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Title: Memoirs of the Reign of King George the Third, Volume III (of 4)
Author: Walpole, Horace
Language: English
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  _J. Cook, sc._



  London. Published by Richard Bentley 1845]





  Publisher in Ordinary to Her Majesty.

  Printed by S. & J. BENTLEY, WILSON, and FLEY,
  Bangor House, Shoe Lane.


Since the publication of the preceding volumes of this work, the Editor
has been favoured with some important communications, which call for
his public and most grateful acknowledgements.

The Duke of Bedford kindly granted him the use of the valuable
collection of letters at Woburn, left by his ancestor, John Duke of
Bedford, from which he should have been less sparing in his extracts,
had not the publication of the concluding volume of that nobleman’s
correspondence been expected in the course of the present year.

The Editor’s inquiries have, in many instances, been materially
assisted by the Journal and Correspondence of Sir Gilbert Elliot--the
counsellor and intimate friend of Lord Bute, and one of the most
accomplished statesmen of his day. His papers are particularly
valuable, as constituting, perhaps, the only authority which can be
relied on for the views of the Court, at a time that it has been
charged with originating a system of unconstitutional interference with
the government of the country. Amongst them have been preserved some
very interesting letters that passed between Lord Bute and Sir Gilbert,
during critical periods of the political career of the former, which
throw considerable light on his character and intentions. Whatever
benefit may have been conferred on this work by the information thus
placed at the Editor’s disposal, is due to the liberality of the Earl
of Minto, who readily consented to the Editor’s consulting such of his
grandfather’s papers as related to the early part of George the Third’s
reign, adding at the same time several explanations which, coming from
a member of Sir Gilbert’s family, were especially valuable.

Through the friendship of Lord Brougham, to whom the Editor is also
indebted for many valuable suggestions, access was obtained to a
collection of George the Third’s Letters to Lord North, in the
possession of that nobleman’s accomplished daughter, Lady Charlotte
Lindsay, from which the Editor has made rather copious extracts,
illustrating, as he conceives, very forcibly, the personal character
of the King, and its influence on the events of his reign.

He has also to express his deep obligations to the Duke of Grafton,
for placing in his hands, without reserve, the autobiography of his
grandfather (the Minister of George the Third), a work in itself
of sufficient importance to deserve separate publication, and the
appearance of which at an earlier period would have refuted many of
the calumnies that have attached to the name of its noble writer. The
extracts given in the Appendix relate, almost exclusively, to his
Grace’s public conduct during his own administration and that of Lord

It had been the Editor’s intention to insert in the Appendix the
biographies of some of the statesmen noticed in these Memoirs, of
whom less has hitherto been generally known than might have been
expected from their connexion with the politics of the day. With
this view he had prepared a life of Marshal Conway, and a selection
from his correspondence, two volumes of which were kindly entrusted
to him by the Right Honourable Sir Alexander Johnstone, from whom he
also obtained much interesting information respecting the Marshal’s
pursuits after he quitted office. The Appendix, however, is without
such an addition already too large; but should the subject appear not
to have been exhausted, the Editor proposes to publish the materials
he has collected in a separate volume, under the title of “Notes and
Biographical Sketches illustrative of the History of the Early Years of
the Reign of George the Third.”

  _July, 20, 1845_.




             CHAPTER I.

  A. D.                                                             PAGE

  1767. Debates on East Indian Affairs                                 1

        Wilkes and the Duke of Grafton                                 5

        March 16th. The Houses adjourn for the Holidays                6

        Expulsion of the Jesuits from Spain                            6

        March 28th. The Houses reassemble                             11

        Parliamentary Discussions                                     11

        May 1st. Conversation on Indian Affairs                       15

        May 6th. Court of Proprietors vote themselves a Dividend      21

        Conduct of Mr. Townshend                                      23

        CHAPTER II.

  1767. May 13th. Proposal to tax the Colonies                        28

        Passing of the Resolutions                                    37

        Affairs of Lord Chatham                                       41

        May 18th. Violent Conduct of the Court of India Proprietors   44

        May 21st. Motion for Quebec Papers                            45

        State of Catholicism in England                               47

        May 26th. Motion on the Massachusets Act                      47

        Weakness of the Administration                                49

        June 1st. Grant moved to Prince Ferdinand                     50

        June 2nd. Victory of the Court in the House of Lords          54

        CHAPTER III.

  1767. Negotiations with the Bedford Party                           58

        July 2nd. Close of the Session                                59

        July 5th. Interview of Conway with the King                   61

        July 15th. Treaty with Lord Rockingham                        69

        July 20th. Meeting at the Duke of Newcastle’s                 79

        July 22nd. Interview of Lord Rockingham with the King         83

        CHAPTER IV.

  1767. Attempt to procure an Earldom for Lord Holland                94

        July 28th. Walpole sups with the Duke of Grafton              96

        Sept. 4th. Death of Charles Townshend                         99

        Sept. 17th. Death of the Comte de Guerchy                    102

        Sept. 17th. Death of the Duke of York                        103

        Characters of the Royal Dukes                                105

        French Travellers in England and Ireland                     107

        Generosity of Conway                                         108

        Conduct of Lord Townshend in Ireland                         109

        Nov. 24th. Meeting of Parliament                             112

        Debate on the Address                                        113

        Nov. 29th. Negotiation with the Bedford Party                117

        CHAPTER V.

  1767. Affair of Colonel Brereton with the Duke of Grafton          132

        Tax on Irish Absentees                                       133

        Character of Lord Weymouth                                   135

        Attempted Treaty with Mr. Grenville                          136

        Dec. 18th. Success of the Negotiation with the Bedfords      140

        Dec. 21st. The Houses adjourn                                141

  1768. Case of the Duke of Portland                                 143

        Jan. 14th. Dunning made Solicitor-General                    146

        Jan. 20th. Resignation of Conway                             149

        Affair of Lord Bottetort                                     151

        Corruption of the Corporation of Oxford                      153

        Bill for Septennial Parliaments in Ireland                   155

        Feb. 1st. Death of Sir Robert Rich                           156

        Beckford’s Bribery Bill                                      157

        Feb. 17th. Bill to restrain the Recovery of Crown Lands      161

        Dissolution of Parliament                                    163

        CHAPTER VI.

  1768. On the Literature of the Early Part of the Reign of
          George the Third                                           164

        CHAPTER VII.

  1768. Walpole determines to resume his Memoirs                     180

        Audacity of Wilkes                                           182

        March 28th. Beginning of the Middlesex Election              186

        Riots during the polling                                     187

        April 20th. Wilkes surrenders to the King’s Bench            194

        The General Elections                                        197

        Plan for the Expulsion of Wilkes                             200

        Meeting of Parliament                                        203

        Riots before the King’s Bench                                204

        May 11th. Petition of the Sailors to Parliament              206

        May 12th. Mark of Distinction to Aldermen Harley             207

        Debate on Wilkes in the Commons                              216

        French Designs on Corsica                                    217

        Heroism of a Sailor                                          219

        June 8th. Renewal of Wilkes’s Outlawry                       223

        June 18th. Sentence of Wilkes for the _North Briton_ and
          the “Essay on Woman”                                       228

        Riots at Boston                                              231


  1768. August 2nd. Lord Bute leaves England for the Continent       232

        August 3rd. Death of Archbishop Secker                       233

        August 9th. Trial of a Soldier for Murder                    235

        Arrival of Christian the Seventh                             235

        Removal of Amherst from Virginia                             239

        Contemplated Disgrace of Lord Shelburne                      245

        Resignation of Lord Chatham                                  247

        Lord Rochford made Secretary of State                        248

        Privy Seal given to Lord Bristol                             250

        State of the Country                                         253

        Nov. 8th. Meeting of Parliament                              255

        Meditated Expulsion of Wilkes                                256

        Nov. 14th. Sir Joseph Mawbey presents a Petition from him    260

        CHAPTER IX.

  1768. War between Russia and Turkey                                262

        The King of France’s new Mistress                            264

        Nov. 17th. Death of the Duke of Newcastle                    265

        Affairs of Corsica                                           265

        Quarrel between the Duke of Grafton and Lord Hertford        267

        Nov. 23rd. Debates on Wilkes’s Case                          271

        Ayliffe committed to Newgate                                 279

        Dec. 8th. Riots at the Middlesex Election                    283

        Characters of Townshend and Sawbridge                        284

        Character of Colonel Onslow                                  280

        Dec. 14th. Election of Serjeant Glynn                        289

        Resolutions on American Affairs                              289

        The Cumberland Election                                      290

        Wilkes demands to be heard at the Bar of the House of Lords  292

        CHAPTER X.

  1769. Jan. 2nd. Wilkes chosen Alderman                             297

        Jan. 13th. East India House rejects the Government
          Proposition                                                297

        Jan. 16th. Argument on Wilkes’s Writ of Error                298

        Douglas Peerage Claim                                        299

        Trial of Macquirk and Balf                                   307

        Discussions concerning Wilkes                                310

        Jan 25th. Resolutions on America                             313

        Jan. 27th. Wilkes appears before the House of Commons        314

        Feb. 2nd. Censure on him passed                              325

        His Expulsion carried                                        327

        Republican Party in England                                  331

        Mr. Grenville’s State of the Nation                          333

        Burke’s Reply                                                334

        CHAPTER XI.

  1769. American Affairs                                             336

        Feb. 16th. Wilkes is re-elected                              337

        Feb. 17th. His second Expulsion                              337

        Feb. 21st. Meeting at the London Tavern                      339

        Feb. 24th. Defeat of the Ministry                            340

        Feb. 27th. Agreement with the East India Company             341

        Feb. 28th. Message on the King’s Debts                       343

        March 16th. Third Election and Expulsion of Wilkes           347

        Loyal Demonstration                                          349

        Address of the Merchants of London                           350

        Riots                                                        351

        Lutterell appears as Candidate for Middlesex                 353

        April 12th. The Election                                     353

        Lutterell declared duly returned                             357

        April 27th. Meeting at Mile End                              361

        May 8th. Lutterell’s seat confirmed                          362

        Close of the Session                                         365

        May 24th. Petition of the Freeholders presented to the King  365

        CHAPTER XII.

  1769. Election of Pope Ganganelli                                  366

        Quarrel between the French and Russian Ambassadors           368

        Agitation after the Rising of Parliament                     372

        Lord Chatham appears at the King’s Levee                     373

        State of the Country                                         375

        Horne’s Libel on Onslow                                      377

        Aspersions on Lord Holland                                   379

        Dr. Musgrave’s Pretended Discovery                           384

        Russian Project of attacking Constantinople                  385

        Conquest of Corsica                                          386

        Petitions against the Parliament                             389

        Disturbance at the Execution of two Rioters                  394

        Irish Affairs                                                396

        Prosecution of Vaughan                                       399

        Remonstrance of Junius to the King                           402

        Story of the Duke of Gloucester and Maria Walpole            403



  Debates on East Indian Affairs.--Wilkes and the Duke of
    Grafton.--Expulsion of the Jesuits from Spain.--Parliamentary
    Discussions.--Attempts to construct a new Administration in
    Prospective.--The Court of Proprietors vote themselves a Dividend
    in spite of the Ministry.--Extraordinary Conduct of Townshend in
    the House of Commons.


I have said that the Opposition, perceiving how much the tide ran
against them, determined to attempt putting an end to the East Indian
business the moment the examination was closed; a weak and silly plan,
that betrayed a jealousy of their own cause. Sir William Meredith fixed
on the 14th for making that attempt. Lord Bute had been seriously
alarmed, and he and the Duke of Grafton exerted themselves to defeat
the Opposition. Beckford observed that the evidence had proved all
he had asserted, and said he intended to make some motions in
consequence, but the examination had been so voluminous, he had not
had time to digest his matter. Sir William Meredith said, he doubted
whether it was fit to proceed at all further or not: that it had been
Beckford’s own fault if the examination had been voluminous. His
questions to the evidences had been unjust, and would not have been
admitted in a court of justice. It were better to stop, if violence
alone was to be the consequence. The Ministers in the Treasury ought
to make the motions, if any were proper; but _they_ did not seem to be
trusted in this question. The Company would not make proposals while
a doubt subsisted of their having any property in the territorial
acquisitions. He did not know what motion to make; he thought that the
Speaker should leave the chair. Townshend and Conway spoke for allowing
more time; Grenville for going into the Committee to see if any one
had any proposal to make. Beckford declared he would never propose
any question of forfeiture. Norton, in a very indefinite speech,
said, if the Company had exceeded their charter, the Crown could call
them to account. That the acquisitions were not conquest, because the
King was not at war with the Mogul: they seemed to be only plunder.
It seemed to be difficult to know judicially what to do with those
acquisitions. They ought to be restored, but nobody wished to see that.
The Attorney-General desired Norton to give his opinion how to try
the case. He refused, saying, “It will be alleged that a prerogative
lawyer has pointed out to the Crown a way of getting possession.”
The Attorney-General showed that, by the nature of a process in the
courts of law, it was impossible for the King to recover his right by
law, supposing the territory were his by his prerogative, or by the
forfeiture of the Company. There must be an information of intrusion:
a jury must be chosen where the lands lie, and yet where there is no
sheriff. The sheriff must deliver the profits; must appoint a receiver
for the three provinces, who must give security for two years in a
court of law to examine the necessary witnesses. The court would not
order possession to be delivered. Then there must be a sequestration
of the Company’s effects. Having thus exposed with much humour the
fruitlessness of a legal suit, he said if nobody else would, he would
move for a bill to prevent the Company from making a dividend beyond
such a sum without consent of Parliament. It was necessary to frighten
them: he would not violate their charter, but as he thought they had no
right to their territorial revenues, _he would take the half of them_.
Wedderburn replied, that an action might lie against the Company as a
corporation: all he desired was to ascertain the right; the Legislature
would settle the rest. Grenville declaimed against any violence, and
said with passion, _the view was not to vest money in the public, but
in the Crown_; and a profuse Minister had been found who wanted to
give four millions to the King, a year before the general election. He
should advise to take this money by taxation. Conway said boldly, he
should insist on _security_ that this money, if taken, should be vested
in the public, not in the Crown. Taxation was like Mr. Grenville’s
Morocco politics. Burke pleaded that in the last charter the Crown had
granted the Company privileges as indemnification: what could that
mean but territory, revenue, and commerce? Yet he owned there was a
political reserve in the charters.

The debate lasted till one in the morning when the Opposition were
beaten by 213 to 157. After the division I told the Duke of Richmond
that, notwithstanding our victory, I was as ready as ever to unite
Conway and his Grace’s friends on the American affairs. The King was
informed of Grenville’s apprehensions that the money to be taken
from the Company was designed for his Majesty, and highly resented
the insinuation--perhaps resented Grenville’s dislike of such a
disposition. There wanted no new aggravation of Grenville’s offences.
His tediousness in the closet had left a lasting impression; and an
ill-judged obstinacy of economy in an article of no great moment, but
which was ever before the King’s eyes, could not be forgotten. When his
Majesty took in a portion of the Green Park to form a new garden for
Buckingham House, the fields on the opposite side of the road were to
be sold; the price twenty thousand pounds. This sum Grenville refused
to issue from the Treasury. The ground was sold to builders, and a new
row of houses, each of which overlooked the King in his private walks,
was erected to his great annoyance.

Wilkes had come over the last year, during the recess of Parliament,
to try to obtain his pardon, and by the Duke of Grafton’s desire
wrote a very submissive letter to his Grace, to be shown to the King.
The Duke then told him his pardon could not be obtained without the
concurrence of Lord Chatham, and wished him to write to the latter
too. Wilkes, who had been abandoned and stigmatized by Lord Chatham,
though formerly intimate with and flattered by him, had too much
spirit to throw himself at Chatham’s feet, and refused: but, irritated
at his disappointment, he published an exaggerated account of that
transaction, with unjust severity on the Duke[1],--and returned to
Paris. His Grace, Lord Rockingham, and others of that connexion, had
yearly contributed the sum of 1000_l._ or 1100_l._ to his support.
Mr. Fitzherbert collected their donations. It was now the season of
collection. In defiance of the Duke, Wilkes sent over a new abusive
pamphlet against the Administration.

March 16th.--The Houses adjourned for the holidays.

At this period happened the sudden and total expulsion of the Jesuits
from Spain,--a measure so unexpected by them, that they were made
prisoners in their convents throughout the kingdom, without having
had the least intimation of their intended ruin; a moment of history
that will ever be remarkable. The order, renowned for their subtlety
and art, dreaded for the empire they had obtained over the consciences
of princes and private persons, and seated in the most bigoted
country upon earth, had neither sagacity to surmise their impending
destruction, nor one penitent so weak and devout as to give them
intelligence of what, for a whole year, was in agitation against them.
That fabric of human policy and wickedness fell to the ground in an
instant. Not a murmur was heard against the rigour of the sentence,
though they were conducted to the sea-coasts like exiled malefactors,
thrust into ships, and sent like cargoes of damaged goods to their
proprietor, the Pope. Clement XIII. though an enthusiast, could not
receive them. They were at last dispatched to Corsica, one and all,
after being tossed about at sea for _some months_,[2] stowed in
the narrow compass of a few vessels,--a fate so severe, that the
greatest enemy of Catholic imposition must commiserate the sufferers.
However detestable the maxims of the society, however criminal some
of the order might have been, the greater part were undoubtedly
innocent--many, perhaps, conscientious men; who, trusting to the
establishment and laws of the country, and believing the doctrines
they had been taught, had entered into religion. Let the impartial
mind weigh the weight of the calamity that fell like thunder on those
poor men! Torn from the tranquillity of their convents; too old or too
ignorant to turn to new professions; delivered up to an element they
were totally unaccustomed to, sickening with the natural effect of the
waves, and with want of room and air; banished for ever from their
country, relations, and friends; uncertain to what clime they were
driven; finding with difficulty one that would receive them, and that
one in a state of war, and the most unwholesome spot in Europe;--what
a state of lamentation and hopeless misery! What, too, must the
parents and friends of those unhappy men have felt? Could no middle
term be found? What a horrible post is that of a minister, when the
benefit or policy of the State calls for such sacrifices! No doubt
was entertained but that the Court of Madrid had discovered that the
Jesuits had been the incendiaries of the late insurrection there; and
its ministers seemed to have learnt and imbibed the deep secrecy and
resolute vigour of the Count D’Ocyras, the prime minister of Portugal,
the profoundest and most desperate politician of the age. From M. de
Mello, the Portuguese minister in England,[3] I received this account
of the springs that first gave birth to that revolution. When D’Ocyras
became all-powerful at Lisbon, he found the Portuguese settlements in
America, that bordered on the French, extremely neglected. Apprehending
a rupture with France from that quarter, he sent his own brother to
examine the Portuguese possessions. At the same period Ferdinand’s
Queen, who held the reins of the Spanish monarchy during the incapacity
of her husband, had made a treaty with Portugal for an exchange of
lands, in which Spain would have been gainer; intending to involve the
Court of Lisbon in a quarrel with the Jesuits of Paraguay, part of
which country was to be ceded to the Portuguese. The event happened
as she had foreseen: the Jesuits refused the exchange; and imputing
the machination to D’Ocyras, endeavoured to excite the confessors of
both Kings and Queens to attempt the ruin of that minister.[4] This
step drew upon them the wrath of that vindictive man, who, possessing
all the spirit of intrigue which seemed to have deserted the fathers,
never stopped till he had accomplished the destruction of the order.
Had D’Ocyras[5] been a Jesuit instead of a statesman, the Jesuits might
have subsisted till the Roman Church itself shall fall like other
structures of human invention. So true it is, what I have more than
once remarked in these pages, that great benefits are seldom conferred
on mankind by good men. It is when the interests and passions of
ambition, villany, and desperation clash, that some general advantage
is struck out.

On the 28th, when the Houses re-assembled, nothing was ready for their
discussion. The Duke of Grafton had passed the holidays at Newmarket,
and when he returned, could not obtain admission to Lord Chatham. The
Directors of the East India Company, alarmed at the strength of the
evidence against them, had determined to make a compromise or bargain
with the Government; and, fearing Lord Chatham would reject their
proposal, had sent severally round to the members of the Cabinet, to
desire to treat. At a Council held the evening before the meeting
of the Parliament, Conway brought them all over to his opinion for
a treaty; and he, with the Duke of Grafton, and Charles Townshend,
were commissioned by the rest to negotiate. The last was grown a
great advocate for the Company, and said, that now, on the death of
his wife’s mother,[6] the Duchess of Argyle, he himself was become a
considerable proprietor of India stock--all the truth was, that he
intended to be so; the Duchess had not had a shilling in that fund. He
had acted with the same lightness when, as Chancellor of the Exchequer,
he had been to open the Budget before the holidays: he had caused
Onslow to make his excuse on pretence of illness, and then appeared
there walking about the House. Two days after he did open it--but of
that more hereafter, when I come to speak of his proposed taxes.

March 29th was the day appointed at the desire of the Opposition for
the call of the House, and Conway had proposed they should go on the
India business on that day, but Grenville had said he would insist on
the House being called over. They now would have put off the call for a
week to keep the members of their party in town, but Conway fixed them
to their first proposal, and on a division carried it by a majority of
fifty. Rigby then said, “We will put it off for a fortnight;” “No,”
said Conway, “_I_ will do that, for the Indian business is in a more
promising way than ever.” Grenville was thunderstruck: Conway’s spirits
showed how much he was pleased with his triumph--Grenville being the
only man who had ever inspired him with animosity.

The next morning he came to me early, and said, the Duke of Grafton had
told him things could not go on as they were; that Lord Chatham must
either come forth, or quit; and he thought would do the latter. Conway
therefore desired T would go to the Duke of Richmond, and say that I
had persuaded him to let me come to his Grace and tell him that if
he and his friends would not join Grenville, he (Conway) would assist
them in a new Administration, but would take no civil place under
any; should like to be Secretary at War, and Minister of the House of
Commons, if Townshend had his wish and was created a peer. His idea
was, that he might be Minister for the Military Department, if Lord
Granby could be removed.

I said, all this was idle; that neither the King nor the House of
Commons would come into it. That if he would not be First Minister,
Grenville must. That he (Conway) must take the Treasury, or nothing
would last; Lord Rockingham’s Administration had not lasted a year,
though with the assistance of the Duke of Grafton and his friends, and
with the hopes of acquiring Lord Chatham; now would have neither of
them. He could not be Minister of the House of Commons without power;
had Lord Rockingham imparted any to him before? He confessed he should
like some share of power, and I thought would not be sorry to have the
whole if Lord Rockingham could be brought to waive it. I told him I
would carry no such message as he proposed, for should it afterwards
prove necessary to place him at the head of the Treasury, the Duke of
Richmond and Lord Rockingham might say I had given them false hopes
and deceived them. Conway replied, all he meant was to keep them
from Grenville, whom he feared they would join. I saw no occasion, I
said, for any message: Rockingham and his friends would be rejoiced
to have him whenever he would go to them; but I would propose nothing
so ridiculous as Rockingham and Dowdeswell over again. He said, I
only refused because I wished him Minister in some other system, but
he would _never more be of any but with his old friends_. It was all,
I replied, that I desired too; our only difference was, that I chose
they should act under him, not he under them, which would never do.
In the meantime I would positively carry no message. A few days after
I gave him my reasons in writing, and convinced him. He then proposed
to be Secretary of State for America, which I approved. It was the
sphere in which he might make the greatest figure. His application
was indefatigable; his temper, moderation, attention to the business
of others when applied to, and the popularity he had already gained
with the Colonies, adapted him peculiarly to that province. We agreed
to adjust this plan with Lord Rockingham--but that project, like a
thousand others of that season, was disappointed.

The King asked Lord Hertford by what means any composition with the
East India Company had been obtained? He replied, that sensible of his
Majesty’s difficulties, and fearing that, notwithstanding the right of
the Company had been weakened by the examination, the House would never
be induced to vote it away; he and his brother had prevailed on the
rest of his Majesty’s servants to take the gentler method of treaty.
The King owned that he was inclined to keep Lord Chatham, if capable
of remaining in place, _having seen how much his Government had been
weakened by frequent changes_. He wished that things might remain as
they were, at least till the end of the Session, when he might have
time to make any necessary alterations. At his levee his Majesty asked
James Grenville aloud, how Lord Chatham did? he replied, “Better.” The
King said, “If he has lost his fever, I desire to be his physician,
and that he would not admit Dr. Addington any more into his house. He
shall go into the country for four months; not so far as Bath, but
to Tunbridge.” He repeated the same words publicly to Lord Bristol;
everybody understanding that his Majesty’s wish was to retain Lord

On the 1st of May Beckford was to have proposed his resolutions; but
Crabb Boulton,[8] an India Director, informing the House that there
was now a prospect of accommodation with the Ministry, and that a
general court to ratify the terms could not be held till the next week,
when he did not doubt but they would approve the plan, which was only
temporary, Beckford consented to postpone his motions. Sir W. Meredith
called on him to read his questions. Rigby with much roughness said,
he believed Beckford had no questions to propose; yet he should have
some hopes of the accommodation succeeding, if Mr. Townshend (who
was the fittest to be at the head of _that_ Administration) would,
as Chancellor of the Exchequer, say _he_ had hopes. Townshend, with
great decency, declared he had. Grenville, who had early in the
session declared for a temporary accommodation, was much hampered and
hurt: and having nothing to object, reverted to the former wrangle on
Morocco politics, and said, that to take by violence was squeezing
laws, as Mahometan governments do; but anything might be taken by legal
taxation. Conway took this up with infinite humour, ridiculing _legal
tyranny_; and as Grenville had asked if Lord Chatham would come into
this agreement, said, he hoped it would be no mortification to hear
that the Council would be unanimous. He laughed too at Rigby, who had
been on the point of saying that Charles Townshend was the fittest man
to be at the head of _any_ administration; but he had turned round in
time and seen his friend Mr. Grenville, or it might have made a fatal
difference! Grenville replied angrily, he did not envy any junction
between Lord Chatham and Conway: he knew what attempts had been made to
disunite him and the Bedfords. Rigby in a greater rage said, nothing
should disunite them; (he might have said, _but interest_, which made
Rigby leave Grenville in less than two years;) himself had always stuck
by his friends--he did not abandon his family and friends. As this was
levelled at Conway, it either meant his former separation from the
Court when Lord Hertford remained with it, or his disunion now with the
Rockinghams, amongst whom was not one of his family but the Duke of
Richmond, his wife’s son-in-law. Rose Fuller said properly, he did not
understand such unparliamentary declarations, as of being actuated only
by connexions. Conway protested he did not know what Rigby had meant,
who called out contemptuously, “Oh! I meant nothing.” The House was
unanimous for waiting till that day sennight.

When I went to the Duke of Richmond the next morning with Conway’s plan
of being Secretary for America, I found him displeased at Conway’s
attack on Grenville and Rigby. I urged, as was true, that they had
given the provocation, and that Conway had not said half enough in
return. His Grace was hurt too, on thinking that Conway had declared an
union with Lord Chatham. I said, I was come a proof of the contrary;
that Conway would oppose the American Bill, and was resolved to
resign--though I would not be bound that he would; that he declared
he would not take the Treasury from Lord Rockingham. But I was come, I
said, to ask, in case Lord Chatham’s health should not permit him to go
on, and the King should order Conway to form an Administration, whether
his Grace and his friends would take on? The Duke insisted on Conway’s
resigning before the end of the session. It was true, in his discontent
with Lord Chatham, Conway had told them he would quit, though with no
definite time marked; and it was on that rash promise the Rockinghams
built all their hopes of breaking up the Administration--a point I was
as eager to prevent the accomplishment of. I replied coldly, it had
been usual for ministers to send for opponents: it was new to hear an
Opposition order a minister to come to them. “But, my lord,” said I,
“to cut matters short, Mr. Conway will not resign before the end of
the session.” The Duke said, Dowdeswell was reserved, and would not
speak out while Mr. Conway remained in place. I laughed, and asked,
what it signified what Mr. Dowdeswell would do? My question was, what
the party would do? He said, they would insist on the dismission of two
or three of Lord Bute’s friends. I asked, “Why?” He said, “To weaken
Bute, whose friends would desert him, if they perceived he could not
protect them.” “Then, my lord,” replied I, “either he will not let you
come in, or will soon turn you out again to prevent that defection.”
The Duke was desirous that Grenville should be paymaster. I taxed him
with leaning to Grenville. He said, neither he nor his party inclined
to Grenville, though the Duke of Newcastle laboured for it daily. I
asked him why his Grace himself, who had acted so long with Lord Bute
was now so averse to him? He said “Formerly Lord Holland had swayed
him, and that Lord Bute had then followed the same measures as had been
observed in the late reign.” I cried, “Good God! my lord, were general
warrants the same measures!” He paused, and said it was true, they had
been ill-conducted. The Duke added, his party, Conway and Grenville,
would be too strong for Bute. I said, the whole nation united would
certainly be too strong for him; but that union would never happen, for
there were not places enough to content all. The more his Grace and his
friends were averse to Bute, the sooner Grenville would court him: the
Tories and the Scotch would always adhere to him. I said at last; “My
lord, I will not be unreasonable; offer Grenville to be Paymaster.”
Still the Duke reverted to the dismission of some of Bute’s friends. I
said, “If your Grace is in this mind, I will advise Mr. Conway to stay
where he is, and not return to a weak and inefficient Opposition. All
your Grace says, tends to or must end in making Grenville minister.”
He was alarmed, and said, if others would acquiesce, he would not be

Here lay the misfortune. The Cavendishes, inveterate to Bute for the
affront put on their late brother, saw--would see--no other object of
fear. Whereas, though Bute had been the prime source of the attacks
made on liberty, his pusillanimity had defeated his own purpose.
Grenville, still more arbitrary, was intrepid and inflexible; and
whether minister in concert with Bute, or independent of him, was a
more formidable enemy to liberty, than an ignorant, trembling, exploded

Conway was hurt at my report of the above conversation, as I intended
he should be. My object was to make the Rockinghams submit to him, or
prevent his resignation. He would not hear of Grenville. They stickled
for the Bedfords, urging that it would prevent Bute from turning them
out again; whereas, it was more likely to advance it, as Grenville
would stoop to Bute rather than remain subordinate to Rockingham and
Conway. The intractable man of all was, as usual, Lord John Cavendish.
The Duke of Portland himself, inveterate as he was to Bute, had the
sense to see that if they came into place before the new Parliament, it
would secure all their elections. Nobody’s fortune suffered like his
Grace’s at that ensuing period, by yielding to the obstinacy of Lord
John, and the ill-conducted ambition of Lord Rockingham.

Mr. Conway having declared in Council against the intended plan for
America, it was determined that Charles Townshend should conduct it
through the House, and the fifth of May was settled for his opening
it: but his strange irresolution and versatility could not conceal
itself, even on so public an occasion. That very morning he pretended
to have fallen down stairs and cut his eye dangerously. On this Lord
North was deputed to execute the task, and was going to explain it
to the House; when Rigby, to deprive Lord North of the honour, or to
embarrass Townshend, who had shuffled with them, or that Grenville had
not determined what part to take, moved, with affected compliments on
Townshend’s absence, to wait till he could appear, and it was agreed to.

The next day, the Opposition, who, so often foiled, were alert in
making a hussar-kind of war, moved by surprise in both Houses to know
what had been done on the affair of the Massachusets. In the Commons,
the motion made by Grenville was rejected without a division. In the
Lords, the majority against the motion was but nine, but with a great
majority of proxies.

The East India Company had offered, in consideration of certain new
advantages granted to them in their tea-trade, to pay four hundred
thousand pounds a-year for three years to the Government; and though
this sum was far below Lord Chatham’s first sanguine wishes, the
impossibility of their affording more, or the impracticability of
persuading Parliament to extort more, had brought the bargain nigh to a
conclusion;--when, on the 6th of May, a general court of proprietors,
where faction and speech-making were as rife as in the House of
Commons itself, suddenly determined to treat themselves with the sweets
of a dividend, before their funds should be tied up for the purposes
of the treaty. The directors had foreseen and secretly insinuated
this to the Ministers for prevention; but in the intemperance of the
assembly, did not dare to avow the advice they had given. The dividend,
so contrary to the faith of the treaty then pending with, and so
contemptuous of, Parliament, was voted; and, as if themselves were
accountable to none, they dismissed, without a hearing, five of their
own servants, against whom there were grievous charges.

The indecency and insult of this proceeding raised high resentment in
the House of Commons; and though Dempster and W. Burke, two of their
own members, ventured to avow their own share of the criminality,
justifying themselves as proprietors, (a character which surely, as
judges, they ought to have avoided,) yet the moderation of Conway
prevented the House from proceeding to rigour and censure, though he
said with firmness, that if the Company should hang out the flag of
defiance, he should be ready to meet it. The directors were ordered to
give an account the next day of what had passed.

On the eighth the directors appeared at the bar of the House, and owned
that they had disapproved of making a dividend in the present situation
of their affairs, and pending the negotiation with Parliament. Dyson,
on this, moved for leave to bring in a bill for regulating the making
of dividends.

It was on that day, and on that occasion, that Charles Townshend
displayed in a latitude beyond belief the amazing powers of his
capacity, and the no less amazing incongruities of his character.
He had taken on himself, early in the day, the examination of the
Company’s conduct; and in a very cool sensible speech on that occasion,
and with a becoming consciousness of his own levity, had told the House
that he hoped he had atoned for the inconsideration of his past life
by the care he had taken of that business. He had scarce uttered this
speech, but, as if to atone for that (however false) atonement, he
left the House and went home to dinner, not concerning himself with
Dyson’s motion that was to follow. As that motion was, however, of a
novel nature, it produced suspicion, objection and difficulties. Conway
being pressed, and not caring to be the sole champion of an invidious
measure, that was in reality not only in Townshend’s province, but
which he had had a principal hand in framing, sent for him back to
the House. He returned about eight in the evening, half-drunk with
champagne, and more intoxicated with spirits. He rose to speak without
giving himself time to learn, and without caring what had been in
agitation, except that the motion had given an alarm. The first thing
he did, was to call God to witness that he had not been consulted
on the motion,--a confession implying that he was not consulted on
a business in his own department; and the more marvellous, as the
disgrace of which he seemed to complain or boast of, was absolutely
false. There were sitting round him twelve persons who had been in
consultation with him that very morning, and with his assistance had
drawn up the motion on his own table, and who were petrified at his
most unparalleled effrontery and causeless want of truth. When he sat
down again, Conway asked him softly, how he could affirm so gross a
falsehood? He replied carelessly, “I thought it would be better to say
so;” but before he sat down, he had poured forth a torrent of wit,
parts, humour, knowledge, absurdity, vanity, and fiction, heightened
by all the graces of comedy, the happiness of allusion and quotation,
and the buffoonery of farce. To the purpose of the question he said
not a syllable. It was a descant on the times, a picture of parties,
of their leaders, of their hopes, and defects. It was an encomium and
a satire on himself; and while he painted the pretensions of birth,
riches, connexions, favour, titles; while he affected to praise Lord
Rockingham, and that faction, and yet insinuated that nothing but parts
like his own were qualified to preside; and while he less covertly
arraigned the wild incapacity of Lord Chatham,[9] he excited such
murmurs of wonder, admiration, applause, laughter, pity, and scorn,
that nothing was so true as the sentence with which he concluded, when
speaking of Government; he said, it was become what he himself had
often been called, a weathercock.

Such was the wit, abundance, and impropriety of this speech, that for
some days men could talk or inquire of nothing else. “Did you hear
Charles Townshend’s champagne speech?” was the universal question. For
myself, I protest it was the most singular pleasure of the kind I ever
tasted. The bacchanalian enthusiasm of Pindar flowed in torrents less
rapid and less eloquent, and inspires less delight, than Townshend’s
imagery, which conveyed meaning in every sentence. It was Garrick
writing and acting extempore scenes of Congreve. A light circumstance
increased the mirth of the audience. In the fervour of speaking
Townshend rubbed off the patch from his eye, which he had represented
as grievously cut three days before: no mark was discernible, but to
the nearest spectators a scratch so slight, that he might have made,
and perhaps had made it himself with a pin.[10] To me the entertainment
of the day was complete. He went to supper with us at Mr. Conway’s,
where, the flood of his gaiety not being exhausted, he kept the table
in a roar till two in the morning, by various sallies and pictures, the
last of which was a scene in which he mimicked inimitably his own wife,
and another great lady with whom he fancied himself in love, and both
whose foibles and manner he counterfeited to the life. Mere lassitude
closed his lips at last, not the want of wit and new ideas.

To solve the contrast of such parts and absurdity in the same
composition, one is almost tempted to have recourse to that system of
fairy manicheism, wherein no sooner has one benevolent being endowed
the hero of the tale with supernatural excellence, but a spiteful hag
of equal omnipotence dashes the irrevocable gift with some counter
qualification, which serves to render the accomplished prince a monster
of contradictions.

It was not less worth reflection, that, while this phenomenon of genius
was, perniciously to himself, and uselessly to his country, lavishing
an unexampled profusion of parts on wanton buffoonery, only to excite
transient and barren applause; the restorer of his country was lurking
in darkness and shrouding a haughty sterility of talents from the
public eye, under the veil of frenzy or untractable obstinacy. The
simplicity of a great character was wanting both to Lord Chatham and


  Proposal to Tax the Colonies.--Debate on American Affairs.--Passing
    of the Resolutions.--The House comes to an Agreement with the
    East India Company.--Private Affairs of Lord Chatham.--Motion
    for Papers relative to Quebec in the House of Lords.--State of
    Catholicism in England.--Strength of the Opposition in the House
    of Lords.--Weakness of the Administration.--Attempts made to
    strengthen it.


On the 13th of May came on at last the great American questions.
Charles Townshend had already hinted, when he opened the budget, at new
taxes which he proposed to lay on the Colonies. He now opened them;
and very inadequate indeed did they prove, even in calculation, to
the loss of a shilling in the pound on land, part of which deficiency
they were intended to supply. Being so inconsiderable, and estimated
by himself as likely to produce but from 35,000_l._ to 40,000_l._
a-year, the House too lightly adopted his plan before it had been
well weighed, and the fatal consequences of which did not break out
till six years after. A concurrent cause weighed with many, and added
weight to the arguments of more, for inflicting a kind of punishment
on the refractory Colonies, some of which had stubbornly refused to
comply with the late Act enjoining them to make provision for the
army, with other parliamentary injunctions. Massachusets Bay had,
as I have said, taken upon themselves to execute the Act in their
own names, and on their own sole authority. This deed Townshend said
the Privy Council had advised his Majesty to annul. That Colony
contained a set of men disposed to inflame all the rest. He stated
fully, clearly, and with both authority and moderation, these several
topics; and concluded, he said, that many would think he proposed
too little, others too much. The Mutiny Bill had been opposed almost
everywhere; but Pennsylvania, and some few Colonies, had executed all
our orders. He wished he could name any more instances. New Jersey had
avoided the Act by appointing commissioners, with injunctions to act
_according to the custom of the provinces_. New York was so opulent
that he thought they ought to be kept in dependence. General Gage,
accordingly, was sending troops thither. Yet did the New Yorkists
commend themselves and boast that they could not remember the time when
they had refused aid to Britain. They had resolved, that if they should
grant the present demand, it _might_ exceed their abilities. This was
an extraordinary excuse. More contemptuously still, they promised
aid on the requisition of the Crown, but said nothing of Parliament.
Were these, he asked, the descendants of those men who had fled from
prerogative to America? Yet even this gracious compliance they held
themselves at liberty to refuse, if not in proportions to the other
provinces: if unreasonable--nay, if inconvenient. They would insist,
too, on his Majesty’s repaying what they should furnish to his troops,
when he should think proper. He would not read, he said, the letters to
their Governor, Sir Henry More, as too inflammatory. To comply, they
alleged, would be very serious; yet desired Sir Henry to represent
their obedience favourably. The Massachusets termed our acts _our_
ordinances, and asserted their own rights of taxation. Many they had
discountenanced and frightened from their assembly. Governor Bernard,
he believed, was a little heated against them;[11] yet the facts which
he charged on them were true. In general, it did not become Parliament
to engage in controversy with its Colonies, but by one act to assert
its sovereignty. He warned the House to beware lest the provinces
engaged in a common cause. Our right of taxation was indubitable; yet
himself had been for repealing the Stamp Act to prevent mischief.
Should their disobedience return, the authority of Parliament had
been weakened, and unless supported with spirit and dignity, must be
destroyed. The salaries of governors and judges in that part of the
world must be made independent of their assemblies; but he advised
the House to confine their resolutions to the offending provinces.
Pennsylvania was an answer to New York. New Jersey had limited the sum,
but had not said it would not comply. He thought it would be prudent
to inflict censure on New York alone; that some burthen ought to be
lightened at home, and imposed on America. He had hinted at taxes; he
would name some, though not as Chancellor of the Exchequer. They were
duties on wine, oil, and fruits from Spain and Portugal as they come
back; on china; and to take off the drawback on glass, paper, lead,
and colours. A commissioner of the customs, too, would be necessary in
America. Parliament ought to exercise its authority; but not contrary
to the constitution of the provinces. He then moved a resolution that
New York had disobeyed the Act, and that, till they should comply, the
Governor should be restrained from passing _any_ act of their Assembly.
This, he owned, some had said would be confounding the innocent and the
guilty, and would dissolve their Assembly. On the contrary, others had
advised to block up harbours and quarter soldiers, but himself could
bear to hear of nothing military. Some were for a local tax; but that
would be to accept penalty in lieu of obedience.

This speech,[12] so consonant to the character of a man of business,
and so unlike the wanton sallies of the man of parts and pleasure, was
(however modified) but too well calculated to inflame the passions
of a legislature whose authority was called in question, and who are
naturally not prone to weigh the effusions of men entitled to as much
freedom as themselves, while in an apparent situation of dependence.
_Authority never measures liberty downwards_. Rarely is liberty
supposed to mean the independence of those below us; it is our own
freedom from the yoke of superiors. The Peer dreads the King, the
Commoner the Peer; the Americans the Parliament. Each American trader
thought himself a Brutus, a Hampden, while he wrestled with the House
of Commons; yet his poor negroes felt that their master, Brutus, was a
worse tyrant than Nero or Muley Ishmael. Had the Parliament of England
presumed by one god-like act to declare all the slaves in our Colonies
freemen, not a patriot in America but would have clamoured against
the violation of property, and protested that to abolish the power of
imposing chains was to impose them. O man! man! dare not to vaunt your
virtue, while self-interest lurks in every pore!

The above speech could but expand the narrow heart of Grenville with
triumph. It is a prophet’s holiday when woes accomplish his prediction.
As mortifying was it to Conway and Lord Rockingham’s party, who had
served their American brethren to so little purpose: yet they contended
still for moderate measures. Dowdeswell represented that the House
was not acquainted with the state of the laws in the Colonies, and
which of them it would be necessary to repeal: he said, he should
rather incline to enforce and amend the late Act. Beckford pleaded
for the Colonies, and affirmed that they had the better of Bernard in
every argument. Whether he spoke as by birth an American, or whether
by concert with Lord Chatham, that while the Ministers humbled the
Colonies, his lordship might still be supposed favourable to them, is
uncertain,--such a duplicity from his silence ran through the whole of
that his second administration. He seemed to be playing the despot,
and laying in at the same time for future patriotism. Burke roundly
imputed the plan to him, and called it weak, as resolutions ought to
be followed by deeds; and therefore, he said, he should oppose both.
He arraigned the idea of dissolving their Assemblies, at the same time
that the House seemed to allow them as a co-ordinate power, since
the execution of the Act was to depend on their acquiescence. Yet the
suspension of all their laws would fall heavier on the innocent, than
the punishment could on the guilty; and what effect would the penalty
have? Would not the turbulent be re-chosen? He advised a new model of
their police.

Grenville opposed by outgoing the proposals of the ministry, and said,
no moderation was to be suffered, when the authority of Parliament was
resisted. He knew that when they saw the Stamp Act repealed, they would
laugh at declarations. Lord Chatham had declared, should they still
resist, he would fill their harbours with ships and their towns with
soldiers. The declaration of the Lords had not been sent over. Bernard
had stated the requisition in the words of both Houses--Mr. Conway had
not; whether it was that he saw the fire kindled, and chose to retire.
Lord Shelburne had power to control the impertinent representation
of the Board of Trade. Lord Shelburne’s letter should be considered
hereafter. Bernard had begged for instructions in case of rebellion;
no answer had been sent to him. He supposed the Secretaries of State
would continue to represent the resolutions of Parliament as they had
done. The encouragement the provinces had met with, had excited them
to proceed in disobedience; yet, could no better be obtained, himself
would concur even in these means of enforcing submission. If the House
would support its magistrates there with no force, it were better to
pass no act. On the late seizures of corn, force had been employed
at home. He would advise the imposing on the Assembly-men an oath of
acknowledging the sovereignty of Great Britain, and on all men in the
Colonies. The taxes proposed, he thought, would be subversive of the
Act of Navigation. He would lay a tax on paper currency.

Conway replied, that he had not followed Mr. Grenville from office to
office to hunt out his faults or errors, nor had been employed in such
mean revenge; while men, by his orders, were dragged out of their beds
by general warrants. No order had been sent to himself from the House
of Lords to be transmitted to the Colonies; yet, as appeared, that
order had been transmitted. The Colonies were not mere corporations;
their charters gave them legislative power. On taxes they would always
be tender. The measure proposed to be taken with the Assemblies, he
thought, at once too violent and inefficient. Some provinces had
actually done more than they had been required to do.

Charles Townshend declared he could not approve a general oath or test
that should comprehend all the Colonies. Of a tax on paper currency he
had had some thoughts. Yorke said, he thought, though the Chief Justice
Wilmot was of a different opinion, that the Privy Council could and
ought to annul the Act of the Massachusets.

Rigby dropped the question to satirize the Court. He wished he
knew who it was that framed our ministries. He and his friends
had been turned out from that ignorance. Europe must take us for
a nation of ministries, while by our actions it must think we had
no administration. Formerly we had annual parliaments; now annual
ministries: yet, though so many ministries were dismissed, no crime was
alleged against any. Let it be known who it was possessed that latent
power. He told the House that, in the Congress at New York, it had
been agreed to erect a statue to Lord Chatham. It had been afterwards
proposed to erect one to the King; no man had seconded the motion.

Wedderburn said it was faction that had the ruling influence, and
that Lord Bute must consequently have a large system. Conway declared
himself for a local tax on the disobedient.

To Townshend’s third resolution, Grenville proposed an amendment for
bringing in a bill to amend the late Act.[13] On this the House divided
at one in the morning, when the Court party rejected the amendment
by 180 to 98; Conway voting with Grenville and the Rockinghams in
opposition to Townshend’s question, though with different views,--the
former wishing to add rigour to the Act, the others to new-model
it. It will be seen in the votes what taxes were laid. The harsher
intentions were dropped, but the taxes produced sufficient evil.
The violence of Rigby’s invective against Lord Bute was imputed to
the latter’s rejection of new overtures from the Bedford faction.
Wedderburn’s outrage was still more remarkable; when he, who had been a
creature of the Favourite, pointed out his influence, who could doubt
its existence? Yet the accusation was more odious from a tool than
the crime of the accused. Conway was not at all supported by his old
friends, when attacked by Grenville. They were offended at his agreeing
with Wedderburn in imputing all the late changes to faction; yet had
he added that if there was a secret influence, nobody lamented it more
than he did. Charles Townshend, at the same time, not only threatened
to resign, but falsely affirmed he had offered his resignation to the
King, who would not accept it. Conway dreaded its being said that he
remained in place with all denominations of men. I satisfied him (and
so it proved) that Townshend spoke not a word of truth; and I showed
him how incumbent it was on him to carry through the East Indian
business, which nothing but his temper could bring to an accommodation.
In this I rendered an essential service to my country. Conway did
perfect the agreement; and the Parliament at last accepted 400,000_l._
a-year for two years.[14]

On the report of the American resolutions agreed to by the committee,
Grenville, Conway, and the opponents proposed to recommit them, but
were overruled; Charles Townshend making an admirably witty and
pathetic speech to prevent a division. Fitzherbert[15] took notice
that Mr. Conway’s dissent would be likely to do more harm than the
resolutions could do good. Grenville then moved his test to oblige
the Americans to acknowledge the sovereignty of Great Britain, but it
was rejected by 141 to 40. Three days after this, arrived an account
that Georgia had refused to comply with the Act in stronger terms than
any other Colony, and that South Carolina would probably be equally

At this period came to my knowledge a transaction, at which I have
already hinted, and which in truth at that time persuaded me of the
reality of Lord Chatham’s madness. When he inherited Sir William
Pynsent’s estate, he removed to it and sold his house and grounds
at Hayes, a place on which he had wasted prodigious sums, and
which yet retained small traces of expense, great part having been
consumed in purchasing contiguous tenements to free himself from all
neighbourhood. Much had gone in doing and undoing, and not a little
portion in planting by torch-light, as his peremptory and impatient
temper could brook no delay. Nor were these the sole circumstances
that marked his caprice. His children he could not bear under the same
roof, nor communications from room to room, nor whatever he thought
promoted noise. A winding passage between his house and children was
built with the same view. When at the beginning of this his second
administration, he fixed at North End by Hampstead, he took four or
five houses successively, as fast as Mr. Dingley, his landlord, went
into them, still, as he said, to ward off the noises of neighbourhood.
His inconsiderate promptitude was not less remarkable at Pynsent. A
bleak hill bounded his view; he ordered his gardener to have it planted
with evergreens; the man asked, “With what sorts?” He replied, “With
cedars and cypresses.” “Bless me, my lord!” replied the gardener,
“all the nurseries in this county (Somersetshire) would not furnish
a hundredth-part.” “No matter; send for them from London;” and they
were fetched by land-carriage. Yet were these follies committed when
no suspicion was had of his disorder. But by these and other caprices
he had already consumed more than half of the legacy of Pynsent. His
very domestic and abstemious privacy bore a considerable article in
his housekeeping. His sickly and uncertain appetite was never regular,
and his temper could put up with no defect. Thence a succession of
chickens were boiling and roasting at every hour to be ready whenever
he should call. He now, as if his attention to business demanded his
vicinity to town, bent his fancy to the repossession of Hayes, which
he had sold to my cousin, Mr. Thomas Walpole. The latter, under great
inquietude, showed me letters he had received from Lady Chatham,
begging in the most pathetic terms that he would sell them Hayes again.
She urged that it would save her children from destruction; and that
her children’s children would be bound to pray for him; requesting
that he would take some days to consider before he refused. He did;
and then wrote to her that he was very averse from parting with the
place, on which he had laid out much money; but if the air of Hayes
was the object, Lord Chatham was welcome to go thither directly for a
month, or for the whole summer; that he would immediately remove his
family, who were there, and Lord Chatham would find it well aired. This
she declined accepting. Mr. Walpole then sent Nuthall[16] to her.
She, who had never appeared to have a will or thought of her own, but
to act with submission at her lord’s nod, now received Nuthall alone,
and besought him not to own to her lord that she had yet received
any letter from Mr. Walpole, but to deliver it as just arrived, if
Lord Chatham should ask for the answer, and then carried him to her
lord. He seemed in health and reasonable; but asking if Nuthall knew
anything about Hayes, and being told the contents of the letter, he
said, with a sigh, “That might have saved me.” Lady Chatham, seeming
to be alarmed, said, “My lord, I was talking to Mr. Nuthall on that
subject; we will go and finish our discourse;” and carried him out
of the room. She then told him they had agreed to sell the Wiltshire
estate (part of Pynsent’s), and with part of the produce re-purchase
Hayes, which, however, they must mortgage, for they owed as much as the
sale would amount to. Mr. Walpole, distressed between unwillingness to
part with Hayes, and apprehension that Lord Chatham’s ill-health would
be imputed to him, as that air might have been a remedy, consulted the
Chancellor. The latter, on hearing the story, said, “Then he is mad,”
and sent for James Grenville. Asking when he had seen Lord Chatham,
Grenville replied, “The day before, and had found him much better.”
Lord Camden said, “Did he mention Hayes?” “Yes,” said Grenville, “and
then his discourse grew very ferocious.” No doubt there was something
in these words of Grenville that had the air of a part acted: one can
scarce believe a brother-in-law would have been so frank, had there
been no concerted plan in the phrenzy; yet what wonder if anything
seemed more credible than the fictitious madness of a first minister
in no difficult situation? From this period the few reports of the
few who had access to him, concurred in representing him as sedate,
conversable, even cheerful, till any mention was made of politics:
then he started, fell into tremblings, and the conversation was broken
off. When the session was closed, these reports wore away; and as he
remained above a year in close confinement at Hayes, unconsulting, and
by degrees unconsulted, he and his lunacy were totally forgotten, till
new interests threatened his re-appearance, which after many delays at
length happened, though with no solution given by any friend of so long
a suspension of sense or common sense. Mr. Walpole had yielded Hayes.

On the 18th the General Court of India Proprietors imitating and
actuated by members of Parliament, took a violent step, and at eleven
at night when all were retired but one hundred and fifty, balloted for
a petition against the Bill to regulate dividends; and so impetuous
were they, that they ordered the ballot should be closed at midnight.
Two persons protested against that measure. Such indecent behaviour
being stated to the House of Commons the next day, the petition was
rejected: but new proposals made by the directors were well accepted,
and the accommodation was voted on the 22nd.

On the 21st the Duke of Richmond moved the Lords for papers relating
to a plan for a Civil Government at Quebec. It had been drawn by the
last ministers, and delivered to Lord Northington for his opinion,
who had never thought more on the subject. The motion was levelled at
him; and to please the Rockinghams, the Bedfords consulted with them
at Richmond-House previous to the motion: but it was baffled by giving
them the papers, after Lord Sandwich had been personally offensive in
his speech to the Duke of Grafton. Lord Gower the next day renewed the
question on the Act of the Assembly of Massachusets. It had been set
aside by the Privy Council, but not declared void _ab initio_, as Lord
Mansfield urged it ought to be, and as Lord Chief Justice Wilmot now
maintained too, though he had twice given his opinion to the contrary;
yet, though preferred by the Chancellor, he had now been gained by
Mansfield. It was a day of much expectation. The Opposition had even
hopes of success, having moved for papers which would resolve the
House into a committee, in which proxies are never counted; and in
proxies lay the material strength of the Court, who, if beaten, could
only have recovered the question on the report. Lord Mansfield, to
interpose solemnity, proposed, as his way was, that the Judges should
be consulted, and spoke with singular art and subtlety, disclaiming a
spirit of opposition. The Chancellor and Lord Northington treated him
most severely, the former taxing him directly with faction, and telling
him the motion was complicated, involved, irregular, and yet betraying
the marks of a lawyer. He quoted, too, a case in point in which the
late Lord Hardwicke had been of a contrary opinion. The House sat till
near ten, a late hour for that assembly, when the motion was rejected
by only 62 to 56. The day was made memorable by the Duke of York, who
spoke, and very poorly, against the Court, but did not stay to vote.
The two other Princes voted with their brother’s Administration. Seven
bishops were in the minority,--the consequence of the Crown permitting
great lords to nominate to bishopricks: the reverend fathers sometimes
having at least gratitude, or farther expectations, if they have no
patriotism. The Judges said afterwards that they would have excused
themselves from delivering their opinions, as the matter might come
before them in the Courts below.

The same day the Earl of Radnor proposed that the bishops should give
in the numbers of Papists in their several dioceses, which was ordered,
and much evaded by the Catholics. In fact, there was no singular
increase of that sect. Many Jesuits had fled hither on the demolition
of their order; but it was not a moment to make Popery formidable.
It was wearing out in England by the loss of their chief patrons,
the Catholic Peers, whose number was considerably diminished. The
Duchess of Norfolk,[17] a zealous, though not a religious woman, of
a very confused understanding, and who believed herself more artful
than she was, contributed, almost singly, to conversions, by bribes
and liberality to the poor. But Rome was reduced to be defensive; and
unless, as I apprehend, the Methodists are secret Papists, and no doubt
they copy, build on, and extend their rites towards that model, Popery
will not revive here, when it is falling to decay in its favourite

Another motion being made on the Massachuset’s Act on the 26th, Lord
Denbigh treated Lord Mansfield in still harsher terms than he had
experienced the last day. Lord Egmont spoke well against the same
person. The Duke of Bedford complained much of secret influence (Lord
Bute’s), and so assiduous had the Opposition been, that the Court had
a majority but of three voices--65 to 62.[18] The Duke of York was
absent, as was said, by the interposition of the Princess, his mother,
who had accompanied her reprimand with very bitter reproaches.

In the Commons much heat passed on the Dividend Bill, on which Dyson,
as manager,--and now become a very forward manager,--grew most
obnoxious to the Opposition, and the subject of many libels: but his
abilities and the strength of the Court carried the Bill through,
though even the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Conway, Secretary of
State, were inclined to show more favour to the proprietors. Another
proof of what Lord Chatham might have done, when so subordinate a
placeman as Dyson could lead the House of Commons against the chief
ministers there, when they disagreed with the measures of the Court.

These circumstances, however, the small majority in the Lords, the
variations of Townshend and Conway, and the want of dignity in wanting
a leader of the House of Commons, seemed to call for some speedy
change. I even feared that Conway would go into Opposition. He would
not, he said, resemble Lord Granby, and serve by turns under everybody.
Yet was he ill content with his old friends, who persisted in a
junction with Grenville for fear of Bute. The Duke of Grafton himself,
who could not penetrate to Lord Chatham, thought some change necessary.
Lord Northington, alarmed for himself by the attack on the Canada
papers, and apt to scent decay in a ministry, told Lord Hertford the
present system could not hold. I engaged Lord Hertford to warn the King
not to open his closet precipitately on Lord Northington’s alarm. But
I was not without apprehension myself on meeting the Duke of Grafton
returning very privately from Richmond,--nothing being so unusual as
his Majesty’s seeing any ministers there. The King had sent for him and
insisted on his seeing Lord Chatham the next day. The Duke was very
inquisitive to know how Lord Chatham was: I told the Duke he would find
him much disordered. The Duke said to me, “If we can beat them well in
the House of Lords next Tuesday, perhaps we may get the Bedfords.”
I was struck, and concluded that Lord Bute was terrified at the Duke
of Bedford’s and Rigby’s late attacks; or that Lord Northington had
alarmed both him and the King; but Lord Hertford assured me that the
Duke’s own propensity lay towards the Bedfords.

On the 1st of June, Mr. Conway moved the House to grant 11,000_l._ to
Prince Ferdinand. The Prince had expended so much of his own money
for the immediate necessities of the army, intending to pay himself
out of the chest of contributions, with which the late King had
solely entrusted him: a German, who had the care of it, had run away
and left no money. The debt to the Prince had been delivered in with
the general accounts; and when the debts were liquidated with the
Hanoverian Chancery, both sides pretended to a balance in their own
favour. Grenville had given notice to have all debts brought in within
a year. So many disputes had arisen after the account was closed, that
the Treasury informed Prince Ferdinand they could not pay him, he must
apply to Parliament. Dowdeswell had prevented Mr. Conway from applying
for the debt the last year, and now, with Grenville and Rigby, opposed
the reimbursement of the Prince, insisting the money had been paid to
the Hanoverian Chancery, and that he must get it thence. Lord Granby
was violent against this refusal, but the House was as much averse to
paying the money. Samuel Martin, who by order of Grenville’s Treasury,
as their Secretary, had written to Prince Ferdinand an approbation
of his accounts, being called upon, said very impertinently, he had
emptied his head of all that trash and trumpery--and went out of
the House. Conway and even Grenville, took severe notice of that
expression, which Dyson defended; he and Martin either resenting
Conway’s opposition to the Dividend Bill, or obeying the secret
ill-will of the Court to the House of Brunswick. Dowdeswell calling for
some necessary papers, the business was put off for some days.

The Duke of Grafton found Lord Chatham, as he thought, incurably
nervous, and so unfit to continue minister, that the Duke himself
talked of quitting too.[19] He told Mr. Conway and me that he had
never seen the King so much agitated; that his Majesty was not
disinclined to take Lord Rockingham, but protested he had almost rather
resign his crown than consent to receive George Grenville again. I was
much more surprised when the Duke proposed to call in Lord Rockingham
and his friends as a support to the then Administration; and to make
Mr. Yorke President of the Council, in the room of Lord Northington.
I told his Grace that Lord Rockingham and his party would listen to
no junction with Lord Chatham. The Duke was of the same opinion,
and seemed to have thrown it out only to mark his fidelity to the
latter, whom, he said, he could not propose to dismiss, Lord Chatham
having told him that morning he would not retire but by his Majesty’s
command. I asked the Duke whether, if Lord Chatham continued, his
Grace would not remain in place, rather than throw all again to the
hazard? He seemed to allow he would: yet said, Lord Rockingham and
his friends would not be sufficient addition. I replied, “My Lord,
that is what they say themselves, and therefore would bring Grenville
and the Bedfords: but the fact is not so. They would now be so much
stronger than last year, as the King would not now have an option to
make between them and Lord Chatham; and therefore Lord Bute would be
obliged to support them now, as what he hates most is the connection
of Grenville and the Bedfords.” I earnestly begged the Duke to make
no overtures to Lord Rockingham till the session was closed, as the
distance of six or seven months to another session would make him and
his followers more tractable. The Duke was desirous of getting rid of
Lord Shelburne; and it was plain would have accorded all they could
wish to the Rockinghams, if on one hand Lord Chatham and Lord Camden,
and on the other Lord Bute’s friends, might be suffered to remain in
their places.

In the mean time the Opposition had mustered all their forces for
another battle in the House of Lords. In such manœuvres Sandwich and
Rigby were excellent; and Lord Rockingham himself, who had been so
indolent a minister, was become as industrious a partisan as either of
them. Accordingly, on the 2nd of June the Duke of Richmond made three
motions; one, a resolution that there ought to be a civil government
established in Canada; the others implied censure on the neglect, and
were aimed at Lord Northington. The latter denied his having thrice
refused to attend the Council on that business; but the Duke of
Richmond proved upon him that he had even written that refusal to Lord
Winchelsea, the then President of the Council. Lord Mansfield did not
appear in the debate, so deeply had he felt his late treatment. The
Ministers rejected the motions by 73 to 61. This was reckoned a great
victory after the Court had been so hard run in the last division. Both
sides agreed to adjourn for ten days, considering the heat and lateness
of the season.

The King, who, to please the Duke of Grafton, had seemed to give in to
the measure of sending for Lord Rockingham, now wrote to Lord Chatham
to press him to continue in place. To Mr. Conway his Majesty was
profuse of his favour,--told him he knew his intention of resignation
was from a point of honour and adherence to a rash promise,--begged
Conway not to distress him by quitting before the end of the
session,--offered him any military boons,--and owned he wished Lord
Edgcumbe had not been turned out. Conway replied, he hoped another
time his Majesty would follow his own excellent judgment. To Lord
Hertford the King declared he would submit to neither faction; would
take some of Lord Rockingham’s friends, if they would be reasonable;
but Grenville he would never forgive; and at last said, emphatically,
“My lord, you will see a strange scene!” Conway was touched with the
King’s behaviour, and said that, as soon as he had resigned, he would
tell Lord Rockingham that he had acquitted his promises to them, and
should have no farther connection with them. I told him there were many
independent men who would not sit still and see the closet taken by
storm. No, he replied, it was what he himself and the Rockinghams had
come in two years before to prevent.

Finding how unacceptable the motion in Prince Ferdinand’s favour had
been to the House, Conway dropped it, and the King gave the Prince a
pension of two thousand pounds a-year. It had been suspected that his
Highness had made great advantage by the war; but he had pressed so
earnestly for this money, that Conway believed him not rich, and was
afraid of his being disgusted and gained by France, from which Court he
had rejected the most shining offers.[20]

After the recess at Whitsuntide, the lords of the Opposition engaged
warmly against the Dividend Bill, and had frequent and late sittings,
which still protracted the session. The Duke of Richmond was the chief
manager, and even moved for a conference with the Commons, to know why
the latter had passed the bill, but was beaten by 98 to 51, the Duke
of York voting in the minority: but the Bedfords were much cooled.
The Duchess and Lord Gower perceiving the Court much at a loss to
recruit or prop up the Administration, thought the opportunity fair
for making their peace, and Lord Gower even went during the holidays
to the Duke of Grafton, at Wakefield-lodge. The Duke provoked at the
Duke of Richmond, and already hostile to him by the rivalship of age
and relationship,[21] offered Lord Gower any terms for himself and his
friends, only with the exclusion of Grenville. Rigby would not abandon
Grenville, and prevailed on the Duke of Bedford to say they would not
come in to be turned out again in six months, and therefore should
previously insist on the dismission of Lord Bute’s creatures. The Duke
of Grafton desired Lord Gower to reconsider his offers--if refused, the
Rockinghams would accept. Mr. Conway and I saw the bad policy of this
conduct, and that the Bedfords would plead merit to the Rockinghams in
their refusal, and would encourage the latter to stipulate too, which
they were enough inclined to do for the same dismission of Lord Bute’s

The Dividend Bill was carried in the committee by 60 to 41. Lord
Mansfield had returned to that contest, and with Lord Lyttelton and
Lord Temple combated the bill eagerly.[22] In the course of it, a
favourable account arrived from India of the Company’s affairs; yet the
Duke of Grafton would not relinquish the bill. Some few lords signed a
protest drawn by Burke, and corrected by Lord Mansfield.


  Account of the Negotiations between the Duke of Grafton’s
    Administration and Lord Rockingham, Mr. Grenville, and the Bedford
    Party; and their final Failure.


The negotiation with the Bedfords continuing, Lord Northington
thrust himself into it, and prevailed on the King to allow a place
to Grenville, provided it was not the Treasury; and Grenville had
acquiesced. Lord Temple put off his journey into the country. Alarmed
at this, I went to Lord Holland, where finding Mr. Mackenzie, I
communicated my suspicions to both, knowing how much Lord Bute would
dread such a coalition; but it came to nothing. Lord Gower said there
must be great alterations: Grenville would support without a place,
but Lord Temple must have a considerable one, (though acquiescing in
Grafton’s retaining the Treasury,) and an equal share of power as he
had demanded from Lord Chatham. The Duke of Grafton said, he would have
nothing to do with such conditions; yet he was exasperated against Lord
Chatham, who would neither resign nor come forth, yet was continually
sending Dr. Addington privately to the King to assure his Majesty he
should be able to appear in a month or two. The King offered the Duke
to nominate to all places, if he would remain; but he refused, and
said he had sacrificed himself for Lord Chatham, who had given him
such a dose that nothing should prevail on him to be minister longer.
He was not less enraged at Charles Townshend, with whom he declared
he would not sit in Council. He made the same declaration against the
Duke of Richmond. This increased Conway’s difficulties. The Rockinghams
offended him as deeply, by meditating to place Lord Albemarle, a
younger general, at the head of the army. Conway complained too of the
King’s acquiescing to re-admit Grenville; he had been told at Court,
he said, that he must stay to exclude Grenville; now even to Grenville
the door was open. However, the alarm I had given remedied much: Lord
Bute came to town, and Mackenzie put off his journey to Scotland. Lord
Northington pressing the Bedfords on the King, received so sharp a
reprimand, that he left Court, nor would stay to read the King’s speech
to the Council, which Conway was obliged to do.

Amidst this confusion the Parliament rose on the 2nd of July, after one
of the longest sessions that was almost ever known. The City bestowed
its freedom on Charles Townshend for his behaviour on the East India
business and the Dividend Bill, for which in truth he had deserved
nothing but censure. Somebody, a little more sagacious, inserted in
the papers the following epigram:--

    The joke of Townshend’s box is little known;
    Great judgment in the thing the cits have shown.
    This compliment was an expedient clever
    To rid them of the like expense for ever.
    Of so burlesque a choice th’ example sure
    For city-boxes must all longing cure.
    The honour’d ostracism at Athens fell
    Soon as Hyperbolus had got the shell.

As times show men, the fluctuation and difficulties of those I am
describing brought forth some symptoms, though not so fully as it
appeared afterwards, of the singular cast of the Duke of Grafton’s
mind. Hitherto he had passed for a man of much obstinacy and firmness,
of strict honour, devoid of ambition, and though reserved, more
diffident than designing. He retained so much of this character,
as to justify those who had mistaken the rest. If he precipitated
himself into the most sudden and inextricable contradictions, at least
he pursued the object of the moment with inflexible ardour. If he
abandoned himself to total negligence of business in pursuit of his
sports and pleasures, the love of power never quitted him; and when
his will was disputed, no man was more imperiously arbitrary. If his
designs were not deeply laid, at least they were conducted in profound
silence. He rarely pardoned those who did not guess his inclination:
it was necessary to guess, so rare was any instance of his unbosoming
himself to either friends or confidants. Why his honour had been so
highly rated, I can less account; except that he had advertised it, and
that obstinate young men are apt to have high notions before they have
practised the world and essayed their own virtue.

Mr. Conway telling the Duke that Lord Rockingham desired to treat
with his Grace, he commissioned Conway to bring them together. In the
mean time Lord Gower reproaching the Duke with negotiating at once
with the Bedfords and Rockinghams, as Conway had foreseen, the Duke
denied even to Conway the having authorized him to settle a meeting. We
were struck with this, and recollected how easily his Grace had been
engaged by Lord Chatham to accept the Treasury, after the most vehement
protestations against it; and how often and how lightly of late he had
refused, and then consented to remain there. Now, on having seen the
King at Richmond, his Grace protested against holding the Treasury if
Lord Temple was to be associated to equal power.

On the 5th of July the King sent likewise for Conway to Richmond, and
showed him all Lord Chatham’s letters.[23] His Majesty had sent for the
latter; Lady Chatham wrote to the King that it was impossible for her
lord even to _write_. In the evening the King had offered to go to him.
Lord Chatham himself then _wrote_ to decline that honour, pleading his
health was worse than ever. His Majesty then asked Conway’s advice. The
latter proposed taking Lord Rockingham’s party. The King listened, but
asking what the Marquis himself would expect, and Conway replying, the
Treasury, the King seemed surprised, protested he had heard no mention
of that, and asked, what was then to become of the Duke of Grafton?
There seemed some mystery in this behaviour. Either Grafton had kept
his eye on the Treasury, or the King had suffered him to allure Lord
Rockingham with false hopes. The King and the Duke had misunderstood
or deceived each other; which was the more likely, the characters of
both will tell. One point, however, was clear, that the King had had
the shrewdness to penetrate the Duke’s character earlier than anybody
else had, and had found that of all the various ministers he had tried,
no man would be more pliant in the closet or give him less trouble. In
truth the Duke was the reverse of Grenville; acquiesced in whatever his
Majesty proposed, and ever was as ready to leave the room as the King
was desirous he should. He was just the minister whose facility and
indolence suited the views of the King, the Princess, and the Favourite.

His Majesty next commissioned Conway to treat with Lord Rockingham,
with _no_ restrictions but that the Duke of Grafton and the Chancellor
should be retained in the Administration, though the Treasury should
be ceded to Rockingham. Whether the King forgot having allowed this
last condition to be offered, or hoped to evade it, the following
negotiations made it plain that he had never intended to fulfil it, if
he could form any system without being reduced to that necessity. Two
reasons combined to rivet in his Majesty an aversion to having Lord
Rockingham for his First Minister; the one general and permanent, the
other temporary: the Marquis and his party had and did persist in the
exclusion of Lord Bute and his connection. If possessed of power at the
eve of a new Parliament, he would be able to influence the elections
to the exclusion of that connection. The King was not desirous of
giving himself a minister who would thus be master both of him and the

Mr. Conway having sent for the Duke of Richmond back to London, I was
desired to meet him on the subject. I was averse, as having no opinion
of the abilities of that party; yet yielded, as it was thought I had
most weight of any man with that Duke; but though I loved and esteemed
him, I knew how much he was swayed by the intemperate and inconsiderate
folly of the Cavendishes; and I accordingly declared that, should the
negotiation succeed, I would have nothing farther to do with that
set. When Mr. Conway had opened the proposal to the Duke, the first
difficulty that started was on Lord Camden. The Duke said, they would
not put a negative on him, but he would be the King’s man. I asked if
they expected that every man should depend on King Rockingham, and
nobody on King George? “But,” said the Duke, “he will be Lord Bute’s
man, as Lord Northington had been.” I said, “If Lord Bute desires to
make another breach, will he ever want a tool?” “Oh! but they must
have a permanency.” “I know none,” I said, “but holding the Government
for life by patent.” The Duke said, a junction with the Bedfords
would secure it. “How,” said I, “my lord, will their coming under you
make them less impatient to be above you? But have they in _their_
negotiation stipulated anything for _your_ friends? Ask them; if they
cannot say they did, it will be proof they did not. You have insisted
on Mr. Conway’s resigning: here he is, on the point of doing so; and
now you do not know what to do with him. Will you refuse the Government
now when it is offered, and yet continue to oppose and impede it?” The
Duke said, he had not opposed everything last session more than Mr.
Conway. “No!” said Conway, eagerly and with warmth; “what does your
Grace think of the land-tax?” In short, we could come to no agreement.
Conway was much hurt, yet persisted in his intention of resigning,
though his brother and I painted to him his obligations to the Duke of
Grafton, and the unreasonableness of those who claimed his promise,
though they knew not to what end; and who adhered to their resolution
of proposing to the Bedfords to join them, though Conway declared
against that junction, and though they had no reason to expect the King
would admit them on these terms.

As we had not been able to settle even preliminaries, the King again
pressed the Duke of Grafton to undertake the whole, and remain at
the head of the Treasury, promising him his fullest support. The
Duke replied, with vehemence, that if his Majesty proposed his
being minister, he would take his horse, ride out of England, and
never return. This peremptory, and, as the King thought, invincible
repugnance, suggested a new plan to his Majesty, at which Mr. Conway
and I were more disturbed than at all the other difficulties. It was
to make Lord Hertford minister, who, we knew, was too fond of his
interest, to be proper for that post. Fortunately Lord Hertford,
sensible of his own unfitness, started, and said it was impossible. The
King said, “You all give me advice, but none of you will serve me in
my necessity.” Lord Hertford recommended Lord Egmont. “He will never
accept the Treasury,” said the King, “but you may confer with him; I
give you full power to do what you please.” Lord Hertford said, he
himself never spoke in Parliament, and consequently could not be proper
for his Majesty’s service. Yet he feared losing the King’s favour by
refusing; and by expressions, which his son Lord Beauchamp dropped,
we feared he would consent to take the Treasury for a time, on the
grant of a ducal title. I told him there were but three options: to
take the Rockinghams, and get rid of them again as soon as possible; to
engage Mr. Conway to accept the Treasury, which I could scarce think
practicable; or to place the Duke of Northumberland there, since, if
Lord Bute _would_ govern, he and his friends ought to stand in the
front of the battle, instead of exposing others to danger for him. It
would, besides, encourage others to list, as marking certainly that the
King’s favour would accompany the Administration. Lord Hertford said,
the King would not take that step before the new elections, lest the
unpopularity should affect them; though no doubt he would willingly
make the Duke of Northumberland minister afterwards.

I went at night to Lord Holland. He ranted for an hour; said the King
might make a page[24] first minister, and could maintain him so; that
Mr. Conway, when turned out, ought never to have been replaced; that
it had been wrong to restore General A’Court and others; and that a
king of England could always make what ministry he pleased;--he had
forgotten that himself had tried for six weeks in the last reign with
all the influence of the Crown, and could not succeed. All I could get
from him was, that Lord Bute had not seen the King in private for two
years--an assertion I believed as much as the rest.

In the meantime Lord Rockingham, on the strength of the overtures made
to him, had sent a formal message to Woburn to invite the Bedfords to
enter into the Administration with him. The Duke of Bedford returned
for answer, that he was not averse to Lord Rockingham having the
Treasury; for the rest, he would consult his friends.

If Lord Rockingham thus exceeded the offers made to him, the King
laboured no less to prevent their taking place. The Queen asked Colonel
Fitzroy if he had any weight with his brother, and whether the Duke of
Grafton would leave the King in that distress? The King told Fitzroy he
had rather see the devil in his closet than Mr. Grenville.

Lord Rockingham himself then went to Woburn, whence Rigby had been
despatched to settle measures with Mr. Grenville. The answer given to
the Marquis was, that Lord Temple and Mr. Grenville desired nothing for
themselves; would support the future Administration, and hoped their
friends would be taken care of; but could give no further answer, till
they knew if the bottom was to be wide enough.[25] This oracular and
evasive reply did not yet open the eyes of the Marquis, who had so
fixed it in his idea that Bute would betray him, and, indeed, had made
it so natural he should, that the most flimsy veil could hide from him
what no art ought to have been able to conceal. What imaginable reason
ought to have persuaded Rockingham that Grenville was willing to be his

This negotiation, and these general terms, Lord Rockingham communicated
to the Duke of Grafton; who, whether offended at the indecency to the
King, or affronted at the slight put on himself by their treating
through him for his own place, grew much reconciled to keeping it
himself. The Duke said to Lord Rockingham:--“Your Lordship would not
leave his Majesty one nomination. He had excepted nobody but the
Chancellor, and I told your Lordship he ordered me to except myself
too; but I told you from myself I would give up the Treasury to you.
By the terms you now ask, you certainly do not mean to come in.” Lord
Rockingham had sense or irresolution enough almost to own he did not.
On the report of this conference, the King said he would be at liberty
to alter, accept, or reject any part of their plan as he should see

The negotiation having gone so far, it was necessary to proceed till
it should produce either agreement or rupture. The Duke of Grafton and
Mr. Conway accordingly were empowered by his Majesty to treat in form
with the Marquis. On the 15th of July they asked his terms. He spoke
vaguely, but highly. At night, Lord Hertford showed me the following
notes of a letter, which he, his brother, and the Duke had drawn to
send in the Duke’s name to the Marquis:--

“My dear Lord,--After having delivered to his Majesty the answer which
your Lordship communicated to General Conway and myself this morning,
I was commanded to acquaint your Lordship that the King will expect
to receive from your Lordship the plan on which you and your friends
would propose to come in, in order to extend and strengthen his
Administration, that his Majesty may be enabled to judge how far the
same shall appear consistent with his Majesty’s honour and the public

I by no means liked this letter. Grenville and Rigby I knew wished to
prevent Rockingham’s acceptance, as they must come in under him, or
remain out of place. If he declined, they would become more united,
and Grenville would attain the ascendant. A list I could not imagine
they would deliver, which would disgust all that were to be proscribed;
nor could they easily agree to form a list. All they could wish was,
an opportunity to break off the treaty, and impute the rupture to the
King’s defence of Lord Bute’s tools. This letter furnished every one of
these opportunities. _To extend and strengthen_, implied a resolution
of retaining the present system, of which both the Rockinghams and the
Bedfords complained. _Consistent with his honour_, bespoke fidelity to
Lord Bute’s friends; and _expect_, sounded harsh and peremptory. Mr.
Conway had already objected to that word. I wished to have the letter
so expressed that the King’s friends might be able to show it, and
exasperate mankind against the unreasonableness of the Opposition. I
accordingly altered it thus:--

“My dear Lord,--After having delivered to his Majesty the answer which
your Lordship communicated to General Conway and myself this morning,
I was commanded to acquaint your Lordship that the King _wishes your
Lordship would specify to him_ the plan on which you and your friends
would propose to come in, in order _to form an extensive and solid
Administration_; that his Majesty may be enabled to judge how far the
same _may be advantageous to his Majesty’s and the public service_.”

These corrections were approved by the Duke, Lord Hertford, and Mr.
Conway; yet the Duke came and told me the next day that he had restored
the words _extend and strengthen the Administration_. This had been
done no doubt by his Majesty’s order; but though I wished, as much
as his Majesty, to break off the negotiation, I saw how improper the
method was: it was treating for a change and refusing to make it at
the same time. Accordingly Lord Rockingham returned an answer as
understanding it in that manner; but, withal, nothing could surpass the
insolence of that answer. It was long, and, in our hurry, I forgot to
keep a copy of it; but it concluded with hoping his Grace had explained
to the King that he (Rockingham) had laid down for a principle that
this Administration was at an end; and, therefore, if his Majesty liked
_he_ should form a new one, he desired previously to have an interview
with his Majesty.

Impertinent as the body of the letter and the assumption to himself of
forming an Administration were, it seemed but reasonable that the King
should see the man whom he had sent for to be his minister: and to have
refused him an audience on the arrogance of his style, would, probably,
be falling into the snare they had laid for breaking off the treaty.
Under this dilemma, the Duke of Grafton desired me to draw up an
answer. I did, and was so lucky as not only to please all the persons
concerned--the King, the Duke, and Mr. Conway, but to embarrass Lord
Rockingham and his Council so entirely, that they could neither answer
it nor get out of the perplexity with tolerable honour or conduct. Here
is the letter:--

“My dear Lord,--I have laid your Lordship’s letter before his Majesty,
and have the satisfaction of acquainting your Lordship that his
Majesty’s gracious sentiments concur with your Lordship’s in regard
to the forming a comprehensive plan of administration; and that his
Majesty, desirous of uniting the hearts of all his subjects, is ready
and willing to appoint such a comprehensive Administration as may
exclude no denomination of men attached to his person and government.
When your Lordship is prepared to offer a plan of administration formed
on these views, his Majesty is willing your Lordship should yourself
lay the same before him for his consideration.”

Lord Rockingham having received this letter, owned to the Duke of
Grafton and Mr. Conway that it was the most artful letter he ever saw,
and would puzzle him and his friends to answer. The Chancellor told
Lord Hertford he never saw anything so ably drawn; not a word could be
mended. As it passed for the Duke of Grafton’s composition, I allowed
for what quantity of applause might be attributed to that belief. The
letter, however, remained unanswered: Lord Rockingham only pressing the
Duke for an audience of a quarter of an hour with the King; but the
Duke told him it could not be obtained.

At night, Mr. Conway and I going home with Lord Hertford to supper,
the latter found a most pathetic letter from the King, which said the
Duke of Grafton had just been with him, and had peremptorily declared
he would not go on without Mr. Conway; and therefore his Majesty called
upon Mr. Conway, in the most earnest manner, not to leave him exposed
to Lord Rockingham, who had insulted him so much. The Duke of Grafton,
the latter said too, had promised the King to desire Mr. Walpole would
use all his interest with Mr. Conway; to whom his Majesty engaged
to give the Blues on Lord Ligonier’s death, and any civil place, if
he did not like that of Secretary of State. Mr. Conway cried out at
once, it was impossible. I immediately saw that if I persuaded him
_then_ to stay, he would dispute, and thence would confirm himself
in his resolution. I determined, therefore, to let the first burst
of his feeling pass over without contradiction, that I might work on
him another way. I walked about the room with as melancholy an air
as I could put on, only dropping now and then, that it was the most
serious crisis I ever knew. At supper I spoke not a word. When the
servants were retired, his brother, Lady Hertford, and his own wife,
Lady Ailesbury, attacked him in the most eager manner, pressing him
to comply with the King. He resisted as firmly; I jogged Lord Hertford
privately, who understood me, and said no more: but the two ladies were
out of patience, thinking me on Mr. Conway’s side. Still I would not
speak, but seemed to be lost in thought, though I attended to every
word he said, to learn where his principal objection lay, and soon
found it was to Lord Chatham. When we rose up to go away, the ladies
pressed me to give my opinion, which I had expected, and intended
to bring them to do. I then spoke with tears in my eyes; said I was
sensible of the honour the King had done me; but, for the King nor
anybody, would I give Mr. Conway any advice in so important a moment,
till I had considered the question most cooly and thoroughly. He was
much pleased, and said that was very fair. I then knew I should do
what I would; Lord Hertford proposed that he and his brother should go
early the next morning to the Duke of Grafton, but I shifted that off,
and winked to Lord Hertford, who then said, he would go first, and Mr.
Conway should come to me in the morning to talk the matter over. The
moment I got home, I wrote back to Lord Hertford to explain my meaning,
and desired he would not come to me till an hour after the time
appointed for meeting his brother at my house.

The next day (the 18th), Mr. Conway came to me, I told him he had
convinced me that while the treaty was going on, he could not with
honour engage to the King to undertake a share of the Administration,
which would encourage the King to break off the treaty: but if Lord
Rockingham and his friends continued unreasonable, I thought him bound
in honour to extricate the King from the difficulties in which he
had, by his promise of resignation, involved him. That if he (Conway)
refused, his Majesty, rather than give up all Lord Bute’s friends,
would certainly set up some one of them: such a step would drive the
Opposition into the last violences, and might end in a civil war. That
the nation was now quiet and satisfied; and that all sober men, not
ranked in any faction, would not bear to see the King taken prisoner.
That all men saw through the pretences of the several factions; that
all danger of arbitrary power was over, when the most Lord Bute
pretended was, to save a few of his friends from being displaced:
but that another danger was growing upon us, a danger I had always
feared as much as the power of the Crown,--danger from aristocracy,
and from those confederacies of great lords. I showed him that the
present dissatisfactions were nothing but combinations of interested
and ambitious men; that Lord Rockingham and his party had deserted
their principles by adopting Grenville and the Bedfords, who had been
the instruments of Lord Bute’s bad measures, besides having been
criminal in other excesses without his participation. I dwelt on the
outrageous behaviour of the Duke of Richmond the day before, who
had told me that if Conway should refuse to act with Grenville when
united with them (the Rockinghams), they would bid him go about his
business; and that he himself would tell Conway so to his face (the
greatest excess, in truth, of which I ever knew the Duke of Richmond
guilty; whose friendly heart was uncommonly unaccustomed to resent a
difference of opinion in those he loved, and who in a few days after
this heat gave a clear proof of his firm attachment to Conway). I
continued to say to the latter, that I saw he must do something, though
I did not well know what: if anything, I thought that, to show he did
not act from interest, and to strike a great stroke in character, he
must resume the seals of Secretary of State, but refuse the salary.
The Rockinghams might then say what they pleased; that I myself had
always defied all parties on the strength of my disinterestedness: and
I then offered him half my fortune, which he generously refused, but
he was exceedingly struck--as I knew he would be--by a proposal that
would place his virtue in so fair a light. How well soever I knew the
method of drawing him to my opinion, it is but justice to say that,
had I been so inclined, I never could have swayed him to any wrong
act; nor had I so often occasion to lead him towards my sentiments as
to fix his irresolution, which wandered constantly from one doubt to
another, and paid too much deference to what men would say of him.
This was the case in the transaction I am relating. Lord Rockingham and
his friends did not weigh a moment what Mr. Conway owed to the King,
to the Duke of Grafton, to his country, or to himself. They availed
themselves of what had been more a threat than a promise, in order
to blow up the Administration and create confusion. To Conway they
had not paid the least deference, acquiesced in nothing he proposed
to them or for them, and most arrogantly pretended to involve him,
against his repeated declaration, in a system composed for their own
convenience, and by their own wilful blindness with his and their
country’s most grievous enemies. Could I employ too much art to set
him above such treatment? He told me he had had some such thought as I
mentioned, and would certainly follow my advice; but he would resign
first on the next Wednesday (this was Friday), and then he should be
able to talk with more authority to the Rockinghams. We agreed to keep
this a secret from all the world; and I was only to give the Duke of
Grafton and Lord Hertford hopes. I said, he might be sure I would keep
the secret for my own sake; circumstances might change, and I would
not pledge myself to the King, and be reproached afterwards if he was
disappointed. I said, too, that I would not go to Court (as I ought to
have done after the King’s letter), that I might give no jealousy; but
would let the King know the reason of my absenting myself. “I like
policy,” said I, “but I will always speak truth, which I think the best
policy.” Conway grew impatient at his brother’s not coming, and went
to the Duke of Richmond. Lord Hertford arrived the next moment. I bade
him be satisfied, but would not tell him on what grounds. He did not
approve his brother’s resigning, but I convinced him it was necessary
to yield that point in order to carry the greater. We agreed, indeed,
that to his brother he should not give it up, that his brother might
not suspect our being too much in concert. We then went to him. The
Duke of Richmond told him that they had sent for the Bedfords to town.
Lord Hertford and I disputed about the resignation before Mr. Conway;
and as I wanted to prepare the Duke of Grafton, I said I was sure I
could convince the last. Lord Hertford said I could not. “Well,” said
I, two or three times, “you shall see I can. I will go to him--shall
I?” Conway said, “Well, go.” Lord Hertford kept his brother in dispute.
I went, gave the Duke hopes; told him, he himself must retain his
place, but must let Mr. Conway resign. He said, if it would satisfy Mr.
Conway’s delicacy, he would. I thus carried all my points, and knew I
was doing right. At the same time I must confess there was a moment in
which, reflecting on my success, and on the important service I had
rendered to the King in so distressful and critical an hour, I was
tempted to think of myself. I saw I might have written to the King, or
asked an audience, or made any terms I pleased for myself. My brother
had just been at the point of death, and presented me with the near
prospect of losing half my income. What would remain, would depend on
the will of every succeeding First Lord of the Treasury; and it was
determined in my own breast that I would pay court to none. I resisted,
however; and in this favourable shining hour, resolved to make no one
advantage for myself. I scorned to tell either my friend or myself, and
sat down contented with having done the best for him, and with shutting
the door against a crew I hated or despised: yet I had one more
struggle to come before the victory was complete.

At night the two brothers and I saw the Duke of Grafton again. Our
intelligence agreed that Grenville had said to his friends that he
had reserved himself at liberty to oppose. This showed what headlong
voluntary dupes Lord Rockingham and his friends had made themselves.

On the 20th, a meeting was held at the Duke of Newcastle’s, of Lord
Rockingham, the Duke of Richmond and Dowdeswell, with Newcastle
himself, on one part; and of the Duke of Bedford, Lord Weymouth, and
Rigby on the other. The Duke of Bedford had powers from Grenville to
act for him, but did not seem to like Lord Rockingham’s taking on
himself to name to places. On the latter asking what friends they
wished to prefer, Rigby said, with his cavalier bluntness, “Take the
Court Calendar and give them one, two, three thousand pounds a-year.”
Bedford observed that they had said nothing on measures: Mr. Grenville
would insist on the sovereignty of this country over America being
asserted. Lord Rockingham replied, he would never allow it to be a
question whether he had given up this country: he never had. The Duke
insisted on a declaration. The Duke of Richmond said, “We may as well
demand one from you, that you never will disturb that country again.”
Neither would yield. However, though they could not agree on measures,
as the distribution of places was more the object of their thoughts and
of their meeting, they reverted to that topic. Lord Rockingham named
Mr. Conway; Bedford started; said, he had no notion of Conway; had
thought he was to return to the military line. The Duke of Richmond
said, it was true Mr. Conway did not desire a civil place; did not know
whether he would be persuaded to accept one; but they were so bound to
him for his resignation, and thought him so able, they must insist.
The Duke of Bedford said, Conway was an officer _sans tache_, but not
a minister _sans tache_. Rigby said, not one of the present Cabinet
should be saved. Dowdeswell asked, “What! not one?”--“No”--“What! not
Charles Townshend?” “Oh!” said Rigby, “that is different; besides,
he has been in opposition.” “So has Conway,” said Dowdeswell; “he
has voted twice against the Court, Townshend but once.” “But,” said
Rigby, “Conway is Bute’s man.” “Pray,” said Dowdeswell, “is not
Charles Townshend Bute’s?” “Ay, but Conway is governed by his brother
Hertford, who is Bute’s.” “So is Charles Townshend by his brother,[26]
who is Bute’s.” “But Lady Ailesbury[27] is a Scotchwoman.” “So is Lady
Dalkeith.[28]” From this dialogue the assembly fell to wrangle, and
broke up quarrelling. So high did the heats go, that the Cavendishes
ran about the town, publishing the issue of the conference, and taxing
the Bedfords with treachery.

Notwithstanding this, the same evening the Duke of Bedford sent to
desire another interview, to which Lord Rockingham yielded; but the
Duke of Richmond refused to be present. So much, however, were the
minds on both sides ulcerated by former and recent disputes, and so
incompatible were their views, that the second meeting broke up in
a final quarrel; and Lord Rockingham released the other party from
all their engagements. The Duke of Bedford desired they might still
continue friends--that was, at least, agree to oppose together. Lord
Rockingham said, No; they were broken for ever.[29]

It was at this meeting that the Duke of Newcastle appeared for the
last time[30] in a political light. Age and feebleness at length wore
out that busy passion for intrigue, which power had not been able to
satiate, nor disgrace correct. He languished above a year longer, but
was heard of no more on the scene of affairs.

Chance and folly having thus dispersed those clouds that were only
formidable by their assemblage, the task grew easier to re-establish
some serenity; yet the principal actor could not help distinguishing
his superior absurdity before the act was closed.

The Duke of Richmond acquainted me, on the 22nd, that Lord Rockingham
was going to the King to thank his Majesty for his gracious offers,
to ask pardon for having dealt with Grenville and the Bedfords, and
to acquaint him that he could not undertake the Administration.
One should rather have expected that when he confessed his error in
applying to them, he would propose to accept without them. I said, not
with much ardour, that I hoped they would now accept alone; and I asked
what was to become of Conway? The Duke replied, _They had told him he
must go on_. “Well, my lord,” said I, “but then you cannot continue
to oppose.” “No,” replied the Duke, “if the King should offer us full
power, he might be sure now that we could not make use of it against
his friends; yet I do not know whether we should undertake. I think we
must at least allow our friends to take on with the Court.” I commended
this noble behaviour, and approved the admission of their friends; but
their first thoughts had been too right to last.

Lord Rockingham went to Court, and asked an audience; but instead
of the decent part he had meditated, he sillily entered into former
complaints against Lord Bute. The King, as unnecessarily frank, owned
that he had never intended to give him the Treasury, but to keep the
Duke of Grafton. Thus they parted, each more soured than they had met.
The King complained that Lord Rockingham had taxed him with breach of
his word, and that he had not offered to accept without Grenville, &c.
Lord Rockingham, that the King had not asked him to undertake--as if
the language he had held, had been conciliatory. His party resented
highly what they called the King’s insincerity; and the Duke of
Richmond, dining with Conway and me, expressed the utmost warmth,
declaring they would accept nothing under as full powers as had been
granted to Lord Chatham. Conway endeavoured to moderate; but as I
could go farther than it was proper for Conway to do, I ridiculed the
ascribing as much importance to Lord Rockingham as to Lord Chatham;
and said the former could only compose an Administration in dumb show,
so few of the party being speakers, and none of any rank among them,
but his Grace, having any parts. I asked how they could treat Mr.
Conway so ill? They had called on him to resign; had that very morning
acknowledged he must stay, and had advised him to stay; and now the
Duke said, they had only meant he should stay just for the present
moment. But there was no allaying the Duke’s heat; and indeed, unless
they would have acquiesced in the only rational plan, a junction
with the Administration, without insisting on the pre-eminence of
Rockingham, it was indifferent to me whether they were pacified or not.
The difficulty, however, was increased to Conway by the regard they had
paid to him, and which had widened their breach with the Bedfords. But
besides their having allowed the necessity of his staying in place,
their struggle for him was not only what he had deserved at their
hands, but had much the appearance of having been but a decent tribute,
since they had owned to the Bedfords that they doubted his accession;
and what was yet stranger, they had stickled for him, when they were
morally certain he was not only averse to, but would not accede to,
their coalition with Grenville. Every part of the miscarriage had
flowed from their own fault. They had conjoined men to their plan
without the King’s leave, even without asking it, had refused on the
terms he had offered; and had concluded by affronting him to his face;
had owned they had no excuse for opposing any longer; and now were
desirous Mr. Conway should oppose with them, only because they had been
to blame. Such inconsistencies could not be wiped out by their having
made use of his name against his consent. Yet, as Conway’s delicacy
was great, I told the Duke of Grafton, when he sent for me the next
morning, that it was of absolute necessity that his Majesty should once
more offer the Administration in form to Lord Rockingham, as nothing
but the positive refusal of the latter would induce Mr. Conway to go
on. I knew, I said, it was not very civil to his Grace to advise him to
propose again a successor to himself; but my confidence that Rockingham
would again refuse, and the benefits resulting thence, encouraged me
to press that advice. The Duke, though disinclined to the measure, was
persuaded. I sent Lord Hertford to the King with the same counsel;
said, I was sure they would refuse; if they did, I besought his Majesty
to express no resentment, but to soothe them, and say, that though
they would not undertake the Administration, he yet hoped they would
support it, and suffer their friends to enlist, which at least would
produce a defection from their party.

The Duke acquainted the King with my advice, who expressed extreme
repugnance to it, yet consented to follow it, though it was very
grievous, he said, to humble himself again to Lord Rockingham, who, but
the preceding day, had taxed him with an ancient breach of promise.
To Lord Hertford his Majesty observed, that it was very extraordinary
advice to come from me. Lord Hertford explained that my reasons were
founded upon the hopes of carrying Mr. Conway clearly from Lord
Rockingham, on a new refusal of the latter; and for fear his Majesty
should be reduced, if Conway wavered, again to deliver himself up to
Mr. Grenville. The King replied, he would sooner meet Grenville at the
end of his sword than let him into his closet; and that there must
be men in England who would form an Administration for him, and not
let him be reduced to that mortification. His Majesty would not yield
to send for Lord Rockingham, but allowed the offer to be once more
renewed,--a consent from which I drew a remarkable observation: as
his Majesty yielded on the first proposal (for he saw the Duke before
the conversation with Lord Hertford), it was plain he did not always
consult the Princess or Lord Bute, having now allowed the Duke to make
the offer, before the latter quitted the closet.

The Duke, Mr. Conway, and I, consulted on the best method of delivering
the message. Conway thought it was best to do it, as I had advised, in
a free, friendly way, exhorting the Marquis to let them all re-unite in
their old system; and Conway added, “If they refuse, your Grace and I
must then do the best we can.”

At night, the Duke, Conway, and Lord Rockingham met. The Duke, in the
King’s name, offered him the Treasury, in the amicable way agreed
on. Lord Rockingham was all reserve, and would only say, this was no
message. The Duke offended, and naturally cold and shy, would not
repeat positively that it was; and thus the meeting broke off.[31]

Having engaged the King and Duke in so bold and hazardous a step, I
trembled lest it should take another turn than I expected: and though
my advice had not been completely followed, yet as it sufficed to
disgust Conway, I rejoiced that it had ended so fortunately, especially
as I doubted from recollecting circumstances and from Lord Rockingham’s
demand of a precise message, whether he would not have accepted; in
which case the King would probably have flown off and Conway have
been offended the other way, if the terms, when offered and accepted,
had not been granted. That Rockingham fluctuated between ambition and
distrust was evident, for late that very night the Duke of Richmond
came to Lord Hertford’s door and sent for me down to his chariot,
when, though ashamed of the silly message imposed upon him, he made me
this frantic and impertinent proposal from Lord Rockingham, which I
was desired to deliver to Mr. Conway,--that the latter would engage
the King to allow the Marquis to try again to get the Bedfords--the
Bedfords whom, two days before, Rockingham and all his party had
absolutely broken with, and published as the most treacherous of men,
and who had proscribed Conway himself. Should the Bedfords again
refuse, the Marquis notified that he would then deign to accept the
Administration. I neither wished his acceptance, nor chose to run any
farther risks of it. Conway, to whom I communicated it, treated this
senseless proposal as it deserved; and the Duke of Richmond did not
attempt to defend it.[32]


  General Observations.--Attempt to procure an Earldom for Lord
    Holland.--Reconstruction of the Administration.--Death of
    Charles Townshend.--Of the Comte de Guerchy.--Of the Duke of
    York.--Characters of the Royal Dukes.--French Travellers in England
    and Ireland.--Genius of Conway.--Conduct of Lord Townshend in
    Ireland.--Meeting of Parliament.--Debates on the Address.--Fresh
    Negotiations with the Bedford Party.


Nothing now remained but to resettle the Administration as we could on
its old bottom, no new forces being to be had. But I must make a few

In all my experience of the King or knowledge of his measures, he never
interfered with his Ministers, scarce took any part in his own business
(I speak of the past years of his reign), unless when he was to undo
an Administration. Whether hating or liking the persons he employed,
the moment he took them, he seemed to resign himself entirely to their
conduct for the time. If what they proposed was very disagreeable
to him, at most he avoided it by delay. How far he had entered into
his mother’s and Lord Bute’s plans while they were all-powerful
at the beginning of his reign, cannot be known. Afterwards he had,
undoubtedly, confidence in none of his Ministers; which according with
his extreme indolence and indifference to all men, his Ministers found
little obstruction to their views from the closet, till the greater
indolence of the Duke of Grafton and Lord North taught his Majesty to
act on his own judgment, assisted by the secret junto of the creatures
of Lord Bute. The sensible disgrace that fell on the Crown from so
frequent a change of Ministries, had, at last, alarmed the King, and
made a lasting impression. And yet the ruling principle of the reign,
which had been, by breaking and dividing all parties, to draw attention
and dependence only to the King himself, had succeeded so happily, that
even these storms tended to strengthen the unbounded influence at which
the King aspired, and which he pursued invariably on every returning
calm. The ductility and congenial indolence of the Duke of Grafton,
accompanied with much respect and good breeding, fixed his Majesty in
preferring him to all the men whom he _could_ employ: and though the
Duke not long afterwards fell into a connection of very ill-odour at
Court, _yet_ the tedious tyranny of Grenville, and the inveteracy of
Rockingham to Bute, were so much more dreaded, that Grafton did not
cease to be almost a favourite; with the additional comfort to the
King, that if forced to sacrifice him, it would be the loss of an
useful tool, rather than of a Minister for whom he had any fondness.

Another observation is, that during the whole preceding negotiation the
names of Lord Chatham and Charles Townshend were scarce mentioned, so
insignificant had both rendered themselves to the nation and to every
faction in it.

I cannot help reflecting, too, that had the Duke of Cumberland or
the Duke of Devonshire lived, men in the prime of their age, many of
the follies I have been recounting had probably been avoided. The
excellent sense of the former would have kept Lord Rockingham and the
Cavendishes within bounds; and the deference of his Royal Highness
for the Crown would have restrained them from the excesses into which
they fell against the King, the Princess, and the Favourite; for
though nobody had less partiality to the two latter, he would not have
encouraged a useless inveteracy, when himself would have enjoyed so
much credit in the Government. The Duke of Devonshire, though inferior
in parts even to Lord Rockingham, must have had the precedence of him
in Administration; and being diffident, timid, decent, and fond of
court, no man would have been more alarmed at the violent and obnoxious
counsels of his brother John. The latter would undoubtedly have enjoyed
much credit with the Duke; but as men govern others by humouring
their tempers, not by driving them into contrary extremes, I question
whether Devonshire would not oftener have checked than have been
impelled by Lord John’s visions. As either the Prince or the Duke would
probably have prevented many scenes that I have related, so both, I am
persuaded, would have obstructed and discountenanced the frenzy into
which their friends were hurried in the subsequent Parliament.

The share I had had in these transactions could not be totally a
secret, especially to those who looked narrowly into or had connections
with the Court; yet it did surprise me, I own, when the first person
I beheld at my feet was Lord Holland. He sent for me, and weakly
pretending that it was to gratify his wife, of all women the most
indifferent to grandeur, he supplicated me in the most flattering terms
to obtain him an earldom from the Duke of Grafton. In a long intimacy,
and during every period of his power, he had barely once, and that when
he foresaw I should not accept it,[33] offered me a faint attempt to
serve me conditionally. I had the strongest presumption for believing
that he had afterwards essentially injured me for declining to assist
his bad measures. I was not at all sorry to have this opportunity of
repaying both debts by forgiving both, and by endeavouring to obtain
what he desired. The King had declined his request, pleading the
state of his affairs. I told Lord Holland I would use all my interest
with the Duke of Grafton to oblige him, but that I was not so vain as
to think I could obtain the earldom for him, if his own importance
could not. I did earnestly labour it, and really believe the Duke of
Grafton did too, as he promised me he would: but the King could not be
persuaded to grant it: I know not why. Lord Holland had well earned
it. He read to me at the same time a long letter from Lord Bute, dated
September 1st, 1766, in which in the strongest terms the Favourite
disclaimed having been made acquainted with the last promotion of Lord
Chatham, and the restoration of his own brother Mackenzie; adding that
a _great lady_, to whom he (the Earl) often paid his court, had been
as ignorant and incredulous of those steps as himself; and protesting
that himself had not seen the King since the preceding July. I knew
not how to give entire credit to this epistle: however, as it owned
the continuation of his visits to the Princess, it imported little
what embargo it was thought prudent to lay on his actual commerce with
the King, nor by what channels the intercourse was kept up. The credit
which Mackenzie soon gained with the Duke of Grafton spoke the duration
of favour: and as no symptoms appeared of the Queen having acquired
any political ascendant over her husband, the old connections probably
subsisted still, though the clamours of the times inspired great
caution in conducting them.[34]

On the 28th Lord Hertford, Mr. Conway, and I supped with the Duke of
Grafton, when he and Conway were to take their final resolutions,
and to fix their future Administration. Conway appeared by far the
more determined; yet both agreed to go on, though the Duke laid in
a specious salvo, that it should only be till Lord Chatham should
recover. From that moment there was no further question of him. Conway,
who desired his own liberty, willingly subscribed to that condition.
The list was next to be adjusted. I proposed the Duke of Northumberland
should be President of the Council, as an indication that the King
intended this Administration should last. Both the Duke and Conway
objected as savouring too much of Bute; for, however Rigby had charged
Conway with being subservient to the Favourite, no man living was
less propense to him, nor had less connection with him. I myself,
who wished the Administration should have his support, had never been
within his doors after he had been First Lord of the Treasury; and when
I wished he should traverse any counsels of any faction, I was reduced
to drop notices accidentally to such of his friends as I happened to
have a common acquaintance with. Even Lord Hertford, though connected
with him by his son’s marriage,[35] had not the slightest intercourse
with him--not from disinclination, but from the shy, uncommunicative,
and now timid disposition of that unpopular man. A greater difficulty
presented itself,--the Chancellor[36] of Ireland was dying. Lord
Chatham, wishing to gain the support of Norton, had wanted to purchase
and appoint the latter to succeed to those Seals. Conway had already
strongly objected to Norton on the flagrancy of his character, and
renewed his opposition now, fearing abuse from the Rockinghams. I
said, When _they_ had adopted even Sandwich, could they reproach him
with taking Norton? If Norton was not for the Ministers, he would be
against them, and was too able to let it be indifferent on which side
he acted. I proposed the Duke should take the deed on himself. Conway
finding the Duke would not go on, unless this was done, gave it up. We
then sketched out other arrangements; and it was settled that Conway
should be either Cabinet-Counsellor and Lieutenant-General of the
Ordnance, or third Secretary of State for America.

The Lieutenancy of the Ordnance was pitched upon, as Lord Townshend,
to please his brother Charles, was destined to be Viceroy of Ireland
in the room of Lord Bristol. The last, whose stately manners and
delicate form were ill-adapted to please so rude and turbulent a
people as the Irish, and who was now deprived of the support of his
patron, Lord Chatham, had been alarmed at the rough reception that he
heard was preparing for him; and fearing he should be turned out if
Lord Rockingham or Grenville became Minister, had declared he would
resign his government. He now wrote to the Duke of Grafton, that if
his Majesty still laid his commands on him, he would go and take
possession, but should not be sorry to be excused. He was taken at his
word, and Lord Townshend appointed his successor. The latter yielded
the Ordnance handsomely to Conway, who was obliged to retain his old
Seals, it having been observed that a third Secretary of State being
a new office could not sit in the House of Commons. The Duke of
Grafton persisted in not dismissing Lord Northington, being desirous of
keeping some post in his power that could facilitate his introducing
the Bedfords. Thus no room was left for Lord Egmont or Lord Edgecumbe,
with whom we were all willing to strengthen the Administration. Its
recovering its permanency at all was a signal disappointment to
Grenville and Rockingham, who had flattered themselves that Grafton and
Conway could not be induced to go on, and who had certainly quarrelled
upon the presumption that either the one or the other must succeed.
Conway was indeed most averse to accept the Ordnance and retain the
Seals, and wished heartily to give up the latter; and when compelled to
keep both, would not accept the very lucrative emoluments of Secretary,
as I had suggested: but of that hereafter.

Having thus contributed once more to a settlement agreeable to my
wishes, fatigued with so long anxiety and suspense, torn from all
the amusements I loved, and detesting details after my point was
accomplished, nor more inclined than formerly to profit of the
consideration I had acquired, I once more broke from politics, and set
out for Paris, where I staid six weeks. In that little interval an
unexpected event happened, which both shook and prevented a shock to
the Administration.

On the 4th of September died Charles Townshend, of a neglected fever,
in, I think, the forty-second year of his age. He met his approaching
fate with a good humour that never forsook him, and with an equanimity
that he had never shown on the most trifling occasions. Though cut
off so immaturely, it is a question whether he had not lived long
enough for his character. His genius could have received no accession
of brightness; his faults only promised multiplication. He had almost
every great talent, and every little quality. His vanity exceeded even
his abilities, and his suspicions seemed to make him doubt whether he
had any. With such a capacity he must have been the greatest man of
this age, and perhaps inferior to no man in any age, had his faults
been only in a moderate proportion--in short, if he had had but common
truth, common sincerity, common honesty, common modesty, common
steadiness, common courage, and common sense.[37]

A month before he died, he told Rigby he would resign, and would never
rest till he brought him and his friends into place; and asked how he
should do it. On the very day his wife kissed hands for a barony,[38]
Townshend had threatened Conway to resign unless the peerage was
granted. The very next day he told Conway that the peerage had been
offered by the King. As soon as he was dead, Lord Mansfield owned
that Townshend had assured him he would blow up the newly resettled
Administration. His brother, the Viscount, who shared nothing with him
but his duplicity, repaired to Rigby and desired to be directed by him
in his Irish Administration, Rigby having much weight there through his
friend the Provost.[39]

On the 17th of the same month died at Paris, the Comte de Guerchy,
their Ambassador to England. His death was occasioned by a former
ill-cured complaint, but hastened by the various mortifications he
had received from D’Eon, and the recent neglect and ill-usage of
his own Court. He had been a lover of the Duchesse de Grammont, the
Prime Minister’s sister, who, aspiring at rank, had fixed on the
Duc de Grammont as a man suited to her purposes. It was said that
having consulted Monsieur de Guerchy, he, without considering that
her resolution was probably taken, inveighed with too much sincerity
against the choice of so contemptible a man, and was never forgiven.
Certain it is that, his embassy being finished, he found nothing but
coldness at home, and no hopes of reward or recompense for his services
or mortifications. This cruelty being censured, pensions were granted
to his widow and son.

On the very same day departed, at Monaco, Edward Duke of York,
next brother of the King. His immoderate pursuit of pleasure and
unremitted fatigues in travelling beyond his strength, succeeded
without interruption by balls and entertainments, had thrown his
blood, naturally distempered and full of humours, into a state that
brought on a putrid and irresistible fever. He suffered considerably,
but with a heroism becoming a great Prince. Before he died, he wrote
a penitential letter to the King (though, in truth, he had no faults
but what his youth made very pardonable), and tenderly recommended
his servants to him. The Prince of Monaco, though his favourite child
was then under inoculation at Paris, remained with and waited on him
to his last breath, omitting nothing that tenderness could supply or
his royal birth demand. The Duke of York had lately passed some time
in the French Court, and by the quickness of his replies, by his easy
frankness, and (in him) unusual propriety of conduct, had won much on
the affection of the King of France, and on the rest of the Court,
though his loose and perpetually rolling eyes, his short sight, and
the singular whiteness of his hair, which the French said resembled
feathers, by no means bespoke prejudice in his favour. His temper
was good, his generosity royal, and his parts not defective: but his
inarticulate loquacity and the levity of his conduct, unsupported by
any countenance from the King, his brother, had conspired to place him
but low in the estimation of his countrymen. As he could obtain no
credit from the King’s unfeeling nature, he was in a situation to do
little good; as he had been gained by the Opposition, he might have
done hurt--at least so much to the King that his death was little
lamented. Nor can we judge whether more years and experience would have
corrected his understanding or corrupted his heart, nor whether, which
is most probable, they would not have done both.[40]

The Duke of Gloucester, of as fair complexion, as short sighted,
of worse health, but of a more manly form, was a Prince of a very
different disposition. Reserved, serious, pious, of the most decent
and sober deportment, and possessing a plain understanding, though of
no brilliancy, he was of all his family the King’s favourite, though
admitted to no confidence, intimacy, or credit. An honourable amour
which totally engrossed him, and of which I shall have occasion to
speak hereafter, preserved him from the irregularities into which his
brothers Edward and Henry fell, and which the severity of confinement
in which they were held by their mother until they attained the age of
twenty-one, did much excuse.

Henry Duke of Cumberland, though not tall, did not want beauty, but
with the babbling disposition of his brother York, he had neither
the parts nor the condescension of the latter; familiarizing himself
with bad company, and yet presuming on a rank which he degraded, and,
notwithstanding, made an annoyance. His youth had all its faults, and
gave no better promises.

In the room of Charles Townshend, Lord North, son of the Earl of
Guilford, was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer. He had sound
parts, wit, and, it was thought, industry; an ungracious manner, a
voice untuneable, and a total want of polish in his behaviour. He had
been an active and ready agent in the whole cause against Wilkes, and
was not a man that the friends of the Constitution could regard with
partiality: but there were so few upright, that it was become almost
eligible to select the exceptionable, in order to lessen confederacies
amongst those whose union would be formidable should they return to
power in a body. Lord North’s (supposed) application and facility of
access repaired in some degree the negligence and disgusting coldness
of the Duke of Grafton.[41]

At my return from France, where I had perceived how much it behoved
us to be on our guard against the designed hostilities of that Court,
as soon as their finances should enable them to renew the war, I
laboured to infuse attention to our situation. We not only had little
intelligence, but scarce suspicion. Our safety rested alone upon our
fleet. No care was observed in watching the intercourse between the two
kingdoms. The French, under pretence of curiosity, grown fashionable
amongst them for the first time, resorted hither in considerable
numbers. They visited the counties; and, under colour of studying
commerce and manufactures, familiarized themselves with our weakness.
Except Portsmouth and Plymouth, we had not a fortification in South
Britain that could afford us time to recover from the panic of the
first successful invasion. A few of the new travellers even visited
Ireland--no subject of curiosity, if political reasons were out of the
question. It was there, I did not doubt, but the first storm would
burst. In vain I painted over and over this our defenceless situation;
I could raise no attention, or at most was told we were not in a
condition to do anything great. Methought it was just the position in
which a great man would have attempted to exert genius--it was more
true that we had no great man.

We had small bickerings with both France and Spain; but as we made no
hurry to amend our circumstances, they took the leisure we afforded
to recruit theirs. In the mean time the busy ambition of the Duc
de Choiseul was preparing from a distance a general conflagration.
France having refused the title of Imperial Majesty to the Czarina,
her Ambassador, Prince Gallitzin, received orders to quit Paris in a
fortnight. As she intermeddled in the affairs of Poland (which come not
within my plan), the Duc de Choiseul intrigued at Constantinople till
he poured an army of Turks into Russia; but that scene was not yet
opened. Portugal and Spain quarrelling about some American possessions,
the former seized Rio Grande. This was thought a desperate act of
Ocyras to involve us in their protection; or, if we abandoned them,
as an excuse for leaning towards the family compact. His subsequent
conduct was so little favourable to our trade, that the conjecture
seemed not unfounded.[42]

Mr. Conway grew impatient to give up the profits of the Seals. The
Duke of Grafton and Lord Hertford disapproved it; but I drew them into
consent by asking them, before him, whether, if he got a regiment, he
would keep the salary of Secretary of State, of the Ordnance, and of
Colonel, at once? He said, Certainly not; nor could they encourage
him to keep all three. On this it was agreed he should immediately
sacrifice the income of his place: he did; generously begging the King
to bestow five hundred pounds out of it on the clerks of the office,
which was granted. Such noble disinterestedness shut the mouths of
Opposition, but did not open any in commendation,--an indication,
that, however corruption was censured in this age, it was envy, not
disapprobation of the practice, that raised clamour.

Lord Townshend, the new Lord-Lieutenant, was favourably received
in Ireland. He carried with him the consent of the King that the
Judges there should hold their places, as in England, _quamdiu se
bene gesserint_. Impatient to acquire popularity, he notified this
grace in his speech to that Parliament, though he had been positively
instructed not to mention it in that place, only to promise it in
private. Lord Mansfield and the lawyers here censured this conduct
warmly, as a direct breach of Poyning’s law. The Chancellor being dead,
and no successor appointed, (for Sewell[43] the Master of the Rolls
refused it, nor would any great lawyer here accept the post without
an additional pension, which Conway and others opposed,) the Irish
Speaker, Lord Shannon,[44] and Tisdall[45] the Attorney-General, who
aspired to that great seal, all acquainted Lord Townshend that there
would be a motion of complaint that no Chancellor was appointed. Lord
Townshend represented the indecency of such a step, and exciting the
King’s servants to oppose it, the others promised to stop what they
had secretly instigated. The alarm, however, caused the Government
at home to send over for Chancellor Judge Hewet, an able lawyer, but
much despised for his deficiency of parliamentary talents. Trifling
as this first success was, it was the greatest service which the
Lord-Lieutenant rendered to the Government. Obstinate against advice,
thirsting for low popularity, and void even of decorum, he soon lost
all consideration. Drunkenness and buffoonery, unsupported by parts
or policy, rendered him the scorn even of the populace. That he might
exempt himself from the reproach of whatever in his instructions was
disagreeable to the Irish, he spoke of himself as entrusted with no
power; and giving a loose to his own turn for caricature, he drew
ridiculous pictures of himself in ignominious attitudes with his hands
tied behind him; thus shunning opposition by meriting contempt.[46]

At home there appeared no symptoms of dissatisfaction among the people.
The patrons of general warrants were still the only obnoxious persons.
The Court, profiting of that disposition, exerted a little authority,
the King dismissing the Earls of Buckingham[47] and Eglinton, who were
devoted to the Grenvilles, from his bedchamber. They were succeeded by
the Duke of Roxburgh[48] and Lord Bottetort.

On the 24th of November the Parliament met. The Duke of Bedford and
Lord Lyttelton talked much against the Ministers and the outrages of
the Americans. In the other House Dowdeswell observed that the King
in his speech the last session had mentioned the encouragement of
commerce, but took no notice now of having given any. He proposed
to add to the address words that should give that encouragement. He
asked, too, if the Ministers had any plan for lowering provisions, the
dearness of which were become a capital grievance. Conway answered,
No: he could not find that any man could point out such a method of
reduction. The Manilla ransom having been mentioned, he wished, as the
affair was pending, the House would not meddle with it. He had already,
he said, received favourable answers on that subject. Himself was now
accused of neglecting that business; formerly he had heard a minister
(Grenville) pleading _for_ Spain against the captors. Burke spoke with
great and deserved applause, chiefly on the dearness of provisions;
to remedy which, he said, if Ministers could form no plan, it would
teach the people to undervalue Parliament.[49] He dwelt, too, on the
discontents of the _nobility_--a new topic in a popular assembly!
Wedderburn spoke well, too, and with greater acrimony. Conway, he
said, when in Opposition, had been one of the loudest to censure
the neglect of recovering the Manilla ransom, now had done nothing
in it. Had been violent on being turned out; now Lord Buckingham
and Lord Eglinton, very respectable men, had been dismissed. This
philippic was coldly received, and the amendment rejected without
a division. Grenville then, to mark that he had not and would not
support Dowdeswell’s motion, rose with affected coolness, but betraying
how much he was hurt. He had declared, he said, in the summer, that
he desired no place; his friends knew he desired none. The King, he
thought, had better keep the present Ministry than change so often.
That the whole state of our affairs was not laid before Parliament:
himself had in his pocket a _Boston Gazette_ inciting the people to
rebel. The governor there had no power to punish the printer. Himself
had been much misrepresented in libels. Conway, too, had misrepresented
him; he supposed, if by forgetfulness, would recant. It was but six
months after the peace when Conway had attacked him on the affair of
Manilla; now three or four years had elapsed. He offered to read the
Spanish answer, but if he did, desired not to be called an advocate for
Spain. He would appeal to the Spanish Ambassador if he had ever given
up that ransom.

Nothing could be less justly founded than Grenville’s complaint of
libels. Himself wrote one on American affairs, in which Lord Rockingham
and Conway were treated with contempt and bitterness. His friend,
the Dean of Norwich,[50] Thomas Pitt, and Rigby, not to mention his
brother Lord Temple, dabbled continually in that way. Rigby had even
revised Almon’s last political register, in which was an account of the
conference between the Duke of Bedford and Lord Chatham at Bath.

Conway answered that he had been struck at the time with the idea that
Grenville was pleading in behalf of Spain: himself might have been too
warm then; was not ashamed to recant and ask his pardon, if he had
misrepresented him. He had heard, he said, that Mr. Grenville desired
no place; but wondered he was so much wounded by libels. He himself was
abused by one Almon once a-month for being avaricious; he believed it
was pretty well known how unjustly. He always bought the pamphlet,--the
only hurt he did to the printer. Almon had lately been so modest, as
so solicit him for a patent for printing a book; he had spoken to the
King and obtained it. Everybody must live by their trade; abuse was
Almon’s trade. He himself sometimes differed with the other Ministers;
he was pinned on no great man’s sleeve. He now warned his colleagues
that he should differ with them whenever he was of a different opinion.

The conduct of Grenville in this debate was extremely remarkable. He
not only seemed transported into very impolitic separation from the
Rockinghams by his violence against the Americans, but even by personal
resentment against the former: while at the same time his affected
moderation had the appearance of having taken a new part, that of
standing detached and waiting to see whether he could not penetrate
with more facility into the closet when standing alone, than by the
joint effort of two discordant factions. Whatever were his motives, he
soon fell a sacrifice to this very conduct.

On the report of the address, Grenville engaged in a hot altercation
with Dowdeswell and Burke on their different ideas of what ought
to be done with respect to America. Rigby, provoked at Grenville’s
unseasonable disputation, and perhaps not sorry to offend him, could
not help saying he saw no use in that contest unless it were to
tranquillize the Administration, who might have apprehended the union
of the two Oppositions. The younger Onslow diverted the House with
proposing, in imitation of the Romans, who used to send senators to
inquire into the state of their provinces, to dispatch Grenville
to America on that errand. Two days after Grenville complaining in
form of the _Boston Gazette_, the elder Onslow moved to put off the
consideration for six months, which the House, with a laugh, approved.

On the 27th, Lord Weymouth, observing invidiously that the Ministers
were only in the House of Lords, moved to inquire into the state of the
nation on the Tuesday sennight.

Thomas Townshend, the younger, succeeded Lord North as half-pay master;
and Jenkinson in Townshend’s room was appointed a Lord of the Treasury.

On the 29th opened another new scene. Mr. Conway told me, as the
greatest secret, that the Bedford faction had offered themselves to
the Duke of Grafton on these limited, though few, conditions,--that
Lord Gower should be President of the Council; that Rigby should have
a place, and that Lord Weymouth should divide the Secretary’s place
with Lord Shelburne, taking either the European or American department.
Conway added that he could not object to so considerable an accession
of strength to the Government, but had pressed the Duke of Grafton
to suffer him to resign. He was unwilling to expose himself to more
abuse from the Rockinghams, though they would not speak to him, and
all except Richmond and the Cavendishes censured him in all places. I
warned him to put the Duke of Grafton on his guard: and advised that
his Grace should demand from the Bedfords a specific renunciation of
Grenville, lest their view should be to introduce him afterwards, as
they might hope Conway would quit and leave the Seals open. But, in
truth, I did too much honour both their honesty and policy. I saw this
reinforcement would establish the Government, would diminish Conway’s
trouble if he staid in employment, or would facilitate his retirement,
which he wished; and to which his irresolution and the impossibility I
had found of making him take the first part, had perfectly reconciled
me. I was weary of sacrificing myself for others, and wished as much
as he did to withdraw from politics. At the same time I was desirous
that the Bedfords might disgrace themselves as much as might be in this
transaction. The motives to their new conduct were these:--

Rigby had passed over to Ireland in hopes of obtaining to have
his place of Master of the Rolls there confirmed in the Act for
establishing the Judges for life, but had not succeeded. This
disappointment, the rupture with the Rockinghams, and the precarious
state of the Duke of Bedford’s health, who was breaking, and on the
point of being totally blind,[51] had suggested to Rigby the thought
of abandoning Grenville, whose tedious gravity mixed ill with so
bacchanalian a junto; and, which was more important, was so obnoxious
to the King. It was not difficult to infuse these ideas into his
associates, Rigby being the only one who had prevented their deserting
Grenville long before. Grenville’s American phrenzy, and his absurd
breach with Dowdeswell and that party on the opening of the session,
and his avoidance of hostilities towards the Court, which alarmed the
Bedfords lest he should anticipate them and make his peace first, drove
Rigby into immediate negotiation, which the unpromising state of their
Opposition could but make desirable. Lord Temple was not come to town;
and as Grenville told Rigby, would not come before Christmas, unless
the Duke of Bedford sent for him: but that Court were not desirous of
laying their chief under such an obligation. The Duke of Newcastle
had in vain tried to renew the negotiation between the two opposing
factions. Grenville’s wrong-headedness, and many civil professions
towards the Duke of Bedford dropped by the Duke of Grafton the first
day of the session, encouraged Rigby to make the overtures above
mentioned. They were conveyed by Vernon and Meynell,[52] jockeys and
gamesters of Grafton’s society; the latter his intimate in private, the
other, brother-in-law of the Duchess of Bedford.[53]

Among the various and precipitate changes of the Duke of Grafton at
which I have hinted, and which afterwards constituted so capital a part
of his character, it was not the least astonishing the partiality he
had taken up for Lord Gower, who had been in love with the Duchess
of Grafton; and a principal reason assigned by the Duke for their
separation was his wife’s attachment to Lord Gower and the Duchess of
Bedford--at the same time acquitting her of any criminal partiality.
To policy and to the fear of attacks from Lord Gower and that set in
the House of Lords, the world imputed Grafton’s facility in meeting the
overtures. But it was not then known how little policy and how much
sudden caprice influenced his Grace’s most important steps.

The Duke of Bedford (for the message was sent in his name) demanded
a solemn promise that it should never be known if no treaty was
concluded. They desired, too, that the proposal should not be carried
directly to the King, but that the Duke of Grafton would sound his
Majesty’s inclinations. The Duke answered that he would take no step
without consulting Mr. Conway, and even declared that he would acquaint
him with the offer. They replied civilly that they were confident of
Mr. Conway’s honour and secrecy, and would trust him, confessing also
that there was nobody else fit to conduct the House of Commons,--that
is, they would stick at nothing to get into place, nor at nothing
afterwards to show ingratitude and insolence to the man to whom they
had stooped to be obliged, as soon appeared. The negotiation being so
prosperously advanced, Rigby went out of town for three days, as was
his way on such occasions, that if it miscarried he might to Grenville
plead ignorance.

Having thus far sacrificed to seeming decency, they began to say that
the Duke of Bedford had not quite surmounted his objection to acting
under Conway, but did not doubt but he would. It seemed extraordinary
that they should have commenced the negotiation before that difficulty
was removed. It alarmed me the more as I had conceived peculiar
pleasure in thinking what a triumph it would be to Conway to see the
Bedfords suing to act under him so soon after having proscribed him.
It was no less satisfaction to have Grenville experience what I had
often and often announced to him, that the Bedfords would betray
him the first instant they should find their advantage in it. Yet I
again apprehended that he was behind the curtain, when I heard that,
on opening their views farther, they had not only asked some place
for Lord Sandwich, but for Lord Lyttelton; yet they were so sincere
in their treachery, as to relinquish the latter early. Nor had I
occasion to warn Mr. Conway against acting with Grenville, which he
had refused to do when requested by Lord Rockingham. But as Lord
Sandwich was now mentioned, I thought it necessary to alarm the Duke
of Grafton for the Cabinet, into which I saw they meant to force too
large a number. He said he was on his guard. I thought, too, that Lord
Shelburne ought not to be discontented. The Duke agreed, and talked of
fidelity to Lord Chatham. All this was conveyed to him at my desire
by Mr. Conway, for as yet the Duke had not imparted the negotiation
to me. Hearing, however, that he was inclined to bestow a vacant seat
at the Admiralty on one of the Duke of Bedford’s friends, though
promised to Lord Lisburne,[54] I recommended the Duke’s adhering to
all the engagements he had entered into for the ensuing elections.
Lord Sandwich and Rigby were great traffickers in that trade, and
the Duke, on the contrary, was ill-suited to it. He had lost Suffolk
and Kent by not exerting himself, and Liverpool because he would
neither see Sir George Maccartney, nor trouble himself to give an
answer. If admonished, he would say he did not like his post and would
resign. Many irreconcileable enemies he made on this single article
of elections by imperiousness, and refusing himself to all access. In
this negotiation alone he outwent even the promptitude of the Bedfords;
and they saw themselves so sure of success that their demands were not
only swelled, but Lord Weymouth, as a prelude to their laying down all
pretensions to patriotism, moved to put off the consideration of the
state of the nation. The nation was safe and flourishing as soon as
that faction had even an antepast of emoluments. But in or out of place
their conduct was void of decency. The first day of this session, but
five days before their message, the Duke of Bedford had threatened that
the King’s debts should not be paid. This his Majesty resented with
warmth, and said, the Duke of Bedford, when last in place, had been the
first to propose it to him. This menace from Bedford, and Weymouth’s
motion for the state of the nation, were proofs that it was Grenville’s
preposterous conduct that had fixed Rigby’s determination to treat.

Dec. 4th.--Happening to go to Mr. Conway I met the Duke of Grafton
at the door. I waited, but was called in immediately. The Duke said
he was sure he could trust me with their great secret; wished to
know my opinion on it, and then related the negotiation. I seemed
much surprised, approved of taking the Bedfords, but expressed great
suspicion on their having named Lord Lyttelton.[55] The Duke said that
point was given up; that George Grenville had been with the Duke of
Bedford, who had declared he was weary of opposition, and that his
friends were so too; and that himself and Mr. Grenville were free to
take any part they pleased. I heard this with few replies; but the
Duke adding that they proposed Mr. Conway should resign the Seals,
as they heard he was desirous to do, I broke out, and treated the
proposal as an unheard-of impertinence in a fragment of a minority.
I told the Duke roundly that he and Mr. Conway were _the_ ministry,
and that his Grace could not in honour give up Mr. Conway; and that
it was ridiculous in the aspirants not to have surmounted the Duke of
Bedford’s pretended point of honour before they offered themselves;
and as they allowed their not doubting but it would be surmounted, it
ought not now to be insisted on. The Duke answered, it was not they but
Meynell who had said he thought they would give it up: that himself
had said he could not treat on it, but would refer it to Mr. Conway.
To my utter astonishment Mr. Conway acknowledged himself ready to give
up the Seals. It should not be told, he said, that his place prevented
so great an event for the King’s service. I grew warmer, and said,
it was being turned out by them. He said, No; they had only proposed
it, as he had expressed dislike of his place. It would be pride and
obstinacy to keep it only out of contradiction. I replied, Such pride
would be well-founded when they took upon themselves to remove him.
The Duke seemed, though with indifference enough, to be on my side;
and I saw Conway was hurt that the Duke, as he ought to have done,
did not take it upon himself to reject the motion; and I believe,
adhered the more to his opinion from that just scorn. The Duke said
the City’s confidence was only in him and Conway, and was increased
by the accession of Lord North instead of Charles Townshend, of whom
he related a thousand tricks. Seeing I could make no impression on
Conway, I asked the Duke what Lord Chatham would say? He replied, If
Lord Chatham would do nothing, and left them to do the best they could,
they _must_ do the best they could. He seemed very willing to part with
Lord Shelburne, who, he said, did not communicate with him, and whose
part Conway honourably took. I was so much provoked at the insolence
of the Bedfords, and at the facility with which the Duke, after so
often having declared he would not go on without Conway, and after so
many obligations both to him and to me for Conway’s assistance, gave
him up, that after repeating to the Duke in strong terms how much his
honour was concerned not to sacrifice Conway, he said at last he would
send word to the Bedfords that Mr. Conway was ready to give up his
place, but that he himself would not consent, as it would be changing
the Administration. I asked how the King would approve the plan? “Oh!”
said the Duke, “we shall ask him when it is settled.” He pleaded in his
own defence that these recruits were necessary, as from the weakness
of the Administration, all men were exorbitant in their demands, and
threatened to resign if not gratified: and he read some letters to us,
the arrogance of which I found had much offended his haughty temper.
I staid with Mr. Conway till the Duke was gone, but soon left him,
telling him he thought nothing a virtue but his own moderation.

If I lost my temper on the notification, reflection did not reconcile
me to the measure. Not to mention the impertinence of the supposed
point of honour in the Duke of Bedford, who, because he had excepted
to Conway in the meeting with the Rockinghams, pretended to think it
necessary to adhere to it in the very instant of deserting Grenville, I
was shocked at the indifference and levity of the Duke of Grafton and
the indecency of his making the proposal in such bare-faced terms to
Mr. Conway. I had expressed that indignation with so little management,
that the Duke, I am persuaded, did not forgive it. That was the least
part of my concern. His mutability was so glaring, that I determined
never to have anything to do with him more; and, in fact, did not see
him again in private afterwards. It was yet more lasting reflection
that I made on the futility of politics. All my success and triumph in
the preceding summer had lasted but five months. Conway was desirous
to quit, and the Bedfords were to come into place. It determined me to
busy myself no more in such delusive scenes. I had in the preceding
winter notified to my constituents at Lynn, that I would serve no
more in Parliament. The door was thus already favourably open to me.
Mr. Conway’s resignation would leave me at liberty to have done
with politics. I took my resolution to abandon them with the present
Parliament--a happy determination, and which I never found one moment’s
cause to repent. For, if the alarming designs of the Court have since
forced me at any time to encourage opposition to their measures,
I still had seen too much of parties, factions, and their leaders
to embark with any. Still, the weakness of the human mind, and the
difficulty of bursting from all one’s passions at once, did not suffer
these reflections to strike root directly, but occasioned my making a
few more struggles to thwart the overbearing arrogance of the Bedfords.

After parting from Mr. Conway, I saw Lord Hertford, who talked of going
out of town. I said, he absolutely must not. He asked Why? I replied,
I could not tell him; but go he must not. I was resolved to keep the
secret, but yet to disappoint the full effect of the plan, so far as to
reduce the Bedfords to come in under Mr. Conway.

He himself came to me the next morning, saying, I had quitted him in
such a passion, that he wished to talk the affair more cooly over with
me. I said, I had never in my life been so much hurt as at seeing him
submit to such an affront. He denied that it was one. At last I almost
engaged him to say he would keep the Seals till the end of the session,
and then resign them. All I desired was to finish with that triumph.

Lord Hertford, impatient to learn the meaning of my mysterious
behaviour, came to desire an explanation of it. I told him I had
received private intelligence that the Bedfords would soon make an
offer of themselves; and that, therefore, he must go to the King, and
tell him he came to put his Majesty upon his guard, for Lord Gower had
got such an ascendant over the Duke of Grafton, that he could do what
he would with him: but his Majesty must ask time to consider; and,
above all things, insist that nobody that had stood by him should be
given up, lest it should look more like changing than strengthening
the Administration. “Oh!” said he, “_that_ I am sure the King will not
hear.” “Ay,” replied I, “but he must insist too that there shall be
no alteration in the plan of elections.” This, I knew, would strike
Lord Hertford, who was dealing largely for boroughs--and so it did. He
fired, and said he would press it strongly; but he was sure no offers
had yet come, for the King would have told him. I suspected by this
that the King did not trust him so much as he thought, or wished to
have thought, for I did not doubt but the Duke had already broken the
matter in the closet. I said, “My Lord, be not too sure.” “Why?” said
he; “have any offers been made?” I replied, My intelligence could not
go so far as that; but I suspected there had: and I added, “When you
tell the King, watch his countenance. If any offers have been made, he
will tell you on this opening; or, at least, you will discover it in
his face.”


  Affair of Colonel Brereton with the Duke of Grafton.--Tax on
    Absentees.--Character of Lord Weymouth.--Attempted Treaty with
    Grenville.--Successful one with the Bedfords.--Case of the Duke
    of Portland.--Dunning made Solicitor-General.--Resignation of
    Conway.--Affair of Lord Bottetort.--Corruption of the Corporation
    of Oxford.--Bill for Septennial Parliaments in Ireland.--Attempts
    to repress Bribery at Elections.--Bill to restrain the Recovery of
    Crown Lands.--Dissolution of Parliament.


In the midst of this treaty the Duke of Grafton embarked himself in
a very ugly affair. One Brereton, a gamester, and not of the best
character even in that profession, which he had assumed on quitting the
army, declared publicly that, as he was betting on a game at whist at
Newmarket, he had seen Vernon and Meynell, the two negotiators, then
playing the game, cheat in concert. He offered to prove his assertion
with his sword, or in a court of justice. The accused bore the insult.
Brereton then wrote to Vernon, that having borne the King’s commission
he ought to have acted with more spirit, and demanded satisfaction.
Vernon declined giving it. It was not believed that they had cheated;
but their want of spirit was notorious. Other circumstances were
unfavourable to them. Meynell’s father had created a large fortune by
play, and nobody doubted but by unfair play. Vernon supported a great
expense by his skill in horse-racing. The Duke of Grafton took up their
cause with zeal; and summoning the Jockey Club[56] at a tavern in
Pall-mall, where it was usually held, he, at the head of a great many
men of the first quality, set their names to the expulsion of Brereton,
and caused their act to be printed in the public newspapers,--a
proceeding so unbecoming the dignity of the Duke’s situation and so
likely to expose him to Brereton’s resentment, that I had still so
much regard for him left, as to engage Mr. Conway to persuade him from
taking so indecent a step; but the Duke was inflexible.

About the same time arrived from Ireland a bill for imposing a tax
of four shillings in the pound on the pensions and places of all who
resided in England. It was undoubtedly a great grievance on Ireland,
that so much of their treasure was spent out of the country. The
Opposition there wished even to extend the tax to estates. The English
Government was become so indulgent as to intend allowing Septennial
Parliaments to that kingdom--but this bill was exceedingly unwelcome
here. The Commons of Ireland had passed it, hoping the Lords would
throw it out. The Lords, trusting in the same manner to the extreme
probability of its not receiving the assent of the Lord-Lieutenant,
had, in hopes of popularity, suffered the bill to pass through their
House too. Lord Frederick Campbell, Lord Townshend’s secretary, had
made no objection; and Lord Townshend himself, not to risk the odium
which all the rest had shifted from themselves, gave his assent
likewise. Councils were held here to seek means of defeating the bill,
but to no purpose. The Privy Council of England must either reject or
correct the bill. Should the Irish Parliament reject the amendments,
the bill must drop entirely; and as they had tacked the new imposition
to the bill for settling the revenue, the Crown would lose its whole
revenue for two years if the bill did not pass. The King was obliged to
give his consent.

As this bill not only fell heavy on Rigby’s post of Master of the
Rolls in Ireland, but would likewise affect that of Vice-Treasurer,
which was destined to him in the new arrangement, he grew difficult
and began to throw obstructions in the way of the treaty he had set on
foot. He should be ridiculed, he said, for acting under Mr. Conway,
and, therefore, if he did, would be well paid for it; that the Ministry
might yet have him, if they would make him Paymaster. To back his game
with threats, he notified his intention of proposing a call of the
House against the day on which the land-tax was to be voted, as if he
meant to reduce it lower, and called on Lord North to specify the day.
The latter said, he had already given notice that it was to be voted on
the following Wednesday.

Lord Hertford now told me he had acquainted the King with my intimation
of an intended treaty, who was much surprised, and protested he had
heard nothing of it. The Duke of Grafton had signified to Mr. Conway
that he had in general apprised his Majesty,--but his Grace was not
always strictly correct in what he said. He had certainly encouraged
the Bedfords to expect Mr. Conway’s resignation, and had imparted to
them his own desire of dismissing Lord Shelburne. On this they had
flattered themselves with obtaining the Seals of both Secretaries,
intending that Sandwich should be one. In truth, the preference they
gave to Lord Weymouth was both unjust and injudicious. Lord Sandwich,
by age, rank, experience, by having already been Secretary of State,
by having suffered with them in a common cause, and by very superior
abilities and activity, had every pretension to take place of Lord
Weymouth: and, though the unpopularity of Lord Sandwich was, I believe,
the sole reason of their having set him aside, (unless might be added
that Rigby knew he could more easily govern Weymouth,) there was
nothing in Weymouth’s character that recommended his morality. He was a
prompt and graceful speaker of a few apt sentences, which, coming from
a young and handsome figure, attracted more applause than they merited.
Yet, considering the life he led, his parts must naturally have been
very good; for sitting up nightly, gaming and drinking till six in the
morning, and rising thus heated after noon, it was extraordinary that
he was master of himself, or of what little he knew. His great fortune
he had damaged by such profuse play, that his house was often full of
bailiffs; and he had exposed himself to receive such pressing letters
and in such reproachful terms, that his spirit was as much doubted,
as what is called his point of honour among gentlemen-gamesters. He
was in private a close and sound reasoner, and good-humoured, under
a considerable appearance of pride; but having risen on such slender
merit, he seemed to think he possessed a sufficient stock, and
continued his course of life to the total neglect of the affairs of his
office, the business of which was managed, as much as it could be, by
Mr. Wood, his under-secretary.[57]

Whether Grenville had got wind of the negotiation, or whether he
acted in consequence of the separate plan he had formed, he and Lord
Temple attempted a private negotiation with Lord Hertford by the means
of Calcraft and Governor Walsh.[58] The latter beating about for an
opening, though he had desired a private meeting, told Lord Hertford
that the Duke of Bedford had declared to Mr. Grenville that his friends
were impatient for places; and then asked Lord Hertford whether his
Lordship did not think it best for Mr. Grenville to remain detached,
and whether there were no hopes of the Court pardoning him? Lord
Hertford, who was all caution, had kept on the reserve; but I persuaded
him to encourage these overtures. If the Bedfords were not to be had on
moderate terms, it would be wise to get the Grenvilles, and break the
Opposition that way: that Lord Temple might be President, and Grenville
Paymaster. He answered, that Lord Temple’s ambition now was a Dukedom.
I said, that would be a cheap purchase. Lord Hertford readily consented
to court the Grenvilles. This negotiation seemed to explain Grenville’s
late conduct, and intimated that his intentions had not been much more
faithful to his connection than Rigby’s actions; unless Grenville
had suddenly resorted to this new plan on the Duke of Bedford’s
declaration--which, indeed, would acquit him, the declaration, I
think, having been made the very day, or the day before the meeting
of Parliament. But Rigby got the start by plunging at once into the
treaty, while Grenville was preparing to soften the Court by affected

The negotiation now growing public, I urged Mr. Conway to tell it to
his brother. He said he would in general; on which I thought myself at
liberty but I own with not very justifiable casuistry, and communicated
the whole to Lord Hertford, who agreed to prevent the King from making
too large concessions.

On the 9th, Mr. Conway proposed an increase of the troops in Ireland,
which was indeed in a most defenceless state. The motion was much
liked, though Wedderburn made a pompous speech against standing armies.
The latter, too, attempted to put off the land-tax, on pretence that
Mr. Grenville was ill; but he had sent Lord North word that he did not
disapprove it, and it passed unanimously for three shillings in the
pound. About the same time came an account from Boston, that they had
agreed to take no more of our manufactures.

On the 11th, the Bedfords, fearing too great obstinacy would marr
their traffic, consented to submit to Conway, but insisted on removing
Shelburne, at least from half his department, with some lesser demands.
Conway stickled for the latter; but Grafton wishing to get rid of him,
told Lord Shelburne himself that he must not keep both America and the
southern province. Shelburne asked him, with a sneer, how Lord Chatham
would approve that arrangement? The Duke replied, He was reduced to do
the best he could. Shelburne desired till next day to consider, and
then made his option of the southern department: but though the Duke
had left him his choice, he now told him he must stick to America;
on which Shelburne desired another day, and in the meantime sent an
express to Lord Chatham, and by his advice, probably, persisted in
retaining the southern province; on which the Duke of Grafton again
grew desirous that Conway should resign soon after Christmas, and leave
the northern province open for Lord Weymouth.

The King expressed no repugnance to admitting the Bedfords, but
declared against their having more than two places in the Cabinet, lest
they should obtain influence there. He told Conway he would not have
yielded so far, if he (Conway) would have staid in; but that knowing
his determination of quitting, he had consented to admit Gower and
Weymouth; “though,” added his Majesty, “I have tried that party once
before, and never can trust them again.” In fact, though the capital
objection at Court was to Grenville, and though Lord Bute and his
friends advised the acquisition of the Bedfords, to separate them from
Grenville, yet the Butists lamented the loss of Conway, (whose temper,
void of ambition, self-interest, and animosity, interfered so little
with their views,) and declared on every occasion that no other man was
so proper to be at the head of the House of Commons. The King, too,
finding a Garter was demanded for the Duke of Marlborough amongst other
new conditions, suddenly called a Chapter of the Order before the
treaty was concluded, and gave the only vacant riband to his brother,
the Duke of Cumberland: an evidence of his dislike of the Bedfords, the
more marked, as I do not remember an instance of a single Garter given
but to Lord Waldegrave.

The Chancellor was much offended at not being either consulted or
informed of the treaty in agitation; yet he prevented Lord Chatham from
resigning on the meditated disgrace of his creature, Lord Shelburne.
Lord Chatham had set out from Bath in great wrath: yet being persuaded
to acquiesce, his wife gave out that he had not returned on Lord
Shelburne’s message, but was coming before. He was, however, displeased
enough to remain in his old state of seclusion and inactivity.

Neither Sandwich nor Rigby were contented with Postmaster and
Vice-Treasurer, the posts designed for them; and the latter openly
paid court to Grenville, and in private disavowed to him having either
conducted or approved the treaty: yet, on a question relative to
East Indian affairs, Rigby left the House, and Grenville, Burke, and
Wedderburn, were beaten by 128 to 41.

The negotiation was at length completed on the 18th of December
on these terms:--Mr. Conway was to remain Secretary of State till
February, and then resign the Seals to Lord Weymouth. Lord Gower to be
President; Lord Sandwich, Postmaster; Rigby, Vice-Treasurer of Ireland,
with the promise of Paymaster on the first opportunity; a Garter
to the Duke of Marlborough, and a Baron’s Coronet to Mr. Brand,[59]
when any Peers should be created; with some less considerable places
for others of their dependants. Yet did even this arrangement cost
nine thousand, others said, fifteen thousand pounds, a-year to
Government. Lord Northington who enriched himself by every distress
and change, got three thousand pounds a-year for ceding the post of
President. Lord Hilsborough obtained as much for that of Postmaster,
and Oswald was indemnified for the temporary admission of Rigby to
the Vice-Treasurership; yet was Lord Bute displeased with Oswald’s
dismission, though the latter was fallen into a state of dotage, and
appeared no more.[60]

On the 21st the House of Commons adjourned to the 14th of January
for the holidays; the Lords to the 21st, to avoid entering on Lord
Weymouth’s motion for considering the state of the nation, which was
fixed for the 14th.

Grenville and his few remaining friends, whether lulled by Rigby, or
too weak to show resentment, declared they had no cause to complain. I
asked Lord Temple’s friend, Mr. W. Gerard Hamilton, if the Grenvilles
and Lord Chatham would not now be reconciled? He replied, Lord Temple
and Lord Chatham might, but George Grenville never would; that his love
of business and love of money would both yield to his obstinacy.

Many persons ascribed the suggestion of the treaty to Lord Mansfield,
and to his weariness of opposition, which was not his turn, and in
which his aversion to Lord Chatham had solely embarked him. He wished
to obtain a seat among the sixteen Scotch Peers in the new Parliament
for his nephew, Lord Stormont.[61] But it had been sufficient cause to
Lord Mansfield to promote this new settlement that it would, as it did
entirely, give the finishing blow to Lord Chatham’s Administration.
The Bedfords saved Lord Eglinton in the succeeding Parliament from
being omitted of the sixteen; but his place in the Bedchamber they did
not recover for him, promising their friend, Lord Bolingbroke,[62]
that office on the first opportunity. Lord Eglinton was shot two years
afterwards on his own estate by a poacher.

On the 23rd, Lord Gower kissed hands. The King, to show how well he
could dissemble, told him he had never been happy since they parted.
This was overacting insincerity.

The year concluded with his Majesty making his second son, the Bishop
of Osnabrugh, Knight of the Bath.

The new year was opened by the publicity of an affair which, though in
agitation for some months past, had been known to very few persons.
It was common, particularly in Wales, for private jobbers to apply to
the Treasury, and offer to make out the title of the Crown to certain
lands which had been usurped from the domain, under pretence of having
been grants, though often the grantees had occupied much more than had
been granted. On these occasions a new grant was the condition and
reward of the informer. As these suits had regarded inconsiderable
property, or rather inconsiderable persons, such transactions had never
occasioned clamour. The precedent was now employed by so obnoxious a
man, and to the prejudice of so puissant a lord, that no marvel it
occasioned loud murmurs. Among the grants bestowed by King William
on his Dutch favourite, the Earl of Portland,--grants that in their
day had been sounded high by Opposition, and many of which had been
cancelled by Parliament,--the Duke of Portland still enjoyed the honour
of Penryn, adjoining to which he likewise possessed the forest of
Inglewood, which, having been part of Queen Caroline’s jointure, she
had held after Penryn had been granted to Lord Portland,--a strong
presumption that it made no part of what he had obtained--though on
her death he or his son had entered upon it, and had enjoyed the
forest to the present time. It was estimated at about eight hundred
pounds a-year; but whether of that value or not, included within its
precincts a large number of freemen, a material article to the Duke,
who was then contesting the interest of Cumberland and Westmoreland
at an unbounded expense with Sir James Lowther, one of the most
opulent subjects in Britain, and who, till now, had exercised almost
sovereignty over the voters of those counties. Sir James discovered the
flaw in the Duke of Portland’s title, and made the usual application
to the Treasury for leave to prove the defect, on condition of being
gratified with what he should recover to the Crown. The application
being made some months before, while Charles Townshend was alive and
Chancellor of the Exchequer, he, rash and thoughtless as he was, had
yet been struck with the inconveniences likely to follow from such
indulgence, and had stopped it. Sir James Lowther was not only a man
of a hateful character, but lay under the unpopularity of being Lord
Bute’s son-in-law. The affair, too, though simple in its own nature,
ultimately regarded elections, and must revive against the Scotch
favourite the odium which had attended the Dutch one, when the grant
was originally made. That the Duke of Portland was in Opposition
was, in prudence, an additional reason for not exerting the power of
the Crown in so ungracious an act; nor was it wise in the Favourite
to countenance his son in so hostile a step: a possession of land
and of interest in elections ravished from a potent family was a
violence that no time could obliterate. I speak of the Favourite’s
connivance hypothetically, for Lowther was of so mulish a nature,
that I question whether he, who treated the Favourite’s own daughter,
a very amiable woman, but hardly, would have paid much deference to
his father-in-law’s remonstrances. However, as Norton was supposed to
have hit the blot, and certainly was the conductor of the business,
it may be presumed that Lord Bute, though he denied having given his
approbation, was not sorry to see the Duke of Portland’s inveteracy
punished. That the King countenanced the suit may be presumed from
the unparalleled wantonness and inconsideration with which the Duke
of Grafton had now given it the Treasury’s sanction. The Duke of
Portland, who could not ascertain his right, had desired to see the
collection of grants in the office of the Surveyor-General. The Duke of
Grafton had allowed it, but Mr. Herbert,[63] the surveyor, refused to
communicate them, pleading that others would claim the same indulgence.
Grafton would not overrule the surveyor’s objection, on which Portland
reproached him, by letter, with breach of promise, in terms which the
Duke of Grafton said he could scarce take as a gentleman. The Duke
of Portland, though asserting his right, could never prove it, and
probably had none. More of this affair will appear hereafter. Mr.
Conway, who maintained his friendship with the House of Cavendish, of
which the Duke of Portland had married a daughter, was much hurt at
this exertion of the Crown’s power, and at the Duke of Grafton’s total
silence to him on that transaction.[64]

On the 14th of January the House of Commons met. Dunning was declared
Solicitor-General in the room of Willes,[65] who was made a Judge to
make room for him. This was an extraordinary promotion, as Dunning
was connected with Lord Shelburne, and was to be brought by him into
the ensuing Parliament. The affair indeed had been agitated before
the accession of the Bedfords, who wished to raise Wedderburn to the
Solicitor’s place; but the great reputation of Dunning decided it
in his favour. He was the most shining pleader then at the bar, and
being a zealous Whig, had distinguished himself greatly as counsel
for Wilkes. The fame of his eloquence sunk entirely and at once in
the House of Commons, so different is the oratory of the bar and of
Parliament. Lord Mansfield, Hume Campbell, and Lord Camden, maintained
a superior reputation in both kinds. Wedderburn shone brightest in the
House. Norton had at first disappointed the expectation entertained of
him when he came into Parliament; yet his strong parts, that glowed
through all the coarseness of his language and brutality of his manner,
recovered his weight, and he was much distinguished. But Sir Dudley
Rider,[66] the soundest lawyer, and Charles Yorke,[67] one of the
most reputed pleaders, talked themselves out of all consideration in
Parliament--the former by laying too great stress on every part of his
diffusive knowledge, the latter by the sterility of his materials.

Dunning soon neglected the House; whether embarrassed by his attachment
to Lord Shelburne, or by the affairs of Wilkes, which again became so
capital an article of parliamentary debates, and in which he could take
no part without offending the Crown or deserting his ancient client,
or whether sensible of his own ill-success, I do not pretend to

Mr. Conway, who, as I have said, was disgusted at the Duke of Grafton’s
not communicating to him the step taken against the Duke of Portland,
received a new affront from the Bedfords, Rigby declaring he would not
kiss hands till after Conway’s resignation: he would not have been so
squeamish, had the post allotted to him been adequate to his desires.
Of this impertinence Conway took, properly, only this contemptuous
notice. He bade Grafton tell the Duke of Bedford that he ought to send
for Rigby and whip him; but the impertinence was so childish, he
himself should take no other notice of it. Grafton sent Weymouth to
Rigby, who denied the fact, said it was too absurd, and that he would
kiss hands on the 18th: but even that was an evasion, for the 18th
being the Queen’s birthday, he could not kiss hands on that day; and
on the 20th, Conway, impatient to be released, resigned the Seals. The
King would have exceeded his usual graciousness if he had not lately
showered it so insincerely on Lord Gower. He told Conway he had never
liked any man so well; insisted on his continuing Minister of the House
of Commons, and in the secret of affairs, and that he should depend on
him for the report of what passed in Parliament: that he wished to give
him the best regiment, and would give him the first that fell: did not
take his resignation ill; and ordered him to attend him in his closet
once a-week: asked him how the Duke of Grafton remained with regard to
the Bedfords: hoped the Duke would confine them to their agreements:
did not, he said, know whether Rigby spoke truth, but that he had
recanted on his (Conway’s) subject.

It appeared that these professions were not empty words. The King
continued to distinguish Conway by favour, confidence, and benefits.
He was constantly called to the most secret counsels of State, and
remained, as much as he would, a leader in the House of Commons. The
Queen, too, told him, she had seen many kiss hands, but wished to
see him soon kiss hands again. But this favour was no recommendation
to Grafton and his new allies, though Conway, who bore no rancour to
them, behaved with cordiality; and to introduce Lord Weymouth to the
succession he left him, made a dinner for him to meet the foreign
Ministers. But Grafton’s countenance grew so changed to him, that even
the Chancellor, who was but half a politician, perceived it at Council,
where the Duke paid no deference to Conway’s opinion. But though this
estrangement was probably owing to Rigby’s machination, joined to the
Duke’s fickleness, the secret lay deeper, and will appear hereafter,
should I continue these Memoirs, of which I am weary, and fear the
reader must be more so; though, as I was not engaged in the ensuing
transactions, and having quitted Parliament, am not able to detail the
debates there, my narrative will be less prolix, and the events lie
in a narrower compass. At present I mean to close this part with the
dissolution of the first Parliament of this reign.

The same day that Conway resigned the Seals, Lord Weymouth was declared
Secretary of State. At the same time Lord Hillsborough kissed hands
for the American department; but nominally retaining the Post Office,
the salary of which he paid to Lord Sandwich till the elections should
be over,--there being so strict a disqualifying clause in the bill
for prohibiting the Postmasters from interfering in elections, which
Sandwich was determined to do to the utmost, that he did not dare to
accept the office in his own name till he had incurred the guilt.

Another affair of a private nature became politics, though of little
consequence. Lord Bottetort, of the Bedchamber, and a kind of
second-rate favourite, had engaged in an adventure with a company
of copper-workers at Warmley. They broke. Lord Bottetort, in order
to cover his estate from the creditors, begged a privy seal, to
incorporate the Company, as private estates would not then be
answerable. The King granted his request, but Lord Chatham, aware of
the deception, honestly refused to affix the Seal to the Patent,
pleading that he was not able. Lord Bottetort, outrageous at the
disappointment, threatened to petition the House of Lords to address
for the removal of Lord Chatham, as incapable of executing his office.
The Earl would not yield, but in the middle of the next month, did
acquiesce in resigning the Seal for a short time, that, being put into
commission, it might be set to the grant;[69] after which he resumed it
again,--to as little purpose as he had held it before. Lord Bottetort,
not able to retrieve his losses, obtained the Government of Virginia in
the following summer, and repaired thither, where he died.

The bill for restraining the Dividends of the East India Company was
renewed, and after great debates carried by 130 to 41. Wedderburn
opposed it strongly, and took occasion to ask, Who was the Minister of
the House of Commons, now General Conway had resigned? He complained,
too, of the erection of a third Secretary of State.

The nearness of a general election had now turned the attention of all
men that way; and such a scene of profligacy and corruption began to
display itself, that even the expiring House of Commons thought it
became the modesty of their last moments to show indignation, if they
showed no repentance: and while they were separately pursuing the same
traffic, much of their public time was consumed in stigmatizing the
practice. Beckford, on the 26th of January, moved for leave to bring in
a bill to oblige the members to swear that they had not bribed their
electors--a horrid bill, likely to produce nothing but a multiplication
of perjury! It came out now, that the city of Oxford had acquainted Sir
Thomas Stapylton[70] and Mr. Lee,[71] that they should be chosen for
that town if they would contribute 7500_l._ towards paying the debts
of the Corporation. The two gentlemen refused, and Oxford sold itself
to the Duke of Marlborough and Lord Abingdon. Lord Strange took up the
matter with zeal, and Sir Thomas was ordered to produce to the House
the letter by which the offer had been made. It is not worth returning
to this subject, and therefore I will conclude it briefly here. The
Mayor of Oxford, and ten more of the Corporation, appearing at the Bar,
confessing their crime, and asking pardon, Lord Strange moved to commit
them to Newgate for a short time. This, after a debate, was agreed to.
Beckford proposed an address to the Crown, that the Attorney-General
might be ordered to prosecute them; but the House did not come into it,
and they were discharged after confinement for five days. Dowdeswell
proposed that Sir Thomas Stapylton should be thanked for rejecting the
offer, and for telling the Corporation, that, as he did not intend to
sell them, he could not afford to buy them; but Conway objecting that a
mere rejection of corruption did not deserve the thanks of the House,
which ought not to be rendered too common, the motion was dropped.
The Duke and Earl not having been so scrupulous, and their agreement
with the town having been entered into the book of the Corporation,
the town-clerk was sent off with it to Calais; and Lord Strange was
prevailed upon to absent himself from the House till the matter was
hushed up.[72]

The Irish Parliament, which it was not so easy for the Crown to
gratify, was consequently less tractable; and since the tax on places
and pensions had sent over a bill for making their Parliaments, which
lasted during the life of each reigning King, septennial,--this,
in truth, had been a grievous concession made by the members to
popularity, and in which both Houses had again trusted to the negative
of the Crown. The Members of the House of Commons, who might look
on themselves, under so young a Prince, as seated for life, could
not taste a measure that rendered those seats precarious, or, if
renewed, expensive. To their surprise and grief, the Council here
advised the King to pass the bill--but with these alterations:
instead of septennial, they made those Parliaments octennial, that
both kingdoms might not be in tumult and confusion at the same time
every seven years: and whereas the bill, as sent over, was not to
take place under seven years; to punish those who had sent it, it was
to operate immediately. If accepted on its return to Ireland, the
Members would suffer for their promptitude in passing it; if rejected,
they would lose their popularity--or should they start any method of
rejection hostile to the Court, it would still be in the power of
the Court to dissolve them. Lord Camden was the principal adviser
of the King’s assent being given, from his affection to liberty and
a free constitution--laudable motives, but productive afterwards of
much inconvenience; for the Irish, who were pushing to throw off
all dependence on England, looked on the concession as a symptom of
weakness, and consequently hurried farther from that union which was
necessary to both kingdoms. Scotland had been averse to union, but
reaped the fullest benefits from it; and it was likely to confer many
on Ireland, and to remove that narrow spirit by which we had been
influenced to treat them with injustice. Mr. Grenville’s imprudence and
rash economy had drawn such another line of separation between Great
Britain and America; and he and Lord George Sackville Germaine[73] will
long be remembered as the authors or causes of those divisions which
have embroiled the mother-country and its members. The King’s assent
to the Octennial Bill was received with such transports of joy all
over Ireland, that the Parliament did not dare but pass it with its
corrections, and were obliged to thank his Majesty for having passed it.

Marshal Sir Robert Rich[74] dying on the 1st of February, the King,
who learnt the news on coming from Richmond, would not dine till he
had written to Mr. Conway that he gave him the vacant regiment, and
intended him a better--meaning the Blues, after Lord Ligonier.

On the 4th of January, the bill to regulate dividends was carried in
the House of Lords by 70 to 30. Lord Weymouth apologized for himself,
the Duke of Bedford, and their friends, saying, “that to be consistent,
they must vote against the Court, as they had warmly opposed the same
bill the last year.” Lord Temple told them they were pitifully silent

On the second reading of Beckford’s Bribery-bill, Dowdeswell and Burke
opposed it for multiplying oaths, and while it restrained the Commons,
left a power of corruption in the Crown and nobility. By the clause to
disqualify those who bribed, it would subject the rights of elections,
they said, to the courts below. The bill, however, was committed. But
before the day came, the House went on new matter of the same species.
Boroughs had been publicly advertized for sale in the newspapers; and
there was a set of attorneys who rode the country and negotiated seats
in the most indecent manner. Reynolds and Hickey, two of them, were
taken up by order of the House, and some of those borough-brokers were
sent to Newgate.

When the Bribery-bill was read in the committee, the oath appeared
horrid to everybody, and was so rigorously worded, that it would
have excluded every neighbourly act of kindness or charity. This was
universally disapproved. The disqualifying clause met with not much
better success. It would have encouraged informers without being a
check on the Crown and Treasury. Dowdeswell proposed a clause to take
away their votes at elections from all officers of the revenue. Upon
this, one Fonnereau, a peevish man, who had all his life been a Court
tool, complained that Chauncy Townshend,[75] a brother-dependant,
but more favoured, had so much interest with the Ministers, that one
Bennet, parson of Aldborough, and attached to Townshend, had vaunted
that he could obtain the dismission of any officer of the revenue
who should vote for Fonnereau.[76] Grenville caught artfully at this
complaint, and with Blackstone and Dowdeswell insisted on inquiring
into the affair. The Ministry made but a bad figure, though Lord North
shone greatly, and was ably supported by Dyson. But the House was
empty, few of the new courtiers were there, and of them Rigby took no
part, till Grenville had left the House. Conway added to their distress
by threatening to pursue up the affair of Fonnereau’s complaint.

Arthur Onslow, the late Speaker, who died on the very day of this
Committee, had ordered the House to be acquainted that he died in peace
on hearing of that bill. But though the good old man’s detestation of
corruption did him honour, the House reasoned too soundly to attempt
a vain cure by increasing a blacker crime--perjury. When the bill was
again read in the Committee on the 19th, it was so ill received, that
Beckford, the author, left the House in the middle of the debate.
Dowdeswell and all his party resisted the bill; but Grenville, to
flatter the country-gentlemen, who can ill afford to combat with great
lords, nabobs, commissaries, and West-Indians, declaimed in favour of
the bill; but the courtiers moving for the Chairman to leave the Chair,
Dowdeswell said, he could approve that proposal no more than the bill,
as there had been instructions given to the committee on his clause
for disqualifying officers of the revenue. On this he was reduced to
vote with Grenville; but they were beaten by 96 to 69, and the bill was
thrown out.

Bradshaw, the Duke of Grafton’s favourite secretary of the Treasury,
having been concerned in the business at Aldborough complained of by
Fonnereau, the Opposition hoped to reach the Duke himself, and ordered
the parson to their bar. He demanded counsel. Grenville vociferously
ranted against allowing counsel on so enormous a crime as bribery, but
was put to shame for his tyranny by Sir Gilbert Elliot, who showed
that even on treason and murder, counsel was allowed to prisoners.
Dunning, the new Solicitor-General, but not yet in Parliament, appeared
as counsel for Bennet, who was a jovial, sporting young parson,
neither very moral, nor very modest. Dunning exerted himself with
great lustre. Fonnereau, to save 40_l._ (for he was a very miser) had
refused counsel, and behaved so obstinately and absurdly, that though
Grenville, Wedderburn, and Dowdeswell supported, and gave him hints,
with all their parliamentary craft, he counteracted his own witnesses;
and it came out that he had not only been more criminal himself than
the clergyman, but for a series of years had established and profited
of Ministerial influence in the borough in question. Conway was
converted by the rancour of the charge, and with Hussey, as they were
the two most candid men in the House, threw such disgrace on Fonnereau,
that the parson was acquitted by 155 to 39; the most remarkable event
of the debate being a warm dispute between the late friends Rigby and
Grenville, in which the former attacked and treated the latter without

Though this was the last debate in that Parliament, another had
intervened of more weight, but I chose not to intermingle the subjects.

On the 17th of February Sir George Saville moved to renew a bill drawn
by Lord Chief Justice Coke, and passed in the reign of James the
First for quieting the minds of those who possessed Crown lands, by
preventing the Crown from suing for the recovery of them after they
had been enjoyed by private persons for sixty years. Sir George made
the proposal in very general terms, and with great decency, though in
a style too metaphoric. The intention was evidently suggested by the
recent case of the Duke of Portland, but he affected not to allude
to it, nor to pass any censure on that act. The case they knew would
present itself to every man, and the less animosity they discovered
the more easily they hoped the bill would find its way through the
House and be at once a silent reproach to and a real check upon the
Crown. Sir Anthony Abdy seconded the motion. Lord North objected on
the impropriety of the time, the very end of a parliament; and he
urged that such bills should only arise out of grievances: he called
to know if any such existed. Lord Clare said, that the Crown having
actually in contemplation to give up or sell to the public many forests
and wastes for cultivation and increase of provisions, such a bill
would impede that scheme. Charles Yorke, in a very long deduction,
argued against vexatious revisals. Himself, when Attorney-General,
he said, had been consulted by persons who had obtained such grants
and had condemned them. So had Lord Mansfield, whose abilities and
merits were only exceeded by slander. He then stated the case of the
Duke of Portland, which, he said, had been treated with incaution and
precipitation; and that the Duke ought to have had the preference given
to him, as being in possession, over Sir James Lowther. Norton replied
that the case had been four months in agitation; that the preference
could not be given to the Duke, who contested the right of possession
with the Crown, and did not sue for it. That though his Grace’s grant
dated sixty-three years before the dispute, the encroachment was not
of equal antiquity, the lands in question having appertained to the
Queen Dowager, who had granted them on lease, which had not expired
till the year 1724, when the Dukes of Portland had appropriated them to
themselves. He challenged Yorke to meet him in any court in England,
and fight out that cause. Yorke evaded the challenge; though Norton and
Rigby again called on him to be explicit. Much complaint was made of
the surveyor’s refusal of the sight of necessary papers. Sir William
Meredith spoke, with more applause than he had ever done, in behalf of
the bill. Grenville trimmed with all his art, not to offend Lord Bute
and Sir James Lowther. Lord Barrington, in order to get rid of the bill
at that time, approved of passing it in another Parliament, and said
he should be desirous of taking away the _nullum tempus_[77] from the
clergy likewise. Lord John Cavendish, throwing out insinuations against
the Duchy Court of Lancaster for issuing vexatious notices, Stanley
said he had been desired by Lord Strange to defy in his name any
accuser. Lord North, to avoid putting a negative on so popular a bill,
moved for the orders of the day, and at eleven at night his motion
was carried by 134 to 114, many courtiers voting in the minority as
favourers of the bill.

On the 11th of March the Parliament was dissolved. Thus ended that
Parliament, uniform in nothing but in its obedience to the Crown.
To all I have said I will only add that it would have deserved the
appellation of one of the worst Parliaments England ever saw, if its
servility had not been so great, that, as the times changed, it enacted
remedies for the evils it had committed with the same facility with
which it had complied with the authors of those evils. Our ancestors,
who dealt in epithets, might have called it the _impudent_ Parliament.


On the Literature of the Early Part of the Reign of George the Third.


It may not be amiss, by way of appendix, to say a few words on the
state of literature during the period I have been describing. It will
be the less improper as the controversies and politics of the age gave
the principal, almost the whole tone to letters of that time. I do not
mean to send the reader to the gross and virulent libels of Wilkes
and his still coarser imitators. As a writer, Wilkes’s chief merit
was an easy style,--the vehicle of little knowledge, of not much more
wit, and of extreme boldness.[78] He was so far an original as being
the first who dared to print the most respected names at full length.
In imitation of him, the daily and evening newspapers printed every
outrageous libel that was sent to them. Till that time the abuse of
the week was generally confined to essays in the journals on Saturdays.
Bolingbroke and Pulteney were content with battering the Administration
once in seven days.

The contests that arose out of Wilkes’s case produced much disquisition
into the laws and Constitution; and amidst much party invective, some
grave and serious treatises appeared, especially one I have mentioned,
the masterly tract called _An Inquiry into the Doctrine of Libels_.[79]

Several other good pamphlets were written on national affairs,
particularly relative to the East India Company; and to the heats
occasioned in America by the Stamp Act. Among the latter were justly
distinguished _A Farmer’s Letters from Pennsylvania_, written by Dr.

The state of our finances, and the properest methods of conducting and
restoring them, were much discussed: never more ably than in Mr. Edmund
Burke’s answer to a (supposed) pamphlet of Mr. Grenville, in 1769.[81]

Politics not only occupied our prose but inspired our poets. I have
taken notice of Churchill’s works; and will only say here that he did
not so much prove himself a great poet, as he showed how great he might
have been.

The politics of the times gave birth to two other poems of uncommon
merit, both in the burlesque style, but one in that of “Hudibras,”
the other in the graver march of “The Dispensary.” The first called
“Rodondo,” of which only two cantos appeared, though a third was
promised, was written by a Mr. Dalrymple, a Scot, and contained a
severe satire on Mr. Pitt, not much inferior in wit to Butler, and like
his work, liable by temporary allusions to lose many beauties in the
eyes of posterity.[82]

The second called “Patriotism; a Mock Heroic,” by Mr. Richard Bentley,
though full of negligences and crowded with intricate and sometimes
too far-fetched metaphors,--nay, in some places pushed to nonsense by
the confusion of those metaphors, in sense and imagination excelled
Churchill; and though less sonorous, did not breathe a spirit less
poetic. The flattery was profuse and indelicate; the satire rarely
unjust. The imitations of Milton, Dryden, and Garth, though frequent,
were always happy; and the whole poem, though much more incorrect than
“The Dispensary” or “The Dunciad,” has beauties that rank it next to
them in merit: in the dignity of its heroes it precedes both. One of
its greatest faults seems to be, that though all the personages appear
under allegoric names, all were meant for living characters, till the
last canto, when Fate is introduced in its own essence, and though
maintained with as sublime dignity as the nature of burlesque would
allow, still produces a confusion by not being of a piece with the rest
of the work. It has the same misfortune with Rodondo of being written
on transient ridicules.[83]

Two other poets of great merit arose, who meddled not with politics;
Dr. Goldsmith, the correct Author of “The Traveller;” and Mr. Anstey,
who produced as original a poem as “Hudibras” itself, “The New Bath
Guide.” The easiest wit, the most genuine humour, the most inoffensive
satire, the happiest parodies, the most unaffected poetry, and the
most harmonious melody in every kind of metre, distinguished that
poem by their assemblage from the works of all other men. It was a
melancholy proof of how little an author can judge of the merit of his
own compositions, when he afterwards produced “The Patriot,” in which
nobody could discover his meaning, or whether he had any meaning; and
in which, amidst various but unsuccessful attempts at humour, nothing
remained but his sonorous numbers. He afterwards sunk to no kind of
merit at all.[84]

I do not know whether this period may not be said to have _given birth_
to another original poem; for notwithstanding its boasted antiquity,
and the singularity of the style, it remains a doubt with me and many
others, whether “Fingal” was not formed in this age from scraps,
perhaps not modern, but of no very early date. Its sterility of ideas,
the insipid sameness that reigns throughout, and the timidity with
which it anxiously avoids every image that might affix it to any
specific age, country, or religion, are far from bespeaking a savage
bard, who the more he was original, the more he would naturally have
availed himself of the images and opinions around him. Few barbarous
authors write with the fear of criticism before their eyes. The moon, a
storm, the troubled ocean, a blasted heath, a single tree, a waterfall,
and a ghost; take these away, and Cadmus’s warriors, who started out of
the earth, and killed one another before they had time to conceive an
idea, were as proper heroes for an epic poem as Fingal and his captains.

I will mention but two other authors of this period, Dr. Robertson,
and Mrs. Macaulay. The first as sagacious and penetrating as Tacitus,
with the perspicuity of Livy, and without the partialities of his own
countryman, Hume, gave a perfect model of history in that of Scotland.
In biography, his method and style were still preserved, though his
Charles the Fifth fell far short of his other works. The female
historian, as partial in the cause of liberty as bigots to the Church
and royalists to tyranny, exerted manly strength with the gravity of
a philosopher.[85] Too prejudiced to dive into causes, she imputes
everything to tyrannic views, nothing to passions, weakness, error,
prejudice, and still less to what operates oftenest, and her ignorance
of which qualified her yet less for a historian,--to accident and
little motives. She seems to think men have acted from no views but
those of establishing a despotism or a republic. As a mixed government
clashed with her system, she forgot the nation had been habituated to
it, and she could not forgive the victors in the civil war for not
abolishing all _established_ order, and for not shutting their ears
and hearts against every connection and interest, in pursuit of a
model which mad Harrington had chalked out, though impracticable,
and which she was not then born to preach up. In this wild pursuit
of a vision which must have rooted up every law, she is reduced to
declare for the army[86] that tore out of the House of Commons the
very Parliament to whom the nation had owed the first assertion of
its liberties. To such absurdities are they reduced whose prejudices
hurry them to extremes! If the Parliament were not the legal authority
for controlling the King, where shall we say legality resides? She
would answer, In the natural right of mankind to be free. That right,
then, must be vindicated by force. Thence we revert to a state of
nature. What did that state of nature produce? System-builders will
tell me, it produced deliberation on the right method of governing
nations. The answer is not true. Time, accident, and events produced
government;--but no matter, I will allow the position, with this
proviso, that a victorious army shall sheathe their swords, and allow
the wisest and best citizens to form a new Constitution: who sees
not the absurdity and impracticability of this proposition? When did
an army bestow freedom? Did that army which raised Cromwell to the
throne--those republican heroes of Mrs. Macaulay? The Parliament was
the true barrier against the King’s usurpations, and had done its
duty nobly. Reformation, not destruction of the constitution, was
its aim; and therefore, in her eyes, it was not less guilty than the
King. I worship liberty as much as she does, detest despotism as much;
but I never yet saw or read of a form of government under which more
general freedom is enjoyed, than under our own. Republics veer towards
aristocracy or democracy, and often end in a single tyrant,--not
that nobles are not tyrants. For the people, they are not capable
of government, and do more harm in an hour, when heated by popular
incendiaries than a king can do in a year. It is a government like
ours, in which all the three parts seek augmentation of their separate
powers, and in which King, Lords, and Commons, are a watch and a check
upon the other two, that best ensures the general happiness. Mrs.
Macaulay will allow that there is no check upon an absolute monarch.
In an aristocracy, the pride, ambition, and jealousy of the nobles
are some check upon each individual grandee. But what is a check
upon the people in a republic? In what republic have not the best
citizens fallen a sacrifice to the ambition and envy of the worst? God
grant that, with all its deficiencies, we may preserve our own mixed


  Walpole determines to resume his Memoirs.--General Election.--
    Audacity of Wilkes.--He contests the City of London and
    the County of Middlesex.--Riots during his Election.--His
    Triumph.--He surrenders to the King’s Bench.--The Elections.--Plan
    for the Expulsion of Wilkes.--Meeting of Parliament.--Riot before
    the King’s Bench.--Debate on Wilkes in the Commons.--French
    Designs on Corsica.--Riot among the Coalheavers.--Heroism of a
    Sailor.--Renewal of Wilkes’s Outlawry.--His Condemnation for the
    _North Briton_ and the _Essay on Woman_.--Riots at Boston.


As I had rather disparage these Memoirs than disappoint the reader
by promising him more satisfaction than he will find, let me remind
him that I had now quitted my seat in Parliament; and consequently,
what traces of debates shall appear hereafter must be mutilated and
imperfect, as being received by hearsay from others, or taken from
notes communicated to me. As I had detached myself, too, from all
parties, I was in the secrets of none: and though I had curiosity
enough to fathom some, opportunities of learning others, and made
observations on what was passing, in which I was assisted by the clue
of what I had formerly known; yet it will doubtless be perceived that
my information was often incomplete, and that the mysterious springs
of several events never came to my knowledge. In those situations I
shall be far from decisive: yet that very ignorance may guide future
historians to the search after authentic papers; and my doubts may
lead to some certainty. It may yet be asked why I choose, under
these impediments, to continue my narrative, while I allow that it
must fall short of the preceding parts? The honestest answer is the
best: it amuses me. I like to give my opinion on what I have seen:
I wish to warn posterity (however vain such zeal) against the folly
and corruption and profligacy of the times I have lived in; and I
think that, with all its defects, the story I shall tell will be more
complete than if I had stopped at the end of the foregoing Parliament,
which was no era of anything but of my own dereliction of politics;
and not having been the hero of my own tale, I am desirous at least of
bringing it down to the termination of the political life of some of
the principal actors in the foregoing pages. I propose to carry the
work down to the pacification with Spain in 1771, when not only all our
foreign quarrels were terminated, but when the Court had surmounted
every domestic difficulty, had pacified the Colonies and Ireland; and
by the aid of fortune and by the folly of opposition, had little to
disturb them but their own indiscretion, and the restless, though timid
desires of ascertaining and extending a prerogative which the King
enjoyed effectually by less obnoxious, though less dangerous, means
than force. Whether I shall live to complete this plan, or whether,
if I do, I shall not again be tempted to prosecute it farther, I am
equally ignorant. The reader, that is amused, may perhaps be glad if I
proceed. If I am tedious, the most delicate of my readers will always
have that facile remedy in his power, of ceasing to read me the moment
he is tired. To such, therefore, I make no apology. To please the other
sort, if I can--at least, to employ some vacant hours, I continue my

The Parliament having been dissolved on the 11th of March, 1768, and
the writs issued for the general election of another, the memorable
John Wilkes, who had resided for some time at Paris, and had fallen
almost into oblivion, came suddenly over, and declared himself a
candidate to represent the City of London. His first step, indeed,
was to write a submissive letter to the King, imploring pardon; but
his Majesty refusing to read the letter,[87] Wilkes, bold from his
desperate situation, and fond of extraordinary daring, opened his new
campaign by this attack on the metropolis itself, though an outlaw,
and subject to be sent to prison on his former sentence. Men wondered
at the inactivity of a Government that had by no means shown itself
indifferent to the persecution of so audacious a criminal, and expected
every day to hear he was taken up. But whether the Court looked with
contempt on a measure that promised so little success, or whether,
which I believe was their true motive, they feared that new severity
would enhance the merits of the martyr in the eyes of the people,
neither the Government nor the courts of law interposed to check his
career. Alderman Sir William Baker was the only citizen of note and
fortune that countenanced his pretensions; yet Wilkes persisted,
appeared openly on the hustings, and contested a seat with the most
popular of the City’s magistrates. The lower people[88] embraced his
cause with ardour; and he soon appeared to have so many partizans, that
his fortune became combined with that national frenzy, stock-jobbing.
Bets on his success were turned into stock; and in the phrase of the
times, _he was done_, like other wagers on the funds. The credit of the
candidate Alderman was, however, too firmly established to be shaken
so suddenly. Wilkes was every day the lowest on the poll, and the very
first evening as he left the court, he was arrested for debt--probably
by the underhand direction of the Ministry; but his attorney answered
for his appearance; and preferring to be a prisoner to the Government,
as more likely to create pity, than to lie in prison for debt, Wilkes
acquainted the Solicitor of the Treasury, that he intended to surrender
himself to his outlawry. He returned each day to the hustings, but
lost his election; Harley, the Lord Mayor, Sir Robert Ladbrooke,[89]
Beckford, and Trecothick,[90] being elected; the last, a West-India
merchant, who, at the time of the Stamp Act, had signalized himself
by procuring petitions against it from Bristol, Liverpool, and other
commercial towns. Sir Richard Glynn,[91] Paterson, the unpopular
creature of Lord Holland, and Wilkes, being thrown out. During the
struggle, Beckford and Trecothick behaved towards Wilkes with much
civility; the Lord Mayor with sullen coldness, and occasionally with
spirited resistance.

Far from dismayed, Wilkes, like an able general, rallied his forces,
and declared himself a candidate for the county of Middlesex--nay,
threatened to stand for Surrey, too, in opposition to George
Onslow,[92] one of his deserting friends; yet hitherto he had no
eminent patronage. Lord Temple, linked with Grenville, abandoned
him. Humphrey Cotes,[93] an old ally, but who in his absence, it was
said, had cheated him of some money, made amends by warm activity;
and the Duke of Portland, incensed by his late affair with Sir James
Lowther, on Wilkes’s pretensions to Middlesex, espoused his cause. Lord
Mansfield, equally revengeful, timorous, and subtle, pretended that it
was the office of the Chancellor to bring this outlaw to justice; but
the Chancellor and the Duke of Grafton did not care to increase their
unpopularity by adding persecution to the complaints Wilkes had already
made of their giving him up. Still less was Lord Camden solicitous to
save Lord Mansfield from danger and odium. The Chancellor went to Bath,
and the Duke to Newmarket.

On the 28th of March the election began at Brentford; and while the
irresolution of the Court and the carelessness of the Prime Minister,
Grafton, caused a neglect of all precautions, the zeal of the populace
had heated itself to a pitch of fury. They possessed themselves of all
the turnpikes and avenues leading to the place of election by break
of day, and would suffer no man to pass who bore not in his hat a
blue cockade inscribed with the name of Wilkes and Number 45,[94] or
written on paper. The other candidates were, Sir William Beauchamp
Proctor[95] and Mr. Cooke, the former members. Cooke was confined with
the gout: a relation who appeared for him was roughly handled at Hyde
Park Corner, and Sir William’s carriage was demolished. At Brentford
the mob was more peaceable, but had poured in in such numbers, that
on the first day’s poll the votes for Wilkes were 1200, for Proctor,
700, for Cooke, 500. At night the people grew outrageous; though when
Wilkes first arrived in town, I had seen him pass before my windows in
a hackney chair, attended but by a dozen children and women; now all
Westminster was in a riot. It was not safe to pass through Piccadilly;
and every family was forced to put out lights: the windows of every
unilluminated house were demolished. The coach-glasses of such as did
not huzza for _Wilkes_ and _liberty_ were broken, and many chariots and
coaches were spoiled by the mob scratching them with the favourite 45.
Lord Weymouth, Secretary of State, sent orders to Justice Fielding to
have constables kept in readiness. He begged his Lordship not to tell
it, but there was not a constable in London--all had been sent for to
Brentford. On this the guards were drawn out. Lord Bute’s house was
attacked, but the mob could not force an entrance, nor at Lord Egmont’s
in Pall Mall. The Duke of Northumberland the mob obliged to appear
and to give them liquor, and to drink with them to Wilkes’s success.
Some ladies of rank were taken out of their chairs, and ordered to
join the popular cry; and to Lady Holderness they cried, No King! No
regal Government! In the City they attacked the mansion-house and broke
the windows. The Lord Mayor, a zealous anti-Wilkite, sent for the
trained-bands, but they were not sufficient to disperse the tumult. Six
thousand weavers had risen in behalf of Wilkes, and were the principal
actors. Some of the regimental drummers beat their drums for Wilkes,
who finding his election secure, dismissed the weavers, and by the
next morning all was quiet, but the poll was at an end. Wilkes was too
triumphant to be resisted; and, master to act as he pleased, he threw
his supernumerary votes into Cooke, who was elected with him.

The second night was less tumultuous; but the Scots, sullenly
persisting in not celebrating their enemy’s triumph by illuminations,
had their windows broken. The Dowager Duchess of Hamilton,[96] one of
the beautiful Gunnings, though born in Ireland, had contracted such
hatred to Wilkes from her two Scotch marriages, that though with child,
and though her husband, Lord Lorn, was in Scotland, and all her young
children by both matches were in the house with her, she resolutely
forbade her house to be lighted up. The mob assaulted it, broke down
the outward gates with iron crows, tore up the pavement of the street,
and battered the doors and shutters for three hours, but could not
surmount her courage. The Count de Seilern, the Austrian Ambassador,
the most stately and ceremonious of men, they took out of his coach,
and chalked 45 on the sole of his shoe. He complained in form of the
insult: it was as difficult for the Ministers to help laughing as to
give him redress.

Elate with success, the triumphant tribune assumed a tone that
heaped new mortification on the Court. In his printed thanks to his
constituents he besought them to give him their instructions from
time to time, promising that he would always defend their civil and
religious rights. Hearing that the Privy Council intended to issue a
proclamation against riots, the new defender of the faith instructed
his committee or privy council to preserve the peace, and ordered them,
as they returned in procession from Brentford, not to pass by St.
James’s Palace, that no insult or indecency might be offered to the
King. He vaunted that his Committee had patroled the streets of the
capital on the night of the 30th and had kept all quiet.

The Court received another defeat of less consequence. They had set up
Jenkinson, one of the favourite cabal, for Oxford, where he had been
bred, but he lost the election by a considerable majority, though the
favours of the Crown were now showered on that University.[97]

The Methodists endeavoured to draw notice to themselves, but were
disappointed. Lord Baltimore was prosecuted for a rape on a loose girl,
who had staid in his house for some days under many opportunities
of escaping, but was acquitted on his trial, notwithstanding the
hypocrites had much incensed the populace against him.[98] Six young
methodists were expelled from Oxford, but their party could raise no
clamour on this supposed persecution. Whitfield, their archpriest,
attending one Gibson, who was hanged for forgery, to the gallows, and
preaching his funeral sermon, assured the audience that he was gone to
heaven; and that a fellow executed at the same time was probably in the
same paradise, having had the happiness of touching Gibson’s garment.
But these impieties and martyrdoms were drowned in the lustre of St.
Wilkes’s glory, and for once the barefaced libertine carried away the
vulgar from the holy knaves.

It is true that half the success of Wilkes was owing to the supineness
of the Ministers. Lord Chatham would take no part in business. The
Duke of Grafton neglected everything, and whenever pressed to be
active, threatened to resign. The Chancellor, placed between two such
untractable friends, with whom he was equally discontent, avoided
dipping himself farther. Conway, no longer in the Duke’s confidence,
and who was more hurt at neglect than pleased with power, stood in
the same predicament. Lord Gower thought of nothing but ingratiating
himself at St. James’s, and though what little business was done, Lord
Weymouth executed, it required all Wood’s violence and animosity to
Wilkes to spur him up to any activity. Wood indeed said that if the
King should pardon Wilkes, Lord Weymouth would not sign the pardon.
The Scots complained grievously of this want of spirit; and the
Lord Mayor consulting the Chancellor on what he should do if Wilkes
should stand for the City, and being answered that he must consult
the Recorder, Harley sharply replied, “I consulted your Lordship as
a minister; I do not want to be told my duty.” Some of the sheriff’s
officers, too, not having dared to apprehend Wilkes, though a _capias_
had been issued for that purpose, the Lord Mayor insisted on their
being turned out of their places.

Previous to his surrender Wilkes went to Bath, but met with neither
honours nor notice. A subscription had been opened for him, and went
on but heavily. His enemies served him better. Lord Mansfield tried
every subterfuge of the law, not so much to crush Wilkes as to shift
the odium of the prosecution on any other shoulders; and as the law is
never defective in furnishing expedients to meanness and chicanery,
and as the lowest quibbles appeared like armour to the eyes of Lord
Mansfield’s cowardice, it is scarce credible what stores of rusty
nonsense were brought forth on this occasion, to the equal disgrace of
the Chief Justice and the practice.

On the 20th, Wilkes, according to his promise, appeared to his outlawry
in the King’s Bench. He did not avow himself for author of the _North
Briton_, though he owned he had written the forty-fifth number, and
approved every word of it. When he recollected the “Essay on Woman” he
confessed he blushed; yet pleaded that it would not have been published
unless stolen from him. He complained of the usage he had received, and
of the alteration of the record. Lord Mansfield palliated the latter
charge; and then pronounced that Wilkes was not before the court, as
nobody had taken out the writ _capias ablegatum_, which he affirmed the
Attorney-General ought to have done. This implied that an outlaw could
not surrender himself voluntarily, though he might get anybody to take
out that writ. The judges, Yates and Willes, agreed to this jargon,
having been induced by Mansfield to cast the blame on the Attorney.[99]
On this curious reasoning was Wilkes dismissed. His speech had been
received with little applause, and he retired without riot. He had,
indeed, advertised a request to the people to make no disturbance;
yet the Government had been so much alarmed that a field-day had been
appointed in the Park, that troops might be at hand to quell any tumult.

It appeared from this mock scene that an outlawry cannot be set
aside but by a process to show there is a flaw in it. Accordingly
the profession who love to accumulate absurdities[100] rather than
to correct a ridiculous maxim, always take care to prepare a flaw in
an outlawry. Wilkes had demanded from the Attorney-General a writ of
error, and he had promised it, but was dissuaded on the 19th by the
Master of the Rolls, and on the 20th the Attorney came into court
without it. He would have taken it out then, but by some other rule it
was then too late, or Wilkes should have surrendered to the sheriff. It
was on these informalities that Lord Mansfield had argued that Wilkes
was not before the court, for, being an outlaw, the law knew no such
person; yet this nonentity his Lordship had suffered to revile him to
his face on the seat of magistracy.

In the mean time the Parliament was chosen to the content of the Court,
though by the inactivity of the Duke of Grafton, and the unpopularity
of their chief friends, the majority was not greater than in the last
assembly. Sir James Lowther, the Favourite’s son-in-law, was beaten
at Carlisle and in the counties of Westmoreland and Cumberland,
though he was returned (I think) for the latter against a majority
of thirty-four. The Duke of Portland ravished those provinces from
him in which he had been paramount, at the expense of forty thousand
pounds and to the great damage of his fortune; nor were Sir James’s
disbursements less considerable, to which the odious act of ravishing
the Duke’s estate from him for an election purpose added signal
disrepute. The county of York thanked Sir George Saville for having
introduced the bill against _nullum tempus_, and the Duke of Portland
published his case. It displayed the partial and unhandsome conduct of
the Treasury, though the Duke could not prove that the lands wrenched
from him had not been encroachments of his family. Lord Spencer had
not been less profuse in a contest for the town of Nottingham.[101]
The immense wealth that had flowed into the country from the war and
the East Indies, bore down all barriers of economy, and introduced a
luxury of expense unknown to empires of vaster extent. At the same time
the incapacity of the Court, which had first provoked the nation by
arbitrary attempts, had now sunk the government to a state of contempt;
and Wilkes’s triumph having manifested the pusillanimity and want of
vigour both in Ministers and magistrates, almost every class of the
lower orders thought it a moment for setting up new pretensions in
defiance of authority.

At Peterborough the mob rose and demolished Mr. Sutton’s new hospital
for inoculation. The coalheavers committed great violences on the river
and in Wapping; and by the meeting of Parliament the metropolis was a
theatre of tumults and anarchy:--but of these presently. Nor was the
press idle; satires swarmed against the Court, and the authoress of all
those calamities was the object at which the most envenomed arrows were
shot. In a frontispiece to a number of _Almon’s Political Register_
she and Lord Bute were represented in her bedchamber; and lest the
personages should be dubious, the royal arms in a widow’s lozenge were
pictured over the bed.

On the 27th, Wilkes was carried by a _capias_ to the King’s Bench.
Great bail was offered by Humphrey Cotes, but rejected by the court;
and the prisoner was committed to the King’s Bench. When he left the
court, the people stopped his coach on Westminster Bridge, took off the
horses, and drew him themselves to a tavern in Cornhill, dismissing
the tipstaves that guarded him, and insisting that he should not go to
prison. He persuaded the mob, however, to disperse, and, slipping out
by a back door, went immediately and surrendered himself at the King’s
Bench Prison.

The Cabinet-Council, in the mean time, were strangely irresolute and
uncertain how to act.[102] The King, the Princess, and the Scots,
could not bear the idea of Wilkes’s triumph, nor would hear of his
being suffered to enjoy a seat in Parliament.[103] The Chancellor was
all moderation; Conway, as usual, fluctuated between both opinions. The
Lords Gower and Weymouth were for extremities. Yet the total inaction
of Lord Chatham, and the sullen negligence of Grafton encouraging no
violence, it was determined not to expel Wilkes in the very short
session that was soon to meet to give substance to the Parliament,
since, no proclamation having been issued to summon this meeting for
business, it might be thought too precipitate rigour. The Ministers,
it was decided, should only lay in their claim against his admission,
unless the House should be much fuller than was expected in so late
and short a session, and the voice of the meeting should be loud for
expulsion. The measure was neither equitable nor politic, and betrayed
a want of firmness. It would give time, if the flame of faction should
spread, for counties and boroughs to instruct their members to oppose
expulsion, and presented an opportunity to France of blowing up the
embers. Great numbers of French had resorted hither at that time and to
Ireland; and though the carelessness of the Ministers was so great as
to neglect scrutinizing into it, there were grounds for suspecting that
Wilkes was privately encouraged by the Court of France.[104] The Comte
du Châtelet, their new Ambassador, had certainly had communication
with him at Paris, though Châtelet strenuously denied it; and several
Frenchmen of quality had sat with Wilkes on the hustings during the
election for London, and were protected by him there and at Brentford;
though without such protection, a Frenchman at an election would at
any time have a risk of being ill-treated by the mob. They visited him
in prison; and one of their agents, to my own knowledge, had intimate
connection with him. This was one Kendal, an Irishman, who, though
of distinguished service in his profession--the army,--had skulked
here obscurely for a year, and when he did appear the second winter
at M. du Châtelet’s, it was rarely but at very private hours. He had
passed himself for a Frenchman that could speak no English, yet having
accidentally and unawares discovered his knowledge of our tongue, he
afterwards conversed in it fluently. It happened that going one evening
to M. du Châtelet’s, I found them perusing an English book. I looked
over Kendal’s shoulder, and saw the name of John Wilkes written in the
particular character of his own hand, which was something womanish.
Kendal hurried the book into his pocket with some confusion--yet I
had time to observe the title. It was “Sir James Porter’s Letters on
the Turks,”--a work published after the sale of Wilkes’s library, and
consequently showed it was borrowed from himself. Though wishing well
to Wilkes’s cause against prerogative, I should blush to myself if I
concealed the ill I thought of the man. This story has led me from my
argument; I meant to add that to allow Wilkes to retain his seat for
six months, and deprive him of it afterwards, was heaping injustice
upon oppression.

His outlawry was argued in the mean time at the King’s Bench by
Serjeant Glynn, as erroneous, and maintained by Thurloe. Lord Mansfield
said the court was to take time to consider the respective arguments
(though it was known that a flaw was purposely inserted), and put off
the decision to the next term--a delay which detained Wilkes in prison
and prevented his taking his seat in Parliament. His appearance there
was dreaded by the Administration, especially as it was whispered
that he intended to move for an augmentation of the pay of the army,
on pretence of the dearness of provisions. Could he shake the loyalty
of the guards the Government would have had little to trust to--so
great was its weakness and unpopularity. Nor did the Ministers depend
on being able to carry his expulsion. Beckford from factious views,
Hussey from integrity, and Lord Granby from candour, declared against
so rigorous a measure. Nor were all men satisfied of the propriety
of the time, many doubts having arisen whether the Parliament could
transact business, as such intention had not been mentioned in the
proclamation,--an informality soon passed over, it being necessary
to renew the Militia and Corn Bills, which had been granted only to
the end of the next session. In truth, some exertion--at least, some
appearance of authority--was become of absolute necessity, the mutinous
spirit of the people and the contempt in which the Government was held,
carrying various classes of men into most dangerous excesses. The town
of Boston, in America, had invited the other colonies to unite against
taxation. The Irish were as warm against receiving an augmentation of
troops; and the Irish country gentlemen, though apprehending for their
property from the designs of France, did not dare to declare for a
larger army, as the new octennial election was approaching.

But it was in the metropolis itself that the flame of riot burst
out with most violence. Before the King’s Bench prison, where lay
the people’s idol, were constant tumults. The sailors aboard the
merchantmen in the river mutinied for increase of wages, rose to the
number of four thousand men, and stopped all outward-bound ships
from sailing. The watermen on the Thames, and even the journeymen
hatters set up equal pretensions, thinking the season favourable to
their demands, and excited by the reigning scarcity and by the agents
of Wilkes. Harley, the Lord Mayor, alone behaved with spirit, and
seized some of the rioters, and bade the rest draw up a petition to
Parliament, if they wanted, or had pretensions to redress.

During this ferment the new Parliament met on May the 10th, and was
opened by commission, the King making no speech, as the session was
to be so short. A great mob assembled round the Houses clamouring for
Wilkes and liberty. Lord Hillsborough complained of this to the Lords,
and the Chancellor moved that the constables should be ordered to
disperse the people. Lord Sandwich proposed to send and inquire if the
riot had ceased. The Duke of Richmond laughed at their fears and said
it was nothing. The Duke of Grafton asked with much warmth if it was
nothing when the mob joined the name of Wilkes, who had been committed
to prison on the addresses of both Houses, with the sacred sound of
liberty?--but Grafton’s warmth was burning stubble, that easily blazed
and was easily extinguished. The House of Commons elected Sir John
Cust, their former speaker.

A worse tumult happened the same day at the King’s Bench prison, whence
the mob attempted to deliver Wilkes, and carry him to the House of
Commons. The riot act being read and the guards sent for, a skirmish
ensued, and one Allen, a young man of fair character, who, some said,
had been merely a spectator, was pursued and murdered inhumanly by a
Scotch soldier as he fled. The tumult was quashed, but Allen’s death
only served to exasperate the people. His dead body was borne about the
streets with signal lamentation, and interred with parade. Handbills
had been previously dispersed among the soldiers, entreating them not
to fire on their countrymen, but the third regiment of guards being
employed, who were all Scots, the soldiers had carried the handbills
to their officers, nor had been seduced by Wilkes’s promise of
obtaining for them increase of pay. The circumstance of Scots being
employed in this massacre, as it was denominated, greatly increased
the discontents; and the officious folly of Lord Barrington, who
wrote a letter as Secretary at War, to thank the regiment for their
behaviour as if they had gained a victory, shocked even those who
were not factious.[105] Gillam, the Justice of Peace who had ordered
the soldiers to fire, was tried for murder and acquitted. Whitfield,
who had a mind to be tampering in these commotions, prayed for Wilkes
before his sermon. Another mob burned a new invented sawing-mill
belonging to one Dingley.

On the 11th a vast body of sailors attended the Houses,[106] but in a
modest manner, and desiring only to have their grievances considered,
with promise of acquiescing to the determination of Parliament.
They declared their attachment to the King, and meeting Wilkes’s
mob attacked and dispersed it. Yet notwithstanding this respectful
behaviour, the Privy Council, weighing the damage occasioned to the
merchants, issued out a proclamation against the sailors. The same day
an account came that the proposed augmentation of the army in Ireland
had been rejected by that Parliament.

On the 12th the Earl of Suffolk moved the Lords to address the King
to confer some mark of distinction on the Lord Mayor Harley for his
activity and spirit. The Duke of Grafton said his Majesty intended it,
and was considering what honour to bestow on him. As Lord Suffolk was
attached to Grenville, his motion marked that Grenville’s high spirit
could not digest the pusillanimity of Government, though no longer
Minister himself, and that he was glad to point out that pusillanimity.

At night a great meeting was held at Lord North’s on the subject of
Wilkes, but determined nothing. Lord Barrington, Lord Clare, and Sir
Gilbert Elliot were for expelling him; Conway, unwilling to contradict
his former behaviour, was for staying till the next winter.[107] Lord
Granby was firm against expulsion. To his natural lenity had been
added the address of Calcraft, who having been treated with haughtiness
and contempt by the Duke of Grafton on a late election, had seduced
Granby from his attachment to the Court with art worthy of his master,
Lord Holland. Lord Granby was in his power by the money Calcraft had
lent him; and none of the enemies the Duke of Grafton raised every
day, proved a sharper thorn than Calcraft. Nor was Conway himself,
though less irascible, much less offended with the Duke. From having
been his intimate friend and associate in administration, Grafton had
coarsely shuffled him out of the Secretary’s office to make room for
Lord Weymouth; and now, on the opening of the Parliament, had deputed
Lord North, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to read the King’s speech
to the members at the Cockpit, without a word of apology to Conway, who
had officiated the last time; nor could his loss of place excuse such
coldness in a friend.

On the 13th died the Princess Louisa, the youngest of the King’s
sisters, except the Queen of Denmark. She had long languished under the
family complaint, and seemed to be but a child of twelve years old.
This was the third of her children the Princess of Wales lost in two

The same motion that had been made to the Lords in favour of Mr.
Harley, was carried unanimously in the Commons. Grenville painted the
supineness of the Ministers in strong colours.[108] Wood defended them
with heat and sharpness. Burke and Lord John Cavendish proposed a
longer session, and dropped reflections on dissolution of connections,
which Conway took up as levelled at him. Not a word was said on Wilkes.
The Chancellor and Lord Shelburne, the former from opposition to the
Bedfords, the latter from enmity both to them and Grafton, declared
earnestly against the expulsion: yet the Rockingham party did not
discover that the Chancellor was hostile to the Bedfords, nor would
have joined him if they had, so inveterate were they both to him and
Lord Chatham; nor did they find out that Conway was out of humour,
for they found out nothing. Harley was soon afterwards made a privy
councillor, and had a lucrative contract.[109]

The riots continuing, and the journeymen tailors taking advantage of
them and of the mourning for Princess Louisa, rose in a great body, and
went to petition Parliament for increase of wages, but were prevailed
on by Justice Fielding to behave with decency. Lord Barrington on
this occasion moved to enable the King to embody the militia on
emergencies--the first experiment for enlarging the power of the Crown
with that accession of strength. But Sir George Saville, and even Lord
Strange and other courtiers, opposed the motion so ardently, that it
was dropped; though Grenville, on the other hand, declared for the
proposition.[110] The sailors were appeased by the merchants agreeing
to enlarge their pay.

The new Parliament produced many new speakers, of whom the most eminent
was Dunning, the Solicitor-General, but whose fame did not rise then in
proportion to the celebrity he had attained at the bar. The others, of
far less note, were, Mr. Cornwall, a sensible lawyer,[111] Mr. Phipps,
son of Lord Mulgrave, a young man whose application forced him at last
into notice, and who, though a seaman, was so addicted to the study
of the law, that he got the appellation of _the Marine Lawyer_;[112] a
young Mr. Cavendish,[113] hot-headed and odd; a Colonel Lutterel,[114]
more absurd and impudent; and James Townshend and Sawbridge, who will
be often mentioned, though not for their eloquence. Lutterel had a
personal enmity to Wilkes, and had declared that he would force the
House into some resolution on Wilkes’s case. Accordingly, he moved
that the proper officer should acquaint the House why Wilkes had not
been taken into custody sooner. Lord North said the motion was so
absurdly worded, that he could not think himself pointed at; but he
alleged that everything had been left to due course of law. This was
confirmed by the Attorney-General; and young Mr. Lyttelton, only son of
Lord Lyttelton, urging with decency that the time was not proper while
the case was depending in the courts below, the previous question was
put and carried; yet not a word was uttered in Wilkes’s favour. Mr.
Lyttelton, who soon after lost his seat, his election being contested,
had parts and knowledge, and conciliated much favour by that first
essay; but his character was uncommonly odious and profligate, and his
life a grievous course of mortification to his father. More will be
said of him hereafter.

So spiritless an Administration, whose measures were not planned, but
started indigested out of the daily occurrences, was not likely to give
serious attention to remote situations. They endeavoured to doze over
all thoughts of the Continent; and yet the enterprising activity of
the Duc de Choiseul now and then interrupted their slumbers, though it
could not dispel them entirely. Stung with our victories in the last
war, and aware of our supineness, that ambitious man was meditating
new wars, impatient to indemnify his master for some of their losses
by new usurpations. The poor Corsicans were the first victims of his
politics. He had for some months been preparing a mighty invasion of
their island. Sixteen battalions were destined to the conquest, which
was sheltered under a pretended purchase from the Genoese. De Sorbe,
their agent at Paris, and born there while his father exercised the
same function, had suggested the idea. Pride, impotence, and revenge
had operated to induce the Genoese to sell their title to a more
formidable usurper,--the liberty of others appearing a marketable
commodity to a republic composed only of nobles, who are ever ready
to be subordinate tyrants. The object was too considerable to be
indifferent to us: Corsica, in the hands of France, might essentially
affect our Mediterranean trade during a war. To suffer the conquest
were a disgrace, and would imply timidity. Generosity towards a free
nation, who had struggled so long and successfully for their liberty,
and had sought our protection, the poor Corsicans could not venture to
expect. One of the few acts of Lord Bute’s monarchic[115] and dastardly
Administration had been to forbid our sending succours to the Corsican
rebels, as he called them--a sentence that betrayed his heart, not his
sense. What right had the little republic of Genoa to tyrannise over
the freemen of Corsica? Genoa had acted throughout the late war with
as much partiality to France[116] as she dared, and was rewarded by
our proscribing her enemies. On the other hand, our interference now
might light up another war; and though the finances of France were in
at least as bad a situation as our own, we could ill have supported
the burthen, and were in too distracted a situation at home to make
war advisable. The Council assembled on the point. Parliament might
blame them for taking a part, or for taking none--the latter half of
the dilemma suited their natures best, and no resolution was then
taken. Yet procrastination produced no repose; alarms thickened from
every quarter: the mutinous spirit of the people broke out, whether the
occasion was political or private. A butcher, murdered in a brothel at
Dublin, had raised such a flame, that forty houses were pulled down by
the mob, and several persons killed.

At such a crisis the Ministers would not venture dismissing the
Parliament to a distant period, but on the 20th of May adjourned it
only for a fortnight, intending, by short prorogations, to keep it in
readiness to meet.[117]

Of all the tumults, the fiercest and most memorable was the following.
A dispute having arisen between the coalworkers and the coalheavers,
the latter of whom were chiefly Irish--nay, some of them Whiteboys, an
Act of Parliament had passed the last year, subjecting the coalheavers
to the jurisdiction of the alderman of the ward; an office had been
erected, and one Green, who kept an alehouse, had been constituted
their agent. Houston, a man who wanted to supplant Green, had incensed
the coalheavers against him, and they threatened his destruction.
Apprised of their design, he every night removed his wife and children
out of his house. One evening he received notice that the coalheavers
were coming to attack him. He had nobody with him but a maid-servant
and a sailor, who by accident was drinking in the house. Green asked
the sailor if he would assist him? “Yes,” answered the generous tar, “I
will defend any man in distress.” At eight the rioters appeared, and
fired on the house, lodging in one room above two hundred bullets;
and when their ammunition was spent, they bought pewter pots, cut
them to pieces, and fired them as ball. At length with an axe they
broke out the bottom of the door; but that breach the sailor defended
singly; while Green and his maid kept up a constant fire, and killed
eighteen of the besiegers. Their powder and ball being at last wasted,
Green said he must make his escape: “for you,” said he to the friendly
sailor, “they will not hurt you.” Green, retiring from the back room
of his house, got into a carpenter’s yard, and was concealed in a
sawpit, over which the mob passed in their pursuit of him, being told
he was gone forwards. I should scarce have ventured this narrative, had
not all the circumstances been proved in a court of justice. Yet how
many reflections must the whole story create in minds not conversant
in a vast capital--free, ungoverned, unpoliced, and indifferent to
everything but its pleasures and factions! Who will believe that such
a scene of outrage could happen in the residence of Government?--that
the siege lasted nine hours, and that no Guards were sent to the relief
of the besieged till five in the morning? Who will believe that while
such anarchy reigned at one end of the Metropolis, it made so little
impression at the Court end that it was scarce mentioned? Though in
London myself, all I heard was, that a man had been attacked in his
house, and had killed three of the rioters. Nor were the circumstances
attended to, till the trial of Green for murder, of which he was
honourably acquitted, divulged his, his maid’s, and the sailor’s
heroism. Yet did not the fury of the colliers cease, though seven of
them were taken and executed. Green was forced to conceal himself from
their rage; but his sister, giving a supper to her friends for joy of
her brother’s safety, her house was attacked by those assassins, their
faces covered with black crape, who tore her into the street, and
murdered her. Yet, perhaps, of all the circumstances of this tragedy,
not one was so singular, from the display of so great a mind, as the
indifference of the sailor, who never owned himself, never claimed
honour or recompense for his generous gallantry. As brave as the
Codes of fabulous Rome, his virtue was satisfied with defending a man
oppressed; and he knew not that an Alexander deserved less fame than
he, who seemed not to think that he deserved any.

The Bedford faction, who had got almost entire possession of the Duke
of Grafton, began to perceive how little security there was in that
tenure. They found that every disgust inspired him with thoughts of
resigning. They saw the immediate necessity of strengthening themselves
lest some sudden caprice should hurry him to resign, and leave them
weak at Court, or exposed to the dislike of the next Minister, whoever
it should be. Rigby in particular had not attained the paymastership
which Grafton had engaged to him on the first opportunity, and was sure
of being the first victim if Grenville, whom he had sacrificed, should
return to power. With as little decency as he had abandoned him, Rigby
now made secret offers to Grenville to support him, if the Duke of
Grafton should quit--but they were rejected, both from the haughtiness
of Grenville’s nature, and by the positive injunction of Lord Temple,
who sent Calcraft to Lord Hertford with an account of that transaction;
adding, that his Lordship had sworn to his brother, that should he ever
join the Bedfords, he (Lord Temple) would persecute him to the last
hour of his life. This Lord Hertford was desired to communicate to the
King, with offers from Lord Temple to serve his Majesty whenever he
should be wanted. This mine failing, Rigby pushed the Lords Gower and
Weymouth to unite with him in insisting with the Duke of Grafton on the
removal of Lord Shelburne, who, they said, betrayed them, and opposed
all their measures in Council. The accusation did not want truth; nor
was its purport unwelcome either to the Duke or to the King. The former
hated him for enjoying Lord Chatham’s favour; and the King had not
forgotten the tricks that Shelburne had played Lord Bute. To make the
proposal still palatable, the Cabal offered to his Majesty the choice
of the Duke of Northumberland or Lord Egmont, his own creatures, of
Lord Holderness, anybody’s creature, or of Lord Sandwich, their own
friend, to replace Lord Shelburne. Willing as he was to give up the
last, the King had adopted a rule of turning no single man, both from
pusillanimity, and from never being sorry to embarrass Ministers, whom
he had not taken from inclination. Thus was Shelburne saved for some
months longer. In his chief point Rigby had very soon better success.

On the 2nd of June the Parliament met, and was again adjourned for
three weeks. On the 8th Wilkes’s outlawry was debated in the King’s
Bench. The Judges of that Court had agreed with their chief, Lord
Mansfield, to reverse it; yet the latter now maintained it in a fine
oration, but in the conclusion pronounced it void from a flaw; which,
he said, had not been noticed by the prisoner’s counsel. This curious
error was, that the proceedings were stated _at the County-court for
the County of Middlesex_; when lo! the form ought to have been _at the
County-court of Middlesex, for the County of Middlesex_--a form of
words, said that oracle of law, absolutely necessary. It was said that
Serjeant Glynn, Wilkes’s counsel, had made the same notable discovery
two months before in his pleading; and thus the Chief Justice had
not even the honour of the chicanery he boasted. It was still more
ridiculously, and with as little truth, that he vapoured on his own
firmness. He knew, he said, in what danger he held his life, but he was
past sixty, and valued not the remnant of being. He would act boldly;
_fiat justitia, et ruat cœlum_--prodigious danger when he was doing
what was an act of popularity, and which probably he would not have
done but from timidity![118] The reversion of the outlawry having an
appearance of being favourable to the prisoner, the mob huzzaed, though
he was remanded to prison till he should receive sentence.

In the meantime a new calamity befel the Court. Cooke, the other member
for Middlesex, died, and Serjeant Glynn, as the champion of Wilkes, was
set up by the popular party for Middlesex. Cooke was Joint-Paymaster
with the younger Thomas Townshend, a friend of the Duke of Grafton,
who, to gratify Rigby with the whole employment, offered to make
Townshend one of the Vice-Treasurers of Ireland. Townshend refused it
with warmth, saying, he would not be turned backwards and forwards
every six months; and resigning, joined the Opposition.[119] On the
10th, Rigby kissed the King’s hand as Paymaster. He was succeeded as
Vice-Treasurer of Ireland by Lord Clare. Lord Hillsborough returned to
the Board of Trade, with the superintendence of the Colonies, in which
function his conduct will be long remembered.

The Bourbon Courts, who had not been able to persuade the Pope to
dissolve the Order of the Jesuits, proceeded to extremities. The King
of Naples seized Benevento; and France, possessing herself of Avignon,
declared it unalienable from the Crown, and with reason.[120] It was
not with the same foundation that she went on with hostilities against
Corsica. Monsieur Francis, their Secretary here, said that, if we asked
with the decency due to a great nation, France would tell us she did
not mean to retain the possession--if we menaced, Monsieur de Choiseul
would declare war. Their having no intention of keeping Corsica was
false; and it was believed afterwards, that if we had spoken in a
high tone, they would have desisted from the enterprise. The brave
resistance of the natives, if supported by us, would soon have put the
matter out of dispute. The French did not taste the project, nor could
Choiseul lead the King so easily into a war as he desired.[121]

On the 18th, sentence was pronounced on Wilkes. For the _North Briton_,
No. XLV., he was condemned to pay a fine of 500_l._ and to suffer
imprisonment for ten months. For the Essay on Woman, 500_l._ more, and
imprisonment for twelve months, to be computed from the expiration of
the first ten. He was to find security for his good behaviour for
seven years, himself being bound in 1000_l._, and two sureties in
500_l._ each. Rigorous as the sentence was, the Court had not dared to
enforce it with its usual severity;[122] the pillory was for the first
time omitted in a case of libel and blasphemy, and Wilkes triumphed by
this manifestation of their terror. Anet, a poor honest priest, had
been pilloried in this reign for writing against Moses. Some imputed
his prosecution to Archbishop Secker,[123] who charged it on Lord
Bute. Lord Bute denied it. Whoever was the prosecutor, Lord Mansfield
had willingly executed the inquisitorial power.

The night before the publication of Wilkes’s sentence, he dispersed
handbills to excite the mob to sedition; but so many late tumults had
so terrified the citizens that they took little notice of him, and
even were not averse to being protected by the Guards. After sentence,
he published a violent advertisement against Lord Halifax, and bound
himself never to accept place or pension. The paper which contained
that declaration was so eagerly bought up, that by eight in the
evening it was sold for half-a-crown. Lord Halifax stood in a worse
predicament: it depended on a jury to give Wilkes what damages they
should please against the Earl. No limits were set to them by law, nor
could King or Parliament remit the fine, as it instantly became the
property of the injured person. Faction might rate his injuries at a
hundred thousand pounds. It was computed that the expenses attending
the prosecution of Wilkes had already cost the Crown no less a sum.

The Bostonians were not more peaceable than the populace of London.
A ship arriving there, and the custom-house officers, according to
the direction of the late Act of Parliament, proceeding to visit
it, the mob rose, drove the officers out of the town, forced them
to take refuge in a frigate in the harbour, and pillaged their
houses. Two regiments were ordered thither, the Cabinet-Council
being unanimous in that opinion, except Lord Shelburne, who adhered
to his former principle, that England had no right to tax America,
unless represented. The Chancellor Camden excused his own change of
opinion, which, he said, had been only speculation; now an Act of the
Legislature had affirmed the right of taxation. Lord Bottetort, a very
courtier, who was ruined in his fortune, was sent Governor to Virginia,
where resided some of the ablest of the American patriots; yet in the
two years that he lived to govern them, his soothing flattering manners
had so wrought on the province, that his death was bewailed with the
most general and affectionate concern.


  Family of Lord Bute.--Death of Archbishop Secker.--Trial of
    a Soldier for Murder in a Riot.--Arrival of Christian the
    Seventh of Denmark.--Removal of Sir Jeffery Amherst from
    Virginia.--Contemplated Disgrace of Lord Shelburne.--Resignation
    of Lord Chatham.--Lord Rochford made Secretary of State.--Privy
    Seal given to Lord Bristol.--State of the Country.--Meeting of
    Parliament.--Meditated Expulsion of Wilkes.


On the 2nd of August, the favourite Earl of Bute, whom foolish conduct,
and the odium attending it, had thrown into a real, imaginary, or
pretended ill state of health, set out for the waters of Barege. His
mortifications were, in truth, sufficient to break a firmer spirit;
nor had his fortune or wealth contributed but to his unhappiness, his
domestic griefs being as poignant as his unpopularity. His eldest
daughter, an amiable woman, was wedded to Sir James Lowther. His third
daughter, whom the Northumberlands had obtained for their son, was
discontent with her husband, and was confined by his family to the
country under pretence of a gallant disposition, though the world
suspected that the fall of her father had made the Duke and Duchess
wish to get rid of the daughter. Lord Bute’s second son, the heir of
his mother’s vast riches, had married ill, grew to hate his wife for
having drawn him into marriage, and would not live with her, though his
father forgave her, and solicited their reconciliation. It was perhaps
not the least of the Earl’s sorrows, that though, by the interest
of the Princess, Lord Bute and his Cabal retained the chief power
in the secret counsels, the King was not sorry to be delivered from
the thraldom in which the Earl had held him:--at least, it was known
that his Majesty dreaded of being suspected of retaining too great
partiality to the Favourite, though he had resolution enough to avow or
discountenance him entirely.

On the 3rd died Secker, Archbishop of Canterbury, whose character I
have given at large before. His early life had shown his versatility;
his latter time, his ambition; but hypocrisy not being parts, he rose
in the Church without ever making a figure in the State.[124] Dr.
Frederic Cornwallis, Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, a prelate
of inconsiderable talents, but a most amiable, gentle, and humane
man,[125] was preferred to the primacy by the Duke of Grafton, who
had a friendship for the Bishop’s nephew, Earl Cornwallis. Terrick of
London, the most time-serving of the clergy, was sorely disappointed in
missing the first mitre of England.

On the 9th came on at Guilford the trial of a soldier for the murder
of young Allen, in St. George’s Fields. Wilkes, impatient to signalize
himself, and by his presence to excite a tumult, procured to be
subpœnaed as a witness; though it was notorious that, being in prison
at the time, he could have distinguished nothing from his window. The
real murderer had been conveyed away by the Government, and the man
tried not being the true criminal, was acquitted. No bill was found
against the commanding officer of the party; and Wilkes returned to his
gaol without having occasioned any disturbance.

In the midst of these disorders arrived Christian the Seventh, King of
Denmark, his Majesty’s brother-in-law. This young Prince had left his
dominions some months before, intending to visit the chief nations of
Europe; and having great curiosity to see England, had proposed this
visit. The English Monarch, who had no taste for show or amusements,
and who every day sank more and more into privacy and lifeless
solitude, had waived the offer on pretence of the national confusions;
but Christian, who had both the obstinacy and caprices of youth and
royalty, had persisted, and came. Not a single nobleman--not a single
equipage was sent on the road to receive, escort, or convey the Danish
King. He arrived at St. James’s in a hired carriage. The only attention
paid to him was, that an apartment was new furnished, gilt plate
brought from the Tower, and an expensive table kept for him and his
suite. Neither the King nor Queen were at St. James’s to receive him;
and the King even arrived there to his levee an hour later than usual.
He then saw his Ministers; and the King of Denmark was at dinner before
King George would admit Lord Hertford, his own Lord Chamberlain, who
brought a message from the Dane, who had had the attention of ordering
his own lords to wait on the King at his levee. It is scarce to be
credited that though Christian was in his palace, he neither went to
him nor received him there, but coldly sent him word he would see him
at the Queen’s palace at half-an-hour after five. When common decency
was thus neglected, it is not wonderful that national interest was
forgotten. Christian, at that time, was a pensioner of France, and it
imported us to win him out of their hands. When he afterwards went to
Paris, he found every mark of respect, every instance of magnificence
and liberality that a great Court, attentive to its interest or glory,
knew how to bestow.

This Danish King was, in truth, an insipid boy; and there appeared no
cause for his expensive ramble, though to support it he had laid a tax
on all his placemen and pensioners. He took notice of nothing, took
pleasure in nothing, and hurried post through most parts of England
without attention, dining and supping at seats on the road, without
giving himself time enough to remark so much of their beauties as would
flatter the great lords who treated him. This indifference was excused
in a whisper by Bernsdorffe,[126] his Prime Minister, who attributed it
to his Majesty’s extreme short sight, which Bernsdorffe confessed was
the great secret of the State. Yet the King’s manner was very civil;
and though his person was diminutive and delicate, he did not want
graceful dignity. He had taken an early dislike to his Queen, and had
disgraced his cousin, the Prince of Hesse, for espousing her interest.
Himself was then influenced by the Russians, Bernsdorffe and the
Russian Minister governing him entirely; the latter even with rudeness
to the Queen. But the King had a favourite, who had still more power
over him, Baron Holke, a handsome young man, who attended him in his

Princess Amelie, who felt the dishonourable treatment of her nephew,
and who did not dislike to mark it to the public, made a ball and great
entertainment for him at Gunnersbury. The King and the Princess Dowager
then paid him the same civilities; but to show how much they disliked
the precedent, left Princess Amelie out of their entertainments. In
France, whither he went next, the literati cried up this young Monarch
as a pattern of a patriot King; and it was probably from their praises
he imbibed so much merit that at his return to his kingdom he granted
to his subjects free liberty of the press.[127] The idea was certainly
not instilled into him here by the King or the Princess Dowager.

The promotion of Lord Bottetort to the Government of Virginia had
started a new difficulty. Sir Jeffery Amherst was their Governor.
His eminent services and the rank of Commander-in-chief, which he had
held in the American war, had placed him too high for residence in a
single province. Yet the mutinous spirit of that Colony in particular
required the presence of a Governor. Lord Hillsborough had hinted
this necessity to Sir Jeffery, adding that if he did not choose to go
thither, the King would give him a pension equal to that of Governor.
Amherst had ever behaved with as much coolness and modesty as sense.
His honour started at the word pension--yet not so fiercely but it was
thought he would acquiesce; at least Lord Hillsborough, who had not
so much delicacy, too lightly conceived the bargain struck, and too
officiously to make his court, as Lord Bottetort was a favourite, named
him Governor. The event was unfortunate to Amherst, whose wounded pride
drew him into discovering too full a fund of vanity, self-interest,
and vehement obstinacy. His first step was to resign his regiment. The
next, on the Duke of Grafton’s trying to soften him, was to demand a
peerage, a grant of the coal mines in America (which it was thought
might produce thirty thousand pounds a-year more) and an American
peerage, if any were bestowed. To the last the Duke replied at once,
that the King had forbidden his naming a peerage for any man.

Sir Jeffery’s intrinsic merit, the removal of him in favour of a
Court tool, and his scorn of the pension, immediately presented him as
a beloved victim to the Opposition. Lord Hillsborough in particular
was acrimoniously pursued by the younger Burke in many publications.
General Conway, a friend of Amherst, and who felt for him, undertook
to reconcile the breach, and at last prevailed on him to accept as
reparation a promise of the first vacant regiment, and a peerage when
any peers should be made. Amherst stickled for having his brother
included in the patent, but could not obtain it. At first he acquiesced
and suffered Mr. Conway to acquaint the King with his acceptance of the
terms; but in three days flew off again and insisted on his brother
being in the patent. Conway urged that his own last words to him had
been “Sir Jeffery, take notice your brother is not included in the
peerage,” and showed him the impropriety of the pretension, the younger
Amherst having neither services nor an estate to entitle him to such
distinction. He now asked both an American and English peerage for
himself and his brother, and it was not till after many conferences
and fluctuations, that he at last submitted to the terms Conway had
proposed.[128] Even before the affair was finally concluded, Conway
himself was on the point of quitting the Court with equal disgust.
The Duke of Grafton told him that it was not an absolute promise of a
peerage, and that the King had only said that when any peers should
be made, his Majesty would consider Sir Edward Hawke and Sir Jeffery
Amherst. Conway, who had received the positive promise from the King,
was hurt beyond measure, and the more as the King now affirmed that
the promise had only been provisional. I discovered the cause of this
variation. Rigby had seduced Sir Laurence Dundas, the rich Scotch
Commissary, who chose nine members into Parliament, from George
Grenville, and had offered to carry him and his suite to Court, if the
King would promise Sir Laurence a peerage. The King, who had involved
himself in so many like promises that he had tied his hands from making
any, refused to comply with the demand. Rigby resented the denial
in the warmest terms--said that Mr. Conway could make peers when he
could not, and was the effective Minister; and he fired the Duke of
Grafton’s jealousy by telling him that Lord Hertford, Mr. Conway, and
I, had done this without his Grace: to others he said, that I had drawn
the Duke to acquiesce, by telling him that the Bedfords would some
day or other betray him. I had told him when his Grace betrayed Mr.
Conway to them; since that time I had not exchanged a word with him,
and utterly avoided him. Rigby only suspected this, because he knew
how much reason I had to think so; and the event proved that I knew
them well. I did not doubt but Rigby had sent General Fitzwilliam,[129]
the first mover, to Conway to advise him to undertake Amherst’s
reconciliation. If it succeeded, Amherst would be saved to the Court;
if it failed, Conway was likely to be involved in the quarrel. Conway,
however, laboured the point so earnestly, that he satisfied Amherst,
or would have resigned his own regiment and preferments and meddled
no more. This new charge, however, contributed to exasperate the
Duke of Grafton’s alienation from Conway, and the Bedfords neglected
nothing to inflame it. As the first year of a Parliament is chiefly
engrossed by contested elections, there were two that nearly interested
the Duke--one for his friend, Lord Spencer, the other for Sir James
Lowther, against the Duke of Portland. It happened that Conway, who
was chosen for Thetford by Grafton himself, was engaged on opposite
sides in both. In the first, Sir George Rodney was antagonist to
Colonel Howe, Lord Spencer’s member. Rodney had offered himself as
evidence for Conway on the miscarriage at Rochford, and therefore had
not been examined by the opposite side. This was a debt of gratitude,
and Conway remembered it. For the Duke of Portland he had been engaged
by the Cavendishes, and to Conway that family was the law and the
prophets. Though I did not, whatever the Bedfords thought, wish to make
a breach between Conway and the Duke of Grafton, yet I was desirous
that both they and the Duke should feel the want of him. At the same
time, seeing how strict that connection grew, I thought it prudent for
Conway to leave a door open between him and the Rockingham faction: I
therefore urged him to stay away on Elections, and take no active part
in Parliament. This was particularly adapted to my views of preventing
a hearty junction of that party with Grenville. Should Conway sit
silent, whom Grenville always selected to attack on American affairs,
I knew his rage on the Stamp Act would hurry him into the indiscretion
of falling foul of that part of his allies who had contributed to its
repeal--and indeed Grenville seldom failed of confirming my conjecture,
but there is little merit in such sagacity. _The passions of men_, to
those who are much conversant with them, _write a very legible hand_.
I proved as little mistaken in what I foretold of the treachery of the
Bedfords to Grafton. The consequences to him will show the necessity
of these details. No account of _public_ measures would explain his
conduct. It must be remembered that his mind, as Lord Camden said
of it, was capable of embracing but one single object. The machine
of Government was too complicated to occupy it at all. The Bedfords
were so much the reverse, that when they had no point of cunning to
carry, they still thought it cunning to do something, and thus often
made their situation worse. At this moment to disgust Shelburne, whom
they had not yet removed, they prevailed on the King to name Mr.
Lynch,[130] one of their friends, Minister to Turin. Though this was
in Shelburne’s department, he would not resent it openly.

But though the King would not comply with the Faction, they had got
such entire possession of the Duke of Grafton, that Shelburne’s
removal[131] was determined, and at last extorted from his Majesty--a
measure that produced an event of much greater _éclat_, and little
apprehended. Lord Chatham, who had remained in voluntary confinement,
unheard of and unthought of, scarce any man knowing the situation
of his mind or intellects, offended at the meditated disgrace of
Shelburne, or thinking the reigning confusions a proper opportunity
of regaining his popularity and importance, wrote a letter to the
King on the 12th of October, couched in terms of deplorable petition,
begging mercy, begging leave to resign, begging to be delivered from
his misery. His health, he said, would not permit him to serve, and
he feared it never would. The King, with his own hand, answered his
letter, and entreated him to keep his place.[132]

To the Duke of Grafton, Lord Chatham wrote the next day in a different
style, complaining of the disgrace of Lord Shelburne, and of the
treatment of Sir Jeffery Amherst. This was sufficiently explicit, and
the moment of timing his resignation; but a month before the meeting
of Parliament announced the projects brooding in his breast, and his
hopes of distressing by so short a warning. A war had given him his
consequence, a war must restore it. America, even Corsica, presented
hopes of war. Lord Shelburne, I knew from Sir Horace Mann, had been
tampering with Paoli, the Corsican general; and, from one of Lord
Chatham’s messengers, when I was three years before in France, I had
learned his directions of inquiry into the state of their ports--a
meritorious attention, and not common to him with any other of our

Resign he did. Yet the Court, though embarrassed at first, felt no
inconvenience from losing him. The Duke of Grafton, as the King trusted
he would, was so earnest on procuring a divorce, that he would not risk
being defeated by parting with the power of influencing the Parliament
in his favour. Nor, whatever were his obligations to Lord Chatham,
did they call on him to take the same step. Lord Chatham had designed
him for a mere tool of office, and had not only not consulted him,
but, totally excluding him from his sight, had left him exposed to all
the difficulties into which a state of feigned or actual frenzy had
thrown the Government. Possessed of a Premier, the Court easily kept
the machine together, and with but small inconvenience filled up the
vacancies; for Shelburne, to avoid dismission, resigned on the pretext
of following Lord Chatham.

As the latter had to the King pleaded no disgust, and publicly
professed none, the Court affected to suppose he had none; and
accordingly acted as if they believed he had no hostile intentions, by
distinguishing his few remaining friends. Lord Camden, the Chancellor,
was requested to keep the Seals, and consented. The Privy Seal was
given to Lord Bristol, as a particular compliment to Lord Chatham.
Lord Rochford was made Secretary of State, and was succeeded by Lord
Harcourt, as Ambassador to France. Mr. Thomas Walpole, my cousin, who
was much connected with La Borde, the banker of the French Court,
arrived soon after from Paris, and told me that Lord Weymouth had been,
on this change, transferred to the southern province, at Choiseul’s
desire, who hated Lord Rochford. It had seemed extraordinary that Lord
Rochford, just returned from the French embassy, should not be employed
in a department he was conversant in. It was still more extraordinary,
that the Minister of France could influence the destination of our
Secretaries of State. It was most shameful, that Lord Rochford should
be so _misapplied_ in compliment to Choiseul, when the cause of the
latter’s hatred to him, was the spirit with which Lord Rochford had
behaved, particularly with regard to the affair of Corsica, against
which he had remonstrated, with more warmth than he had been encouraged
to do from home; and had he, as he told me himself, been authorised to
hold a firm language, France would not have ventured to proceed in that
conquest. Lord Rochford was a man of no abilities, and of as little
knowledge, except in the routine of office; but he meant honestly,
behaved plausibly, was pliant enough to take whatever was offered to
him, and too inoffensive to give alarm or jealousy to any party.[133]
Lord Bristol was not so fortunate: Lord Chatham disavowed him, and Lord
Temple published that disavowal, with every appendix of abuse. Yet
though, no doubt, Lord Bristol had catched with alacrity at the offer
of the Privy Seal, he had had the prudence to sanctify his acceptance
with Lord Chatham’s consent. The transaction, as I received it from
his own mouth, stood thus:--the Chancellor sent him the offer in the
King’s name, and added, that no man would be so agreeable to Lord
Chatham for a successor. Lord Bristol begged delay, and wrote to Lord
Chatham, inclosing the Chancellor’s note. Lord Chatham in his reply,
written by his wife, said, that being out of place himself, it did
not become him to give advice, but wished his Lordship success in his
Majesty’s service. No disavowal of the Chancellor’s note being made,
and the letter being signed by Lord Chatham, _with respect, esteem,
and attachment_, if it was equivocal, Lord Bristol had certainly no
reason to interpret it in an adverse sense; at least, he was as
justifiable in misunderstanding, as the other could be in equivocating.
In political chicanery, decorum has the better cause.[134] The
Chancellor’s conduct was less reducible to a standard. It was not known
whether his friendship with Lord Chatham was at high or low water mark.
He had given many hints of his friend’s frenzy, and in the resignation
did not seem to have been consulted. But it was sufficient to throw
some blemish into his character, that the public had any doubts on his
conduct. It did not clear up as he proceeded, but was clouded with
shades of interest and irresolution; and when it veered most to public
spirit, was subject to squalls of time-serving, as by the Court it
was taxed with treacherous ambiguity. He hurt the Court often, rarely
served it to its satisfaction, but hurt himself most by halting now and
then in the career of his services to the public. To Lord Chatham it
could but be mortifying to be deserted by three men he had so highly
elevated as the Chancellor, the Duke of Grafton, and Lord Bristol--the
last two with so little merit on their parts; and, if he was just
enough to reflect on the little confidence he had placed in the two
first, it could not soften that mortification.[135]

Imperceptible almost as was the sensation occasioned by Lord Chatham’s
resignation, his dreaded name still struck other courts with awe.
Both Spain and France apprehended that his every step announced war.
Mr. H. Walpole told me, that when the news arrived at Paris, Fuentes,
the Spanish Ambassador, took him aside, and adjured him, as his father
and uncle (my father) had been lovers of peace, that he too would do
his utmost to preserve it. Fuentes owned too, that _he hoped we should
master our Colonies, or theirs too would catch the flame, and throw off
the yoke in like manner_.

I now return to the other events of the year. The ill temper of the
Colonies increased. Every mail threatened nearer union between them.
Boston took the lead in all violences, and Virginia imitated their
remonstrances; and being governed by able and independent men, these
memorials were boldly and sensibly drawn. Two regiments had been
ordered to Boston in the last August; and in November, advice came
of their being landed without opposition, of their being quartered
there, and of their having ordered the inhabitants to deliver up their
arms, with which the people had quietly complied. However unwelcome
this force was to the mutinous, a great number, who had been awed into
concurrence with the predominant spirit of the factions, were rejoiced
at daring to be peaceable; and even some few other towns had previously
declared against the Opponents. This intelligence, the reconciliation
of Sir Jeffery Amherst, and the miscarriages of the French in Corsica,
who had been thrice beaten there, were of seasonable advantage to the
resettled Administration, and enabled them to face the opening of the
session with confidence. There had been a riot, indeed, on Wilkes’s
birthday, and the Duke of Northumberland’s windows had been broken for
the part he took on the Middlesex election; but, as that great Duke
was now on ill terms with the house of Bute, the Court did not take to
heart his being insulted. A fresher instance of his Grace’s meanness
and ingratitude broke forth: Rigby had obtained a regiment for his
brother-in-law; the Duke insisted on it for Earl Percy, his son, and
told the Duke of Grafton aloud at Court, that if it was not granted,
himself would resign the Lieutenancy of Middlesex, and do all the
hurt he could on the election. The King was enraged, but was forced to
comply; but both Duke and Duchess were so ill received there after by
both King and Queen, that they resigned their post the next year.

On the 8th of November the Parliament met. The King’s speech was
blustering and empty. Lord Chatham did not appear, and Lord Temple was
absent too. In the Commons, though they talked on the general state of
affairs till eleven at night, there was no division. Grenville spoke
with acrimony against Lord Chatham, who, he said, was the source of the
troubles in America by his declaration in favour of their pretension
of not being taxed; but he was a poor man, now past everything, and
therefore he would say no more of him. But what excuse could be
made for the First Magistrate (Lord Camden), who had held the same
doctrine--at least, such a speech had been printed as his; if it was
not genuine, why was it not disavowed? The Chancellor was defended by
Dunning, who was prolix without brightness. Colonel Barré, who had
resigned with his protector, Lord Shelburne, made a better figure, as
usual, in Opposition Dowdeswell was dull and opinionative; Burke shone,
particularly on our inattention to Corsica; but the House seemed to
take no interest in that cause. Sir Edward Hawke and Admiral Saunders
disputed long on the importance of that island--if it could be called a
dispute, when both wanted words to express very indistinct ideas. For
the Administration the day was very favourable.[136]

But the great question of the time, _whether Wilkes should be allowed
to be a Member_, wore a less prosperous aspect. The King, with emotion,
told Lord Hertford how much he was hurt that Wilkes must continue to
sit; for Lord Granby, Sir Edward Hawke, and General Conway, had told
the Duke of Grafton that they would oppose his expulsion: that Lord
North was willing to undertake the service, but that it could not be
attempted against three such men--who were, in truth, three of the
most respected characters in the House. The question was of great
importance, and lay between the dignity of Parliament and the right of
the freeholders to elect whom they pleased for their representative--a
fatal separation of interests that ought never to be separated; and one
of those questions which the rashness and weakness of the Reign had
brought into discussion from behind the veil of venerable uncertainty.
That Parliament should not have power to reject from their body a most
disgraceful member, whom a former Parliament had ejected for crimes of
serious dye; that it should be obliged to receive so profligate a man,
and one actually in prison and under sentence for a libel, seemed a
compulsion to which few societies would or are obliged to submit. On
the other hand, no law of the land or of Parliament disqualified such
a man from being chosen. The rule is marked to freeholders, whom they
may or may not elect. The whole body of the House of Commons is but an
aggregate of the representatives of the several counties or boroughs;
and what right had other counties or boroughs to prescribe to the
County of Middlesex whom it should or should not elect? Are not the
freeholders the best judges with whom they shall trust their interests?
Parliament was never supposed to have a right of revision but on
contested elections. Still less is it proper or safe that a majority
should have authority to expel a member duly chosen. If extended, that
idea would go to a predominant party purging the House of all that are
disagreeable to them. The danger to the Constitution is augmented when
it is notorious that the majority is, of late years, almost always sold
to the Court. There would be an end of Opposition, and consequently
of liberty, if the Crown might garble the House of Commons at will.
The difficulty increased to the Court on the present question, in that
there was no one precedent directly in point. All that could be found,
after the most intense search, were strained to make them depose in
favour of expulsion. The case of my father, Sir Robert Walpole, in
the reign of Queen Anne, came the nearest to that of Wilkes. He was
expelled and imprisoned. The town of Lynn re-elected him, and he was
again expelled--but then it was by the same Parliament, and not by
a new one.[137] It was the more unfavourable, this precedent, that
the persecution of my father was carried on in the days of, and by,
a Jacobite Administration. Was that a precedent the House of Hanover
ought to have adopted? It was not, however, the only precedent of a
Stuart reign that was copied into the code of George the Third--nor the
least obnoxious precedent that the present Court and its ductile House
of Commons established on the present question; another being engrafted
on it far less defensible, and of very dangerous example. But the
reader must be conducted by regular steps to that strange proceeding,
which, like other measures of the Reign, engendered more vexation to
the Court than was compensated by its success.[138]

On the day for fixing hearings of contested elections, Sir George
Maccartney, who was returned from Russia, and had married Lord Bute’s
second daughter, spoke for the first time, and with very bad success,
though his parts had been much cried up. He was a young and handsome
Irishman, attached to Lord Holland, with whose eldest son he had
travelled as a kind of governor. He was an amiable man, with various
knowledge, and singular memory, but no other extraordinary talents.
He was now Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, in the room
of Lord Frederic Campbell, than whom there were few men who had more
grievously offended the King; but the humiliations which his Majesty
had brought on himself, obliged him at one time or other to employ or
reward those most obnoxious to him.

On the 14th, Sir Joseph Mawbey, formerly in Opposition, and made a
baronet by the Whigs, presented a petition from Wilkes, complaining
of the hard usage he had received, and couched in warm and offensive
terms. Mawbey declared he had been enjoined by his constituents of
Southwark to present the petition, intimating that his delivery of it
was not a voluntary act. The man was vain, noisy, and foolish, and
soon grew a hearty partisan of his client.[139] The House ordered the
petition to lie on the table--a mark of dislike; and Lord Strange
called for the record to show the commitment of Wilkes had been just.
The step in his favour was thought injudicious, and likely to advance
his expulsion.[140] Grenville, who by Lord Temple’s injunction was to
be against that expulsion, knew not how to digest the petition; while
the Opposition, with more reason, were for rescinding the iniquitous
vote that had taken away Wilkes’s privilege.


  War between Russia and Turkey.--The King of France’s new
    Mistress.--Death of the Duke of Newcastle.--Affairs of
    Corsica.--Quarrel between the Duke of Grafton and Lord
    Hertford.--Commencement of the Debate on Wilkes’s Case.--Ayliffe,
    a Solicitor, sent to Prison by the Lords.--Dispute concerning
    the Appearance of three Lords as Witnesses for Wilkes.--Riots
    at the Middlesex Election.--Characters of James Townshend,
    Sawbridge, and Colonel Onslow.--Publication of a Letter of Lord
    Weymouth.--Resolution Passed by the Lords on American Affairs.--The
    Cumberland Election.--Wilkes demands to be heard at the Bar of the
    House of Lords.--Ridiculous Importance given to this Person.


It was at this period that advice came of the Grand Signor having
declared war against Russia, in consequence of the intrigues of the Duc
de Choiseul at the Porte. France and the Czarina had long been on ill
terms. She had thwarted the influence of that Court over the Northern
Crowns, and mutual haughtiness had begotten mutual hatred. Choiseul,
who, with the ambition of Richelieu, wanted his coolness and some of
his art,--and who, though greater than the Cardinal by disdaining
little revenge, thought great revenge spoke a great Minister, had
conjured up this tempest, and soon had cause to lament his own
work.[141] The arms of the Czarina, who had two hundred thousand of the
best disciplined troops in Europe, ample provision of military stores,
and a yearly saving of a fifth of her revenues, were not unlikely
to miscarry against an unwieldy shattered empire, sunk in sloth and
ignorance, and new to war from long disuse. It was not luxurious
Bachas, the sudden weeds which shoot up to power in a seraglio, that
Richelieu let loose on the Empire: it was Gustavus and his hardy
Swedes. The event in both cases was suitable to the concoction.
Catherine triumphed over the star of Choiseul, as Mr. Pitt had done.
Even the rocks of little Corsica for some time kept at bay the armies
of France. A still more contemptible enemy was undermining that
enterprising Minister. Old Marshal Richelieu, who had preserved none of
his faculties but that last talent of a decayed Frenchman--a spirit of
backstairs intrigue, had contrived to give to his master at near sixty,
what at twenty the King would not take from his recommendation,--a new
mistress. On the death of Madame de Pompadour, his Majesty had declared
that he was grown too old to expect love to his person, and therefore
would have no more a favourite sultana. But, as if men only declare
they know what is sensible in order to mark their folly in stronger
colours, he now ran headlong into an amour that every circumstance
attending it stamped with ridicule. The nymph was past twenty-six, and
her charms, which were not striking, had lost more than their bloom.
Nor had she ever risen to any distinction in her profession, but ranked
with those wretched women who are the sport of the loosest debauchees,
and the objects of the most casual amours. She had been entertained,
not for his own pleasure, but to draw to his house young travelling
Englishmen, by a Comte du Barry, who kept a gaming table, and who had
exercised the same laudable industry in taverns here. Mademoiselle
Lange was pitched upon by the Cabal of Choiseul’s enemies as the
instrument of their plot, and of his downfall. To dignify this Helen
with a title[142]--for Du Barry was a man of quality--his brother
was ordered to marry her; and the other, from having been a pimp to
Richelieu, ascended to be his associate in politics. Belle, first
valet-de-chambre to the King, and who exercised the same function for
his master as Du Barry for Richelieu, was prevailed on or bribed to
present the new Countess to the Monarch.

On the 17th of November died the Duke of Newcastle at the age of
seventy-five. He had had a stroke of palsy some months before; and
then, and not till then, had totally abandoned politics. His life
had been a proof that even in a free country great abilities are not
necessary to govern it. Industry, perseverance, and intrigue, gave
him that duration of power which shining talents and the favour of
the Crown could not secure to Lord Granville, nor the first rank in
eloquence and the most brilliant services to Lord Chatham. Adventitious
cunning repaired Newcastle’s folly, rashness overset Lord Granville’s
parts, and presumptuous impracticability Lord Chatham.

The same day Mr. Seymour moved for _all_ papers that had passed
between this Court and whatever other Power, relating to Corsica--a
proposal so absurd, that he was forced to correct and restrict it to
our correspondence with France on that subject: yet even thus it was
little tasted. Grenville himself supported the motion coldly, and
owned, that if he was pressed to decide, he should disapprove a war, if
Corsica alone were the object.[143] Burke said, many would subscribe
to the support of the Corsicans, if the Ministers would recall the
proclamation issued when Lord Bute was at the head of affairs, to
prohibit any aid being sent to those _rebels_--for so that unhappy
people had been denominated by another free island! The young Duke
of Devonshire, at that time at Florence, had given 400_l._, and with
the other English there had raised a sum of 2000_l._, and sent it to
Paoli.[144] But at home, the tone of monarchy prevailed in the senate.
The Tories retired or voted with the Court; and by ten at night, the
motion was rejected by 230 to 84--a day of fortunate omen to the
Court at the opening of Parliament, and equally propitious to the
Duc de Choiseul; but humiliating to this country, and fatal to the
Corsicans! It was telling France we did not dare to interfere with her
usurpations. Remarkable too it was, that the King seldom obtained a
Parliamentary triumph that did not disgrace his Crown.

Yet was this confirmation of his power on the point of being overset
by the moody and capricious temper of Grafton himself. The very next
day, as I was going through Pall-Mall, I met that Duke, driving rapidly
to St. James’s. As he passed my chariot, he threw himself almost out
of his own, with a countenance so inflamed with rage, that I thought
him distracted, as I knew of no offence I had given to him. In the
evening, going to inquire after the Queen, who lay in, Lady Hertford,
then in waiting to give answers to the company, ran up to me in the
utmost disorder of tears and consternation, and begged I would that
instant go to her lord, as she did not know what might happen between
him and her nephew. This was more and more mysterious to me; but,
after she had told me a few words on the subject, and I had prevailed
on her to compose herself a little in so public a place, I went to
Lord Hertford, and learned the whole story. Their son, Lord Beauchamp,
who was ambitious of establishing a great power in his family, both
by income and parliamentary interest, had by a favourable opportunity
secured, as he thought, the borough of Coventry, where the late Duke
of Grafton, Lady Hertford’s father, had had the principal weight. The
present Duke had beheld that progress with uneasiness, and was not
without jealousy of Lord Hertford’s favour with the King, and even of
his aspiring to the Treasury. A vacancy happening, the Duke had rudely
refused his interest (for the Crown has much influence there) to Lord
Hertford for a Mr. Nash, whom the latter supported against Sir Richard
Glynn; the Earl, who had one son already member there, declining, from
fear of envy, to set up another of his family. At the same time that he
asked the Duke of Grafton’s interest, he had solicited the Secretary at
War, Lord Barrington, Sir Edward Hawke, First Lord of the Admiralty,
and General Howard, Governor of Chelsea College, to influence some
soldiers and sailors, who had votes at Coventry, in favour of Mr. Nash.
Rigby had learned this detail from Mr. Bradshaw or Sir Richard Glynn,
who had purchased the interest of one Waring in that place, the latter
of whom had been ill-used by Lord Beauchamp, and had married a natural
daughter of Ranby the surgeon, one of the flatterers of Mrs. Haughton.
She and Rigby inflamed the Duke against Lord Hertford, representing
it as an attack on the Treasury, and had painted me as the adviser,
though no man living had so rooted an aversion to electioneering; nor
did I, till the quarrel broke out, know one syllable of the detail,
nor even who were the parties concerned. But what was my astonishment
when Lord Hertford told me, that that very morning, when I met the
Duke in his raging fever, he had gone to the King, and told him he
would resign! He had declared the same intention to Lord Granby, and
had sought the Chancellor to notify it to him likewise. From thence,
with unparalleled insolence, he had repaired to Lord Hertford, and
charged him with assuming the powers of the Minister. Lord Hertford
allowed he had been in the wrong in soliciting the interest of the
Crown, without his Grace’s approbation; but offered to repair all, by
releasing the votes he had obtained of that sort. No; this would not
satisfy. Sir Richard Glynn must also be satisfied; must declare he
did not think the Duke, who had promised him his interest, had broken
his word. So outrageous was the Duke’s behaviour, that Lady Hertford,
who was present, at last broke out, and told him, she would not hear
her husband thus injuriously treated by her nephew. Mr. Conway, too,
interposed; and the King writing a very obliging letter to the Earl,
reminding him of the fable of the bundle of sticks, and Lord Hertford
quitting all pretensions to the vacant seat, though with hearty
discontent on his part, and with greater reluctance on his son’s, a
plausible pacification ensued, and the wayward chief consented to
resume the reins. As I laughed at his frowardness, and had had no hand
in the measure, I took care not to be included in the treaty, though I
had advised the Earl not to push it to a rupture (which I needed not to
fear he would), as he had not been strictly regular in the formality
of proceeding. The story were not worth remembering, if it did not
exemplify the Duke’s touchy humour, which converted trifles into
tempests, and his Administration into a scene of private animosities.

This passion was no sooner subsided, than the Duke declared himself
candidate, to succeed the Duke of Newcastle as Chancellor of Cambridge,
and was chosen; Lord Hardwicke, who had had thoughts of canvassing for
it, withdrawing his pretensions.

The Opposition, in the meantime, was split into smaller factions.
Grenville had written a bulky pamphlet on the state of the nation, in
which he had kept no terms with the Rockingham party. They determined
to reply to it; and, as will be mentioned hereafter, hurt themselves
much more than Grenville had hurt them. The Duke of Richmond, who had
too much sense not to perceive the want of it in his friends, was sick
of their conduct; nor were they so blind as not to see how much they
had prejudiced their affairs by so total a proscription of Lord Bute
and his creatures,--an error they endeavoured to repair in their
answer to Grenville, but which they managed so awkwardly, by dropping
sight of him, and speaking but obscurely of his tools, that they made
no court to the King, left the Cabal equally offended, and yet scarce
marked out to the people any objects of unpopularity:[145] but the
Court was now so far from wanting their assistance, that the operations
of the private Cabal all tended to exclude their new allies from
entering too intimately into their secrets. Lord Harcourt’s embassy to
France had left open the post of Master of the Horse to the Queen. Lord
Delawar,[146] her Chamberlain, and a favourite, would not take it; on
which the Bedford faction asked it for Lord Waldegrave;[147] but the
King and Queen prevailed on the Duke of Beaufort[148] to accept it, who
was a converted Jacobite, and more fit for their purpose.

On the 23rd of November, report was made to the House on Wilkes’s case.
Beckford treated the last Parliament and its corruption in severe
terms. Sir Gilbert Elliot took this up with great warmth, and said it
was an instruction to the Committee of Privileges not to hear a former
Parliament abused. There was an instance, he said, upon the Journals,
of a member expelled for attacking a former Parliament. This doctrine
was received, as it deserved, with much indignation. Grenville said,
he would not abuse the last Parliament; but, to be sure, it had been
much given to rescinding its own acts. Barré commended it ironically
for submitting to let officers be cashiered for their parliamentary
conduct: they had, no doubt, been thought cowards!--(He had been one of
the dismissed.) Conway said, whoever had turned _him_ out, he forgave
them. The Ministers were glad to let Sir Gilbert’s assertion be passed
off, under a sort of acknowledgment that preceding Parliaments ought
to be mentioned with decency. Much was said on rescinding the vote
on privilege, and Chauncey Townshend promised to move for it. Barré
said, such a motion ought to come from the Treasury Bench, for the
sacrifice of privilege had passed against the opinion of the present
Chancellor (Camden); and, in the other House, the present head of the
Treasury (Grafton), and the present head of the Church (Cornwallis),
had strongly protested against it. The Ministers at last agreed that
Wilkes should be heard to his petition in person or by counsel; and
appointed the hearing three days before the approaching new election
for Middlesex.[149] Conway said it were better to let his petition lie
on the table without notice. Sir Joseph Mawbey, then mentioning Lord
Barrington’s letter of thanks to the 3rd Regiment of Guards, for the
execution in St. George’s Fields, as if they had conquered a foreign
enemy, his lordship, with that steady confidence with which he always
defended any particular servility in his conduct, said, he had not
regarded what had been said against him without doors, but now would
satisfy the House on what he had done. This vindication consisted in
avowing that _he_ had advised the King to thank the soldiers; _he_ had
added the postscript of his own accord; _he_ had promised the accused
soldier support; _he_ had supplied him with public money; _he_ had
protected and maintained him since--and, if any man would move for
his letter, _he_ would second it. Sir William Meredith did move for
his letter, and Lord Barrington seconded; but the Ministers’ tender
of _such conscious and modest innocence_, interposed; and though they
commended his alacrity in justifying himself, they declared, they
could not in prudence let the measures of Government be called thus
intemperately in question; and the Opposition, finding it vain to
contest, gave it up without a division.[150]

An Opposition so distracted and disunited, called for recruits--at
least, for something that might sound creditable in the ears of the
public, and keep up a spirit. Calcraft, who had the best head for
intrigue in the whole party, contrived a reconciliation between Lord
Temple and Lord Chatham, as a prelude to the re-appearance of the
latter; and Lady Chatham was made to say, that her lord had got an
efficacious fit of the gout, which was to imply that his head was quite
clear. Still this coalition in that family had no other effect than to
alarm the Bedfords, who, concluding, according to a prevailing notion
at that time, that nothing could withstand the union of the three
brothers, and forgetting how lately they had deserted Grenville, or
rather, remembering it with fear, thought the best method of securing
themselves was to add another treachery, and betray the Duke of
Grafton. On this they determined in a meeting at Rigby’s, and sent to
offer themselves to Grenville--and were, as they deserved, rejected.

Calcraft’s next step was to try, through me, to connect Mr. Conway
with the Grenvilles. Nothing was farther from my wishes than to see
Grenville restored. However, having so lately experienced how intent
Rigby was to sow division between the Duke of Grafton and his old
friends, and how easily that could be effected, I was not sorry to
keep on fair terms with the Grenvilles, in order to widen the breach
between them and the Bedfords; and with that view I received Calcraft’s
overtures with ready civility, while my inclination was to re-unite
Conway and his old allies--but, in truth, all the several factions were
so indifferent to me, that I entered heartily into the views of none,
nor ever intended more to enlist with any.

On the 28th, Sir Joseph Mawbey moved, at the request of Wilkes, that
the Lords should be desired to allow Lord Temple to appear in the House
of Commons as a necessary witness for him. This was easily granted;
but though this was all that was notified, the House had no sooner
consented, than Mawbey demanded the same leave to be asked for Lord
Sandwich and Lord March, whom Wilkes desired to examine. The step
was singularly artful, nor could the House make a distinction, when
it had complied on Lord Temple.[151] The hope of Wilkes was, either
that the House of Lords would refuse to let the three lords attend the
summons, or that the two latter lords themselves, who must see to what
an insolent scrutiny they would be exposed, would refuse to appear;
and thence a breach might happen between the two Houses. But a new
House of Commons, so recently chosen, and at such enormous expense to
great part of the Members, was not likely to quarrel on punctilios,
and hazard a dissolution. Besides the three lords, Wilkes desired to
summon the Solicitor-General Dunning, Hopkins, a friend of the Duke
of Grafton,[152] a common barber, and some other persons. Mawbey also
moved for an account of all moneys issued from the Treasury to Carteret
Webbe their solicitor, to carry on prosecutions; but this the Ministers
would not assent to. Grenville said, that everybody must be sensible,
that in his situation, he could not object to the demand--but then,
and in all his conduct, he marked how strongly his sentiments went
with the Administration, though his rage at being out of place carried
him against them. To have lost his power, and to be driven to abet
Wilkes--it was a Dominican friar, reduced to fling open the gates of
the Inquisition. Rigby happened not to come into the House till the
votes had passed for Lord Temple and Lord Sandwich: he did oppose that
for Lord March, but in vain.

If the Lords Sandwich and March were apprehensive of the torture which
Wilkes meditated for them, there were two other men no less embarrassed
at their own situation; these were the Duke of Grafton and the
Chancellor. The part each took was consonant to his character: Grafton
dashed into violence against his former principles; Lord Camden leaned
to popularity. The first declared he would be guided by Lord North, his
Chancellor of the Exchequer and Minister of the House of Commons, who
offered to carry on the war vigorously against Wilkes, contrary to the
sentiments of Mr. Conway. This last was consulted by the Chancellor,
and both agreed in recommending moderation. An opportunity was soon
given to the Chancellor of avowing his opinion, which he did, as the
Court thought, even with hostile intentions. During the tumults at the
end of the last session, one Hesse, a justice of peace, had taken up a
rioter eight days before the Houses rose, and by different accidents
had been prevented from carrying his prisoner before the Lords, and
then dismissed him. Hesse was then sued for false imprisonment; and
one Ayliffe, a solicitor, notified the prosecution to the Solicitor
of the Treasury. The Treasury supported the justice; and just before
the remeeting of Parliament, Ayliffe had offered to compound the suit,
which the justice refused. The Earl of Egmont complained to the Lords
of that prosecution as a breach of privilege, and made a warm and able
speech against riots, and on the licentiousness of the people. The
Government, he said, was at the eve of destruction. He had found that
no man would set his face against the evil, and therefore he would,
though he might be stoned as he returned to his own house. He professed
he was of no party, nor attached to any: he saw that all was faction.
The people were destroying themselves by their own licentious conduct.
The Lords alone could save the country; their _dictatorial power_ could
and had authority to do it. The Lex and Consuetudo Parliamenti was on
their side, of which he quoted precedents from the time of Richard
the Second. He said he would move four resolutions, and then call
witnesses to prove his assertions. The first resolution was, that no
inferior court could meddle in any case that was before the House of
Lords. This was assented to with applause and unanimity. The second
went farther in the same sense. Lord Mansfield highly approved Lord
Egmont’s intentions, but thought his second resolution went too far,
and might involve them in difficulties and want explanations; and he
held that the first resolution was sufficient. Lord Egmont said he
had done his duty, and would leave what he had thrown out with the
House. On this the first resolution alone passed--but not without
Lord Lyttelton’s censuring the high-flown expression of _dictatorial
power_. This the other explained and softened. The Chancellor was
displeased with the whole proceeding, and thought the prosecution of
the justice a mere case of common law. The offenders, Ayliffe and
Biggs the rioter, were then examined. The latter proved to be a tool
of Wilkes, under direction not to answer; yet from ignorance he was
brought to answer enough that was censurable. Ayliffe, though far more
artful, prevaricated so shamefully, that it was moved to commit him to
Newgate. The Chancellor tried to explain that the case did not relate
to the Lords, and proposed only to reprimand Ayliffe; but the Duke of
Grafton firmly resisting, and the Chancellor dividing the House, had
only four other lords of his opinion,--Lord Lyttelton, Lord Rockingham,
Lord Abingdon, and Lord Milton, against fifty-one; so Ayliffe was
committed to prison, and Biggs, as a low creature, reprimanded; which
reprimand was pronounced by the Chancellor, with this mark, “As the
Lords have _now_ declared this a breach of privilege,” &c. Lord
Temple was not present, though it had been expected that the demand
for the three lords would be discussed; but instead of showing any
desire to obey the summons of Wilkes, he declared he should go into
the country till after Christmas. This was regarded as an intimation
that he had no longer any connection with Wilkes. When the House of
Commons sent to make the demand, the Lords replied they would send
an answer by their own messengers; and though the demand was made on
the first of December, they put off the consideration to the fifth.
At the same time the ministerial party in the Commons, on pretence
that Carteret Webbe wanted more time, and that Jenkinson was ill in
his bed, put off the appearance of Wilkes to the twelfth. On that the
Lords determined to adjourn their committee on that business _sine
die_, and to send no answer, having found no precedent on the journals
for sending the three lords. On the contrary, usage bore that Wilkes
should have applied first to the three lords themselves, who might
have gone voluntarily before the Commons, as the Earls of Westmoreland
and Morton had done in the last reign--or if the three lords had
refused to appear, the Commons then might have sent to demand them,
which probably would have been refused. When Lord Somers had appeared
before the Commons, and an extravagant question had been put to him,
he said he hoped nobody thought him absurd enough to answer such a
question, put on his hat and walked out. Lord Sandwich told the Lords
that as an individual he was ready to appear before the other House,
but desired their Lordships to consider that he had been Secretary of
State in the heat of Wilkes’s affair, and that he should not answer to
any improper question. Sir Joseph Mawbey[153] moved to have the Lords
requested to send the three lords on the day appointed for Wilkes’s
appearance; but this was rejected. The next day (the 6th) he moved to
demand the three lords that they might give an account of what they
knew of a subornation of perjury procured by public money, meaning
the transactions of Webbe and Kidgel against Wilkes. Grenville said,
he would answer that one of the three (Lord Temple) would not appear
willingly against him, his brother, nor could he have known anything
of the disposal of public money. On this Lord Temple’s appearance was
waived. This motion was renewed the next day for the two others and
sent to the Lords. The Peers flamed at a charge for subornation of
perjury against two of their members. Lord Marchmont took it up with
most warmth. Lord Sandwich said, he defied the aspersion, desired to
be sifted, knew he had been called Jemmy Twitcher, and had despised
it; but this charge was too offensive to be borne. The Lords demanded
an instant conference. The Commons replied, they had sent them four
different messages that day; they desired to know on which they
demanded a conference? That being explained, they met, when the Lords
made their complaint. The Commons put off the consideration to the
next day, when, to show disrespect by delay, Beckford moved for all
patent papers relative to America, which, though rejected by 122 to 77,
detained the House so late that they could not enter on the business of
the conference.

With regard to America, a Council was held on the 6th, at which the
Duke of Grafton produced a plan for resettling it. Conway found it very
hazardous and objected to it. The Duke was wroth, said he had drawn
it himself, and had not slept for thinking of it. He had, he owned,
communicated it to Dyson--and then foolishly produced a letter which
showed that he had sent his plan to Dyson, who had rejected it, and
given him the other. Conway would not bend, but said, as long as he
came to Council he would speak his opinion freely; and the Chancellor
justified his conduct.

The Commons determined to be firm in their answer to the lords; to
deny that they meant to charge the two lords as guilty of subornation
of perjury, for then they must have accused them directly; but to
assert their right of demanding their appearance; and a Committee was
appointed to draw up this answer. Rigby told them, that, if desired
privately, both Sandwich and March would be ready to come before them;
but the House would not commission any private man to make the request.
On the contrary, on the morrow the committee drew up a resolute answer;
but the Court, dreading a rupture of the two Houses, secretly prevailed
on the Lords to acquiesce and be content with the answer. The two Earls
offered to go before the Commons; and their House allowed them.[154]

On the 8th of December came on, at Brentford, the poll for electing
a knight of the shire for Middlesex, in the room of Mr. Cooke, who
had died since his election. The Court again set up Sir William
Beauchamp Proctor. Wilkes recommended his counsel, Serjeant Glynn,
a man of unexceptionable character. Till past two in the afternoon
everything was quiet; but then arose an outrageous tumult, begun, as
was generally believed, by Sir William’s mob, who had been intended
only for defence. Whichever side was the aggressor, an almost general
engagement ensued, in which, though a man was killed on Glynn’s side,
his faction was victorious. They knocked down several that presented
themselves to vote, seized the books of the poll, and drove away the
sheriffs. The House of Commons was hearing the contested election
for Cumberland (of which more hereafter) when at nine at night James
Townshend and Sawbridge arrived from Brentford in their boots, and
gave an inflammatory account of the riot. They were followed by the
sheriffs, who, at Calcraft’s instigation, came and demanded how they
were to proceed. Artfully as this interlude was conceived, the House
behaved with prudence and temper, avoiding to enter into any party
consideration, nor inquiring which side had given the provocation. On
the contrary, they only ordered the sheriffs to proceed to the election
the next morning,[155] and, if impeded, to apply to the House. All the
books of the poll, except one, it was thought would be recovered.

James Townshend and Sawbridge becoming considerable actors in the
scenes that followed, it is necessary to give some brief account of
them. The father[156] of the former had been all his life attached to
the Court. The son, inheriting an easy fortune from a relation, and
being of a fiery constitution, and not void of parts, had entered into
the politics and following of the Earl of Shelburne, and had a mind
assorted to violent and determined counsels. Sawbridge was brother of
the celebrated historian, Mrs. Macaulay. He had quitted the army on
marrying a lady[157] of large fortune. Independence and his sister’s
republicanism had thrown him into enthusiastic attachment to liberty.
His soul was all integrity, and his private virtues all great and
amiable. His capacity, though not deficient, was not bright, nor his
eloquence adapted to popularity. Consequently he was more respected in
his party than followed, his honesty restraining the dictates of his
zeal, and his bigotry being founded on principle, not on doctrines and

A man differently constituted began now to distinguish himself on
the other side. This was Colonel George Onslow, nephew, of the late
Speaker. He had been known as one of those burlesque orators who
are favoured in all public assemblies, and to whom one or two happy
sallies of impudence secure a constant attention, though their voice
and manner are often their only patents, and who, by being laughed at
for absurdity as frequently as for humour, obtain a licence for saying
what they please. This man, who was short, round, quick, successful
in jokes, and of a bold and resolute nature, had gone warmly into
Opposition with Lord Rockingham and the old Whigs; but now with his
cousin, the elder George Onslow, had enlisted under the Duke of
Grafton, and followed the banners of the Court; incensed particularly
at Wilkes for exposing the correspondence of his cousin, lately one of
Wilkes’s passionate admirers. The Colonel seeing a man in the street
pasting up a speech of Oliver Cromwell, ordering the people to pull the
members out of the House, Onslow seized the fellow in spite of the
mob, and complained of him to the House. This act was applauded, and
the prisoner ordered to attend. He accused a milkman of having incited
him, and the latter was committed to Newgate.[159] An exploit of
greater rashness and much more memorable consequence, about two years
afterwards, will confirm what I have said of this Colonel.[160]

Ayliffe, the other state-prisoner, petitioned for release. Lord
Sandwich proposed he should be enlarged, provided he would inform
against others of his accomplices. This inquisitorial measure was
treated severely, as it deserved, by the Duke of Richmond--and Ayliffe
was discharged. At the same time Wilkes brought three writs of error
into the House of Lords, on Lord Mansfield’s alteration of the Record,
and on the double punishment of imprisonment for ten months and twelve
months inflicted on him for the “Essay on Woman,” and the _North

On the 10th, the books of the poll being recovered, the House of
Commons ordered the sheriffs to examine them, and then to renew the
poll on the 14th. Rigby moved to put off the appearance of Wilkes to
the 17th, Jenkinson, a material witness for Carteret Webbe, having had
a relapse. Sir Edward Deering[161] said angrily, he saw nothing was
meant but delay--why did not the Ministers put it off at once?--and
then himself moved in scorn to adjourn that appearance till January the
27th. The Ministers gladly caught at the offer, and it passed.

A letter of Lord Weymouth previous to the murder of Allen in St.
George’s Fields, and couched in imprudent terms,[162] had been
printed in the _St. James’s Chronicle_. Lord Pomfret was desirous of
complaining of it, but the Duke of Grafton insisted on making the
complaint himself, and did with extraordinary heat, and the Lords
ordered Baldwin the printer to be taken up. The letter had been
accompanied by a very daring comment. Baldwin at the bar of the Lords
said, he had received the papers from one Swan a printer, who appeared
likewise. He was a plain honest man; confessed he had been alarmed at
the seizure of Baldwin, yet had been determined to sacrifice himself,
his wife, and children, rather than betray any man. He had therefore
applied to Mr. Wilkes, to whom he had gone three times a-week for
letters to be printed in the newspapers, and had asked him what he
should do? Mr. Wilkes had answered, “Declare you received all those
papers from me.” This hardiness threw the Lords into a rage; but the
Duke of Grafton, checked by Wilkes’s boldness, proposed to defer the
consideration till the morrow. The Duke of Bolton professed to detest
Wilkes, and wondered their Lordships could hesitate a moment; but the
Minister, perceiving the new difficulty into which he had plunged,
Wilkes being as yet a member of the other House, and willing to take
advice, persisted in deferring the consideration.

On the 14th, Serjeant Glynn was returned for Middlesex by a majority of
264 votes; but though the City and the Strand were illuminated on that
occasion, Wilkes, to prevent complaints and to display his authority,
had issued such strict orders to his partisans, that not a man appeared
in the streets--such was his influence even from his prison!

The Lords then passed six or seven resolutions on American affairs;
of which the only strong one was, to address the Crown to prosecute
in England all who had been engaged in treasonable practices in
the Colonies. Lord Temple, who had not appeared till then during
the session, said, all this was doing nothing, and went away. Lord
Shelburne professed himself an American, but declared he would wait for
a better opportunity of speaking his thoughts. The Duke of Richmond
called on the Ministers to acquaint the House with what sums had been
received from the new duties. The Duke of Grafton answered, Nothing
had been received, for the Commissioners had been imprisoned by the
mob: but he would go farther; he believed nothing had been received
from any part of America;--but another of the Ministers, more prudent,
interrupted him, and said, the Duke of Richmond’s question was nothing
to the point before them. The resolutions passed.

The other House had been engaged in hearing the contested election for
Cumberland, which, under the names of the candidates, comprehended the
great rivalship between the Duke of Portland and Sir James Lowther.
The Duke was a proud, though bashful, man, but of an unexceptionable
character, which was illuminated by the hard measure he had so recently
received from the Treasury, who had wrested an estate from him in
favour of Sir James for the purposes of this very election. To the
unpopularity of being son-in-law of the Favourite, Sir James united
many odious arbitrary qualities, and was equally unamiable in public
and private.[163] The countenance of the Crown itself could not serve
him against these prejudices. Even in _that_ House of Commons he lost
his cause by 247 to 95, the Scots, the Princess’s Cabal, and a few
more, alone supporting him. The Duke of Grafton, affecting candour to
repair the injury he had done to the Duke of Portland, took no part
till the two last days, and then, though acting zeal for Sir James,
sent only the two Secretaries of the Treasury to his assistance.
The Bedfords, resenting the disappointment of Lord Waldegrave by the
promotion of the Duke of Beaufort, deserted Sir James Lowther, though
professing to wish well to his cause, some of them staying away, others
voting against him in compliment to Lord Weymouth, who had married the
Duke of Portland’s sister; and Lord George Sackville, who had hung so
long on Lord Bute to no purpose, spoke strongly against Sir James, to
show his discontent; on which Sir James said to him, “My lord, you
ought to have remembered that you have been on your trial too:”--nor
was Sir James satisfied with this rebuke, as will be seen hereafter.

Baldwin, the printer, being the same day discharged and reprimanded
by the Lords, and the Chancellor, in delivering their reproof, having
distinguished between the liberty and the licentiousness of the press,
Lord Sandwich moved the House to desire him to print his reprimand,
which the other felt as it was meant.

Wilkes demanded to be heard at the bar of the Lords, to justify his
writings. They dreaded his appearance; and to shift it off from
themselves, desired a conference with the Commons, in which they
communicated a vote they had passed, in which they pronounced the
censure on Lord Weymouth’s letter an infamous and scandalous libel,
and desired the Commons to agree with them. To this they added the
evidence. Lord North, at his return from the conference, moved to
concur with the Lords; but Grenville said, they must first hear the
evidence. Seymour and others reflected on Lord Weymouth’s letter; and
Macleane, a creature of Shelburne, said, if Wilkes’s preface to the
letter was conceived in gall, the letter itself was written in blood.
It was determined to hear the evidence on the 19th, and Wilkes himself
on the 20th. Wilkes, no ways intimidated, spread handbills, in which he
avowed the publication both of Lord Barrington’s and Lord Weymouth’s
letters. Lord North, at a previous meeting of the chief members of the
House, had almost pledged himself to go into the examination of Wilkes;
but Conway pleaded for moderation, and told them he meant to propose
to send back to the Lords to leave him to the law. It was agreed Mr.
Conway should throw this out, and see how it was tasted. But the
Ministers again changed their minds (probably, by orders from Court),
and resolved to go into the examination after the holidays. James
Townshend, Phipps, and Lord John Cavendish proposed to do nothing,
which Conway approved; but others, desirous of hearing the evidence,
brought it on, heard it, and then moved to hear Wilkes’s defence on the
27th, which was agreed to.

Wilkes, on the same day, humbly petitioned the Lords to allow him to
be present on the 21st, at the hearing of his writs of error, and
produced a precedent for it in 1764. The Chancellor said the cases were
not parallel, the precedent regarding an appeal, not a writ of error,
and that it would not be allowed in the courts below; yet he proposed
to search the journals for a precedent, and, as there was none, this
would have been the least exceptionable manner of denying his request;
but the warmer Lords calling out, “Reject! reject!” the petition was
rejected, and Wilkes was left to complain of a new hardship.

The Duke of Grafton, growing alarmed at finding that he had driven
from himself every friend, and rested only on the Bedfords, cast
about for reunion with Lord Hertford and his brother; and to raise
their jealousy, told the former that Lord North was uneasy at his
situation, and he apprehended would resign, Mr. Conway not supporting
him; in which case, the power of the House of Commons must fall to Mr.
Grenville, as Mr. Conway would not undertake it; and the only other
person fit for it, Sir Gilbert Elliot, being too obnoxious as a Scot.
Lord Hertford told him frankly that though Mr. Conway had supported
Lord North, his Grace must remember how he himself had used the family;
that Mr. Conway had adhered to his Grace against the Rockinghams, had
consented to stay in the Cabinet for his sake; and yet, so far from
being trusted or consulted, was never admitted within his Grace’s door.
The Duke professed how glad he always was of seeing Conway--and there
the re-union rested, till the Duke had new complaints to make of others.

On the 21st, Wilkes petitioned the Lords to put off the hearing his
writs of error; as Serjeant Glynn, his counsel, was confined with
the gout, having once only (on his election) been brought down to
the House of Commons. That impetuous and unfeeling man, the Earl of
Marchmont, proposed to name counsel for him, and hear him directly;
but the Chancellor, objecting to such violence, and applauding Glynn
for defending Wilkes _since his misfortunes_,[164] the Lords adjourned
the hearing till after the holidays. Both Houses then adjourned; and
Wilkes terminated the year by declaring himself candidate for the ward
of Farringdon Without, whose alderman, Sir Francis Gosling, was just

I have been as brief as possible on the several stages of Wilkes’s
history, detailed in so many publications; yet the subject must be
tedious to future readers not interested in so ridiculous a war. Yet,
were the steps omitted, who could conceive how the affairs of a great
nation could stand still, while all the attention of the nation and
of the public hung on such a motley character? He was dignified by
the asperity of the Court; but not the vengeance of the Princess, the
connivance--nay, and passion[166] of the King, or the rancour of the
Scotch, could raise his importance so high, as to excuse or palliate
their employing their thoughts, time, and power, to crush a personage
that was fitter to be the merry Andrew than the martyr of one of the
most formidable Courts in Europe.


  Douglas Peerage Claim.--Andrew Stuart.--Trial of Macquirk
    and Balf.--Discussions concerning Wilkes Resolutions on
    America.--Wilkes appears before the House of Commons.--Censure
    on him passed.--His Expulsion carried.--Republican Party in
    England.--Grenville’s _State of the Nation_.--Burke’s Reply.


On the 2nd of January Wilkes was chosen alderman of the ward of
Farringdon Without. Bromwich, a merchant of paper for furniture, stood
against him, but soon gave up the contest, Wilkes polling thirteen
out of fifteen hundred; and thence the latter became a magistrate of
the Metropolis, while yet a criminal of State, and a prisoner! At the
same time the outrageous abuse, for which he had been sentenced, was
continued in _North Britons_ (though no longer written by him), and in
other public papers. Even the constables of the City were, almost to a
man, devoted to Wilkes.

On the 13th, at a ballot at the East India House, the agreement with
the Government was rejected by 248 proprietors against 207.

The next day two of the rioters at Brentford, on the side of the
Court, were tried at the Old Bailey, and convicted of the murder of
George Clarke; but their counsel, urging that there was a flaw in the
indictment, judgment was stayed till the point could be argued, when
that plea was overruled, and the criminals were ordered for execution
on the 17th, the King not daring to interfere with a pardon.

The 16th, the House of Lords meeting after the adjournment, Wilkes’s
writs of error were argued before them by his counsel, Glynn and
Davenport; on the side of the Crown by the Attorney-General De Grey and
Thurloe--Dunning, the Solicitor-General, not choosing to act, as he had
been so much employed in behalf of Wilkes. Wilmot, Lord Chief Justice
of the Common Pleas, in the name of the other judges, (Lord Mansfield,
and the judges of the King’s Bench, not being present as parties,) gave
a full opinion against Wilkes, and the verdicts were confirmed without
one peer saying a syllable against them, but suffering themselves to be
directed by the judges.

About this time was heard decisively the great cause between the Houses
of Douglas and Hamilton, by appeal to the Lords,--a cause as singular
and as ambiguous as perhaps ever came before a court of judicature. The
last Duke of Douglas,[167] a kind of lunatic, had at various periods
made different wills; at first in favour of the Hamiltons, the nearest
males of his race; but latterly he had substituted as his heir the son
of his sister, who having offended him by marrying a poor, elderly
gentleman,[168] had retired to France, and there, though herself past
fifty, had been, or pretended to have been, delivered of two boys,[169]
of whom one only survived. A cloud of circumstances concurred to make
the Hamiltons suspect that both children were supposititious, and
purchased of different peasants. The Duchess of Douglas, a woman of
bold and masculine spirit, and herself a Douglas, who had artfully
procured to get married to the Duke after the death of his sister, whom
she had never seen, espoused the cause of Lady Jane’s children, and
prevailed on the Duke, in his last days, to restore the inheritance
to his rejected nephew. The widow Duchess of Hamilton, one of the
beautiful Gunnings, and of a spirit equally proud and pertinacious,
though of the most delicate frame and form and outward softness,
as obstinately defended the cause of her sons, particularly of the
youngest, who had been named the former heir; and being incited by one
Andrew Stuart, a very able young man, and one of the trustees of her
children, she, at immense expense to the Duke, her son, had pursued the
disquisition into the births of Lady Jane’s children; and, by the books
of the police at Paris, had, at the distance of near twenty years, and
by the industry of Stuart, collected such a mass of circumstantial
evidence, that it seemed to many men to prove that Lady Jane had never
been with child, nor ever resided long enough in one place to give even
an air of probability that she had lain in; to which should be added,
that Lady Jane could never fix on any consistent account of the person
in whose house, or of the house in which she had been delivered, and
in which she allowed she had not staid above three or four days. Much
proof appeared of Lady Jane’s art and hypocrisy: on the other side,
little or none that she had acted like a mother, having neglected the
younger child entirely for a year;[170] and the survivor proving to
have all probable appearance of a swarthy French peasant,[171] and
no ways resembling his pretended parents, who were fair and sandy,
like most Scots. The Duke, Lady Jane’s brother, had, till near his
death, been persuaded of the imposture; and the cause coming before
the Lords of Session in Scotland, had, after the fullest discussion,
been determined in favour of the Hamiltons. Mankind grew wonderfully
divided in their opinions, when the cause was now brought before the
English Peers. Though the cheat, if one, had its foundation, and almost
its detection, in France, the French inclined to the legitimacy of
the children; so did the generality in Scotland: and, above all, the
compassion excited in favour of infants avowed by both parents, though,
in truth, very equivocally by Lady Jane on her deathbed, carried the
current in favour of young Douglas. He was not less eagerly patronised
by the Duke and Duchess of Queensberry: the Duke was his guardian; and
the Duchess, no less celebrated formerly by Prior, Pope, and Swift,
than the Duchess of Hamilton, in the times of which I write, was
still more singular and persevering than the two other dames of the
same rank,--circumstances that contributed powerfully to attract the
attention of the public. Much perjury appeared on both sides--certain
proof on neither; the want of which decided the suit, at last, in
favour of the compassionate part of the question.

After a hearing of many and long days, with an attendance scarce
ever known there on a cause, the House of Lords reversed the decree
in favour of the Hamiltons, and restored the Douglas.[172] The Lord
Advocate Montgomery spoke for thirteen hours in three days, and with
applause. Mr. Charles Yorke was the least admired. The Duchess Douglas
thought she had retained him; but hearing he was gone over to the
other side, sent for him, and questioned him home. He could not deny
that he had engaged himself for the House of Hamilton--“Then, sir,”
said she, “_in the next world whose will you be, for we have all had
you_?” Mr. Alexander Wedderburne (for the Hamiltons, too,) spoke with
greater applause than was almost ever known. Dunning, on the same
side, and Norton for the Douglas, made no great figure. The Duke of
Bedford, Lord Sandwich, and Lord Gower,[173] were the most zealous for
the Hamiltons. Lord Mansfield, it had long been discovered, favoured
the Douglas; but the Chancellor Camden, with dignity and decency, had
concealed his opinion to the very day of the decision. The debate was
opened by the Duke of Newcastle, and very poorly. He was answered
by Lord Sandwich, who spoke for three hours with much humour, and
scandalised the bishops, having, with his usual industry, studied even
the midwifery of the case, which he retailed with very little decency.
The Chancellor then rose, and with becoming authority and infinite
applause, told the Lords that he must now declare, that he thought the
whole plea of the Hamiltons a tissue of perjury, woven by Mr. Andrew
Stuart; and that were he sitting as judge in any other court, he would
order the jury to find for Mr. Douglas; and that what that jury ought
to do on their oaths, their Lordships ought to do on their honours.
He then went through the heads of the whole case, and without notes
recapitulated even the dates of so involved a story; adding, that he
was sorry to bear hard on Mr. Stuart, but justice obliged him. This
speech, in which it was allowed he outshone Lord Mansfield, had the
most decisive effect. The latter, with still more personal severity to
Stuart, spoke till he fainted with the heat and fatigue; and, at ten at
night, the decree was reversed without a division,[174]--a sentence, I
think, conformable to equity, as the child was owned by both parents,
and the imposture not absolutely proved; yet, in my opinion, not
awarded in favour of truth--a declaration I should not be so arrogant
as to make, if many very able men were not as much persuaded as I am
of the child being supposititious. Nor was the cause terminated at
last without a duel between Andrew Stuart and Thurloe, who had poured
out torrents of abuse on his antagonist in the course of the pleadings;
but no mischief was done. This curious trial was set forth by each
party in such ample volumes, that it is unnecessary to give a larger
detail of it here; but a few concomitant and subsequent circumstances
require a place.

The Duke of Bedford, the Earls of Sandwich, Bristol, and Dunmore, and
Lord Milton, protested against the decision in favour of Mr. Douglas,
for that he was not proved to be the son of Lady Jane, and for that
they thought it had been proved that he was not so. The next morning
Mr. Andrew Stuart found on his table a bond for four hundred pounds
a-year for his life, a present from Mr. Johnstone Pulteney,[175] his
friend, in consideration of the cruel treatment he had met with. When
the news arrived at Edinburgh that the Douglas had carried his cause,
the mob rose and almost killed the President of the Session who
had been against him. They broke into Holyrood House, plundered the
apartments of the Hamiltons, and made it dangerous for their friends to
remain in the town. The sedition lasted two days, nor was put an end
to but by the guards. Mr. Andrew Stuart, some considerable time after,
printed and gave away a tract on the case, and more particularly in
his own defence against Lord Mansfield. It was a prodigy of abilities,
reasoning, and severity, yet observing a show of tenderness and decorum
that did not abate the edge of the satire.[176] Some circumstances too,
corroborating the question he supported, had abated since the trial;
and at last the principal evidence for the Douglas was convicted of
perjury in another cause in France.[177] Lord Mansfield, agreeably
to his cowardice and implacable character, answered the book only
by preventing Stuart from being sent to India in a very lucrative

Another trial intervened and divided the notice of the public--at
least, of the people. Macquirk and Balf, the persons condemned for
murder at the election at Brentford, were Irish chairmen, and had
notoriously been hired with other mob on the side of the Court
candidate. When they were pronounced guilty, the populace gave a
shout--a shocking indecency, very properly reproved by the Recorder.
Execution was decreed on the 17th. However, on the eve of their
appointed fate, the Ministers took courage and reprieved them _pro
tempore_, on these considerations--one Allen, the prosecutor, finding
himself in the midst of the adverse mob at Brentford, had been
protected and his life saved by Macquirk. Allen thence carried Macquirk
to an ale-house, and there the ungrateful villain wormed out of his
benefactor many circumstances that proved Macquirk had been engaged
in the riot, though he had not struck the deceased. The wretch was
so heated by party, that he turned informer against Macquirk, though
when condemned, Allen did intercede in his favour, but the Judge told
him he had made that intercession vain. Macquirk behaved with great
decency, only desiring three or four days to prepare for death. Balf,
though dipped in the riot, had clearly had no hand in the murder, yet
was found guilty of constructive murder, which induced the Court to
recommend him to mercy.

The glaring cruelty of putting two men to death, who had neither
committed the deed nor meditated it, made such an impression on Mr.
Boyle Walsingham[178], a seaman and man of quality, that though warm
in party, his good nature was revolted, and on the 20th he declared
in the House of Commons that he wished to see the chairmen pardoned,
and though he knew not in what manner it might be proper to apply for
mercy, he should be happy to see it extended to those unfortunate men.
Sir William Meredith, a man remarkably averse to punishments that
reached the lives of criminals, joined in the same humane sentiments.
Lord North said it would not be necessary to make a motion, for he was
persuaded his Majesty would be ready to grant his pardon the moment he
should know it was the sense of the House of Commons. This application
coming from two gentlemen of fair characters, and both in Opposition,
was very fortunate for the Court, who were embarrassed how to act, the
people being savagely inflamed against the chairmen, and instigated
by a virulent _North Briton_ to clamour for the execution: but in the
House of Commons there was not a dissenting voice against pardon;
and the criminals were accordingly respited during pleasure, the
Ministers fearing that entire pardon at once would but more enrage the

In the mean time the Court of Aldermen having discovered that the
election of Wilkes into their body had been irregular by the poll
being closed on the withdrawing of Bromwich without making the proper
notification, the election was declared void. Wilkes, in strong terms
advertised his protest against the vacating his election, and exhorted
the citizens to oppose that step. The electors at Westminster also
instructed their members to support his right of election for the
county of Middlesex, and enjoined them never to cease endeavouring
to obtain redress of the illegal measures pursued against him,
and vindicating the rights of the people who had chosen him their
representative. Martin, a banker of a very fair character,[180] who
had voted against him at all the late elections, was so shocked at the
resolution of the House of Commons,--which, though having voted that
writing and publishing a libel was not within the case of privilege,
had yet gone farther than even that vote of their own, and had censured
Wilkes, who had only republished the _North Briton_, and had not been
_proved_ to have written it,--that he moved a new resolution, that
Wilkes did not come within the description of that resolution, which
seemed to make both writing and publishing necessary; and which being
very penal, ought to be interpreted in the mildest sense. This Lord
North opposed; and even George Grenville voted against Martin’s
motion, which, if just, would seem to make the House trifle in its
resolution. Much was said for and against Wilkes. Colonel Lutterel
was particularly severe on him, and both Lord Granby and Conway voted
against the motion, which towards eight o’clock was rejected by above
one hundred and sixty to seventy-one.

Conway was in one of his difficult situations. A Council had been held
during the holidays on Wilkes, in which it was determined to bring
on his affair. Rigby the next day prevailed to have that resolution
changed without acquainting Conway; and then the Bedford faction
told the King there was no acting with Conway, who always in the
House adhered to his own opinion, and would not acquiesce in what was
determined in Council. This, which was often true, was false now; but
Lord Ligonier was dying, and the Bedfords wished to procure the Blues
for Lord Waldegrave. The Duke of Grafton, however, told them that the
Blues were engaged to Conway; yet the Duke and the King too complained
to Lord Hertford of his brother’s impracticability. Conway justified
himself to the King on the falsehood of the present charge, at the same
time avowing his own delicacies. The King received his declaration but
coolly. Lord Hertford (I believe by his Majesty’s order) spoke to me
on his brother’s future behaviour on Wilkes, fearing he would ruin
himself should he oppose Wilkes’s expulsion. I told him, as was true,
that I had avoided talking to Mr. Conway on that subject, as I would
neither take upon me to advise Mr. Conway again to the prejudice of
his fortune, nor on the other hand would counsel him to counteract his
former behaviour. Indeed, I saw great confusion arising. The House of
Commons acted without justice or decency: the other party were no less
violent, and were setting up juries against the judges. The latter were
generally inculpable; and though juries ought to be still more sacred,
yet in the hands of a Middlesex jury at that time, no man’s life was
safe. Integrity could not attach itself to either party. Captain
Walsingham, Martin the banker, and Sir William Meredith, were proofs
on different sides that conscientious men condemned the excesses of
their own parties. Though the Court relaxed nothing of its animosity to
Wilkes, yet it had received too many mortifications not to be cautious
how it ventured on any farther strides of power. Still, I would not
make my court by trying to influence Mr. Conway to countenance their
plans; nor, though I began to fear the consequences of Wilkes’s
unprincipled rashness and despair, would I suffer any interested motive
to fix the balance of my opinions.

On the 25th the resolutions on America were considered in the House of
Commons. Beckford offered a petition from persons calling themselves a
majority of the Assembly of Boston, praying a repeal of the late taxes;
but that Assembly being dissolved, Lord North objected to the reception
of their petition;[181] yet, as petitioning the Parliament was the most
decent and desirable mode of compromising the heats, many wished to
accept it, and Dyson proposed words to qualify that acceptance. Lord
North, after some irresolution, yielded, and the farther consideration
of the resolutions was postponed to the next day, when they passed by
a great majority.[182] Colonel Barré, in the debate, drew ridiculous
portraits of the several Ministers.

On the 27th Wilkes was once more chosen Alderman of Farringdon Ward,
without opposition. The same day he was carried before the House
of Commons, attended by a great concourse of people, who, however,
by his order soon dispersed, or behaved with singular decency. His
committees too, who had regimented the mobs of London and Westminster,
conducted them with composure and regularity. Lord Barrington moved
that Wilkes might be confined to speak only to the two allegations of
his complaint,--the alteration of the writ, and the subornation of
witnesses. The Opposition objected to the restrictions, and combated
them till ten at night. Serjeant Glynn pleaded for Wilkes, and spoke
with a clearness, argument, decency, and propriety, that was applauded
by both sides; and though attacked by Norton and the Attorney-General,
who called him _Wilkes’s representative_,[183] he defended himself
with a modesty that conciliated much favour. The debate turned chiefly
on general warrants and libels: George Grenville defended the former,
and himself, and the Lords Egremont and Halifax:--on the latter, to
pay his court, he said that libels against Ministers were not to be
regarded, but against the King were serious. Dyson, as usual, was
shrewd, and, as usual, ill-treated by the Opposition; Colonel Barré,
the day before, having baptized him by the name of _Mungo_, a black
slave in a new farce called “The Padlock,” who is described as employed
by everybody in all jobs and servile offices. Burke ridiculed the
Ministers as he had done the day before with greater applause; and
Barré, repeating his attacks, was called to order by Rigby, whom he
had described as a jolly, eating, drinking fellow, who finding himself
now in a comfortable situation, seldom spoke. Being provoked at the
interruption, Barré rejoined surlily, “The gentleman denies being a
Minister, and calls me to order; but I have not done with him yet.
Whether Minister or not, he lies in a bed[184] to himself; I do not
envy him, nor would I have his principles to lie in his bed.” This
unpleasant attack thunderstruck Rigby, who coloured, and not choosing
to have the last sentence explained, made no reply. The House then
divided, and the restrictions were carried by 278 to 131, Grenville
and his friends being in the majority, as were Lord Granby, Sir Edward
Hawke, and Conway.[185]

Wilkes was then called in, seemed abashed, and behaved with great
respect to the House. He demanded to be admitted and to take the
oaths as a member, which after some debate was refused on his being a
prisoner. His counsel were then called in, and were informed that they
must confine themselves to the two points of his allegation; but it
being then near midnight, the House adjourned to the 31st. The next
day Conway told me, he and Lord Granby had agreed to stay away on the
expulsion: having declared against violent measures, they would not
concur in it; and disapproving Wilkes’s attacks on the Government, they
would not defend him.

Wilkes appeared again before the House on the 31st. He complained that
his character had been aspersed in the printed votes, which accused
him of blasphemy, though he had not been convicted of it; and demanded
reparation. The case was this:--some time before, when the House, at
the motion of Lord Clare, had sent for the roll of his conviction on
the _North Briton_ and “Essay on Woman,” it appeared that the clerk
had forgotten to endorse them; on which he had been ordered to endorse
them as they ought to have been; on which he wrote there the titles
of _seditious libel_ and _blasphemy_. Dyson, who adjusted the votes
for the Speaker, had (probably by design) inserted these titles in
the votes. When Martin the banker had lately moved to admit Wilkes,
and the House had refused on account of his condemnation for those
libels, they were going to renew those words; but Beckford objecting
to the word _blasphemy_, the House had acquiesced, and intituled
the piece _a profane and impious libel_. Norton now endeavoured to
prove that he had been convicted of _blasphemy_, because it being in
the charge, and he being brought in guilty of the premises, Norton
inferred that he was convicted of it; but Serjeant Glynn showed that
in all indictments charges are ridiculously exaggerated, and though a
man may be brought in guilty of a crime, half the articles of a charge
are never attempted to be proved. Sir George Saville and Sir Joseph
Mawbey stiffly maintained the same argument. Lord North, Dyson, and the
Ministerial party as obstinately supported the contrary ground, till
General Conway showed the injustice of the tenet, and that it was at
most _constructive blasphemy_; on which Sir George Saville joining him,
and the House applauding, Dyson was forced to insert other palliating
words--a great point gained to Wilkes, to have gotten rid of the actual
condemnation for blasphemy. He then proceeded on his defence, and
brought Curry, a printer, to prove the manner in which the “Essay on
Woman” had been stolen from Wilkes by the means of Carteret Webbe, who
had sent Curry to Carrington the messenger to be paid for the theft.
Curry showed and owned himself an infamous rogue; and having first
sold Wilkes, was now in his pay. Men were shocked at the treachery
used towards Wilkes, and thence he again gained ground. The two Earls
were then brought before the House. Wilkes only asked Lord Sandwich
(the projector of the plot) if he knew of Curry being bribed by the
Ministry, and being promised a place? The Earl answered, that he had
promised him all proper protection, but had nothing to do with the
disposition of public money. Lord March said, Kidgell had shown him the
fragment of the Essay on Woman, and he had advised him to complain of
it; but had never seen Carteret Webbe till within the last four days.
Webbe, now blind, sat there at the bar, and was grievously abused by
Davenport, Wilkes’s counsel. At two in the morning the House adjourned
the farther consideration till the next day.[186]

Amongst these notorious personages, notice must be taken of Sir
Fletcher Norton. He had been purchased for this business (for even
his attachment to Lord Mansfield and the Court were not sufficient to
secure his zeal, though the cause was so bad) by the place of Chief
Justice in eyre and a pension of 3000_l._ a-year. It was stipulated
that Norton should quit the law, and be chief manager in the House of
Commons: but no sooner was the bargain struck and the pension secured,
than Norton, not caring to give up 7000_l._ a-year, which he got by his
profession, pleaded that he could not _in honour_ abandon his clients.
His next _point of honour_ was trying to prove by construction that
Wilkes had been condemned of more than he had been condemned. Another
acquisition to the Court was Sir Laurence Dundas, the rich commissary,
a friend of Grenville, and now seduced from him by Rigby, another late
friend of Grenville. Dundas commanded the votes of nine members. He
demanded a peerage for himself, having acquired above eight hundred
thousand pounds in less than four years of the late war--so far fairly
that he had executed the commission on cheaper terms than anyone else
had offered. He was, besides, nobly generous; yet it would have been
gross indeed to have raised him to the peerage on no other foundation
than the money he had gained from the public. It was known too, that
Prince Ferdinand had been on the point of hanging him on part of his
contract not being furnished so soon as he had engaged it should

Carteret Webbe’s counsel was then heard in his defence, and to
move compassion, pleaded before his face that he was decayed both
in eyesight and understanding. Wilkes’s counsel replied. Dr.
Blackstone[188] then moved a long, obscure question, setting forth
that Wilkes’s complaint against Lord Mansfield was frivolous and
trifling; and as the Courts below had pronounced that alteration
of writs was not unusual, the charge was scandalous, as tending to
calumniate the Chief Justice, and lessen the respect of the people for
the law and the judges. He was seconded by a young Mr. Payne,[189] who
spoke for the first time with much applause, though his language was
wonderfully verbose. He was connected with Lord Mansfield, and as his
speech was interlarded with law anecdotes, the person in whose behalf
it was uttered was supposed to have assisted in the composition. Payne
was a good figure and possessed himself well, having been accustomed
to act plays in a private set; but his usual dialect being as turgid
as Othello’s when he recounts his conquest of Desdemona, he became
the jest of his companions and the surfeit of the House of Commons.
Serjeant Glynn showed the injustice of the motion, for as it was
clear and allowed that the writ had been altered, had not the prisoner
a right to plead that alteration in his own defence? Norton and the
Crown lawyers were warm on the other side; on which Barré called them
the heavy artillery of the Court; or rather, said he, they resemble
the elephants in Eastern armies, which fall back upon and put their
own troops in confusion. The Ministers maintained their point till
very late at night, though the House gave many signs of disgust at the
violence of their proceedings. At last George Grenville, with attention
to Lord Mansfield, and yet disapproving the question, wished some
middle and temperate method could be hit upon. The House loudly agreed
with him, but Lord North and Norton stuck firm, and the latter declared
he would divide the House, though he should be alone. The Ministerial
party then cried out as loudly on that side; till Conway rose, and
taking notice that a minute before everybody had roared for moderation,
and now were again for violence, proposed that, instead of harsh words,
they should correct the motion, and say, that the alteration of writs
not being unprecedented, the charge against Lord Mansfield should be
declared groundless. Grenville approved this, and even Norton, and that
amendment was accepted without a division. Thurlow then, at past one
in the morning, moved that Wilkes had not made out his charge against
Webbe, (though a letter had been produced from him to Curry and three
other printers, bidding them take care to be uniform in their evidence,
and though Curry had been subsisted at the expense of the Government,)
and that the charge was frivolous and groundless. If these last words,
he said, were disputed, the debate must be adjourned to another day.
The Opposition, weakly or fatigued, objected only to the latter words,
and offered to acquiesce in the former part of the vote, if the censure
was promised to be omitted; with which Thurlow complied, and then
carried the rest of his motion.[190]

On the 2nd, Wilkes was again heard; owned his preface to Lord
Weymouth’s letter, said he gloried in it, and only wished he had
made it stronger. The Attorney-General moved to vote that preface
a scandalous and seditious libel, tending to subvert all order and
government. Sir George Saville moved the previous question. Grenville,
and even Dr. Blackstone, opposed the Attorney’s motion, as Wilkes ought
to be tried for a libel at common law, and not by the Houses of Lords
and Commons. Dyson reminded Grenville that he himself had brought a
message from the King against Wilkes’s _North Briton_; was it a greater
violation of the privileges of the House of Commons to receive a
message from the House of Lords than from the Crown? Grey Cooper[191]
spoke well against mobs; Burke warmly against the Lords extorting
evidence, and usurping powers. He called Lord Weymouth’s letter _a
bloody scroll_, and dwelt much on the word _effectual_ in the orders
to the soldiers. Rigby asked if it would have been wise to order the
soldiers to do their duty ineffectually? At past two in the morning the
House divided; the courtiers were 239, the minority 135, Grenville and
his friends, who were not above ten, being in the latter number. The
House then agreed with the Lords and passed the censure.[192]

Soon after the division happened a singular event. Some hours before,
Humphrey Cotes[193] sent for Sir William Meredith out of the House,
and told him Mr. Allen wanted to speak with him. Sir William said he
did not know him, and went back. This Allen, who had been in the army,
had been deservedly abused in the House by Sir William for persecuting
the condemned chairmen, one of whom had saved his life. Sir William
afterwards going to the House, had been met by Allen, who demanded
satisfaction. Sir William said he did not know him; if he had injured
him he would give him satisfaction next morning, but would not occasion
a disturbance then. Captain Walsingham Boyle (who had been concerned
with Sir William in saving the chairmen) hearing of this altercation,
complained to the House of the violation of their privileges by Allen’s
taking notice of what had passed in the House. This occasioned a heat
and debate, which lasted till half an hour after four in the morning,
when Allen was ordered into custody, and to be brought to the bar the
next day with Humphrey Cotes.

Allen absconded for some hours, but surrendered himself in the morning.
He was a handsome young fellow, and had stolen a marriage with an
idiot sister of the Spanish Charles Townshend; but he had such a
savage thirst of blood, that he had been broken by a court-martial at
Belleisle, for having forged and sent challenges to six officers in
the names of others. Cotes was not called upon by the House, but Allen
was carried to their bar, where he denied the charge,--both he and
Cotes having been so cautious as not to tell Meredith that the occasion
of the challenge was words spoken in the House: yet Sir William and
Captain Walsingham had heard, for three days, that Allen was lurking
about, and intended to challenge one of them. The House being satisfied
of the charge, and with the behaviour of the two members, committed
Allen to Newgate.

The same evening, Lord Barrington moved for the expulsion of Wilkes,
for the three libels--of the _North Briton_, the Essay on Woman, and
the Preface to Lord Weymouth’s Letter. The House sat again till three
in the morning, when the expulsion was voted by 219 to 137. Grenville
spoke against it as an accumulative charge, not one of the crimes alone
being sufficient to deserve that punishment. Burke spoke admirably on
the same side. Lord Granby and Sir Edward Hawke, who had declared so
strongly against it, both voted for the expulsion. Conway kept away.
Serjeant Glynn gained great fame by the candour of his conduct on the
whole proceeding; owning, that as counsel for Wilkes, he had maintained
points which he would not assert in the House. Wilkes himself made a
very indifferent figure, showing neither parts nor quickness in his
speeches or examination of the witnesses.[194] The same day, Earl
Cornwallis[195] kissed hands as Vice-Treasurer of Ireland, to make
room for Norton to be Justice in Eyre. This worthless man, though
disposed to the Court, as I have said, and originally employed in the
prosecution of Wilkes, would not support his own principles--at least,
his own inclinations--without this immoderate bribe. The Crown, though
possessed of so much power by the disposition of honours, offices, and
pensions, was sunk to the lowest contempt, and reduced to purchase
every man whose vote or service it wanted, and thus was surrounded
by none almost but those who had insulted and forced it to buy them.
If, on the contrary, the King had tried by good and popular measures
to secure the affections of the people, he might have maintained the
balance against the parliamentary chiefs: but, having lost the hearts
of the nation, his sole resource was the prostitution of honours and
money to those who were most obnoxious to himself and the people.

Wilkes was no sooner expelled, than he again presented himself as
candidate for the county of Middlesex, and in the _North Briton_,
published a very bold address to the freeholders, in which, under the
title of _the Administration_, he severely lashed the House of Commons.
There was at this time an avowed, though very small republican party,
the chiefs of which were Mrs. Macaulay, the historian, her brother
Sawbridge, his brother-in-law, Stephenson, a rich merchant,[196]
and Thomas Hollis, a gentleman of strict honour and good fortune, a
virtuoso, and so bigoted to his principles, that, though a humane and
good man, he would scarce converse with any man who did not entirely
agree with his opinions. He had no parts, but spent large sums in
publishing prints and editions of all the heroes and works on his own
side of the question: but he was formed to adorn a pure republic, not
to shine in a depraved monarchy.[197]

On the 10th, Mr. Seymour[198] moved a question, that condemnation for
accumulated libels should not be made a precedent. Lord North proposed
to alter the word _accumulated_ into _many_, which being adopted, and
the favourers of the motion then abandoning it, it was thrown out.[199]

The same day the liverymen of London met, and drew up instructions to
their members against the proceedings of the House of Commons. Alderman
Beckford attended that meeting, and told them, he should think it his
duty to obey his constituents, even in points against his opinion; and
whereas they enjoined an attempt for triennial Parliaments, he wished
they were to be annual. He declared too that he never would accept
place or pension.

At the India House the Ministers were now successful, and prevailed
by 290 voices against 250, to obtain the Company’s agreement to pay
to the public 410,000_l._ annually, for five years, out of their
newly-acquired territories.

Allen might have had his liberty, but refusing to ask pardon of Sir
William Meredith, as the House enjoined, was continued in Newgate.

Mr. Grenville, though dipped with them in opposition, had never
forgiven Lord Rockingham and his friends for succeeding him in power,
and for repealing the Stamp Act, nor had ceased pelting them in
pamphlets. Just before the Parliament met, he had written, or assisted
in writing, a tract called _the State of the Nation_, in which they had
been bitterly treated.[200] Hoping union with him, at least, willing
to act with him in opposition, they had borne all former provocations.
They now at last replied, in a large quarto called _Observations on
the State of the Nation_. It was drawn up by Edmund Burke, and did
more honour to his talents as a writer than as a politician. The book
solidly confuted Grenville, exposed him, and exploded his pretensions
to skill in finance; but then it made all approach to him impossible,
notwithstanding Lord Temple’s endeavours to unite them. It almost as
explicitly abjured Lord Bute,--a step the party two years after tried
as injudiciously to recover, when it was too late. If the work did
honour to the author and to his party’s principles, yet it showed that
that party was composed of impracticable men; and, what was worse
for their cause, it declared inviolable attachment to the Marquis of
Rockingham, a weak, childish, and ignorant man, by no means fit for the
head of Administration. Burke had far more shining abilities than solid
conduct, and, being dazzled by his own wit and eloquence, expected that
those talents would have the same effect on others. His ambition built
airy castles, and would not attend to those parts of policy that make
no immediate show. One quotation in his book was singularly happy, and
in one line drew the portrait of Grenville,--_Vixque tenet lachrymas
quia nil lachrymabile cernit_. It was, in truth, Grenville’s character
to weep over woes that he wished to exterminate by rigour.[201]


  American Affairs.--Re-election of Wilkes.--His Second
    Expulsion.--Payment of the King’s Debts.--Third Election and
    Expulsion of Wilkes.--Loyal Demonstrations.--Address of the
    Merchants of London.--Riots.--Lutterell appears as Candidate
    for Middlesex.--Wilkes again Elected and Expelled.--Lutterell
    declared duly Returned.--Excitement of the Country.--Meeting of the
    Freeholders of Middlesex.--Close of the Session.


The flame Grenville had kindled still blazed in the Colonies. The
Assembly of New York declared by vote, that they had an internal
legislature of their own, and for that vote their Assembly was
dissolved. The English Parliament addressed the King against the
refractory behaviour of the colony of Massachuset’s Bay. He answered,
he would give the orders they recommended, as the most effectual method
of bringing the authors of the late disorders to condign punishment.
The Administration prepared a severe bill of præmunire against the
Colonies, and even meditated taking away the charter of Massachuset’s
Bay. The Chancellor was exceedingly alarmed at these authoritative
plans, and looked on them as partly levelled at him, who must have
contradicted himself ignominiously if he joined in them, or risked
the loss of the Seals if he opposed them; but he prevailed on the
Duke of Grafton to overrule the scheme, which had been the work of
Lord Hillsborough, and it was laid aside. The Ministers, too, were
sufficiently embarrassed with Wilkes.

He was once more rechosen for Middlesex, February the 16th, without
opposition, being proposed by two members, James Townshend and
Sawbridge. The next day Lord Strange moved the House that Mr. Wilkes
having been expelled, was and is incapable of sitting in the _present_
Parliament. This Beckford strongly opposed; and Dowdeswell proposed
that his crimes should be specified, as in the case of Sir Robert
Walpole. Grenville seconded, and moved that mere expulsion should
not be deemed a foundation of incapacity. When Sir Robert Walpole
was rejected on his re-election, Parliaments were triennial; being
now septennial, the punishment of Wilkes would be more than double.
T. Townshend threatened the House, that the freeholders of Middlesex
would, _in a body_, petition the King to dissolve the Parliament. On a
division for amendment of the question on Dowdeswell’s idea, 102 were
for it, 224 against it; and then the simple question of expulsion
being put, it was carried by 235 to 89.[202] Wilkes, however, the very
next morning persisted in offering himself again to the county of
Middlesex, and dispersed handbills for that purpose.

The next step of the Court was weak, and betrayed their timidity. Not
satisfied with the interposition of the House of Commons in favour of
the condemned chairmen, against which no objection could lie, they had
recourse to an expedient, which, however humane, was liable to censure
from the novelty, and did occasion a controversy in print. It appeared,
that by the negligence of Macquirk’s counsel, no surgeons had been
called before the Bench at his trial, to depose whether Clarke had died
of his wounds or not. Had he had no counsel, the judges themselves
would have ordered surgeons to give their opinion on Clarke’s death.
On representation of this neglect to the King, the Chancellor advised
his Majesty to refer the consideration to a court of examiners, or
surgeons. Bromfield, a surgeon and an apothecary, made a report, that
in their opinions, Clarke had not died of his wounds, but from a bad
habit of blood, inflamed by strong liquors, after the election. On this
Balf was entirely pardoned, Macquirk respited till other favourable
circumstances could be examined[203]--and next month he was pardoned
too. The grand jury in the meantime found a bill against Sir William
Beauchamp Proctor, Tatum, an agent of the Duke of Northumberland, and
Broughter, a boxer and yeoman of the guard, for hiring the mob that
committed the riot and murder at Brentford--but it came to nothing.

On the 21st a meeting was held at the London Tavern, of the principal
gentlemen and merchants of Middlesex in the interest of Wilkes, when
three thousand three hundred and forty pounds were subscribed to
support him and his cause; and a committee was appointed to promote the
same throughout the Kingdom. The Assembly then formed themselves into
a society which they denominated the Supporters of the Bill of Rights.
The city of Bath also sent instructions to its members to the same
tenor with those of the city of London.

On the 24th was read in the committee of the House of Commons, Sir
George Saville’s quieting Bill, called the Nullum Tempus, of which
an account has been given before. When it had been rejected the last
year, there had been a kind of promise that it should be suffered to
pass another time; yet the Ministers, to save as much as possible of
prerogative, proposed that the prescription should be granted only for
the last sixty years, instead of a current and constant prescription of
sixty years against the Crown, as there is between subject and subject.
This subterfuge of the Court was, however, rejected by 205 against
124--a wonderful event after the late triumphs of the Administration!
Many causes contributed; honesty probably operated on some, and
indignation at the mean evasion attempted. Others who possessed Crown
lands preferred the security of their property to present Court favour.
The Bedford faction, for some political view, absented themselves,
though probably not expecting the Duke of Grafton[204] would receive
so total a defeat in a measure to which his own violence had given
occasion. In short, that Parliament had some virtues, or some vices,
which now and then prevented its being so universally servile as the

On the 27th the Administration laid before the House the agreement with
the East India Company, which after a long debate, in which it was
rather discussed than contested, passed without a division, Grenville
himself approving it. Lord Clive spoke against it, and gave an account
of the bad posture of their affairs in India. He was answered by
Governor Johnstone, who imputed those misfortunes to Lord Clive’s own
conduct, and even reproached him with the murder of the Nabob.[206]

The borough of Southwark, and soon after the city of Bristol, sent
instructions to their members. To stem the increasing torrent, the
Court endeavoured to set on foot counter addresses of loyalty. The
first attempt was unsuccessful: a meeting having been summoned in the
City to express dissatisfaction at the assemblies in favour of Wilkes,
not above thirty persons attended the citation, and they broke up in
confusion: but in the county of Essex the Court were more prosperous;
the Opponents having met to instruct their members, Rigby and Bamber
Gascoyne prevailed on the sheriff and the gentlemen to address the King
in high strains of loyalty--an example that was followed in few other

Yet under this unfavourable aspect did the Court venture on a measure
of great import to themselves, threatening much unpopularity, and
yet not attended by any uncommon clamour. This was to demand of
Parliament the payment of the King’s debts. In truth, considering the
expenses of the outset of a new reign, of a coronation, of a royal
wedding, that the Crown had possessed no jewels,--the late King’s
having been bequeathed by him to, and re-purchased of, the Duke of
Cumberland,--that the King had limited himself to a certain revenue,
and, considering the numerous branches of the Royal Family, the
debt incurred, especially by so young a Sovereign, and amounting to
513,000_l._, could not be thought exorbitant. The Hanoverian revenues,
indeed, were now in great part remitted into the Privy Purse; but
the nation had nothing to do with that channel of supply, nor could
pretend to ask an account of it. The message of demand was made on the
28th to both Houses. In the Commons, Dowdeswell immediately moved that
not only the particulars of the expense might be specified, but that
the papers might distinguish under what Administration each debt had
been incurred. This was intended to bring out that Lord Rockingham’s
Administration had been the most frugal. The Ministers pleaded that
such minuteness would occasion much delay; and the motion was rejected
by 169 to 89.[207] The same fate attended another motion made on March
the 1st, by which the Opposition desired that the money might not be
voted till the accounts had been examined; but this, as unreasonable,
was overruled by 248 to 135.

The next day the Lords entered on the same business. The Lords Temple,
Lyttelton, and Suffolk showed the wanton impropriety of not examining
the accounts before granting the money. Even Lord Rockingham attempted,
though under great perturbation, to open his mouth; and, being very
civil and very gentle, he was well heard. The Ministerial advocates, as
if imposing a gabel instead of begging a supply for the Crown, behaved
with insolence and scorn. Lord Sandwich made a mockery of unanimity,
and desired to see who would vote against a measure that was personal
to his Majesty. Lord Talbot, talking of the King, and by mistake saying
_your Majesties_ instead of _your Lordships_, corrected himself; but
said he should have used the royal style by design if he had been
talking to the mob.

The modesty of the Ministers was not more conspicuous in the other
House. On the Report from the Committee, Lord North made an able
invective against popularity; and avowed that he had voted for every
unpopular, and against every popular measure. Rigby went still farther
against instructions to members: asked what place was large enough
to hold all that ought to give them? “They should meet,” said he,
“in Moorfields, which is the only spot that would give or receive
instructions.” He talked of the two pamphlets on the State of the
Nation, and declared he gave the preference to Grenville’s. It was
carried without a division to agree with the Report of the Committee;
which, of course, was in favour of granting the money.[208] The
Lords were as complaisant. The Opposition laboured to show that the
principal load of the debt had been incurred during Lord Bute’s
Administration.[209] The Duke of Grafton provoking Lord Rockingham,
the latter replied with spirit unusual to him, and said the Duke had
braced his nerves. The Court-Lords were 60 to 26.

To balance that success Burke endeavoured to revive the clamour on
the massacre, as it was called, in St. George’s Fields; and moved to
inquire into it, and into the part taken by the Lords Weymouth and
Barrington--but it was too late. Sir William Meredith abandoned him,
and Grenville discountenanced the motion, which was rejected by 245 to

On the 16th of March came on the third election for Middlesex. One
Charles Dingley,[211] a merchant, had offered himself, in the morning
papers, as candidate, and appeared on the hustings at Brentford; but
not a single freeholder proposing him, he slunk away, and drove to
London as fast as he could. Townshend and Sawbridge again proposed
Wilkes, who was accepted with the greatest shouts of applause. Yet
the House of Commons, the next morning, again declared it a void
election; even Grenville allowing it must be so. Rigby hinted at
Townshend and Sawbridge; but said, he would not name them--and though
their conduct as members was most indecent and disrespectful to the
House, the Ministers did not dare to call them to account. On the
contrary, fearing it would occasion louder clamour, should they leave
the county without a member, they ordered a fourth writ to be issued,
which only drew them into greater perplexity; timidity and rashness
being generally alternate. Burke, expecting that the measure would be
to punish the obstinacy of the freeholders by issuing no more writs,
had prepared an invective in that view, and vainly attempted to adapt
his speech to the contrary sense. Wedderburne, whose impudence was
more dauntless, and who had actually been on the point of concluding a
bargain with the Court, but had been disappointed, broke out, with all
the rage of patriotism that had missed the wages of profligacy, and
said, it was no wonder all respect for the House of Commons was lost,
when, in the last Parliament, men had been obliged to follow such low
creatures as Dyson and Bradshaw, as often as Mr. Conway and Mr. Charles
Townshend had disapproved ministerial measures: “nay,” added he, “we
all know that this is ordered by _secret influence_”--memorable words,
as they fell from one who was a competent witness; for though they
pointed out Lord Bute, Wedderburne had been deep in his confidence, and
marked him out now merely because Lord Bute had rather wanted the power
than inclination to serve him.[212]

The University of Oxford were the next to display their zeal for the
Court, and presented a loyal address; so did Cambridge, Kent, and the
merchants of Bristol. The same was attempted in Surrey, but agreed to
by only part of the grand jury. Liverpool, Lichfield, and Edinburgh
followed, and, in general, all the Scotch boroughs,--which did but
increase the opposite spirit, and contributed to the mortifications
that fell on the Court from such injurious measures. At a large meeting
of the Common Council, previous to one intended at Guildhall, for
presenting an address, but twenty-one persons declared for it, one
hundred and forty-one against it; and the latter voted an address of
thanks to Turner, the Lord Mayor, who had distinguished himself on
Wilkes’s side. Shropshire, Leicestershire, and the town of Coventry
joined in the incense to the King; but the latter with a circumstance
peculiarly ridiculous, and which proved how much the enemies of the
Constitution were charmed with the arbitrary measures of the Court--for
the address from Coventry was drawn by a physician, so rancorously
Jacobite, that at church he always rose from his knees, when the King
was prayed for. The Supporters of the Bill of Rights advertised against
the Coventry address, which, with the same unconstitutional views, had
attacked that society. Mankind might judge of a cause, in which King
George’s and King James’s friends were equally interested!--and what
interest, but that of despotism, could they have in common?

The last instance made the Court sick of that fulsome flattery. The
merchants of London, to the number of six or eight hundred, amongst
whom were Dutch, Jews, and any officious tools that they could
assemble, having signed one of those servile panegyrics, set out in
a long procession of coaches to carry it to St. James’s. The mob
accompanied them, hissing and pelting. When they came to the end of
Fleet Street, they found the gates of Temple Bar shut against them.
Another mob was posted at Gray’s Inn Lane. The coaches turned down
lanes and alleys wherever they could, and not a third part arrived at
the palace. Mr. Boehm, Chairman of the East India Company, concealed
the address under the seat of his coach, which he was forced to
quit, and take shelter in a coffee-house. In the meantime a hearse,
drawn by two black and two white horses, and hung with escutcheons
representing the deaths of Clarke at Brentford and of Allen in St.
George’s Fields, appeared in the streets, and was driven to the gates
of St. James’s, where the attendant mob hissed and insulted all that
entered the Court. The Ministers, who had received no intimation of
this pageant, remained trembling in the palace;[213] and all they did
was to order the grenadiers to defend the entrance till the magistrates
could arrive and read the Riot Act. At last, Earl Talbot took courage,
and went down with his white staff, which was soon broken in his
hand. He seized one man, and fourteen more of the rioters were made
prisoners. The Duke of Northumberland was very ill treated; and the
Duke of Kingston,[214] coming from a visit from Bedford House, was
taken for the Duke of Bedford, and was so pelted, that his coach and
new wedding liveries were covered with mud. It was half an hour past
four ere the address could be carried to St. James’s; and then was
not presented by the Chairman, who was not in a condition to appear.
At night, a proclamation was issued against riots. Ten of the rioters
were discharged: the grand jury threw out the bills against the other
five. Such was the consequence of an unpopular Court, at once affecting
popularity, and affecting to despise it!

Had they been content with sillily assuming a share in the affections
of the people, which they did not possess, no great mischief had been
done. By provoking their resentment in the same breath, they had
well nigh driven the people into rebellion; and, by making the House
of Commons the instrument of their irregularities, they effected
a contempt for Parliaments, which, perhaps, did not displease the
machinators. Liberty stood in an alarming position: her buckler, the
Parliament, was in the hands of the enemy, and she was reduced to
beg that enemy to break that buckler--an alternative of almost equal
danger, whether granted or refused. It required a man of the firmest
virtue, or a ruffian of dauntless prostitution, to undertake the
office of opposing Wilkes in the decisive contest for the county of
Middlesex. There was a young officer, called Colonel Lutterell, whose
father, Lord Irnham, was devoted to Lord Bute. They were descended of
a good Irish family, who had been attached to and had betrayed King
James the Second; and the morals and characters of both father and son,
especially of the former, were in no good estimation. The father had
parts, wit, and boldness:[215] the son affected to be a bravo, too, but
supported it ill. The son was pitched upon by the junto for candidate
for Middlesex; and Lord Holland and his sons openly espoused him. This
last circumstance, and the zeal of the Scots, crowned his unpopularity;
and lest it should not, Wilkes gave out that Lutterell was to be
rewarded with a daughter of Lord Bute. One of the race, not long after,
attained a far more elevated match.

So desperate did Lutterell’s cause appear, that great bets were made
on his life; and at Lloyd’s Coffee-house, it was insured for a month.
A third candidate soon appeared, one Captain Roache, another duelling
Irishman, supposed to be selected by Wilkes, as a proper antagonist to

The struggle now became very serious. The House of Commons party--at
least in the approaching violence--affected the tone of legality, and
ordered the sheriffs to call on the magistrates to attend and keep the
peace at Brentford. On the other hand, a new indictment was preferred
at Hickes’s Hall against Macquirk, the chairman, for the murder of a
constable; but the grand jury would not find the bill; yet the next
month a new bill was found against him, and he was forced to abscond.
The Treasury offered a reward of 500_l._ for discovering the person
who, at the procession of the merchants, had, with a hammer, broke
the chariot of one Ross, an aged merchant, and wounded him in several
places. The celebrated and unknown writer Junius threw his firebrands
about, among so many combustibles, but aimed them chiefly at the head
of the Duke of Grafton.[216]

But though the Court affected to proceed according to law, its
votaries acted as if a martial campaign was opened. An advertisement
on Lutterell’s side called on _gentlemen_ to accompany and defend him,
and not to suffer the mob to govern. Captain Roache, at the same time,
advertised that he acted in concert with Wilkes; and told Lutterell,
that if there should any disorder arise, he should ask no questions
but of him. Lutterell replied, that he would not fight till after the
election. The Duke of Northumberland, fearing for his own popularity,
gave out that he had influenced no votes on either side.

On the 12th, Colonel Lutterell proceeded to Brentford with a much
smaller troop of gentlemen than he had expected; and the mob having
assembled before his door, that little band of heroes stole away to the
election by breaking down the wall of the garden behind Lord Irnham’s
house. This prevented their rendezvous at Holland House, where a great
breakfast had been prepared for them. Stephen Fox, Lord Holland’s son,
proposed Lutterell, as Mr. Townshend did Wilkes. Townshend desired
the people to behave with temper and decency; told them, that was no
time to be unruly: if they should be denied justice, then would be
the moment to defend themselves by the sword. For Wilkes were given
1143 votes; for Lutterell, 296; for Serjeant Whitaker, who had thrust
himself into the contest, only 5; for Captain Roache, not one--but he
was hissed, laughed at, and forced to retire, it being suspected that
the Court had bought him.

While this business was in agitation, the House of Commons voted the
militia perpetual, on a division of 84 to 79. Beckford and Barré abused
the Rockingham party; and each faction avoided taking part with Wilkes
and the Supporters of the Bill of Rights--a disunion that made the
Court amends for the errors of their own conduct.

Wilkes being returned by so great a majority, was again rejected by
the House: and the Ministers avowed that they intended, according to
precedent, to substitute Lutterell on the poll, as being the legal
candidate who had had the greatest number of voices; and the sheriffs
were ordered to attend next day on purpose. General Conway strongly
supported that intention, for the dignity of Parliament. He had studied
the case laboriously, and persuaded himself that it was founded on
the law of Parliament; yet neither he nor its warmest advocates could
produce a parallel case, all the precedents quoted for establishing
the second person on the poll having happened only where the rejected
person had been incapacitated by Act of Parliament, as minors, &c.;
whereas Wilkes lay under no legal incapacity, but had been declared
incapable by a vote of one House only, which does not constitute a law.
Had Conway, Sir Edward Hawke, and Lord Granby been firm to their first
resolution, the Court would not have ventured on such obnoxious and
alarming precedents. It was not less prejudicial, that Lord Chatham,
though so long announced by Lord Temple, did not appear during that
whole session; whether still temporising with the Court, or that his
intellects were yet too disordered, had he stood forth the champion of
Wilkes, at that crisis, it might have shaken the predominance of the
Court. Norton himself was irresolute; shuffled at the consultations
held at Lord North’s, and though bought to be on his own side, could
not be steady to it. The House again endeavoured to avoid mention of
Townshend and Sawbridge; but Edmondson, a foolish Scot, insisted on
having the list read of those who had proposed Wilkes--yet no notice
ensued--though Townshend, to force out the name of Lord Holland’s son,
asked who had proposed Lutterell?

The next day, though Saturday, the House sat, and the debate lasted
till two o’clock on Sunday morning, when it was carried to admit
Lutterell by only 197 voices to 143--so little was the Court sure of
their majority on so violent a measure! Some of their friends quitted
them. Harley, the Lord Mayor, fearing for his personal safety in the
City, was permitted by the Duke of Grafton to vote against the vote:
and several Tory members for counties absented themselves not to
offend their constituents,--evidence how little addresses had spoken
the real sense of the counties. Burke and James Townshend were severe
against the measure; Serjeant Glynn and Grenville[217] temperate,
and the latter much applauded. Beckford, on the military procession
of the gentlemen, said it put him in mind of Muley Ishmael, King of
Morocco, who, when he meditated a murder, put on his yellow sash.
When gentlemen in lace appeared, it announced a massacre: and he
compared the times to those of Rehoboam, who, rejecting the advice of
his father’s counsellors, followed that of the young men, by which he
lost ten tribes, and reigned over the two little ones (Scotland). Much
complaint was made of the arbitrary doctrines suggested by the writers
on the side of the Court. Norton, Lord North, and the Attorney-General
De Grey spoke firmly for Lutterell. Stephen Fox indecently and
indiscreetly said, Wilkes had been chosen only _by the scum of the
earth_--an expression often retorted on his family, his grandfather’s
birth being of the lowest obscurity. Young Payne, in another pompous
oration, abused the Supporters of the Bill of Rights, protesting, on
his honour, that his speech was not premeditated; but, forgetting part,
he inadvertently pulled it out of his pocket in writing! Charles Fox,
with infinite superiority in parts, was not inferior to his brother in
insolence.[218] Lutterell, the preceding night, had been assaulted by
persons unknown, as he quitted the House; and, for some months, did
not dare to appear in the streets, or scarce quit his lodging. He was
hissed out of one of the theatres; and going afterwards to Dublin, and
attending the debates of the House of Commons there, heard himself
named with very opprobrious terms, which he resenting, the member
answered with a firmness that Lutterell declined encountering.

As the colonies were not less disposed to mutiny than the capital,
Governor Pownal, as a step to a repeal of the American duties, which
had produced but two hundred and seventy pounds, moved to appoint a
Committee to consider the state of America. Conway, who knew it was
intended to repeal the new duties the next year, and who, for the sake
of peace, wished to give that prospect to the colonies, moved that
only those duties should be considered: but Lord North, whether from
firmness, pride, or jealousy of Conway, objected strongly, and said,
it was below the dignity of the House to hold out any such hopes;[219]
and though the confusion increased so fast that the stocks fell, from
apprehensions of a rebellion, the obstinacy of the Ministers would not
palliate any part of the disorders. Conway would not increase the flame
by dividing the House, and the motion was rejected. The session was no
sooner at an end, than the Ministers gave assurances of repealing the

Happily for peace, the Opposition was divided. Wilkes and his friends
inclined to riots and tumult. Sawbridge, and the more real patriots,
encouraged by Lord Rockingham, were for proceeding more legally and
temperately. Yet the aspect was so gloomy, that the town was surrounded
by troops, and no officers suffered to be absent without leave.

The Court of Aldermen, in the meantime, heard the opinion of counsel,
on the eligibility of Wilkes for alderman. De Grey and Dunning,
Attorney and Solicitor-Generals, Yorke, and the Serjeants Glynn
and Lee, pronounced in his favour; but Norton, the Recorder and
Common-Serjeant, dissenting, ten aldermen to six rejected him.

The Supporters of the Bill of Rights were more propitious, and agreed
to pay as far as five thousand pounds of his debts, but compromised
with his creditors at five shillings in the pound; yet promising to pay
more, if the collection to be made round England in the summer should
answer--a fund that produced nothing.

On the 27th, a very numerous meeting of the freeholders of Middlesex
was held at Mile-end, when they were informed that the meeting had been
so long deferred on account of the number of articles to be inserted in
the petition which it was proposed to present to the King against the
Administration. It was then read, unanimously approved, signed, by as
many as could sign, that night, and ordered to be left at the proper
places for other subscriptions; and to be presented to his Majesty
by Serjeant Glynn, Sawbridge, Townshend, and several more--Sawbridge
desiring that nobody would attend the delivery, that they might not be
misrepresented as riotous and rebellious.

Two days after, being the last day for receiving petitions, and the
session on the point of concluding, Sir George Saville, in a very thin
house, presented a petition, signed by a few freeholders, against
Lutterell, and desired to have the consideration postponed to the
next session, or to have a call of the House, with orders sent to the
sheriffs of counties to inform the members of the intended business;
but that proposal was rejected, and the petition was allotted a
hearing on the following Monday, by 94 of the Court party to 49. It
was accordingly heard on May the 8th. Serjeant Whitaker, one of the
late candidates,[220] and Graham, an esteemed Scotch lawyer,[221]
were counsel for Lutterell; Serjeant Adair[222] and Mr. Lee[223] for
the petitioners. Dr. Blackstone, who argued for the incapacity and
expulsion of Wilkes, was severely confuted out of his own Commentaries
on the Law;[224] and George Grenville as roughly handled by Norton.
Charles Fox, not yet twenty-one, answered Burke with great quickness
and parts, but with confidence equally premature. The House sat till
half an hour past two in the morning, when Lutterell’s seat was
confirmed by 221 against 152.

As the House was now to rise, and Captain Allen would, of course, be
discharged, it was apprehended that he would challenge Meredith and
Walsingham; to prevent which, the House enjoined them both to accept
no challenge from him, but to lay before a justice of peace the
information that had been given to the House of his conduct, that he
might be bound over to his good behaviour. Captain Walsingham said, he
would certainly obey their commands, but hoped they did not expect,
if Allen should attack him in the street, that he would not defend
himself. Allen was discharged; abused Walsingham the next day in the
papers, and then sank into obscurity.

Wedderburne, who had been brought into Parliament by Sir Laurence
Dundas, the rich commissary, but, on being disappointed of a bargain
with the Court, had voted on the opposite side, now vacated his seat,
to leave Sir Laurence at liberty to choose a more compliant, or less
interested member.

The turbulent aspect of the times, and the perilous position into which
the Court had brought itself by the violent intrusion of Lutterell,
naturally pointed out coalition to their several enemies. Accordingly,
the Marquis of Rockingham and George Grenville, at the head of their
respective factions, dined together at the Thatched House Tavern, St.
James’s-street, and agreed to support the cause of Opposition in their
several counties during the summer; but the tempers of the leaders were
too dissimilar, their object too much the same, and the resentment of
Grenville for past offences too implacable, to admit of cordial union.

The same day the King put an end to the session. He was much insulted
in his passage to the House of Lords, and heard still worse aspersions
on his mother.

On the 24th of May, the petition of the freeholders of Middlesex was
presented to the King by Serjeant Glynn and six others. Another from
Boston was carried by Colonel Barré.


  Election of Pope Ganganelli.--Quarrel between the French and
    Russian Ambassadors.--Agitation in the Country after the
    Rising of Parliament.--Lord Chatham Appears at the King’s
    Levee.--Supposed Motive of his Reappearance.--State of the
    Country.--Horne’s Libel on Onslow.--Popular Excitement.--Aspersions
    on Lord Holland.--Petition from Westminster to Dissolve the
    Parliament.--Dr. Musgrave’s Pretended Discovery.--Russian
    Project to Attack Constantinople by Sea.--Conquest of
    Corsica.--Petition against the Parliament.--Indolence of the Duke
    of Grafton.--Disturbance at the Execution of two Rioters.--Affairs
    of Ireland.--Prosecution of Vaughan.--Remonstrance of Junius to the
    King.--Story of the Duke of Gloucester and Maria Walpole.


I must now turn to foreign affairs, or events connected with them.

In the conclave, the Jesuitic party, alarmed at the demand made by the
Bourbon Crowns of suppression of the Jesuits, had fixed on Cardinal
Chigi for Pope--but miscarried. The French and Spanish Ambassadors told
that faction, that had they elected him, they alone would have enjoyed
him; insinuating that he would not have been acknowledged by the allied
Crowns. Cardinal Bernis was dispatched to Rome, with orders to put a
negative on any candidate but Cardinal Ganganelli; and succeeding, was
named Ambassador to the new pontiff.[225] He was a Roman monk of the
lowest extraction, and had exercised all the affected virtues of his
order with a perseverance worthy of the ambition of Sixtus Quintus. But
though his success was adequate, the times demanded talents of another
complexion; and though Ganganelli’s address was as well suited to
retrieve the affairs of the Church as some of his ablest predecessors
had been to build up its greatness, yet no abilities could reconcile
the blackest and most revengeful set of men to their own destruction;
and though Ganganelli endeavoured by temporising and delays, to ward
off the blow that would deprive the papal Throne of its most trusty
satellites, yet the two Crowns at last forced from him the fatal Bull
that abolished the order and exposed the Pope to the vengeance of the
Jesuits, who became his assassins, when, in spite of himself, he had
been obliged to discard them as his champions.[226]

The ball at Court on the King’s birth-night was disturbed by a quarrel
for place between the Russian and French Ambassadors. France yields the
precedence to nobody but to the Emperor of Germany; and the Comte du
Châtelet, their Minister here, had received positive orders not to give
place to the Russian. Du Châtelet was enough disposed to assume any
airs of superiority: at Vienna, on a former embassy, he had embroiled
his court with the Imperial by wrong-headed insolence. He was warm,
captious, and personally brave. Count Czernichew was magnificent
and ostentatious, but profuse of civilities and attentions, and no
ways quarrelsome. He was sitting next to Count Seilern, the Imperial
Ambassador. Du Châtelet came behind, and crowded himself in between
them, taking place above Czernichew. This occasioned much pushing and
struggling, and the Russian told the Frenchman he was very impertinent,
and then quitted the bench. As they left the room when the ball was
finished, Count Czernichew’s coach drawing up, he offered to set Du
Châtelet at home, which was accepted; but, being entered, Du Châtelet
proposed that they should decide the quarrel with their swords; and
they endeavoured to go into St. James’s Park, but the gates were shut.
It was said that Du Châtelet made apologies for his behaviour, and
declared that he had meant no personal rudeness. On the other hand,
he was allowed to have shown most spirit throughout the dispute; yet
he was not without much anxiety how his conduct would be regarded at
home, where it was rather wished to soften the Court of Russia, now
beginning to triumph over the Turks. But Du Châtelet had two powerful
mediators--the eagerness of the Duc de Choiseul to humble the Czarina,
and his inclination for Madame du Châtelet, not only the favourite
of his all-powerful sister, the Duchess de Grammont, but her secret
rival with him. Madame du Châtelet was a handsome and very sensible
woman, but of an indolence beyond example. The Duc de Choiseul liked
her, and she was far from averse to him, yet had resisted his love and
that liberality and power which had thrown every other French woman
he had a mind to into his arms. Du Châtelet, indeed, had chosen not
to leave her exposed to too great temptation; and, notwithstanding
her extreme indifference, which here only served to give offence, had
obliged her to attend him on his embassy.[227] Count Czernichew was
recalled, with apparent dissatisfaction.[228] He was not fortunate in
his embassies: he had been nominated to that of China, but the Chinese
monarch forbade his approach, declaring he would have no alliance with
a murderess. Du Châtelet’s intemperance in the King’s presence was
very ill taken here, where his frowardness, and his wife’s disgusting
coldness, had raised no prejudice in their favour. The King took every
opportunity to distinguish the Russian by the most marked civilities;
and it was proposed to signify the royal displeasure by acquainting
the foreign Ministers _that there was no rank in the box allotted to
them at the balls at Court; and that his Majesty gave that notice from
having been extremely offended at what had passed_. Lord Hertford,
as Lord Chamberlain, was to give the notice; but fearing it was too
strongly worded not to give great disgust in France, he refused to make
the notification, unless authorised by the Privy Council. On this the
message was reconsidered, and the latter part was changed for the words
_to prevent disagreeable altercations for the future_,--a medium still
liable to ridicule; for how could a ball at Court be a private ball,
when everybody was taken out to dance by the Lord Chamberlain according
to their rank? It was, in effect, depriving the foreign ministers alone
of rank on those occasions.[229]

This squabble, and almost every other business of more importance,
was forgotten in the stormy scene that succeeded the rising of
Parliament. Wilkes on his part, Lord Shelburne and Beckford on
theirs, laboured incessantly during the whole summer to spread the
flame of dissatisfaction on the violent measure of forcing Lutterell
into Parliament; and though it caught not universally, the spirit of
remonstrating and petitioning made such progress in several counties
and boroughs, as alarmed the Court, and still more the sober part of
mankind; who, though disapproving the conduct of the Administration,
were apprehensive of such tumults, if not risings, as might, by not
being strong enough to correct, throw additional power into the hands
of the Crown--a prospect that, perhaps, lessened the panic of the
Court, otherwise sufficiently apt to tremble. The Supporters of the
Bill of Rights circulated a letter, recommending subscriptions for
Wilkes; but found men more willing to sign remonstrances than to
contribute their money. Townshend and Sawbridge were chosen Aldermen of
London and Sheriffs of Middlesex.

The same day, the livery of London determined to petition the King on
grievances; and on the 5th of July their petition was delivered to him
by the Lord Mayor, Beckford, and three more, but was received with the
utmost coldness and neglect.

Two days after, the Court was surprised with a more unexpected
phenomenon. Lord Chatham appeared at the King’s levee when it was
thought he would never produce himself again, or was not fit to be
produced in public. He was perfectly well, and had grown fat. The Duke
of Grafton had just time to apprise the King of this mysterious visit.
The King was very gracious, and whispered him to come into the closet
after the levee, which he did, and staid there twenty minutes. Much
silence was observed on what passed; though by degrees it was affirmed
that the conversation was only general and indifferent. Yet hints
were dropped that the King, sounding Lord Chatham on the Middlesex
election, the opinion he gave was not favourable to his Majesty’s
wishes.[230] The active part taken by Lord Shelburne, Beckford, and
Calcraft, made this greatly probable; and his Lordship’s subsequent
conduct corroborated the idea. Still was Lord Chatham very desirous
of recovering his power; and it was not his style to be harsh in
the closet.[231] It was remarked, too, that, not to embitter his
reception, he had come when Lord Temple[232] was detained at Stowe,
by entertaining there several of the foreign ministers. Lord Chatham
lingered affectedly, in the outward room, after his audience, as if to
display the recovery of his health and understanding. To the Duke of
Grafton and the Bedfords he was awkward and cool; embraced Lord Granby
and General Harvey[233] (a personal military favourite of the King),
and was very civil to Lord Hertford and Mr. Conway. In the evening he
returned to Hayes.

Whatever were the motives of his re-appearance, the prospect certainly
favoured him, whether he had a mind to present himself as a mediator to
the fears of the Court, or as a Captain-General to the Opposition. His
creatures governed the City: Lord Granby, influenced by Calcraft, and
dreading the loss of popularity, talked of resigning. The Chancellor
was disgusted with Grafton, whose marriage had hurt him at Court.
Ireland, by the absurd conduct of Lord Townshend, was in confusion; and
the Bedfords were pressing to send Lord Sandwich thither, which would
have increased the ill-humour. And though the Ministers had thoughts
of giving satisfaction to the Colonies, yet, having refused to give
that assurance in Parliament, the Americans would no longer trust them.
The Virginians had voted the right of taxation to be in themselves,
and resolved on a petition against our sending for the criminals to be
tried in England,--a violent measure, dictated by rashness, and, almost
as soon as announced, dropped by timidity. Great divisions reigned in
the East India Company, in which Lord Clive and Sir Laurence Dundas
were contending to engross sole power, the Company having more places
to bestow than the First Lord of the Treasury; the exorbitant wealth of
our empire going hand-in-hand with the advance of prerogative, in the
views of most of our patriots. Wilkes, in the meantime, whatever were
his views, had honesty enough not to smother his private resentments;
and, at this very moment, published an envenomed pamphlet against Lord
Chatham. It was unjustly silent on his merits and services, but touched
with truth the defective parts of his character.

A former friend of Wilkes, who had abandoned him, was more cruelly,
because more iniquitously, treated. Among the rabble of Wilkes’s agents
was one Horne, parson of Brentford. He was son of the poulterer to the
Princess of Wales; but, whether from principle, vanity, or want of
more decent means to attempt distinguishing himself, he had attached
himself to that demagogue; and, with slender parts, had become his
scribe in composing scurrilities for the newspapers, and his factor
at all popular meetings.[234] In other respects his morals were not
reproached; though, as came out afterwards he had, to please Wilkes,
ridiculed his Lords the Bishops, and, to please himself, indulged in
more foppery than became his profession. He now infamously aspersed
Mr. Onslow,[235] one of the Lords of the Treasury, as having accepted
1000_l._ to procure a place for a person in the West Indies,--a
transaction which was proved to have been a gross imposition on the
person who paid the bribe, and in which Mr. Onslow had in no shape
been concerned, till the defrauded person applied to him for redress.
Horne impudently avowed the printed charge to be his; for which Onslow
prosecuted, and cast him in damages at the assizes in Surrey.[236]

Some damp, too, was thrown on the zeal of the Opposition, by the
refusal of Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Lincolnshire, and Kent, to
join in the popular petitions. The city of Bristol, on the other hand,
determined to petition, and voted their contempt to their member, Lord
Clare: but the most grievous outrage fell on the Duke of Bedford. He
was Lord-Lieutenant of Devonshire, had a great estate in the county,
and exercised most signal charity there. In order to prevent a petition
of the county, he went down thither; but while he was at prayers in
the Cathedral of Exeter, a tumultuous mob assembled, pouring out
execrations on him; and had not the bishop conducted him by a private
passage to the palace, his life had been in danger. At Honiton, the
fury of the people rose to such a height, that they pelted him with
stones, and set bull-dogs at him.[237]

In the meantime, Lord Bute returned privately to England from the
waters of Barege, which, it was given out, had perfectly restored his
health; but the temper of the times not favouring his timidity, or the
latter renewing his disorder, he, in a short time, retired to Italy.
The Court of France, however, not being the dupe of his pretended loss
of credit, gave him the same guard, at his lodgings at Barege, as
attended the Comtesse de la Marche, a Princess of the blood; and his
vanity was so weak as to accept this safe homage.

His faithful devotee, Lord Holland, was scarce less obnoxious to
the City. The contemptuous flippancy of his sons, and his own[238]
indiscreet interference in behalf of Lutterell, had brought him again
on the stage, which he pretended to have quitted. The multiplicity and
difficulty of his accounts as Paymaster during the war had prevented
their being liquidated. The Barons of the Exchequer had called on him
to make them up. He had obtained from the Crown a delay of process,
pleading the impediments he received from the proper officers in
Germany. This was, probably, true. It is also probable, that he was not
impatient to be disburthened of such large sums,[239] on which he made
considerable interest. The petition from Middlesex had made this one of
their charges, in their bill of grievances, and described Lord Holland
as _the defaulter for unaccounted millions_. Touched to the quick at
this imputation, he wrote a civil letter to the Lord Mayor, complaining
of the aspersion, and referring him for the falsehood of the accusation
to Alderman Beckford, whom Lord Holland said he had satisfied of the
injustice of it. The Mayor returned only a card, to say he was not
answerable for the contents of the petition; yet he had harangued on
it, as well as presented it. Beckford advertised that Lord Holland had
sent him his defence, but that it had _not_ satisfied him. Lord Holland
then published a justification in the papers. Indeed, the violence of
the petition was much blamed; and, as if conscious of it, the authors
had neither ventured to sign or date it.

Whatever had been Lord Chatham’s views in going to Court, it appeared
that now, at least, his part was taken. A reconciliation was made
between him and Mr. Grenville, which, though never cordial, served at
least to alarm the Bedfords, who, according to their laudable practice,
made immediate overtures to the three brothers,[240] offering to be
content to save Lord Gower, Rigby, and one or two more of their friends
at most; in which number they were careful _not_ to stipulate for their
ally, the Duke of Grafton. These overtures, though renewed at different
times, were rejected. As if to condemn themselves more, they published
a severe pamphlet against the political conduct of Lord Chatham.

Wiltshire and Worcestershire then agreed on a petition, and one from
Surrey was presented. But the capital stroke was struck by the
electors of Westminster, who petitioned the king _to dissolve the
Parliament_,--a step not only absurd, but of most dangerous precedent.
To require him to dissolve an assembly so obsequious, and of whom
they complained for humouring his vengeance, was on the face of it
ridiculous and void of all probability of success. A refusal, indeed,
they might wish to receive, as it would but inflame their grievance:
but on pretence of violated liberty to seek for redress from the
Throne, the aggressor against the bulwark of liberty, however then
betrayed to the Crown, was as noxious a measure as could have been
devised. What King but might obtain some servile addresses against the
most incorruptible House of Commons? Was prerogative the champion to
resort to in defence of injured freedom? The invitation sent to the
Danes by our short-sighted and ignorant ancestors, and the expedient
of calling over the heir of the Crown of France by the barons in the
reign of King John, were scarce more big with folly and indiscretion.
What could triumphant rebellion have demanded more of a King than to
dissolve one Parliament and expose himself to a new election amidst
enraged subjects? It was the act of a rash multitude--yet did not want
abettors, who ought to have acted on sounder and soberer principles.
Was this, alas! a moment to fill the nation with tumult and disorder?
Was the constitution so gone (and nobody thinks worse than I do of the
provocation given by the Court in the case of Lutterell) that anarchy
was the sole engine left that could restore it? Could Lord Chatham,
or Lord Temple, or Grenville (of whom the former had lost their
popularity, and the latter never had any) hope to

    “Ride in the whirlwind, and direct the storm?”

No--Wilkes and every turbulent agitator in the several counties would
have risen on the froth of a cauldron composed of such pernicious
ingredients. The intrusion of Lutterell was not an evil adequate to
such remedies. True patriots will bear with some ills, and temporize
till a fitter opportunity. Nor would the remedy have been remote,
would the plaintiffs have had virtue to wait and avail themselves
of it. Would the people resist corruption, and elect none but men
of virtue and principle, the election of another Parliament would
furnish redress. Corrupt members must be the consequence of corrupt
constituents. The people had not virtue, nor their leaders patience to
profit of, or wait for, so constitutional a remedy.

Lord Shelburne attacked the Duke of Bedford in his own town of Bedford,
and carried a mayor against him. The celebrated Junius published an
infamous attack on the same Duke, on the insult he had received in
Devonshire, by justifying which the writer gave a riot the air of
premeditated assassination.[241] Sir William Draper, a brave officer,
attached to the Duke and Lord Granby, who had been abused by the same
author, but not of sound intellects, published, with his name, a
challenge to the dark satirist,[242] which the latter answered with
parts, and without any manly spirit. About the same time, one Dr.
Musgrave, who had hawked about to Lord Chatham and other discontented
great men, and to some Ministers, and been rejected by all, an offer
of a discovery which he pretended to have made, that the late peace
had been bought by France of the Princess Dowager, Lord Bute, and Lord
Holland, now published this wild accusation, and cited the Chevalier
D’Eon as one of his evidences. The latter, whose head had been turned
by the vanity of being an under instrument in concluding that peace,
flatly disavowed him; and though in the following winter he had
his charge laid before Parliament, it was grounded on such paltry
information, picked up in a French coffee-house, that faction itself
could not countenance him; and the man and his accusation being voted
infamous, were heard of no more.[243]

The young Emperor of Germany, Joseph the Second, now began to make
himself noticed. Though behaving with perfect deference to, and
appearing to live in cordial amity with, his mother, the Empress-queen,
he discovered symptoms of not intending to waste his reign in
inactivity. He gave great attention to the army; and, as a model of
royal wisdom to be studied, had an interview with the King of Prussia;
at which visit many passions must have been smothered on either side.

The Turks having met the Russian army in those vast plains that divide
their empires, now recovered their superiority by the advantage of
their cavalry, better suited to desultory war: but they had scarce
stemmed the torrent of invasion, before the Czarina struck Europe with
wonder and respect by a measure at once great, daring, and desperate.
She notified her intention of sending a fleet to attack Constantinople
itself. The idea was said to be her own, and she persisted against the
advice of her Ministers. The length of the voyage, its dangers, and
the almost hopeless prospect of success, were lost in the grandeur of
the project. I was then at Paris: the French ministry were confounded,
and dispatched couriers by land to rouse the Ottoman Monarch: French
engineers followed to assist him in fortifying the approach to his
capital, which lay, as he thought, securely surrounded by endless
tracts of sea and land. The Duke of Choiseul, who had sown those seeds
of wide-spread desolation, was confounded at seeing himself excelled
in a nobler style. But few days before this intelligence reached
him, he had had the vain levity, as I was supping with him at his
own house, to send for the last Paris Gazette, which he had dictated
himself, to prove the late victory of the Turks, and read it to the
company. His invasion of Corsica, and the savage cruelties that were
exercised there after the conquest, were puny consolations to his
meddling ambition--yet was all the military glory that decorated his
administration. The first advantages gained there by the French had
been solemnized in a ridiculous manner by ostentatious inscriptions,
that were soon followed by defeats; but hosts continually poured in
on the abandoned islanders; and the deficiency of military skill in
Pascal Paoli, the Dictator of the aspiring Republic, and even his
want of valour, as the French themselves asserted, reduced Corsica
beneath their yoke. Paoli, who aspired to power, not to the fame of
virtue, distinguished between his country and his hopes, and not having
fallen like Leonidas, did not despair like Cato. He made his escape
and arrived in England, where his character had been so advantageously
exaggerated by Mr. Boswell’s enthusiastic and entertaining account of
him, that the Opposition were ready to receive and incorporate him
in the list of popular tribunes. The Court artfully intercepted the
project; and deeming patriots of all nations equally corruptible,
bestowed a pension of 1000_l._ a-year on the unheroic fugitive.
Themistocles accepted the gold of Xerxes, and excused himself from
receiving a visit from Mrs. Macaulay, who had given him printed advice
for settling a republic. I saw him soon after his arrival, dangling
at Court. He was a man of decent deportment, vacant of all melancholy
reflection, with as much ease as suited a prudence that seemed the
utmost effort of a wary understanding, and so void of anything
remarkable in his aspect, that being asked if I knew who it was, I
judged him a Scottish officer (for he was sandy-complexioned and in
regimentals) who was cautiously awaiting the moment of promotion.
All his heroism consisted in bearing with composure the accounts of
his friends being tortured and butchered, while he was sunk into
a pensioner of that very Court that had proclaimed his valiant
countrymen and associates rebels.[244]

Not so passive the English. The weavers mutinied against their masters,
and many were killed by the guards. The Livery of London rejected
Sir Henry Banks, a senior Alderman, for Lord Mayor; and Beckford and
Trecothick being returned by them to the Court of Aldermen, and the
former having the majority was elected a second time. He excused
himself on pretence of age, which was but turned of sixty, and
infirmities which he had not. He was pressed again to accept, and
peremptorily refused the office; but the Sheriffs, with a train of
coaches, entreating him, at the request of the Livery, not to deny
himself to their wishes, he at last yielded. The Livery then inquired
what answer had been returned to their petition? The Aldermen, to
soften them, replied, that none had been given, but his Majesty would
undoubtedly consider of the most constitutional means of redressing
their grievances. They next called for Lord Holland’s letter to the
Lord Mayor, who produced it; adding, that he did not know how Lord
Holland, as a gentleman, could account for publishing his (the Mayor’s)
letter--as if it was justifiable to tax that lord in a public manner,
without process or proofs, of embezzling millions; and unjustifiable
in him, in his own defence, to print the Lord Mayor’s evasion, I might
almost say disavowal, of the charge! Sinking under the aspersion
and loads of abuse, Lord Holland retired to France on pretence of
conducting thither his wife’s sister, Lady Cecilia Lenox, who was
dying, and died there, of a consumption. The City, as if he had fled
from the charge, instructed their Members to endeavour a parliamentary
inquiry into his conduct, and to impeach him if matter were found--but
it came to nothing; and their silence cleared him.

The Marquis of Rockingham and the Cavendishes had kept aloof from
the factious meetings of the rest of the Opposition, and given no
countenance to the spirit of petitioning, which had now gained
Hereford, Newcastle, and the counties of Gloucester and Cornwall. The
Duke of Richmond, who was in France, where I was too, told me with
satisfaction that his friends had resisted an example so inconsistent
with the principles of liberty as appealing to the Crown against the
House of Commons. Their resistance, however, was not stubborn enough
to hold out against popularity, and the arts of a man who meant
nothing less than to assert the constitution, and who made use of the
grievance complained of to force the Crown to employ him, lucratively
to himself, in every attack it meditated against the constitution.
This was Alexander Wedderburne, whose name will be read with horror
when this transaction is remembered, and compared with a change of
conduct as sudden as the former, and as diametrically opposite to this
parenthesis of affected zeal for liberty, and attended by the share
he bore in lighting up a civil war, the view of which was to enslave
America. Edmund Burke, too, had perhaps some influence in seducing
the Whig lords into adoption of the popular measure. Not content
with Lord Rockingham’s feeble politics, and hoping better from the
union of the three brothers, he concerted with them the petition for
Buckinghamshire; and he, Grenville, and Wedderburne drew another for
Yorkshire, the ablest of all those performances; and the Marquis, the
Cavendishes, and the worthy Sir George Saville, promoted that and
another from Derbyshire. A patriot remonstrance composed by an Irishman
born a papist, and by a Scottish creature of Lord Bute, was deservedly

The Ministers, who should have met the storm early, and who by calling
the Parliament might have intercepted many petitions, sought to
keep off the discussion there, and would not let it meet till after
Christmas. The Duke of Grafton, who had been honoured with the Garter,
and elected Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, could not bear
the thoughts of business. He diverted himself in the country, coming
to town but once a week, or once a fortnight, to sign papers[245] at
the Treasury; and as seldom to the King. I could but reflect how
different had been the application of Sir Robert Walpole, my father,
who, without relaxation but for two fortnights in the year, found it
difficult enough to govern the kingdom and keep Opposition at bay,
though secure of the King, secure of peace with France by meeting as
pacific dispositions in Cardinal Fleury, void of alarms from Ireland
and America, that were as quiet as his own county of Norfolk, and
called on for no attention to a new empire that had now accrued to us
at the eastern boundary of the world. The consequences were such as
might be expected. Walpole maintained the equilibrium; under Grafton
everything fell into confusion. Were any representations made to him,
he threatened to resign, affirming that he only retained his power,
because his quitting at that crisis would produce a dissolution of
Parliament, from which he foresaw the worst consequences. The only
step he took was to advise with the Chancellor, who told him surlily,
that his Grace had consulted him but twice last session, and then
had acted directly contrary to his advice. He was as blunt with the
King, who telling him he hoped there was no truth in what he saw in
the papers that his Lordship had thoughts of resigning the Seals,
he replied, There was universal discontent amongst the people. Yet
Hussey, the Chancellor’s friend, was warm against the petitions, and
said, if any body moved in Parliament, as Lord Chatham threatened to
do, for a dissolution of Parliament, he would vote for sending that
person to the Tower. Sir Walter Blacket told his constituents, at
Newcastle, that he would cut off his hand rather than sign a petition
to the King to interfere with a resolution of the House of Commons.
In fact, the lower people alone, whom it was easy to lead, gave in to
petitions. The gentry in general discouraged, yet dared not openly
oppose them, either fearing for their future elections, or dreading
the abuse that was cast on all who opposed the popular cry. Sawbridge
and Calcraft obtained at Maidstone a petition from the county of
Kent, though all the magistrates shrunk from it, two gentlemen only
appearing there, and they dissenting. Sawbridge told the mob the King
had abused his prerogative by pardoning murderers. Another demagogue
was less successful--Mr. Thomas Pitt,[246] Grenville’s creature,
having harangued the County of Cornwall in favour of a petition, was
severely reproached with having sold his own borough of Old Sarum to a
Scotch placeman; and for meaning less a redress of grievances than an
opportunity of selling it again by a new general election. Townshend,
no less hot than Sawbridge, abused in open court the courts of justice;
and at a trial of some weavers for destroying looms, being desired by
the judge to quiet a riot without doors, returned and denied there
being any tumult. He and Sawbridge repairing to Spitalfields, the late
principal scene of uproar, Sir Robert Darling, a justice, told them
there had been no mob till their arrival; and if they would not retire,
he would commit them, which they were forced to do; but being ordered
to attend the execution of two condemned cutters, they refused, because
the spot was not specified in the sentence--a sacrifice to the mob
that scandalized the merchants, who had suffered by the late outrages,
and were exposed to daily injuries. The criminals, however, were at
last hanged; but the sheriffs fearing to be insulted by the populace,
and to avoid being reduced to call in the military, went guarded by
a crowd of constables, and were obliged to have the convicts hanged
precipitately. Yet the mob pelted the sheriffs, cut down the gallows,
carried it with one of the bodies to the house of the prosecutor, and
destroyed his looms. A justice of peace sent for guards from the Tower,
while Sawbridge pleaded to the rioters that he had done everything in
his power to save the criminals--a proof that his objection to the spot
of execution had been solely an evasion offered to popularity. The
sheriffs were as negligent of their duty on being required to suppress
the tumults on Wilkes’s[247] birthday, when many windows were broken
for not being illuminated.

It was not so valuable a triumph as he expected, when, on November the
10th, Wilkes carried his long-protracted cause against Lord Halifax.
The damages were laid at 20,000_l._: the jury gave him 4000_l._ One of
the books of the Treasury was produced, in which had been entered a
promise by the now zealous patriot, Mr. Grenville, that Lord Halifax
should be indemnified, if cast in the suit.[248] The jury having
disappointed the expectations of the populace by so moderate a fine,
were hissed, and forced to escape by a back way.

The graver citizens, who do not relish liberty at the risk of their
property, grew alarmed at these wild proceedings, and began to wish
again for the decorous ascendance of moneyed men. The first stand
they made was in Broad Street Ward, where they elected one Rossiter
Alderman against Bull, a man set up by the Supporters of the Bill of
Rights. Soon afterwards, attempts being made to introduce new Common
Councilmen into several wards, the richer citizens exerted themselves
to disappoint, and did disappoint, many of the turbulent candidates.

The scene in Ireland was not less alarming than the ill humour in
England. An augmentation of the forces was designed there. Lord
Townshend, afraid of a remnant of popularity, forbore to announce it in
his speech at opening the session. It was even omitted in the estimates
of the army; the Ministers there not having then acquainted themselves
with what the charge would amount to. The Opposition moved, and carried
by 13, two questions for addressing the Lord-Lieutenant to know the
reason of the omission. The augmentation, however, was carried by 170
to 50. In all other questions, the Viceroy was defeated, particularly
in one very important to the Sovereignty of England. It is usual, on
calling a new Parliament, to assign as the cause some bill sent over by
the Privy Council. The English Government always take care it should
be a money bill. This bill, now returned to them from England, the
House of Commons in Ireland rejected. The blow struck at the whole
constitution of Ireland, as regulated in subservience to England by
Poyning’s Act. The same innovation had been made in the reign of King
William. Lord Sidney, then Deputy of Ireland, immediately, without
waiting for directions from England, prorogued their Parliament, after
making a strong protest against the rejection. He kept it prorogued
till April, however inconvenient to the Government; the King in the
meantime having nothing but his hereditary revenue. The punishment,
however, fell more heavy on the Opposition by the odium it drew on
them from the public creditors and the pensioners of the Court, who
all remained unpaid during the suspension of Parliament. The Duke
of Leinster,[249] a weak man, who aspired to be Lord-Lieutenant;
Lord Shannon,[250] son of the late Speaker, who wished to be one
of the Lords Justices, and was very artful; and the present Speaker
Ponsonby,[251] who coveted Lord Clanbrazil’s place[252] for two lives,
were at the bottom of the new intrigues of the Opposition. The Duke
of Grafton, the Chancellor Camden, and the English Council advised
immediate prorogation; but Lord Hertford, better acquainted with
Ireland, where his estate lay, and which kingdom he had governed,
besought them to wait till the money-bills, which are always
transmitted hither before Christmas, should arrive. This was sound
advice; for, though the rash order was given, the money-bills, which
were actually passed and on the road, did arrive before Lord Townshend
could receive the command for prorogation, which, when he executed it,
was no longer an impediment to the collection of the revenue.

In the beginning of December, the English Privy Council sat on the
dissolution of the Parliament so much demanded. All were unanimous
against it, yet the Chancellor peremptorily condemned the introduction
of Lutterell. Mr. Conway, by my advice, proposed a popular declaration
in the King’s Speech against unusual exertion of prerogative. Most of
the Council approved the idea; and, at Mr. Conway’s request, I drew
words for that purpose; but he had not weight enough with the Duke of
Grafton to get them admitted, or the King had too much influence over
his Grace not to overrule so unpalatable a condescension.

A momentary triumph the Duke obtained over the popular party. Vaughan,
a sanctified leader of the Bill of Rights, offered him 5000_l._ for
the reversion of a place in America. The Duke, who should only have
exposed the man, prosecuted him: yet Vaughan had much to plead in his
excuse. Great debts were owing to him in the colony, of which the place
in question was the Register, who resided in England, whence it was
difficult to get his debts, which amounted to 80,000_l._ registered;
and, therefore, he had tried to purchase the place, which had been
often sold, for his son.[253] The Duke’s over affectation of virtue
drew on him from Junius a detection, in which his active aversion to
corruption did not appear quite so pure as his passive. It was proved
that he had bestowed on Colonel Burgoyne a place, which the latter
was to sell to reimburse himself for the expenses of his election at
Preston. Some other papers from the same hand fell cruelly on Burgoyne.

As the Session approached, Lord Chatham engaged with new warmth in
promoting petitions. He asked Mr. Cholmondeley,[254] Member for
Cheshire, why his county had not petitioned? and told him he himself
would move for dissolution of the Parliament; and, if not able to stand
on his legs, “I will speak,” said he, as he lay on his couch, “in this
horizontal posture.” Calcraft was not less zealous, and more active.
He and Sir Joseph Mawbey obtained a petition from the county of Essex,
though neither High Sheriff, the Members, nor one gentleman of the
county would attend the meeting, at the head of which they were forced
to set Sir Robert Bernard, Knight for Huntingdonshire.

In the City, attempts were made to save three more condemned cutters of
looms, and handbills were dispersed inviting the weavers to assemble on
the morrow in Moorfields, in order to petition the King for a pardon;
but Beckford, the new Lord Mayor, and the Sheriff Sawbridge went
thither and persuaded them to disperse; and the cutters were hanged
without disturbance.

These many essays towards an insurrection were crowned by the
unparalleled remonstrance of Junius to the King, the most daring insult
ever offered to a prince but in times of open rebellion, and aggravated
by the many truths it contained. Nothing could exceed the singularity
of this satire, but the impossibility of discovering the author. Three
men were especially suspected, Wilkes, Edmund Burke, and William Gerard
Hamilton. The desperate hardiness of the author in attacking men so
great, so powerful, and some so brave, was reconcileable only to the
situation of Wilkes; but the masterly talents that appeared in those
writings were deemed superior to his abilities: yet in many of Junius’s
letters an inequality was observed; and even in this remonstrance
different hands seemed to have been employed. The laborious flow of
style, and fertility of matter, made Burke believed the real Junius:
yet he had not only constantly and solemnly denied any hand in those
performances, but was not a man addicted to bitterness; nor could any
one account for such indiscriminate attacks on men of such various
descriptions and professions. Hamilton was most generally suspected.
He, too, denied it--but his truth was not renowned. The quick
intelligence of facts, and the researches into the arcana of every
office, were far more uncommon than the invectives; and men wondered
how any one possessed of such talents, could have the forbearance
to write in a manner so desperate as to prevent his ever receiving
personal applause for his writings: the venom was too black not to
disgrace even his ashes.[255]

A _North Briton_, of very inferior or no merit, followed this
remonstrance, and spared the two royal brothers no more than Junius had
palliated the errors of the King. The Duke of Cumberland, a weak and
debauched boy, was censured for an intrigue with a lady of rank, which
became of public notoriety, and will be mentioned hereafter. The Duke
of Gloucester, a virtuous, discreet, and unexceptionable Prince, had
involved himself in a more serious affair; of which, as I can, I must
give a more particular account than was known to others.

Maria Walpole, second natural daughter of my brother, Sir Edward,
and one of the most beautiful of women, had been married, solely by
my means, to James late Earl of Waldegrave, Governor to the King and
Duke of York, an excellent man, but as old again as she was, and of
no agreeable figure. Her passions were ambition and expense: she
accepted his hand with pleasure, and by an effort less common, proved
a meritorious wife. When after her year of widowhood she appeared
again in the full lustre of her beauty, she was courted by the Duke
of Portland; but the young Duke of Gloucester, who had gazed on her
with desire during her husband’s life, now openly showing himself her
admirer, she slighted the subject, and aspired to the brother of the
Crown. Her obligations to me, and my fondness for her, authorized me
to interpose my advice, which was kindly but unwillingly received.
I did not desist; but pointing out the improbabilities of marriage,
the little likelihood of the King’s consent, and the chance of being
sent to Hanover separated from her children,[256] on whom she doated,
the last reason alone prevailed on the fond mother, and she yielded
to copy a letter I wrote for her to the Duke of Gloucester, in which
she renounced his acquaintance in the no new terms of not being of
rank to be his wife, and too considerable to be his mistress. A short
fortnight baffled all my prudence. The Prince renewed his visits with
more assiduity after that little interval, and Lady Waldegrave received
him without disguise. My part was soon taken. I had done my duty--a
second attempt had been hopeless folly. Though often pressed to sup
with her, when I knew the Duke was to be there, I steadily refused, and
never once mentioned his name to her afterwards, though as their union
grew more serious, she affectedly named him to me, called him _the
Duke_, and related to me private anecdotes of the royal family, which
she could have received but from him. It was in vain; I studiously
avoided him. She brought him to see my house, but I happened not to be
at home; he came again, alone; I left the house. He then desisted, for
I never staid for his court, which followed the Princess Dowager’s,
but retired as soon as she had spoken to me. This, as may be supposed,
cooled my niece’s affection for me; but being determined not to have
the air of being convenient to her from flattery, if she was not
married, and having no authority to ask her the question on which she
had refused to satisfy her father, I preferred my honour to her favour,
and left her to her own conduct. Indeed my own father’s obligations to
the royal family forbad me to endeavour to place a natural daughter of
our house so near the Throne. To my brother the Duke was profuse of
civilities, which I pressed him to decline; and even advised him not
to see his daughter, unless she would own her marriage, which might
oblige the Duke, in vindication of her character, to avow her for his
wife. Married, I had no doubt they were. Both the Duke and she were
remarkably religious; and neither of them dissolute enough to live,
as they did at last, with all the liberties of marriage. The King and
Queen denied their legal union, yet the respect with which they treated
her spoke the contrary; and the homage which all men and all women paid
her by a fortune singular to her, assured the opinion of her virtue,
and made it believed that the King, privy to their secret, had exacted
a promise of their not divulging it. By degrees her situation became
still less problematic; and both the Duke and she affectedly took all
occasions of intimating it by a formal declaration. At first she had
houses, or lodgings, in the palaces nearest to his residence; and the
latter were furnished from the royal wardrobe without limitation.
She changed her liveries to a compound of the royal--was covered
with jewels--the Duke’s gentlemen and equerries handed her to her
chair in public--his equipages were dispatched for her--his sister,
the Queen of Denmark, sent her presents by him, and she quitted all
assemblies at nine at night, saying, “You know I must go.” At St.
Leonard’s Hill, in Windsor Forest, near his own lodge at Cranbourn, he
built her a palace, and lay there every night: his picture and Lord
Waldegrave’s she showed in her bedchamber. These were not the symptoms
of a dissoluble connection! Once they both seemed, in 1766, to be
impatient of ascertaining her rank. She had obtained lodgings in the
most inner court of the palace at Hampton, and demanded permission
of Lord Hertford, Lord Chamberlain, for her coach to drive into it,
an honour peculiar to the royal family. He, feeling the delicacy of
the proposal, which would have amounted to a declaration, unless a
like permission had been indulged to other countesses residing there,
delayed mentioning it to the King, to whom he knew the request would
be unwelcome. Lady Waldegrave sent to the Chamberlain’s office to
know if it was granted. Lord Hertford then was obliged to speak. The
King peremptorily refused, saying, he would not break through old
orders. Afraid of shocking her, Lord Hertford begged I would acquaint
Lady Waldegrave. I flatly refused to meddle in the business. In the
meantime the Dukes of Gloucester and Cumberland went to Hampton Court.
The former asked Ely, of the Chamberlain’s office, if the request was
granted; and being told Lord Hertford was to ask it of his Majesty,
the Duke, losing his usual temper, said passionately, “Lord Hertford
might have done it without speaking to the King (which would have been
rash indeed!)--but that not only Lady Waldegrave’s coach should drive
in, but that she herself should go up the Queen’s staircase.” This
being reported to Lord Hertford, he again pressed me to interpose; but
I again refused: but, lest the Duke should resent it, I advised him to
write to my niece: but she threw up her lodgings, when she could not
carry the point she had aimed at. She obtained, however, about a year
after, a sort of equivocal acknowledgment of what she was. The Duke of
Gloucester gave a ball to the King and Queen, to which nobody, without
exception, but certain of their servants and their husbands, and
wives, and children, were admitted: yet Lady Waldegrave and her eldest
daughter appeared there. She could have no pretension to be present,
being attached by no post to either King or Queen; and it spoke itself,
that the Duke could not have proposed to introduce his mistress[257] to
an entertainment dedicated to the Queen. The Princess Dowager (and she
was then believed to be the principal obstacle to the publicity of the
marriage) alone treated Lady Waldegrave with coldness[258]--another
presumption of their being married. His declining health often carried
the Duke abroad. The Great Duke, with whom he contracted a friendship,
told Lady Hamilton, wife of our Minister at Naples, that the Duke had
owned his marriage to him. It was this union that was censured in the
_North Briton_, as threatening a revival of the feuds of the two roses,
by a Prince of the blood marrying a subject.


  Printed by S. & J. BENTLEY, WILSON and FLEY,
  Bangor House, Shoe Lane.


[1] The pamphlet alluded to was intituled “A Letter to his Grace
the Duke of Grafton, First Commissioner of his Majesty’s Treasury.”
Editions were printed at London, Paris, and Berlin. It bears with less
severity on the Duke than on Lord Chatham, who is held up to public
ridicule and scorn as an apostate to the cause of liberty, and “the
abject crouching deputy of the proud Scot,” whom he is represented as
having previously persecuted and insulted. This virulent and tedious
invective concludes thus:--“But I have done with Lord Chatham; I leave
him to the poor consolation of a place, a pension, and a peerage, for
which he has sold the confidence of a great nation. Pity shall find
and weep over him.” It is altogether a poor performance. The only
part now of any interest, is the narrative it contains of Wilkes’s
arrest and examination for the publication of the _North Briton_,
in 1763.--(Almon’s Life of Wilkes, vol. iii. p. 184.--Biographical
Anecdotes, vol. i. p. 6.)--E.

[2] Walpole must have meant weeks. The Pope declined receiving them
on account of the expenses attending the support of so large a body.
Subsequently the miserable pittance of a franc per diem was assigned to
each of them.--E.

[3] M de Mello afterwards became Minister of Marine in Portugal,
under the Marquis of Pombal, and held that post several years with
great reputation. His ability and experience in business, obliged the
Court to retain him in the Government after the disgrace of Pombal,
notwithstanding his connexions with that statesman, and the known
liberality of his opinions.--(Dispatch from Mr. Walpole, minister at
Lisbon, in Smith’s Life of Pombal, vol. ii. p. 301.)--E.

[4] The exchange to which Walpole refers was not accomplished without
serious difficulty, the Indian Militia raised by the Jesuits having
long successfully resisted the Spanish and Portuguese forces employed
to carry the treaty into effect. The transaction has generally been
ascribed to the intrigues of the Dominicans, the ancient enemies of
the Jesuits, and their competitors for spiritual dominion in the
New World. The conspiracy of Tavora quickly followed, and furnished
Pombal with the ostensible pretext he so ardently desired, for the
expulsion of the order from Portugal (in 1759), and it also shook their
influence throughout Europe. They lingered on in France, proscribed
by the Parliaments, and odious to the great majority of the people,
until 1764, when the edict against them was wrung from Louis XV. by
the importunities of Choiseul. The same minister has been supposed to
have determined the Court of Spain to pursue a similar course; and no
doubt his influence and that of his master were used for that purpose.
But the real author of the bold and statesmanlike measure described in
the text, was Don Pedro D’Aranda, the Captain-General, and President of
the Council of Castile. During a lengthened absence from Spain, he had
formed in the society of Montesquieu, D’Alembert, and Diderot, as well
as of Frederic the Great, plans of national reform, which he knew to be
incompatible with the existence of the Jesuits; and from the moment of
his accession to power he seems to have been bent on their destruction.
His manly and persuasive eloquence, a mind full of resources, and a
character indomitably resolute, gained him an extraordinary sway over
the divided councils of an ignorant and imbecile Court. The Jesuits
had irritated Charles by their intrigues, both at Rome and Madrid,
during the reign of his predecessor. Their interference with the
various departments of the State had gradually identified them, in
the opinion of the people, with the grievous abuses under which the
country suffered, and all the rising talent of Spain was secretly
opposed to them. D’Aranda boldly arraigned them as the instigators of
the insurrection against Squillaci, which, for some hours, had placed
the royal family and the capital at the mercy of the mob. He availed
himself of the influence he had acquired by quelling that insurrection
to press the charge with his characteristic impetuosity. The alarm of
the King, and the confidence of the accuser, supplied the deficiency of
conclusive proofs, and D’Aranda prevailed.

No sooner was the edict obtained, than it appeared that the most minute
arrangements had been made throughout Spain for its immediate execution
by Campomanes, then a young man, and lately appointed to the ministry;
and the skill with which this was accomplished is still cited by the
native historians as the masterpiece of that statesman, high as his
reputation deservedly stands in his own country as an economist, a
writer, and a minister. See the Supplementary Chapter by Muriel to the
French translation of Coxe’s History of the Spanish Bourbons, vol. v.
p. 65; one of the most valuable of that work.--E.

[5] Sebastian Joseph de Carvalho a Mello Count D’Ocyras, and Marquis of
Pombal, was born in 1699, and died in 1782, in his 83rd year. He had
been Minister and master of Portugal for twenty-seven years--a period
rendered interesting by his vigorous efforts for the regeneration of
his country. This was an undertaking, however, beyond the power of
any individual, however eminent or able, to accomplish; and the harsh
and often unprincipled means he employed to attain his ends made his
reforms odious to a large portion of the community, and precipitated
their decline from the moment that he had fallen into disgrace.--E.

[6] Jane Warburton, widow of John Duke of Argyle, and mother of
Caroline Countess Dowager of Dalkeith, who had married for her second
husband Charles Townshend, and inherited a great fortune on her
mother’s death.

[7] See Lord Bristol’s letter to Lord Chatham of the 5th of April,
conveying the King’s kind message and the King’s own letter to Lord
Chatham of the 30th of April, to the same effect.--Chat. Corresp. vol.
iii. pp. 240. 252. His Majesty appears to have acted most considerately
and handsomely towards Lord Chatham throughout his illness.--E.

[8] Henry Crabb Boulton, M.P. for Worcester, died in 1773. He was
chairman of the East India Company, in the same year. He also presided
over the Committee appointed by the General Court of Proprietors to
oppose Lord North’s Bill for the better regulation of the Company,
and exerted himself most actively to defeat that measure. It was at
his instigation that the Corporation of the City of London, moved by
the important consideration that 1000 freemen were interested in the
question, made common cause with the Company, and petitioned Parliament
on its behalf.--E.

[9] Mr. Townshend had not many months before entertained a very
different opinion of this great man, as appears from the following
passage in the Duke of Grafton’s MS. Memoirs. “On the night preceding
Lord Chatham’s first journey to Bath, Mr. Charles Townshend was for
the first time summoned to the Cabinet. The business was on a general
view and statement of the actual situation and interests of the various
powers in Europe. Lord Chatham had taken the lead in this consideration
in so masterly a manner, as to raise the admiration and desire of us
all to co-operate with him in forwarding his views. Mr. Townshend was
particularly astonished, and owned to me, as I was carrying him in my
carriage home, that Lord Chatham had just shown to us what inferior
animals we were, and that as much as he had seen of him before,
he did not conceive till that night his superiority to be so very

[10] The following more friendly account of this singular scene is
transcribed from Sir George Colebrooke’s Memoirs.

“Mr. Townshend loved good living, but had not a strong stomach. He
committed therefore frequent excesses, considering his constitution,
which would not have been intemperance in another. He was supposed,
for instance, to have made a speech in the heat of wine, when that
was really not the case. It was a speech in which he treated with
great levity, but with wonderful art, the characters of the Duke of
Grafton and Lord Shelburne, whom, though his colleagues in office,
he entertained a sovereign contempt for, and heartily wished to get
rid of. He had a black ribbon over one of his eyes that day, having
tumbled out of bed, probably in a fit of epilepsy, and this added to
the impression made on his auditors that he was tipsy, whereas it was a
speech he had meditated a great while upon, and it was only by accident
that it found utterance that day. I write with certainty, because Sir
George Yonge and I were the only persons who dined with him, and we
had but one bottle of champagne after dinner, General Conway having
repeatedly sent messengers to press his return to the House.”--E.

[11] Francis Bernard, Esq. He had been Governor of New Jersey from 1758
to 1760 when he was promoted to Massachusets. He is praised by the
writers unfavourable to the Americans for his zeal in maintaining the
authority of the mother country.--(Stedman’s History of the American
War, vol. i. p. 58.) Unhappily this zeal was not tempered by judgment.
He has been justly censured by Mr. Burke. He was made a Baronet in
1769, died in 1779. The late benevolent Sir John Bernard was his second

[12] This speech will long be memorable, as it again opened the wounds
scarce skinned over by the repeal of the Stamp Act. The loss of the
land-tax occasioned this speech and the ensuing taxes; those taxes
produced opposition; that opposition gave a handle to the friends of
prerogative to attempt despotism in America; and that attempt has
caused a civil war in America, whence is just arrived notice of the
first bloodshed, as I transcribe these Memoirs--in June, 1775.

At this later period (when thirteen provinces are actually lost) the
leading steps may be summed up thus: Grenville (who had adopted from
Lord Bute a plan of taxation formed by Jenkinson) had provoked America
to resist. The Rockingham Administration had endeavoured to remedy
that mischief by repealing the Stamp Act; and perhaps might have
prevented a farther breach, though ambitious leaders, and perhaps some
true republican patriots, might have entertained hopes of separating
the Colonies from Great Britain; and France had certainly fomented
those designs. The pernicious mischief of lowering the land-tax gave
a handle to Charles Townshend to propose his new taxes (instigated,
as was supposed, by the secret cabal at Court, or officiously to make
his court there.) Thus the ambition of the Court began the quarrel;
Grenville was a second time, though then without foreseeing it, an
instrument of renewing it; and the Crown, that delighted in the
mischief, ended with being the great sufferer, and America happily
became perfectly free.--W.

[It is not unlikely, as Sir George Colebrooke observes, “that as the
Court had never intended to abandon the principle of taxation. Mr.
Townshend was not sorry to have an opportunity of ingratiating himself
at St. James’s, by proposing taxes which, though levied in America,
were not laid on American growth, or American industry, and so far
he hoped they would find admittance into the Colonies.”--(Sir George
Colebrooke’s MS. Memoirs.) Many of the Americans attached to the
British connexion were also of that opinion, and told Mr. Townshend
“Only let the tax bear the appearance of port duties, and it will
not be objected to.”--(Cavendish’s Debates, vol. i. p. 213.) At home
the measure was opposed by a very slender minority in Parliament
representing no powerful interests exclusive of the merchants engaged
in the American trade, whose fears for the debts owing to them in
the Colonies made them so tremblingly apprehensive, that their
remonstrances carried less weight with the Government than would
otherwise have been due to their intelligence and wealth. The country
also had taken umbrage at the intemperate language of the Colonists,
and regarded with some distrust the moderate policy of the Government;
so that Mr. Townshend had to contend with the taunts of the Opposition,
the popular voice, and the wishes of the Court--a combination far too
strong for a statesman of his temperament to resist.]--E.

[13] The third resolution was, “That until provision shall have been
made by the Assembly for furnishing the King’s troops with all the
necessaries required by the said Act (of 5 Geo. III.) the Government,
and Council, and Assembly be restrained and prohibited from passing or
assenting to any act of Assembly, &c.” It was opposed at considerable
length by Mr. Pownall, late Governor of Massachusets, on the ground
that the provisions of the Act were incompatible with the nature of the
people and the circumstances of many parts of the country, and that its
object might be effectually obtained by a colonial act, such as the
Assembly of Massachusets had passed at his recommendation some time
before. Governor Pownall’s speech is reported, probably by himself, in
Parl. Hist. vol. xvi. p. 331.--E.

[14] The previous discussions of the East India question are noticed
in the Second Volume pp. 394, 427, 449. They convey no exalted
notion of the sagacity or virtue of the parties concerned in them.
The sole object of the Ministers appears to have been to extort the
largest possible sum of money from the Company, without regard to
the prosperity of our commercial relations with India, the proper
administration of the territories of the Company, or the welfare of
the Indian population. The Company in like manner, directors and
proprietors, displayed an utter unfitness for the discharge of the
vast jurisdiction to which they laid claim. The venality and rapacity
of their officers in India almost found a parallel in the disgraceful
trafficking for votes and patronage in the Court of Proprietors, and
the speculations and maladministration of the directors. Their affairs
had fallen into great disorder,--the natural result of these practices
on such a vicious system as the annual election of the directors and
the low amount of the franchise of the proprietors. It was no wonder
that all sought to escape any interference or control on the part of
the Government. Strange to say, these crying evils were regarded with
indifference by the public, and every effort made by Government to
repress them met with determined resistance from the great mercantile
interests of the City of London. Indeed the cause of the Company became
so popular that many of the leading Whigs very inconsistently yielded
to the general feeling, and were found among its warmest advocates.
Conway wanted firmness to oppose this delusion. Of all the Ministers,
Lord Chatham alone did not entirely forget that he was a statesman. He
protested throughout against the rights claimed by the Company over
the conquered provinces, and he did not disguise his contempt for that
body. Indistinctly as his views are expressed, and extravagant as may
have been his belief of the extent of the revenues of the Company, he
appears to have carried his views for their appropriation beyond those
of mere revenue considerations to this country, and if his health had
admitted of his entering further into the controversy, and he had been
assisted in matters of detail, it is not unlikely that he would have
struck out a scheme worthy of his genius for the government of this
vast empire.--E.

[15] William Fitzherbert, of Tissington, M. P. for Derby, and a Lord of
Trade, an amiable man, whose intimate friendship with Burke, Johnson,
Cumberland, and other eminent literary men of his day, has been
gratefully recorded in their works. Dr. Johnson’s exquisite description
of him has often been quoted. He committed suicide in a fit of phrenzy,
in 1772. The late Lord St. Helens was his son.--E.

[16] Thomas Nuthall, appointed Solicitor of the Treasury, through
Lord Chatham’s interest, and his lordship’s intimate friend and law
adviser. Many letters to and from him are contained in the Chatham
Correspondence. He was shot by a highwayman on Hounslow Heath, and
expired a few hours afterwards, in March, 1775.--E.

[17] Mary, wife of Edward Duke of Norfolk, one of the daughters and
co-heiresses of Edward Blount of Blagden, in Devonshire. The biographer
of the Blount family states that “she graced her high station by the
beauty and dignity of her person, and the splendour of her wit and
talents.” She had lived with her husband in the South of France, until
he succeeded to the dukedom on the death of his elder brother, without
issue, in 1732. She died without issue in 1773. The Duke survived her
and died at the advanced age of 92, in 1777.--(History of the Croke and
Le Blount Family, vol. ii. p. 150.)--E.

[18] The debate was hot and personal. Lord Denbigh threw out
indirect reflections on Chief Justice Wilmot, and on being stopped
as disorderly, he turned upon Lord Mansfield, and went so far as to
give his lordship the lie. Eventually he was obliged to ask pardon,
which Lord Mansfield seems to have given with rather unbecoming
alacrity.--(Duke of Bedford’s Journal, in Cav. Parl. Deb., vol. i.
Appendix.) On the following day, the Duke of Grafton communicated
the result of the division by letter to Lord Chatham, and earnestly
entreated an interview to consider what was to be done. Lord Chatham,
as before, begged “to be allowed to decline the honour of the visit,
finding himself quite unable for a conversation which he should be
otherwise proud and happy to embrace.”--(Chatham Correspondence, vol.
iii. pp. 255, 256.)--E.

[19] The Duke says in his MS. Memoirs--

“Though I expected to find Lord Chatham very ill indeed, his situation
was different from what I had imagined: his nerves and spirits were
affected to a dreadful degree, and the sight of his great mind, bowed
down and thus weakened by disorder, would have filled me with grief
and concern even if I had not long borne a sincere attachment to his
person and character. The confidence he reposed in me, demanded every
return on my part, and it appeared like cruelty in me to have been
urged by any necessity to put a man I valued to so great suffering. The
interview was long and painful: I had to run over the many difficulties
of the session, for his lordship, I believe, had not once attended the
House since his last return from Bath. I had to relate the struggles
we had experienced in carrying some points, especially in the House
of Lords; the opposition, also, we had encountered in the East India
business, from Mr. Conway as well as Mr. Townshend, together with
the unaccountable conduct of the latter gentleman, who had suffered
himself to be led to pledge himself at last, contrary to the known
decision of every member of the Cabinet, to draw a certain revenue from
the Colonies, without offence to the Americans themselves; and I was
sorry to inform Lord Chatham, that Mr. Townshend’s flippant boasting
was received with strong marks of a blind and greedy approbation from
the body of the House; and I endeavoured to lay everything before
his lordship as plainly as I was able, and assured him that Lords
Northington and Camden had both empowered me to declare how earnestly
they desired to receive his advice as to assisting and strengthening
the system he had established by some adequate accession, without which
they were satisfied it could not nor ought to proceed.

“It was with difficulty that I brought Lord Chatham to be sensible of
the weakness of his Administration, or the power of the united faction
against us, though we received every mark we could desire of his
Majesty’s support. At last, after much discourse and some arguing, he
proceeded to entreat me to remain in my present station, taking that
method to strengthen the Ministry which should appear to me to be the
most eligible; and he assured me that if Lords Northington and Camden,
as well as myself, did not retain our high places, there would be an
end to all his hopes of being ever serviceable again as a public man.”

Eventually Lord Chatham acquiesced in the Duke entering into a
negotiation with the Bedford or Rockingham party--though he preferred
the former,--a preference which explains the Duke’s remark in the text
of p. 49.--E.

[20] Conway was right--Prince Ferdinand realized very little property
during the war, and died poor. The vast sums drawn from England fell
into the hands of subordinate agents.--E.

[21] They were both descendants of Charles II.

[22] A brief report of the debate is given from Lord Hardwicke’s Notes
in the “Parliamentary History,” vol. xvi. p. 350, by which it appears
that Lord Mansfield’s opposition was most decided and effective. He
treated it as an unprecedented exertion of absolute power to set aside
a legal act of private men legally empowered to dispose of their own
property--they having neither violated the general principles of
justice nor the bye-laws of the Company; their circumstances being
amply adequate to the payment of the dividend: and he also insisted
that stock-jobbing would be promoted by the bill, and left no doubt
of his own impression that such was its sole object. These arguments
are reproduced with great ability in the Protest, and have never
been satisfactorily refuted. The insolvency of the Company--a ground
afterwards abandoned by the Government--seems to be the only legitimate
defence that could have been alleged for such an arbitrary act.--E.

[23] Many, if not all of these, are to be found in the third volume of
Lord Chatham’s Correspondence.--E.

[24] Lord Holland had long vented this maxim, though he himself and
Lord Chatham had proved the futility of it in the last reign, when they
had successfully attacked the Duke of Newcastle’s Administration, on
his setting Sir Thomas Robinson to lead the House of Commons. Lord Bute
at the same instigation had erected himself into Minister, with Sir
Francis Dashwood for his substitute, and though it is true the nation
bore it for one session, it was so ridiculous an Administration, that
the Earl took fright, resigned himself, and deposed his deputy. The
King not having courage to repeat the system, though he liked it, had
recourse to an artful expedient, which answered his purpose--which was
to set up an ostensible Minister, but govern by his secret junto. Lord
Rockingham had really been Minister for one year, but found he could
not gain the King’s confidence without submitting to the junto, and
he was removed for Lord Chatham, another real Minister, whose madness
or mad conduct left the King at liberty to revert to his own system,
and then the Duke of Grafton and Lord North submitted to be ostensible

[25] This was not exactly the purport of the message: see infra pp. 87,
88, _note_. The Duke of Bedford’s construction of it may be seen from
the following passage in his Journal:--“Mr. Rigby informed us of the
good temper of mind in which he found Mr. Grenville with regard to any
Administration which could be formed to defeat the secret influence
of Lord Bute, and whose measures should be pursued conformable to his
sentiments about America, &c.”--(Duke of Bedford’s Journal, 11th of

[26] George Lord Townshend.

[27] Lady Caroline Campbell, wife of General Conway.

[28] Lady Caroline Campbell, wife of Charles Townshend. These two
ladies were daughters of two Johns Dukes of Argyll, and were widows of
the Earls of Ailesbury and Dalkeith.

[29] According to the Duke of Bedford’s Journal, this meeting
originated with the Duke of Newcastle: it look place at Newcastle House
on the 21st, at 9 o’clock in the evening. The two Dukes, the Marquis,
and Messrs. Rigby and Dowdeswell were the only persons present. The
point on which they finally disagreed was Mr. Conway’s continuing
Secretary of State with the lead in the Commons. “This,” says the Duke,
“necessarily put an end to any further possibility of going on, and
we broke up with our declaring ourselves free from all engagements to
one another, and to be as before this negotiation began.”--Cavendish’s
Debates, vol. i. Appendix, p. 606.--E.

[30] At the beginning of the ensuing year, being in great danger, and
recovering to some degree, he resolved to give over politics; he was
then seventy-four. This determination he notified by letter to Princess
Amelie, Lord Rockingham, and others; for he could not quit folly but in
a foolish manner. He languished near ten months, and died November 17,

[31] Many of the letters that passed between the Opposition leaders
during this negotiation are preserved among the Bedford MSS. They
confirm substantially the narrative in the text. The Grenvilles appear
from first to last to have been the real obstacles to any satisfactory
arrangement. The Duke of Bedford would probably have been satisfied
with such a share of power as would (to use his own words) “rescue
the King and the country out of the hands of Lord Bute, and restore
strength and energy to the Government upon a constitutional footing,
free from _favouritism_ and the _guidance_ of a Minister not in a
responsible employment.”--(MS. Letter to the Marquis of Rockingham,
July 16.) He thought less of measures than of men, and his bold,
sanguine turn of mind made him underrate the difficulties inseparable
from a coalition. Mr. Grenville looked much further than the exclusion
of Lord Bute. He concurred in the idea of an extended and comprehensive
administration on the ostensible ground that such an administration
was likeliest to be a permanent one, but his concurrence hinged on
the condition “that a plan of measures should be adopted to the
satisfaction of Lord Temple and himself, and particularly the capital
measure of asserting and _establishing_ the sovereignty of Great
Britain over the Colonies,” which he insinuates had been purposely kept
back by Lord Rockingham. This was the purport of the message brought
from him by Mr. Rigby to Woburn.--(MS. Letter from Mr. Grenville to Mr.
Rigby, July 16.) From the moment that his determination was made known,
all hopes of union between the parties in Opposition were at an end.

The heartiness and warmth with which Lord Rockingham’s overtures were
in the first instance received at Woburn, gave his disappointment
additional bitterness. (Letter from Lord Albemarle to Mr. Rigby, July
23, Bedford MSS.) The unpleasant truth was thus also revealed to him,
that his destiny was rather to correct and to advise than to administer
the Government. Mr. Burke must have strangely deceived himself when
he complimented the Marquis on his magnanimity in refusing office at
the price of the abandonment of his friends. It was the union of the
Bedford and Grenville parties that had broken up his administration
and now alone prevented his reconstructing it, with the additional
injury of almost destroying the Opposition. Indeed Lord Rockingham felt
no little embarrassment how to give an ostensible explanation of his
conduct, or to state the principles on which the Opposition ought to
be conducted in future. (See his Letters to Mr. Dowdeswell.--Cavendish
Debates, vol. i. Appendix 2, p. 583.) He had no feelings in common
with his new allies beyond a distrust of the King, and hatred of
Lord Bute. His political sympathies, and in some degree his personal
friendships were with the Ministers. Thus he was brought into a false
position, which made his course most difficult, and fully explains the
following passage in one of his letters:--“You know I never disguised
to my friends that I considered them as a forlorn hope, but that the
maintenance of character and credit was in honour incumbent upon them,
and would in the first place be a comfort to their own minds, and
though it might appear improbable at present, yet it was not impossible
that such conduct might ultimately prove the best policy.” The Duke
of Richmond had strongly recommended the Marquis to come in without
the Grenvilles and Bedfords (see the Duke’s Letter to Burke, in Burke,
Coll. Corresp. vol. 1. p. 139): and it would seem that the party
afterwards regretted that this advice had not been followed, though as
long as the King continued unfavourable to them, it surely is more than
doubtful that they would have succeeded better than in the preceding

Of the various accounts which have been published of these
negotiations, Walpole’s is the most clear and impartial, as well
as interesting. It is confirmed in all essential points both by
Mr. Dowdeswell’s narrative in his life of his father, and the Duke
of Bedford’s Private Journal,--authorities of equal authenticity,
though proceeding from opposite political sources. Almon’s (Political
Register, vol. i. pp. 201–208,) is justly condemned by Lord Rockingham
as most unfair, and that nobleman is probably right in ascribing it to
Lord Temple.--E.

[32] It appears from the Duke of Bedford’s Journal that he had a long
interview with Lord Rockingham on the 23rd, in which the latter behaved
very politely and cordially to him, and it was probably out of that
interview that the Duke of Richmond’s communication originated. Lord
Rockingham subsequently considered that nothing but the interference
of the Grenvilles prevented the Duke’s concurrence with him in forming
a Ministry. The Duke of Grafton seems to have been of the same
opinion.--(Bedford MSS.)--E.

[33] It was after Mr. Pelham’s death, when he had joined the Duke of
Newcastle, and was made Secretary of State. He came to me and told me
he believed that he could procure for my own life the place I held
during my brother’s, if I would be well with the Duke of Newcastle. I
replied warmly and peremptorily, “Mr. Fox, do you think that, after
laughing at the Duke of Newcastle all my life, I will stoop to accept a
favour from him?”

[34] A distinct confirmation of Lord Bute’s statement may be found in
the Memoirs of Mr. Dutens, the Secretary to Mr. Mackenzie. His Lordship
assured that gentleman “that since the year 1766 he never interfered,
directly or indirectly, with public affairs, nor had privately seen the
King during that period. He continued to visit regularly the Princess
of Wales; but when the King came to see his mother, he always retired
by a back staircase.”--(Memoirs of a Traveller now in Retirement, vol.
iv. p. 183.)--E.

[35] Lord Beauchamp and Lord Mountstewart, sons of the Earls of
Hertford and Bute, had married the two daughters of the late Lord

[36] Lord Chancellor Bowes; he was an Englishman who had practised
at the Irish Bar, where he had successively filled the offices of
Solicitor and Attorney General. He was afterwards Lord Chief Baron,
and on the death of Lord Jocelyn obtained the Great Seal with an Irish
Peerage. He died in 1767 without male issue. He is said to have been
learned and eloquent, and to have presided in the House of Lords with
great dignity. Some interesting letters from him to Mr. Dodington are
printed in the Appendix to Adolphus’s History of George the Third.--E.

[37] This portrait has the broad lines of truth, and is more to be
depended upon than Mr. Burke’s splendid and affectionate panegyric,
(Speech on American Taxation;) and yet who can blame the warmth with
which this great man claims admiration for a genius which in some
points resembled his own? It is to be regretted that of the many
eminent literary men who enjoyed Mr. Townshend’s intimacy, none should
have left behind any memorial by which his wonderful qualities might be
justly appreciated. In the absence of all biographical information, the
following loose memoranda from Sir George Colebrooke’s Memoirs are not
without value.

“The ambition of Mr. Townshend would not have been gratified but by
being Minister; and doubtless, had he lived to see the Duke of Grafton
resign, he must have had the offer which was made to Lord North, who
succeeded him as Chancellor of the Exchequer. But he never would have
remained Premier as long as Lord North did. Though much his superior
in eloquence and abilities, he wanted the nerve necessary to conduct
business with steadiness; and instead of engaging in hostilities with
America, he would have been the first to flinch from them, had he
lived and been allowed to guide. So far, therefore, his death may be
considered as a public loss. As a private man, his friends had used to
say that they should not see his like again. Though they were often
the butts of his wit, they always returned to his company with fresh
delight, which they would not have done had there been either malice or
rancour in what he said. He loved society, and in his choice of friends
preferred those over whom he had a decided superiority in talent. He
was satisfied when he put the table in a roar, and he did not like to
see it done by another. When Garrick and Foote were present, he took
the lead, and hardly allowed them an opportunity of showing their
talents of mimicry, because he could excel them in their own art. He
shone particularly in taking off the principal members of the House
of Commons. Vanity was his ruling passion, and he sacrificed, even
before his wife and daughter, all sense of decorum to a joke: I have
seen instances of this which would have shocked Lord Rochester. Among
the few he feared was Mr. Selwyn; and at a dinner at Lord Gower’s
they had a trial of skill, in which Mr. Selwyn prevailed. When the
company broke up, Mr. Townshend, to show he had no animosity, carried
him in his carriage to White’s; and as they parted, Mr. Selwyn could
not help saying, ‘Remember, this is the first set-down you have given
me to-day.’ As Mr. Townshend lived at considerable expense, and had
little paternal fortune, he speculated occasionally both in the French
and English funds. With regard to the first, he had a concern with me
in _contrats sur le cuir_, in which we lost, and he gave me his bond
for his share of the difference, which was paid after his death. When
he was Chancellor of the Exchequer the Duke of Grafton gave a dinner
to several of the principal men in the City to settle the loan. Mr.
Townshend came in his nightgown, and after dinner, when the terms were
settled, and everybody present wished to introduce some friend on the
list of subscribers, he pretended to cast up the sums already admitted,
said the loan was full, huddled up his papers, got into a chair and
returned home, reserving to himself by this manœuvre a large share in
the loan. Where he was really a great man was in Parliament. Nobody,
excepting Mr. Pitt, possessed a style of oratory so perfectly suited
to the House. He read sermons, particularly Sherlock, as models of
eloquence and argumentation.”--E.

[38] Of Greenwich; a title that had been borne by her father, John Duke
of Argyle.

[39] Mr. Andrews, Provost of the University of Dublin, M.P. for
Derry, a man of talent and accomplishments, which he disgraced by his
subserviency to the Castle and the Ministerial leaders. His agreeable
conversation and conviviality made him very influential in Irish
society. He died suddenly at Shrewsbury in 1774.--(Hardy’s Life of Lord
Charlemont, vol. i. p. 149.)--E.

[40] A more detailed account of the Duke of York is given in George
Selwyn and his Contemporaries, vol. ii. p. 195. He seems to have been
a frivolous, dissipated youth, in all respects unlike the King, whose
disapprobation of his conduct deserves praise rather than censure.--E.

[41] Lord North at first refused the Exchequer from a distrust of his
ability to encounter Mr. George Grenville on financial questions. Lord
Barrington was then applied to, and had consented, when Lord North
agreed to accept.--(Lord Barrington’s Life, pp. 105–112.) The latter
proved perfectly equal to his office, and had he risen no higher would
have left a considerable name as a statesman of extensive “knowledge,
of a versatile understanding fitted for all sorts of business, and
a most accomplished debater.” Unhappily for himself and his country
he wanted firmness to resist the solicitations of his Sovereign,
and submitted to be the instrument of carrying into effect measures
which have stamped his Administration with indelible disgrace.--An
interesting account of Lord North is given in Lord Brougham’s Statesmen
of the Time of George the Third, vol. i. pp. 1–49, and above all in
Lady Charlotte Lindsay’s Letter in the Appendix, pp. 391–7.--E.

[42] The differences between Portugal and Spain were subsequently
adjusted by an agreement that each nation should maintain the
undisputed enjoyment of the country in its possession on the 28th of
May, 1767. The plans of Pombal for the encouragement of the domestic
trade of Portugal, such as his establishing the Oporto and other
great companies, were necessarily most injurious to the interests of
foreigners, and especially of the English, many of whose merchants were
utterly ruined. Mr. Lyttelton was employed to obtain redress of these
grievances without success.--E.

[43] Sir Thomas Sewell, formerly M.P. for Winchelsea, enjoyed most
extensive practice at the Bar, and has left the reputation of a sound
and acute judge. His decisions, however, are only known from the
reports of them in Ambler’s collection, which unfortunately are very
brief. The late Chief Baron Alexander, himself an excellent lawyer,
used to mention him with great respect. He died in 1784, leaving an
only son, Thomas Bailey Heath Sewell, who settled on an estate which
his father had purchased in Surrey, in the neighbourhood of Chertsey,
and died without issue in 1808.--E.

[44] See for an account of Lord Shannon, vol. i. p. 1.--E.

[45] Mr. Tisdall never obtained the object of his ambition; probably
because the Government would not venture to promote an Irishman to
such a post. He represented the University of Dublin for nearly
thirty years, was a successful lawyer, and could hardly be termed an
unsuccessful politician, for he steered a steady course through the
tumults of his day, maintaining amidst occasional fluctuations of
popularity great personal influence to the last. It is said of him
that his countenance was never gay, his mind never gloomy. He died in
1777.--(Hardy’s Life of Lord Charlemont, vol. i. p 153.)--E.

[46] Far from interfering, as Walpole states, to defeat the intrigues
of Tisdall and the Irish Council, Lord Townshend wholly lent himself
to them, and nearly prevailed on the Cabinet to raise that ambitious
lawyer to the Chancellorship. (Duke of Grafton’s MSS.) He afterwards
yielded other points with equal facility, and indeed seldom showed any
vigour throughout his Administration, except in his disputes with his
colleagues in England. He enjoyed advantages which had been denied to
his predecessors; for the English Government were at length beginning
to feel “that the time must come when a different plan of government
ought to take place in Ireland. Lord Chatham had intended to begin it;
and, to enable himself to contend with the powerful connexions there,
proposed to establish himself upon the basis of a just popularity, by
shortening the duration of Parliament, and granting other measures
which the Irish appeared to have most at heart. These views went far
beyond the reach of Lord Townshend.” (MS. Letter from Lord Camden
to the Duke of Grafton.) Instructions were accordingly given to
Lord Townshend in a spirit of great liberality for that day; but he
frittered away their effect by the indiscretion with which he executed
them. The firmness, consistency, and judgment--the constant exercise
of perseverance and self denial, requisite for contending with the
factions that stood between the Crown and the people, did not belong
to him. If he could only enjoy his ease and his pleasures, and receive
the homage usually paid to his station, he was content; the patronage
of the Castle continued to be applied to the same unworthy purposes as
before, and the interests of the people to be equally neglected. If
neither harsh nor oppressive, he held the reins of Government with too
careless a hand for its course to be attended with real benefit to the

[47] John Hobart, third Earl of Buckinghamshire; he had already
been Ambassador in Russia, and in 1777 succeeded Lord Harcourt as
Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. His Administration partook of the weakness
of Lord North’s Government, as was too plainly shown by the embodying
of the Irish volunteers, and the concessions made to Irish trade; the
latter, however just, being too evidently extorted from the Government
to obtain any lasting gratitude. Lord Buckinghamshire was an amiable
nobleman of fair intentions and pleasing manners. He died in 1783,
without male issue.--E.

[48] John third Duke of Roxburgh, born in 1740, succeeded his father
in 1755. He was one of the handsomest men of his day, and not less
remarkable for the grace and nobleness of his manners. In early life,
during his travels he visited the small court of Mecklenburgh, where
he is said to have gained the affections of the Princess Christiana,
the Duke’s eldest daughter. Indeed, their marriage was believed to
have been prevented only by the application of George the Third for
the hand of her younger sister. This belief was strengthened by the
Princess and the Duke remaining unmarried through life. Notwithstanding
this incident, the Duke became a favourite companion of George the
Third. His name is now best known as an eminent collector of books.
He died in 1804, and was succeeded by his cousin, Lord Bellenden, on
whose death the title was claimed by Sir James Innes, and, after a long
process, the House of Lords pronounced him the fifth Duke of Roxburgh
in 1812.--(Wood’s Peerage of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 456.)--E.

[49] Mr. Burke’s speech may be found in the Parliamentary History,
vol. xvi. p. 386, where it is stated to be the first of his speeches
of which a report has been preserved. The opinions he entertained on
the dearness of provisions are stated with more force and perspicuity
in his celebrated “Thoughts on Scarcity.” (Works, vol, vii. p. 375.) A
petition from the City was presented on the first day of the session,
in which, after soliciting the continuance of the temporary acts passed
in the preceding session, prohibiting the exportation of corn, and
allowing its free importation, the petitioners ascribe the high price
of meat in a great degree to the recent increase in the breeding of
horses, owing partly to the growing practice of employing them instead
of oxen in tillage, and partly to the exportations to the Continent;
whereby the number of cattle for slaughter was necessarily diminished;
secondly, to the unlimited consumption of ewe lambs and cow calves in
all seasons of the year, merely to gratify the unreasonable appetites
of the rich and luxurious. The consolidation of small farms was also
deprecated in the strongest terms.--The Duke of Grafton was opposed to
unlimited importation of corn, on the ground that it would encourage
smuggling.--(Bedford MSS.)--E.

[50] Dr. Loyd, Dean of Norwich, who had been tutor to Mr. Grenville’s

[51] He was couched during this negotiation, in which he took little or
no part, though his name was often made use of. He recovered a small
degree of sight, and went into public and played at cards, yet, as he
said himself, saw very imperfectly.

[52] Mr. Meynell was M.P. for Stafford, and the Duke’s intimate friend,
as appears in his Grace’s Memoirs. He was a man of high fashion,
in which service he spent a large portion of a noble estate on the
turf and other expensive amusements and vices so popular with the
aristocracy of that day. Captain Meynell, M.P. for Lisburn, is his
grandson and lineal representative.--E.

[53] I can find nothing among the Bedford papers to show how the
negotiation of the Bedford party with the Government originated,
or how it was conducted. The following are the last letters that
passed between the Duke and Mr. Grenville previous to their political
separation. Some unimportant matter only is omitted.

_Duke of Bedford to Mr. Grenville._

                    Woburn Abbey, Nov. 5th, 1767.

  “I should have been very glad to have had an opportunity of talking
  to you fully on the present state of political affairs, and of the
  steps it may be proper to take at the beginning of the ensuing
  session. If such a coalition as to unite in Opposition all those
  who are adverse to the present Administration could be obtained, it
  would at least have this one good effect--to render the Ministers
  incapable of carrying on the business of this session, though I
  fear a further coalition of what would be advisable to be done in
  future would be impracticable. You see I am readier to pull down
  than to set up; that is owing to the unfortunate crisis of the
  times. So far as to what relates to the general plan of politics.”

_Mr. Grenville to the Duke of Bedford._

                    “Weston, November 6th, 1767.

  “I shall always be happy in any opportunity of explaining to your
  Grace my ideas upon the public business, and of improving myself
  by learning your opinion, which nobody can more highly regard
  than I do. I purpose being in London on the Saturday before the
  meeting of Parliament, when my first care will be to wait upon
  your Grace, if you are then arrived. In the mean time, as you wish
  to know my thoughts on the present state of political affairs, I
  can only say that they continue to be the same that you have long
  known them. I think that public measures must be the great object
  of every honest man’s attention, and that from them we must derive
  our security, or shortly meet with our destruction. By public
  measures, I mean the maintaining the peace abroad with the utmost
  vigilance, by the firmest as well as the most temperate conduct,
  both of which I look on as equally necessary for that purpose;--I
  mean a settled, moderate, and frugal Government at home, to heal
  the grievous wounds which contrary principles have inflicted upon
  us;--I mean the availing ourselves of every resource to save, if
  possible, our sinking public credit, to restore our declining
  trade, and to strengthen us in time of peace against that day
  of danger which the first war we are engaged in must bring upon
  us;--I mean the asserting and establishing the lawful authority of
  the King and Parliament over every part of our dominions in every
  part of the world: these, my dear lord, I am sensible are general
  expressions, which few gentlemen in words will venture directly
  to contradict; but I, as well as your Grace, mean the reality and
  not the words, and can therefore only give an assent to a system
  of measures conformable to them. I shall readily support these
  principles, whoever shall propose them; and I never can support
  any Ministry which act in contradiction to them. The steps to be
  taken at the beginning of the ensuing session must necessarily
  depend on the plan to be opened by the Ministry, if any is formed,
  and on the dispositions of mankind. I am entirely ignorant of the
  former; but as to the latter, it appears to me that there is a
  general listlessness and supineness in all degrees of men, from
  which I fear nothing but the stroke of calamity will rouse them.
  The present Ministry may probably be overturned by many events,
  and from their own weakness and inability, if no other cause
  co-operates. But the difficulty in the present unhappy crisis, as
  your Grace truly observes, is how to set up what is right; and I
  must fairly own that I do not see any means of it, until the King’s
  mind shall be possessed with a serious conviction of the danger,
  or the people be brought to open their eyes on the brink of a
  precipice before they fall into it. My course, however, will be,
  at all events, to acquit myself of what I owe to them and to my
  friends, as well as to my own character and opinions; but I believe
  that our attendance will be very thin in the House of Commons, from
  a variety of circumstances.”

No meeting took place between the Duke of Bedford and Mr. Grenville
subsequently to the date of these letters, though they remained at
their country seats, within a few hours’ journey of each other, for the
ensuing fortnight. The tone of the correspondence is ominous of the
approaching rupture; and if the Duke had been seeking a fair pretext
for dissolving his connection with an impracticable associate, it
was certainly presented by Mr. Grenville’s letter. Nothing could be
more plain than that Mr. Grenville would oppose any Administration
that might succeed the Duke of Grafton’s, unless it submitted to his
dictation,--or, in other words, the little that could be gained by
overthrowing the Duke of Grafton’s Government would be the substitution
of one weak Government for another. The Duke of Bedford had, upon
principle, long considered that of all Governments a weak one was
the worst. It was from this feeling alone that, when a member of Mr.
Grenville’s Cabinet, he had eagerly courted the accession of Mr. Pitt,
whose views in many respects differed much from his own, and this was
the main ground of his opposition to the Duke of Grafton. His scruples
being removed by the retirement of Conway, it was now in his power
to give the Government the strength which it so much wanted. This
consideration was no doubt strongly urged upon him by Mr. Rigby, Lord
Weymouth, and other aspirants to office. It was his nature to love his
friends--not wisely, but too well; and he perhaps more readily yielded
to their wishes from the resolution he had taken to accept nothing for
himself. On the 20th of November he came to London to prepare for the
operation on his eyes, which was performed on the 5th of December by
Baron Wenzel, the celebrated oculist, so that, as Walpole observes, it
was impossible for him to have been concerned in the details of the

[54] Lord Lisburne had been raised to an Irish Earldom in the
preceding year, almost immediately on his succeeding his father. He
was great-grandson of the celebrated Earl of Rochester, one of whose
daughters, and eventually coheiresses, had married Mr. Vaughan, the
grandfather of Lord Lisburne. He was a good scholar, and the editor has
seen in the library he collected at Mamhead in Devonshire, the seat
where he passed his latter years, many evidences of his attention to
ancient and modern literature. He died at an advanced age in 1800. The
present Lord Lisburne is his grandson.--E.

[55] He was entirely in the Grenville interest.--E.

[56] The Jockey Club was composed of noblemen and gentlemen frequenters
of Newmarket.

[57] See more of Lord Weymouth vol. ii. p. 176, _note_.--E.

[58] Governor Walsh was an intimate friend of Lord Clive, through
whom he probably was thus employed by Mr. Grenville, that nobleman’s
political patron.--E.

[59] Thomas Brand, Esq., of the Hoo in Hertfordshire, had married Lady
Caroline Pierrepont, half-aunt of the Duchess of Bedford. He died
before any creation of peers, which did not happen till ten years after
this date. [Mr. Brand was M.P. for Shoreham, and died in 1770; his son
married Gertrude Roper, sister and heir of Lord Dacre, on whose death
she succeeded to that ancient barony, which descended to her son,
Thomas Brand, the present Lord Dacre, in 1819.--E.]

[60] See vol. i. p. 358, _note_.--E.

[61] Afterwards Ambassador at Vienna, and at length Secretary of

[62] Frederic St. John, Lord Viscount Bolingbroke. [He was nephew and
successor of the famous Henry St. John, Viscount Bolingbroke, to whom
he bore some resemblance, in personal graces and vivacity, as well
as in laxity of morals. Several of his letters are given in “George
Selwyn and his Cotemporaries,” and show a smattering of literature.
His marriage with the accomplished Lady Diana Beauclerc was dissolved
more from his fault than hers in 1768, and he died in 1787. The present
Viscount is his grandson.--E.]

[63] Robert Sawyer Herbert, uncle of the Earl of Pembroke. [He was
Surveyor-General of the Crown Lands from 1760 to 1768, and died in

[64] A clear and impartial statement of this great case is given by Mr.
Adolphus, in his History, vol. i. p. 308.--E.

[65] Edward Willes, second son of Sir John Willes, Lord Chief Justice
of the Common Pleas in the reign of George the Second.

[66] Attorney-General to King George the Second.

[67] Second son of Lord Chancellor Hardwicke.

[68] Dunning’s relations with Wilkes and with Lord Shelburne furnish
abundant reasons for the undistinguished figure he made in the House
during the short period that he remained Solicitor-General. He was of
course distrusted and slighted by Lord North, who would have obtained
his dismissal within a few months after his appointment, but for the
intervention of Lord Camden.--(Duke of Grafton’s MS. Memoirs.) Few
men could have succeeded under such circumstances. As soon as he was
released from this constraint, his great powers obtained the full
recognition of the House. Wraxall describes him (after the date of
these Memoirs) as one of the leaders of the Opposition, the constant
associate, and not unworthy fellow labourer of Burke, and says, “that
so powerful was reason, flowing from his lips, that every murmur
became hushed and every ear attentive. Though he neither delighted nor
entertained his hearers, he subdued them by powers of argumentative
ratiocination which have rarely been exceeded.”--(Historical Memoirs,
vol. i. p. 42.) His success was more remarkable from the extreme
meanness of his person, and the badness of his voice. At the bar he
excited universal admiration. Hannah More, in a letter on the Duchess
of Kingston’s trial, wrote of him,--“His manner is insufferably bad,
coughing and spitting at every word, but his sense and expression
pointed to the last degree. He made her Grace shed bitter tears.” A
great authority (Lord Brougham) has recorded that the fame of his legal
arguments still lives in Westminster Hall,--(Historical Sketches,
&c., vol. iii. p. 158) and one of the most accomplished of his
contemporaries has left a tribute to his memory, so beautifully worded
that one cannot read it without pleasure. “His language was always
pure, always elegant, and the best words dropped easily from his lips
into the best places with a fluency at all times astonishing, and when
he had perfect health really melodious. That faculty, however, in which
no mortal ever surpassed him, and which all found irresistible, was
his wit. This relieved the weary, calmed the resentful, and animated
the drowsy; this drew smiles even from such as were the objects of it,
and scattered flowers over a desert, and, like sun-beams sparkling on
a lake, gave spirit and vivacity to the dullest and least interesting
cause. Not that his accomplishments as an advocate consisted
principally of volubility of speech, or liveliness of raillery. He was
endued with an intellect sedate yet penetrating, clear yet profound,
subtle yet strong. His knowledge, too, was equal to his imagination,
and his memory to his knowledge.” (Sir William Jones’s Works, vol. iv.
p. 577.)--E.

[69] Lord Bottetort’s proposal was absolutely monstrous, being nothing
less than a gross fraud on his creditors. In the present day it would
not have been entertained for a moment. Neither the Attorney-General
nor the Home Office, however, raised any objections, and it would seem
from the Duke of Grafton’s Memoirs that the case was heard before
the Commissioners of the Privy Seal, and the claim allowed; but on
referring to the Records in the Privy Seal Office, I find that the
patent _did not_ pass.--E.

[70] Sir Thomas Stapylton, Bart., of Rotherfield Greys, Oxon, married
Mary, daughter of Mr. Fane of Wormsley, and niece of the Earl of
Westmoreland. His eldest son became in 1788 Lord le Despencer,
the abeyance of that ancient barony having been determined in his

[71] The Honourable Robert Lee, uncle to the Earl of Lichfield, whom
he succeeded in that title in 1772. He died without issue in 1770, and
was the last of his family. The title became extinct and Ditchly has
descended to Lord Dillon.--E.

[72] The proceedings are reported in Parliamentary History, vol. xvi.
p. 397. Mr. Adolphus says in a note to his History, vol. i. p. 337.
“The whole matter was treated with great ridicule by writers of all
parties,” a statement which may easily be believed if Mr. Grattan’s
story be true, that the peccant aldermen completed their bargain with
the Duke of Marlborough during their imprisonment in Newgate.--E.

[73] When this was written, it alluded only to the opposition
occasioned by Lord George in Ireland. He has since engrafted himself on
Mr. Grenville’s persecution of America.

[74] Sir Robert Rich, Bart., had been made Field Marshal in 1757.
His Brigadier’s commission is dated as far back as 1727, so that he
must have been very aged when he died. His name does not appear as
having ever been employed on active service. He was succeeded in his
baronetcy and estates by his eldest son, General Rich, who had lost an
arm at Culloden; one of his daughters became the second wife of Lord

[75] Chauncy Townshend was M.P. for Wigton in Scotland. He died in
1770. The Annual Register states that he was the first Englishman
that represented a Scotch borough (vol. xiii. p. 114). His son became
an Alderman for the City of London, and a politician of sufficient
notoriety to be often noticed in this work.--E.

[76] Thomas Fonnereau, of Christ-church Park, near Ipswich. He was
out of humour with the Minister for having refused him the place of
Receiver-General of Suffolk. It is said that he had the offer of being
Joint Postmaster General, which did not suit or satisfy him. He had the
reputation of being very acute and persevering in business; the Lizard
Lighthouses were projected and erected by him, and he had a lease of
the tolls, which must have been very productive; but his expenses at
Aldborough and Sudbury, for which he also returned a member, kept him
poor. He had made himself remarkable for his loyalty in the rebellion
of 1745, when he made a speech to the grand jury of Suffolk, which
was publicly distributed at their request. He was obstinate rather
than peevish, and his manners were generally very agreeable. He died a
bachelor in 1779, in the eightieth year of his age.--E.

[77] Nullum tempus occurrit regi et ecclesiæ: an old absurd maxim of

[78] Vide The Character of Wilkes as a Politician and a Writer, in Lord
Brougham’s “Statesmen of the Time of George the Third,” vol. iii. p.

[79] “An Enquiry into the Doctrine lately propagated concerning
Libels, Warrants, and the Seizure of Papers, with a view to some
late proceedings, and the defence of them by the majority upon the
principles of the Constitution, in a letter to Mr. Almon from the
father of Candor.” In the later editions it is intituled “A Letter
concerning Libels, &c.,” and both Almon and “the father of Candor” are
removed from the title page. “Candor” is the signature of a very clever
letter to the _Public Advertiser_ published a short time before by
Almon on the same subject, severely attacking the Government under the
pretence of defending it. The humour is sustained through fifty-four
pages with great skill and vivacity, and the points in controversy
are very cleverly handled. It may still be read with interest. “The
Enquiry” was one of the most popular tracts of its day. It went through
five editions in a few months. It has the merit of propounding sound
constitutional doctrines in a clear and familiar style; of boldly
denouncing error, and disseminating truth. The reasoning is forcible,
and the legal research and knowledge displayed throughout are very
considerable, especially in the use made of the early decisions of the
Courts of Law. It may fairly be said to have settled the question,
for very little was urged on the other side afterwards. As a literary
composition, it can claim but moderate praise. The style is loose
and careless, and wants the easy flow, the perspicuous diction
and classical taste which may be found in some other contemporary
tracts--such, for instance, as Mr. Charles Yorke’s “Considerations on
the Law of Forfeiture.” In parts it is rather dull, and the materials,
valuable as they are, might have been arranged with more effect. They
appear to have come from different and unequal hands; for if the
acuteness, wit, and learning of Dunning may be traced through many
pages, remarks occasionally occur which could hardly have proceeded
from a practising lawyer. I can find no authority in support of the
general belief of his being the author. I suspect he only revised
it, and that Lord Chatham did the same. There are passages strongly
partaking of the spirit and peculiar mode of expression of the latter.

Some interesting extracts might be made from this able tract. The
following severe censure of Lord Mansfield must have been written by
one who well knew the character he was describing. “I wish that when
a Chief is found to be clandestinely meddling in matters of State in
perversion of the law, he may be dragged into broad day-light, and his
name and memory be branded for ever to the latest posterity. I cannot
indeed figure to myself a meaner or more pernicious person than a
chief justice, with a great income for life given him by the public,
in order to render him independent, privately listening to every
inclination of every ministry, and warping and wire-drawing the plain
letter of the law in order to accommodate it to their inclinations,
instead of pursuing the course of established precedents, inviolably,
intrepidly, and openly, without regard to party or person. The chapter
of expediency is the very worst source of adjudication, inasmuch as it
tends to the setting afloat, by degrees, of the whole law of the realm.

“In our law the judges are bound by a sacred oath to determine
according to the known laws and ancient customs of the realm, set down
in judicial decisions and resolutions of learned, wise, and upright
judges, upon a variety of particular facts and cases, which, when they
have been thus in use, and practised time out of mind, are a part of
the common law of the kingdom * * * ‘To allow of any man’s discretion,’
says Lord Coke, ‘that sits in the seat of justice, would bring forth a
monstrous confusion.’ It is indeed wonderful that any man should have
so servile a disposition; for let his abilities be what they will,
he will always be regarded as a contemptible personage. This sort of
profligate magistrate may be sure of being used by every ministry, but
of being esteemed by none; seeing no set of men can depend upon him
any longer than they remain in office and power, his only principle
of action being an implicit obedience to the old tutelar Saint at St.
James’s. He must be in truth--

    ‘A timorous foe, and a suspicious friend,
     Dreading even fools:’

and cowardice in a judge is but another name for corruption.” P. 85.--E.

[80] They were not written by Dr. Franklin, but by John Dickenson,
a citizen of Pennsylvania, and gained for their author the thanks
of the Assembly of Massachusets. He warned his countrymen not to be
deluded by the moderate rate of the new duties,--a circumstance which
he characterized as artfully intended to prepare their reception
of a collar, whose increasing weight would gradually bow them to
the ground; and he encouraged them to hope that a deliverance from
this evil would be obtained by a resumption of the same general and
animated opposition which had procured the repeal of the Stamp Act. The
arguments by which the author supported his doctrine of the illegality
of internal taxes on America, are said to have converted Dr. Franklin.
They had at least the merit of furnishing an excuse for his change of
opinion.--(Grahame’s History of North America, vol. iv. p. 262.)--E.

[81] See infra.

[82] “Rodondo; or, the State Jugglers,” was published in 1763. The
third canto soon followed the first and second; and a fourth was
promised, but never appeared, probably owing to the author’s being
rewarded with the post of Attorney-General of Grenada, where he died
in 1774. He also wrote “Woodstock; a Poem,” reprinted in Pearch’s
collection. His daughter married Dr. afterwards Sir John Elliot, the
eminent physician.--(MS. note in the British Museum.)

With abundance of humour and no mean skill in versification, this poem
might have ranked high among English satires, had the author bestowed
more pains on its action; this is below criticism. A description of
Mr. Pitt after the manner of Hudibras, with an invocation to the Muse,
fills the first canto.--The second contains little beyond a shrewish
lecture delivered by Lady Chatham to Mr. Pitt, and a long message from
the latter to his footman. In the third is Mr. Pitt’s capitulation to
the gout, and the distribution of his defects among his followers.
The various characters are introduced awkwardly enough, as if to show
the author’s proficiency in the art of vituperation; and in the last
canto, where he descends to attack some of the City politicians,
his coarseness becomes disgusting. This particularly applies to his
invectives against Churchill. The shafts which he aims at Pitt are more
worthy of their object.

The motto is ingenious and appropriate:

              “Uno minor est Jove--dives,
    Liber, honoratus, pulcher, rex denique regum
    Præcipue sanus, nisi cum pituita molesta est.”

After fixing the date of his story:--

   “When knowledge, courage, sense, and worth
    Were first defined by North and South,
    And Tweed’s irremeable waves
    Became the boundary of knaves;--”

a portrait is given of the hero, of which these lines are a fair

   “He raised the Nation’s apprehensions,
    With Court-corruption, Places, Pensions:
    Words which, when well dissected, mean,
    That _I_ am _out_ and you are _in_;
    And which, when properly repeated,
    In every Question that’s debated,
    Can ope a thousand mouths at once,
    And make a hero of a dunce.
    Your IF is good at making peace:
    Rodondo went to war with these.

           *       *       *       *       *

            The Nation knows
    My maxim ever was _Oppose_;
    And be the Minister who will,
    My maxim is--Oppose him still.
    For though to Britain necessary,
    ’Tis good for me that all miscarry,
    Excepting _one_--I need not name him,--
    Envy herself would blush to blame him.”

The Common Destiny of Statesmen is lively and imaginative, but too long
to be inserted here.

The following lines are also of more than common merit:--

   “O Disappointment! but for thee,
    What were this land of liberty?
    Were’t not for thee on English ground
    No trace of Patriot could be found.
    Thou comest indeed with rueful face
    To fruitless hunters after place,
    Blasting their hopes, but in exchange,
    Presenting prospects of revenge.
    Just so an egg when overdrest
    Becomes confounded hard to digest;
    And in the place of wholesome _chyle_,
    Produces copious floods of bile.”--E.

[83] This satire was published in 1703, in small 4to. (66 pages) with
this title, “Patriotism; a mock heroic, in five cantos.”

    “Behold thy Gods O Israel.” (1 Kings.)

Cumberland says of this poem that “it is one of the keenest and
wittiest satires extant in our language. Lord Temple, Wilkes, and
others of the party were attacked with unsparing asperity, and much
critical acumen. Churchill, the Dryden of the age, and indisputably a
man of first-rate genius, was too candid not to acknowledge the merit
of the poem; and when he declined taking up the gauntlet so pointedly
thrown down to him, it was not because he held his challenger in
contempt.” (Memoirs, vol. i. p. 212.) True as this may partially be,
the poem has great defects. The poverty and incompleteness of the
allegory are alone fatal to its interest; Pride, Faction, Folly and
Ambition are made to perambulate the town, to carouse together, and
reciprocate declamatory speeches without any adequate result,--these
speeches indeed being the only object for which they are introduced.
The total absence of incident is sought to be redeemed by descriptions,
some of which are lively enough. Abuse of popular licence and eulogies
of the King and his Ministers form the staple of the poem. It opens
with an account of the visit of Pride to the Mansion House, and
the hospitality of Beckford is rather ungratefully returned by the
following (among other) spirited lines on his followers.

   “To please the mob Byng stains the blushing deep,
    And Blakeney[A] earns a Peerage in his sleep;
    To please the mob our fleets their canvas strain,
    And expeditions hide the wondering main.

    The main more wondering wafts them back, alas!
    Thinned with the wars of Rochfort and St. Cas.
    What matter, since defeat our joy inspires,
    And Cassel[B] lost can light a thousand fires?”

    [A] He was said to have been confined to his bed during the
        defence of Minorca, for which he was so extravagantly rewarded.

    [B] The gallant but unsuccessful affair of Cassel in which the
        Hereditary Prince of Brunswick was wounded.

The political libels on the King are thus sarcastically described:

   “Recast the royal virtues, which before
    The nation worshipped, and cry down the ore,
    To teach the people this indulgent reign
    With every charge of tyranny to stain,--
    To swallow every contradiction down,--
    In Antonine’s mild look see Nero’s frown,--
    Wrest his intention and distort each fact,
    And lend them treason till they long to act;
    In terms of duty wrap each boisterous deed,--
    Kneel while we stab, and libel while we plead.”

This compliment on the King is pretty:

   “Who from the sceptre no exemption draws,
    And is but the first subject of the laws.”

His gratitude to Lord Bute has flowered in a panegyric, which may
interest the reader from being one of the very few poetical tributes
obtained by that nobleman approaching mediocrity.

   “Oh! if we seize with skill the coming hour,
    And re-invest us with the robe of power--
    Rule while we live--let _future_ days transmute
    To every merit all we’ve charged on Bute.
    Let late Posterity receive his name,
    And swell its sails with every breath of fame:
    Downward as far as Time shall roll his tide,
    With every pendant flying let it glide;
    And Truth emerging from the clouds we raise,
    Gild all their orient colours with her blaze.
    Let his loved arts, attendant on his way,
    Their wanton trophies to the gale display;
    While each dispassionate, each honest pen,
    (Deterred by clamour, nor allured by gain,--
    Bard or Historian--) shall from either shore,
    Hail its approach, and its great course explore;
    Faithful to Probity and Virtue’s cause,
    Pursue its progress, and direct th’ applause.
    Glad Gratulation shall with shouts approve,
    And own him worthy of his Sovereign’s love.”

The success of this satire brought an accumulation of favours on the
author, as, in addition to a commissionership of lotteries, and other
small places, he received a pension for the lives of himself and his
wife of 500_l._ per annum. He was the only son of the celebrated
critic, and dabbled a little in criticism himself, though he was too
careless to become eminent in it. He wrote several party poems in
support of Lord Bute’s administration--all long since forgotten, as
is his unsuccessful play of “The Wishes,” which his nephew Cumberland
warmly praises for the brilliancy of its dialogue. “Philodamus,”
another of his dramas, equally failed, but was honoured with an
elaborate commentary by Gray; in return, perhaps, for the author’s
beautiful designs to the 4to edition of that poet’s works. These
designs, indeed, generally show considerable taste; and he was no doubt
an eminently accomplished person. Unhappily, he was also eminently
improvident, and notwithstanding a handsome patrimony which descended
to him from his father, and the substantial bounty of Lord Bute, he
fell into pecuniary difficulties, which harassed him to the end of
his life. The editor has seen in the Island of Jersey a lonely house
formerly belonging to Lord Granville, where he is described by Walpole
as residing for some years with a large family of daughters. He died
towards the close of the last century.--E.

[84] Mr. Anstey died in 1805, being upwards of eighty years of age. His
life had been easy and prosperous, and he cultivated literature only
as an amusement. The criticism passed by Walpole on his works has been
confirmed by posterity. Their inequality is not easily explained. He
was a good classical scholar, as he has shown by his translations in
Latin verse, which are very prettily turned.--E.

[85] It may appear strange to us that a work of so little merit as
Mrs. Macaulay’s History should be mentioned by Walpole almost in the
same sentence with Robertson’s “Charles the Fifth,” but other writers
of that day have bestowed on it equally elaborate and still more
complimentary criticism. Indeed, it met, on its original publication,
with a warmth of praise that presents a striking contrast to the
discouraging reception of the early volumes of Hume. Madame Roland
regarded it as hardly inferior to Tacitus. The adventitious events
which produced this perversion of judgment in a large portion of the
public have long ceased to operate, and the discredit which deservedly
attaches to Mrs. Macaulay’s History has extended rather unjustly to
her talents. She was a vain, self-opinionated, and prejudiced, but
also a clever woman. Her works show occasionally considerable power of
writing, especially in description; and carelessly as she consulted
original authorities, and unfairly as she used them, she may in that
respect bear no dishonourable comparison with Smollett, and others of
her contemporaries. She is at least entitled to the praise of having
been the first, in order, of our female historians. Mrs. Macaulay died
in 1791, aged fifty-eight. An imprudent marriage, late in life, with a
man much younger and in a much lower station than herself, alienated
from her most of her friends, and hastened the downfal of a literary
reputation, which had barely survived the wreck of the small section of
politicians with whom she was connected.--E.

[86] This is the case in her fourth volume; in the fifth, she takes the
contrary extreme.

[87] The letter was delivered at the Palace by Wilkes’s footman, and
as unceremoniously returned. It is not disrespectfully worded. It is
printed in Almon’s Life of Wilkes, vol. iii.--E.

[88] Going to ask the vote of a petty shopkeeper in Wapping, the man
desired Wilkes to wait a moment, went up stairs and brought him down a
bank-note of £20. Wilkes said he wanted his vote, not his money. The
man replied, he must accept both or neither.

[89] Sir Robert Ladbrooke had filled the office of Lord Mayor in 1747,
and so much to the satisfaction of the citizens that they elected
him at the first vacancy, and he kept his seat till his death, at an
advanced age, in 1773. (Note to Cavendish’s Parliamentary Debates, vol.
i. p. 70.)--E.

[90] Barlow Trecothick was an opulent merchant in the American trade,
and not, as Dr. Johnson supposed, an American. He supported Wilkes with
less warmth, but more judgment than Beckford, Mawbey, and Townshend,
and Sawbridge, and the other prominent City patriots. Probably he had
the penetration to see deeper into his character and views. Wilkes, in
consequence, appears not to have lived on any intimate footing with
him. He spoke well in Parliament. He was by far the ablest man of the
party that ruled the City in that day. He died at Addington in Surrey,
where he had a considerable estate, in 1775. His epitaph states, with
more truth than elegance of expression, “that he was much esteemed
by the merchants for his integrity and knowledge of commerce, truly
beloved by his fellow-citizens, who chose him as their representative
in Parliament, and sincerely lamented by his friends and relations, who
looked up to and admired his virtues.”--E.

[91] Sir Richard Glynn, an opulent banker in the City, and alderman.
He had been Lord Mayor in 1758, and was created a baronet in 1759. He
died in 1773: he was the founder of the great banking-house which still
hears his name. He married twice, and left issue by both marriages. His
eldest son by his second marriage was created a baronet in 1800.--E.

[92] Son of the late Speaker. Colonel George Onslow was the son of the
General, brother of the Speaker. (See infra.)

[93] Cotes became a bankrupt in Feb. 1767.--E.

[94] It was for the forty-fifth number of the _North Briton_ that
Wilkes had been prosecuted.

[95] Sir William Beauchamp Proctor, of Langley Park, Norfolk, had
represented the county from 1747 to 1768. He had been made a Knight of
the Bath on the King’s accession. He made a fruitless application for
Lord Chatham’s support in this contest; his Lordship’s answer being
that he did not meddle with elections. Sir William Beauchamp Proctor
died in 1778, aged fifty-one.--E.

[96] Elizabeth Gunning, sister of the celebrated Countess of Coventry,
had first married the Duke of Hamilton, and afterwards John Campbell,
Marquis of Lorn, eldest son of John Duke of Argyle, whom he succeeded
in the title, and thus became mother of the two heirs of the great
rival houses of Hamilton and Argyle. She was Lady of the Bedchamber
to Queen Charlotte, and had gone to fetch her from Mecklenburg, with
the Duchess of Ancaster, Mistress of the Robes. Her eldest son, Duke
Hamilton, died before he was of age. Lord Douglas Hamilton, his
brother, succeeded him. The Duchess Elizabeth, as guardian of her
sons, carried on the famous law-suit against Mr. Douglas for the
succession of his (supposed) uncle, the Duke of Douglas, of which more
will be said hereafter. By Duke Hamilton she had one daughter, Lady
Elizabeth, afterwards married to the Earl of Derby. By Lord Lorn she
had two sons, the eldest of which died an infant, and two daughters.
In her widowhood she had refused the hand of the Duke of Bridgwater.
She was entirely governed by the artful Lady Susan Stuart, daughter of
the Earl of Galloway, afterwards Countess Gower, on whose account she
much offended the Queen, as will be said hereafter; but recovering her
favour, was created an English Baroness, for the benefit of her eldest
son, Duke Hamilton. It is very remarkable that this great lady and
her sister, Lady Coventry, had been originally so poor, that they had
thoughts of being actresses; and when they were first presented to the
Earl of Harrington, the Lord-Lieutenant, at the Castle of Dublin, Mrs.
Woffington, the actress, lent clothes to them. They no sooner appeared
in England than their beauty drew crowds after them wherever they went.
Duke Hamilton married the second in such haste, that, having no ring
ready, they made use of one from the bed-curtain. The Duchess was more
delicate than her sister, with the most beautiful hands and arms in
the world; but Lady Coventry was still handsomer, had infinite life
and vivacity, the finest eyes in the world, nose, and mouth, excepting
that both had bad teeth. Lady Coventry danced like a nymph, and was too
kind a one. The Duchess always preserved her character. Lady Coventry
died young, of a consumption. Till within a few days of her death she
lay on a couch with a looking-glass in her hand. When she found her
beauty, which she idolized, was quite gone, she took to her bed, and
would be seen by nobody--not even by her nurse, suffering only the
light of a lamp in her room. She then took leave of her husband, who
had forgiven her errors, and died with the utmost resignation. It was
in October. I had dined with her in the foregoing June, with my niece,
the beautiful Lady Waldegrave, then just married, since Duchess of
Gloucester. They stood in the window in the full sun, and though Lady
Coventry was wasted and faded, and Lady Waldegrave in all her glow of
beauty, in spite of my partiality to my niece, I could not but own to
myself that Lady Coventry was still superior. It was a less triumph, as
Lord Pembroke was so fickle, that Lady Coventry gave great uneasiness
to his lovely wife, Lady Elizabeth Spencer, who, in the Madonna style,
was divinely beautiful. As the Gunnings made so much noise, it may
be excused in a note if I mention another anecdote. Soon after Lady
Coventry was married, I was at an assembly at Bedford House, and drew
together, her, the charming Lady Emily Lenox, then Marchioness of
Kildare, and since Duchess of Leinster, and Mrs. Penelope Pitt, since
Lady Rivers (the two last celebrated in my poem of “The Beauties;”)
I said I wanted to decide which was the handsomest. They said I
should declare. I replied, that was hard, but since they insisted, I
would--and “I give it,” added I, “to Lady Kildare, because she does
what you both try to do--blush.” These trifling anecdotes may at least
be as amusing us the more serious follies committed by and about Wilkes.

[97] Mr. Jenkinson had also a powerful family interest in Oxfordshire,
being the eldest son of Colonel Charles Jenkinson, whose father and
brother, each a Sir Robert Jenkinson, had in turn represented the
county for many years. His introduction to public life has been always
ascribed to the zealous and effectual support he gave to Lord Parker
and Sir Edward Turner in the famous contest for the county, in 1754,
when many successful poetical squibs came from his pen. Sir Edward
Turner or his friend Lord Harcourt, the chief of the Oxfordshire
Tories, certainly obtained for him the post of private secretary to
Lord Bute.--E.

[98] Lord Baltimore was properly acquitted, but the trial brought
before the public such disgusting instances of his profligacy as to
render the intervention of the Methodists to direct the indignation of
the people against him quite superfluous. He soon after went abroad,
and died at Naples in 1771, and having left no issue by his wife, a
daughter of the Duke of Kingston, his title became extinct.--(Selwyn
and his Contemporaries, vol. ii.)--He published in 1767 “A Tour in
the Year 1763–4, with Remarks on the East, and the Turks, &c.” It was
reprinted in 1768, and has since become very rare. A curious account of
it and of its author is given in the “Bibliothèque des Voyages,” vol.
ii. p. 79.--E.

[99] The report of these proceedings by Sir James Burrow would in some
measure justify this observation of Walpole, for there seems from it to
have been much coquetting between the Bench and the Attorney-General
(De Grey), and an apparent desire by each to shift the responsibility
upon the shoulders of the other. In delivering judgment upon the two
cross motions then before the Court, viz. that of the Attorney-General
for Wilkes’s committal, and that of Serjeant Glynn that Wilkes
should be admitted to bail, Lord Mansfield makes this remarkable
admission:--“I have no doubt we _might_ take notice of him upon his
voluntary appearance as the person outlawed and commit or bail him, but
we are not absolutely _bound_ to do it without _some_ reason to excuse
the going out of the regular course.” And in reference to the conduct
of the Attorney-General he thus expresses himself, “I don’t see why the
Attorney-General should demand of _the Court_ to commit the defendant
upon the outlawry, when he himself has suffered him to go at large
without any attempt to take him up, or even issuing process against
him.” (Rex _v._ Wilkes,--Burrow’s Reports, vol. iv. p. 2531–5.)--E.

[100] The reason assigned for these voluntary errors is, that the
punishment of outlawry is greater than the crime on which it is
inflicted--but is it more sensible to facilitate the defeat of an
outlawry than to lessen too rigorous a punishment? [This was the ground
mainly relied on by Mr. Justice Yates in his judgment, but was not
adverted to either by Lord Mansfield, Mr. Justice Acton, or Mr. Justice
Willes, in disposing of these preliminary motions. It is now admitted
that the object of the process in outlawry is not penal, but to enforce
the personal appearance of the party against whom it is issued.--E.]

[101] This is probably a mistake for Northampton, in the contest
for which and the ensuing petition Lord Spencer expended at least

[102] The Duke of Grafton says in his Memoirs, that at the first
Cabinet no one contemplated the difficulties which afterwards arose
out of Wilkes’s case. Many persons, among whom was Walpole himself,
considered that Parliament was the very place where Wilkes would do
least hurt. (Letter to Sir Horace Mann, 31st of March, vol. i. p.

[103] Walpole’s statement of the decided view taken by the King of
Wilkes’s case from the very first is perfectly correct. In a letter
to Lord North of the 25th of April, the King says, “Though entirely
relying on your attachment to my person as well as in your hatred of
any lawless proceeding, yet I think it highly expedient to apprise
you that the expulsion of Mr. Wilkes appears to be very essential
and must be effected. The case of Mr. Ward, in the reign of my
great-grandfather, seems to point out the proper mode of proceeding. If
any man were capable of forgetting his criminal writings, his speech
in court last Wednesday, &c.”--(This extract was made by the editor
from the King’s letters to Lord North,--a very curious and interesting
collection, of which the friendship of Lord Brougham obtained him the
perusal from Lady Charlotte Lindsay.)--E.

[104] His daughter returning from France at the time of the Dauphin’s
wedding, when all post-horses were stopped for the service and
relays of the Dauphiness, who was expected from Vienna, Miss Wilkes
was regularly furnished with post-horses to Calais. [There is no
confirmation of this statement in Wilkes’s correspondence, nor is
it reconcilable with the fact that he was at that period in great
distress for even small sums. The suspicion, however, was very general.
Lacretelle says, “Wilkes, en agitant sa patrie, servit si bien les
desseins du Duc de Choiseul que quelques Anglais le regardèrent comme
son agent secret.”--Histoire de France, vol iv. p. 175.--E.]

[105] See infra, p. 211.--E.

[106] Lord Mansfield, sitting by the Duke of Bedford in the House of
Lords, said, if something vigorous was not done immediately, there
would be a revolution in ten days, and the Government overturned,--yet
when a motion was made against the riot, that dastardly magistrate sat
still and did not utter a syllable.

[107] The Duke of Grafton states in his MS. Memoirs, on the authority
of Mr. Bradshaw, who was present at the meeting, that with one
exception the company “were for expelling Wilkes on the double ground
of outlawry and conviction. Mr. Conway declared as much before he
came away. The single exception was Mr. Hussey, who expressed himself
strongly against a second expulsion for the same offence in being the
author of a political libel, for he said that Wilkes’s conviction
for the poem could not be thought of in the House of Commons without
coupling it with the means used to obtain evidence against him.”--E.

[108] The debate is reported by Cavendish, vol. i. p. 5–17. The
disunion that prevailed among the Opposition, some treating the riots
as most alarming, others as comparatively unimportant, gave the
Government great advantage in the discussion. It may be inferred from
the Duke of Grafton’s MS. Memoirs that the Government had been taken by
surprise. He says, “It was extraordinary that this combination of the
seamen was not foreseen by the merchants in a case wherein they were
so much interested; for if the slightest information had reached the
Admiralty, a few frigates and light vessels brought up the river would
have easily supported the civil power in preventing any outrage.”--E.

[109] Mr. Harley was the fourth son of Edward, third Earl of Oxford.
He had been bred a merchant, his father having succeeded to the title
late in life through a collateral limitation on the death of the second
Earl without male issue. His success in business, and his personal
worth, and perhaps still more, his birth, made him a considerable
person in the City. As a politician he seems to have given an unvarying
and indiscriminate support to almost every Administration. In 1776 he
had the good fortune to extricate himself from City politics by being
elected Member for Herefordshire, where he had a large estate, and he
continued to represent the county almost till the time of his death, at
an advanced age, in 1804.--E.

[110] See Cavendish, vol. i. pp. 21–26. After Lord Barrington, as
Secretary at War, had moved for leave to bring in the bill, Lord North
said that he did not know whether he should or should not oppose the
motion! On the second discussion, when the measure was virtually
dropped, Lord Barrington assured the House that the bill did not
proceed from any consultation of the Ministers, but from himself as
a Minister of the Crown, and on that ground he protested against the
Opposition claiming a triumph from its withdrawal,--a declaration that
enabled Mr. Burke to say fairly enough that there could be no triumph
over such weak and broken troops. If, however, the statement made by
Lord Barrington was correct, it strengthens the suspicion elsewhere
expressed in these notes that he acted on this as on other occasions at
the King’s instigation. See p. 273.--E.

[111] Charles Wolfran Cornwall was of an ancient family in
Herefordshire, being the son of Job Cornwall, a younger son of Charles
Cornwall of Benington, to which estate Mr. Cornwall eventually
succeeded. He was bred to the bar, but left it on his marriage.
This was his first Parliament. He soon gained the ear of the House,
and his name may be found in most debates of any importance even
in this session. He had an agreeable address, and a neat clear
persuasive style, which if it seldom rose to eloquence always ensured
him attention, which he had the tact not to abuse by speaking at
great length. He was exceedingly well informed, especially on all
points of constitutional law. Notwithstanding his connection with
Mr. Jenkinson, whose sister he had married, he joined in opposition
to the Government, having attached himself to Lord Shelburne, who
already aspired to be the patron of the rising talent of the day, and
adopting the views of that nobleman, he distinguished himself by his
speeches against the course pursued by the Ministers in their contest
with Mr. Wilkes, and in their policy towards America. His speeches,
as reported by Cavendish, are able, temperate, and manly. In 1774
he separated himself rather abruptly from his political friends by
accepting a Lordship of the Treasury. In 1780 he was proposed by Lord
North for the Speakership, to succeed Sir Fletcher Norton and elected
without opposition. His acknowledged abilities and experience, with
the advantages of a sonorous voice, a fine figure, and commanding
deportment, seemed to give him every qualification for his office. For
a time the public were not disappointed, but as his physical strength
yielded to the fatigues of the long and constant sittings of that
period, his reputation also declined, until it was wrecked in the
furious party conflicts that succeeded the Coalition. If the frequent
changes of Government rendered his position embarrassing, he aggravated
these difficulties by his irresolution, so that all parties attacked
him in turn. He certainly lost the consideration of the House, and
from the suspicions entertained by Pitt of his bias towards Fox during
the King’s illness, he would probably have been removed from the Chair
at the next dissolution: but he was spared this blow. The following
extract from Mr. Wilberforce’s diary is the only record that has come
under my notice of the conclusion of his public and private life:--

“January 1st.--Last night the Speaker put off the House by a note in
Warren’s handwriting, after he had sent word that he had passed a good
night--we suspect a trick.

“January 2nd.--Cornwall the Speaker died after a short illness this
morning. We had laughed at his indisposition the day before, thinking
him be-Warrened.”--(Life of Wilberforce, i. 199.)

By a singular coincidence his predecessor in the Chair, Lord Grantley,
died only the day before him. The Speaker left no children. He had sold
the Benington estate some years before to Alderman Harley. (See more
of him in Wraxall’s Posthumous Memoirs, vol. i. p. 53; vol. iii. p.

[112] Captain the Hon. Constantine Phipps, R.N., M.P. for Lincoln,
eldest son of Lord Mulgrave, a nephew of Lord Bristol. His knowledge
of law could not have been very deep, considering that he was at this
time barely twenty-two years old; still it was remarkable for a sailor,
and he lost no opportunity of displaying it or indeed any of his other
attainments, for he put himself forward in every debate of public
interest with unwearied and systematic pertinacity. His speeches have
gained him a place in history from their being almost the only records
extant of some very important debates, and he deserves credit for the
pains which, with a forethought then rare, he took in revising them
for the press; but even with this advantage, they bear no traces of
eloquence. He is said to have been a dull debater. There was little
of animation or interest in his manner of expressing himself, and his
deportment was as destitute of grace as his figure, the heavy colossal
scale of which gained him the appellation of Ursa Major, to distinguish
him from his younger brother, who had also a seat in the House. His
voice also was particularly inharmonious. He had, indeed, two distinct
voices,--the one strong and hoarse, the other weak and querulous,
of both of which he occasionally availed himself. So extraordinary
a circumstance probably gave rise to a story of his falling into a
ditch on a dark night, and calling for aid in his shrill voice. A
countryman coming up was about to have assisted him, but Captain Phipps
addressing him in a hoarse tone, the man immediately exclaimed, “If
there are two of you in the ditch you may help each other out of it.”
His merit lay in his industry, information, and acuteness; these were
indisputable, and made him a formidable opponent, especially as he was
a man of great resolution. No superiority in talent or position could
intimidate him, and it was with equal indifference that when almost a
boy he used to provoke the patience of Lord North; and in maturer years
he courted the indignation of Fox, then in the zenith of his fame.
Notwithstanding his obligations to Lord Bristol, by whom his father
had recently been raised to the peerage, he generally went with the
popular party,--a line of conduct that would have gained him lasting
honour, had he not afterwards accepted office under Lord North, and
thenceforward supported the Government with the same zeal and vigour
which he had previously shown in opposing it. His “tried integrity and
worth” are sarcastically noticed in the Rolliad. After the fall of
Lord North, he, in common with other friends of that Minister, joined
Mr. Pitt. He proved an useful ally, especially in the debates on the
Westminster scrutiny, in which he took a very active part, and thus
brought upon himself the resentment and attacks of the Opposition
wits, as well as a prominent place in the Rolliad. He was consoled,
however, by the lucrative post of Joint-Paymaster, and a British
peerage. Lord Mulgrave died in 1792. He is the author of “A Narrative
of a Voyage of Observation and Discovery to the North Pole, in 1773,” a
work of considerable merit. The expedition failed, owing to the ships
getting entangled in the ice near Spitsbergen; but the philosophical
observations made on the voyage received no addition during more than
half a century afterwards.

Lord Mulgrave having died without issue, was succeeded in his Irish
title by his brother Henry, whose career was at least equally
successful, for he raised himself to the highest posts in the
Government, as well as an English Earldom. The Marquis of Normanby is
his eldest son.--E.

[113] He was the eldest son of Sir Henry Cavendish, Bart., of Doveridge
Hall, Derbyshire, and afterwards had some lucrative offices in Ireland.
His wife, the heiress of Mr. Bradshaw, was created Baroness in 1792. He
died in 1804. It is to him that the public are indebted for the very
interesting reports of the debates in Parliament, of which the first
volume was published in 1841 by the late Mr. Wright,--an astonishing
work for a man of his station, fortune, and pursuits, and incomparably
the best--indeed the only faithful record of the proceedings in
Parliament in the early part of this reign. It would have been far more
valuable if he had taken the pains to give the words of the speakers
in the passages of their speeches that were the most successful--his
abridgment of course conveying a very imperfect and inadequate idea
of any rhetorical excellence; hence, we rise from the perusal of his
reports of Burke with some disappointment. Still, the work cannot be
too carefully consulted by all who wish to gain an accurate insight
into the history of the period which it embraces. One proof of Mr.
(afterwards Sir Henry) Cavendish’s correctness is, that his reports of
his own speeches go far to justify Walpole’s account of him.--E.

[114] Eldest son of Simon Lord Irnham, who had two other sons--Temple,
who was a poet, and had parts, but proved a tedious orator; and the
third, who was a seaman, and had most parts of the three. He had also
two daughters, of whom Anne, the elder, then married to a Mr. Horton,
was very engaging, and rose afterwards to a very extraordinary rank.

[115] This was very like his pitiful countryman James the First, who
had disclaimed his own son-in-law, the King of Bohemia, when elected
for their Prince by an oppressed nation.

[116] It is true Lord Granville had provoked the Genoese in the
year 1743 by the treaty of Worms, in which he had proposed to force
Final from the Genoese, and give it to the King of Sardinia. France
had rescued Genoa from the Austrians. Still, there was no moral
or political reason for our taking part for the Genoese against
the Corsicans. The despotic principles of Lord Bute suggested that

[117] The debate on the Adjournment is reported in Cavendish, vol. i.
p. 28–31. It turned chiefly on the disturbances among sailors.--E.

[118] In a letter on these proceedings written shortly before the
judgment reversing the outlawry, Walpole says, “In short, my dear sir,
I am trying to explain what I really do not understand.” (To Sir Horace
Mann, vol. i. p. 392.) That he was not better informed at the date of
these Memoirs, is proved by the statement in the text. It was, however,
no disgrace to be ignorant of the absurd technicalities by which Lord
Mansfield’s very able judgment is defaced; nor should they attach any
stain to the memory of a judge who had to expound the law and not to
make it. Lord Mansfield’s love of the prerogative did not in this
instance lead him into the slightest injustice. Following the order
which the form of the proceedings naturally suggested, he commenced
with an elaborate and lucid examination of all the arguments which the
ingenuity of the defendant’s counsel, arguing from the reversal of
the outlawry, had most ably urged; and after carefully reviewing and
combating each _seriatim_, he disposes of them in these words: “These
are the errors which have been objected, and this the manner and form
in which they are assigned. For the reasons I have given, I cannot
allow them.” After a spirited vindication of his character, and a bold
declaration of the utter indifference in which he held all the menaces
by which he had been publicly and privately assailed, he proceeds to
advert to a technical error in the “Writ of Exigent,” which by a series
of precedents and cases ranging from the 7th of James the First to
the 18th of Charles the Second (a period of sixty years), he shows to
be fatal to the writ, and on _that_ ground decides that the outlawry
could not stand, adding at the conclusion of his judgment, “I beg to
be understood that I ground my opinion _singly upon the authority of
the cases adjudged_, which as they are on the _favourable_ side, in
a _criminal_ case _highly penal_, I think ought not to be departed
from.”--Burrow’s Reports, vol. iv. p. 2561.

The error upon which the reversal proceeded was, that after the words
“at the County Court” the writ altogether omitted to state “of the
County of Middlesex,” a ground obviously different from that which
Walpole here suggests. It is observable, also, that the discovery of
this error had _not_, as Walpole states, been made by Serjeant Glynn
“two months before in his pleading;” it is probable, however, that
Walpole may have confounded this with another error relied on by the
Serjeant, but overruled by the court,--namely, that the averment “Brook
Street _near_ Holborn in the County of Middlesex” was not a sufficient
averment that Brook Street was in Middlesex.

A clear account of these proceedings is given in the Life of Lord
Mansfield (No. XI. of the _Law Magazine_), in an able and yet not
servile defence by that eminent lawyer, who, with all his defects of
character, will always be regarded as one of the brightest ornaments
of British jurisprudence. It was written by Mr. Plunket, the author of
a history of the Roman law, who has since died, a Puisne Judge of St.

[119] Mr. Townshend was the eldest son of the Hon. Thomas Townshend,
second son of Charles, Viscount Townshend, and M.P. for Whitchurch.
He prided himself on his family and fortune, and probably resented
the preference shown to a political adventurer, such as Rigby. An
additional motive for his resigning was his attachment to Lord Chatham,
with whom he soon entered into violent opposition to the Government.
He ranked high among the second-rate speakers in the House. The Whigs
proposed him for the Chair against Sir Fletcher Norton, 1770, of
course unsuccessfully. He was one of the Secretaries of State in Lord
Shelburne’s Administration, and distinguished himself by a most able
defence of the peace.--(Wraxall’s Historical Memoirs, vol. ii. p.
289.)--In 1783, the friendship of Mr. Pitt, with whom he had become
connected by the marriage of his daughter with the second Lord Chatham,
raised him to the peerage as Lord Sydney, and restored him the Seals
of Secretary, which he held till 1789. He died in 1800. He was an
accomplished classical scholar, and indefatigably industrious.--E.

[120] The Pope published a most satisfactory refutation of the claim
of the French Government, but the French troops retained their
conquest. A body of French troops under the Marquis de Rochecourt took
possession of Avignon on the 11th of June. No resistance was offered by
the papal authorities, the Legate only making a protest, accompanied
by a declaration that the invaders had subjected themselves to the
ecclesiastical penalties enumerated in the Bull _In Cænâ Domini_. The
plea set up by the French was the invalidity of the original alienation
of Avignon to the Pope by Jeanne of Naples in 1368. The Pope published
a reply, which was thought conclusive by all but the French, who
retained possession of the territory they had seized, until it suited
their interests to resign it.--E.

[121] The Duke of Grafton states in his MS. Memoirs that Lord
Rochford’s instructions only stopped short of a declaration of war. “At
one time Lord Rochford was confident that he should have succeeded, and
wrote over that the Duc de Choiseul’s language had so much softened,
that he had every hope that the French Ambassador would not risk the
attempt. In the audience of the next week, he found to his great
surprise the former tone taken up; and in a private letter to me, he
attributed the strange change in the Duc to the imprudent declaration
of a great law Lord (Lord Mansfield), then at Paris, at one of the
Minister’s tables, that the English Ministry were too weak, and the
nation too wise, to support them in entering into a war for the sake of
Corsica.” The remonstrances thus made by Lord Rochford having failed,
the Duke of Grafton dispatched Captain Dunant, a Genevese officer,
who had served with distinction in the Swiss troops of the King of
Sardinia, to Corsica, with the view of learning how far assistance
could be surreptitiously afforded to Paoli by the English Government,
and the result of the mission was, that the Corsicans obtained several
thousand stand of arms from the stock at the Tower. Lord Camden seems
to have been ready to have gone further. The Duke of Grafton saw no
necessity for an immediate decision, being under the impression that
the Corsicans might still hold out; and the events which followed, and
will be mentioned hereafter, took him completely by surprise. (Duke of
Grafton’s MS. Memoirs.)--E.

[122] Almon says the sentence was condemned by everybody as
unjustifiably severe. On the other hand, Mr. Grenville, in his
celebrated speech against Lord Barrington’s motion for Wilkes’s
expulsion, comments on it as very lenient, and contrasts it with Dr.
Shebbeare’s, who for his Sixth Letter to the People of England was
sentenced to be fined, to stand in the pillory, to be imprisoned
for three years, and to give security for good behaviour for seven
years. This, too, was whilst Mr. Pratt (afterwards Lord Camden) was
Attorney-General. (Cavendish, vol. i. p. 160.)--E.

[123] The Archbishop could with little propriety have set on foot such
a prosecution, having in the early part of his life exceeded Anet in
the latitude of his irreligion. Whether he incited it or not, I do
not know. It is justice to his character to say that he privately
allowed Anet 50_l._ a-year to support him in prison, where he died.
[This charge against the Archbishop also made by Walpole elsewhere,
has been repeatedly refuted. It appears to rest on the very slender
foundation of a foolish story told by some superannuated companion of
Secker’s at Leyden, where the latter, in the fulness of his passion for
metaphysics, probably indulged in paradoxes by way of argumentative
exercises, which it would be very unjust to regard as his real opinion.
Bishop Watson, when a student at Trinity, wrote a paper to refute
Clarke’s main argument to prove the existence of God, yet no one ever
thought of calling him an atheist.--E.]

[124] See supra, vol. i. p. 19. If Dr. Secker had not been the intimate
friend of the Duke of Newcastle and Lord Chancellor Hardwicke, his
character would no doubt have obtained the warm praise instead of
the constant abuse of Walpole. Bishop Hurd, who did not love him,
says that he was a wise man, an edifying preacher, and an exemplary
bishop.--(Life of Warburton, p. 69.)--He was very young when he left
the Dissenters to join the Church, and the Dissenters never questioned
the honesty of his change of opinions. Some of their most eminent
writers have recorded their respect for him. The purity of his life
brought on him the charge of hypocrisy from those alone who did not
care to practise the same virtues. After enjoying for ten years the
rich revenues of the primacy, he left an insignificant fortune, and his
distribution of his patronage was equally disinterested. He was the
last of the learned divines who have filled the highest dignities of
the Church. (Life by Porteus, also Memoirs of Mrs. Carter, p. 402.)--E.

[125] Bishop Newton, after describing him as “the not unworthy
successor of Secker,” says, “When he was a young man at the University
he had the misfortune of a paralytic stroke on his right side, from
which he has never recovered the full use of his right hand, and
is obliged to write with his left; but, this notwithstanding, he
has hitherto enjoyed uncommon good health, and never fails in his
attendance on the multifarious business of his station. He has greatly
improved Lambeth House, he keeps a hospitable and elegant table, has
not a grain of pride in his composition, is easy of access, receives
every one with affability and good nature, is courteous, obliging,
condescending, and as a proof of it he has not often been made the
subject of censure, even in this censorious age.”--(Memoirs, p.
121.)--This description might lead one to fear that the good Bishop’s
standard of Metropolitan merit was not very elevated. Archbishop
Cornwallis deserved still higher commendation. He seems to have had
a true sense of his religious duties. When a party in the East India
Company raised an outcry against the missionary Schwarts, then a
friendless and obscure foreigner, he came forward with his public
testimony on his behalf. The Archbishop died in 1783, aged 70.--E.

[126] The Count de Bernsdorffe was a Hanoverian. He had large estates
in Mecklenburg, but had sought fortune in Denmark, where at that
time foreigners were warmly welcomed, and raised to high posts. He
had been Foreign Minister to Frederick the Sixth. His reputation and
influence were considerable in the northern courts. Walpole describes
him elsewhere (Letters to Sir H. Mann, vol. i. p. 400) as a grim
old man, bowing and cringing at every word of the King with eastern
obsequiousness--indeed a Mentor and Telemachus have never yet been seen
in real life. Bernsdorffe died in 1772, aged sixty. His nephew, Count
Andrew de Bernsdorffe, also an eminent name in the later history of
Denmark, was Prime Minister in 1784, and died in 1797.--E.

[127] This piece of flattery was abruptly crushed. The poor King became
on his return a mere phantom of royalty, first in the hands of his
wife, next of the Queen Dowager. In 1784 his son was raised to the
Regency, and succeeded to the Crown on his death, in 1808.--E.

[128] The Duke of Grafton’s Memoirs confirm Walpole’s account of this
transaction, and he adds that “the Cabinet were unanimous in their
resolution for the removal of Sir Jeffery Amherst.” It was in the
manner of filling up the vacancy that they laid themselves open to the
suspicion of having accommodated a private job under the pretence of
reforming a public abuse, and people said, with some plausibility, “It
was not Virginia that wanted a governor, but a Court favourite that
wanted a salary.”--(See the clever letters in Woodfall’s Junius, vol.
iii. pp. 89–123.)--Lord Bottetort’s being a follower and friend of Lord
Bute, increased the cry against him.--E.

[129] The Hon. General John Fitzwilliam, had been Groom of the
Bedchamber to William, Duke of Cumberland, when Mr. Conway was in the
same post about his Royal Highness, and had long been intimate with
Rigby. [He died in 1789, and left his fortune to one of his servants.
He was uncle to Viscount Fitzwilliam (of Ireland), who founded the
noble museum that bears his name at Cambridge; and on the death of
whose brother the title became extinct.--E.]

[130] Afterwards the Right Hon. Sir William Lynch, K.B. He was the
eldest son of Dr. Lynch, Dean of Canterbury, by the youngest daughter
of Archbishop Wake. His family had long been settled at Groves, near
Canterbury, and he represented that city in two Parliaments. He usually
resided at Groves, where he had greatly embellished the house and park,
and collected some fine pictures. He died abroad in 1785, leaving a
widow, but no issue.--E.

[131] Lord Shelburne had been on very cold terms with the Duke of
Grafton since the commencement of Lord Chatham’s illness. This coldness
at length grew into absolute hostility; but it was at the instigation
of the King, not less than of the Bedford party, that Lord Shelburne
was removed; and such, indeed, was his alienation from his colleagues,
that even the Chancellor acquiesced in the necessity of his removal,
and, as the following letter shows, did not much regret it. “It does
behove his Lordship (Lord Shelburne) either to be cordially reconciled
or to resign, for it is neither just nor honourable to confound, much
less to betray, an Administration while he remains a member of it.
I should wish the first on many accounts, and yet I fear that can
hardly be expected, considering what has passed, especially the last
affront in setting aside his Lordship’s nomination to Turin.” (Letter
from Lord Camden to Duke of Grafton, MS.) I can find no confirmation
of the insinuation in Mr. Burke’s “Thoughts on Popular Discontents,”
that Lord Shelburne’s removal was a punishment for the warmth of his
representations to the French Court on the subject of Corsica. These
representations, indeed, appear to have been fully sanctioned by
the Duke of Grafton, and had they been disapproved by the Cabinet,
Lord Rochford who so warmly urged them on the Duc de Choiseul would
certainly not have been Lord Shelburne’s successor.--E.

[132] See Chatham Correspondence, vol. iii. p. 342.--E.

[133] Walpole had invariably entertained a mean opinion of Lord
Rochford. In a letter as early as 1746, just after the battle of
Culloden, he writes, “Is it news that Lord Rochford is an oaf? He
has got a set of plate buttons for the birthday, with the Duke’s (of
Cumberland) head on every one. Sure my good lady carries her art
too far to make him so great a dupe!”--(Collected Letters, vol. ii.
p. 165.) The plate buttons, however, were not thrown away, for Lord
Rochford was within three years appointed Minister at Turin, and in
1755 he obtained the lucrative office of Groom of the Stole. The new
reign obliged him to give way to Lord Bute, which he did with so good
a grace, as to preserve the favour of the Court. Not satisfied with a
large pension, he aspired to political eminence, and in 1763 accepted
the embassy at Madrid. He discharged its duties respectably--was
attentive to business--vigilant, and, when occasion called for it,
spirited--and his dispatches present a more faithful and interesting
account of the Court of Spain than is to be found in any cotemporary
work. The credit he thus acquired was the cause of his being appointed
Ambassador at Paris, where he conducted himself unexceptionably. It
cannot, however, be said that he left a name of any distinction in
diplomacy. The same mediocrity characterized his career as Secretary
of State. He made a poor figure in the House of Lords, and if he had
no enemies, he had as few friends. His colleagues shuffled him from
one department to the other, and at last parted with him with an
indifference that was fully shared by the public. Not, however, that
he was unrewarded. He received for seven years the high salary, and
enjoyed the patronage of the Secretary of State. He was Lord-Lieutenant
of Essex, and a Privy Councillor. In 1778 he became a Knight of the
Garter. His pecuniary circumstances, indeed, appear to have been
embarrassed; but he is not to be pitied, if, as was reported, this
arose from his speculations in the funds on the prospect of a Spanish
war (Chatham Correspondence, vol. iv. p. 80). It has been observed
that he is the only statesman whom Junius has noticed in terms of
unqualified praise; but it should be remembered that this was only
when writing under another signature,--no such praise is to be found
in “the Letters of Junius.” Being succeeded by Lord Weymouth in 1775,
he retired to St. Osyths, his seat in Essex--the ancient inheritance
of the Rivers’s, from whom he was maternally descended. He died in
1781 without issue, and the title became extinct on the decease of his
nephew.--(Coxe’s Kings of Spain, vol. iii.)--E.

[134] This correspondence between Lord Chatham and Lord Bristol
has been published among Lord Chatham’s Letters (vol. iii. p.
347). Walpole’s personal dislike of Lord Bristol, which is little
disguised in these Memoirs, could alone have made him regard that
nobleman’s conduct in this transaction as in the slightest degree

[135] Instead of being deserted by these noblemen, it would be more
fair to say that Lord Chatham had deserted them. There is no excuse
for his conduct to Lord Bristol. His relation to Lord Camden was of a
different character, for the latter was under deep obligations to him;
but all intercourse between them had long been suspended, and their
friendship had, from Lord Chatham’s fault alone, withered into a mere
loose political connection. Still, the severance of that tie alarmed
Lord Camden; and his letters to the Duke of Grafton, on receiving the
first intelligence of Lord Chatham’s resignation, betray deep anxiety.
He writes from Bath on the 14th of October, after expressing a faint
hope that Lord Chatham’s resolution may not be final, “Your Grace and I
feel for each other. To me I fear the blow is fatal, yet I shall come
to no determination. If I can find out what is fit for me to do in this
most distressed situation, that I must do; but the difficulty lies in
forming a true judgment.... I do assure your Grace that my mind is at
present in too great an agitation to be soon settled, and therefore I
do not give myself leave to form an opinion concerning my own conduct.”
On the 16th, he writes in the same strain: “Nothing could give me so
much satisfaction as to join with your Grace in one line of conduct,
and yet I plainly see that our situations are different, and the same
honour, duty to the King, regard to the public, operating upon two
minds equally aiming at the same end, may draw us different ways, but
I dare say your Grace will believe me in all events and circumstances
what I really am, with all respect and unfeigned attachment,” &c. The
regard expressed in this note for the Duke of Grafton was perfectly
sincere, and when they met in London Lord Camden yielded to the Duke’s
solicitations. Various considerations united to bring him to this
decision. He was not insensible to the advantages of office. He had
made no provision for children whom he tenderly loved. One of these
children happened at the time to be alarmingly ill. The King pressed
him to remain. The country, whose welfare he identified with the
political principles he professed, might suffer from his resignation.
It was an error of judgment, for with the name of Lord Chatham the
Cabinet lost the distinction that attached to Lord Chatham’s policy;
and the small minority in which Lord Camden found himself, lingered on
for a while, suspected by the country, thwarted by their colleagues,
and discountenanced by the King, until the resignation to which they
were driven had become a matter of comparative indifference to the
different parties in the State.--E.

[136] The advantage of the Ministers lay in the disunion of their
opponents--a fact which the speeches of Mr. Grenville and Mr.
Burke, angry as each of them was with the Government, most palpably
disclosed;--America, as before, being the subject of their differences.
Mr. Grenville, however, disapproved of the dissolution of the American
Assemblies, observing that “no corporation was bound to obey the orders
of the Secretary of State further than they are enjoined by the laws
of the land.” The picture he drew of the state of England is in dark
colours. “Distress is among the common people; luxury among the rich;
servility, licentiousness, venality, of a nature the most dangerous to
the constitution; an enormous debt; a diminishing specie; an increasing
paper credit.” Mr. Burke greatly overrated the importance of Corsica.
“Corsica naked,” he observed, “I do not dread; but Corsica a province
of France, is dreadful to me.”--(Cavendish, vol. i. p. 46.) This
apprehension was very generally entertained,--time has proved it to
be utterly unfounded, the French having up to this moment derived as
little benefit from their conquest as has accrued to them from any of
their ultramarine possessions.--E.

[137] As Wilkes was elected into the succeeding Parliament, and was
allowed to sit, his expulsion at this time cannot be deemed a precedent
to justify the expulsion of any man because he had been expelled by
a former Parliament. No part of his expulsion can be turned into a
precedent, unless on the argument that he was then a prisoner under

[138] The arguments for and against the expulsion of Wilkes are stated
with neatness and force by Mr. Burke in the Annual Register for

[139] Sir Joseph Mawbey had soon forgotten the favours of the Whigs:--

   “Exulting that he was the first
    Who Ministerial chains had burst,
    And in the cause of liberty
    Could keep his honours and be free.”


He professed to be independent of party, and one of the results of this
independence was, that the satirical poets of the day, Whig and Tory,
united in pitilessly assailing him. He died in 1817.--E.

[140] See the debate in Cavendish, vol. i. p. 46–49.--E.

[141] It has been supposed that the great object of the Duc de Choiseul
in encouraging Turkey to engage in war with Russia, was to procure
the possession of Egypt for France as a reward for her interference.
The Count de Vergennes had from the first predicted the issue of
this unequal conflict. He in vain laid before the Duc the military
incapacity of the Sultan Mustapha, the apathy of the Ministers, and
the inefficiency of the Turkish levies. “I can arm the Turks against
Russia,” he said, “whenever you desire, but I forewarn you that they
will be beaten.”--Lacretelle, Histoire de France, vol. iv. p. 212.--E.

[142] It is deemed an etiquette in France (which must make other
nations smile) that the most Christian King’s mistress must be a
married woman.

[143] He also said maliciously enough, “I would not put in threats of a
war in order to make the funds fall, nor would I fight a duel on every
the slightest affront; but I do not care to receive one affront after
another, lest I should be obliged to fight at last. In private life
a man who seems doubtful about fighting is more likely to fight than
any other.” The most interesting part of the debate is the discussion
between Mr. Stanley and Mr. Grenville on the expediency of producing
papers on a negotiation still pending. (Cavendish, p. 59, &c.)--E.

[144] The same attachment to liberty made him, in after years, the warm
friend and supporter of Mr. Fox. He was indolent and reserved, or he
might have played a great part in politics, for he possessed no common
talents. He died in 1811.--E.

[145] This will be explained more fully hereafter.

[146] John West, second Earl of Delawar, died in 1777, aged

[147] James, third Earl Waldegrave. He had married a sister of the
Duchess of Bedford.

[148] Henry Somerset, Duke of Beaufort. [He held the office only until
1780. In 1786 he was made a Knight of the Garter. He died in 1803.--E.]

[149] The debate is reported in Cavendish, vol. i. pp. 61–8. This was
one of the first steps towards that fatal entanglement in which the
characters of so many public men suffered by their being drawn into a
line of conduct contrary to their former professions, and their known
political principles.--E.

[150] Cavendish, vol. i. pp. 168–75. Lord Barrington evidently wanted
a vote of approbation to countenance his very injudicious letter; and
judging from the tenor of his public life, as well as from the course
pursued by the Ministers on this occasion, there is strong ground for
suspecting that Lord Barrington had written the letter to please the
King or even at his Majesty’s instigation.--See supra, p. 211.--E.

[151] Cavendish, vol. i. pp. 75–76.--E.

[152] Mr. Hopkins, of Oving House, near Aylesbury, M.P. for Great
Bedwin. He was appointed Clerk of the Green Cloth, through the Duke’s
interest. He left his estate to his nephew, General Northey, who
thereupon took the name of Hopkins, and has died very recently.--E.

[153] Cavendish, vol. i. p. 77, &c.--E.

[154] Cavendish, vol. i. p. 100.--E.

[155] It was the same day put off to the 12th. (Cavendish, vol. i. p.

[156] Chauncey Townshend. They were not related to Lord Townshend’s
family. [Mr. James Townsend was at this time M.P. for West Looe. Lord
Shelburne brought him in for Calne on Mr. Dunning’s elevation to the
peerage, and he represented that borough till his death in 1787. He
spoke at times with considerable effect in the House of Commons. One
quality very requisite to the success of a popular leader he certainly
possessed,--and that was, resolution; he showed it on all occasions. I
have heard, on good authority, that a highway robbery having once been
committed in his neighbourhood, he disguised himself as a countryman,
and with his friend, the late Mr. Parker of Munden, in Hertfordshire,
set out in search of the offender, and succeeded in overpowering and
apprehending him. Mr. Parker used to dwell on the man’s ludicrous
astonishment in discovering that his captors were gentlemen.--E.]

[157] Daughter of Sir Orlando Bridgman. His second wife was Miss
Stevenson. She died a few weeks after the marriage.--E.

[158] Mr. John Sawbridge, of Olantigh, in Kent, grandson of Jacob
Sawbridge, M.P., the South Sea Director. He was a man of strong
understanding and upright principles. He is said to have had a coarse
figure, and still coarser manners (Wraxall’s Posthumous Memoirs, vol.
i. p. 105), but he did not want refinement of feeling. Highly as he
prized the popular favour, he at once sacrificed it at the coalition,
rather than abandon Mr. Fox. Wilkes, Townshend, and many of the leading
Patriots were on this occasion found among the King’s friends; and
Sawbridge, instead of being as usual at the head of the poll, saved his
seat by only seven votes. He represented the City till his death in
1793. John S. W. Sawbridge Earle Drax, Esq., M.P. is his grandson and
lineal representative.--E.

[159] Cavendish, vol. i. p. 100.--E.

[160] He was the eldest son of Lieutenant-General Richard Onslow, a
younger brother of the Speaker, by Miss Walton, the niece and heiress
of the gallant Admiral Sir George Walton. He succeeded his father as
Member for Guilford in 1760, and continued to represent it until 1784.
He died in 1792.--E.

[161] Sir Edward Deering, Bart., of Surrenden Deering in Kent, and one
of the representatives of New Romney. He was an opulent and influential
country gentleman. He died in 1798.--E.

[162] It was to excite the magistrates to do their duty against riots,
promising them protection. It was interpreted as preparatory to a

[163] He was called with reason the petty tyrant of the North, and
the stories still related of his pride, caprice, and cruelty in
Westmoreland and Cumberland, are almost incredible. If he possessed
a virtue, it was as Peter Pindar said, in his well-known epistle to
him, “A farthing rushlight to a world of shade.” His eccentricities
were such as to cast doubts on the sanity of his intellect. He fought
several duels for causes ludicrously inadequate. This did not prevent
his making an impassioned appeal to the House of Commons in 1780,
on the duel of Lord Shelburne and Colonel Fullarton, against the
impropriety of duels arising out of language in the House of Commons,
as interrupting the freedom of debate. Mr. Pitt owed to him his first
introduction into public life--as his first seat was for Sir James’s
borough of Appleby,--a favour amply returned, by Sir James being raised
in 1784 to the Earldom of Lonsdale. He was more useful than creditable
as a political adherent. No man of his day spent such large sums in
election contests, or obtained greater success in them, notwithstanding
his extreme personal unpopularity. It is said that above seven thousand
guineas were found in his cassette at his death in 1802, destined for
the approaching general election,--a vast sum to collect in gold at a
time when even at the Queen’s commerce-table guineas were very rarely
staked, and when specie could scarcely be procured by men of the
largest fortune. (See more of him in Wraxall’s Posthumous Memoirs, vol.
i. p. 28.)--E.

[164] Wilkes proved himself wholly unworthy of Serjeant Glynn’s
generous support. The King once related to Lord Eldon that on his
saying to Wilkes at the levee that he was glad to see his friend
Serjeant Glynn looking so well, Wilkes replied, “Sire, he is not
my friend. He was a Wilkite, _I_ never was.” (Twiss’s Life of Lord

[165] Sir Francis Gosling was an eminent banker in Fleet Street, where
his descendants still carry on business under the same firm.--E.

[166] I have seen genuine letters from the King to Mr. George
Grenville, while the latter was Minister, which show how deeply his
Majesty interested himself in that prosecution. In one he says,
“Wilkes’s impudence is amazing, considering how near his ruin is.” (See
the King’s letter to Lord North, p. 200, supra.)

[167] He had murdered a man in his own castle, where he always lived,
and the affair had been winked at on supposition of his insanity,
and perhaps from the difficulty of bringing to justice or of getting
evidence against so great a lord in the centre of his dependants, and
in so remote a country.

[168] Colonel, afterwards Sir John Stewart, Bart., of Grandtully. The
marriage took place on the 10th of August, 1746. He died in 1764. It
appears from the pleadings that when he married Lady Jane Douglas
he was reduced in health, spirit, and circumstances, but was a man
naturally of an ardent temperament, and had led a bustling dissipated

[169] She was delivered of twins on the 10th of July, 1748, at Paris,
in the house of Madame le Brun, in the Fauxbourg St. Germains,
according to the evidence in the cause.--E.

[170] It should be observed, however, that in the judgments they
delivered in the House of Lords, both Lord Camden and Lord Mansfield
argue very strongly from Lady Jane’s conduct to her children that she
was their mother.--E.

[171] This was the general impression. Lord Mansfield, on the contrary,
was satisfied that the children in every way resembled Sir John Stewart
and Lady Jane,--“the one was the finished model of Sir John, the other
the exact picture in miniature of Lady Jane.” (See his Speech.)--E.

[172] The Douglas cause began in 1762. The judges in the Court of
Session were divided--being seven to seven. The casting vote of the
Lord President gave the decision to the Hamiltons. This judgment was
reversed in the Lords on Feb. the 27th, 1769.--E.

[173] Lady Susan Stuart, daughter of the Earl of Galloway, and third
wife of Earl Gower, was the intimate friend of the Duchess of Hamilton,
and governing her in all other points, was very zealous for her in this
cause, and had engaged the Bedford connection to support it.

[174] The speeches of Lord Mansfield and Lord Camden are to be found in
the Collectanea Juridica, vol. ii. p. 386, and Parliamentary History,
vol. xvi. p. 518. It is scarcely possible that the report of Lord
Mansfield’s can be correct. It is equally poor both in composition and
in argument; the main argument, indeed, being that a woman of Lady
Jane’s illustrious descent could not be guilty of a fraud. The report
contains none of the invectives against Andrew Stuart to which the text
refers,--an omission which has been attributed to Lord Mansfield’s
extreme caution or timidity,--and had no other effect than to encourage
Mr. Stuart to attack him afterwards with greater fierceness; whilst
against Lord Camden, whose speech was at least equally severe, he made
no assault whatever.--(Lord Brougham’s Historical Sketches, vol. iii.
p. 195.) Lord Camden’s speech has been reported with unusual care,
and is no doubt a fine specimen of judicial eloquence. Still, it does
not fairly grapple with the difficulties of the case, and some of the
strongest objections, too, in the way of the Douglas claim are left
entirely untouched.--E.

[175] Mr. Johnstone Pulteney was the second son of Sir James Johnstone,
Bart., of Westerhall, and brother of Governor Johnstone. He married
the rich heiress and niece of Lord Bath, whose frugal habits he seems
to have closely imitated. Wraxall says that his figure and dress
answered Pope’s description of Sir John Cutler, his whole wardrobe
being threadbare.--(Posthumous Memoirs, vol. iii. p. 280.) He died in
1805, at the age of eighty-four. His daughter was created Countess of

[176] These letters are intituled “Letters to Lord Mansfield on the
Douglas Cause, 1773,” 4to. They partly deserve the commendation
bestowed on them by Walpole, and may still be read with almost unabated
interest. Mr. Stuart had been a Writer of the Signet in Edinburgh. He
was the proprietor of a fair estate called Torrence, in Lanarkshire,
and for some years he represented the county in Parliament. In the
Letters cited above, he calls himself “one whose birth entitles him,
when provoked by injury, to feel no inferiority” to Lord Mansfield.
The Appendix to his work contains letters to him from Charles Yorke,
Dunning, Wedderburne, and Sir Adam Ferguson (who had all been of
counsel for the Hamiltons), testifying to his honour in the conduct
of the cause. It is difficult, nevertheless, to acquit him of very
reprehensible tampering with the evidence. He wrote several tracts on
Indian affairs, and likewise “A Genealogical History of the Stuarts,
from the Earliest Period to the Present Time,” a work more curious than
valuable. It led to some controversy long since forgotten. He died in

[177] Without examining the records of France this fact cannot safely
be altogether denied; but after many inquiries both among Scotch and
English lawyers, the authenticity of it seems to rest with Walpole
alone. Had it happened before Mr. Stuart’s Letters was published in
1773, of course he would never have omitted so important a fact; but
neither in his Letters, nor in a French account of the Douglas cause
published in 1786, nor in any other publication that has fallen in the
editor’s way, is there the least notice of any such thing: besides
this, nobody remembers even to have heard of it; and it is not a story
likely to be forgotten, had it ever been mentioned.--E.

[178] He was the fifth son of the Earl of Shannon, [and M.P. for
Knaresborough. He went out to the West Indies some years afterwards as
Commodore, in the Thunderer, seventy-four, and perished with all his
crew in the celebrated hurricane of 1779. He had married one of the
daughters and co-heirs of Sir Charles Hanbury Williams.--E.]

[179] The trial is reported in the Gentleman’s Magazine for 1768, p.
587; 1769, p. 51–53, 108. Certainly the execution of these men would
have been an act of gross injustice.--E.

[180] Mr. Joseph Martin, M.P. for Gatton, an ancestor of the present
Member for Tewkesbury.--E.

[181] The Petition from “the major part of the Council of
Massachusets,” signed by Mr. Dunsford the President of the Council.
Lord North contended that by the constitution of the colony the Council
could not act separate from the Government except in their legislative
capacity, and in that case the Governor was President of the Council.
Owing to the recent dissolution, they could no longer act in their
legislative capacity. The President, therefore, had no authority to
sign in that character. (Cavendish’s Parliamentary Debates, vol. i. p.

[182] The resolutions had previously been passed by the Lords, and
are given in Cavendish. They cite historically the acts both of the
people and legislature of Massachusets, and they were accompanied by
an address to the King, praying that he would direct the Governor of
the colony to transmit the names of the persons most conspicuous in
commencing illegal acts since the 2nd of December 1767 to one of the
Secretaries of State, and would, if the information proved sufficient,
issue a special commission for trying the offenders in Great Britain,
according to the statute of the 35th of Henry the Eighth. The debate
was conducted with ability and spirit on both sides of the House.
Governor Johnstone tersely observed that the resolutions were untrue
in point of fact, improper in point of language, and inexpedient in
point of time. Mr. Grenville analysed them with his usual acuteness,
and condemned the conduct of the Government as weak and inconsistent.
He predicted the failure of all half measures. “If you mean,” he said,
“to give up the proposition that you have a right to tax America, do it
like men; if you do not mean to give it up, take some proper measures
to show your intention; but do not stand hesitating between both,--if
you do, you will plunge both countries into confusion.” Mr. Burke
advocated the cause of the colonists with indignant eloquence. “Why,”
he asked, “are the provisions of the statute of Henry the Eighth to be
put in force against the Americans? Because you cannot trust a jury of
that country. Sir, that word must carry horror to every feeling mind.
If you have not a party among two millions of people, you must either
change your plan of government, or renounce your colonies for ever.”
Governor Pownall delivered a treatise full of information, which he
took care should be accurately reported, and it has accordingly had
more readers than it is likely to have found hearers. The resolutions
were defended by Hussy, with judgment, good taste, and ability. Nor was
Lord North deficient in making a plausible case for the Government. The
House was as thin as when it passed the Stamp Act. (Cavendish, vol. i.
pp. 191–225.)--E.

[183] The Speaker decided this to be an improper expression.--E.

[184] Alluding to the Paymaster’s place, which had been split into two,
but was again given to Rigby alone.

[185] This debate is reported in Cavendish, vol. i. pp. 120–8.--E.

[186] Cavendish, vol. i. p. 128–31.--E.

[187] This surely was more disgraceful to the Prince than to Sir
Laurence Dundas; but the Prince would no doubt have hanged, and with
more reason, Lord George Sackville, if he had dared, and this did not
obstruct that nobleman’s promotion.--E.

[188] Author of the Commentaries on the Law. He was a very
uninteresting speaker, and was afterwards made a judge. [His principles
being strongly Tory, drove him into a line of conduct on Wilkes’s
affair unlike the rest of his life, for in other respects he showed
himself an honest, able, and amiable man. He probably regretted his
subserviency to the directions of the Ministers, for he refused the
office of Solicitor on Dunning’s retirement, and was delighted to be
raised on the following year to one of the Judgeships of the Common
Pleas, which he held till his death, in 1780. An interesting life of
him is prefixed to his Reports.--E.]

[189] Mr. (afterwards Sir Ralph) Payne, (K.B.,) M.P. for Shaftesbury.
He seems to have soon discovered his failure, for in 1771 he
accepted the government of the Leeward Islands, where he possessed
a considerable estate, an ancestor of his having settled in Antigua
during the civil wars. His splendid hospitality and imposing
deportment, not less than his good nature, made him very popular with
the West Indians, and it was to their great regret that he returned to
England in 1775 to resume his political career. This, however, proved
far from successful. All he obtained was the Clerkship of the Green
Cloth, which he subsequently lost in consequence of his connecting
himself with Fox. His house, however, became the favourite resort of
the leaders of the Opposition, partly from his own agreeableness,
and more so from the attractions of his wife, a highly accomplished
Austrian lady, who was a very general favourite. It was on seeing her
in tears, which she placed with more adroitness than truth to the
account of her monkey, who had just died, that Sheridan wrote the
well-known ludicrous distich:--

   “Alas! poor Ned,
    My monkey’s dead;
    I had rather by half
    It had been Sir Ralph.”

In 1795 Sir Ralph made his peace with Pitt, and was raised to the Irish
peerage by the title of Lord Lavington. In 1801 he returned to his
former government, and in 1807 died at Antigua, without issue. Lady
Lavington survived him, and was left in circumstances so embarrassed,
that she applied to the legislature of Antigua for a small pension.
(See more of him in a work recently published under the title of
“Antigua and the Antiguans.”)--E.

[190] This debate is reported in Cavendish, vol. i. p. 131–8.--E.

[191] Secretary of the Treasury.

[192] Dr. Blackstone spoke with unusual spirit, and put the case on the
right grounds. Serjeant Glynn observed sensibly and fairly, “If the
letter is not entirely free from all possibility of reprehension, there
does not appear to be anything in it to subject the noble writer to
Parliamentary censure, but I think it calculated to induce magistrates
to exercise a power which ought not to be resorted to except in extreme
cases. It does not sufficiently define the occasions upon which it is
to be used. Most of the magistrates are uninstructed in the laws of the
country, and likely to be misled by the terms of it.” (Cavendish, vol.
i. p. 139–151.)--E.

[193] A noted partisan of Wilkes.

[194] The Ministers made a very poor figure in this debate, if any
trust is to be placed in Cavendish’s Reports. Dyson seems to have
acquitted himself the best. The temper of the majority may be inferred
from the applause said to have been received by Mr. (afterwards
Justice) Nares, on his declaring that he would “rather appear in that
House as an idolater of a Minister, than as a ridiculer of his Maker.”
On the Opposition side there was no speech like Mr. Grenville’s.
He revised the report of it taken by Cavendish; and printed a few
copies for private circulation, by which means it came into the hands
of Almon, who reprinted it (Parliamentary Debates, vol. xvi. pp.
546–575). Being one of the very few of his speeches that have been
preserved, it deserves the attentive study of those who desire to
know how he obtained the ascendancy which he so long enjoyed in the
House of Commons, combating as he did, at one time, almost alone,
the extraordinary and varied powers of Pitt and Charles Townshend.
It is plain that, to use an expression of Clarendon respecting Mr.
Pym, whom, by the way, in many respects he closely resembled, “his
parts were rather acquired by industry, than supplied by nature or
adorned by art.” This he well knew, and accordingly it was not his
aim to subdue the feelings or to captivate the imagination; he sought
to reach the understanding, and certainly the able structure of his
argument--the precision with which his points are laid down--his great
power of exposition,--and above all, the abundant stores of knowledge
which he always brought to the discussion, show how he excelled in the
line he had adopted. This speech remained unanswered, and was indeed
unanswerable. In some parts it approaches eloquence, but it can only
be fairly estimated as a whole,--no extracts would furnish a just idea
of its merit. The following passages, however, may be taken as a fair
specimen of his style:--

“Are these, then, the proper expedients to check and to restrain the
spirit of faction and of disorder, and to bring back the minds of
men to a sense of their duty? Can we seriously think that they will
have that effect? Surely it is time to look forward and to try other
measures. A wise Government knows how to enforce with temper, or to
conciliate with dignity; but a weak one is odious in the former, and
contemptible in the latter. How many arguments have we heard from the
Administration in the course of the session, for conciliatory measures
towards subjects in the American colonies upon questions where the
legislative authority of Great Britain was immediately concerned? And
is not the same temper, the same spirit of conciliation, at least
equally necessary towards the subjects within the kingdom? or is this
the only part of the King’s dominions where it is not advisable to show
it? Let not any gentleman think that by conciliation I mean a blind
and base compliance with popular opinions contrary to our honour and
justice--that would indeed be unworthy of us. I mean by conciliation
a cool and temperate conduct unmixed with passion or prejudice. No
man wishes more than I do to stop any excess on either side, or is
more ready to resist any tumultuous violence founded upon unreasonable
clamour. Such a clamour is no more than a sudden gust of wind that
passes by and is forgotten; but when the public discontent is founded
on truth and reason, when the sky lowers and hangs heavy all around us,
a storm may then arise which may tear up the constitution by the roots,
and shake the palace of the King himself.” (Cavendish’s Parliamentary
Debates, vol. i. p. 174.) Mr. Grenville took care throughout his
speech to prevent his opinion against Mr. Wilkes’s expulsion being
construed into approbation of that gentleman’s conduct, on which he
commented with a severity which the latter deeply resented. Lord Temple
interfered, but could not prevent Wilkes from publishing an insolent
pamphlet in reply to Mr. Grenville’s observations, the result of which
was, that Lord Temple never spoke to him afterwards.--E.

[195] Charles, second Earl Cornwallis. [He was the intimate friend
of the Duke of Grafton. A pleasing portrait is drawn of him by all
contemporary writers. If the failure of his American campaigns, where
he certainly proved no match for the self-taught commanders, whose
ignorance it was the fashion of the day to ridicule, raised a strong
presumption against his military talents, he met with great success
in India, both as a soldier and an administrator. His conduct in
Ireland during the Rebellion likewise does honour to his sagacity
and benevolence. He was one of the few statesmen who inculcated
the necessity of forbearance and concession in that misgoverned
country,--and the coldness with which the Ministers received his
remonstrances was the cause of his resignation. The mild dignity of his
demeanour faithfully represented the leading traits of his character.
He died in India in 1805, at a very advanced age, leaving an only
son, on whose decease, without male issue, the Marquisate became

[196] Mr. Stephenson was the son of Sir William Stephenson of Kent. I
have been told that later in life he met with great losses in trade,
which obliged him to make a composition with his creditors, but having
subsequently retrieved his circumstances he paid everything in full.--E.

[197] Mr. Hollis published handsome editions of Toland’s Life of
Milton, and Algernon Sidney’s Discourses on Government,--works of
which the principles, political and religious, coincided with his own.
He was a very honest well-meaning man, the idol of a small circle of
friends, who profited largely by his bounty, and showed their gratitude
by extravagant praises of his moral and intellectual merit. He died
suddenly from apoplexy at his seat at Corscombe, in Dorsetshire, in
1764. An injudicious tribute was paid to his memory by the publication
of his Life in two massive volumes, 4to, by Archdeacon Blackburne, in
1780--one of the dullest books of the day--and which as completely
failed in its object as some of the biographies of the same cast, the
introduction of which into the Biographia Britannica, drew forth the
well-known lines of Cowper--

   “O fond attempt to give a deathless lot
    To names ignoble, born to be forgot!
    In vain recorded in historic page,
    They court the notice of a future age.
    Those twinkling tiny lustres of the land,
    Drop one by one from Fame’s neglecting hand;
    Lethæan gulp receives them as they fall,
    And dark oblivion soon absorbs them all.”--E.

[198] Henry Seymour, nephew of Edward eighth Duke of Somerset, and
half-brother by the mother to Lord Sandwich, but attached to Grenville.
[He was M.P. for Huntingdon.--E.]

[199] Cavendish’s Parliamentary Debates, vol i. p. 226.--E.

[200] This tract was understood to be written by Mr. Knox. It is but a
moderate performance, and has long ceased to be read, except by those
who wish to appreciate Mr. Burke’s admirable “Observations.” There are
some passages in it exactly in Mr. Grenville’s manner, and probably
of his composition: the sentiments of the whole were certainly his.
Another tract of a similar tendency had, not long before, issued from
the same mint, intituled “Considerations on Trade and Finance.”--E.

[201] This brilliant composition has so many beauties, and excites
throughout such deep interest, that it seems to be almost an abuse of
criticism to note its defects. The author, of course, wrote under a
strong bias, and for a temporary purpose; but his genius has cast a
halo over his opinions and his political associates, which has enlisted
posterity on his side.

The passage to which Walpole refers is in reply to some gloomy
statements of the decline of our trade.--“What if all he says of the
state of this balance were true? If these [custom-house entries] prove
us to be ruined, we were always ruined. Some ravens, indeed, have
always croaked out this kind of song. They have a malignant delight in
presaging mischief, when they are not employed in doing it. They are
miserable and disappointed at every instance of the public prosperity.
They overlook us, like the malevolent being of the poet,--

              “‘Tritonida conspicit arcem
    Ingeniis, opibusque, et festâ pace viventem,
    Vixque tenet lachrymas quia nil lachrymabile cernit.’”--E.

[202] The debate is reported by Cavendish, vol. i. p. 227–237.--E.

[203] It would have been a wiser course in the Ministers not to
have resorted to this expedient, which at least was open to strong
suspicion. Mr. Burke thus comments upon it: “After a jury upon
legal evidence have given their verdict, a court of judicature has
determined, the judges have approved, and the party is under sentence,
the mercy of the Crown interposes; ‘No, no,’ say the Government, ‘we
must have a jury of surgeons--of that kind of judicature we must
avail ourselves,’ and the man receives the royal pardon. When they
witness these things the unfortunate people of England say, We are not
seditious without reason,” &c.--(Speech on Mr. Onslow’s motion for
declaring Colonel Lutterell duly elected for Middlesex, in Cavendish’s
Parliamentary Debates, vol. i. p. 382.)--See also Junius’s Letters,
vol. i. p. 50.--E.

[204] The bill was passed by the Lords without opposition, the Duke of
Grafton alone saying that he thought it a very bad bill.

[205] The debate is well reported in Cavendish, vol. i. pp. 241–51.--E.

[206] Lord Clive endeavoured to prove the agreement to be unjust
towards the Company--an opinion in which Mr. Grenville seems to have
concurred, but “four or five hundred thousand pounds was a bait too
tempting to be rejected,” and he therefore gave no objection to the
motion. Colonel Barré denounced with his usual vigour the constitution
of the Company. After referring to the sentiment he had expressed in
a former debate, that the management of a dominion containing sixteen
millions of inhabitants, and producing a revenue of from four to eight
millions a-year, could not be wisely and safely managed by twenty-four
gentlemen in Leadenhall Street, he proceeded to say, “The system of
direction, fluctuating as it does from year to year, must be ruinous.
Faction, too, that has stolen into almost every public assembly, has
found its way among them; at one time making a disadvantageous peace,
at another time making one on more advantageous terms; striking out
new wars; not content with the revenues which they already have, but
thirsting for more,--it is impossible but India must be a scene of
confusion. Instead of this, you might, by the wisdom of your laws and
the sagacity of your government, bring millions lying hid in the earth
into this country, and at the same time snatch the people of India from
the tyranny under which they have been accustomed to live. But instead
of this, there is nothing but war from the Carnatic to the Deccan.”
Mr. Burke appeared as the advocate of the Company, and defended the
annual election of Directors, as a system under which the Company
had prospered. “Men,” he observed, “continually watched by their
constituents are worked into vigour. If the Direction were established
for a number of years, the Directors might form themselves into
cabals.” (Cavendish’s Parliamentary Debates, vol. i. pp. 251–65.)--E.

[207] It is remarkable that Walpole should overlook the violent
altercation which occurred in this debate between General Conway and
Mr. Burke,--in which, as far as can be collected from Cavendish, the
latter had the advantage.--E.

[208] In these debates on the Civil List very able speeches appear to
have been made by Lord North, Mr. Grenville, Mr. Dowdeswell, and Mr.
Burke. An instructive account of them is given by Cavendish, though
it is evident that he has failed in his attempt to convey an adequate
representation of the brilliant eloquence of Burke. The rapidity of
Burke’s utterance, and the late period of the debate in which he spoke,
perhaps made this impracticable. He has done more justice to Lord
North, whose defence of his political conduct is so illustrative of his
general views, and of the course he pursued in Parliament, that I have
ventured, notwithstanding its length, to insert it here.

“Those repeated changes of Administration have been the principal cause
of the present grievance [the King’s debts]. I lament it as much as
any man can do. Under an Administration, whose principles I approved,
ten years ago I accepted a small office, and was contented with it;
those whom I served knew I never molested them on my own account. I had
formed principles from which I have never deviated,--principles not at
all calculated for an ambitious man. I thought the public had waged a
glorious war; and that the war would be concluded by a necessary peace.
It was never my idea to cry up the peace as the chef-d’œuvre of a great
minister. The peace was an advantageous one; because, in the situation
in which the country then stood, it was better to come to such a peace,
than to run the risk of another campaign. If the Ministers had no
other choice, they made a good choice; if the case was otherwise, they
made a bad one. Whether they had or had not, never came to my ears.
I never considered the country so reduced that we could not recover.
A steady manly resistance of the impatience of those who wanted to
ease themselves of the burdens left by the war, put the country at
length into a situation to meet other wars. Upon this system I have
ever been against popular measures. I do not dislike popularity; but
for the last seven years I have never given my vote for any one of the
popular measures. I supported the Cyder-tax with a view to the ease of
the people, and I afterwards opposed the repeal of the tax--a vote of
which I never repented. In 1765, I was for the American Stamp Act; the
propriety of passing which I took very much upon the authority of the
right honourable gentleman; and when, in the following year, a bill was
brought in for the repeal of that act, I directly opposed it; for I saw
the danger of the repeal. And when, again, in the year 1767, it was
thought necessary to relieve the people from the pressure of taxation,
by lessening the revenue to the extent of half a million, I was against
that measure also. There appeared on the public stage a strange
phenomenon--an individual grown, by the popularity of the times, to
be a man of consequence. I moved the expulsion of Mr. Wilkes. Every
subsequent proceeding against that man I have supported; and I will
again vote for his expulsion, if he again attempts to take his seat in
this House. In all my memory, therefore, I do not recollect a single
popular measure I ever voted for--no, not even the Nullum Tempus Bill.
I was against declaring the law in the case of general warrants. I
state this to prove that I am not an ambitious man. Men may be popular
without being ambitious; but there is rarely an ambitious man who does
not try to be popular.” (Cavendish, vol. i. p. 298.)--E.

[209] See some able comments on this question in Burke’s celebrated
tract on “Present Discontents,” (Works, vol. ii. p. 309.)--E.

[210] Cavendish, vol. i. pp. 307–336. Especially the speeches of Lord
North, Mr. Burke, and Mr. Grenville.--E.

[211] Dingley was a strange eccentric creature, always bent on some
wild scheme or other. He had obtained a patent for a newly-invented
sawing machine, which he carried on at Limehouse; and various other
projects of his are mentioned in the Annual Register. Junius states
that he died of a broken heart in consequence of having been so
contemptuously treated at this election. He was a man of some property,
and had been Lord Chatham’s landlord when the latter resided at
Hampstead. An amusing account of him is given in a note to Chatham’s
Correspondence, vol. iii. p. 350.--E.

[212] This debate is reported in Cavendish, vol. i. p. 345–355.--E.

[213] Yet it had been mentioned that very morning in the newspapers as

[214] Evelyn Pierpoint, the last Duke of Kingston, K.G. He was then
just married to the famous Miss Chudleigh--a marriage afterwards
disallowed by the House of Lords. [The Duke was the only son of Lord
Newark, only son of the second Duke of Kingston. His father died at the
early age of twenty-one, and he had the misfortune to be brought up by
his grandfather, a haughty, selfish, licentious man, who appears to
have been equally a tyrant in his family and out of it. Thus he became
bashful and dull, and displayed few if any of the talents which had
characterized his race, and were so evident in his aunts, Lady Mary
Wortley Montague and Lady Mar. He raised a regiment in 1745, which is
often mentioned in the history of that campaign as Kingston’s light
horse, and, what was not then common with Peers, he served with it. He
died at Bath in September 1773. His widow survived him till 1788, when
she died at Paris, aged sixty-eight.--E.]

[215] Lord Irnham, on a family quarrel, afterwards challenged his son
to fight.

[216] The date of the first letter published by Junius is the 21st of

[217] Mr. Grenville spoke twice in this debate. Early on Saturday he
was called up by an observation of Mr. Onslow that Alderman Beckford
was not at liberty to reason against a resolution of the House of
Commons. “Sir,” said he, in a tone exceedingly animated, “he who will
contend that a resolution of the House of Commons is the law of the
land, is a violent enemy of his country, be he who or what he will.
The law of the land, an Act of Parliament, is to be the guide of every
man in the kingdom. No power--not an order of the House of Commons can
set that aside, can change, diminish, or augment it. I do say, and I
will maintain that ground--let any gentleman call me to order--that the
law of the land, an Act of Parliament, cannot be altered, enforced, or
augmented by a vote of either House of Parliament. That I say is the
law of this country.” Immediately after this speech Mr. Grenville spat
blood.--(Cavendish, vol. i. p. 370.)

At a later period of the evening Mr. Grenville entered fully into the
questions of the House, and discussed with great ability the celebrated
cases of Ashby _v._ White, and Rex _v._ Lord Banbury, where in the
former instance the decision of the House of Commons, and in the latter
of the House of Lords, had not been recognised by the courts of law.--E.

[218] The debate in reported in Cavendish, vol. i. p. 360–86.--E.

[219] Lord North is stated by Cavendish to have withheld his consent
to the course recommended by Conway, on the ground that it would not
be justifiable to convey to the Americans the idea of a repeal of the
Act so long as there was a possibility of their being disappointed.
The best speeches on this debate were those of Edmund Burke and his
cousin William, both being clever and animated. (Cavendish, vol. i. p.

[220] Serjeant Whitaker was also counsel against Wilkes in the action
against Lord Halifax tried in the Common Pleas in the following
November. His speech, on that occasion, is reported in the _London
Museum_ for 1769. It possessed sufficient interest at the time to cause
his style of speaking to be burlesqued in Foote’s Comedy of the “Lame
Lover.” His name does not often occur in the reports. He had been made
King’s Serjeant in 1759, and afterwards became Treasurer of his Inn. He
died of apoplexy in 1779.--E.

[221] Afterwards the Right Hon. Sir James Graham, one of the Barons
of the Exchequer. He died in 1836, at the great age of ninety-two.
He believed himself to belong to the Montrose family. It is more
certain that he was the son of a schoolmaster at Hackney. His personal
accomplishments and amiability made him a general favourite throughout
life, which perhaps prevented his attaining any considerable reputation
as a lawyer.--E.

[222] The ability displayed by Serjeant Adair on this occasion obtained
him the patronage of the Duke of Portland, who afterwards brought him
into Parliament. He spoke there occasionally, and distinguished himself
in the debates on the slave-trade. He was without any vivacity of
manner or expression, but had the reputation of being a sound lawyer,
and it may be perceived by the reports that his business in the Common
Pleas was considerable. He was a staunch Whig; it therefore became a
subject of the deepest mortification to him that Mr. Erskine should
have been brought from the King’s Bench to lead in the great case of
Mr. Fox against the High Bailiff of Westminster. Mr. Fox, who highly
esteemed him, perhaps was not less distressed, but the matter was too
important to be ruled by personal feelings. The Mr. Adair whose name
appears in the reports of the trial as the junior counsel, was not
the Serjeant, but a young barrister, who has since obtained a place
in history, by his eminence in diplomacy and his friendship with Mr.
Fox--the Right Hon. Sir Robert Adair, G.C.B. The Serjeant died suddenly
in 1798. His daughter married the late Judge Wilson. He succeeded Glynn
as Recorder, and held that office for ten years.--E.

[223] John Lee, or, as he was usually termed, “honest Jack Lee,” was a
sound lawyer, and for many years had the lead on the Northern Circuit,
where his practice was very considerable. He excelled, Lord Eldon
has recorded, in cross-examination. A brief blunt way of expressing
himself, much originality, and frequent sallies of a wit, which, though
not of an elevated character, was very amusing, gave him a short-lived
celebrity. He was appointed Solicitor-General by the Coalition. In
the great debate of the 17th Feb. 1783, on Lord Shelburne’s Peace, he
took a prominent and not very judicious part. He succeeded Wallace as
Attorney-General in the March following; and in April 1793, he died
at Staindrop, in the county of Durham--leaving, it was said, a great

[224] Mr. Grenville cited from Blackstone’s Commentaries B. C. the
passage enumerating the nine cases of disqualification (of which cases
expulsion was not one), and ending--“but subject to the standing
restrictions and disqualifications, every subject is eligible of common
right.” In the editions, _subsequent to Wilkes’s_ case, the sentence
goes on, “though there are instances where persons, in particular
circumstances, have forfeited that common right and been declared
ineligible for that Parliament by a vote of the House of Commons, or
for ever by an Act of the Legislature.” (Commons’ Journal, 17th Feb.
1769.)--This difference in the two editions, led to the favourite toast
at political meetings of “The first edition of Doctor Blackstone’s
Commentaries.” Mr. Grenville’s speech is given by Cavendish, vol. i.,
where, however, it is not so severe or powerful as the accounts of it
in Walpole and Junius (Letter xviii.) would lead one to expect.--E.

[225] The Cardinal was drawn from the obscurity in which he had
lived since his disgrace in 1758, for the purpose of this mission.
He continued Ambassador at Rome until his death, in 1794, in his
eighty-fifth year. A memoir of him, by the Abbé Feletz, of the French
Academy, forms one of the best-written articles in the Biographie
Universelle. It would be more valuable if it were less of an éloge.
The Cardinal judged wisely in opposing the Austrian alliance: but
like other French statesmen, he took care to make his opposition
subservient to his interest. Indeed there is little either in his moral
or political conduct to deserve commendation until he was securely
settled at Rome. He owed his elevation entirely to Madame de Pompadour,
whose favour he had earned by betraying to her the King’s intrigue
with Madame de Choiseul--a secret with which that lady had imprudently
intrusted him.--(See more of him in the Memoires de Duclos, vol. ii. p.
172; Lacretelle’s Histoire de France, vol. iii. p. 161.)--E.

[226] The disapprobation with which Ganganelli was known to regard the
policy of the Jesuits procured him the support of France and Austria,
and consequently his election. It was not, however, until the year 1773
that he issued the brief for the extinction of the order. The troubles
in which this step involved him shortened his life. His advanced age,
for he was sixty-nine years old, the cares of Government, and his
sedentary studious habits, were held insufficient causes for his death,
without adding it to the catalogue of the crimes of the Jesuits; and
volumes were written to support and to repel the charge.--E.

[227] The Count du Châtelet, afterwards Duc, has been mentioned with
respect by the French historians of the day, and his name is associated
with more important transactions than this miserable affair. The King’s
esteem raised him to the command of the guards on the death of the Duc
de Biron. In common with other enlightened men attached to the Court,
he supported the reforms best calculated to ameliorate the condition
of the people. His popularity caused him to be fixed on as a successor
to Brienne in the Presidentship of the Council,--a dangerous honour,
which he wisely declined. He was, however, one of the early victims of
the Reign of Terror, and after a fruitless attempt to commit suicide,
perished by the guillotine on the 13th of December, 1793. His wife soon
followed him to the scaffold.--E.

[228] It was believed that he had acted under secret instructions from
the Empress; although, in conformity with the practice of the Russian
Court, he was left to bear the blame of failure. On his return to St.
Petersburg he was placed at the head of the marine department, and held
that post during several years, with a very poor reputation. He escaped
dismissal only because Catherine made it a principle to change as
seldom as possible either her Ministers or Ambassadors.--(Tooke’s Life
of Catherine the Second, vol. i. p. 304; vol ii. p. 46.)--E.

[229] Circulars were addressed by Lord Rochford to the British
Ministers at foreign Courts with an account of this transaction.--(See
letter to Sir A. Mitchell, in Ellis’s Original Letters, vol. iv. p.

[230] A minute of Lord Chatham’s representations to the King is given
in the Duke of Grafton’s Memoirs, as if on his Majesty’s authority.
It confirms the statement in the text, with the addition, however, of
Lord Chatham having assured the King that in his state of health office
could no longer be even desirable to him.--E.

[231] Being asked soon afterwards, by Sir W. Meredith, if he was likely
to come in, he replied, “Good God! I!--with whom, and for whom?” There
would have been great sense in this answer, if he had not often shown
that he was indifferent _with whom_, and nobody could tell _for_ whom
he had ever come in: though his enemies would say, _only for himself_;
and Britain ought to say _for her_ in his successful Administration.

[232] Lord Temple, too, as if not without hopes, had shifted off to
September the meeting in Buckinghamshire for determining whether that
county should petition or not; and he might hope that the popular
clamour would drive the Court to have recourse to Lord Chatham and him.

[233] Edward Harvey. M.P. for Harwich, Governor of Portsmouth, and
Adjutant-General of the Forces. He bore a very high reputation in the
army, having served with great distinction on the Staff during the
seven years’ war. Prince Ferdinand frequently employed him on missions
to England, when there was any important military business to transact,
and he seems to have been equally in the confidence of the Prince and
the English Government. The King also entertained a warm regard for
him, and took much pleasure in his society; no one perhaps being more
constantly his Majesty’s attendant in his rides. On one occasion, when
they were riding together in a heavy shower of rain, the General having
no great-coat, the King lent him his own. The difficulty then arose
whether it was to be returned or not. At length the General decided on
returning it. The King remarked, “You have sent back my great-coat,
I see.” “Please your Majesty,” was the reply, “I could not presume
to offer a new one.” “Quite right, quite right,” rejoined the King;
“there may as well be two good men in the coat as one.” The General
usually resided at Blackheath. He died on April the 16th, 1778. He was
the brother of Mr. William Harvey of Chigwell, and uncle of the late
Admiral Sir Eliab Harvey, G.C.B.--E.

[234] If these Memoirs had been written at a later period, Walpole
would have mentioned Horne Tooke’s talents with more respect. He was,
however, at this time little known, except for his quarrel with Wilkes,
when, as Lord Brougham justly observes, “though he was clearly in the
right, he became the object of general and fierce popular indignation,
for daring to combat the worthless idol of the mob.”--(Sketches of
British Statesmen, vol. ii. p. 119.)--E.

[235] Son of the late Speaker. He became Lord Onslow by the death of
his cousin in 1776, was created Earl Onslow in 1801, and died in 1814.
He had lived on terms of great intimacy with Wilkes, whom, in a letter
printed by Almon, he praises with the warmth of a partisan.--(See Life
of Wilkes, vol. v. p. 240.)--E.

[236] The trial terminated in Mr. Onslow’s nonsuit, in consequence of
the word _pounds_ being inserted in the record instead of the word
_pound_. The case was re-heard at Guildhall, when Mr. Onslow was again
nonsuited. The trial was supposed to have cost him 1500_l._ The whole
transaction was most discreditable to Mr. Horne.--(Woodfall’s Junius,
vol. i. p. 196.)--E.

[237] The Duke gives some account, in his plain simple style, of these
brutal outrages in his Journal.--(Cavendish, vol. i. p. 621.)--He
appears to have had a narrow escape of being murdered at Honiton.
It is pleasing to find in his entry of the following day, a picture
presenting a striking contrast to this disgraceful tumult:--“I went in
the morning to Barwick Place, where my ancestors lived, in Dorsetshire.
It is a fine farm, but a dismal place. From thence I went by the
sea-side through Kingston Russell farm, to Mr. Hardy, my tenant’s
house, where I dined. This is an exceeding fine farm, and has the
finest ewe leasows I ever saw in my life. After a very good farmer-like
dinner, and a hearty welcome, I set out for Blandford.”--E.

[238] He had, moreover, at his seat at Kingsgate, in the Isle of
Thanet, erected a pillar to the honour of Alderman Harley, the most
unpopular of all the City’s magistrates.

[239] These accounts were not settled at Lord Holland’s death, and his
family profited of the interest of 400,000_l._ still remaining in his
hands. Lord North was very earnest to have the account made up, and yet
it was not finally closed in the middle of the year 1777, which shows
the intricacy and difficulty of terminating such accounts. [The delay
was no fault of Lord Holland’s; it arose from the imperfect system
of auditing the public accounts in that day. Lord Holland had been
out of office only three years and a-half. Mr. Winnington’s accounts
for 1744–6 were only settled in 1760, or fourteen years after their
close, and Lord Chatham’s remained open for the same period.--(Lord
Brougham’s Historical Sketches, vol. iii. p. 136.)--It should, however,
be stated, in fairness to Lord Chatham, that he derived no benefit from
the balance in his favour, having left all his receipts in the Bank of
England.--(See Lord Holland’s Memorial, and other papers arising out of
this accusation in the notes to Woodfall’s Junius, vol. i. p. 184.)--E.]

[240] Lord Chatham, Lord Temple, and Mr. Grenville. A petition from
Ailesbury being soon after agreed on, the members of the meeting
drank a health to the union of the three brothers. How little union
there really was amongst them appeared afterwards, for Mr. Grenville
had before his death made his peace with the Court without any
consideration of Lord Chatham, and so did Lord Temple in like manner in
1777. All the latter part of Lord Temple’s life was one continued scene
of quarrels and reconciliations with his family and friends, according
as his passions or restless ambition dictated.--(See the MS. Memoirs of
the Duke of Grafton, Appendix, on the subject of these petitions.)

[241] Letter to the Duke of Bedford, 19th September. Twenty-third

[242] Sir William Draper’s Letter to Junius, 7th October 1769. Junius’s
Twenty-sixth Letter.--E.

[243] The proceedings in the House of Commons on Dr. Musgrave’s charge
are given in Parliamentary History, vol. xvi. p. 763. Lord Mahon
notices the charge as being utterly unfounded.--(History, vol. iv. p.
410.) Dr. Musgrave had published an excellent edition of Euripides, but
in his latter years his reason was believed to be clouded. He died in

[244] This does not agree with the authenticated accounts of the war
in Corsica. So far from it, Paoli at first succeeded in repelling the
attacks of the French, notwithstanding their superiority of numbers.
They were worsted in an engagement near Loreto, with great loss,
several companies having been drowned in the Golo in the attempt to
make their escape. On the 29th of October the corps sent to attack
Murato received a signal defeat, their commander being among the
slain.--(Sismondi’s Histoire de France, vol. xxix. p. 380.)--The
overwhelming force brought over by the Count de Vaux early in 1769 soon
dispersed the Corsican levies, and rendered all further resistance
on the part of Paoli perfectly vain. Paoli was much respected in
England by men of all parties. At the commencement of the Revolution
he was invited to France, and after an enthusiastic reception by the
National Assembly, placed in the command of Corsica, with the rank of
Lieutenant-General of the Island. The troubles that followed led him
to offer the Crown to England in 1793; but the English rule proved
unfortunate both to the Corsicans and to himself. He soon returned to
England, and died in the neighbourhood of London, in his eightieth
year. He left a considerable fortune, part of which eventually fell
under the administration of the Court of Chancery, and the Lord
Chancellor issued a commission to Corsica to ascertain his heirs.--See
more of him in Capefigue Diplomates Européens, pp. 123–133--E.

[245] According to the Duke’s own account in his Memoirs he was at
this time on uneasy terms with his colleagues, of whose general policy
he disapproved, and by whom he was generally outvoted in the Cabinet.
Nothing but the absence of an adequate excuse for resignation kept him
in office. It may be observed, also, that his marriage (to Miss Jane
Wrottesly), which took place on the 24th of June, had been followed by
his installation at Cambridge, where his presence was indispensable.--E.

[246] Mr. Thomas Pitt, nephew of Lord Chatham, was on some occasions a
man of probity and generosity. He gave five thousand pounds a-piece to
his two sisters, left destitute by their father; and himself marrying
Miss Wilkinson, whose elder sister had disobliged their father by
marrying against his consent, both Mr. Pitt and his wife would not
conclude their marriage without disclaiming all advantage to the
prejudice of the elder sister. [See vol. i. p. 339. His nominees were
Mr. Gerard Hamilton, and Mr. Crawford, Chamberlain for the County of

[247] He was on that day aged forty-five, the date of his famous number
and device.

[248] The knowledge of this fact is said to have been the reason why
the jury did not give higher damages.--E.

[249] James Fitzgerald, Earl of Kildare, first Duke of Leinster. [An
amiable nobleman, always zealous to promote the welfare of his country.
He died in 1773.--E.]

[250] The King’s Letters to Lord North contain the following reference
to Lord Shannon and another politician of the same stamp. “Lord
Townshend’s idea of a pension to Lord Shannon is absurd--to let him do
all the mischief he can while his assistance could be of use, and then
reward him when his good wishes can avail nothing. Mr. Allen is only an
additional proof of that aversion to English Government and of _that
avowed profligacy_ that the gentlemen of that country seem to despise
masking with the name of conscience, and must sooner or later oblige
this country seriously to consider whether the uniting it to this Crown
would not be the only means of making both islands flourishing.” Lord
Shannon died in 1807.--E.

[251] In the money-bills, the Irish Parliament had endeavoured to lay a
tax on English beer, but it was rejected by a few voices; the Speaker,
fearing to lose his place of 4000_l._ a-year at the head of the
revenue, should they provoke England too far. They made an alteration,
however, in their own gauging, which some here thought equivalent
to a tax on our beer, and the Council were inclined to reject that
alteration, yet, desirous of getting the money-bills passed, and the
Attorney-General declaring that it was no violation of Poynings’s Act,
the alteration was suffered to remain, and the money-bills were sent
back uncorrected.

[252] Of King’s Remembrancer. It was a little before this time that
Calcraft, ignoble as his birth and rise were, aspired, by the Duke of
Grafton’s favour, to the title of Earl of Ormond. George Selwyn said,
“Calcraft might have pretensions to that title, as no doubt he must
have had many _Butlers_ in his family.”

[253] Junius’s account of the prosecution, Letter xxxiii, is
fair--making the usual deductions. See also Rex _v._ Vaughan (Burrow’s
Reports, vol. iv. p. 4494)--by which it seems that the motion for
the criminal information was made by Mr. Dunning.--“An Appeal to the
Public on Behalf of Samuel Vaughan Esq.,” 8vo., states some mitigating

[254] Of Valeroyal [he died in 1779, aged fifty-three].--E.

[255] The evidence of Sir Philip Francis being the author of Junius has
been observed by an eminent lawyer who took no part in the controversy,
to be such as would be held conclusive by a jury on a question of

[256] By Earl Waldegrave she had three daughters,--the Ladies Laura,
Maria, and Horatia.

[257] The King and Queen certainly intended it should be supposed
Lady Waldegrave was the Duke’s mistress. The world interpreted it in
a contrary sense in compliment to the Queen’s virtue, who on that
occasion wished her virtue had been thought more accommodating.

[258] Walpole is mistaken here. The King was at least as much opposed
to the Duke of Gloucester’s marriage as the Princess Dowager. As late
as in 1775 his sentiments remained unaltered, and in granting the
Duke permission to travel on the Continent, he positively declined to
make a provision for his Royal Highness’s family. In a letter to Lord
North, 15th January, 1775, the King says--“I cannot deny that on the
subject of this Duke my heart is wounded. I have ever loved him with
the fondness one bears to a child.” “His highly disgraceful step,” &c.
“--his wife, whom I never can think of placing in a situation to answer
her extreme pride and vanity. Should any accident befall the Duke, I
shall certainly provide for his children.”

Eventually the King acted with great generosity towards the Duchess and
her son and daughter by the Duke. Their conduct was so irreproachable
that the marriage could no longer have been a subject of regret to

Transcriber’s Notes

Punctuation and spelling were made consistent when a predominant
preference was found in this book; otherwise they were not changed.

Simple typographical errors were corrected; occasional unbalanced
quotation marks were corrected.

Ambiguous hyphens at the ends of lines were retained; occurrences of
inconsistent hyphenation have not been changed.

“Massachusets” was mostly spelled that way throughout this book.

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