares against the Russian subsidy, which, I am
told, is growing as unpopular as the excise.

  _Extract of a Letter from Ditto to Ditto, Sept. 23, 1755._

... I have never declared my opinion of the subsidies till this
morning to the King. His Majesty is in great distress: they have
been obliged to tell him that the House of Commons could not go
on without some authority within it; that almost every principal
person there had declared against subsidies, and they could not
name one who had declared for them. They had tried Pitt, Sir George
Lee, and Egmont: that the two first and Legge had declared against
them; that Egmont doubted and declined accepting the place; that in
this situation they had spoken to me. Lord Grenville had spoke of
me to him, but could not tell him my opinion.

I told his Majesty that he should, on this occasion, have my
best service as a private soldier or as an officer, but I could
not be both. I had a great deal of discourse, but he entered
into no particular destination of me. He lamented the harm the
Duke of Devonshire’s opinion would do him, and commended your
Lordship exceedingly. I told the Duke of Newcastle (whom I saw by
appointment with Lord Waldegrave, Saturday) that this was the last
time I would ever come to see if we could agree. And so it is. Lord
Granville says, if Legge won’t keep it (and to be sure he will
not) I must be Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Duke of Newcastle
says, that in that case we shall not agree a fortnight, and that
it must not be. They quarrelled about it. I give readily into the
Duke of Newcastle’s opinion. Nothing then remains but Secretary of
State. How to make a vacancy I can’t tell, but there is nothing
else. If this be done, I shall behave just as both you and they
would have me; if not, I shall still be for the subsidies. It is
my opinion. But I will be for them _out of place_; and in the act
of vindicating the measure, declare war with the Minister. So you
see that instead of the quiet state I thought of, I am brought, and
indeed without my seeking, into such a one that I must (I hope you
see with me the necessity) be within this week more, or within
these six weeks less, than Secretary at War.

I forgot to tell you that Lincoln advises the Duke of Newcastle to
agree with me, and even prefers me to the others, or to any measure
but that of his uncle’s retiring quite, which he thinks best. The
Attorney and Stone are of the same mind. I am sorry to tell you
that it is certain the latter has lost his credit at Kew for being
my friend. You know where that must point; to the Duke, who has not
been once mentioned in the negotiation. I think _he_ must have been
Pitt’s reason for discarding me, and yet that does not quite solve

  _Extract of a Letter from Ditto to Ditto, Sept. 25, 1755._

... If you have not yet received my letter by last Tuesday’s post,
it is not now worth reading. The matter is settled, and I am to be
Secretary of State in the room of Sir Thomas Robinson, and in order
to have the conduct of the House of Commons.


(_Vide page 234._)

  [As our author derived his information on Northern and German
  Courts, especially Dresden, from Sir Charles Hanbury Williams, of
  whose letters from abroad he speaks (p. 205, vol. i.) in terms
  of such high commendation, and has already given extracts in
  the Appendix, vol. i., a short account of that lively writer’s
  Embassies, taken in substance from the same author’s MS. notes,
  together with a farther specimen of his correspondence concerning
  the Court of Saxony, will not be misplaced here; at least they
  will afford some entertainment to the reader.]

Sir Charles Hanbury Williams was appointed envoy to Dresden in
1747, was commissioned in July, 1749, along with Mr. Anstis, Garter
at Arms, to carry the Blue Riband to the Margrave of Anspach; and
on Mr. Fox waving, at the request of the King, his pretensions to
the Treasurership of the Navy, was, with a view of gratifying that
gentleman, who was his intimate friend, named Envoy Extraordinary
at Berlin. He set out for that Court in May, 1750, and passed
through Hanover when the King was there. From thence he was
sent to the King of Poland, who was holding the Diet at Warsaw,
to engage his vote for the Archduke Joseph to be King of the
Romans. On this progress he wrote a celebrated letter to the Duke
of Newcastle at Hanover, which was sent over to England and much
admired, as his ministerial letters generally were. About this time
he met the Ministers of the two Empresses of Germany and Russia;
reconciled these two Princesses, and set out for Berlin, where he
was very coldly received, and soon grew so offensive to the King,
that he was, as he had predicted, recalled at his request, and sent
back to Dresden in February, 1751. Sir Charles had detected the
Saxon Minister at Berlin, in betraying his master’s and Russia’s
secrets to the Court of Prussia; and had also exposed an artifice
of the King of Prussia in making a Tartar, sent to release a
countryman who had enlisted in the Prussian Army, pass for a
Deputy or Minister for the disaffected in Russian Tartary. These
circumstances, and his satirical tongue, and yet more[91] satirical
pen, combined to exasperate the King of Prussia. It was, he said in
his private letters, “in vain to contend with so mighty a Prince,
and he became the sacrifice.” However, in 1753, he was sent to
Vienna to demand the assistance of that Court in case Prussia
should proceed to extremities after stopping the Silesian loan;
and in his triple capacity of Minister, Courtier, and Poet, he
composed the following distich on the Empress-Queen:

      “Oh Regina orbis prima et pulcherrima! ridens
         Es Venus, incedens Juno, Minerva loquens.”

The general style of his poetry was far from being so
complimentary; and that of his prose, though not so well known,
and often too licentious for publication, was to the full as easy,
lively, and humorous as his verse. After returning to England he
was again appointed to Dresden, and attended the King of Poland to
Warsaw, in 1754, where, upon espousing very warmly the interests of
the Poniatowskys in an affair called the disposition of the Ostrog,
he came to an open rupture with Count Bruhl. He shortly afterwards
concluded a subsidiary treaty with Russia, and was named Ambassador
to Petersburg in 1755. He returned to England in 1758, and died in

The following letter was written on his first arrival at Dresden,
and before any quarrel with Count Bruhl. Though addressed to a
private friend, it seems nearly a duplicate of his public dispatch.
It is no unfavourable specimen of his correspondence, but is
perhaps less enlivened by anecdote, as well as less disfigured by
indecencies, than many of his epistolary compositions from Germany.

  Dear Sir,

  The short time that I have been abroad, would, in any other
  Court, have hardly been sufficient to have formed a judgment, or
  given a description of it; but this, where I am, is so easy to be
  understood, that an understanding as mean as mine may see into it
  as clearly in a month’s time as in ten years.

  The King’s absolute and avowed hatred to all business, and his
  known love for idleness and low pleasures, such as operas, plays,
  masquerades, tilts and tournaments, balls, hunting, and shooting,
  prevent both him and his country from making that figure in
  Europe which this noble Electorate ought to do, and often has
  done. As to the King himself, he is very polite and well-bred,
  and his natural abilities far from bad ones. I have very often
  (much oftener than any Minister here) the honour of conversing
  with him, and I must say, that he talks better, and makes juster
  judgments on affairs than any other person I have met with in
  this Court: but he wont dwell long upon politics. ’Tis visible
  that he soon grows uneasy, and then you must change the discourse
  to the last stag that he hunted, the last opera that was acted,
  or the last picture that he has bought. Immediately, you perceive
  that his countenance clears up, and he talks on with pleasure.
  From these subjects ’tis easy to lead him back to any other you
  please, always taking care to observe his countenance, which is
  a very speaking one. He is seldom seen, when at Dresden, but at
  dinner. He always dines with company, and his buffoons make a
  great noise, and fight with one another during the whole repast,
  which is quite over by two o’clock; and then his Majesty retires
  to his own apartments, undresses totally, and then puts on his
  night-gown, in which he sits the rest of the day. Nobody must
  come to him at that time but Count Bruhl, Father Guerini, and
  the buffoon. He has had a great loss in the Electress of Bavaria
  being married, for she often came to him in the afternoon, and
  they have been surprised together in very indecent postures. The
  Queen knew this, and was furious about it. She complained of it
  to her Confessor; but the good Jesuit told her, that since things
  were so, it was much better that the King’s affections should
  remain in his own family, than be fixed upon a stranger, who
  might be a Lutheran, and do prejudice to their holy religion; and
  by this these holy casuists appeased her angry Majesty.

  The whole Court is now gaping to see who will succeed the
  Electress, for his Majesty’s constitution requires somebody
  besides the Queen. The King is excessively fond of hunting, and
  ’tis reckoned that the game of all sorts (which is strictly
  preserved for him) do 50,000_l._ per annum of damage to this
  country. I have myself seen fifty stags a feeding in one
  corn-field; and to take care of all his game and forests, there
  are no less than 4000 persons in constant pay.

  The expenses of this Court of every sort are in proportion with
  that of the chase. After this, Sir, you will not be surprised
  when I tell you, that the debts of this Electorate (all incurred
  since this King came into possession of it) are near four
  millions sterling, and that their credit is quite ruined; but the
  King will not hear of the expenses of the Court being lessened.
  He has no idea of the state of his country; but as he finds
  himself easy, he thinks and wishes his people to be so too. He
  is not beloved nor respected. His never heading his Army, and
  his precipitate flight from Dresden at the King of Prussia’s
  approach, did him more injury in the minds of the Saxons, than he
  will ever be able to retrieve.

  Her Majesty the Queen is very devout, but not a bit the better
  for her devotions: she does nothing but commit small sins,
  and beg forgiveness for them. She is ugly beyond painting,
  and malicious beyond expression. Her violent hatred to the
  Empress-Queen, and her great love to all her enemies, make me
  rejoice that she has not the least influence at this Court. She
  has much impotent aversion to Count Bruhl: he hates her Majesty
  in return, but then he makes her feel his power. She meddles
  much in the lowest things, such as disgracing or restoring a
  buffoon to favour; disposing the parts of an opera, and giving
  the preference to such and such a dancer; and even this she never
  does by merit, but he or she that comes oftenest to mass has the
  best parts and the first rank. The Italians are much favoured
  here. They are divided into two parties, one of which is headed
  by Father Guerini, who first placed the colony here; the other,
  which is the most powerful, has the Faustina for its leader; and
  the two chiefs have by turns vented their complaints against each
  other to me, till I could hardly keep my countenance. But to
  return to her Majesty: I look upon her to be thoroughly in the
  French interests. She is not at all beloved, nor does she deserve
  it, for she does no good to anybody but converts, and very little
  to them.

  I am next to speak of the Electoral Prince. You know, Sir, his
  person is bad, and his backbone so disjointed, that he cannot
  stand without two people to support him. The weakness of his
  body has hurt his mind. His parts, if he ever had any, are much
  decayed; but he is civil, good, and well-tempered. His education
  has been extremely bad; he knows nothing. He asked ’tother day
  at table, whether, though England were an island, one could not
  go there by land? Judge of the rest by this. When he walks,
  supported or rather dragged along by two people, his knees almost
  touch his stomach; and the Duchess of Courland (who is our good
  friend at this Court) told me that she saw him in bed on his
  wedding-night, and that he lay in the same posture there; so that
  she did not comprehend how matters could be accomplished. The
  Court, however, swear that (the marriage was then consummated).
  He is at present wholly devoted to his new bride, about whom I
  must say a little, having the happiness, by her permission, to
  see her very often.

  She is far from being handsome or well made; but then she is
  infinitely agreeable in her manner, and very well-bred. She
  talks much, and is very entertaining. When she first came, she
  had flattered herself with hopes of succeeding the Electress,
  and attacked the King the first night, but without success. He
  seemed rather disgusted with her advances, and since that time
  she has not recovered the ground she then lost. All[92] this I
  have also from the Duchess of Courland. Before she came here
  she was reckoned to meddle much in politics, and to be in the
  French interests. She denies all this herself, and declares
  against women’s meddling in state affairs; but I will venture to
  prophesy, that if ever the Prince Electoral should outlive his
  father, she will govern this country most absolutely. Hitherto
  she is much liked and admired by all who come near her, for her
  address is very engaging, and not at all like the Queen’s.

  The King has four younger sons, and three unmarried daughters. As
  to the Princesses I can say nothing of them, but that they are
  very young and very plain.

  Prince Xavier is next to the Prince Royal, and has always been
  the Queen’s favourite, and she tried every way to persuade the
  Prince Electoral to go into orders that this Prince might succeed
  his father. His person is good, and I believe his natural parts
  are so too, but his education has been very unfortunate. He is
  sixteen years of age, and has hitherto been taught nothing but
  bodily exercises; and they do not seem to think in this country
  that a Prince wants any accomplishments who can dance, fence,
  ride at the ring, and shoot at the mark. This Prince has not yet
  learned common good manners, and is almost a stranger to common
  decency. The French Ambassador and I dined with him the other
  day, and the whole time we were at table he talked to the Pages
  behind him, and what he said to them was in German. Monsieur des
  Issarts was quite out of humour at the treatment he met with: I
  was only sorry for the Prince. But to end his character, those
  who are best acquainted with him tell me he is very proud and
  very malicious. ’Tis publicly known that he hates his elder
  brother; but his pride is much abated, and his spirits much sunk
  since the Electoral Prince’s marriage, which was a thing that he
  had been taught to believe never would happen. Still he flatters
  himself with the hope that if the King his father should die, he
  should succeed him in the Throne of Poland.

  Prince Charles is next; he is a fine youth about thirteen; his
  person is good, and he has great quickness of parts; but as
  he labours under the misfortune of having the same wretched
  education as his brothers have had, ’tis impossible to say how
  he will turn out; and here I must observe, that the scarcity of
  men of ability is so great in this country, that out of four
  governors employed in the education of these Princes, there is
  not one who is a Saxon.

  The two other Princes, Albert and Clement, are both so young,
  that I can say nothing about them.

  Having now, Sir, gone through the Royal Family, I shall speak
  of their fine country, which I believe produces more to its
  sovereign than any other district of land of the same size in
  Europe. The last grant of the Diet of Saxony was between eight
  and nine millions of dollars (each dollar exactly three shillings
  and sixpence English money) per annum for nine years; yet ’tis
  likely that the whole may be anticipated and spent in five, and
  then the King calls a new Diet, and gets fresh supplies, so that
  ’tis not possible to say exactly what the King’s revenues are;
  but everybody must see that they are very large, and how the
  people will continue such payments begins to be a question. It is
  certain this country grows daily poorer, which is very visible
  by the decay of Leipsick fair. Everybody agrees that the last
  Easter fair was not half so good as it used to be; and this fair
  is the touchstone of the trade and money in this Electorate. The
  loss and expenses their own bad politics have drawn them into
  during this war have been very great; and the visit the King of
  Prussia made to Dresden was very expensive to this country; but
  above all, the visible decay of their linens and tinned iron
  manufactures (which England has been wise enough not to want
  any longer in such great quantities from foreign countries,) is
  a blow that is felt more severely than can be expressed. The
  Stier Bills, which are the funds here, and which always used
  to bear a premium, are now at 5 and 6 per cent. discount, and
  ’tis very difficult to negotiate them even at that price, though
  they carry 5 per cent. interest. I have been offered some, whose
  principal is due at Michaelmas, 1748, at 7 per cent. discount.
  This being so, you see that their credit is exhausted, and that
  they would hardly be able to borrow under 10 per cent.; and yet
  they must take up money, or their Army will mutiny, for their
  officers are most of ’em twelve or fifteen months in arrear. In
  the midst of all these difficulties the Court has squandered
  away above 200,000_l._ sterling at the late double marriages;
  given 100,000_l._ sterling for the Duke of Modena’s gallery
  of pictures; and Count Bruhl alone cannot spend so little as
  60,000_l._ sterling a year. The pensions also that the King gives
  in Poland exceed the revenues he receives from thence by full
  50,000_l._ per annum.

  It is now necessary I should say something of the person to whom
  the King commits the entire care of this country. Count Bruhl is
  originally of a good family, but as he was a Page to the late
  King, so he had the education of a Page. His natural parts,
  without being very good, are certainly better than any other
  person’s I have hitherto conversed with at this Court. He was
  employed by the late King in high employments, but never touched
  the zenith of power till after the fall of Monsieur Sulkowsky,
  who was his predecessor in the present King’s favour. Sulkowsky
  lost it by absenting himself from the King’s person to make
  campaigns in Hungary and upon the Rhine. As Count Bruhl profited
  by this false step of Sulkowsky, he is resolved no person shall
  ever have such an advantage over him. He is never absent from
  the King’s person, and he pays the closest attention to every
  thing his Majesty says or does, though he himself is naturally
  very idle. His every day is passed in the following manner: he
  rises before six in the morning, then Father Guerini comes to him
  to talk upon business, and to read over whatever letters they
  receive, and then they send such of them as they please to the
  Privy Council; but if anybody comes in, business is laid aside,
  and he is very ready to talk upon indifferent matters. Afterwards
  he dresses, which takes up above an hour, and he is obliged to
  be with the King before nine. He stays with him till his Majesty
  goes to mass, which he does exactly at eleven; and then Count
  Bruhl goes to the Countess Moyenska, where he stays till twelve;
  from thence he goes either to dinner with the King, or to his own
  house, with a few of the lowest and worst people of this Court.

  After dinner he undresses and goes to sleep till five, when
  Father Guerini comes and sits with him while he dresses, and at
  six he goes again to the King, with whom he stays till after
  seven; from thence he goes to some assembly, where he plays at
  cards very deep, the Countess Moyenska being always of the party,
  who plays very well, and wins considerable sums of the Count;
  rather before ten he sits down to supper, and from thence he goes
  to bed about twelve.

  Now as everything of the kind, from the highest affairs of state
  down to operas and hunting, are all in Count Bruhl’s immediate
  care, I leave you to judge how his post is executed, by the
  time he takes to do business in. His expenses are immense. He
  keeps three hundred servants and as many horses. His house is in
  extreme bad taste and extravagance. He has, at least, a dozen
  country seats, where he is always building and altering, but
  which he never sees. It is said, and I believe it, that he takes
  money for everything the King disposes of in Poland, where they
  frequently have very great employments to bestow. Everybody here
  reckons that he is not sincere, but for my own part I have as
  yet no great reason to think so. He is very communicative to me,
  and very patient to hear whatever I have to say. He is certainly
  not an ill-natured man, having never done a hard or cruel thing
  to any person that I heard of since he has been in power. He is
  very vain, and a little flattery is absolutely necessary for
  those who intend being well with him; and my notion of the duty
  of a Foreign Minister is, that after serving his master to the
  utmost of his power and ability, he ought to make himself as
  agreeable as possible at the Court he is sent to. From this way
  of thinking, I have endeavoured to cultivate the King of Poland
  and his Minister as much as possible, because a time may come
  when my being well with this Court may be of some small service
  to the King my master.

  Count Bruhl is polite, civil, and very ready to oblige, and,
  after the first ceremonies are over, without any forms. If
  he has any principle in politics, ’tis certainly favourable
  to the House of Austria. That, indeed, is not much, but it is
  more than any other person has that belongs to this Court, and
  whenever he falls we shall fall into worse hands. He has been
  very negligent of support at Court, having never, during his long
  Administration, made himself one friend of any great consequence.
  The clamours now against him are very high, for the two reasons
  of the fall of the Stier Bills, and the non-payment of the Army.
  The man that heads these complaints, and whom ’tis possible
  his Majesty may remember to have seen at Hanover, is one Count
  Linard, a Saxon, whom I take to be thoroughly in the French
  interests. He has but moderate parts, and very little literature,
  but in Saxon learning he is very deep. He rides, shoots, and
  dances better than anybody here, and by these accomplishments
  he has got himself into a good degree of the King’s favour, and
  flatters himself that whenever the Minister falls, he is the man
  that is to succeed him. I know he has been contriving to get
  a body of officers to throw themselves at the King’s feet to
  complain of Count Bruhl, and to demand their pay. By means of a
  spy that I had at Court I discovered this affair, and told Count
  Bruhl of it. He owned things were as I said, and added, that he
  did not expect nor deserve such usage from Count Linard; but two
  days afterwards he told me that my information was very true,
  and that he had taken such measures upon it as would perfectly
  secure him. I have since had the misfortune to lose my spy, who
  is fled for having got a woman with child, he being a married
  man, and adultery in this country is punished with death.

  The next person I shall speak of is father Guerini, a Jesuit, who
  is more in the King’s favour than in any credit. He has been long
  in the service, and is now kept, like an old horse, for what he
  has formerly done. He is Count Bruhl’s absolute creature, and has
  his confidence. He is perpetually with the King and Queen, and
  constantly employed in making up some quarrel among the singers
  and dancers. If he ever had any parts, they were gone before I
  came; but he is a good, trifling old man, and, though a priest,
  has no ambition. He has twice refused a Cardinal’s hat; and the
  last time, which was not above half a year ago, the King pressed
  him to it very much, but in vain. I go to him very often; for he
  often comes out with things that he is trusted with, and which I
  am sure he ought not to tell.

  The next person to Count Bruhl in business is one Heinnech, a low
  man, who once wore a livery, though he now wears the Blue Riband
  of Russia. He talks no French, and we converse in Latin; but
  Monsieur Heinnech has so quarrelled with all moods and tenses,
  numbers and cases, that it is with difficulty I understand him.
  If I guess right at what he says to me, he is very ignorant of
  the affairs I talk about. He is _Chef des finances_; and it is
  said that Count Bruhl and he know so many had things of each
  other with respect to the disposal of public money, that it is
  impossible they should ever quarrel. He is the Minister’s right
  hand for domestic affairs, as Mr. Saul is for foreign ones, who
  in that province does everything. He is also a very low man;
  but he has parts, quickness, and knowledge without the least
  appearance of fashion or manners of a gentleman. There is not a
  man in Saxony that does not detest him, except his patron, Count
  Bruhl, to whom he is certainly very useful. Heinnech went so far
  once as to propose in the Privy Council to hang him. He has very
  strange schemes in his head; he is certainly for the House of
  Austria, but in a manner peculiar to himself; _for he wishes to
  see that House strictly united with that of Bourbon, and believes
  that a[93] practicable business_. He is secretary to the Cabinet
  Council, in conjunction with Mr. Walter, who is a very honest
  knowing man, well-intentioned, and quite in the true system, but
  at present hardly employed at all, to our great misfortune.

  These persons govern under Count Bruhl, as the Countess Moyenska
  does over him--

                          ... orbi
      Jupiter imponit jura, sed illa Jovi.

  She is thoroughly hated, having all had qualities that can unite
  in one person, among which pride, avarice, and revenge shine
  most conspicuous. She has certainly received money in large sums
  from France; but as that is received, and there is no immediate
  prospect of more, I think her violence against us seems to abate.
  I thought it my business to do all I could to be well with her,
  and I am now of all her parties. My reception, when I first went,
  was very cold; but I expected that, and persisted in going till I
  came to be very well received.

  I shall now say a word or two of their Army. They aver that
  they have 44,000 men, but they really have but 33,000. To all
  appearance they are very fine ones, especially the Cavalry; but
  as I have already told you how ill they are paid, you must see
  that without a large sum to put them in motion, ’tis impossible
  they should act out of their own country. As to their generals,
  Count Rotosha and the Chevalier de Saxe, both natural sons of
  the late King of Poland, are at the head of the Army. They
  are not wanting in abilities and knowledge; but they are both
  the idlest and most inactive of all mankind, and both bitter
  enemies of the House of Austria, because they reckon they were
  sacrificed by Prince Charles at the battle of Keisersdorf. There
  is also in this service a Prince of Anhalt-Dessau, who was
  formerly in the King of Prussia’s, but who was discharged from
  thence upon suspicion of cowardice. He afterwards served as a
  volunteer in the armies of the Empress-Queen; but they would
  not give him any command at Vienna. At last the father, about
  a year and a half ago, brought him to Leipsick fair, presented
  and recommended him to the King of Poland, and begged he would
  make him a Lieutenant-General in his army. The King answered he
  would consider of it. Upon this the old Prince came out into the
  ante-chamber, and told everybody that the King had made his son
  Eugene a Lieutenant-General, and got his Commission immediately
  made out, which the good King, rather than have the trouble of a
  dispute, signed; and he is in this service.

  There is another general here, a Frenchman, named D’Ollone, who
  was in the service of their Imperial Majesties; but being sent
  hither, about eight months ago, to regulate some differences
  about the Saxon troops, when they were in Bohemia, he talked so
  fast, and played so deep with Count Bruhl, that he thought him
  the greatest officer of the age, and at once offered to make
  him General of Foot (whereas he had been but Lieutenant-General
  under their Imperial Majesties.) This offer D’Ollone readily
  accepted, and entered into this service; but in a month’s time
  all D’Ollone’s talk was out, and he had won too much of Count
  Bruhl’s money: so he quickly grew out of favour, and was found to
  be a man of no parts or consequence. In short, both parties are
  heartily sick of their bargain. He curses the day he was taken,
  and they the day they took him.

  I hope you will excuse my mentioning these two last stories; but
  I mean them more for entertainment than information, though they
  are both strictly true, and serve a little to illustrate the
  characters of the King of Poland and his First Minister.

  I must now inform you of what I judge to be the views and wishes
  of this Court. The King of Poland most ardently desires to see a
  peace made. He loves peace so much, that I believe he is not much
  concerned about what sort of a one it may be; but till that happy
  hour arrives, their system here (if they have any system) is to
  observe an impracticable neutrality; and by the fear they have
  of offending anybody (which is the natural consequence of such
  a system), they take care to oblige nobody. The Court of Vienna
  is very much dissatisfied with their proceedings at Dresden; but
  the Ministry of Versailles are often full as discontented with
  the steps they take. Russia alone is the power to which the King
  pays real court. ’Tis by the Czarina only that the King keeps
  possession of the Throne of Poland: for his affairs in that
  kingdom are in so bad a situation, and his interest there so
  very low, that the Grand Marshal, the Grand Chancellor, and many
  other Poles of distinction that came here upon the late double
  marriages, told me, in my first week’s acquaintance with them,
  that if it was not for fear of Russia they would dethrone their
  King in half a year and choose another; for that he had broken
  through every promise that he had ever made them, and had not
  kept one tittle of the _pacta conventa_. The Ministry were so
  sensible that all this is true, that the Court goes into Poland
  early the next spring in order to manage that people, and to
  conciliate their minds to the House of Saxony; for the King has
  the succession of that Crown in his family much at heart; and
  this, if ever it does happen, must be brought about by Russia.
  After all this, judge of the weight the Court of Petersburgh must
  have with that of Dresden. For my part, I give it as an opinion,
  by which I will abide, and which I can prove by facts, that
  whenever there is a Minister at Dresden, sent by the Czarina with
  absolute instructions to act in concert with those of his Majesty
  and his Allies, Saxony must do whatever they please.

  There is something unfortunate between this Court and that of
  Vienna. They never were perfectly well together for six weeks
  at a time. This King thinks that it was entirely owing to him
  that the Imperial dignity returned to the House of Austria,
  and that their Imperial Majesties can never do enough to repay
  that obligation. The Court of Vienna says, that she placed the
  Elector of Saxony on the Throne of Poland, (for doing which she
  has certainly since been a great sufferer,) without having any
  returns of gratitude from the Court of Dresden. ’Tis indeed true,
  that at a time when the Empress-Queen is fully employed, and
  unable to pay much attention to small things, this Court shows
  her very little regard. The Austrian Court sees this, and resents
  it tacitly very much. They have not yet thought fit to appoint
  anybody to succeed Esterhazy here, and they talked of sending
  only a Resident, at which this Court seems much offended. As to
  Prussia, this Court has not yet recovered the wounds nor the
  fright which it lately received from that quarter. With respect
  to France, their heads here were so turned with the marriage
  of the Dauphiness, that they are not yet quite settled. They
  are still pensioners to that Crown, but their treaty of subsidy
  expires next February. I flatter myself that it will not be
  renewed: nothing but poverty can make them do it.

  I have asked Count Bruhl twenty times, how it was possible to
  rely in the least upon a power who would at any time sacrifice
  this country (because it is their interest so to do, which the
  French understand but too well), at a moment’s warning, to their
  hated and dreaded foe, the King of Prussia. But the real cause
  that lost the Allies this Court, and threw it into the arms of
  France, was Mr. Calhoen, who, when Minister from Holland, had
  orders from his masters to treat about the taking a body of Saxon
  troops into their pay. He did indeed make the proposition; but
  at the same time prevented the success of it, by telling Count
  Bruhl, that though, by his office, he was obliged to ask for a
  body of Saxon troops, yet, as a friend to the Court of Dresden,
  he could not help saying that he doubted whether they would
  be well or regularly paid for them. Thus did this perfidious
  Dutchman talk, and easily persuaded Count Bruhl (who thought of
  nothing but the money) to refuse the troops. The Minister from
  this Court to the States General is a Frenchman, and heartily in
  the interest of his country; and all his letters that come here
  are as partial to our enemies and as prejudicial to his Majesty
  and his Allies as possible; and indeed this whole Court is so
  thoroughly Frenchified, that upon the late successes of our
  fleets, and the late battle won by our Allies in Italy, I don’t
  think that I was congratulated by five people here, and those few
  that did wish me joy did it in a whisper. I can’t help mentioning
  one thing upon which this Court value themselves, and make a
  merit of to me. They say it is their influence over the King of
  the Two Sicilies (because he married their daughter), that has
  prevented his marching against our Allies in Lombardy; but such
  counters as these are never taken in payment.

  Thus far I got Mr. Stephens to copy almost word for word a letter
  I wrote to Lord Chesterfield, by the same messenger that brings
  you this; and therefore it should not be shown to everybody; but
  I hope it will divert Lord Ilchester and the Duke of Marlborough.
  If it had been wrote to you in my own way, I could have made you
  laugh heartily. You observe that Monsieur Bruhl, like all First
  Ministers, keeps the lowest company. I wish I dared write all I
  could; but things are not yet ripe. The first opportunity, you
  shall have a packet of curiosities.

      I am ever entirely yours,


              * * *

  Dresden, 27th August, 1745, N. S.


[89] Supposed to be Dr. Sherlock.

[90] This alludes to an interview between Mr. Pitt and Mr. Fox, May
9, 1755. See Melcombe’s Diary, p. 319; and Mr. Fox’s Letter to Lord
Hartington of May 13, 1755, in Appendix to Waldegrave.

[91] See Appendix, vol. i.

[92] It is perhaps more reasonable, and certainly more charitable,
to suspect Sir Charles of credulity, and his female informant of
malignity, than to believe the tales of incest and licentious
effrontery reported in this letter. On the other hand, it must
be acknowledged that the general state of manners in German
Courts, in the middle of last century, by no means disprove such

[93] This passage, written in 1747, is remarkable; for Mr. Saul’s
“_scheme_” was proved to be “_practicable business_” in the course
of a few years.--E.


T. C. Savill, Printer, 4, Chandos-street, Covent-garden.


  Obvious typographical errors and punctuation errors have been
  corrected after careful comparison with other occurrences within
  the text and consultation of external sources.

  Except for those changes noted below, all misspellings in the text,
  and inconsistent or archaic usage, have been retained: for example,
  everybody, every body; meantime, mean time; partizan; catched;
  meaned; honester; tragical; subtilty; Pensylvania; Massachusets.

  Pg 18: ‘lived i na Court’ replaced by ‘lived in a Court’.
  Pg 22: ‘nor to be wiped’ replaced by ‘not to be wiped’.
  Pg 28: ‘to recal him’ replaced by ‘to recall him’.
  Pg 31: ‘his Aid-de-camp’ replaced by ‘his Aide-de-camp’.
  Pg 124: ‘forsesaw a war’ replaced by ‘foresaw a war’.
  Pg 140: ‘Edgcumbe, the one’ replaced by ‘Edgecombe, the one’.
  Pg 218: ‘inclined to pronouce’ replaced by ‘inclined to pronounce’.
  Pg 239: ‘Saxony, to faciliate’ replaced by ‘Saxony, to facilitate’.
  Pg 239: ‘reduced to recal’ replaced by ‘reduced to recall’.
  Pg 262: ‘Oct. 27.--The King’ replaced by ‘Oct. 27th.--The King’.
  Pg 298: ‘every the most’ replaced by ‘even the most’.
  Pg 304: ‘Feb. 7.--The younger’ replaced by ‘Feb. 7th.--The younger’.
  Pg 321: ‘was at at a loss’ replaced by ‘was at a loss’.
  Pg 374: ‘be expelled Oxford’ replaced by ‘be expelled from Oxford’.

  Footnote [76]: ‘Ramilies proved’ replaced by ‘Ramillies proved’.
  Footnote [84]: ‘villany, murder’ replaced by ‘villainy, murder’.

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